Monday, November 30, 2009

Iran Defies International Community With Another Nuclear Announcement

A defiant Iran has announced a series of steps certain to deepen Western suspicions about its nuclear activities, including the building of ten new uranium enrichment facilities, to be located in hard-to-attack parts of the country. Read

Swiss Vote to Ban Minarets Viewed by Some As Human Rights Violation, by Others As Catalyst for Muslim Assimilation

In a surprise vote on Sunday, the Swiss people moved to ban the construction of minarets, the tall spires on mosques. The vote has sparked accusations of “Islamophobia” as well as boycott fears, along with renewed debate about the challenges of Muslim assimilation in the West. Read

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Climate Conference is U.N. Event, So Denmark Invites Despots

The Danish government has invited 191 world leader to attend the climate change conference in Copenhagen next month, including three controversial figures who are forbidden to travel to any European Union member state. Read

Younger Pakistanis More Inclined to Islam, More Disillusioned With Politics, Study Finds

Pakistan has long featured on security analysts’ shortlists of the world’s hotspots, but a comprehensive new survey of young Pakistanis’ attitudes signals that the situation could get significantly worse in the coming years. Read

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

President of Brazil Criticized at Home and in U.S. for Hosting Iran’s Ahmadinejad

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s warm embrace of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday comes at a time when the U.S. and others are trying to isolate Tehran and ratchet up pressure on the regime over its nuclear activities. Read

Iranian Death Penalty Upheld One Day After U.N. Criticized Iran for Human Rights Violations

A day after the United Nations passed a resolution criticizing Iran for human rights violations and citing the rate of executions, an Iranian appeals court on Saturday upheld the death penalty for the first person sentenced to death in connection with post-election protests. Read

Monday, November 23, 2009

Political Uncertainty Deepens in Palestinian Areas As Elections May Be Postponed

Amid continuing political turmoil in the rival Palestinian-ruled territories, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas is expected to announce shortly that presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for January will not take place. Read

Indian Prime Minister Getting Warm Reception From Obama, but Analysts See Troubling Trend

Indian media are enthusiastic about the red carpet treatment Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will receive in Washington this week, but leading analysts in the country are giving a more sober assessment about the direction of bilateral ties under the Obama administration. Read

Friday, November 20, 2009

Leading U.N. Critic Sees Political Agenda Behind U.N.’s Decision to Bar Her

After being denied access to United Nations headquarters for two weeks, one of U.N.’s most forthright critics will find out Friday if her confiscated entry pass will be returned to her – and under what conditions. Read

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Exit Plan Likely to be Key Feature of Upcoming Afghanistan Announcement

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s swearing-in Thursday came amid signs that President Obama’s long-awaited Afghanistan strategy announcement will include a strong focus on an exit plan – and that he wants U.S. troops out before the end of his administration. Read

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New ‘Dismay’ Over Israeli Housing Construction Underscores Deep Differences Over Jerusalem

A decision by an Israeli planning body to approve the construction of 900 housing units in a part of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians is threatening a new rift with Washington and prompting the Israeli government to reiterate its position on the city it claims as its “eternal, undivided” capital. Read

Obama Administration Has Achieved More in Middle East Than Bush Did in Eight Years, State Dept. Says

The Obama administration has done more on the Israeli-Palestinian issue during its ten months in office than its predecessor did in eight years, a State Department spokesman claimed on Tuesday. Read

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

United Nations Accused of Censoring Criticism of China at Internet Event

United Nations officials on Monday defended their decision to prevent a large poster, referring to China’s Internet censorship system, from being displayed at a meeting in Egypt focusing on Internet governance and freedom. Read

Monday, November 16, 2009

In Shanghai, Obama Urges Free Internet Access; ‘Forces Me to Hear Opinions I Don’t Want to Hear’

President Obama held a town hall-type meeting with students on the first day of his inaugural visit to China Monday, but few of the eight questions put to him tackled sensitive issues in U.S.-China relations. Read

Islamic Nations Seek Legally Binding Way to Counter Religious ‘Defamation’

As support wanes for its campaign to secure controversial but non-binding “defamation of religion” resolutions at the United Nations, the Islamic bloc is pushing ahead with an alternative route – one that would carry the weight of international law. Read

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lebanon’s New Government Will Not Disarm Hezbollah

Five months after Lebanese voters handed Western-backed parties victory over their Hezbollah-led rivals, the country has a new “national unity” government in which Hezbollah and its allies control 10 out of 30 cabinet seats. Read

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Israel Trying to Counter Iranian Inroads in Latin America

Israel’s ceremonial president has launched another diplomatic push for support in Latin America, making a state visit to its two largest countries just weeks before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due for another of his frequent visits to the region. Read

Obama to Visit Japan As Ties Grow More Strained

President Obama pays his first official visit to Japan this week at a time when a six decade-old alliance is showing signs of strain. Leftists in Tokyo’s new ruling coalition are pushing for more independence in the relationship. Read

Monday, November 09, 2009

Alleged Fort Hood Gunman a Hero, Says Islamic Cleric With Suspected 9/11 Links

The Muslim U.S. Army major accused of shooting dead 13 people at Fort Hood last Thursday was a “hero” who faced a choice of betraying his nation or betraying Islam, according to a radical U.S.-born cleric whose possible links with Maj. Nidal Hasan are now under investigation. Read

Friday, November 06, 2009

Amid Berlin Wall Commemorations, Activists Rally for Liberation of North Korea

As Germany prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, activists in South Korea will hold a series of events this weekend to highlight calls for similarly momentous developments leading to the liberation of North Korea. Read

Islamic Bloc Says It Faces ‘Smear Campaign’ Over Religious ‘Defamation’ Push

Facing growing opposition to its ongoing drive against religious “defamation,” the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is accusing critics of “smear campaigns” and insisting that the resolution it has introduced at the United Nations applies to all religions. Read

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Weapons Seizure Highlights Growing Dangers in Middle East

Israel this week seized what it called the biggest cache of smuggled weapons it has ever intercepted in the region. The seizure comes at a time of fresh concerns about Iranian and Syrian support for terrorism. Read