Archive for October, 2009


NEWS: Afternoon Int’l News Roundup 10.23.09

October 23, 2009

East Asia

N Korea human rights ‘abysmal’ [BBC]

Japan FM: US Marine base should stay on Okinawa [WP]

–Funny picture of Okada and Mullen comparing hand size on this article.


NATO agrees need to boost effort to Afghan transition [Reuters]

Refusing runoff would be ‘insulting democracy,’ Karzai says [CNN]

Middle East

Iran fails to accept U.N.-drafted nuclear deal [Reuters]


Israel asks UN chief to nix Gaza war crimes report [AFP]


Economists revolt over surprise recession data [Times of London]

David Miliband set to sink Tony Blair’s hopes of EU presidency [Evening Standard]

Czechs, NATO back new US missile defense plan [WP]


U.S. Arrests Hundreds in Raids on Drug Cartel [NYT]

Honduras talks collapse again over Zelaya’s return [WP]


LINK: “Migrants help the countries they leave and those to which they move”

October 22, 2009

TheEconomist Migrants help the countries they leave and those to which they move. New videographic on YouTube #migration


NEWS: Morning Int’l News Roundup 10.22.09

October 22, 2009

Even more going on this morning —

East Asia

US defense secretary says NKorea still a threat [AP]

Two Koreas held secret talks for summit: report [Reuters]

U.S. pressures Japan on military package [WP]

China cracks down on Chongqing’s gangsters [CNN]

Middle East

Iranian officials accept draft deal on uranium transfer [WP]

Draft nuclear deal is a victory for Iran [Haaretz]

Senior Iran MP casts doubt on atom fuel deal [Reuters]

South/SE Asia

India: Climate deal can’t sacrifice poor nations [AP]

US Burma trip begins long process [BBC]


Now, a Cheney surge: Blasts Obama for Afghan ‘dithering,’ delays and indecision [LAT]

NATO chief demands greater efforts in Afghanistan [Reuters]

Election officials deliver Afghan runoff ballots [WP]


Pirates hijack cargo ship near Seychelles [CNN]

China mulls military options over hijacked ship [Reuters]


EU to sanction Guinea junta over opposition massacre [Deutsche Welle]

Karadzic plans to boycott trial [BBC]

The Other Tug Of War With Russia: Viktor Bout [TIME]

Postal workers promise fresh misery with new three-day strike [WSJ]

Americas/Domestic Incl.

Pay Czar to Slash Compensation at Seven Firms [WSJ]

More die amid Rio slum violence [BBC]

Fuel Oil Is Spilled Into Gulf of Mexico [NYT]

Polls: Chavez’s popularity slips in Venezuela [WP]


NEWS: Afternoon Int’l News Roundup 10.21.09

October 21, 2009

Lots this morning going on…enjoy!

East Asia

N. Korea ‘more lethal’ as it continues nuclear pursuit, proliferation: Gates [Yonhap]

“The threat posed by North Korea has become “more lethal and destabilizing” as the country continues to pursue nuclear arms and missiles while spreading related knowledge, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.”

Gates pushes Japan on U.S. troop shift plan [Reuters]

“It is time to move on,” Gates said at a news conference with Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa after they held talks on alliance issues. “This may not be the perfect alternative for anyone, but it is the best alternative for everyone.”

China: Detainees ‘Disappeared’ After Xinjiang Protests [HRW]

“The Chinese government should immediately account for all detainees in its custody and allow independent investigations into the July 2009 protests in Urumqi and their aftermath, Human Rights Watch said in a new report on enforced “disappearances” released today.”

China’s army to recruit 130,000 college grads [Reuters]

Hijacked Chinese bulk carrier heading northwest [Xinhua]


Supreme Court to hear Uighurs’ case [NYT]

“The Supreme Court set aside the objections of the Obama administration and said Tuesday that it will consider whether judges have the power to release Guantanamo Bay detainees into the United States if they have been deemed not to be “enemy combatants.” LA Times Coverage


Afghan president’s rival accepts Nov. 7 runoff [WP]

“The runner-up in Afghanistan’s election agreed on Wednesday to a second round of voting, a day after President Hamid Karzai conceded that widespread fraud erased his first-round majority.”

Kerry Wins Obama’s Praise for Brokering Afghan Election Runoff [WSJ]

Afghan poll fraud officials fired [BBC]

“Earlier Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the BBC the UN wanted 200 top poll officials who were complicit in fraud replaced to make the vote credible.”

Pakistan Closes Schools, Colleges After Twin Bombings [WSJ]

“Pakistan closed schools nationwide for five days after suicide bombers struck a university in the capital, a step that may further erode public tolerance for the country’s Islamic militant movement.”

Pakistan hits Taliban; urges NATO to seal border [Reuters]

“Pakistani helicopter gunships attacked Taliban bases near the Afghan border on Wednesday as the army urged NATO forces to seal the frontier to stem cross-border movement of militants.”


