Monday, March 31, 2008

Zimbabwe Faces Possibility of Change

The prospect of change long denied to the people of Zimbabwe was looking stronger on Monday, following weekend presidential and legislative elections. The opponents of longtime President Robert Mugabe claimed to have won by a large margin. Read

South Korea Faces Barrage of Threats from Pyongyang

South Korea's month-old conservative government is facing its first important foreign policy test as North Korea steps up its threatening behavior and belligerent rhetoric in response to Seoul's shift away from a "sunshine" policy of active engagement. Read

Friday, March 28, 2008

Koran Film Taken Down 'After Threats'

Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders' controversial film linking the Koran with extremism and terrorism was removed from a British Internet site Friday, after the site said staff had been threatened. Read

Dutch Gov't Repudiates Koran Film

Bracing for reaction, the Dutch government late Thursday distanced itself from a lawmaker's newly released film linking the Koran to violence and terrorism, saying the problem was "not religion, but the misuse of religion to sow hatred and intolerance." Read

Koran Film: 'The Day Will Come When We Will Rule America'

It wasn't an April Fool's joke after all: Dutch politician Geert Wilders has posted his short film on the Koran online, as promised, before the end of March. Within hours, millions of people had accessed it. Read


Thursday, March 27, 2008

'Bias and Hypocrisy' Displayed at UN Rights Council, Say Critics

The United Nations' Human Rights Council has elected onto a panel of special advisors a left-wing Swiss sociologist with a record of sympathizing with the Castro and Mugabe regimes and criticizing the United States and Israel. Read

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

UK Gov't Signals Partial Compromise on Controversial Embryo Bill

After weeks of rumbling rebellion over his refusal to allow Labor lawmakers a free vote on a highly controversial human embryo research bill, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown backtracked on Tuesday, but he won little praise for the concession. Read

New Pakistan Gov't to Review Musharraf's Anti-Terror Policies

As President Pervez Musharraf swore in a new prime minister representing forces opposed to his presidency, a leading member of the incoming coalition warned that Pakistan will pay more attention to national interests in its conduct of the anti-terror campaign. Read

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

UN Rights Council Still Silent on Tibet

China's crackdown on dissent in Tibet has made headlines around the world and sparked calls in some quarters for a full or partial boycott of the Beijing Olympics, but the U.N.'s top human rights body remains silent on the issue. Read

Monday, March 24, 2008

Taiwan's New Leader Seeks 'Peace Treaty' With China

In a development that could ease tensions in northeast Asia, Taiwanese voters at the weekend brought to an end eight years of political dominance by independence-leaning forces, while failing to pass a referendum on Taiwanese membership of the United Nations. Read

Internet Co. Suspends Web Site for Film Critical of Islam

A U.S.-based Internet company has pre-emptively suspended access to a Web site on which a controversial Dutch lawmaker was planning to post a short film examining links between Islamic terrorism and the Koran. Read

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Political Challenge Looms for Musharraf

The scene is set for the latest act in Pakistan's long political crisis, as a newly elected parliament, many of whose members bitterly oppose President Pervez Musharraf, prepares to convene on Monday to choose a prime minister. Read

Saudi Politicians Refuse to Act Against Defamation of Religions

An Islamic initiative to establish an international convention against the "defamation" of religions ran into an unexpected hurdle this week in Saudi Arabia, where members of a government advisory body argued that the move could force Muslims to recognize pagan beliefs. Read

Thursday, March 20, 2008

'Mohammed Cartoons Worse Than Killing of Women and Children'

The publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammed was a "greater and more serious tragedy" than the killing of Arab women and children by Western military forces, and the "reckoning for it will be more severe," said a message released Wednesday, purportedly featuring the voice of Osama bin Laden. Read

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Attend Beijing Games, But Boycott Opening Ceremony, Group Urges

A human rights group is calling on world leaders to skip the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer, while a Republican lawmaker wants hearings and a vote on a resolution supporting a total boycott of the games unless China stops "serious human rights abuses." Read

Easter Threats Against Christians in Indonesia Reported

Easter will be "a time of great anxiety" for Christians in Indonesia, where radical Islamist have reportedly threatened to attack Christian targets. Read

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

OIC Denounces Terror, But Fighting 'Occupation' Still Exempted

A meeting of the world's Islamic nations has, once again, drawn a distinction between "terrorism" and "legitimate resistance against foreign occupation," a stance designed to accommodate ongoing support for the Palestinian fight against Israel. Read

Ahead of Election, Taiwan Eyes Tibet Warily

The recent surge in violence in Tibet is resonating in Taiwan, days before the island claimed by China holds presidential elections alongside a controversial referendum on whether it should be allowed to join the United Nations. Read

Monday, March 17, 2008

Gulf State's First Church Opens

The first church permitted in Qatar held its first Mass on Sunday without incident, following threats by Islamists unhappy about a Christian place of worship in the capital of the Gulf state. Read

