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Angarsk, a city of about 270,000 in southeastern Siberia, is the home of the Angarsk Electrolyzing and Chemical Combine, a plant created to enrich uranium for the Soviet nuclear program. Throughout its history, the plant has been a restricted area — closed to all foreign visitors. On Nov. 28, 2006, however, the state-funded Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported that the Russian government has decided to remove the Angarsk plant from its list of restricted areas. Soon, according to the report, Angarsk will become the site of the world’s first “international uranium enrichment center” (IUEC). Enriched uranium fuel is required by […]

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TONY’S LONG GOODYE — Until recently the received wisdom in Whitehall was that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would announce his resignation in early May, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown stepping into his shoes in June. But political developments have forced the pace of his departure, says a knowledgeable insider in London, and he will very probably quit 10 Downing Street in early March.<<ad>>Some time around May, the Labor government faces a very difficult election in Scotland where its strength is being challenged by the Scottish Nationalist Party; and the last thing Brown — a Scotsman — wants […]

WASHINGTON — President George Bush met with a leading Iraqi Shiite politician at the White House Monday amid speculation of an imminent change of direction in the U.S. approach towards charting Iraq’s national destiny. Bush said he told Sayyed Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the influential leader of SCIRI, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, “we’re not satisfied with the pace of progress in Iraq.” The administration has been gathering proposals from several sources on how to put the democratization of Iraq back on track and accelerate an orderly American withdrawal. One source, the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group is […]

The U.S. and U.K. governments have independently made public statements on the future of their respective nuclear weapons programs in the last week. Considering the timing, it is tempting to conclude that the two events are linked, but in fact these announcements reflect the two countries’ differing approaches to modernization given the unique characteristics of their nuclear arsenals. The Announcements On Monday, Dec. 4, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced the British Government decision to replace its four Trident nuclear submarines and reduce its nuclear stockpile to 160 warheads. Following parliamentary debate and a vote scheduled for the end of March […]

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — U.S. lawmakers have again fallen for a steel industry propaganda campaign. The cause this time is a news article that rehashed what has been known for years about the inhumane conditions of charcoal workers in Brazil. Charcoal is used to make pig iron, which is transformed into any number of consumer goods for sale in the United States. Every several years, usually around election time, the United States steel industry stirs up its lobby in an effort to close the U.S. market to foreign competitors. Democrats and Republicans are both subject to the barrage of […]

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Guadalajara, MEXICO — The tense situation that appears close to resolution in Oaxaca, Mexico, began in May with a teachers’ strike, a fairly regular event. But with the unleashing of an authoritarian crackdown the following month on the striking teachers, it descended into an open revolt against the governor of one of the Republic’s poorest and most corrupt states. The nearly six months of unrest has left at least 16 people dead and the state economy in shambles. And while some of the parties in the conflict — namely the teachers and a left-wing group backing their demands — have […]

This past week, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) once again dropped the “D” word into the midst of the political debate surrounding the war in Iraq. By announcing his intent to introduce legislation to reinstate the draft, Rangel once again drew attention to the fact that the United States continues to wage a long-term war with an all-volunteer force. Then, as if on queue to highlight the “burden sharing” disparity that motivated Rangel’s proposal, we learned that the President’s daughter was busy fighting her own battle to recover the purse she had stolen while dining in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Thus, as […]

Last month, a coalition of self-styled human rights groups, including the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, announced that it had filed a war crimes complaint in Germany against Donald Rumsfeld and thirteen other present or former U.S. officials. Other sponsoring plaintiffs include Germany’s Union of Republican Lawyers (RAV) and the French-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). (The presence of the FIDH among the plaintiffs is particularly noteworthy, since the FIDH is a regular and substantial recipient of EU financing.) Whereas the announcement will undoubtedly have sent Rumsfeld-haters, Bush-bashers and anti-Iraq War activists the world over into raptures, those […]