Israel hardens stance on U.N. Gaza report [WP]

Israel hardened its opposition Tuesday to international calls for an independent inquiry into its offensive in the Gaza Strip last winter, saying it would urge the United States to stop the issue from advancing at the United Nations.”

Palestinian president to set Jan. election date [AP]
“Mahmoud Abbas told journalists in Cairo he will set the date in a presidential decree Sunday.
Hamas, which wants the voting delayed, dismissed Abbas’ announcement as an attempt to pressure the group into an agreement to end a bitter two-year division between the two sides that has interfered with peace talks with Israel and hampered reconstruction of war damage in Gaza.”

Middle East

Diplomats: Iranian negotiators back uranium deal [AP]

“Iranian negotiators on Wednesday expressed support for a deal that – if accepted by their leaders – would delay Tehran’s ability to make nuclear weapons by sending most of its existing enriched uranium to Russia for processing, diplomats said.”

Iran, powers have till Friday to OK nuclear deal [Reuters] The U.N. nuclear watchdog on Wednesday presented a draft deal to Iran and three world powers for approval within two days to reduce Tehran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, seen by the West as a nuclear weapons risk.”


Poland ready to accept new US missile defense deal [AP]

“Standing alongside U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Poland’s prime minister said Wednesday his country was ready to participate in the Obama administration’s revamped plan for a U.S. missile defense shield in Europe.”

UK lawyer says Lockerbie bomber still alive [AP]

“Sky News television reported Wednesday that the former Libyan intelligence agent had died, but lawyer Tony Kelly said the report was incorrect.”

British-chartered plane takes Afghan migrants home [Guardian]

“Flight takes off from Paris as joint immigration crackdown prompts anger in France.”

EU states downgraded in press freedom index [EU Observer]

“Press freedom in several European countries has eroded dramatically in the past year, particularly in Slovakia, Italy and Bulgaria, according to an annual index released on Tuesday (20 October) by NGO Reporters Without Borders.”


Ecowas Suspends Niger Republic [AllAfrica]


Police say total 29 dead in Rio drug violence [Reuters]


NEWS: Morning Int’l News Roundup 10.20.09

October 20, 2009

Morning International News Roundup 10.20.09 – get some!

East Asia

N. Korean diplomat arrives in Beijing en route to U.S. [Yonhap]
“Ri Gun, director general of the North American affairs bureau at North Korea’s foreign ministry, is reportedly scheduled to meet Sung Kim, the U.S. special envoy on the six-way nuclear talks, in San Diego on the sidelines of an academic seminar slated for Oct. 26-27.”

Ri Gun - NK Nuclear Negotiator

Ri Gun - NK Nuclear Negotiator

North Koreans quit Danish embassy in Hanoi for South Korea [Reuters]
“Nine North Koreans who took refuge in Denmark’s embassy in Hanoi nearly four weeks ago have left the mission and are on their way to South Korea, a Danish consular official said Tuesday.”

Gates: Disputed US airfield should stay on Okinawa [AP]
“Pentagon chief Robert Gates did not specifically mention the controversy over the Futenma base…during brief public remarks with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. But he made clear that the Obama administration would frown on any action by Tokyo to block a new runway at another base on Okinawa when Futenma is closed.”

Central/South Asia
Battle intensifies as Taliban retake Pakistani town

Karzai Expected to Agree to Runoff [WP]
“Obama administration officials said they expect Afghan President Hamid Karzai to announce Tuesday that he will accept a runoff in his country’s disputed election, after the invalidation of nearly a million of his votes by the commission investigating fraud in the Aug. 20 race.”

Middle East
Iran honors Guards killed in attack, blames U.S
Iran‘s military accused the United States and Israel of terrorism as it held a funeral on Tuesday for high-ranking commanders killed in the deadliest attack in the Islamic Republic since the 1980s.”

Obama’s Secret  Iran Talks [TIME]
“President Barack Obama has a personal stake in the outcome of Monday’s meeting in Vienna between Western and Iranian nuclear experts on the future of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium. That’s because, Administration sources tell TIME, Obama personally weighed in three times during secret, multiparty negotiations with the Iranians over the last four months.”

Abbas says to issue decree for Palestinian vote [Reuters]
“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday he would issue a decree on Sunday to hold elections by January 24, a move that could raise pressure on Hamas to sign an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal.”

Pope Approves Plan to Oversee Anglican Conversions
“A new canonical entity will allow Anglicans “to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”

Berlusconi sparks feminist backlash in Italy [Reuters]
“Silvio Berlusconi’s cutting remark about a female rival’s lack of beauty has stirred a rare public backlash from thousands of Italian women who had largely kept silent about the prime minister’s womanizing and sex scandals.
About 97,000 Italian women have signed the “Women offended by the premier” appeal after Berlusconi told the matronly, bespectacled leftist Rosy Bindi that she was “more beautiful than intelligent” in a swipe at both her looks and brains.”

