Friday, July 31, 2009

Iraqis Subdue Iranian Dissidents, As U.S. ‘Monitors’ the Situation

After three days of clashes and at least six deaths, Iraqi forces have largely gained control of an encampment of exiled Iranians whose continued presence inside Iraq has long been a sore point for Tehran. Read

Vietnamese Democracy Advocates Look for Congressional Support

Vietnamese-American activists and members of Congress Thursday issued fresh calls for U.S. lawmakers to support legislation promoting human rights and democracy in the communist-ruled nation. Critics say significantly improved ties with the U.S. have done little to improve Hanoi’s treatment of its citizens. Read

Thursday, July 30, 2009

China Says ‘One Child’ Policy Will Be ‘Strictly Enforced For Decades’

China has rejected suggestions that it is easing its controversial “one-child” population control policy, following reports that authorities in Shanghai are encouraging eligible couples to have a second child. Read

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

As Casualties Mount and Public Support Wanes, Britain Eyes ‘Moderate’ Taliban

As the deadliest month for coalition forces in Afghanistan nears an end, and amid signs of dropping public support in Britain for the war, the British government is prodding the Afghan government to court “moderate” elements among the Taliban. Read

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Unresolved Issue of Hezbollah’s Weapons Back in the Spotlight

Amid warnings by Israel and threats from Hezbollah, tensions are building along the Lebanon-Israel border, as the long-delayed issue of the disarming of the Shi’ite militia comes returns to the political front burner. Read

U.N. Shuts Out Christian NGO After China Objects

The United Nations has rejected a Christian Ministry’s application for official status because it refused to produce names and addresses of its members in China, citing religious freedom concerns. Read

Monday, July 27, 2009

Carbon Tariff Provisions Stoke Debate in the U.S. and Europe

The same “carbon tariff” provision in U.S. cap-and-trade legislation that has alarmed American business groups made waves over the weekend in the European Union, where several governments fretted that the proposal could undermine the drive to achieve a new global climate change agreement by year’s end. Read

China’s State-Run Television Beams ‘News’ Programs to Arab Countries

Beijing’s state television channel on Saturday became the latest network to target the Middle East, launching an Arabic service in a region of increasing economic and political importance to China. Read

Friday, July 24, 2009

Israelis Unsure of Obama; Palestinians Prefer Osama

Like other U.S. presidents before him, Barack Obama aspires to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but a new global opinion poll six months into his administration suggests that he faces an uphill battle to win the trust of the protagonists. Read

Another New Study Challenges Climate Change ‘Orthodoxy’

Virtually all changes in global atmospheric temperatures in the late 20th century were the result of nature rather than human activity, according to a new peer-reviewed study, one of whose authors predicted Friday was “sure to cause a stir.” Read

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fractured Fatah Expected to ‘Maintain the Resistance Option’ As It Convenes Its First Congress in Two Decades

Fatah, the Palestinian faction backed by Washington as a “moderate” Middle East peace partner, is preparing to convene its first congress in two decades. The gathering expected to produce a toughening of its positions in a bid to win back support lost to its Islamist rival. Read

Tensions Mount in Honduras Amid Chavez Threats, Plans by Ousted President to Return

The interim government of Honduras is on a collision course with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has threatened to use “all the necessary resources” to prevent the closure of the Venezuelan embassy in the troubled Central American country. Read

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Clinton Declares the U.S. to be ‘Back’ in Asia; Signs Regional Non-Aggression Treaty

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday was to sign a non-aggression pact with a group of Southeast Asian nations, committing the United States to “renunciation of the threat or use of force” and to non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. Read

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cracks Widen Within Iran’s Islamic Establishment

In a provocative challenge to the theocracy that rules Iran, a former president has called for a referendum on the government’s legitimacy after the disputed June 12 election. The call came on the heels of a sermon by another ex-president who sharply criticized the leadership for its handling of the election crisis. Read

Biden’s Visit to Ukraine, Georgia Comes Amid Growing ‘Nervousness’ Over Obama’s Approach to Russia

Almost a year after he visited Georgia in the aftermath of its brief war with Russia, Vice President Joe Biden is back in a region where prominent politicians are voicing concern that the Obama administration’s efforts to improve relations with Moscow will come at their countries’ expense. Read

Monday, July 20, 2009

‘Jerusalem Is Not a Settlement,’ Netanyahu Reminds Obama Administration

An already uneasy relationship between the U.S. and Israeli governments looks set to become significantly more chilly with the Obama administration’s decision to challenge Israel’s freedom of actions in its own capital. Read

Clinton Accepts Blame for ‘Global Warming’ Role, Ponders Link Between Climate Change and Family Planning

Urging India not to emulate America’s “mistakes,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the weekend accepted responsibility on behalf of the U.S. and other developed nations for contributing towards climate change. Read

Friday, July 17, 2009

Terror Lull Ends with Deadly Blasts at Two Indonesian Hotels

At least nine people were killed and more than 40 others injured in bomb blasts at two luxury hotels in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, early Friday. The attack followed an almost four-year respite in terrorism aimed at Westerners in the Southeast Asian country. Read

Chavez and Allies Watch as U.S. and Colombia Near A Deal on Air Base

U.S. planes were due to fly their final counter-narcotics surveillance flights from the Manta airbase in Ecuador on Friday, as more details emerge of an anticipated agreement to use military bases in neighboring Colombia instead for crucial anti-drug operations in the region. Read

Thursday, July 16, 2009

As Clinton Cites Libya As Example, Gaddafi Attacks U.S.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Wednesday accused “one country” of controlling the U.N. Security Council, “therefore forming a danger to world peace.” Read

