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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 […]

Conservatives Sign Agreement with the DUP

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Via the BBC:  Conservatives agree pact with DUP to support May government Under the so-called “confidence and supply” arrangement, the DUP will line up behind the government in key votes, such as on the Queen’s Speech and Budgets, which would threaten the government’s survival if they were lost. They will also back Theresa May on […]

Trump Reverses Parts Of Obama’s Opening To Cuba

Diana Nyad

Foolishly, President Trump is rolling back part of President Obama’s opening to Cuba.

Helmut Kohl, Chancellor Who Reunited Germany, Dies at 87

German Flag

Helmut Kohl, who served as Chancellor of West Germany from 1982 to 1989 and then presided over the reunification with East Germany, has died at age 87: Helmut Kohl, a towering postwar figure who reunified Germany after 45 years of Cold War antagonism, propelled a deeply held vision of Europe’s integration and earned plaudits from […]

American Freed By North Korea Is In A Coma

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

Otto Warmbier, and American being held by North Korea, is being freed but his release is marred by the revelation that he has been in a coma for much of that time: WASHINGTON — Otto F. Warmbier, an American college student held prisoner in North Korea for more than a year, has been medically evacuated […]

Macron’s Centrist Party Scores Big Wins In French Legislative Elections

Emmanuel Macron

The political party formed by French President Emmanuel Macron just about a year ago scored big wins in yesterday’s first round of legislative elections.

Puerto Rico Votes Overwhelmingly For Statehood in Heavily Boycotted Referendum

U.S. and Puerto RIcan Flags

Puerto Rican voters voted overwhelmingly for statehood yesterday in a referendum whose legitimacy is being questioned due to boycotts by opposition parties.

Web Censorship in Turkey

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More examples of growing authoritarianism in Turkey via the NYT:  Turks Click Away, but Wikipedia Is Gone Wikipedia is just one of 127,000 websites blocked in Turkey, estimated Professor Akdeniz, who has led legal challenges against the Wikipedia ban and other web restrictions. An additional 95,000 pages, like social media accounts, blog posts and articles, are […]

Puerto Rico To Vote On Statehood For Fifth Time In Fifty Years

U.S. and Puerto RIcan Flags

For the fifth time in fifty years, Puerto Ricans will vote tomorrow on a referendum on statehood, but it’s not likely to have any impact on the island’s current status.

Japanese Parliament Passes Law for Abdication

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Via CNN:  Japan passes historic law to allow beloved Emperor to abdicate Imperial law decrees that sitting emperors cannot resign from their posts, but the one-off bill permits the 83-year-old to pass the Chrysanthemum Throne to Crown Prince Naruhito, the eldest of his three children. The piece also has an interesting discussion of the role […]

British Election Leads To Hung Parliament, Theresa May Forms Uncertain Coalition

British Parliament Building

A massive political miscalculation by Theresa May leads to an uncertain future in the United Kingdom.

British Voters Head To The Polls In The Wake Of Campaign Marred By Terror Attacks

British Parliament Building

Great Britain heads to the polls today.

Six Killed, Dozens Injured, In Late Night Terror Attack In London

London Attack June 2017

Another night of terror in the United Kingdom.

Withdrawal From The Paris Accords: Much Ado About Nothing?

Climate Change Word Cloud

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords was neither the big win his supporters claim nor the disaster his critics fear.

Paris Accords Withdrawal: A Win for Bannon (and a Confirmation for Merkel)

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Via WaPo: The Paris pact was a particular passion for Bannon, who spent the past two weeks consumed by the climate deal, including working feverishly from the West Wing after returning early from Trump’s foreign trip, according to two White House officials familiar with the discussions. He pressed his case directly with the president — arguing […]

Trump Signs Waiver Of Law Requiring Move Of U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem

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Despite campaign promises, President Trump won’t be moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem anytime soon.

Trump Considering Reversing Obama Policy On Cuba

Diana Nyad

President Trump is reportedly considering at least partly reversing one of the great foreign policy successes of the Obama Presidency.

Well, the Human Body is Like a Battery…

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Via the Times of London: The distance between Donald Trump and his G7 partners was spelled out dramatically today when Theresa May and the leaders of Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Canada strolled the streets of Taormina, Sicily — while he followed in a golf cart. The six are planning to put pressure on Mr Trump […]

Trump’s Muslim Speech Was A Change In Tone, But It’s Unlikely To Accomplish Anything

Trump Muslim Speech

President Trump’s speech on Islam was a change of tone. However, as critics noted, it was short on substance and is unlikely to accomplish anything.

The (non-)State of Syria

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A piece from Foreign Policy notes: Syria, after all, is today divided into no less than seven enclaves: the territory controlled by the regime, three separate areas of rebel control, two Kurdish cantons, and the Islamic State area. What is the government’s strategy to reverse this fragmentation, I ask? ”We have absolute faith that this is a […]

Iranian President Rouhani Overwhelmingly Re-Elected

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian voters have re-elected Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate whose election in 2013 was largely responsible for the shifts in policy that made the international agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear research program possible.

