Friday, November 30, 2012

Islamic Nations Try Again to Take Helm of U.N. Culture Agency

Unsuccessful in its previous attempt to install a Muslim as head of the U.N’s cultural agency, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) now is putting up a rival candidate in an effort to deny the current director-general a second term. Read

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just Nine Countries Oppose Upgrading of Palestinian Status at UN

In a major victory for Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Mahmoud Abbas, only nine countries in the 192-member U.N. General Assembly opposed a resolution Thursday granting “non-member observer state” status to the entity he partially administers. Read

Clinton Ducks Question on Why She Didn't Explain Benghazi on Sunday Shows

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday praised U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice – the target of Republican criticism relating to last September’s terror attack in Libya – and noted that the decision on her successor as secretary of state was President Obama’s. Read

British MP: NYT CEO Thompson’s ‘Failure to Get His Story Straight’ On BBC Child-Molestation Scandal Should Concern Paper's Staff

An independent inquiry into the BBC’s Jimmy Savile sex scandal is examining questions about what former BBC Director-General Mark Thompson knew about the alleged abuse before he left the British media organization in September to become CEO of the New York Times Co. Read

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Clinton Celebrating State Department’s 'Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies'

As she approaches the end of her tenure as America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday will address an event in keeping with her active role in promoting benefits for homosexuals in the foreign service. Read

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sever Ties With Iran or Risk Losing Funding, Advocacy Group Tells U.N. Agency

An advocacy group led by prominent U.S. foreign policy figures is urging a United Nations agency to stop funding projects that support the Iranian regime. Read

Saudi King Opens Religious Tolerance Center in Europe to 'Spread the Message of Islam'

A new Saudi-funded, Europe-based center for interreligious dialogue will be “a good medium to spread the message of Islam,” says the government-appointed imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque – a man who has stoked controversy in the past by calling Jews “monkeys and pigs” and Christians “cross worshippers.” Read

Monday, November 26, 2012

U.N., Russia Want Canceled Mideast WMD Conference to Be Held Within Months

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants a conference promoting a nuclear weapons-free Middle East – called off by the Obama administration on Friday – to take place in “early 2013.” Read

Sweden's Dreaming of a Gender-Neutral Christmas

Guns for girls and dolls for boys: Prodded by the country’s advertising standards watchdog, the Swedish franchisee for retail giant Toys “R” Us has adapted its Christmas catalogue to avoid accusations of gender stereotyping. Read

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gaza Conflict Rages Amid Ceasefire Push

After reports of an imminent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas proved premature overnight, Egyptian-brokered talks were set to continue on Wednesday. Read

Senator Presses Geithner on Plan to Raise $100B for Global Green Fund

Ahead of the next big international climate meeting, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner how the administration proposes the raise contributions to a $100 billion climate fund to which the U.S. signed up three years ago. Read

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In Burma, Obama Adapts His Language to Suit His Audience

President Obama, during his historic trip to Burma this week, raised eyebrows by using the regime’s preferred name for the country – “Myanmar” – but only when meeting with its leader, President Thein Sein. Read

Obama Administration Again Caught Between Its Allies Israel and Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s characteristically pugnacious condemnation of Israel over the latest conflict in Gaza has – not for the first time – placed the Obama administration in the awkward position of seeing two of its close Mideast allies at loggerheads. Read

Monday, November 19, 2012

Obama Suggests Israel's Plight Not a Result of Arab Spring 'Democratization'

President Obama on Sunday played down the notion that the conflict between Israel and Hamas has been complicated by “Arab spring” transitions in the Middle East. Read

U.S. Vows to Pursue Terrorist Suspected of Killing 5 Americans After Iraq Lets Him Go

The Obama administration vows it will “pursue all legal means” to bring to justice a top Hezbollah terrorist released by the Iraqis last week, but in the past -- when a Hezbollah member with American blood on his hands was freed and returned to Lebanon -- neither bounty offers nor appeals to Beirut succeeded in achieving such a goal. Read

Friday, November 16, 2012

China’s New Leader Pledges to Tackle Corruption; Mostly Silent on Foreign Relations

Acknowledging the need to tackle corruption and other domestic problems, China’s new leader Xi Jinping in his first public statements had little to say about relations with the rest of the world. Read

New Commander: Will Need More Than 1,000 Troops in Afghanistan After 2014

President Obama’s nominee for the post of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander in Afghanistan says he believes a U.S. role post-2014 could be carried out “with a fraction of the troops we have today,” but that one thousand personnel would be insufficient. Read

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Israeli PM Warns of ‘Heavy Price’ for Rocket Attacks From Gaza; U.S. Response Unclear

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday night that he would chose the time to inflict the “highest possible price” in response to days of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Read

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Senators Hit Back at Obama Over Rice, Benghazi: ‘You Failed as Commander in Chief’

In an escalating war of words over the administration’s handling of the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday President Obama had “failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack” and reiterated he would not support a cabinet post for “anyone who is up to their eyeballs in the Benghazi debacle.” Read

Questions About Libya, Syria Could Shake Up Anticipated Cabinet Hearings

President Obama reportedly may nominate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to top posts in a second-term cabinet, but getting the nominations through the Senate is expected to be an uphill battle. Read

