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Signs Of Russian Meddling In Brexit Vote

Russian Hacking

It appears Russia attempted to influence last year’s Brexit vote in the same manner it did the 2016 election in the United States.

Australians Vote Overwhelmingly In Favor Of Marriage Equality In Non-Binding Referendum

gay-marriage

An overwhelming majority of Australians voted in favor of marriage equality in a non-binding referendum. The ball is now in the court of the nation’s legislature to move forward.

Trump’s Asian Trip Leaves Allies Wondering And Doubting

Donald Trump with Map of Asia

President Trump returns home from an Asian trip that wasn’t exactly impressive.

The Insanity Of Preemptive War Against North Korea

US North Korea Nuclear Missiles

A preemptive attack on North Korea would be illegal, immoral and, most importantly, insane.

Donald Trump Continues His Efforts To Undermine The Russia Investigation

Trump Russia

Even during an overseas trip, President Trump continues to try to undermine the Russia investigation.

Spain Moves To Take Over Catalonia In The Wake Of Independence Declaration

Catalonia Independence Protest

Things are heating up very quickly in Catalonia.

Bregrets, They’ve Had A Few: Brits Beginning To Regret Brexit?

British European Flags

At least some portion of the British public appears to be having some second thoughts about Brexit.

Xi Jinping Consolidates Power In China

Xi Jinping

While the President of the United States continues to create chaos, Xi Jinping consolidates his power in China.

Japanese Voters Give Shinzo Abe A Big Win In Snap Elections

Shinzo Abe Japanese Flag

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to call a snap election pays off big time.

Spanish Prime Minister To Remove Catalonia’s Government From Power

Spanish and Catalan Flags

Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy has said he will act to remove Catalonia’s pro-independence leadership from power.

Spanish Government Threatening To Take Over Catalonian Government Over Independence Bid

Spanish and Catalan Flags

The standoff between Madrid and Barcelona over Catalan independence appears to be ready to come to an end.

Iraqi Army Moves Against Kurdish Oil Assets

Kurdistan Map

Iraqi military forces begin to crack down against Iraqi Kurds after last month’s independence referendum.

Trump Decertifies Iranian Compliance With Nuclear Weapons Agreement

Iran Nuclear Deal Congress

Despite the fact that everyone seems to agree that Iran is complying with the nuclear weapons deal, President Trump took steps that will undermine that agreement and do serious damage to American credibility around the world.

More on the Alleged Sonic Attacks in Cuba

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Via the NYT:  A ‘Sonic Attack’ on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It. According to the State Department, nearly two dozen diplomats at the American Embassy in Havana have been stricken with a variety of mysterious medical symptoms, including hearing loss and cognitive difficulties. […] Experts in acoustics, however, say that’s a theory more appropriate […]

Decertifying The Iran Nuclear Deal Would Be A Foolish, Potentially Dangerous, Error

Iran Nuclear Deal Congress

Reports are indicating that President Trump will decertify the nuclear weapons deal with Iran. This would be a foolish and potentially dangerous mistake.

Catalan Government May Declare Independence Next Week, But It Will Be Meaningless

After Sunday’s referendum, the government of Catalonia says it may declare independence from Spain as early as Monday. However, it’s likely to be a completely meaningless act.

Trump Undermines His Own Secretary Of State’s Efforts On North Korea

Donald Trump Rex Tillerson

Donald Trump is undermining his own Secretary of State’s efforts on North Korea, and he doesn’t seem to care.

Catalonia Votes For Independence In Chaotic Vote Marred By Police Violence

Catalonia voted overwhelmingly for independence from Spain, but it’s not at all clear that the vote will amount to anything.

U.S. Won’t Recognize Kurdish Independence Referendum

Kurdistan Map

The U.S is joining the rest of the world in refusing to recognize the independence referendum conducted by Iraqi Kurds.

Catalonia, And All Of Spain, On Edge As Independence Referendum Vote Nears

People hold "estelada" flags, Catalan separatist flags, during a gathering to mark the Calatalonia day "Diada" in central Barcelona

Catalonia’s independence referendum is one day away, and nobody seems to know what to expect.

Ceasefire with ELN Starts Sunday

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Via Reuters:  Colombia’s ELN rebel commander orders ceasefire beginning Sunday The commander of Colombia’s Marxist ELN rebels on Friday ordered his fighters to begin a ceasefire this weekend as the group struggles through complicated peace talks with the government aimed at ending five decades of war. Nicolas Rodriguez, known by his war alias Gabino, told […]

Saudi Arabia Will Finally Allow Women To Drive Alone

Saudi Woman Driving

Progress in Saudi Arabia, but there’s still a long way for this backward, discriminatory society to go.

Iraqi Kurds Vote Overwhelmingly For Independence, Prompting A Backlash

Kurdistan Map

Kurds in Iraq voted overwhelmingly for independence in a non-binding referendum, and the result is threatening to create a new conflict in the Middle East.

Angela Merkel Wins Fourth Term As German Chancellor, But Voters Also Send A Warning

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel was re-elected to a fourth term as German Chancellor as expected, but voters also sent a warning.

Tensions In Spain Rising As Catalan Independence Referendum Draws Near

People hold "estelada" flags, Catalan separatist flags, during a gathering to mark the Calatalonia day "Diada" in central Barcelona

As the date for Catalonia’s disputed independence referendum nears, tensions are rising between Madrid and Barcelona.

Donald Trump’s First General Assembly Address Strikes Belligerent Tone

Trump General Assembly

In a marked departure from previous American Presidents, Donald Trump delivered a highly belligerent speech to the U.N. General Assembly.

