Friday, November 30, 2007

Fears of New Balkans Crisis as Kosovo Deadline Nears

As a deadline fast approaches to finalize negotiations on Kosovo's future status, leaders of the country's Muslim ethnic Albanian majority have reiterated their intention to declare independence next month despite Serbia's opposition, raising fears of a fresh war in the fragile Balkans. Read

It Was No Misunderstanding, Says China

China made it clear Thursday that its recent decision to deny three U.S. Navy ships entry to the Hong Kong port was not a "misunderstanding" -- as the White House said earlier this week -- but retaliation for American policies. Read

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What's Putin Up To, Russians Wonder

Ahead of Russian parliamentary elections this weekend, critics of President Vladimir Putin are accusing him of going to great lengths to ensure an overwhelming victory for his United Russia party, thereby providing a way to hold on to power. Read

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sudan Charges Teacher Over Teddy Bear 'Blasphemy'

Britain's foreign minister Wednesday summoned Sudan's ambassador to explain why a British teacher in Khartoum has been charged with insulting Islam for allowing children to name a class teddy bear "Mohammed." Read

China Silent on Denying US Ships Port Entry in Hong Kong

The Chinese government has offered no explanation for ruining a planned Thanksgiving weekend port visit in Hong Kong for thousands of sailors and airmen aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. The ship was refused entry. Read

UK Presses Sudan to Release Teacher Held Over Teddy Bear 'Blasphemy'

A Sudanese diplomat in London has raised hopes that a British teacher accused of blasphemy over a teddy bear named Mohammed may be freed. Read

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Annapolis: Into the Lion's Den (Commentary)

If Tuesday's Mideast peace parley in Annapolis is meant to lay the foundation for a democratic Palestinian state, some of the names on the guest list seem curiously out of place. Read

Iranians Say Jews Are Behind Bombing Allegations

Iran's former intelligence chief, a leading suspect in a 1994 terrorist bombing in Buenos Aires, has responded defiantly to Interpol's decision to place him and five other men on its most-wanted list. Read

Monday, November 26, 2007

End of an Era in Australia

In an outcome that deprives President Bush of a close ally and friend on the world stage, weekend elections in Australia brought the John Howard era to an end, making way for a center-left government eager to support the Kyoto Protocol and pull troops from Iraq. Read

Top Anglican Derides 'Myth' That America Is A 'Chosen Nation'

Conservative American Episcopalians, already worried about the health of the global Anglican Communion, may feel further unease when they learn about a new diatribe against America by the denomination's titular head. Read

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chavez-Church Clash Raises Questions About Influence of Liberation Theology

Plans to amend the constitution to push Venezuela further along a socialist path have put President Hugo Chavez at odds with many of the country's church leaders. Their opposition may reflect a weakening of the hold that "liberation theology" has had on the region. Read

Saudis Say Punishment of Rape Victim Justified

The Saudi government, reacting to international indignation about the punishment meted out to a young gang rape victim, has issued a statement defending the court decision. Read

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ethical Breakthrough Seen as Scientists Report Stem Cells Without Embryos

The White House Tuesday welcomed news of a breakthrough in stem cell research that some ethicists believe could spell the death knell for the controversial science of cloning human embryos for their cells. Read

Southeast Asian Nations Balk at Upsetting Burma

A bloc of Southeast Asian countries has caved to pressure from Burma's military regime, just hours after a senior U.S. administration official urged it to take a tougher stance against Rangoon. Read

Cloning Pioneer Changes Direction, May Impact Embryonic Research Debate

A decision by cloning pioneer Ian Wilmut to abandon human embryo experimentation in favor of research that does not involve the creation and destruction of cloned embryos may help to undermine the campaign for the controversial work. Read

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ahmadinejad and Allies Want OPEC to Dump the Dollar

An Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries summit ended Sunday with calm assurances of reliable supplies following efforts by the U.S.-baiting leaders of Iran, Venezuela and their new ally, Ecuador, to politicize the event and push for OPEC to dump the U.S. dollar. Read

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pro-Life Amendment Shot Down as UN Committee Okays Death Penalty Moratorium

The U.N. General Assembly is expected to approve a moratorium on the death penalty, following two days of rancorous debate during which more than a dozen proposed amendments were defeated, including one calling for the need to protect the lives of unborn children. Read

Terror Suspect One Step Closer to Life Imprisonment in US

A British court has given the go-ahead for one of Britain's most notorious Islamic radicals to be extradited to the United States, where he faces terror-related charges that could land him in prison for the rest of his life. Read

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pakistan Army Says Anti-Terror Campaign Not Affected by Emergency

Pakistan's military says the current state of emergency is not impeding its ability to fight Islamist extremists, despite reports that more parts of the country are falling to pro-Taliban militants Read

Beijing's Clampdown on 'Fake Reporters' Prompts Concern

A campaign in China to clamp down on "fake journalists" ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games is ostensibly aimed at people pretending to be reporters and causing harm, but press freedom advocacy groups worry that it is a pretext for extending official control of the media. Read

