Monday, April 30, 2012

Kofi Annan Wants $7.5 Million to Cover Expenses for His Syrian Peace Mission

Kofi Annan’s precarious Syria peace mission will cost the world’s taxpayers almost $7.5 million, according to a document seeking U.N. General Assembly approval for the budget. Read

Romney Joins Calls for U.S. to Protect Pro-Life Chinese Activist Who Exposed Forced Abortion

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has called for the U.S. to protect Cheng Guangcheng and his family, putting further pressure on the Obama administration over the plight of the blind Chinese activist who exposed extensive forced abortion and sterilization linked to Beijing’s “one-child” policy. Read

Friday, April 27, 2012

U.S., Japan Reach Long-Delayed Agreement to Move 9,000 Marines From Okinawa

The United States will move ahead with transferring 9,000 U.S. Marines from the southern Japanese island of Okinawa to Guam and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, according to a bilateral agreement announced by the two governments overnight. Read

As Election Draws Near, Prospects Look Gloomy for Secular Protesters in Egypt

The choice facing Egyptian voters in presidential elections in four weeks’ time has become clearer with the release of the final list of 13 candidates – and prospects look gloomy for the mostly secular young people whose protests helped to bring down the Mubarak regime early last year. Read

Thursday, April 26, 2012

As Syria Violates U.N. Ceasefire, Calls Mount for Stronger U.S. Leadership

Amid fears that the U.N.-backed Syrian “peace plan” is merely giving the Assad regime room to continue attacking opponents and increasing the likelihood of its survival, calls are mounting for tougher – even military – international action to deal with the crisis. Read

‘Islam Is Not Incompatible With Human Rights Standards,’ Islamic Bloc Insists

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has set up a new human rights body, which will “review and update” a 22-year-old OIC document stating that all human rights and freedoms must be subjected to Islamic law (shari’a). Read

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Int’l Olympic Committee Urged to Honor Israeli Athletes Murdered 40 Years Ago

Forty years after Palestinian terrorists killed Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich, the International Olympic Committee is being urged – again – to honor the dead with a moment of silence during the opening of the London 2012 Games. Read

UNESCO Gives Saudi King a Medal for Promoting ‘Dialogue and Peace’

The head of the United Nations cultural agency has awarded Saudi King Abdullah a medal “in recognition of his efforts in enhancing the culture of dialogue and peace.” Read

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clinton Hails Restoration of ‘Essential’ U.S. Global Leadership, While Sen. Rubio Will Ask If Such Leadership Is ‘Even Necessary'

Amid growing speculation that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may choose Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as his running mate, Rubio plans to deliver “a major speech on the future of U.S. foreign policy” on Wednesday. Read

State Department Mum As Turkey Tries to Block Israel’s Participation in Chicago NATO Summit

Taking advantage of NATO’s decision-making-by-consensus, Turkey is working to block Israeli participation in alliance events, and on Monday, the State Department’s spokeswoman declined to say whether the U.S. would like Israel to take part in next month’s key NATO summit in Chicago. Read

Monday, April 23, 2012

China, Russia Insist That Their First, Formal Joint Naval Maneuvers Not Aimed at Anyone

Chinese and Russian officials say the two countries’ first formal joint naval exercises now underway in the far western Pacific are not aimed at any third party, despite maritime territorial disputes in the region. Read

NATO Membership Still Out of Reach for U.S.-Friendly Balkan State

As the NATO summit in Chicago approaches, there is growing support in Congress for the alliance to stop delaying the long-stalled accession of Macedonia, a friend of the U.S. and a committed ally in Afghanistan. The Balkan state has met every condition for membership but remains blocked by Greece over a 21 year-old naming dispute. Read

Friday, April 20, 2012

Obama’s Leadership Losing Luster Abroad, Poll Shows

People in many parts of the world viewed U.S. leadership under President Obama less favorably in 2011 than they did a year earlier, with a new poll showing Egypt, Argentina, Serbia and Iran accounting for the lowest approval rates in Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia, respectively. Read

