Voters in Egypt gave themselves a jolt during the first round of voting in the country’s presidential election. As soon as the smoke began to clear and a picture of the electoral tally emerged, a sense of bafflement was quickly followed by frustration and anger as the dominant emotions. Almost everyone had reason to dislike the outcome. A disappointment for liberals was expected, but Islamist politicians also saw reason to worry in the voters’ verdict. Like a smoldering battlefield, the electoral landscape was littered with the injured and the wounded. If the results of the vote held on May 25-26 […]

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UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, arriving in Damascus Monday, said he was “horrified” by a weekend massacre in Houla in which more than 100 were killed. He called on Syrians with weapons to lay down their arms. World News Videos by NewsLook

Chen Guangcheng, the civil rights activist who made headlines when he sought refuge at the American Embassy in Beijing arrived in the United States over the weekend. The incident strained ties between the U.S. and China, particularly as negotiations over Chen’s future drew international attention to human rights abuses in China, and Beijing demanded an apology for what it called interference in internal matters. But human rights advocates call the story a success in a region where human rights advocacy has proved to be a major challenge for the U.S. “When it comes to advocating for human rights, the U.S. […]

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Yulia Tymoshenko’s hunger strike to protest her alleged assault in the prison where she is serving a sentence on charges of abuse of power returned the former prime minister to the center of growing tensions between Ukraine and the European Union. Her case has further damaged already strained ties between the EU and Ukraine, a member of the Eastern Partnership initiative that the EU launched in 2009, in part to promote human rights in six post-Soviet states. In addition to Ukraine, the other participating states are Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova. For Nicu Popescu and Jana Kobzova, both experts […]

The saga of Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist who sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing this past week, is still unfolding. Yet the Obama administration appears to have encountered its own version of President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Hungary 1956” moment: the point at which idealistic rhetoric about U.S. support for freedom and democracy collides with the harsh realities of U.S. national interests. As long as Chen was detained in internal exile in the village of Dongshigu, he was an out-of-sight martyr for whom rhetorical support could easily be expressed without too much risk of damaging the larger Sino-American […]

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Chinese President Hu Jintao tried to take back center stage after the case of blind fugitive activist Chen Guangcheng threatened to overshadow the opening of the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue talks between the United States and China in Beijing. World News Videos by NewsLook

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Over the weekend, tens of thousands Malaysian demonstrators took to the streets to demand electoral reforms from the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Najib Razak. The rally, which ended with Malaysian police arresting more than 450 people amid charges of police brutality, raised questions about whether the government might delay its plans to call early elections. Although elections do not need to be held until April 2013, Najib, who has been working to improve his image and bolster public support for his ruling coalition, was expected to hold the polls as early as June. “The enormous turnout indicates that there […]