Wednesday, May 31, 2006

'Great Game' Heats Up in Central Asia

Hailing its "unprecedented" level of strategic cooperation with Russia, China is preparing to host a summit intended to further tighten the two countries' bonds with each other and with the oil-rich Central Asia region, which has key strategic importance to the U.S. Read

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

'Gay-Friendly' Child Care Under Fire

As the battle over marriage gathers momentum in Australia, senior politicians have admonished a local authority in Sydney for allowing council-run daycare centers to expose young children to books depicting same-sex parent families. Read

Bulk of UN Member States to Back Iran's Nuclear Position

As the U.N. Security Council continues searching for ways to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff, Tehran looked set later Tuesday to win a fresh pledge of support for its "right" to enrich uranium from the world's developing nations. Read

Friday, May 19, 2006

Gov'ts Look Into North Korean Long-Range Missile Test Reports

Reports in East Asia Friday said North Korea may be preparing to test fire a long-range missile, but the Japanese and South Korean governments said they could not confirm their veracity. Read

North Korea Nuclear Issue Back in the Spotlight

After months of stagnation, efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis appear to have returned to the front burner, as reports emerge that the U.S. is ready to discuss an historic peace treaty with the Stalinist regime on a track parallel to nuclear talks. Read

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Few Countries Contribute to UN Democracy Fund

The newly established U.N. Democracy Fund is seeking funding proposals for projects around the world, but its own funding situation remains in doubt, with few member states -- apart from the U.S. and several other notable exceptions -- pledging much, if anything, to the project. Read

Pro-lifers Galvanized by 'Right to Abortion' Move

A major human rights organization's decision to consider dropping its neutral stance on abortion -- and to promote a "right" to abortion instead -- is making waves around the world. Read

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Scholars Grapple with Islam and Human Rights

Dozens of academics, policy-makers and others are meeting in Malaysia this week to discuss "human rights in Islam" at a time when Muslims' tolerance levels have come under scrutiny as a result of the Mohammed cartoon ruckus. Read

Indonesia Shows How Democracy Can Undercut Islamic Fanaticism

Australia is promoting Indonesia as a key example of how a successfully democratic Muslim country can undercut radical Islamism. Read

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chavez Visits Gadaffi As US Embraces Libya

Fresh from London, where he basked in the adulation of leftists and accused President Bush of genocide, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez headed Tuesday for Libya, a country on the verge of restoring diplomatic relations with the "empire" Chavez loathes. Read

Australian PM Pledges Support for Bush Despite Poll Woes

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is scheduled to meet with President Bush at the White House, a visit being closely watched and dissected in his home country, where his close relationship with Bush has long provoked comment. Read.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Asian Christians Gear Up for Da Vinci Assault

It's being hyped as the movie event of the 21st century, and Christians in Asia -- as elsewhere -- have found a variety of ways to respond to this week's release of the movie based on the assertion that Jesus was not divine, but married and conceived a child. Read

S. Korean Leader Hopes for Summit With Kim Jong-il

Risking fresh policy differences with Washington, a senior South Korean government minister has voiced the hope that his country's liberal president would hold a summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-il. Read

Friday, May 12, 2006

US Base Relocation Plan Brings Out Left, Right in South Korea

Left-wing groups in South Korea are planning large protests this weekend against the planned relocation of American armed forces in the country. The drive has sparked a counter-campaign from pro-U.S. organizations which have vowed to "defend democracy." Read

Iran Seeks Islamic Nations' Support for Nuclear Stance

Iran is looking to a summit of eight key Islamic states on Friday to support its campaign for nuclear technology, while calling for solidarity against Western "hegemony." Read

Thursday, May 11, 2006

UK Medics Weigh In Ahead of Crucial 'Right to Die' Debate

Medical opinion appears to be shifting against legalizing suicide in Britain, ahead of a critical debate on Friday over "right to die" legislation modeled after an Oregon law. Read

