• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

U.S. And Cuba To Reopen Embassies After 54 Years

Cuban American Flags

For the first time since 1961, there will soon be an American Embassy in Havana, and a Cuban Embassy in Washington. It’s well past time that this happened.

Greek Prime Minister Appears To Concede, But Europe Holds To A Hard Line

Greek European Union Flags

Greece’s Prime Minister seemed to give in to some of Europe’s demands today, but bankers are continuing to hold to the strict conditions they set last week.

Greek Banks To Remain Closed Monday As Debt Negotiations Head To The Wire

Greek European Union Flags

The Greek Government is basically shutting the banking system down tomorrow as negotiations over its debt problems continue.

It’s Time To End The Cuba Travel Ban

Diana Nyad

It’s easier for an American citizen to go to Iran or North Korea than it is for them to go to Cuba, That’s insane.

Putin Using Fear Of ISIS To Enhance Russian Influence In Central Asia

Vladimir Putin Sunglasses

A well-founded fear of ISIS seems to be drawing many of the former Soviet Republics in Central Asia closer to Moscow.

Marriage Equality Is Coming To Mexico

Mexico Marriage

Thanks largely to a series of court decisions, same-sex marriage is effectively legal in all of Mexico.

Marine Le Pen Forms Far Right Bloc In European Parliament

European Union Flag

Led by Marianne Le Pen, the head of France’s National Front, far right parties in the European Parliament have formed a coalition: PARIS — More than a year after populist, far-right parties surged in elections for the European Parliament, several of them announced on Tuesday that they had finally banded together with the goal of […]

Egyptian Judge Affirms Death Sentence For Former President Morsi

Morsi

Egypt’s legal system, which of course is little more than a tool for its military leaders, took another step down the road toward executing former President Mohammed Morsi: CAIRO — An Egyptian judge on Tuesday confirmed a death sentence against the deposed president Mohamed Morsi, condemning his rule as a “black night” and his Islamist […]

U.S. Poised To Store Military Equipment In Eastern Europe, Baltics

U.S. Tank Lithuania

In what seems to be a clear signal to Russia, the U.S. is considering pre-positioning military equipment in nation’s very close to Russian borders.

In Case you Want to See What Hyperinflation Looks Like…

travel-suitcase

…take a look over at the BBC:  Zimbabwe dollars phased out. Zimbabwe is phasing out its local currency, the central bank says, formalising a multi-currency system introduced during hyper-inflation. Foreign currencies like the US dollar and South African rand have been used for most transactions since 2009. Local dollars are not used except high-denomination notes […]

Supreme Court Slaps Back Congress In Jerusalem Passport Case

Old City from the Mount of the Olives

In a case that took seven months to decide, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Presidency’s broad authority in foreign affairs, and inserted itself just a little bit in the thorny politics of the Middle East.

Turkish Governing Party Loses Parliamentary Majority In Elections

Turkey Flag Map

Turkey’s governing party suffered big setbacks at the ballot box yesterday.

Saudi Supreme Court Upholds Conviction Of Blogger For “Insulting Islam”

US Saudi Flags

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a blogger sentenced to a decade in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam”: DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld an internationally condemned verdict against a liberal blogger who was publicly flogged after being found guilty of insulting Islam, state-linked news websites […]

Cuba Removed From List Of State Sponsors Of Terrorism

Diana Nyad

Another step forward toward ending a U.S. policy regarding Cuba that was outdated twenty years ago.

Vladimir Putin Decrees That Russian Military Deaths Are Now A State Secret

Putin Smirk

If a Russian solider dies, it’s now a secret thanks to a new decree signed by the Russian President.

U.S. Defense Secretary Says Iraqis Have Lost The Will To Fight ISIS

Iraq US Flag

Some unusually blunt, but true, language from the U.S. Secretary Of Defense.

Saudi Arabia Wants To Be The Head Of The U.N. Human Rights Council

u-s-saudiarabiaflags

Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to make a bid to head the United Nations Human Rights Council: Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to make a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, in a move that has been described as the “final nail in the coffin for the credibility” of the HRC. Reports of […]

Irish Voters Overwhelmingly Vote In Favor Of Same-Sex Marriage

Ireland Marriage Referendum

Voters in Ireland have overwhelmingly approved a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage.

Ukraine Heads Down The Authoritarian Road With New Restrictions On Speech

Ukraine Flag

Disturbing developments on the part of the Ukrainian government.

Meanwhile, In North Korea

North Korea Military Parade Weapons

North Korea now claims it has miniaturized nuclear warheads sufficienctly so that they can be placed on missiles. They also say they can launch missiles from submarines.

ISIS Captures Another Key Iraqi City

ISIS Fighters

ISIS has captured Ramadi, and revealed yet again how fractured Iraq actually is. Fixing that isn’t something that American aid or arms can accomplish.

What Went Wrong With The Polls In The British Election?

polling-stick-figures-1

Pollsters on both sides of the Atlantic have been trying to figure out why the polls released right up until the eve of the British General Election were so wrong. Here’s one theory, and it’s very compelling.

Former Egyptian President Morsi Sentenced to Death

travel-suitcase

Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first truly-elected president, has been sentenced to death by the government which ousted him in a coup.

