Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Taiwan's Embattled President Seeks Free-Trade Deal With US

Taiwan's president urged the United States Monday to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the island democracy, saying it would help to check China's economic and security dominance in the region. Read

Friday, May 27, 2005

UK Boycott of Israeli Universities Lifted

American Jewish organizations have welcomed a decision by the British university teachers' union to call off a boycott of two Israeli universities. The boycott caused an outcry and prompted accusations of double standards and anti-Semitism. Read

Experts Warn of Killer Flu

Amid fresh warnings by scientists that Asia's avian flu virus could trigger a human pandemic threatening millions of lives, Chinese researchers say they have developed a new vaccine capable of stopping the strain's spread in birds and poultry. Read

Thursday, May 26, 2005

New Oil Pipeline 'Advances Cause of Freedom, Bush Says

In a major achievement for the Caucasus and a strategic victory for the U.S., one of the world's longest oil pipelines has come on line, providing the region with its first outlet to world oil markets that bypasses Russia. Read

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

US-Indonesia Relations in the Spotlight as New President Visits White House

Indonesia's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is making his first presidential visit to Washington, further cementing a relationship many see as critical for the U.S, but one that also remains hamstrung by a range of unresolved concerns. Read

Early Election in Germany Could Lead to Warmer Ties With US

Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's surprise decision to call an early election may bring to a premature end a government that has clashed with Washington over the Iraq war and a campaign to lift a European Union arms embargo on China. Read

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Mullahs Trying to Bar 'Reformist' Election Candidates

Following an outcry against a move to prevent "reformist" candidates from standing in Iran's presidential election next month, the regime's top cleric has intervened, overriding a decision in the case of two of the disqualified candidates – but leaving hundreds more hopefuls barred from the race. Read

Monday, May 23, 2005

Saudis Do Destroy Bibles, Think Tank Affirms

A U.S.-based think tank critical of the Saudi government has added its voice to allegations that authorities in the kingdom routinely destroy Bibles. Read

Islamic Groups Planning Worldwide Anti-US Protests

Radical Islamic groups are pressing ahead with plans for worldwide anti-U.S. protests later this week. A demonstration in Indonesia Sunday indicated the level of anger directed towards America over Koran abuse allegations. Read

Friday, May 20, 2005

Stem Cell Advance Heightens Ethical Tussle Ahead of House Debate

As U.S. lawmakers prepare to debate a bill that would expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, South Korean scientists have announced what supporters will see as the biggest breakthrough yet in the controversial work. Read

Thursday, May 19, 2005

'Saudis Shred Bibles'

Bibles found in the possession of visitors to Saudi Arabia are routinely confiscated by customs officials, and in some cases copies allegedly have been put through a paper shredder, according to religious rights campaigners. Read

US Still Mulling Consequences for Saudi Religious Persecution

Eight months after the U.S. government designated Saudi Arabia a "country of concern" (CPC) for violating religious freedom, the State Department has yet to announce what steps it will take against Riyadh. Read

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Muslim Gov'ts Urged to Give More to Anti-Polio Drive

Islamic governments will be urged to increase their contributions to the global campaign to eradicate polio, after a flare-up in the crippling disease that has been blamed on a Muslim anti-vaccination campaign in Nigeria. Read

China Resistant to Countries' Bid for Security Council Seats

Four countries campaigning for permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council have signaled their willingness to forfeit veto power, if that would persuade the current permanent members to support their candidacies. Read

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

China Derails Taiwan's WHO Bid

China has stymied Taiwan's ninth consecutive bid for observer status at the U.N. World Health Organization's annual gathering, undercutting its attempt to join by quietly signing a separate agreement with the WHO purporting to resolve concerns about the island's health needs. Read

Newsweek Retraction Won't Stop Planned Protests, Radical Groups Say

Unimpressed by Newsweek's retraction of explosive claims that U.S. military interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Koran, radical Islamic leaders in Pakistan say they will not drop plans for an international day of protest next week. Read

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek Backtracks As Anger Spreads Over Koran Claim

Nine more people have been killed in Afghanistan, clerics are threatening a holy war, and Islamic leaders are urging worldwide Muslim protests in response to a Newsweek report claiming that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay threw a Koran into a toilet -- a report the magazine now concedes may be inaccurate. Read

Pakistan Police Arrest Runners in Mixed-Sex Road Race

An attempt to organize a mixed-gender mini-marathon ran into trouble in Pakistan on Saturday when police disrupted the event and arrested scores of people, local media reported. Read

Friday, May 13, 2005

Pentagon Finds No Evidence Koran Was Defiled

Protests were planned across Pakistan Friday as Muslim anger over the alleged desecration of the Koran by the U.S. military spread outwards from Afghanistan, where at least seven people have been killed in violent clashes with security forces. Read

