Wednesday, August 31, 2005

German Minister Links Katrina to Global Warming, Bush Policies

Germany's environment minister has added his voice to green activists and others who have sought to link Hurricane Katrina with global warming. Read

Australia Seeks ICC Indictment for Zimbabwe's Mugabe

Australia is lobbying the U.N. Security Council to have Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe indicted before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. Read

Terrorism Definition Again Causing Problems at UN

Plans to reform the United Nations once again have run up against longstanding differences between the West and Muslim states over how to define terrorism. Read

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Indonesia Moves to Halt March of Resurgent Polio

Indonesia Tuesday launched its largest-ever polio immunization campaign, amid fears that the crippling disease, if not stamped out, could spread from there to other countries across the densely-populated region, including China. Read

China Opens Doors to UN Rights Officials

Under fire for years over human rights abuses, the Chinese government has agreed to allow visits by senior United Nations human rights officials -- including, for the first time, an expert who focuses on allegations of torture. Read

Monday, August 29, 2005

US Rights Envoy Latest 'Hurdle' in Nuke Talks, Says North Korea

Days before talks on North Korea's nuclear programs were due to resume, Pyongyang warned at the weekend that the initiative was in jeopardy because of the recent appointment of a U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights issues. Read

Uzbekistan Base Decision Won't Leave US Without Options

An Uzbekistan Senate resolution approving the government's decision to expel the United States from an airbase appears unlikely to have a serious impact on the U.S. military, which has been investigating alternative arrangements Read

Friday, August 26, 2005

Bolton Accused of Causing Chaos Ahead of UN Summit

Less than three weeks before more than 170 nations' leaders meet for a major world summit in New York, media around the world are reporting that the Bush administration's point man at the United Nations has thrown plans for the gathering into disarray. Read

Iran Wants to Include Sympathetic States in Nuke Talks

Amid signs that the row over Iran's nuclear program may -- again -- be coming to a head, Tehran has launched a bid to draw presumably more sympathetic states into talks that up to now have been limited to Iran and three European nations. Read

Asian Financial Hub Warned of Possible Terror Attack

The al Qaeda terrorist network may be planning a terrorist attack in a major city in Asia as a bid to undermine investor confidence and cause serious economic damage, one of Europe's leading terrorist investigators has warned. Read

Thursday, August 25, 2005

UN Lashes into Israel, Again

Taking a one-sided view of the Israeli-Arab conflict is standard operating procedure for the United Nations. Read commentary

Japan's Population Crisis Grows

Despite policies aimed at reversing the trend, Japan's government reports a continuing decline in the number of children born, and for the first time in 60 years, the world's second-largest economy could record a population drop this year. Read

Embrace Our Values or Leave, Australia Tells Islamists

The Australian government has stepped up a campaign against radical Muslims, saying those wanting to live under Islamic law or refusing to accept "Australian values" should leave. At the same time, it plans to monitor mosques to ensure that radical messages are not being taught. Read

UN Too Focused on Terrorists' Rights, Says UK Minister

A United Nations human rights official has urged the British government not to go ahead with plans to deport foreign Islamist radicals, but the minister responsible for law and order suggested the U.N.'s focus was skewed. Read

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Australian Gov't Meets With Muslim Leaders - But Are They Representative?

The Australian government held an unprecedented anti-terror summit with Islamic figures Tuesday but came under fire for excluding known radicals from the invitation list. Read

Most Britons Would Sacrifice Liberties for Better Security

Almost three-quarters of respondents in a new British poll say they would be willing to give up some civil liberties to improve security against terrorist attacks. Read

Monday, August 22, 2005

New Zealand Election Centers on US Ties, Nuclear Ban

Two decades after defense ties between the United States and New Zealand were severed over nuclear policy, the lingering dispute has re-emerged as an issue in the small Pacific nation's election campaign. Read

Australian PM's Heir Apparent Voices Support for US Alliance

The man expected to succeed John Howard as Australian prime minister has given a strong defense of Australia's close relationship with the United States while challenging schools to do more to teach the next generation about the alliance's World War II origins. Read

Friday, August 19, 2005

'Embryonic-Like' Cell Discovery Could Affect Ethics Debate

A reported breakthrough in stem cell research may lend new weight to the campaign against the use of human embryos in research, one of the most pressing ethical controversies facing governments in the U.S. and elsewhere. Read

