Friday, December 30, 2011

Ron Paul: Iran Would be Justified in Closing Strategic Waterway in Response to Sanctions

As Iran ratcheted up its rhetoric Thursday about closing the Strait of Hormuz, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul revisited his earlier criticisms of Western policy towards Tehran, adding that Iran would be justified in cutting off the strategic waterway in response to sanctions. Read

Thursday, December 29, 2011

U.N. Urged to Support Oppressed North Koreans After Flying Its Flag at Half-Staff During Kim’s Funeral

As the world watched North Koreans’ televised pantomime of grief over the death of dictator Kim Jong-il Wednesday, the United Nations marked his bizarre state funeral by lowering its flag in New York and other centers to half-staff. Read

Puffing Up a Dead Dictator: N. Korean Media, Foreign Leaders Offer Effusive Praise for Kim

Condolence messages and news reports carried by North Korean media in recent days reveal the regime’s efforts to bolster the late Kim Jong-il’s prestige – and the willingness of some leaders and organizations around the world to lend a hand. Read

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

U.S. Prods Karzai to Accept Taliban Office in Gulf State of Qatar

The Afghan Taliban edged a little closer to international respectability this week with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s announcement that his government would accept a Taliban liaison office in Qatar to facilitate peace talks with the fundamentalist militia. Read

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nigerian Attacks Deplored as ‘Un-Islamic,’ But Polls Show Millions of Muslims Do Not Reject Suicide Bombings

Condemning the deadly attacks on Nigerian Christians on Christmas Day, Islamic organizations around the world called the atrocities un-Islamic, yet opinion polls tracking views on terrorism suggest that significant numbers of Muslims disagree. Read

Iranian Lawmaker: 'These War Games Are a Warning to the Western Countries'

Iranian state and semi-official media lined up behind the regime this week in a show of nationalistic pride as Iran’s navy began 10 days of war games designed to showcase its “regional dominance” and display its ability to shut off the crucial Strait of Hormuz if threatened. Read

After Protests Over Stoning Sentence for Adultery, Iran May Hang Woman Instead

An Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery may be hanged instead, an Iranian official said Sunday, triggering fresh uncertainty over the fate of the 44-year-old who has been on death row since 2006. Read

Friday, December 23, 2011

Third Christmas Behind Bars for Death Row Christians Asia Bibi and Youcef Nadarkhani

As Christians celebrate their savior’s birth on Sunday, they are being urged to remember persecuted fellow believers unable to enjoy the day with their families, including death row prisoners Asia Bibi of Pakistan and Youcef Nadarkhani of Iran, both of whom will be spending their third Christmas behind bars. Read

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Turbulence Ahead, As European Court Demands Climate Fee From U.S. Transatlantic Flights

Expect to pay more in the future to fly to London or Paris. Europe’s highest court ruled Wednesday that U.S. airlines must comply with a European Union carbon emission trading scheme, triggering protests from the Obama administration, the aviation industry and free market groups – and raising fears of a costly trade war in coming year. Read

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Iran Loses Support at U.N., But a Majority Still Unwilling to Denounce Abuses

The U.N. General Assembly has passed an annual resolution condemning human rights abuses in Iran by the largest margin ever, although there are still fewer countries willing to vote in favor of the measure than those opposing it or not prepared to take a stand one way or another. Read

After Biden Says Taliban Is Not America’s Enemy, Taliban Lashes Out at U.S. ‘Occupation’ of Iraq

As controversy greeted Vice President Joe Biden’s assertion that the Taliban “is not our enemy,” the militant Afghan movement on Tuesday launched a verbal assault against the United States, demanding that it pay compensation and that its leaders be put on trial for the “nine year occupation of Iraq.” Read

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

North Korea Sealed Its Border With China Before Announcing Kim’s Death

During the two days that passed between Kim Jong-il’s death and the official announcement, the North Korean regime reportedly took steps to prevent a chaotic response to the news, apparently fearing a mass exodus across the border with China. Read

U.N. Adopts ‘Religious Intolerance’ Resolution Championed by Obama Administration

The U.N. General Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution condemning the stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of people based on their religion, and urging countries to take effective steps “to address and combat such incidents.” Read

Monday, December 19, 2011

‘Progressive’ Church Offers Christmas Billboard Showing Virgin Mary With Pregnancy Test

liberal Anglican church in New Zealand has denounced as “Christian intolerance” the defacing of a large billboard it erected outside its premises to mark the Christmas season. The billboard shows an apparently shocked Virgin Mary examining a home pregnancy test kit. Read

Hezbollah Terrorist Handed Over to Iraqis by U.S. May Face Only Minor Criminal Charge

One day after the United States handed over to the Iraqi authorities a Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist accused of killing at least five American soldiers, Iraqi officials were quoted as saying the prisoner will face criminal charges – for illegal entry. Read

Friday, December 16, 2011

Religious Tolerance Resolution Backed by Obama Administration Aligns With Islamic Bloc’s Interests

The head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has acknowledged that a U.N. religious tolerance resolution heavily promoted by the Obama administration has the same aims as the Islamic bloc’s annual “religious defamation” resolutions, which Western democracies have consistently opposed for more than a decade. Read

CNSNews Database: 104 Women, 33 18-Year-Olds Among Iraq War's Casualties

Nearly 4,500 members of the U.S. armed forces paid the ultimate price during the war in Iraq, which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday formally declared over. Read

Thursday, December 15, 2011

At 11th Hour, Senate Re-Authorizes US Religious Freedom Commission

The Senate has quietly passed legislation reauthorizing the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, just days before the independent statutory watchdog would have been forced to shut down. Read

