Friday, February 29, 2008

Olympics Link Seen as China Signals Review of 'One Child' Policy

A senior Chinese official has hinted at a review of the country's three decade-old "one-child" policy, but some critics aren't convinced that any shift will bring an end to coercive birth control practices. Read

Campaign Against Suicide Bombing Moves Ahead

An organization that is pressing the United Nations to declare suicide bombing a crime against humanity says it received an encouraging reception this week from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Read

Thursday, February 28, 2008

North Korea Permits Anthem, But Anti-US Rhetoric Continues

"The Star-Spangled Banner" rang out this week on a Pyongyang stage flanked by the American flag, but North Korean state media were insufficiently moved by the New York Philharmonic's unprecedented visit to take a break from America-bashing. Read

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rice Sees Positive Trends as Beijing Agrees to Resume Rights Dialogue

China is taking a more positive role in world affairs, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Beijing after the Chinese government agreed to resume human rights dialogue with the United States. Read

Pakistan Gov't-in-the-Making Could Impact Military Supply Routes

NATO military operations in Afghanistan may be adversely affected by the outcome of Pakistan's recent elections. One of two major political parties set to form a coalition government wants a review of policies that allow U.S. military supply lines to run through Pakistani territory. Read

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Islamist Party Downplays Shari'a Ahead of Malaysia Election

An Islamist party in Malaysia that has drawn attention in the past for supporting controversial shari'a corporal punishment has changed tack ahead of general elections next weekend, in a bid to regain waning support. Read

Monday, February 25, 2008

Korea's New Conservative President to Take a Firmer Line with North

A decade of left-wing rule in South Korea ended on Monday as a new conservative president took the helm. Lee Myung-bak has pledged to bolster relations with the U.S. and is pressing North Korea to resolve the nuclear weapons crisis. Read

Formal Protests, Censorship As Governments React To 'Blasphemy'

Under pressure from Muslims angry about Western criticism of Islam, some governments are responding with censorship or diplomatic maneuvers, although some prominent voices say Muslims should ignore what they see as deliberate provocation. Read

Friday, February 22, 2008

Olympic Chief Plays Down Idea of Beijing Boycott

As China continues to fend off criticism about ongoing human rights abuses in the run-up to the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee has reiterated its view that the event is supposed to be non-political. Read

Arab, Latin American Ministers Support 'Right to Resist Occupation'

Arab and Latin American foreign ministers ended a gathering here Thursday with a declaration reiterating support for the right to "resist foreign occupation." Jewish groups are concerned that the phrase could be seen as sympathizing with terrorism. Read

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kosovo Ripples Felt in Taiwan Strait, Former Soviet Union

The U.S. and other governments that are backing Kosovo's independence stress that it sets no precedent for other situations worldwide, but the move already is stoking the long-simmering sovereignty dispute between China and Taiwan. Read

US Marines Under Fire Ahead of Rice's Visit to Japan

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will have a lot to talk about when she visits key U.S. ally Japan next week, but allegations of sexual assault by a U.S. Marine threaten to overshadow the trip. Read

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Castro's Exit Could Impact Chavez' Anti-US Project

Hugo Chavez, the Latin American leader who seemed to take on Fidel Castro's mantle, paid his respects Tuesday to Cuba's outgoing communist dictator, amid speculation about the future of a regional anti-U.S. alliance. Read

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Musharraf's Allies and Islamists Take a Beating in Pakistan Election

With President Pervez Musharraf's allies evidently defeated in Pakistan's parliamentary elections, the focus now moves to how the embattled president and his foes respond to the outcome -- and how Pakistan emerges from its long political crisis. Read

Monday, February 18, 2008

US Recognizes Independent Kosovo, Europe Split

Permanent U.N. Security Council members - the United States, Britain and France - on Monday recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence, joining Italy, Germany, Turkey, Albania and Afghanistan as the first to welcome what the ethnic Albanian majority hopes will become the world's newest sovereign state. Read

China, Russia Wary Over US Plan to Shoot Down Satellite

A year after China shot down one of its own orbiting satellites in an unannounced anti-satellite weapon test, China is objecting to plans by the U.S. to destroy a damaged American satellite that is heading for Earth. Read

Joy, Fury Over Kosovo Independence Declaration

Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence has sparked reactions that make it clear the final chapter in the upheavals that roiled the Balkans at the end of last century has yet to be written. Read