Musharraf Moves to Clean Up Madrassas

More than three years after he pledged to clean up Islamic religious schools suspected of breeding extremism, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's government is taking steps to do so. Read

Ted Turner Sides With North Korea on Nuclear Energy, Report Says

Billionaire environmentalist and media mogul Ted Turner believes Washington should give in to North Korea's demand to keep its civilian nuclear energy program. That demand is a key sticking-point in disarmament talks and an area of emerging disagreement between the U.S. and its South Korean ally. Read

Thursday, August 18, 2005

China-Russia Wargames Send Message to US, Taiwan

Chinese and Russian soldiers and paratroops land on an Asian beach, supported by warships and fighter planes. Submarines engage each other as strategic bombers fire cruise missiles to deter vessels from other countries from entering the conflict zone. Simulation of a future invasion of Taiwan, or merely maneuvers aimed at strengthening capabilities in "jointly striking international terrorism, extremism or separatism," as Beijing's Xinhua news agency contends? Read

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Indonesia Reduces Terrorist Cleric's Jail Sentence

The Australian government voiced dismay Wednesday about reports that the Indonesian government has reduced the already-short prison term of a Muslim cleric jailed for his role in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks anywhere since 9/11. Read

Day of Infamy in Israel

And so it's come to this. The little nation which for decades has been abhorred and admired around the world for its refusal to compromise with terrorists, has folded. Read commentary

Anti-Proliferation Initiative Holds Major Stop-and-Search Drill in Asia

The U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative is holding its "most complex" interdiction exercise since its launch 27 months ago. Participating officials are calling for more Asian nations to join the drive against the spread of weapons of mass destruction between rogue states and terrorist groups. Read

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Taiwan in New Attempts to Break Out of Isolation

Trying to ease its international isolation, Taiwan has launched a new organization drawing together its handful of diplomatic allies and representatives from several other Pacific Rim nations. Read

SE Asian Peace Deal Could Benefit Anti-Terror Drive

Indonesia's government and a veteran rebel group have signed a peace treaty aimed at ending one of Asia's longest-running conflicts - a goal which, if realized, could boost regional security and the U.S.-led anti-terror campaign. Read

Monday, August 15, 2005

Japan's PM Marks Anniversary of War's End With New Apology

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, trying to cool anti-Japanese sentiment in Asia, marked the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II Monday by reiterating his country's remorse for its past aggression and pledging its commitment to peace. Read

UK Muslim Body's 'Moderate' Tag Questioned

Britain's leading Islamic umbrella group, under closer scrutiny since last month's London bombings, went onto the defensive Sunday after critics called into question its image of moderation. Read

Friday, August 12, 2005

Teaching Intelligent Design OK With Australian Education Minister

The debate over whether "intelligent design" should be taught in schools has taken hold in Australia, where the country's education minister said students should be exposed to the theory. Read

South Korea Now Says North Has Right to Civilian Nuke Program

North Korea has the right to have a civilian nuclear program, a top South Korean government minister has said, throwing into doubt earlier indications that the U.S. and its ally saw eye-to-eye on the sensitive matter. Read

Human Rights Clash Looming After British Anti-Terror Clampdown

The British government's campaign against Islamists launched after the July 7 London bombings moved up a notch with the arrest and planned deportations of ten radicals, but human rights groups have also stepped up their criticism and lawyers are predicting a tough fight ahead. Read

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Japanese Election Could Spell Foreign Policy Shift

Newspaper polls in Japan have given Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi a significant boost, contrary to forecasts that his surprise decision to call a snap election could spell a premature end to his leadership. Read

US Presses for Nuclear Agency to Send 'Strong Message' to Iran

The United States hopes the U.N. nuclear watchdog will send Iran "a strong message" about its nuclear activities this week, but "non-aligned" nations represented on the agency's board reportedly oppose a firm statement, and China has also declared itself reluctant to refer Iran to the Security Council. Read

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

US Mulls Visa Application for New Iranian Leader

The U.S. government is still considering a request to issue a visa that would allow Iran's new president to attend a major U.N. summit next month, amid lingering concerns surrounding his alleged involvement in the 1979 U.S. Embassy hostage drama. Read

Bush Reiterates Suspicions About Iran, Which Offers 'New Proposals'

With the U.S. warning that it may refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear programs, the country's new president made an 11th hour bid Tuesday to defuse the crisis, saying he was ready to offer "new initiatives and proposals." Read