Trump To Keep Iran Nuclear Deal, For Now

Iran Nukes

During the campaign, Donald Trump promised to undo the nuclear weapons deal with Iran. Now his Administration is signaling that, at least for now, the deal will stay in place.

North Korea Launches Another Missile Test

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

Another provocative move by North Korea.

South Korea Elects New President Who Favors Dialogue With North Korea

South Korean Flag

South Korea has elected a new President who breaks with his impeached predecessor in favoring dialogue with the North.

Trump’s Military Advisers Want Him To Expand America’s Longest War

US Afghanistan

America’s longest war is still going on, and President Trump’s advisers want him to continue his predecessor’s policies of continuing to re-expand American forces in a war that has seemingly no end.

Polling and the French Election

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Since a lot of people have had their faith in polling shaken by Brexit and the Trump win (which was not the error some have made it out to be, btw), I recommend the following from Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight: Le Pen Is Just A Gargantuan Polling Error Behind Macron. Macron’s advantage over Le Pen has been […]

Macron Scores Decisive Win Over Le Pen In French Presidential Election

Marine LePen Emmanuel Marcon

Centrist candidate Emmanuelle Macron scored a decisive win over the far-right Marine Le Pen in today’s runoff round of the French Presidential election.

Macron Holds Decisive Lead Over Le Pen As French Election Heads Into Final Hours

Marine LePen Emmanuel Marcon

Emmanuel Macron holds a decisive lead over Marine Le Pen as the French Presidential election heads into its final hours.

North Korea Lashes Out At Chinese Pressure Over Nuclear Program

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

North Korea is pushing back against increased pressure from China over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Today in “Asked and Answered” (French Election Edition)

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Ross Douthat asks:  Is There a Case for Le Pen? I answer:  no, no there isn’t. That concludes today’s edition of “Asked and Answered.” Side note:  because one can tease out things a politician has said that might be reasonable, or that one could see raising legitimate issues worthy of debate is not the same […]

Another North Korean Missile Test Fails As Tensions Continue To Rise

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

The North Koreans failed to successfully test a longer-range missile again yesterday, but tensions on the Korean Peninsula seem destined to increase in any case.

Ivanka at the G20 Women’s Summit

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Via the BBC:  Ivanka Trump forced to defend father at G20 women’s summit An audible groan went up as she told the room her father was a “tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive”.

Macron and Le Pen Advance To Runoff In French Presidential Election

Marine LePen Emmanuel Marcon

French voters face a stark choice in the May 7th runoff for President. Hopefully, they’ll make the correct choice.

France: Electoral Rules Matter

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While the final numbers are not in, it would appear that Emmanuel Macron will win the plurality of the vote in the first round of of France’s presidential elections and Marianne Le Pen will come in second.  Due to the use of a two-round system that requires an absolute majority of the vote to win the […]

Despite Reports, U.S. Carrier Was Nowhere Near Korea

USS George Washington Battle Group

Just over a week ago it was reported that the United States was moving a carrier battle group headed by the USS Carl Vinson closer to the Korean Peninsula in response to increased provocation from the DPRK and the rumors that it would attempt some kind of demonstration as part of last weekend’s 105th anniversary of […]

British Prime Minister Calls For Snap Election On June 8th

British Parliament Building

A political surprise in Great Britain as Prime Minister Theresa May calls a snap election for June 8th.

Changes in Turkey

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By a narrow margin, Turks voted for some significant changes.

French Presidential Elections on the Horizon

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A week from today the French hold the first round in their presidential elections. See Matthew Shugart at Fruits and Votes for some France 2017 presidential scenarios.

Tensions Rise On Korean Peninsula As North Korea Threatens Another Nuclear Test

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

North Korea is threatening another nuclear test, the United States is threatening retaliation, and China is warning of a ‘gathering storm’ on the Korean Peninsula.

U.S.-Russian Relations Hit a New Low

Two powers

It’s been a bad week for U.S.-Russian relations.

U.S. Carrier Group Moves Toward Korean Peninsula

USS George Washington Battle Group

A warning to North Korea.

Headline Of The Day

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From The New York Times: Hindu Cow Vigilantes in Northern India Beat Muslim to Death Not to brush aside the seriousness of ethnic-based murders in a place like India, but the headline somehow brought the vision of vigilante cows into my mind.

Explosions At St. Petersburg Subway Stations Kill At Least Ten

St Petersburg Subway Bombing

An apparent terrorist attack in Russia’s second largest city.

The French Elections and the Russians

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Via The Economist is an interesting piece on the French presidential campaign:  France’s presidential race is a clash of worldviews.  The first paragraph raises an interesting point on the current state of world politics: WHAT did Marine Le Pen, the head of France’s National Front, expect to gain by visiting Moscow on March 24th? Her core […]

FBI Director Contradicts Trump On Wiretap Claims, Confirms Investigation Of Campaign

Trump Russia

Two big admissions from the Director of the F.B.I. today are likely to lead to real political headaches for the Trump Administration.

Britain To Trigger Beginning Of Brexit Process On March 29th

British European Flags

British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that she will formally invoke Article 50 of the European Union treaty on March 29th, thus officially beginning a Brexit process likely to take years.

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