War on Islam – The Washington Post reports that early morning raids in Paris and other French cities led to the arrest of 19 people suspected of radical Islamist activity. The raids come in the wake of al-Qaeda-inspired gunman Mohammed Merah killing seven people in Toulouse in southwestern France. In a radio interview Friday, President Nicolas Sarkozy assured Friday’s activity would not be the last, saying, “there will be other operations that will continue and that will allow us to expel from the national territory people who have no business being here.” The tough stance on terrorism has helped Sarkozy in presidential polls, with recent surveys showing the incumbent nearly even with his main challenger François Hollande.
Election Issues – Burmese opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi challenges the fairness of Sunday’s parliamentary elections, the Daily Telegraph reports. Suu Kyi’s complaints include use of intimidation and erroneous ballot lists by the ruling party, Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) . TIME’s Hannah Beech explores the high expectations for Sunday’s vote, even if the USDP will keep control of parliament. For Burma’s exiled journalists, the rapidly changing political climate leads to a homecoming of sorts.
Ready to Launch – Citing anonymous military sources, South Korean newspapers are reporting that North Korea fired several short-range missiles off its west coast this week, according to the New York Times. Despite numerous and vociferous objections, North Korea is reportedly moving forward with the planed launch of a long-range rocket in April. Government officials claim the purpose is to launch a weather satellite into orbit. The Guardian notes Japan’s defence minister ordered missiles to intercept the weapon if it, or any fragments, threaten the nation.
No So Happy Meal – Worldcrunch (via China’s Economic Observer) reports Chinese restaurant owners will soon have a standardized way to describe dishes. It’s out with “drunken shrimp” and “chicken without sex” as Beijing’s Municipality Foreign Affairs Office and the “Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Office” have published a list of unified names for dishes.