Possible NATO Role Eyed in Syria Conflict

As the United States Thursday accused the Assad regime of unleashing “yet another wave of horrific violence against the Syrian people” despite a week-old ceasefire, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed to the possibility of NATO involvement. Read

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Frontrunner in Egypt’s Presidential Race Is an Anti-Israel Holdover From Mubarak Regime

The disqualification of three leading contenders in Egypt’s presidential campaign has left the race with a new frontrunner – a Mubarak regime holdover whose political career was characterized by hostility towards Israel. Read

Nigerian Gov’t Unhappy About Terror Warnings Issued by U.S. Embassy

The Nigerian government expressed irritation Wednesday after the U.S. Embassy in Abuja warned that Muslim terrorists may be planning new attacks on hotels in the capital – even though the last such warning proved to be justified. Read

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

‘Truly Absurd’ to Trust Iran Based on a Religious Fatwa, Arab Pundit Says

The Obama administration may view Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s purported fatwa against nuclear weapons as a potential “starting-point” in negotiating an end to the dispute, but a leading Arab commentator says trusting Tehran on the basis of a religious ruling is “truly absurd.” Read

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Obama Says He’s ‘Neutral’ Over Falklands But Seems to Tilt Toward Argentina

President Obama’s declaration in Colombia on Sunday that the United States is “going to remain neutral” on the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and Britain over the Falkland Islands is the latest in a string of administration statements that in fact tilt towards Argentina’s position. Read

Obama Administration Says Its Response to N. Korea’s Provocations Is Tougher Than Bush’s

The Obama administration said Monday that the U.N. Security Council’s response to North Korea’s abortive missile launch was stronger than its reaction to Pyongyang’s last such action three years ago, although it still opted for a non-binding “presidential statement” rather than a resolution. Read

Monday, April 16, 2012

Israel Tells Pro-Palestinian Activists to ‘Solve the Real Problems of the Region,’ Then Kicks Them Out

Left-wing activists who flew into Tel Aviv as part of a pro-Palestinian publicity stunt at the weekend were met with a letter from the Israeli government suggesting they devote their energies instead to humanitarian crises in Syria or Iran – and then wishing them a “nice flight.” Read

Mass Protests Brewing in Egypt, After 3 Leading Presidential Candidates Are Disqualified

Egypt’s convoluted presidential election campaign became even more muddled at the weekend with an official electoral body’s decision to disqualify 10 out of 23 candidates, including three tipped as strong possibilities to win. Read

Friday, April 13, 2012

Vietnam Mulls Rules That Would Compel Facebook, Google to Censor Data

Vietnam’s communist government is considering draft regulations that would compel companies like Facebook and Google to cooperate with the authorities in censoring content, and may force them to locate data centers in the country, according to a banned Vietnamese opposition group. Read

Thursday, April 12, 2012

NK Missile Launch: Clinton Expects ‘Appropriate Action’ From Security Council

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. will push for “appropriate action” by the U.N. Security Council should North Korea launch a long-range rocket, but the last time Pyongyang defied the world body in this way, the council struggled to come up with a strong response. Read

Negotiating With Pyongyang a ‘Fool’s Errand,’ Republican Says After Abortive Rocket Launch

North Korea’s launch of a multi-stage rocket Friday was evidently a dismal failure, according to Japanese officials who said the projectile crashed into the sea just over a minute into its flight. Read

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hook-Handed Terror Suspect One Step Closer to Trial in U.S.

