Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Reports of Persecution in China Continue After Bush Visit

Reports of religious persecution continue to emerge from China, shortly after President Bush visited the region and urged the communist government to allow its people the right "to worship without state control." Read

US Evangelist Regrets Remarks on Religious Freedom in China

An American evangelist has apologized for saying during a recent visit to China that the religious freedom situation there was better than expected, and for saying that "underground" Christians should register with church associations set up by the communist government. Read

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Airline Seating Policy 'Demonizes' Men

Two airlines "down under" are under fire after acknowledging their policy of not allowing an unaccompanied child passenger to sit next to a man. Read

Koreans Rally Around Shamed Stem Cell Pioneer

The reputation of South Korea's most famous stem cell scientist has been sullied by an ethics scandal, but he remains a hero to many in his homeland, where the issue has produced strong feelings of nationalism and continues to stir public debate. Read

Monday, November 28, 2005

North Korea Slams Broadcast Showing Public Execution

Angered by the broadcast of a secretly filmed public execution inside North Korea, the Stalinist state has accused the U.S.-based CNN television network of promoting Washington's "regime change" agenda. Read

Iran Unyielding on Nuclear Fuel Work

Just days after managing once again to dodge referral to the U.N. Security Council, Iran at the weekend appeared to be spurning a compromise proposal aimed at resolving the standoff over its controversial nuclear program. Read

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Mired in Ethics Row

An ethics storm surrounding one of the world's leading embryonic stem cell researchers could increase public wariness about the controversial work, some scientists worry. Read

US Restores Military Links With Indonesia

Describing Indonesia as "a voice of moderation in the Islamic world," the U.S. government plans to resume aid to the Southeast Asian country's armed forces. Read

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Iraqi Politicians Make Distinction Between Terrorism, 'Resistance'

Iraqi politicians have ended a "reconciliation" conference with a statement that condemns terrorism against civilians, but calls "resistance" legitimate and leaves open the issue of attacks against U.S. and other foreign coalition troops. Read

SE Asian Terrorists Cash-Strapped After Losing Saudi Funding

Terrorists in Southeast Asia were funded by Saudi Arabia until that source was cut off by the arrest of a middleman, forcing the terrorists to sell mobile phone vouchers to finance their activities, Indonesian lawmakers have been told. Read

Sharon Commits His New Party to Implementing 'Roadmap'

Israel entered a new political era late Monday when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon publicly confirmed he was leaving the Likud to form a new, centrist party, which he said would push ahead with the "roadmap" peace program. Read

Monday, November 21, 2005

Political Upheaval in Israel

It's been two days of high drama in Israel, where the opposition Labor party pulled out of the ruling coalition, paving the way for new elections; and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is expected to announce that he will quit the center-right Likud party he helped establish three decades ago. Read

Tensions Mount Ahead of IAEA Meeting on Iran

Upping the stakes ahead of a showdown in Vienna this week, Iranian lawmakers passed legislation compelling their government to ban arms inspectors if the U.N. nuclear watchdog refers Iran to the Security Council. Read

Bush's Visit to Beijing Church Emphasizes Religious Freedom

President Bush ended a visit to China on Monday, making freedom to worship a dominant theme by putting a visit to church ahead of meetings with Chinese leaders. Read

Friday, November 18, 2005

Russia Takes Aim at Foreign-Funded NGOs

Russian lawmakers are considering legislation that will compel non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to register, thus preventing foreign-funded political activity. Read

Trade, Terrorism and More Discussed at Pacific Rim Talks

President Bush began talks with 20 other leaders from around the Pacific Rim Friday. Their packed agenda includes liberalizing global trade, bird flu, counter-terror cooperation and North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Read

US Retains Control of Internet - for Now

The European Union and other countries around the world have failed to wrest supervision of the Internet from the United States, but the issue has been kicked into the future rather than settled permanently. Read

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Australia 'Won't be Intimidated' by New Terror Threat

The Australian government said Thursday it would not be intimidated by threats after the emergence of a video clip in which a man believed to be one of Asia's most wanted Islamic terrorists targeted Australia for future attacks. Read

Dispute Over Blood Donations Divides Homosexuals in Australia

A legal complaint in Australia over Red Cross restrictions on blood donations from homosexuals has triggered a squabble within the homosexual community, with charges and epithets flying. Read

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Citing Taiwan as Model, Bush Prods China on Democracy

Three days before visiting China, President Bush Wednesday urged the country's communist rulers to follow Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- Beijing's nemesis -- by embracing democracy. Read

Thailand Curbs Use of Mobile Phones to Foil Bombings

Responding to attacks by Islamic extremists in its restive southern provinces, the Thai government is cutting access to all unregistered prepaid mobile phones, in the hope of denying terrorists triggers for their bombs. Read

Internet Control, Free Speech Key Topics at UN Summit

A major U.N. summit on the Internet got underway in Tunisia Wednesday, with the sensitive issue of how the Net is managed topping the agenda. Read

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bush Heads for Asia With Parting Shot at Anti-War Democrats

President Bush left Washington Tuesday for an Asian trip laden with challenges, but he found time as he flew westward to mount a strong attack against domestic war critics. Read

Free Speech Violations Highlighted Ahead of UN Internet Summit

Police in Tunisia Monday manhandled foreign and local press freedom advocates, preventing them from holding a meeting on the sidelines of this week's U.N. Internet summit, campaigners said. Read

