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Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is a city that brings to mind three images: hospitality, khachapuri (a delicious cheese-filled heart attack encased in dough), and George W. Bush, whose larger-than-life visage graced the surface of numerous billboards on the stretch of road that linked the airport to the city in August 2005. The billboards went up after Bush visited Georgia in May 2005, and not long after that, this main drag officially became “George W. Bush Street.” Cab drivers got a kick out of pointing to the billboards and giving Americans smiles — the type people give each other to […]

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The good news is that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica turned up at the regional security forum in Malaysia. The bad news is that she broke with a 12-year tradition and didn’t give an amusing after-dinner performance. Her State Department predecessors were much more entertaining at the annual networking event of the Association of South East Nations (ASEAN). Madeleine Albright did an Eva Peron impersonation, and Colin Powell is remembered for singing the disco music hit YMCA. But Rice played a somber Brahms sonata on the piano in Kuala Lumpur to reflect, she said, the grim situation in the […]

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Taking a cue from comedy duo Laurel and Hardy or, perhaps more accurately, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Pootie-Poot and Dubya’s foibles took center stage at the Group of 8 (G8) summit. Between Putin’s jabs and Bush’s FCC violation and unsolicited shoulder rub on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, much of the G8’s purpose, to allow world leaders “to harmonize attitudes to acute international problems,” was lost. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who U.S. President George “Dubya” Bush nicknamed Pootie-Poot back in 2002 when he gazed into his eyes and got a “sense of his soul,” set the tone of the G8 […]

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China’s new railroad linking the city of Golmud in Qinghai province with Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, is a $4.2 billion engineering feat. Stretching 710 miles at an average elevation of 13,000 ft, it is the highest railroad in the world. Technological excellence was not the only reason why President Hu Jintao called the line a “magnificent feat” while flagging off the inaugural run on July 1. The railroad is a powerful instrument with which Beijing hopes to complete the full integration of Tibet with the mainland. Ever since Chinese communist forces overran Tibet in 1950, the region has undergone […]