Friday, December 28, 2007

Expect Iran to Exploit Bhutto's Death, Expert Says

Iran "strongly" condemned the assassination of Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto, but a leading critic of Tehran warned that the regime would likely try to exploit the situation in its troubled, nuclear-armed neighbor. Read

Bhutto's Political Prominence Offended Islamic Radicals

Benazir Bhutto, the first woman ever elected to lead a Muslim nation, angered fundamentalists who viewed a high-profile female politician as anti-Islamic. She also was increasingly outspoken against "extremists, terrorists and fanatics," as she described them at an election rally early this week. Read

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christians Under Siege in Indian State

Three days of violence against Christians in India have raised fears that the recent election victory of a Hindu hardliner in India's most-developed state may be prompting other activists to turn on non-Hindu minorities. Read

North Korea Nuclear Agreement Under Strain

The latest international agreement designed to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis is showing signs of strain, just days before a year-end deadline that now looks certain to be missed. Read

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

God Vs. Allah Issue Threatens Catholic Newspaper in Muslim Country

The government of Muslim-majority Malaysia will not renew a Catholic newspaper's license to publish unless it stops using the word "Allah" to denote God. Read

Pakistan Denies Misusing US Anti-Terror Aid

Reports claiming that U.S. aid money sent to Pakistan for anti-terror operations has been used for other purposes -- including weapons systems designed to counter long-time foe India -- are causing a stir in the region, and playing into Pakistan's election campaign. Read

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ex-Guantanamo Detainee to be Freed, But With Restrictions

Australia's best-known terrorist will leave prison next week, six years after he was captured while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Read

New South Korean Leader Signals Tougher Line on North

A change of leadership in South Korea may make life more difficult for Kim Jong-il, just as the North Korean leader was expecting a lessening of outside pressure over his nuclear weapons programs and repressive policies. Read

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Islamic Bloc Scores 'Defamation of Religions' Resolution at UN

Alongside a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly this week calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, the world body passed a raft of other human rights-related motions. One of them, introduced by Islamic nations, focuses on combating the "defamation of religions." Read

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bishop Makes YouTube Appeal to Combat Sexualization of Children

In a new effort to raise awareness about the sexualization of children in the media and marketplace, a senior Australian churchman has turned to the popular online video-sharing site YouTube to decry the issue and call for a national inquiry. Read

Conservative Leads Presidential Race in Korea

A conservative looks set to be elected as South Korea's new president on Wednesday, ending a decade of liberal rule and ushering in a more pragmatic approach towards North Korea. Read

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Saudi Clerics' Warning on Inflation May Be A Swipe at the US Dollar

The Saudi government has been fending off appeals to stop pegging the country's currency to the sliding U.S. dollar, and now it faces new pressure with a call by Saudi clerics to take action to curb rising inflation. Read

Men Jailed in Sudan for Selling Book on Mohammed's Child-Bride

A Sudanese court reportedly has sentenced two Egyptian men to six months' imprisonment for harming Islam after they marketed a book deemed critical of one of Mohammed's wives. Read

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saudi King Pardons Rape Victims After Outcry

Saudi King Abdullah Monday pardoned a young woman whose sentencing to six months' imprisonment and 200 lashes after she was gang raped caused an international uproar. Read

Ahmadinejad Makes Pilgrimage to Mecca

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was due to arrive in Mecca Monday to join millions of Muslims making the pilgrimage to Islam's birthplace. He is the first Iranian leader invited to make the trip since the 1979 Islamic evolution. Read

White House Has 'Serious Concerns' About Climate Negotiations

Two weeks of tough negotiations at the U.N. climate conference in Bali ended at the weekend with an agreement that few seem genuinely happy about. Read

Friday, December 14, 2007

Musharraf Prepares to Lift Emergency

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf plans to lift the state of emergency on Saturday, but only after amending the constitution to ensure the courts cannot challenge any of the actions he took under the restrictions imposed on November 3. Read

Int'l Olympic Committee Silent on Chinese Rights Abuses

The International Olympic Committee ended its last executive board meeting for the year without mentioning growing calls for the movement to address human rights in China ahead of next summer's Beijing Olympics. Read

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Iranian Company to Head 'Islamic Car' Project