Monday, November 14, 2005

Nuclear Reactor Seen as Possible Terror Target in Australia

Three suspected Islamic terrorists under arrest in Australia came to the attention of police when they were stopped in the vicinity of the country's only nuclear reactor and were unable to answer questions satisfactorily. Read

SE Asian Anti-Terror Task Force Mulled

As Southeast Asian governments consider the next steps in the drive against Islamist terror, plans to set up a regional anti-terrorism task force with significant involvement of Australia, a U.S. ally, could shift the campaign into a higher gear. Read

Friday, November 11, 2005

Tug-of-War Over Internet Control

It would be better to retain U.S. control over the Internet than to allow rights abusers such as China and Iran to have a say in regulating the web, a leading press freedom group said. Read

Religious Persecution Spotlighted Ahead of Bush's China Visit

As President Bush prepares to visit China next week, the sensitive issue of human rights -- and especially the right to religious freedom -- is threatening to dominate the agenda. Read

Thursday, November 10, 2005

US Stance on 'Our Friends the Saudis' Under Scrutiny

The State Department's has come under fresh criticism over its refusal to participate in a Senate committee hearing into Saudi Arabia's alleged links to terrorism. Read

Top SE Asian Terrorist Believed Dead

In what could be the biggest breakthrough in Southeast Asia's counter-terror campaign in more than two years, Indonesian police are set to confirm that the man behind the region's deadliest terrorist bombings is dead. Read

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Time to Act Against Saudis Over Religious Persecution

A statutory body that advises the U.S. government on religious freedom has welcomed the State Department's decision to keep Saudi Arabia on a list of egregious religious freedom violators -- but it wants to see further steps taken. Read

US Names Religious Freedom Violators

A new State Department report on global religious freedom has cited eight countries for particularly severe abuses -- three Islamic states, three ruled by communists, a military regime and a one-party state in Africa. Read

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Anti-US Complaints from Communists as Indian Foreign Minister Sacked

The sacking of India's foreign minister Monday comes amid accusations by India's politically powerful communists that the government in Delhi is cozying up to Washington. Read

Saudi Arabia Still Persecuting People for Their Faith

Just days before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to visit Saudi Arabia, the State Department on Tuesday will release a report naming the oil-rich Islamic kingdom as one of eight violators of religious freedom around the globe. Read

Arrests Said to Foil 'Catastrophic' Terror Attack in Australia

In what officials are calling the biggest counter-terrorism operation ever in Australia, hundreds of police in two states swooped in on Muslim radicals early Tuesday, saying they had foiled a major terror attack. Read

Monday, November 07, 2005

Attack on Cruise Liner: Piracy or Terror?

Gunmen who attacked a luxury cruise liner off the east coast of Africa may have been terrorists targeting Americans and other Westerners rather than pirates, the Australian government said Monday. Read

China Troubled by US Nuke Offer to India

As the Bush administration seeks congressional approval for a landmark agreement to restore nuclear cooperation with India, China's state media has spoken out against the proposed deal. Read

Friday, November 04, 2005

Escape of Top Al Qaeda Terrorist a Setback for SE Asia

The escape from U.S. custody of al Qaeda's senior representative in Southeast Asia is a severe blow to the region's campaign against terrorism, although security analysts doubt he will return to his former operational area. Read

Captured Suspect Could Be Key Al Qaeda Terrorist

A terror suspect arrested after a shootout with Pakistani security forces may be one of the most-wanted al Qaeda fugitives, a man linked to major European terrorist attacks and the subject of a $5 million U.S. reward. Read

Banks Warn of Economic Fallout From a Flu Pandemic

As leaders of some of the Southeast Asian countries worst hit by avian flu discussed cooperation in tackling the disease, two new reports warn of the massive potential impact of an avian flu pandemic on the economies of the region and the world. Read

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Relations Between West and Iran Deteriorate

Iran's relations with the West continue to sour, with belligerence from Tehran and stepped up criticism from foreign governments over its nuclear stance and anti-Israel rhetoric. Read

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Australian PM Urges Quick Action on Specific Terror Threat

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Wednesday his government had received specific intelligence about a potential terrorist threat, and he urged lawmakers to enact a minor but crucial amendment to anti-terror legislation within 36 hours. Read

Greenpeace Fined for Damaging Sensitive Ecological System

Greenpeace sailed to a world heritage site in the southern Philippines to raise awareness about climate change on Monday -- and struck a submerged coral reef, damaging a section of the ecologically sensitive reef. Read

Britain Shifting Toward US View on Climate Change

Amid continuing signs of a shift in Prime Minister Tony Blair's views on the Kyoto Protocol, the British government is warning against too much "enthusiasm" in developing new targets and timetables for reducing carbon emissions. Read

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Beheading of Christian Schoolgirls Sparks Concerns About Religious Strife

Indonesian security forces remained on high alert and religious leaders appealed for calm in the nation's Central Sulawesi province following the beheading of three Christian schoolgirls at the weekend. Read

Terror Attack Strains India-Pakistan Rapprochement

A thaw in relations between South Asia's traditional rivals appears to be at risk, with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assertions that the perpetrators of deadly weekend terrorist attacks in New Delhi have links to Pakistan. Read