Friday, February 15, 2008

Slain Navy Diver's Family Still Hoping for Justice

The family of a U.S. Navy diver killed by Islamic hijackers under the command of Imad Mughniyah expressed relief at news of the Hizballah terrorist's death. They continue to hope that justice will be done in the case of the convicted killer, who is still at large. Read

Families of Bombing Victims Question Wanted Terrorist's Presence in Syria

The Syrian government promised to help Argentina get to the bottom of a 1994 terrorist bombing, yet it did nothing about the presence in Damascus of a wanted man accused of responsibility for that bombing, a representative of victims' families said. Read

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shi'ites, Sunnis Enraged by Terrorist's Death; Iran Blames America

Imad Mughniyah is being hailed as a martyr in Lebanon, where Shi'ites and Sunnis have set aside their political differences to blame Israel for the top Hizballah terrorist's death. Iran's state media accused the U.S. of involvement in the killing. Read

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pressure on Beijing Builds Over Darfur

In a triple blow for China Tuesday, filmmaker Steven Spielberg ended his association with the 2008 Olympics; prominent figures, including athletes and Nobel laureates, criticized the communist government; and 120 U.S. lawmakers added their voices to the chorus of concern over continuing violence in Darfur. Read

Campaign for UN Abortion Moratorium Takes Shape

A push to have the United Nations declare a universal moratorium on abortion does not have widespread international backing, but it is playing into the election campaign in Italy, where conservative opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi says he backs a ban. Read

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shari'a Not Just About Stoning and Amputation

Although Islamic law is often associated with stoning and amputation, its expansion in Britain would also have more mundane consequences that would affect the most vulnerable members of Muslim society, a scholar warned. Marriages could be annulled and women could lose access to their children or inheritance. Read

'No. 1 Threat' China Linked to Espionage Arrests

The arrest of four people Monday for passing American secrets to China highlights a problem that constitutes the single greatest threat to U.S. technology, lawmakers have been told. Read

Monday, February 11, 2008

Judicial Interpretation Blamed in Afghan Blasphemy Case

The death penalty given to an Afghan journalist accused of insulting Islam has more to do with judges' interpretation of the country's laws than with a constitutional provision entrenching Islamic primacy, according to a leading scholar in Islamic law. Read

UK Olympic Body Reverses Move to Gag Beijing Competitors

Britain's sports authorities have backed away from a plan to prohibit athletes representing the United Kingdom in the Beijing Olympic Games from making any comments critical of China's human rights record. Read

Friday, February 08, 2008

North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran Are World's Worst Persecutors

For the sixth consecutive year, North Korea has been named the world's worst violator of religious freedom, according to a leading Christian watchdog organization. Read

Archbishop Called 'Bonkers' for His View of Shari'a

A call by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for Britain to adopt parts of Islamic law (shari'a) to help maintain social cohesion has provoked strong reaction. Read

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Afghan Blasphemy Death Sentence Shows Islam's Role in Constitution

The death sentence given to a young Afghan man convicted of insulting Islam is focusing attention once again on the dominant -- and controversial -- role the religion enjoys in the country's constitution and laws. Read

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

McCain Leads, As Conservative Unease Grows

John McCain edged towards the Republican presidential nomination early Wednesday, hours after one of the country's most prominent evangelicals became the latest conservative figure to distance himself from the Arizona senator's campaign. Read

Catholic Bishops, Socialists in Bruising Spanish Election Campaign

A closely fought general election campaign in Spain is dominated by tensions between the ruling Socialists and the Roman Catholic Church. Abortion, same-sex "marriage," terrorism and historical sensitivities are all on the agenda. Read

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Film on Islam Making Waves, Even Though No One's Seen It Yet

A Dutch lawmaker who caused a stir last year with calls to ban the Koran in his country is again under fire, this time for making a film criticizing Islam's most revered text. Read

Europeans Agog Over Campaign ''08 - and Obama

European interest in the U.S. presidential election campaign may be at unprecedented levels as Super Tuesday arrives, and Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama is the evident favorite among media and political commentators. Read

Monday, February 04, 2008

Democratic Primary E-Voting Called 'Dangerous Experiment'

Around the world, U.S. Democratic Party supporters will cast online ballots for their preferred presidential candidate in coming days, but the unprecedented "global primary" has drawn criticism. Read