UK govt in uproar over exposure given far right [AP]
“To the outrage of many Britons, a white-supremacist fringe party riding a wave of electoral success has been invited to participate in a BBC prime-time TV show on politics.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party government says it is appalled that the far right British National Party will get such high-profile exposure to millions of viewers. The BBC, however, says as a publicly funded broadcaster it must cover all political parties that have a national presence.”

BNP membership list appears on Wikileaks [Guardian]
“Nick Griffin says list of thousands of names, plus addresses and phone numbers, is ‘malicious forgery’.”

The Americas
Honduras de facto government scolds Zelaya, talks stall
“The de facto Honduran government relaxed curbs on protests and media on Monday but toughened criticism of ousted President Manuel Zelaya as talks to end a three-month political crisis stalled.”


The BNP: If you can’t change their minds, change their constitution

October 16, 2009

Surprisingly absent from the major non-British news outlets yesterday and today has been the revelatory news that the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission has moved to force the British National Party to revamp their constitution to allow non-white, non-Anglican membership.

For those Americans not familiarized with this small, yet frighteningly burgeoning movement, a few minutes on their website should tell you all that you need to know. Staunchly anti-immigration, fiercely and dogmatically  “moral”, and with the innate ability to distort and deflect the causes of all domestic problems to “foreign scoundrels” –  including welfare abuse, environmental damage, and war – the BNP has supported such policies as excluding Turkey from the European Union due to the threat of British “Islamification.”

But the real reason the world should sit up and keep an eye on the BNP are its two new members of the EU parliament – two men whose sheer presence, on the continent-wide governing body which they morally abhore, is a contradiction in terms. This newfound celebrity has caused the Equality and Human Rights Commission to review the BNP outdated constitution, one which still states that “membership of the BNP is strictly defined within the terms of, and our members also self define themselves within, the legal ambit of a defined ‘racial group’ this being ‘Indigenous Caucasian’ and defined ‘ethnic groups’ emanating from that Race as specified in law in the House of Lords case of
Mandla V Dowell Lee (1983) 1 ALL ER 1062, HL.”

The BNP’s agreement to change membership requirements to include all regardless of race, gender, and religion will be monitored by the EHRC over the coming months. The BNP eastern regional spokesman, Chris Roberts, said this of the ruling, “I just believe its another obstacle thrown into our way by the Lib-Lab-Con elite that now we are taking votes from them they are trying to put us out of business.” In a statement released yesterday, the party went onto state that the EHRC’s actions were “highly malicious and clearly politically motivated.”

Individual members of the party even went out of their way to show their “support” of the changes, giving ethnic minorities a little taste of how it would be to apply for membership. On one anti-BNP website called “Nothing British,” BNP activists have already posted comments calling the EHRC “Nazis.”

Who says the BNP spouts racist sentiment?

Who says the BNP spouts racist sentiment?

Pundits in the UK and around the world have taken this opportunity to air their complaints with the BNP’s many inflammatory statements and policies – and also to question the true ability of the EHRC’s ruling to affect any real change within the party.  George Pitcher, Religion Editor of Telegraph Media, commentated that “the BNP will still have its racist policies, even with smiling Sikhs, Muslims and Rastafarians in its membership” and “the EHRC hasn’t thought this through.”

Although I can agree with Pitcher on the fact that the ENRC’s plan might be unrealistic, Pitcher’s flouting of its efficacy in the face of BNP racist propaganda is inappropriate. I doubt, in the first place, that “smiling Sikhs, Muslims and Rastafarians” will be lining up to join the BNP. What American non-Caucasian would apply for KKK membership simply because the charter is changed to tolerate their mere presence? Also, in principle the EHRC must and should address issues like racist and xenophobic language in political party membership charters. It’s the Commission’s job. Although it probably won’t change the composition of the Party in the short or long-term, the verbal thrashing this ruling gives to the deleterious effects of home-grown, domestic facism is one that should be praised.

Perhaps the bottom-line truly is, I will stand behind an organization that champions a “fairer Britain” by “providing advice and guidance, working to implement an effective legislative framework and raising awareness of your rights” against any whose leader proudly states, “We are 100 per cent racist, yes.”


NEWS: Morning Int’l News Roundup 10.16.09

October 16, 2009

North Korea invites U.S. envoy for talks: report
[Reuters] – Kyodo scoop
Koreas fail to agree on more family reunions, North requests aid

Five guilty in Sydney terrorism trial

Turf Wars: Why Pakistan’s military hates America’s new aid package
Pakistan Attacks Kill at Least 39
Karzai Aide Says Afghan Runoff Vote Is Likely
Clinton: Recommendations of Afghan electoral commission should be followed
Runoff Called More Likely in Afghan Vote

Iranian go-slow dims deal chances at Vienna atom talks

Middle East Peace Process
UN vote sends Gaza war report to Security Council

Zimbabwe PM boycotts unity government
Nigeria: Country Wins UN Security Council Seat

No Honduras deal yet on Zelaya return after coup