Friday, August 31, 2007

Swedish Artist's Mohammed Sketch Prompts Another Muslim Uproar

Marking the beginning of yet another dispute over free speech and religious sensitivity, the government of Pakistan has joined Iran in protesting the publication in a Swedish newspaper of a sketch featuring the head of Mohammed on the body of a dog. Read

Christians Mull Offensive Art Works

The inclusion of two provocative entries in Australia's most prestigious religious art competition has again highlighted the issue of distasteful art and Christians' reaction to it. Read

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Koreans Mull Costs of Deal With Taliban

South Koreans Thursday were evaluating the deal Seoul made with the Taliban for the release of Christian aid workers held hostage in Afghanistan for more than 40 days. Read

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

US Internet Firms Under Scrutiny Again in China

American Internet companies' operations in China are back in the spotlight, as Yahoo fends off a lawsuit brought on behalf of imprisoned dissident journalists and press freedom groups, who are expressing concern about a new "self-discipline" pledge designed to tighten controls on Chinese bloggers. Read

Philippines Leftists Outraged by Arrest of Exiled Communist Leader

Communist supporters and sympathizers in the Philippines are warning of retaliation following the arrest in the Netherlands of the self-exiled founder of the Philippine Communist Party (CPP), suspected of ordering killings in his home country. Read

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Muslim Nations Want 'Islamophobia' on Anti-Racism Meeting's Agenda

"Islamophobia" and the defamation of Islam are the most conspicuous forms of racism and intolerance today, and a global U.N. conference on racism planned for 2009 should come up with practical solutions to deal with them, an Islamic bloc representative told a preparatory meeting in Geneva Monday. Read

Japan's New Cabinet Faces Uphill Battle on Counter-Terror Cooperation

Japan's embattled prime minister has named a new cabinet after sustaining a stinging election defeat last month, and one of the new team's first big tests will be an attempt to extend legislation enabling Japan to play a role in the U.S.-led war on terror. Read

Monday, August 27, 2007

After More Bomb Blasts, India Pledges to Fight Terror

Reeling from yet another bombing, the Indian government has vowed -- again -- to eliminate terrorism, which some officials believe emanates from neighboring Pakistan or Bangladesh. Read

Australia Sets 'Values' Test for Prospective Citizens

Asserting that Australia has been built on values based on "Judeo-Christian ethics," Prime Minister John Howard's government has introduced a new test for would-be citizens. Read

Friday, August 24, 2007

More US-Russia Talks Ahead on Missile Defense Dispute

The United States and Russian governments plan to hold further talks on Russian proposals that they cooperate in the ballistic missile defense field. Read

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Libya, Iran, Cuba Leading Preparations for UN Racism Conference

With Libya at the helm, and Iran, Cuba and Pakistan among the 20 nations participating, a United Nations-convened meeting in Geneva next week will begin to lay the groundwork for a global conference on racism in 2009. Read

Rights Group Responds to Vatican Denunciation of Its New Abortion Stance

The Vatican is free to holds its views on abortion, but it should be an individual's personal choice whether or not to support Amnesty International's new stance on abortion, the human rights group said Wednesday. Read

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Alaska Stopover Spotlights US Policy on Taiwan Visits

Three weeks after the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for an end to restrictions on visits to the U.S. by top-ranking Taiwanese officials, the island's president made a refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska, Tuesday -- but did not leave his plane. Read

Pro-Chavez Lawmakers Give Nod to Radical Constitutional Changes

In a "unanimous" decision, Venezuela's National Assembly has given initial approval to constitutional changes being pushed by President Hugo Chavez that will, among other things, allow him to extend his tenure in office indefinitely. Read

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mayor Who Rejected Anti-Shari'a Rally Says Yes to 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists

The socialist mayor of Brussels is trying to block a rally against the "islamization" of Europe from taking place on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but he has given the go-ahead for another demonstration in the city -- by left-wing 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Read

Postponement of Inter-Korean Summit Could Impact Election

North Korea has asked for a planned inter-Korean summit to be moved back to October because of severe flooding in the North, but the postponement is also likely to increase the impact that the meeting will have on South Korea's presidential election in December. Read

Monday, August 20, 2007

Persian Gulf Will Become 'Hell' for Iran's Enemies, Iranian Official Says

The Persian Gulf will become "hell" for the enemies of Iran if they attack the Islamic republic, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps official warned Sunday, stepping up Tehran's belligerent rhetoric over reports that Washington may add the IRGC to a terrorist list. Read

Amnesty Int'l Affirms It Has Dropped Neutral Stance on Abortion

Amnesty International has gone ahead with a decision to move away from a neutral stance on abortion, a step that will likely prompt Catholics and other pro-lifers to withdraw support for the human rights group's work around the world. Read

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rebuffing UN Bid, Beijing Says World Sees Taiwan as Part of China

Fifteen diplomatic allies of Taiwan put forward a motion urging the United Nations to deal properly with the island's application for membership in the world body, but China quickly shot down the bid, saying the vast majority of the world's nations regard Taiwan as a part of China. Read