Christians Accused of Trying to Convert Muslims Freed

Two Americans arrested in Malaysia for allegedly distributing Christian literature outside a mosque have been released from custody, and the charges against them dropped. Read

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Arabs, Latin Americans Find Common Ground

An unprecedented summit between Arab and Latin American states has ended with expressions of support for the Palestinians, backing for the right to fight "foreign occupation," and calls for the two regions to counterbalance wealthy countries' dominance by expanding trade links. Read

Taiwan Gears Up for New WHO Bid

Taiwan is preparing its ninth consecutive annual bid to join the World Health Organization, but despite recent hints at concessions from China, there appears to be little chance that it will drop its longstanding opposition to the move. Read

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

China Refuses to Press North Korea

China has ruled out applying economic pressure to compel its North Korean ally to return to stalled multilateral talks on its nuclear weapons programs. Read

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Pentagon Rejects Calls to Slow Down Closure of Bases Abroad

The Pentagon on Monday rejected calls by a congressionally appointed commission to slow down the withdrawal of 70,000 American troops from Europe and Asia. The proposals entail the U.S. Army withdrawing from about half of its European bases, the Pentagon confirmed. Read

Panel Advises Against Extensive Withdrawal of US Marines from Okinawa

A panel chartered by Congress to advise on redeployments of U.S. forces abroad is questioning the wisdom of reducing the number of troops on Japan's Okinawa island at a time of strategic uncertainties in the region. Read

Monday, May 09, 2005

Muslim Cleric Heads to Iraq in Effort to Save Hostage

A controversial Muslim cleric headed for Baghdad Monday, hoping to rescue an Australian engineer held hostage by terrorists who are demanding the withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq. Read

Japanese PM Visits Russia Amid Historical Rift

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Monday became the first Japanese leader to take part in an international event to mark the Allies' victory over Nazi Germany in Europe. Read

Renewal of US-Malaysia Military Pact a Sign of Improving Ties

In the latest sign of improving relations between Washington and one of Asia's most influential Muslim nations, Malaysia and the U.S. on Monday extended for 10 years a military cooperation pact. Read

Friday, May 06, 2005

Vietnam Dodges Sanctions for Religious Freedom Violations

The Vietnamese government has managed to sidestep punitive measures for abusing religious freedom, by becoming the first country to reach an agreement with Washington on the matter since the passage of religious freedom legislation more than six years ago. Read

Blair Wins Historic Third Term, but With Majority Slashed

Tony Blair was re-elected as British prime minister early Friday, becoming the third of the three Iraq war coalition allies to be returned to office. Read

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Vietnam PM Announces Plans for First Visit to US

Vietnam's prime minister next month will become the first leader of the communist Southeast Asian country to visit the United States since the Vietnam War ended 30 years ago. Read

US, Australian Leaders Sympathetic as Blair Faces Voters

British Prime Minister Tony Blair heads into an election Thursday with the implied blessings of his two key Iraq war allies, despite the fact that their political parties have long and strong links with Blair's Conservative opponents. Read

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Polio Spread Continues, the Outgrowth of Muslim Vaccine Boycott

The World Health Organization's goal of eradicating polio worldwide by the end of 2005 has taken another blow with the first reported cases of the crippling disease in Indonesia in a decade. Read

China's Leader Invited to Visit Taiwan to Experience Democracy

Taiwan's president says his Chinese counterpart should visit Taiwan to experience an independent country that enjoys freedom of expression and the press. Read

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

US Warns of 'Significant' Capacity to Deter North Koreans

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned North Korea Monday that the U.S. had "significant" capability in the Pacific region to deter the Stalinist state's nuclear ambitions. Read

US Warns of 'Significant' Capacity to Deter North Koreans

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned North Korea Monday that the U.S. had "significant" capability in the Pacific region to deter the Stalinist state's nuclear ambitions. Read

Facing Hostage Crisis, Australia Won't Budge

Australia is the latest U.S. ally in Iraq to face the possibility of watching a hostage die or giving in to the demands of terrorists who want foreign forces to leave the country. Read

Monday, May 02, 2005

Taiwan's Leader Ready for Talks With China

The president of Taiwan on Monday called for direct talks with Beijing, saying his government was "ready anytime, as along as the meetings are conducted on the principles of peace, democracy and equal footing." Read

Liberal Ruling Party Loses Majority in South Korea

A weekend election in South Korea is seen as a setback for liberals who want a foreign policy more sympathetic to North Korea. South Korea's ruling Uri Party lost its overall majority in parliament. Read

Nuclear Tensions Escalate As UN Conference Begins

A month-long United Nations conference focusing on the threat of nuclear weapons begins in New York on Monday, at a time when tensions over North Korean and Iran's nuclear ambitions again are on the rise. Read