Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Should China Be Invited to Join G8?

China, along with several other countries of growing importance, has been invited to attend the G8 summit in Scotland next month, prompting fresh debate about whether the Asian giant should become a permanent member of the club of highly-industrialized nations. Read

US, India Sign Key Defense Pact

U.S. and Indian defense ministers Tuesday signed a key agreement on military ties, opening the door to joint weapons production contracts and cooperation in missile defense. Read

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rice Attempts to Boost NYC's Olympic Hopes

London and Paris are considered the front-runners, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hopes to upset the odds by backing New York City's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Read

China Mulls Tax on High-Emission Autos

Energy-hungry China, the world's fastest-growing vehicle market, is considering slapping new taxes on large automobiles, linking tax levels with exhaust emissions. Read

Philippines Leader Admits Mistake, Fends off Resignation Demands

A political crisis battering the Philippines deepened Monday when President Gloria Arroyo admitted a "lapse of judgment" in making an inappropriate phone call to an electoral commissioner during last year's election. Read

Monday, June 27, 2005

Musharraf Skeptical of Suggestions That Bin Laden Is in Pakistan

Pakistan's Gen. Pervez Musharraf at the weekend expressed irritation with reports that senior U.S. officials know the whereabouts of fugitive al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden -- and with the implication that he is hiding out in Pakistan. Read

New Iranian Leader Sees No Need for US

Iran does not need America, Iranian president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on Sunday. Read

Friday, June 24, 2005

Medics Warn Against Embryonic 'Anti-Aging' Treatments

Medical authorities in Australia are advising against patients visiting China for untested treatments derived from human embryos, amid reports that wealthy Westerners are paying large amounts of money in a bid to counter the effects of aging. Read

West Steps Up Pressure on African Gov'ts Over Zimbabwe Abuses

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Thursday urged African leaders to speak out against rampant abuses of human rights in Zimbabwe, speaking on the same day a South African government spokesman voiced irritation about Western calls for Africans to act. Read

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Reality of Complying With Kyoto a Blow to 'Clean, Green' New Zealand

New Zealand's government is being challenged to justify the country's continued participation in the Kyoto Protocol after it admitted that complying with the climate change treaty will cost taxpayers about one billion NZ dollars (U.S. $714 million). Read

Campaigners Want Human Rights Linked to Future Aid For North Korea

American campaigners for human rights in North Korea will insist that at any future talks on the Stalinist state's nuclear weapons programs, the U.S. makes it clear that future foreign aid is also contingent on human rights improvements, a U.S. scholar said Thursday. Read

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Pastors Who 'Vilified' Islam Would Choose Jail Over Apology

Two evangelical pastors in Australia convicted of vilifying Muslims say they will go to prison rather than obey a judge's order to apologize. Read

Specter of Religious Persecution Hovers Over Vietnamese PM's Visit

President Bush has held a first-ever meeting at the White House with a Vietnamese head of government, a day after a leading Republican lawmaker urged Hanoi to "come out of the dark ages of repression, brutality and abuse." Read

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

'Two Dad' Babies on the Horizon?

The specter of a baby being born with DNA from two men has edged a little closer, with news from a scientific conference in Europe that embryonic stem calls can be manipulated in a lab to form the precursors of sperm and eggs. Read

China's Misuse of Drug Could Produce Resistant Bird Flu Strain

Chinese farmers have been misusing an antiviral drug designed for humans by feeding it to poultry, and health experts worry that the blunder may have produced a resistant strain of bird flu. Read

Monday, June 20, 2005

Religious Rights a Concern As Vietnam's PM Visits US

For the first time since the Vietnam War, the leader of Vietnam will begin a visit to the United States on Monday, amid widespread calls for President Bush to challenge his visitor on Hanoi's human rights record. Read

Rescued Hostage Sorry for Remarks Made at Gunpoint

An Australian engineer held hostage in Iraq until he was rescued last week has apologized to the U.S. and Australian governments for calling at gunpoint for foreign troops to leave the country. Read

Election Produces Unenviable Choice for Reform-Minded Iranians

Iranians voting in a presidential election have handed the country a choice between a "hard-line" candidate linked to the Revolutionary Guards and a mullah who presents a more moderate face but likewise has a controversial background. Read

Friday, June 17, 2005

Japan in Tight Spot Over US Security Council Position

A U.S. decision to back only "two or so" new permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council has placed Japan in an awkward position -- pleased that it will be one of them, but uncomfortable that three other countries whose bids it has supported will probably not. Read

US Stance on Security Council Expansion Is Bad News for Germany

In a blow to the aspirations of countries hoping to get permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. has signaled that Washington will only support "two or so" new members, with Japan being one of them. Read

Polls Open in Iran; Bush Slams Election Process

Iran was holding elections Friday to choose its next president, shortly after President Bush denounced the electoral process in the country, saying it failed to meet "the basic requirements of democracy." Read

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Boost for New Iraqi Army as Australian Hostage Freed

ustralia has played an important role in training the new Iraqi army, and Iraqi soldiers returned the compliment Wednesday by rescuing an Australian hostage terrorists had threatened to kill. Read

US Pressures Pakistan Over Rights Abuses

The government of Pakistan, under fire for its treatment of a woman who condemns "honor" crimes against women, has agreed to lift a travel restriction and allow her to visit the United States. Read

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Embryonic Stem Cell Cures a Long Way Off, Experts Warn