Row Erupts in India Over Nuclear Agreement

Just three weeks after the U.S. and Indian governments announced that months of negotiations on a historic nuclear energy cooperation agreement had resulted in a deal, a raging debate has erupted in India over its right to carry out future nuclear weapons tests. Read

Asian Bloc Leaders Watch First-Ever Joint War Games

Leaders of Russia, China and four Central Asian republics on Friday observed the climax of the first-ever joint military exercise involving all member states of a bloc widely seen as an instrument used by Moscow and Beijing to counter Western influence in the region. Read

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dutch Reject Call to Ban Koran But Worry About Islam

Three out of four citizens of the Netherlands reject a populist lawmaker's call for the Koran to be banned, according to a poll that also indicates a deep level of concern about the role of Islam in their country. The poll indicates there is steadily growing support for the controversial politician's party. Read

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

US Should Restore Diplomatic Ties With Taiwan, Says Bolton

The United States should restore full diplomatic relations with Taiwan to send a clear message to China and the region, according to Washington's former ambassador to the United Nations. Read

Iran's Revolutionary Guard to Be Designated As Terrorist Group

The Bush administration reportedly is about to add Iran's Revolutionary Guard to a "specially-designated global terrorist" list. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has close ties to hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the top echelon of his regime Read

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Musharraf Touts Autonomy Ahead of Independence Day

As Pakistan prepared to mark its 60th Independence Day Tuesday, President Pervez Musharraf defended himself against criticism that his government's foreign policies are serving the interests of the United States rather than those of Pakistan. Read

Anti-Shari'a March Banned, But 'Spontaneous' Actions Likely

The socialist mayor of Brussels has banned a demonstration against the "Islamisation" of Europe that was planned in the Belgian capital on September 11, but "spontaneous" protest actions may still take place. Read

Monday, August 13, 2007

'Crunch' Time on Abortion as Top Amnesty Inter'l Body Meets

Amnesty International is holding a high-level meeting in Mexico City, and some of its supporters hope the gathering may overturn a recent controversial decision by the human rights group to drop its neutral stance on abortion. Read

'Biggest Ever' Rally Calls for Revival of Islamic Caliphate

An estimated 80,000 Islamists packed a sports stadium in the Indonesian capital Sunday to call for the re-establishment of a single Islamic state or caliphate, uniting Muslims around the world under Islamic law. Read

Friday, August 10, 2007

Death Threats Greet Dutch Lawmaker's Call to Ban the Koran

A Dutch lawmaker under fire for urging that the Koran be banned in his country says he will press ahead with the proposal, and submit it in the form of a parliamentary resolution next month. Read

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pakistan's President May Declare State of Emergency

Facing his biggest political crisis since seizing power eight years ago, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan on Thursday reportedly was on the verge of declaring a state of emergency. Read

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Saudis Prepare to Reopen Baghdad Mission

Saudi Arabia will send a mission to Iraq next week to prepare to reopen its embassy in Baghdad. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mentioned the Saudi move in response to suggestions that the kingdom has not been sufficiently cooperative in Iraq to merit a new multi-billion dollar advanced weaponry package. Read

South Korean Conservatives See Hidden Agenda in Korean Summit Plan

South Korea announced Wednesday that President Roh Moo-hyun will hold a summit later this month with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, but the conservative opposition quickly dismissed the plan as a ploy aimed at influencing December's presidential elections in favor of liberal candidates. Read

Saudi Religious Police Arrest Man for Helping His Neighbor

Members of Saudi Arabia's controversial religious police have arrested a Nigerian man who converted to Islam for being alone with a woman he was not married to or related to. It happened after the African man helped the sick woman by taking her to hospital. Read

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

UN Head Criticized for Saying Taiwan Is 'Part of China'

As Taiwan pursues its campaign for recognition in the international community, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has come under fire for stating that a 1971 U.N. resolution says Taiwan is a part of China. Read

Pakistan Unhappy to Be Focus of 2008 Presidential Candidates

As Pakistan, and what to do about it, continues to feature strongly in the 2008 presidential primary campaign, the country's prime minister reiterated Sunday that Pakistan would not allow foreign forces to act against terrorists on its soil. Read

'One-Child' Policy: China Tries Soft-Sell Approach

China's communist government is giving its controversial population-control policy a make-over, softening propaganda slogans deemed insensitive. "Raise fewer babies but more piggies" is out. But "Mother Earth is too tired to sustain more children" is in. Read

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Rights Activists Highlight Concerns One Year Ahead of Beijing Olympics

Marking the one-year countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Tibet advocacy groups on Saturday plan a series of demonstrations at baseball stadiums across the United States, the latest among many campaigns by a wide range of groups critical of China's communist government. Read

'All Pressures Needed' to Make Taliban Free Korean Hostages, Says US

South Korean officials were hoping on Friday to negotiate with Taliban representatives in a bid to win freedom for 21 surviving Korean Christian relief workers held hostage in Afghanistan, and a U.S. official did not rule out the possibility of a military option to rescue them. Read