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Europe Suspends Unilateral Airline Carbon Fee Scheme, Awaits a Global Deal

In a temporary admission of defeat in the face of strong opposition from the U.S. and elsewhere, the European Union announced Monday it will delay a plan to charge foreign airlines for “greenhouse gases” emitted during flights to and from European airspace, a move critics labeled a breach of U.S. sovereignty. Read

US Re-Elected to UN Rights Council, With Less Support Than Gabon, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Venezuela

The balance of power at the United Nations was graphically illustrated again Monday when the United States and two other nations in the Western group obtained the smallest number of votes out of the 18 countries elected onto the world body U.N.’s flagship human rights body. Read

Monday, November 12, 2012

Activist Group Uneasy About Obama’s Burma Visit

A Burmese democracy activist and former political prisoner has urged President Obama to reconsider his trip to Burma next week, warning that rewarding it with an unprecedented presidential visit so soon after it launched a process of reform will strengthen the regime and undermine opposition forces. Read

Rejecting Obama’s Request, Abbas Presses Ahead With U.N. ‘Palestine’ Application

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas rejected a direct appeal by President Obama on Sunday night to drop his plan to seek upgraded status for “Palestine” at the United Nations within days, an Abbas spokesman said. Read

Friday, November 09, 2012

‘Final’ Talks on Global Arms Treaty Move Ahead, With U.S. Support

Hours after President Obama’s re-election, a United Nations committee approved a resolution to hold a “final” conference in March aimed at delivering a global conventional arms trade treaty. The United States voted in favor. Read

Sudan Elected to Influential U.N. Body, Gets More Votes Than U.S.

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday elected Sudan – whose president is accused of war crimes -- to an influential body whose powers include choosing members for agencies dealing with women and children, and accrediting civil society groups wanting to participate in sessions of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Read

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Russian Leaders Pleased Someone Who Views Russia as ‘Enemy’ Won’t Be President

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated President Obama on his re-election victory and “expressed his hopes for continued constructive work together,” the Kremlin said in a statement Wednesday. Read

New Senate Unlikely to Favor Law of the Sea Treaty

Despite Republican setbacks in a number of U.S. Senate races in Tuesday’s election, the next Democrat-dominated Senate looks even less likely than the current one to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, whose official acronym is UNCLOS, although many opponents prefer LOST. Read

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Culture Wars: Mixed Results for Abortion, Marriage and Marijuana Ballot Measures

Americans across the nation had their say on scores of state ballot measures on Tuesday, covering issues ranging from marriage to immigration, and from abortion to Obamacare. Read

Four More Years: ‘There’s a Lot More Work To Do,’ Obama Tells Supporters

Barack Obama will serve a second term as president of the United States, Fox News projected around 11:20 p.m. U.S. eastern time Tuesday, shortly after calling the crucial swing state of Ohio for the incumbent. The Associated Press reported his victory minutes later. Read

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Pakistan’s Top General Warns of Attempts to Undermine Military

In comments viewed in Pakistan as a veiled threat against an increasingly forthright judiciary, the country’s powerful armed forces chief warned Monday against any efforts to undermine the military. Read

Israeli Paper: Obama Adviser Valerie Jarrett Holding Secret Talks With Iran

In the final presidential debate, President Obama dismissed reports about an agreement to hold one-on-one talks with Iranian officials after the election, but now, two weeks later, fresh claims have emerged on the eve of Tuesday’s election, this time tying senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to alleged secret talks with representatives of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Read

Monday, November 05, 2012

Draft Egyptian Constitution Makes Gender Equality Conditional on Shari’a

Egyptian women who joined their male compatriots in the protest movement that brought down the Mubarak regime face the likelihood that a new national constitution will retain a provision making gender equality in the country conditional on shari’a (Islamic law). Read

Axelrod on Why Obama Campaigned Hours After Benghazi: ‘Everything Was Put in Motion That He Could Put in Motion’

President Obama returned to the campaign trail hours after terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate and a safe house in Benghazi, killing four Americans, because “everything was put in motion that he could put in motion,” Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday. Read

Friday, November 02, 2012

Int’l Election Observers Grumble, But Agree Not to Enter U.S. Polling Places Where Law Forbids

The multinational body planning to observe next Tuesday’s elections says its monitors won’t enter polling stations in states where that would be illegal – but adds that laws barring their entry are not in line with America’s international commitments. Read

Administration Backs Away from Brotherhood-Dominated Syrian Opposition

The Obama administration has withdrawn its support for the Syrian National Council, following months of growing concerns about its domination by Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Read

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Russia Accuses U.S. of Hypocrisy Over Foreign Election Observers

Scenting an opportunity for payback after years of criticism from Washington, Russia on Wednesday used a dispute over foreign monitoring of next week’s elections to accuse the United States of undemocratic practices and hypocrisy. Read

State Dept. Has ‘Great Respect’ for Islamic Charity, But Declines Terrorist’s Offer of Help for Storm Victims

The State Department Wednesday expressed “great respect” for Islamic charitable traditions, but declined a terrorist’s offer to dispatch “doctors, relief and rescue experts, food and medicine” to help Americans affected by super storm Sandy. Read