A leading British medical journal has published an editorial warning against the "hype" surrounding recent advances in stem cell research. The editorial notes that at a recent public debate in London, experts predicted that safe and effective treatments for diseases were at least a decade away. Read

South Korean Stem Cell Pioneer To Hear Catholic Church's Concerns

The leader of South Korea's Catholics on Wednesday planned to discuss the ethics of embryonic stem cell research with the country's best-known scientist, the first in the world to report the successful cloning of a human embryo. Read

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Anniversary of Inter-Korean Summit Nothing to Celebrate, Activist Says

As the South Korean government marks the fifth anniversary of an acclaimed summit between the leaders of South and North Korea, a human rights activist said Tuesday that with Pyongyang continuing to abuse its people and Seoul effectively acquiescing, there was little to celebrate. Read

China Under Fire for Treatment of North Korean Refugees

hina is coming under new pressure to change the way it deals with refugees who have escaped from neighboring North Korea. Read

Monday, June 13, 2005

Iran Says High Election Turnout Will 'Shame' America

Iran has dismissed criticism about the validity of its presidential elections this week, saying voters would "shame" the United States with a huge turnout. Read

Iran Blames US-Backed Groups for Pre-Election Bombings

Iran's fundamentalist government has blamed U.S.-sheltered terrorists for a series of bomb blasts on Sunday that killed at least nine people, less than a week before voters choose a new president. Read

Debt Write-Off Linked to Poor Countries' Good Governance

Hundreds of millions of people in 18 poor countries in Africa and Latin America are expected to benefit from a decision by the U.S. and the world's other top industrialized nations to write off foreign debt owed by countries whose rulers have embraced reform. Read

Friday, June 10, 2005

Caretaker President Named; Bolivia's Crisis Unresolved

Bolivia's political crisis took a new turn late Thursday when the head of the Supreme Court was named as caretaker president, a step that could hasten the move towards Bolivia becoming the seventh left-leaning country in Latin America. Read

More Chinese Defectors Claim Spying, Abuses

Negotiations now under way to reach a free-trade agreement between Australia and China will have no bearing on the way Australia handles a Chinese diplomat who is seeking asylum, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said. Read

South Korean Leader to Meet Bush for 'Critical' Summit

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is to meet with President Bush in Washington Friday for a summit, which although brief, is seen by Korea-watchers as vital both for the bilateral relationship and for attempts to defuse the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis. Read

Thursday, June 09, 2005

New Zealand Lawmakers to Reconsider Contentious Nuclear Ship Ban

New Zealand lawmakers will consider legislation that would allow nuclear-powered ships to return to the country's ports, two decades after a law banning the vessels sent a chill through New Zealand's relations with the United States. Read

US Policies, Aid Seek to Promote Democracy in Africa

Driving home the message that the U.S. approach to Africa is tied to his administration's vision of expanding democracy, President Bush meets next week with five African leaders whose countries recently held elections. Read

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Security Council Reform Proposal Loses Ground

An attempt by four nations to secure permanent seats on an expanded U.N. Security Council may be delayed because of objections from some large and small countries, including the U.S. Read

North Korea Edges Back to Nuclear Talks

After a year-long hiatus, North Korea has agreed to return to multiparty talks on its nuclear weapons programs, although no date has yet been set, the State Department confirmed. Read

China Clamps Down on Blogs

The government of China, frequently accused of violating press freedom, is clamping down on blogs, ordering them to follow existing registration requirements for other Internet websites. Read

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

After Election Successes, Hizballah Says It Won't Disarm

Hizballah, the Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist group, says its landslide victory in a second round of Lebanese legislative elections provides a clear mandate to hold onto its weapons and continue its "resistance" against neighboring Israel. Read

India, Pakistan Push Ahead with Iran Pipeline Plan

India and Pakistan are edging closer to agreement on building a pipeline to carry natural gas from Iran through Pakistani territory to India -- a project opposed by the Bush administration. Read

Saudi Lawyers See Benefits in Koran Mishandling Reports

The row over allegations of Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay may be providing ammunition for lawyers working for the release of terrorist suspects being held at the U.S. military base. Read

Monday, June 06, 2005

Chinese Defection Bid Puts Australian Gov’t in Tight Spot

A Chinese diplomat's efforts to secure asylum in Australia are causing political embarrassment for a government hoping to negotiate a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Beijing. Read

Rumsfeld Questions China's Military Buildup

China's military buildup and its defense spending -- considerably higher than reported -- is threatening the military balance in Asia, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the weekend. Rumsfeld urged Beijing's communist rulers to embrace a more open and representative form of government. Read

China Rejects US Tiananmen Appeal

Beijing told the U.S. to mind its own business after the State Department called on the communist authorities to reexamine the crushing of pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square 16 years ago. Read

Friday, June 03, 2005

EU Cracks Evident as Britain Mulls Scrapping Vote

The British government reportedly is planning to scrap plans for a referendum on the European Union constitution after similar votes met decisive defeats in France and the Netherlands. Read

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Outgoing Israeli Army Chief Foresees Bloodshed After Gaza Pullout

Israel's departing military chief is the latest senior security official to warn that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's U.S.-backed plan to evacuate Jews from the Gaza Strip will not lead to peace. Read

Australia Apologizes, Condemns Threat to Indonesian Embassy

In a bid to avoid damage to its rapidly improving strategic relationship with Indonesia, the Australian government apologized for an incident in which bacteria spores were sent to the Indonesian Embassy. Read