Clinton: Every Gov't Has Duty to Protect People From Discrimination and Intimidation Motivated by Religion

Governments have the “duty” to ensure that citizens do not face violence, discrimination and intimidation because of their religion or lack of religion, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday. Read

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Claims That U.S. Religious Freedom Commission Has Been Too Focused on Christians Don't Stack Up

Even though Christians are the world’s most persecuted religious group, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom – which will close in days without urgent congressional action – has fulfilled its mandate of promoting religious freedom for all faiths, despite some claims to the contrary. Read

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

State Dept. Aims to Denounce ‘Offensive Speech’ While Upholding Free Expression

The State Department on Monday launched three days of closed-door talks with representatives of international organizations and several dozen countries with the stated aim of promoting religious freedom and tolerance while ensuring that freedom of expression is not harmed in the process. Read

Iran Lodges Complaint With Interpol Over U.S. ‘Assassination Threats’

The Iranian government has lodged a complaint with Interpol regarding comments made during U.S. congressional hearings last October, including calls to assassinate top figures in Tehran’s terror-sponsoring security apparatus. Read

Monday, December 12, 2011

War on Christmas Hits Korean Peninsula

North Korea on Sunday made unspecified threats against plans by Christians in the South to illuminate giant steel Christmas “trees” near the world’s most heavily armed border, warning of “unexpected consequences” resulting from what the Stalinist regime views as a propaganda stunt. Read

GOP Rivals Don’t Dispute Substance of Gingrich’s ‘Invented Palestinian People’ Remark, But Question Its Wisdom

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s assertion that the Palestinians are an “invented” people continues to draw condemnation, but the former House speaker has not backed down from the provocative remark. Read

Friday, December 09, 2011

Putin Slams U.S. Over Election Criticism

Six years after Vladimir Putin accused the United States of encouraging revolutions to topple pro-Russian regimes in former Soviet states, the Russian prime minister on Thursday made fresh allegations of U.S. political interference – this time in Russia itself. Read

Obama Administration Welcoming Islamic Group to Washington for Discussion on ‘Tolerance’

The Obama administration says a meeting in Washington next week seeks to make progress in combating religious intolerance, but critics say the U.S. is pandering to an ideological agenda aimed at restricting speech critical of Islam. Read

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Gingrich’s 1998 Jerusalem Visit a Reminder of Mideast Sensitivities Facing GOP Candidates

As the Republican presidential candidates’ Middle East policies come into focus, a look back at a trip to Jerusalem by one of them 13 years ago provides a reminder of the sensitive ground they tread – and the hostility they can expect to confront in taking a strongly pro-Israel stance. Read

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Global Campaign to Free Detained Chinese Activist Is Helping, U.S. Lawmakers Are Told

Chinese authorities have slightly relaxed the house arrest restrictions placed on an activist who exposed extensive forced abortion and sterilization linked to the “one-child” policy, an American human rights advocate told U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday. Read

Religious Freedom Commission Prepares to Shut Its Doors

Ten days before its temporary authorization is due to expire, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Tuesday moved ahead with preparations for a permanent shutdown, while expressing hope that its tenure may yet be extended. Read

Official: Applause, Hooting, Hollering After Clinton’s Plea for Gay Rights

“Ninety-five percent” of the audience who heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deliver an unexpected plea for gay rights in Geneva on Tuesday stood up to applaud at the end, according to a senior State Department official. Read

Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious Beliefs’ Are ‘Standing in the Way of Protecting Human Rights of LGBT People'

Religious beliefs and cultural values do not justify the failure to uphold the human rights of homosexuals, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday. Read

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

U.N. Human Rights Chief Urged to Shun NGO Accused of Links to Gaddafi Regime

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is delivering a speech on human rights at the United Nations complex in Geneva on Tuesday -- shortly after another event in the same building is co-hosted by a non-governmental organization associated with Libya’s Gaddafi regime. Read

Vietnam Benefiting From Closer Ties With U.S. Despite ‘Continued and Worsening Crackdown’ on Dissent

As the Obama administration pursues its “Pacific century” vision, some critics worry that one country with which it seeks to develop a new partnership is continuing to get away with human rights abuses, despite some modest signs of improvement. Read

Monday, December 05, 2011

Obama Once Again Issues Jerusalem Embassy Waiver on a Friday, to Minimize Publicity

The White House on Friday issued its most recent waiver to bypass U.S. law mandating that the American Embassy in Israel be moved to Jerusalem, choosing – not for the first time – to do so late on Friday, when news releases tend to receive relatively little media attention. Read

Critics See ‘Blame Israel’ Mindset in U.S. Envoy’s Remarks on Anti-Semitism

The White House is distancing itself from remarks by an American ambassador and 2008 Obama campaign fundraiser suggesting that hatred of Jews was linked to Israeli actions, but some critics said the comments align with a “blame Israel” mentality in the administration. Read

Friday, December 02, 2011

Could Iran’s Terror-Sponsoring General Become Its Next President?

Iran’s next presidential election is still 18 months away, but the prospect that arguably the country’s most dangerous general may run to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has some Americans worried. Read

Thursday, December 01, 2011

U.N. Agency That Deals With ‘Green Energy’ and ‘Green Industry’ Loses Another Major Funder

A Vienna-based United Nations agency is pondering how to get by without one of its biggest donors, following a recent British government decision to withdraw from an organization which it said was ineffective and poorly run. Read