IRBIL, Iraq — A guard armed with a machine gun stands at the gate of the compound, which shares a high concrete wall with a prison at the rear. But inside the University of Kurdistan, the only English-language university in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, free minds are at work.Gates open to a freshly laid lawn area. Off to the right, a four-story steel-and-glass facility comes equipped with lockers, air-conditioned computer labs and prayer rooms. Faculty members and students say their college is a break from the Saddam Hussein era, when the curriculum was controlled from Baghdad. “Freedom of expression is the mark […]

U.S. NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — The recent conviction of Australian kangaroo-skinner turned globetrotting jihadist David Hicks may, at least temporarily, bring an end to years of judicial power struggles that have surrounded the creation of a special war crimes tribunal here. However, while the special tribunal will bring some form of justice for men like Hicks and other high-profile detainees — including admitted Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — the fate of hundreds of lesser-known prisoners is still undetermined. As Hicks inked a deal in late-March to plead guilty to providing material support for terrorism in exchange […]

BANGKOK, Thailand — The quaint 1956 Hollywood musical “The King and I,” which most people might regard as innocuous, probably would have been banned in Thailand under broadening definitions of “national security” now being cited by military coup leaders to justify their increasing censorship. But in any case, the movie, starring the late Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, is already outlawed under another device that curbs public opinion, the increasingly catch-all “les majeste” rule. Brynner’s singing and dancing routine has long been considered by the authorities to insult the institution of the Thai monarchy, and to distort Thai history. The […]

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe — At a meeting held in a Catholic church here Saturday, dissident and Christian leaders from Zimbabwe and around Africa called for the removal of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s 83-year-old president, and urged the country’s people to unite and fight for their rights. The prayer meeting was organized by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of churches, students, labor groups and opposition political parties that is fighting for democracy in Zimbabwe.In his speech at meeting at St. Patrick’sHall in Makokoba suburb, Rev. Morris Nduri, the secretary general ofMalawi┬┤s Presbyterian Church, was among those who said Zimbabweans should remove Mugabe’sgovernment […]

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe — President Robert Mugabe and his nation’s churches are set for a fresh confrontation this weekend following an activist group’s announcement that it will go ahead with a planned prayer meeting in the city of Bulawayo, little more than a month after police violently crushed a similar meeting in Harare, leaving one person dead and arresting scores. The meeting, planned by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, is scheduled for Saturday here in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city. The Save Zimbabwe Campaign is a coalition of churches, students, labor groups and political parties fighting for democracy in Zimbabwe. Gift Tandare, a member […]