The Russian mission to the UN in New York says it has turned down a request from John McCain to help fund his presidential campaign.
Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin and others received standard mail-outs asking them to help "stop the Democrats from seizing control of Washington".
The letter to Mr Churkin has a return form which carries the words: "I am proud to stand with our Republican candidates as the Obama Democrats and their wealthy liberal backers focus their attacks squarely on defeating Republicans and gaining control of our government.
"I want to do all I can to help stop the Democrats from seizing control of Washington and implementing their radically liberal policy for our nation."
The form then has a space for a signature over the typed name, Vitaly Churkin.
But he also stressed: "Russian authorities are in no way engaged in funding political campaigns or political activities abroad."Apparently the Russians have a sense of humor - sometimes.
The second one - from The Times - is about how McCain has (hopefully unwittingly) garnered the (possible) endorsement of Al Qaeda (maybe):
It emerged today, however, that al-Qaeda supporters have been posting internet messages in recent days hoping for a victory by Mr McCain, even saying they would welcome a pre-election terror attack on the US because it could tip the election the Republican’s way.
One message, posted on the extremist website al-Hesbah — which is closely linked to al-Qaeda — said that if the terror group wants to exhaust the US economically and military, then victory for the “impetuous” Republican candidate would benefit them because Mr McCain would continue “the failing march of his predecessor” President Bush.
So... McCain loses the endorsement of former Michigan governor Milliken, but possibly gains the endorsement of Al Qaeda, while also garnering no support from Colin Powell or Russia. Meanwhile, according to an extensive worldwide poll, many (many) people would prefer Obama to be the next president of the US. (No, this doesn't mean that they are telling us how to vote. It only means that many people around the world are keyed into the US elections - maybe because the US is so important in other countries' activities or because the US campaign is so fecking long - and have developed an opinion about it. It is no different than me stating my opinion on British or French elections - which I sometimes have followed.)
The message was posted by Muhammad Haafid, a longtime contributor to the website. He has no direct affiliation to al-Qaeda, making it unclear whether he reflects the views of Osama bin Laden — who has not been heard of for six months — or anyone else in the terror organisation. While Mr McCain fiercely opposes a timetabled withdrawal from Iraq, he has pledged to end the war within four years.