David Cameron To Propose Broad Expansion Of Powers To Crackdown On ‘Extremism’

David Cameron

Fresh off an election victory, British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to propose a series of new measures to crackdown on extremism that raise serious civil liberties concerns.

Saudi, U.S. Relationship Becoming More Tense

Obama King Salman

The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has seen better days.

Vatican To Recognize Palestinian State

Pope Palestine

The Vatican has announced that it will recognize Palestinian statehood, but this is not going to resolve the underlying issues that prevent a Palestinian state from actually coming into existence.

Irish Voters To Vote On Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage On May 22nd

Gay Marriage Wedding Cake Two Women

In just over a week, Ireland seems set to become the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage via referendum: DUBLIN — In less than two weeks, the Republic of Ireland could become the first country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry thanks to a popular vote, boosting the marriage-equality […]

Top North Korean General Executed For ‘Showing Disrespect’ To Kim Jong Un

North Korean Flag

North Korea’s mercurial leader has apparently executed yet another high ranking official.

The British General Election And The Future Of The United Kingdom

British Houses Of Parliament

With the election behind him, David Cameron’s biggest problems may be yet to come.

European Commission Plan Would Require All E.U. Members To Accept Migrants

European Union Flag

A plan to distribute migrants from the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa across the entire European Union seems destined to cause political conflict.

Jim Messina Beats David Axelrod In British Election Battle

David Axelrod Jim Messina

The just-concluded British General Election was also a clash between two former top advisers to President Obama.

Jeb Bush Says His Top Middle East Adviser Is George W. Bush

US President George W. Bush (L) looks on

Jeb Bush told a group of supporters that his brother is his top Middle East policy adviser. This strikes me as being a bad idea.

David Cameron And Britain’s Conservative Party Score A Surprising Win

David Cameron

After weeks of polls predicting a political stalemate or worse, British voters delivered a strong win for David Cameron and the Tories.

Germans Restrict Cooperation With The U.S. On Intelligence

Obama Merkel

Largely in reaction to revelations about N,S.A. surveillance, Germany has cut back on its intelligence cooperation with the United States.

Netanyahu Forms Government At Last Minute, Beating Deadline

Netanyahu Victory

As expected, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was able to reach an agreement with several smaller parties to allow him to form a government before yesterday’s deadline expired: JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel barely met the legal deadline to form a new government on Wednesday night and will start his fourth term […]

As Great Britain Heads To The Polls, Uncertainty Reigns

British Flag

The political outlook in the United Kingdom is as uncertain as it has ever been.

Benjamin Netaynahu Having Trouble Forming Government As Deadline Nears

Benjamin Netanyahu

There hasn’t been much attention paid to Israeli politics since March, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to have coasted to an overwhelming victory in elections that many thought would end up being closer than they ended up being. The only thing that remained for Netayanyahu after the results were clear was to put together […]

The Most Important Person In British Politics May Be Someone Who Isn’t On The Ballot

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, could hold the key to the future of Britain in her hands after the election ends on May 7th.

Chart: Deaths from Police Shootings

travel-suitcase

I do not have a lot to say about the following at the moment, but it is still worth a look (via The Economist):   Yes, one comparative stat is not sufficient to tell the whole story (as was true when I posted on the death penalty and the US in comparative perspective).  I will […]

Headline of the Day (UK Elections Edition)

travel-suitcase

Via The Telegraph:  Student loses trousers while taking selfie with Nick Clegg. Video at the link.

Saudi King Salman Shakes Up Royal Family Succession

King Salman

Saudi Arabia’s new King has shaken up the Royal Family, and that could have interesting results.

Kazakhstan Overwhelmingly “Re-Elects” Nursultan Nazrabayev

travel-suitcase

Nursultan Nazarbayev has been the leader of Kazakhstan since it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, and before that he had served in pretty much every high-level position in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic dating back to 1984. This weekend, he was overwhelmingly “elected” to his fifth term in office: Election officials in […]

An Odd Incentive in Venezuela

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC: Venezuela mango-thrower gets flat from president A Venezuelan woman has had her wish for a flat granted by President Nicolas Maduro after she made her point by hitting him on the head with a mango. Marleny Olivo threw the fruit at the president while he was driving a bus through the central […]

Mapping Languages Worldwide

travel-suitcase

Some interesting stuff via WaPo:  The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts.

Two Hostages, Including One American, Killed In Raid On Al Qaeda Targets

Predator Drone

An attack on al Qaeda outposts in January resulted in the death of two hostages, but also resulted in the death of two high value al Qaeda targets.

China Warns U.S. About North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal

North Korea Nukes

Chinese analysts are telling their American counterparts that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is far more sophisticated than previously believed.

The Complexity of Genocide

travel-suitcase

The Holocaust was a very atypical case of genocide.

Egyptian Court Sentences Former President To 20 Years

egypt-flag

An Egyptian Court has sentenced former President Mohammed Morsi, who was deposed in a July 2013 coup, to 20 years in prison for his alleged role in the deaths of civilians during protests while he was in office: CAIRO — An Egyptian criminal court on Tuesday sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years […]

Cuba To Be Removed From List Of Terrorist States

Cuban American Flags

Another step forward for U.S.-Cuban relations.

US-Latin American Relations

Barack Obama, Raul Castro

Some thoughts on a column by Roger Noriega on the Obama administration and Latin America,

« Older Posts