Russia is trying to look tough at the U.N. Security Council this week, promising to reject a resolution backed by the European Union, the U.S. and the Arab League that calls for a political transition in Syria to end the violence there.* This is a new phase in Moscow’s efforts to defend its friend, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which included blocking an earlier resolution in October that threatened U.N. sanctions against Damascus. Yet while Russia can use its veto power to paralyze the council again, the diplomatic battle over Syria has highlighted its weakness in global affairs. The U.N. serves […]
Conditions in Libyan prisons have caused much controversy after Doctors Without Borders recently suspended its work in Misrata saying its medics were increasingly confronted with patients who suffered injuries caused by “torture” during questioning. World News Videos by NewsLook
The government in Edinburgh, Scotland is holding a public consultation on the terms of a ballot for the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence. First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond, who wants to hold the vote in the fall of 2014, intends to ask voters: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” The U.K. government insists that these matters must be decided in Westminster, home to the U.K. Parliament. But while they want to keep Great Britain as a united country, Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, wrote that they “will not stand in the […]
More than 1,300 prisoners in Kyrgyzstan are said to have sewn their lips together in protest of poor prison conditions. Nearly 7,000 prisoners are also engaged in a hunger strike.
On Jan. 15, in polling that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) characterized as not meeting the “fundamental principles of democratic elections,” the ruling Nur Otan party of Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbaev won just more than 80 percent of votes cast and 83 out of 108 seats in Kazakhstan’s lower house of parliament, the Majilis. The OSCE, which had the largest and longest election observation mission in the country, cited the exclusion of opposition parties as well as numerous problems with counting and other violations at some of the polling places they monitored in concluding that the […]
The International Criminal Court will decide over the next few days whether six men accused of orchestrating post-election violence in Kenya in 2008 should stand trial. Tens of thousands of people who fled the violence are still living in refugee camps. World News Videos by NewsLook
MONROVIA, Liberia — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to West Africa this week looking to highlight the Obama administration’s efforts to promote democratic institutions and credible elections. But in Liberia, a staunch ally that receives more than $200 million annually in American foreign assistance, the conversation in the run-up to the visit concerned a different policy: the first government-wide effort by the U.S. to combat the criminalization of homosexuality overseas. President Barack Obama signed a memorandum outlining the policy on Dec. 6. In a speech that day at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Clinton proclaimed that […]
Since taking office in March 2011, Myanmarese President U Thein Sein has taken steps to move the country away from the political repression and human rights abuses that have left it internationally isolated over the past five decades. His initial efforts led to a process of engagement with the U.S. that culminated in U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit late last year, the first by a U.S. secretary of state to the country in half a century. At the time, Clinton held out the hope of further engagement in exchange for continued progress on a variety of human rights […]
CAIRO — Increased hostility from Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) over the past few months has led the United States to begin preparing for a future without the Egyptian military. On Dec. 29, Egyptian security forces raided the offices of three U.S.-affiliated NGOs, in addition to 14 others, in what was widely seen as a politically motivated crackdown on pro-democracy and human rights organizations. “Actions like these are another reason why my Appropriations subcommittee refused to give a blank check of foreign aid to the Egyptian military,” U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy said […]
It has been 10 years since the first prisoners arrived at the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba. Some 779 prisoners have passed through the U.S. Naval base since it was designated as a location for holding men suspected of involvement in al Qaeda.
On Dec. 25, 43-year-old Yevgeny Shevchuk was elected president of Transnistria by a landslide, winning nearly 80 percent of the vote in a runoff after outmaneuvering two powerful and seasoned opponents. It was a triumph for democracy in a remote corner of Southeastern Europe that few outside the neighborhood would have had any reason to notice. But it is worth taking note, not only because Shevchuk is a young reformer in a part of the world groaning under entrenched oligarchies, but also because his successful campaign offers a larger lesson at a time when popular democratic movements are shaking the […]
The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the oldest armed rebel group in Ethiopia, announced earlier this week that it plans to drop its long-held demands for secession and instead work within the political system. The OLF’s move from insurgent activity to electoral competition is both surprising and significant, explains John Harbeson, an African Studies lecturer at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and emeritus professor of political science at the City University of New York. “It is a complete 180 from what at least a faction of the OLF has always wanted to do,” he said, pointing to the […]
Amateur video presented to Reuters shows Syrian protesters in setting up night camps in the main square of the city of Homs. The United Nations has said at least 5,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began last March. World News Videos by NewsLook
In 2011, Myanmar astonished the international community with a series of political openings that led even U.S. President Barack Obama to see “flickers of progress” in the country. The approval by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit last November of Myanmar’s bid to chair the regional bloc in 2014 and the historic visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the country seem to have launched a regional race for gaining a “special relationship” with the Myanmar authorities, themselves eager to attract new foreign investment. But it is doubtful that increased economic involvement with neighboring countries will […]