London Underground Bombed By Presumed Terrorists

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The London subway was hit by a bomb during the morning rush hour. Authorities are treating it as a terrorist attack.

United Nations Passes Watered Down North Korean Sanctions

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

The Trump Administration’s effort to impose sanctions against North Korea suffered a significant defeat in the United Nations Security Council.

Why Negotiations With North Korea Are (Currently) Impossible

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

Absent significant changes, expecting normal diplomatic relationships with the DPRK is a pipe dream.

Catalan Independence Vote Set For October 1st, Propelling Spain Into Crisis

People hold "estelada" flags, Catalan separatist flags, during a gathering to mark the Calatalonia day "Diada" in central Barcelona

In less than a month, voters in the Catalan region of Spain will be voting whether to remain part of Spain or assert independence.

Narco-Pigeon

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Via the BBC:  ‘Narco-pigeon’ shot by Argentina police Police in Argentina have shot a carrier pigeon that was delivering drugs to a jail, prison authorities say. I have to admit, this is a new one to me.  I am aware of numerous types of narco-subs, human mules, and catapults used to deliver drugs, among other […]

Colombia Signs Cease Fire with ELN

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Via WaPo, Colombia signs cease-fire deal with last guerrilla group: The deal struck in Quito, Ecuador, where talks with the National Liberation Army, or ELN, have been taking place since February, goes into effect Oct. 1. It runs through Jan. 12 and can be renewed if both sides agree. Under the cease-fire, the rebels agree to suspend […]

The FARC Makes the Official Transition to Political Party

FARC party logo

A key step in the Colombian peace process.

Understanding Where we are in Afghanistan

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The following from Foreign Policy is worth a read: There Is No War in Afghanistan. Ever since the Taliban government was toppled in late 2001, the heart of the strategic problem that has confronted the United States and its allies in Afghanistan has been the definition of victory: How does this end? We would all be better […]

The War on Information

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Via the Seattle Times comes a piece worth a read:  UW professor: The information war is real, and we’re losing it Starbird argues in a new paper, set to be presented at a computational social-science conference in May, that these “strange clusters” of wild conspiracy talk, when mapped, point to an emerging alternative media ecosystem on the web […]

Trump and Latin America

Puzzle Map Latin America

Trump isn’t going to win any regional popularity awards in LA.

North Korea Conducts Sixth Nuclear Test

Kim Jong Un Bomb

More provocative action from North Korea, and another reminder that there are no easy answers to the problems represented by the Kim regime.

Racism and Nationalism Make you Dumb

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Via Politco:  Far-right German candidate promises to get rid of Arabic numerals Otfried Best, who is hoping to become mayor of Völklingen, near the French border, was asked by a member of Die Partei, a satirical party, during a debate earlier this week what he thought of Arabic numerals used in the town, Stern magazine reported.  ”Mr. Best … […]

At Least Thirteen Dead, Dozens Injured, In Apparent Terror Attack In Spain

Barcelona Attack

At least thirteen dead in an apparent terrorist attack in Spain.

South Koreans Not So Concerned About War From The North

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

The people who would most immediately be impacted by a war on the Korean peninsula don’t seem quite so concerned. Perhaps we should take a cue from them.

Trump’s Statement on Venezuela

Via CNN:  Trump says he won’t rule out military option in Venezuela Asked about the possibility of a military intervention in response to the mounting crisis in the country, the President said that is something the United States “certainly could pursue.” “We have many options for Venezuela. And by the way, I am not going […]

Pence Endorses The Really Bad Idea Of Bringing Georgia Into NATO

NATO Georgia Flags

Vice-President Pence is advocating the admission of Georgia into NATO. That would be a bad idea.

North Korea Launches Another Ballistic Missile Test

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

Another escalation on the Korean peninsula.

A Quick Russian Translation

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Via the NYT: When the Kremlin Says ‘Adoptions,’ It Means ‘Sanctions’  This is likely obvious to anyone who is even passingly familiar with the situation, but this piece is worth a read for a detailed discussion.  It also should take away any thought that a discussion about adoption policy is as innocent or low-wattage as it […]

Putin’s Big Win

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Via an opinion column by Masha Gessen in the NYT:  Trump Gave Putin Exactly What He Wanted Mr. Putin has for years — 17 years, to be exact, for this is how long he has been in power — been clear about what he wanted from his relationship with the United States president: He wants to […]

North Korea Launches Another Ballistic Missile Test

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

More provocation from Pyongyang.

Speaking of the ELN…

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Here is a brief Reuters report on the recent developments in the Colombian governement’s talks with the ELN that I mentioned in a previous post:  Colombia and ELN rebels move peace talks toward ceasefire. Pablo Beltran, leader of the ELN negotiating team in Quito, Ecuador, said the rebels would like to see a ceasefire in […]

Interview with Colombian President Santos

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To go along with my post on the Colombian peace process, here is an interview (in English) with President Juan Manual Santos that is worth watching if one is interested in the current situation. (And from about 7 minutes on, watch Santos try to be diplomatic about the current US administration).

Progress towards Peace in Colombia

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The FARC have disarmed. Now to the hard part.

German Parliament Approves Bill Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

German Flag

The German Parliament has approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the country, a somewhat surprising move ahead of Federal elections in this fall: BERLIN — When Sarah Kermer proposed to her girlfriend in March, she knew she was in love, but she did not know when, if ever, Germany would allow them to marry. The […]

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