Chavez to Join Next Blockade-Busting Trip to Gaza, Says British Activist

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, one of Israel’s fiercest international critics, will join a future convoy of leftists on a solidarity visit to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to the left-wing British lawmaker and convoy leader George Galloway. Read

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Russia, Ignoring Obama, Continues Its Defiant Conduct in the Caucasus

Just days after President Obama said in Moscow that “Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev this week paid a provocative visit to one of two regions within Georgia’s internationally recognized borders. The Kremlin views the region as “independent.” Read

Amid Islamic Anger, China Insists Violence in Xinjiang is Not Related to Ethnicity or Religion

China is seeking to play down ethnicity and religion as factors in the recent unrest in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, amid growing signs that Muslims, including hardliners, are rallying to the cause of their co-religionists in China. Read

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

India Challenges Non-Aligned Countries to Condemn Terrorism ‘Unequivocally’

Ahead of a summit of developing nations this week, the Indian government has issued a challenge – condemn terrorism without reservation, and stop trying to justify it. Read

Gas Pipeline Designed to Break Russian Stranglehold Edges Ahead

A strategic battle over natural gas supplies to Europe reached a new stage Monday with the signing of an agreement for a U.S.-backed pipeline to take Caspian gas across Turkey to Western markets and so reduce reliance on Russia. Read

Monday, July 13, 2009

China Blames Violence in Its Muslim Western Region on Outsiders

Amid reported quiet in its far-west Xinjiang region, Chinese state media on Monday charged that pro-Uighur protests at Chinese diplomatic missions in the West indicated that outsiders had planned the recent violence in the Muslim-majority area. Read

Freed Iranians Get A Heroes’ Welcome Back Home As Iran Shakes A Fist at U.S.

Iran on Sunday welcomed as heroes five men held by U.S. forces in Iraq on suspicion of aiding deadly anti-coalition violence. Iran played down any suggestion that their release may help to improve relations between Tehran and Washington. Read

Friday, July 10, 2009

‘Diplomats’ or IED-Supplying Terror Facilitators? U.S. Hands Over Detained Iranians

Five Iranians detained by U.S. forces in northern Iraq more than two years ago and suspected of facilitating deadly attacks against U.S. troops were handed over to Iraqi authorities Thursday and looked set to be heading home. Read

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Creating Sperm From Stem Cells Raises Ethical Concerns: Making Males Redundant?

A new Canadian movie tells the tale of two lesbians who become pregnant through in vitro fertilization. They use their own eggs -- and sperm created from each other’s stem cells -- making each the mother of their own child and the “father” of their partner’s. The bizarre plotline of The Baby Formula may not be quite as outlandish it is sounds. Read

Dump Cap-And-Trade, Experts Advise World Leaders

The Kyoto Protocol has failed, and the focus on reducing carbon emissions through cap-and-trade schemes like the one currently before the U.S. Congress should be replaced by efforts to improve energy efficiency and “decarbonize” the energy supply, according to an international group of academics. Read

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Hugo Chavez Coordinated Ousted Honduran President’s Failed Attempt to Return Home

Ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya’s ill-fated attempt to fly home early this week was a mission masterminded by his Venezuelan ally, President Hugo Chavez, who painted it as a success despite Zelaya’s failure to land and the death of a supporter during protests on the ground. Read

U.N. Pressed to Investigate Taliban’s Use of Children As Suicide Bombers

Reports that Taliban terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan are buying and selling children to use as suicide bombers have prompted an international human rights organization to renew its longstanding calls for the United Nations to declare suicide terrorism a crime against humanity. Read

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

As Iran Lashes Out Over Biden’s Remarks, Saudis Deny They Would Allow Israel Overflight

Vice President Joe Biden’s weekend remarks about Israel’s right to act against Iran’s nuclear activities as it sees fit are resonating in the Middle East. Israel’s foreign minister acknowledged them while Tehran’s supreme leader warned outsiders against trying to take advantage of the internal turmoil in Iran following the disputed presidential election. Read

Monday, July 06, 2009

We Are the Authentic Representatives of the People, Says Honduras’ Interim Leader

Honduras’ political crisis took a turn for the worse Sunday when the first loss of life was reported – the death of at least one supporter of the ousted president whose bid to return home was foiled one week after he was removed from power and deported. Read

Europe Lacks A Unified Response to Iranian Trouble-Making

A strong and unified international stance towards the Iranian government following last month’s disputed election and subsequent crackdown is looking increasingly unlikely. The European Union is divided on the issue and its new presidency appears to favor a less confrontational approach. Read

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ousted Honduran President Seen Responsible for ‘Coup’ Crisis

The political crisis in Honduras has deepened, with the interim government refusing to allow ousted president Manuel Zelaya to return to office as demanded by the U.S. and other Western hemisphere governments. The interim government warned that he will be arrested for treason if he returns home. Read

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Islamic Group Backs Tehran, Slams Foreign ‘Interference’

Less than a month after President Obama -- in a speech to the world’s Muslims -- urged governments to maintain power “through consent, not coercion,” a body representing parliaments in Islamic nations has congratulated Iran for its recent presidential election while condemning foreign countries for “interference.” Read

Iraqis Now Responsible for Their Own Security As U.S. Troops Pull Back

Iraqis awoke Wednesday to the knowledge that the security of their cities, towns and villages is now in the hands of their own countrymen, amid concerns that terrorists will exploit the situation in an effort to provoke renewed sectarian and inter-ethnic strife. Read