Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Romney Blasted in Moscow for Calling Russia ‘Our No. 1 Geopolitical Foe’

Mitt Romney’s criticism of Russia following President Obama’s “open mike” moment with his Russian counterpart has drawn a harsh response in Moscow. Read

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Faces at U.S. Int’l Religious Freedom Watchdog Include ‘Anti-Islamist’ Muslim, Leading Catholic Conservative

An independent statutory body advising the U.S. government on international religious freedom issues is undergoing a process of change across the board, with the bulk of its commissioners – including some who have served for a decade – being replaced. Read

Christian Workers in Gulf Countries Warned About Saudi Cleric’s Call to ‘Destroy Churches’

A call by Saudi Arabia’s top religious authority for a demolition of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula has prompted an organization representing Filipino workers in the region to advise caution and discretion. Read

Monday, March 26, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Tightens Grip on the New Egypt As the U.S. Resumes Aid

Two days after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved resuming military funding to Egypt, expressing optimism in its “significant progress toward democracy,” Islamists cemented their control over another element of the country’s transition, stacking a body that will draft a new constitution. Read

Obama Mulls ‘Non-Lethal’ Aid to Syria, As Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood Insists It Doesn’t Want to ‘Control the Country Alone’

As President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Sunday discussed providing “non-lethal” supplies to the Syrian opposition, Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood launched a new public relations drive designed to assuage concerns about its agenda for a post-Assad Syria. Read

Friday, March 23, 2012

Obama Administration Urged to Ditch ‘Anti-Israel’ U.N. Human Rights Council

The Obama administration should walk away from the U.N. Human Rights Council, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said Thursday after the body adopted a fresh batch of resolutions critical of Israel. Read

U.S. Silent on Top Saudi Cleric’s Call to ‘Destroy Churches’

Ten days after Saudi Arabia’s foremost religious leader called for a demolition of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula – in line with a purported injunction by Mohammed – the U.S. government and other allies of the kingdom have yet to react. Read

Thursday, March 22, 2012

House Republican: Stop the Concessions to Putin's Russia

Accusing the Obama administration of handing Vladimir Putin’s Russia “one concession after another and getting virtually nothing in return,” a senior House Republican said Wednesday trade restrictions should not be lifted until the Kremlin is held “accountable for actions that run contrary to U.S. national security interests.” Read

State Dept. Intervenes As U.S. Body Recommends Turkey Be Designated As Religious Freedom Violator

A recommendation by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that Turkey be designated a “country for particular concern” (CPC) for religious freedom violations created divisions inside the commission, and the State Department intervened in an apparent attempt to reverse the decision. Read

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Defends Obama’s Decision to Restore UNESCO Funding

The Obama administration’s envoy to the United Nations argued on Capitol Hill Tuesday that defunding the United Nation’s cultural agency because it admitted “Palestine” hurts America’s interests more than it does those of the Palestinians. Read

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

U.S. Chastises U.N. Human Rights Council for Skewed Focus on Israel

As the U.N. Human Rights Council entered the final days of a month-long session with four resolutions targeting Israel on the table, the U.S. representative urged the body Monday to end its “biased and disproportionate focus on Israel.” Read

First Lady: 2012 ‘Will Determine Nothing Less Than What Kind of World We’ll be Leaving for Our Children’

Urging support for her husband’s re-election, First Lady Michelle Obama told a campaign event Monday evening that the “kind of world we’ll be leaving for our children” was at stake. Read

Monday, March 19, 2012

N. Korea Signals Its Intention to Violate Latest Missile Agreement With U.S.

It took just 16 days for North Korean to proclaim it will effectively violate its latest agreement with the United States, in the clearest sign yet that new leader Kim Jong-un appears likely to emulate his late father’s erratic dealings with the international community. Read

U.S. Accused of Failing to ‘Speak the Truth’ About Gaddafi Regime at U.N. Human Rights Council

The Obama administration says that when the U.N. Human Rights Council adopts a report on the review of a country’s human rights record, the step is a mere formality and does not imply endorsing the report’s contents. Read

Friday, March 16, 2012

Obama Administration Takes Credit for Job-Creating Trade Deal, As Republicans Ask What Took So Long

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Thursday’s entry into force of a free trade pact with South Korea “another example of this administration’s commitment to deepening our economic engagement throughout the world.” Read

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NAACP Urges U.N. Human Rights Council to ‘Review’ U.S. ‘Voter Suppression’ Laws

Accusing U.S. states of passing laws that will “disproportionately block members of minority groups from voting,” National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Benjamin Todd Jealous appealed to the U.N. Human Rights Council Wednesday to take up the issue. Read

‘Nonsensical’: U.N. Human Rights Council Praises the Toppled Gaddafi Regime

The U.N. Human Rights Council has endorsed a report in which the human rights record of Libya’s erstwhile Gaddafi regime was enthusiastically praised by some of the world’s most repressive governments. Read

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Santorum Wins in the South, Depriving Romney Again

Rick Santorum won Republican presidential primaries in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, delivering a fresh blow to Mitt Romney’s efforts to change his status from frontrunner to presumptive nominee. Read

At U.N., Pakistan Pressed to Free Christian Woman on Death Row for ‘Blasphemy’

Pakistan was confronted at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday over the case of Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman to be sentenced to death under the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Read