Tibetan Leader Supports Beijing Olympics Despite Violence

Despite the worst violence to rock Tibet in two decades, the Himalayan territory's exiled Buddhist leader says he continues to support China's hosting of the Beijing Olympics next summer, a stance that will be welcomed by the international Olympic movement. Read

Friday, March 14, 2008

Besieged Iraqi Christians Need A Safe Haven, Supporters Say

The best thing the church worldwide can do for Iraq's beleaguered Christians is support a push for a secure province for the community, an activist campaigning for autonomy for Iraq's ethnic Assyrians said Friday. Read

Vietnam Campaigners Hope for Senate Action

Campaigners for democracy in Vietnam are hopeful that long-delayed legislation to promote human rights improvements in communist-ruled Vietnam may move forward on Capitol Hill, following a Senate hearing this week. Read

Thursday, March 13, 2008

OIC Wants 'Binding Legal Instrument' to Fight Islamophobia

An international humanist organization has warned that Islamic governments are trying to use the United Nations to shut down free speech. The warning comes as a bloc of Islamic states is holding a summit with "Islamophobia" high on the agenda. Read

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

State Department Excludes China From Top Human Rights Violators

Several weeks after China agreed to resume human rights dialogue with the United States, the State Department on Tuesday took a softer line with Beijing in its annual report on human rights around the world. Read

Sharp Decline in Births Looms in China

The number of births in China as well as the number of women of reproductive age in that country will begin to drop "precipitously" in the years after 2011, a leading expert on China's controversial "one-child" policy predicted Wednesday. Read

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Human Rights, Liberty Are Values Practiced by Most Muslims, Says Rice

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the appointment of Washington's first-ever special envoy to the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference will help to promote principles that Muslims and non-Muslims alike "hold dear," such as human rights, liberty and the rule of law. Read

China Awaits US Human Rights Report

When the State Department releases its annual report on global human rights Tuesday, among those watching most closely will be the Chinese government. Read

Monday, March 10, 2008

Women's Day Makes Little Impact in Saudi Arabia

As people around the world marked International Women's Day on Saturday, a women's rights advocate in Saudi Arabia did so by breaching a ban on women driving, and then posting a videoclip on the Internet. Read

Unprecedented Election Setback for Ruling Party in Malaysia

Malaysia was hit by a political tsunami at the weekend when an early election deprived the ruling coalition of a two-thirds majority and created a viable opposition for the first time in the history of the predominantly Muslim country. Read

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tale of Two Pipelines: Europe Seeks to Lower Dependency on Russian Gas

Russia's latest standoff with Ukraine over natural gas supplies has been resolved for now, but the dispute has reinforced the view in Europe that alternatives to Russian energy are sorely needed. Read

Arms Dealer Accused of Fueling Global Conflicts Faces Extradition

He has been tied to bloody conflicts from the Balkans to Africa to Southeast Asia, but it may be Viktor Bout's willingness to aid Colombia's left-wing FARC that proves to be the undoing of the notorious arms dealer. Read

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Europe Braces for Release of Film Linking Koran to Terror

A leading U.S.-based Internet company says it's ready for any electronic attacks that may come its way for hosting a Web site featuring a provocative short film that is critical of the Koran. The movie, made by a controversial Dutch politician and due for release any time now, has sparked protests in the Islamic world and concerns in Europe. Read

Taiwan Gov't Faces Growing Pressure Over UN Referendum

Two weeks before a controversial referendum on whether Taiwan should be allowed to join the United Nations, the island's government is coming under increasing pressure to call off the vote. Read

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

US Urged To Speak Out Now on Planned UN Racism Meeting

The decision on whether to attend or boycott a United Nations racism conference next year may be for the next American president to make, but the Bush administration should take a clear position now, say activists who worry that the meeting will be marred by an anti-Israel agenda. Read

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cuba Says UN Rights Council Has Helped It Turn Tables on USA

The United Nations' new Human Rights Council has enabled Cuba to score a great victory in its epic David vs. Goliath-type struggle against the United States, Cuba's foreign minister said Monday. Read

Monday, March 03, 2008

US, Colombia Call for Calm Over Military Incursion Clash

In a bid to ease tensions with its leftist-ruled neighbors, Colombia's government said Monday it would not send reinforcements to its borders with Venezuela and Ecuador and called for calm. Read

Pro-Lifers Wary of Reports of a Shift in China's 'One Child' Policy

Pro-lifers continue to view with skepticism reports suggesting that China may relax its controversial "one-child" policy, as it comes under international pressure over its human rights record ahead of the Olympic Games, which it is hosting this summer. Read

Obama's Candidacy 'Speaks to Muslims Abroad'

In the close race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the rival candidates' foreign policy positions are drawing increasing scrutiny around the globe, and especially in the Arab-Islamic world, where significant security challenges face the next administration. Read