A bloc of Islamic nations will decide at a summit next March whether to go ahead with a project to build an "Islamic car" for the Muslim market, with Iran's largest automaker at the helm. Read

Scores of Chinese Pastors in Detention

Up to 150 Chinese pastors are believed to be in police custody, five days after officials raided a bible study and detained 270 people, a Christian religious freedom monitoring group said Wednesday. Read

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Vietnam Frees American Democracy Activists After Protests

After weeks of protests and appeals by U.S. lawmakers, Vietnam's communist authorities Tuesday released and deported an American pro-democracy activist it had accused of terrorism. Read

Algeria Bombings Linked to Terrorist's Death, Islamic Holiday

The terrorists who claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack in Algeria in almost a decade tied Tuesday's twin bombings to the recent death of a leading al-Qaeda radical and to the forthcoming Islamic holiday, Eid al-Adha. Read

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Killers Freed Early in Case That Exposed Iran's Involvement in Int'l Terror

The German government has freed and deported two men serving life in prison for the 1992 killing of Kurdish dissidents in Berlin. Their release comes 10 years after a trial that sparked a diplomatic furor over claims that Iran's top leadership was behind terrorism on European soil. Read

Monday, December 10, 2007

'Tax Parents for Children's Carbon Emissions'

Having babies is bad for the planet, and parents of more than two children should be charged a birth levy and annual tax to offset the "greenhouse gases" their child will be responsible for over his or her lifetime. Read

Climate Change Meeting Moves Into High Gear

An international U.N. conference in Bali moves into high gear on Monday with the arrival of senior delegations. Read

Friday, December 07, 2007

Kosovo Conflict Fears Rise

On the eve of the deadline for a decision on Kosovo's "final status," Russia shows no sign of backing down on opposition to independence, and the Serbian government reiterated that it would never give up the province. Read

North Korea May Miss Deadline on Nuclear Pledge

North Korea may not meet a year-end deadline to declare all of its nuclear programs, as it promised to do in an agreement earlier this year, South Korea's foreign minister has warned. Read

Thursday, December 06, 2007

For China, Even A Beauty Pageant Must Toe the Party Line

China's well-known determination to deny Tibet and Taiwan international legitimacy has impacted millions of people over the past half-century, but for one young woman, Beijing's policy has spoiled a simple, personal dream. Read

Risk Remains as Long as Iran Enriches Uranium, Experts Say

As Democrats continue to attack the administration over a new intelligence assessment that Iran suspended its quest for nuclear weapons four years ago, proliferation experts say that as long as Tehran continues to enrich uranium, the potential threat remains. Read

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Islamists Jailed for Beheading Girls, But Indonesian Christians Remain Wary

Indonesian Christians have welcomed the imprisonment of Islamic militants convicted of attacks, including the beheading of three Christian schoolgirls, but they said the Christian minority in the world's most populous Muslim nations continues to face difficulties. Read

Green Activists Fear Countries May Be Losing Zeal for Kyoto

Environmental activists at the U.N. climate conference in Bali are characterizing the United States as "isolated" over its continuing rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, yet at the same time, there are signs that other key countries may be losing enthusiasm. Read

Hospital Defends Plans to Turn Patients' Beds to Face Mecca

A hospital in northern England is playing down media reports saying that nurses have been ordered to stop normal duties five times a day to turn Muslim patients' beds so that they face Mecca. Read

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

No Nuclear Reassurances for Gulf States From Iran

For the first time ever, leaders of the Arab Gulf states invited Iran to attend a summit in Doha, Qatar, on Monday, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did little to reassure them that his country's nuclear program is not a threat to the region. Read

Monday, December 03, 2007

Blow for Chavez as Voters Reject Constitutional Changes

Venezuela's voters have narrowly rejected President Hugo Chavez's attempts to amend the constitution and do away with presidential term limits. The results of Sunday's vote deal a severe blow to his plans to transform the oil-rich country into a model of Cuba-inspired "21st century socialism." Read

Battle Lines Drawn as Biggest-Ever UN Climate Meeting Begins

As representatives of the world's nations kicked off a major two-week environmental gathering in Bali on Monday, differences over national roles and responsibilities in dealing with climate change show little sign of abating. Read