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Iranian Gov’t Says Christian Pastor Insulted Islam, But Denies He Faces Death Penalty

Challenged about the fate of a Christian pastor on death row for “apostasy,” an Iranian envoy at the U.N. Human Rights Council for the first time acknowledged publicly that Youcef Nadarkhani’s offenses included insulting Islam, and he added two other previously undeclared charges. Read

U.N. Body Dealing With Women’s Rights Criticizes Israel, But Not Iran or Syria

The U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday heard a report detailing Iranian human rights violations, including abuses against women, but just three days earlier another U.N. body – one dealing with women’s rights – ended its annual session with a measure condemning neither Iran nor its ally Syria, but Israel. Read

Monday, March 12, 2012

Republicans Now Evenly Divided on Whether Afghanistan War Has Been Worth Fighting

A growing number of Americans – including Republicans – believe the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting, a new ABC News/ Washington Post poll finds. Read

British Government: Christians Have No Right to Wear Visible Cross or Crucifix

Britain’s Conservative-led government plans to argue in a European Court of Human Rights case that employers are entitled to ban the visible wearing of crosses at work because displaying the symbol is not a recognized “requirement” of the Christian faith. Read

Friday, March 09, 2012

U.S. Wants ‘Justice’ for Gaddafi’s Victims, But New Libyan Gov’t Noncommittal on Lockerbie Cooperation

After meeting with Libya’s new prime minister Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she had raised the case of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted in the Lockerbie bombing, and had received assurance that Tripoli “will give the matter the consideration it deserves.” Read

NAACP Asking U.N. Human Rights Council to Condemn American Voter ID Laws

Riled by state-level voting law changes that it alleges are designed to suppress “the political participation of people of color, the poor, the elderly, and the young,” the NAACP is turning to the U.N. Human Rights Council for support. Read

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Tea Party Senators Join Dems in Calling for Faster Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal

Two conservative Republican senators with tea party ties joined 21 Democratic colleagues and an independent senator Wednesday in urging President Obama to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan. Read

US Votes in Favor of Watered-Down Measure; Syria Retains Seat on U.N. Human Rights Panel

UNESCO’s executive board Thursday passed by a 35-8 vote a resolution that condemned Syria but sidestepped the issue of its membership of its human rights panel. The U.S. ambassador voted in favor of the watered-down measure while saying the U.S. was “profoundly disappointed that this resolution does not call for the outright removal of Syria” from the committee. Read

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Romney Edges Out Santorum in Ohio, Takes Six States to Santorum's Three

Mitt Romney squeezed a narrow victory in Ohio’s Republican presidential primary overnight and won five other Super Tuesday states, but Rick Santorum’s strong showing in the Buckeye state and three victories elsewhere deprived the former Massachusetts governor of the type of decisive sweep his campaign may have been hoping for. Read

Pakistan Criticized for Lax Attempt to Find Killer of Christian Cabinet Minister

As Pakistani Christians mark the anniversary of the assassination of their most outspoken advocate, police appear to be no closer to tracking down Shahbaz Bhatti’s killers than they were after he was gunned down outside his mother’s house in Islamabad a year ago. Read

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Int’l Soccer Body Changes Rules to Allow Islamic Hijabs

Acceding to appeals by the United Nations and a member of Jordan’s royal family, the veteran international body that determines the rules of competitive soccer has agreed in principle to allow female Muslim players to wear headscarves (hijabs). Read

Iran Voter Turnout Described As a Show of Support for Supreme Leader, a ‘Punch in the Mouth of the Enemies’

The Iranian government says voter turnout in Friday’s parliamentary election – reportedly the highest in 12 years – was a vote of confidence in the hardline establishment headed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- a victory over not just political opponents but also over “foreign enemies.” Read

Monday, March 05, 2012

UN Chief in Afghanistan Calls for ‘Disciplinary Actions’ Against Those Involved in Qur’an ‘Desecration’

The top United Nations official in Afghanistan has raised eyebrows with comments urging disciplinary action against those found to be responsible for damaging copies of the Qur’an at the U.S. military base in Bagram. Read

'I Have Israel's Back,’ Obama Tells Jewish Lobby: 'No Options Off the Table' on Iran

An election year battle to convince American voters that President Obama has been a steadfast friend of Israel – or alternatively, that he's been the most anti-Israel president in decades – heated up at the weekend, coinciding with Obama’s address to the a pro-Israel conference ahead of a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Read

Friday, March 02, 2012

Shari’a Rises in Tunisia’s Constitution-Drafting Process

As Tunisian lawmakers wrestle over the drafting of a new constitution, the place of Islamic law is causing contention, but with Islamists dominating the process the new constitution looks set to describe shari’a as “the principal source of legislation.” Read

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Resolution Calling on Iran to Release Death Row Pastor Draws Huge Support

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution calling on Iran to free a Christian pastor sentenced to death for “apostasy.” Youcef Nadarkhani has resisted multiple attempts by Iranian authorities to persuade him to renounce his faith. Read

New N. Korea Nuclear Deal Follows Years of Cheating and Non-Compliance

News that North Korea has pledged to suspend uranium enrichment and nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for U.S. food aid is drawing a cautious – and skeptical – reaction, given Pyongyang’s record of breaching previous such agreements. Read