Polluter China Plans Big Expansion of Aviation Sector

China is planning to build 48 new airports in the next five years, at a time when the world's most populous country already accounts for some of the biggest increases in emissions of pollutants. Read

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Iranian Letter to Bush Seen as Invitation to Embrace Islam

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush is essentially a call on the American leader to embrace Islam, according to an Islamic specialist and author. Read

Violators Appointed to New, 'Improved' UN Rights Body

A majority of the world's governments decided Tuesday that China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Russia should be among the group of countries making up the United Nations' primary forum for human rights. Read

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

And Now For Some Good News: Entombed Miners Walk Free

Two weeks after they began another night shift underground, two Australian gold miners walked into the fresh air early Tuesday, clocked out, and moved into the arms of their waiting families -- a happy ending to a saga that had gripped a nation. Read

Cuba, China Hope for Less 'Politicization' on UN Rights Body

Members of the new U.N. Human Rights Council will be elected Tuesday, and a representative of the Cuban government, which hopes for a seat, said the council would be of value only if it tackles issues such as the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Read

Monday, May 08, 2006

Catholic Leader Ponders Violence in Koran

Australia's top Catholic churchman is taking flak for a speech delivered in the United States three months ago. Muslims in his home country accuse him of being misinformed about a religion they insist is peaceful. Read

South Korea Wary As US Accepts First Refugees From North

A decision by the United States to accept North Korean refugees for the first time may further strain relations with the liberal South Korean government, which is uneasy with what it regards as Washington's provocative policy towards Pyongyang. Read

Friday, May 05, 2006

Vatican-China Rapprochement Grinds to Halt

Just weeks after observers expressed optimism that a half-century breach between communist China and the Vatican might soon be healed, a dispute has erupted over who has the authority to appoint Catholic bishops. Read

US-Taiwan Travel Disagreement Provokes Debate, Concern

A U.S. government decision not to allow Taiwan's president to make a stopover in a major American city has drawn a strong reaction in the island democracy, as politicians debate what some are calling Washington's worst treatment of a Taiwanese leader in 12 years. Read

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Catholic Bid to Ban Pope Satire Fails

After dodging a legal challenge by the Catholic Church in Germany, the MTV television network on Wednesday night screened the first episode of a program lampooning the Pope, but said it would gauge audience reaction before deciding whether to proceed. Read

Grim Outlook for Makeup of New UN Rights Council

Almost half of the members of the United Nation's new Human Rights Council will be countries with poor records in holding free elections and respecting civil liberties. Read

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Islamic Bloc: We Respect Press Freedom But …

A bloc representing the world's Islamic nations is marking World Press Freedom Day Wednesday by calling for urgent action to establish international law or a code of conduct aimed at preventing media from defaming religion. Read

Central Africa's Stability at Risk

While international attention is focused this week on the situation in Sudan, an election on Wednesday in neighboring Chad could determine whether instability from the Darfur crisis spreads across the broader Central African region. Read

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

China Will Not Relax Its One-Child Policy

China has no plans to relax its coercive population control policies, the official in charge of the government's family-size limitation program has confirmed. Read

US, Japan Prepare for 'New and Emerging' Security Challenges

In the most comprehensive rearrangement of U.S. military presence in Japan since the end of World War II, Washington and Tokyo have agreed to changes that will take the crucial security alliance into a "new phase," senior officials said. Read

Monday, May 01, 2006

Extremism Fears Prompt Proposal for Citizenship Test

At a time of keen debate surrounding immigration in the United States, the government of Australia may introduce a compulsory test for prospective migrants that would require both a grasp of English and an understanding of commonly held "Australian values." Read

Security Council Credibility at Stake as Iran 'Plays Games'

Accusing Iran of "playing games," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says it is time the U.N. Security Council moved beyond its earlier presidential statement to a resolution that would compel Iran to comply with demands to end its nuclear activities. Read