Iran produces a wealth of homegrown popular movies, music andliterature. Iranian popular culture thrives under the watchful eyes ofgovernment censors — in part by creatively pushing the boundaries ofwhat is permissible, and in part by using the Internet and technology to avoid those limitsaltogether. Worldfocus correspondent Bigan Saliani and producer Richard O’Regan report.
In an interview with PBS’ Nightly Business Report, Saudi Arabian oilminister Ali al-Naimi talks about his country’s plans to move beyond aneconomy that is so heavily dependent on oil, and about the opening of themulti-billion dollar King Abdullah University for Science andTechnology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.
Imagine a day, perhaps sometime in the next year and a half, when world leaders triumphantly proclaim that an agreement has at long last been reached in the Doha Round of global trade negotiations. Hosannas pour forth from editorial writers and commentators, all declaring that after so many disappointments and failures since the talks were first launched in 2001, the breakthrough accord heralds a giant leap forward for global commerce and international economic cooperation. Could it happen? Glimmers of hope have emerged from the World Trade Organization in recent months that a compromise may be in the offing, one loosely […]
The U.N. climate change negotiations currently underway and set to conclude in Copenhagen late in 2009 seek to establish new arrangements in anticipation of the termination of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. According to our current understanding of the science, a successful outcome to these negotiations is critical to maintaining a stable climate, even if the estimates of the costs of damage from inaction vary widely. The negotiations are currently beset by a series of obstacles. But if these are overcome, the resulting agreement will change the global landscape in terms of trade, politics and the entire international system. The […]
In recent years, Brazil has put forward a more ambitious foreign policy with the aim of expanding the country’s presence in global economic negotiations, multilateral institutions and regimes, and regional affairs.  An active presidential diplomacy has spearheaded this approach, concerned with simultaneously deepening ties with the industrialized economies and the emergent South. Relations have been reshaped with the United States and the European Union, ties have been deepened with China and India, South-South multilateralism has been renewed and an unprecedented presence in South America has been asserted. A diversified set of “external fronts” has also led to an innovative […]
During the last five decades, Colombia’s foreign, defense and strategic priorities have been driven and determined by the country’s internal armed conflict, with the “War on Drugs” becoming the dominant paradigm from the 1980s onwards. This, in turn, has defined Colombia’s relations with Latin America — particularly, in recent years, with its Andean neighbors, Ecuador and Venezuela — as well as its relationship with the United States and Europe. Colombia’s struggle to stem cocaine production, its fight against the drug cartels that sprung up around the drug trade, and its war against the largest and longest-running guerrilla insurgency in Latin […]
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hosted a meeting on Global Food Security Sept. 26 in New York, with leaders from 130 countries. Ban and Clinton jointly introduced a proposal at the meeting titled “Partnering for Food Security: Moving Forward.” The thrust of the initiative is to take a more preventative and less reactive approach toward food security. “We will continue of course to invest in the crises and emergencies, but we want to begin to try to alleviate the crises and the emergencies by once again enabling people to feed themselves,” Clinton said at […]
At the TED Global Conference in Oxford, England, Parag Khanna looks atinternational borders, globalization, and how to create a prosperous,peaceful and integrated world. By looking at the “Invisible Maps”behind political borders, Khanna demonstrates how economic, demographicand cultural factors — such as Chinese migration into Russia, and theconstruction of oil and gas pipelines in the Mideast and Central Asia– are shaping the geopolitical future.
After two days of high-profile meetings and deliberation last week, the G-20 managed to make official something everyone already knew: the United States and Europe can no longer effectively manage the whims of the global economy on their own. To that end, the group reached consensus on two major fronts: 1) the more diverse G-20 should effectively replace the Western-dominated G-8 as the world’s primary economic coordinating body; and, 2) voting power within the IMF should be reformed to give greater voice to emerging powers. Stop the presses, right? Yes and no. This is big news, but not necessarily new […]
BERLIN — After four years of an uncomfortable alliance with the liberal Social Democratic Party marked more by inaction that by any major initiatives, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrat party won a sweeping victory in federal elections here yesterday, putting the legislative pieces in place to make significant policy changes in her second term. The pro-business Free Democrats pulled off a major upset, winning enough votes to form a grand coalition with the CDU. Meanwhile, the election marked a major defeat for the SDP, with party candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier calling for a reassessment of the party’s […]
President Barack Obama’s performance at the United Nations last week was widely hailed — and condemned — as a clear departure from that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. His most telling statement spoke volumes about the limits of U.S. power in an interdependent world: “Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone.” Subtext? Atlas has put down the heavy globe and has neither the intention nor the wherewithal to pick it up again. If that makes for an uncertain age, it’s […]
BERLIN — Just days ahead of Sunday’s general election that will decide the next German chancellor, there is a noticeable lack of interest among the public, the media, and even the candidates themselves,. The widespread indifference comes at a time when Germany nevertheless faces a number of difficult issues, including an unpopular war in Afghanistan and the country’s tenuous economic recovery. Christian Democrat (CDU) Angela Merkel, the sitting chancellor, has essentially chosen not to campaign. She has made few public statements other than that she would prefer to form a coalition with the more conservative Free Democrats over the liberal […]
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama said, “It is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009 — more than at any point in human history — the interests of nations and peoples are shared.” By this logic, American interests and American power around the world — which this column sets out every week to measure — depend on cooperation. The General Assembly presents an ideal opportunity to consider how much that cooperation is possible. As ever, consensus eludes us. The New York Times, for instance, sided with the argument […]
NEW DELHI — With the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) decimated in the northern provinces of Sri Lanka, India is now seeking greater involvement in the welfare of the Tamils in the island country. New Delhi is looking to supply electricity, rehabilitate and resettle displaced Tamils, and rebuild infrastructure in general. And this month, Rahul Gandhi, the general secretary of the ruling Congress party and son of the all-powerful Sonia Gandhi, emphasized that India will do everything in its power to protect the rights of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. “The central government is applying as much pressure […]
Brazil celebrated Independence Day twice this year: once on Sept. 7, the anniversary of its independence from Portuguese rule, but also a week before, on Aug. 31, when President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva declared the country “free” from poverty’s dominion, delivered by oil. President Lula’s “New Independence Day” accompanied his government’s announcement of a proposed overhaul of regulations governing the country’s oil and gas industry. The new regulatory model, Lula said, would “allow the government to become the owner of the petroleum.” Specifically, the proposal dealt with Brazil’s effort to increase its regulatory and fiscal control over the development […]
When the heads of state of the G-20 nations meet in Pittsburgh, Pa., later this week, it will mark nearly six months since the group’s previous meeting in London last April, and just over one year since the collapse of Lehman Brothers last September. At the time of the London Summit, the world was still in the throes of an unfolding crisis, leading the group to adopt a triage strategy. That amounted to essentially stopping the global economy and its credit markets from flat-lining. Accordingly, the major decision to come out of the April meeting was a $1.1 trillion global […]