The European Court of Human Rights has removed one more hurdle preventing the extradition to the United States of five suspected terrorists indicted in the U.S. on various charges between 1999 and 2006. Read

Conditions in U.S. Supermax Prison Better Than Most in Europe, European Court of Human Rights Finds

The Supermax prison in Colorado where the most dangerous criminals in America are incarcerated provides prisoners with more generous services and activities than do most prisons in Europe, says the European Court of Human Rights. Read

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

White House Mum on Iran As Obama Meets With Brazil’s President, Who Opposes Sanctions

In a week when international diplomacy is expected to focus on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the subject didn’t come up at all when President Obama and his Brazilian counterpart met with reporters on Monday. Read

Fla. Civil Rights Group Welcomes U.N. Official’s Call for Reparations in Trayvon Martin Case

A Florida advocacy group spearheading protests over the racially-charged Trayvon Martin shooting has welcomed the intervention of the United Nations’ human rights chief, who has called for the shooter to be put on trial and “reparations for the victims concerned.” Read

Monday, April 09, 2012

Dozens Die as Suspected Muslim Terrorists Target Easter Service in Nigeria

At least 36 people were killed in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state when a car bomb exploded near a church during an Easter Sunday service. Read

N. Korea Provokes U.S. With Planned Missile Launch, Suspected Moves Towards Nuclear Test

The United States hopes that talks tentatively scheduled for Friday will bring progress on the Iranian nuclear standoff, but the week looks set to be dominated instead by a crisis 4,000 miles further east, where North Korea’s plans to launch a “satellite” and Japan’s threats to shoot it down have ratcheted up tensions. Read

Friday, April 06, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Stands to Gain If Leading Islamist Is Forced Out of Egypt’s Presidential Race

Egypt’s historic presidential election campaign, already thrown into disarray by the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision to breach earlier pledges not to field a candidate, is now being roiled by calls for another leading Islamist contender to withdraw over his mother’s U.S. citizenship. Read

'Talibuns'? Hot Cross Buns With Islamic ‘Halal’ Symbol Spark Debate

Should Christians be upset if the packaging of their “hot cross buns” traditionally eaten at Easter carries the Islamic halal food certification symbol? Read

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Administration Eases Sanctions on Burma, Eager to Show Positive Results of Obama’s ‘Engagement’

Steps announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ease restrictions on Burma can be swiftly reversed if the regime backs away from reforms, a senior administration official said Wednesday. Read

Pakistani Radicals Plan Nationwide Protests Over U.S. Reward for Top Terror Suspect

Islamic radicals in Pakistan are planning nationwide protests on Friday following the U.S. government’s offer of a reward for “information leading to the arrest and conviction” of the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Read

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Int’l Criminal Court Decision on ‘Palestine’ Is a Victory for Israel and a Defeat for Amnesty International

A decision by the International Criminal Court rebuffing the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to have Israel put on trial for war crimes is a setback not only for the P.A. but also for a so-called “lawfare” campaign waged by some non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Read

U.N. Business-Class Travel Is Safe for Now, As Developing Nations Reject U.S.-Backed Spending Curbs

The Obama administration’s attempts – prodded by congressional Republicans – to reform the United Nations hit a brick wall this week when a bloc of developing countries pushed through a resolution blocking the U.N. secretariat from taking a series of steps to improve accountability and the responsible use of funds. Read

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Iranian Leader Convinces Turkey's PM That Islam Forbids Nukes

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s insistence that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons because Islam prohibits weapons of mass destruction appears to have convinced Turkey’s Islamist prime minister, but others remain skeptical. Read

Monday, April 02, 2012

Clinton Avoids Criticizing Decision of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to Run for Presidency

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sidestepped an opportunity Sunday to question the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision to abandon its pledge not to run for the Egyptian presidency in upcoming elections. This is the latest move by the veteran Islamist organization to consolidate its hold on the country. Read

Clinton Insists ‘Assad Must Go,’ As U.S. Agrees to Provide Non-Lethal Aid to Syrian Opposition

With the U.S. in the lead, the international community agreed Sunday to provide non-lethal material support to the Syria’s anti-government opposition, signaling a risky new phase in the crisis even as the Assad regime gives every indication that it intends to hang onto power. Read