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Philippines Police Probe Islamist Terror Group After Congress Bombing

Philippines security forces are investigating claims that an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorist group was responsible for a bomb explosion at the national parliament that killed a lawmaker and two staffers. Read

US Internet Companies Navigate Tricky Terrain in Repressive Countries

Yahoo's decision to settle a lawsuit with two Chinese journalists is focusing renewed attention on efforts to establish principles for Western firms operating in totalitarian countries. The Chinese journalists were jailed after Yahoo provided Beijing with identifying information from their Internet activities. Read

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pakistan Faces Election Campaign Under Tight Restrictions

Defying a government ban and despite a house arrest order, Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto vowed to go ahead Tuesday with a "long march" protest motorcade to Islamabad to demand that Gen. Pervez Musharraf call off a state of emergency. She also called on Gen. Pervez Musharraf to quit as president. Read

Chavez Equates Himself With Jesus

Likening himself to Jesus Christ, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says that if he stops talking -- as suggested at the weekend by an irate Spanish monarch -- "the stones of Latin America will cry out." Read

US Control of Internet Back on Int'l Agenda

A United Nations-sponsored meeting in Rio de Janeiro this week is providing a platform for those who want the United States to cede "control" of the Internet. Read

Monday, November 12, 2007

Islamic Car Coming Down the Pike?

Coming soon? A car designed for Muslims, complete with a compass to indicate the direction of Mecca for prayers and a compartment to house the Koran and prayer scarves. Read

'Why Don't You Shut Up?'

( - Spain's king has won widespread praise in his country for telling Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to "shut up" during an Ibero-American summit, a meeting that underscored the strengthening ties among Latin America's cabal of hard-line leftists. Read

Friday, November 09, 2007

Press Freedom in China Under Scrutiny on 'Journalists Day'

China marked "Journalists Day" Thursday with state-run media hailing a new era of increasing press freedom in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, but Western rights groups are largely unimpressed. Read

Bibles in China: Regime Sets the Rules

Claims about a Bible ban at next summer's Beijing Olympic Games, while denied by Chinese officials, will refocus attention on the state of religious freedom under a regime that allows churches to operate and Bibles to be printed and sold -- but only on its own terms. Read

Thursday, November 08, 2007

'Defamation of Religion' Raised at UN Racism Discussion

The specter of "defamation of religion" reared its head at the United Nations again Wednesday, as member states discussed progress in preparations for a global conference on racism, planned for 2009. Read

UN Members Urged to Pull Human Rights Council Into Line

Member states of the United Nations have one last chance to undo controversial procedures put in place by the U.N. Human Rights Council, and a coalition of rights advocacy groups is urging them to do so if the council is to fulfill its intended role. Read

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Amid Political Crisis, Pakistan Militants Flex Muscles

With Pakistan's crisis showing no sign of abating, the leader of the country's largest political party says she plans to hold a massive public rally on Friday to send a message to Gen. Pervez Musharraf that Pakistanis do not support his state of emergency. Read

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

UK Gov't May Double Detention-Without-Charge Limit

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday will announce plans to revisit an issue that brought his predecessor his biggest parliamentary defeat -- increasing the number of days police will be allowed to hold suspected terrorists without charge. Read

House Panel to Probe Vietnamese Rights Concerns

Vietnam's communist government, which over the past year achieved its aims of securing normalized trade relations with the U.S. and being removed from a religious persecution blacklist, continues to abuse human rights, U.S. lawmakers will be told on Tuesday. Read

Monday, November 05, 2007

Islamists Vow to Take On Musharraf

A leading Islamist politician in Pakistan is calling for protests against Gen. Pervez Musharraf's imposition of a state of emergency, likening the campaign against the military ruler to the "obligatory" struggle against "any infidel" or foreign occupier. Read

In China, US Looks for Openness on Military Spending, Goals

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has begun a visit to China where the two sides finalized an agreement on a telephone hotline between the Pentagon and the Chinese military establishment whose expenditure and agenda have long worried U.S. policymakers. Read

Friday, November 02, 2007

EU Plans Anti-Terror Air Passenger Screening System

The European Union's top security official will next week propose setting up a procedure to collect information on airline passengers flying into the 27-nation bloc, a measure similar to one established by the U.S. after 9/11. Read

Europe Eyes 20 to 30 Percent Post-Kyoto Emission Cuts

Laying the groundwork for a major climate change meeting next month where a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol will be discussed, the European Union plans to ask developed countries to agree to cut their "greenhouse gas" emissions by 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. Read

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Iraq's Christians Face Extinction, Advocacy Group Says

An international organization supporting Christian minorities in Islamic societies has launched a new campaign to draw attention to the plight of Iraq's Christians, a community which it says "faces extinction." Read

Australian Opposition Backtracks Over Climate Policy

Australia's opposition Labor Party made global warming central to its campaign to unseat Prime Minister John Howard in elections this month but has been forced to concede that its position on a future international climate treaty is practically the same as the incumbent's. Read