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A law under consideration by Ugandan authorities to criminalize homosexual behavior and punish it with severe penalties is drawing fire from the international human rights community, gay-rights advocates and Western governments. “Certain provisions in this bill are illegal; they are also immoral. They criminalize a sector of society for being who they are, when what the government should be doing instead is protecting them from discrimination and abuse,” Kate Sheill, an Amnesty International sexual rights expert, said in a press release. Officials from countries including the U.S., the U.K., Canada and France have publicly opposed the law. Rights groups were […]

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– China’s defense minister gets face time with Kim Jong-Il on the third day of his visit to North Korea. – A high-ranking Chinese military envoy was in Moscow for discussions with Russia’s defense minister. – A high-ranking Chinese political envoy was in Quito to discuss deepening ties with Ecuador. Among the deals signed was a credit line for Ecuador to purchase Chinese military aircraft. That’s pretty remarkable, given the extent to which Ecuador’s military has historically been U.S.-trained, equipped and oriented. (Little-known fact: There’s a small but visible Chinese expat population spread throughout Ecuador. Second little-known fact: Ecuadoran-style Chinese […]

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– China’s foreign minister visits Japan for the first time since the DPJ took power. – China and Vietnam agree to boost economic ties. – China and Burma agree to establish railroad and banking links to facilitate resource flow. – Remarks by President Barack Obama in Korea reflect how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have transformed U.S. forces stationed there — like the Army reserves back home — into an operational, as opposed to a strategic, reserve. – The leader of the Hurriyat, a Kashmir political coalition advocating for self-determination, declared his support for the U.S.-China joint declaration regarding […]

It is a strange kind of republic in which presidents serve for life. It is an even stranger one in which rulers inherit power from their fathers. Yet, that is the direction in which the Arab Republic of Egypt is headed. Egypt has experienced hereditary rule for millennia, from the pharaohs who began their reign 5,000 years ago to most (but not all) of the dynastic rulers who have called Cairo home for the last thousand years. The dissolution of the Egyp­tian monarchy in 1952 marked a turning point in Egyptian politics, ushering in military control and eliminating privileges that […]

In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the annual arrival of the holiday season brings with it the sinking realization that no matter the developments of the preceding 12 months, the end of the year will be accompanied by more violence, more sexual assault and more displacement of the civilian populations living in the shadow of the darkly beautiful volcanoes in the Kivu provinces. This year’s tragedy is tinged peacekeeper blue. The world’s largest and most expensive U.N. peacekeeping mission, MONUC, has now conducted nine months of joint operations with the Congolese army, the FARDC. But that dismal and undisciplined force […]

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– Thought Chechnya was “pacified”? Think again. Violence has spiked since Russia officially ended its 10-year counterterror mission there in April. (The implications for Iraq seem ominous.) – It’s been a violent week for Chechnya’s North Caucasus neighbors, too, with attacks reported in Ingushetia, Dagestan and North Ossetia. – Japan continues its checkbook diplomacy, pledging $5.55 billion to the Mekong states: Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and, yes, Burma. Among the reasons for the aid given by Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama are China’s growing influence and America’s greater interest in the region. Interesting . . . Chinese influence, American interest. […]

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– South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak rules out a North-South summit without an end to the DPRK nuclear program. – The EU and India set ambitious goals for bilateral trade, but a long-negotiated free trade deal is still being held up by disagreements over EU demands on regulatory standards (a major component of EU soft power). At the same summit, the two sides signed a civil nuclear agreement on fusion research. – Another Indian free trade agreement, this one with South Korea, is set to take effect now that South Korea’s parliament just ratified the deal. Trade between the two […]

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More bad news for the A400M: South Africa just cancelled its order of eight of them. That’s also bad news for African peacekeeping missions, though, of which there aren’t any shortage these days. In the meantime, South Africa upgraded its fleet of 1963-vintage C130Bs. (Nothing a little duct tape can’t fix, I imagine.) What if one day someone threw a war and nobody could get to it?

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This is a new feature we’re going to experiment with here on the blog, with the help of our intrepid editorial assistant, Kari Lipschutz. The idea is to catch significant news in the foreign English-language media, before it shows up in Western outlets. So, yes, it amounts to yet another news roundup. But we’re going to try to justify it by delivering not so much breaking news as developing news. In the context of Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect, we’re trying to catch the butterfly before it becomes a monsoon. So with that in mind, here goes: – Is […]

Late last month, Mitiku Kassa, Ethiopia’s agriculture minister, appealed to the international community for $175 million in emergency food aid to feed the 6.2 million people who are in the grip of severe drought there. Since famine killed 1 million Ethiopians 25 years ago, the country has remained in a cycle of drought-driven crises keeping it dependent on foreign aid. The U.S. is no stranger to assisting Ethiopia: It provides nearly 80 percent of food aid delivered to the country and began food shipments in anticipation of the government’s latest request. But while food aid addresses the immediate need, feeding […]

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Another lawfare development to keep your eye on, this one in South Africa. Apparently the investigations that went into the Goldstone Report also turned up evidence of South African nationals fighting in Gaza on behalf of the IDF. It’s not clear from the article in what capacity they were fighting, that is, whether they were contractors, mercenaries or Jewish South Africans who enlisted in the IDF out of solidarity. In any event, a group of South African lawyers is trying to build the case for a war crimes investigation. We’ve already seen some of the legal difficulties that have arisen […]

Much ink has been spilt over the question of whether or not globalization leads to the “death” of the nation-state, or at least its eclipse by a rising tide of super-empowered non-state actors — especially multinational corporations. On this score, history has been fairly clear: States that score high on globalization connectivity typically feature governments with extensive regulatory reach and strong enforcement capacity — not exactly the demise of the public sector. And yet, it’s also true that globalization’s increasingly dense weave of networks poses significant challenges to government oversight. I can think of no credible expert who argues that […]