Russia, China Prepare for First Ever War Games

Russia's armed forces are preparing for the country's first-ever joint military exercise with China, the latest sign of the deepening "strategic partnership" between the two giants. Read

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bush Urged to Stick to Global Anti-Prostitution Stance

In an effort to shore up President Bush's policy on prostitution in the face of an assault by critics, more than 100 pro-family, health, Christian and other mostly conservative organizations are urging Bush to continue requiring groups receiving federal funding to oppose prostitution. Read

Australia in Talks to Sell Uranium to China

Australia is about to begin formal negotiations with China on an agreement that will allow the Australia, holder of the world's largest reserves of uranium, to sell the material to a country boasting the world's fastest growing nuclear industry. Read

Monday, August 08, 2005

Australia Mulls Outlawing Muslim 'Caliphate' Group

Australia may follow Britain's lead in banning an Islamist organization that claims to repudiate violence while openly campaigning for the re-establishment of a single Muslim state or caliphate. Read

Iran 'Not Concerned' About Possible Referral to UNSC over Nukes

Iran has shrugged off the possibility that the U.N. nuclear watchdog may refer it to the Security Council if it resumes controversial uranium processing work this week. Read

North Korea's Insistence on Civilian Nuke Reactors Impedes Talks

The United States and North Korea are blaming each other for failure to reach agreement after 13 days of talks ended in Beijing without a hoped-for joint statement of principles on North Korea's nuclear disarmament. Read

Friday, August 05, 2005

US Urges Islamic Ally to Return to Constitutional Rule

Washington's envoy in Mauritania has met with military officers who seized power in a coup this week. The United States has urged a return to constitutional rule in an Islamic state whose relationship with the West has dramatically improved in recent years. Read

Activists Want UN to Declare Circumcision a Human Rights Crime

New research linking male circumcision with significantly reduced HIV/AIDS infections has sparked a backlash from anti-circumcision groups, with some calling on the United Nations to label the procedure a crime against human rights. Read

US Won't Accept 'Pretend' Deal on North Korean Nukes

Negotiations attempting to defuse the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis went into their 11th and possibly final day Friday, with Pyongyang still refusing to sign off on a drafted joint declaration agreeing to shut down all of its nuclear programs. Read

Thursday, August 04, 2005

'Profiling' Debate Hits Australia

A former senior Australian intelligence operative has sparked a debate about "profiling" in the fight against Islamist terrorism at a time the government has reinforced warnings about the possibility of a terrorist attack on Australian soil. Read

Failed Oil Bid Could Poison US-China Ties - Official Paper

State-run media in China said Thursday that a Chinese oil firm's failure to buy out American company Unocal was the result of "largely politically motivated" U.S. opposition. Read

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Critics Pleased at Collapse of Chinese Bid to Buy US Oil Firm

Opponents of an attempt by a mostly government-owned Chinese oil firm to buy up America's ninth-largest oil and gas producer have welcomed news that the deal has been abandoned. Read

North Korean Nuclear Talks Edge Forward

Talks aimed at ending the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis entered their ninth day Wednesday, with negotiators still working on the wording of a draft statement on disarmament to which all sides can agree. Read

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Advance US Interests by Making ASEAN More Relevant, Scholar Says

The United States should work with governments in South-East Asia to change the membership of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to exclude Burma and incorporate Australia, says a U.S. scholar and regional expert. Read

Anti-Bush Internet Activists Focus on Australia's Howard

A pair of Australians who worked for an anti-Bush 527 group during the 2004 presidential election have set up an Internet-based initiative in their home country targeting conservative Prime Minister John Howard. Read

Monday, August 01, 2005

China Berates US Shift on Military Staff at Taiwan Mission

An unprecedented decision by the Bush administration to allow serving military officers to work at the United States' de facto embassy to Taiwan would "poison" ties between Beijing and Washington, China has charged. Read

US-Uzbekistan Rift Deepens as Military Base Gets Shutdown Order

A senior American diplomat has reportedly put off a planned visit to Uzbekistan after the regime in Tashkent gave the U.S. notice to withdraw from a military base used since late 2001 in support of military operations in Afghanistan. Read

Sudanese Rebel Leader Killed Days After Peace Deal Swearing-in

Three weeks after being sworn in as Sudan's vice-president under a peace agreement aiming to end one of Africa's most costly civil wars, former rebel leader John Garang was reported early Monday to have been killed in a helicopter crash. Read