North Korea’s new neighbor in the Blue House

February 21, 2013

She’s been called principled, tough-mindedcompetent, and a dictator’s daughter. Park Guen-hye, a career politician and child of South Korea’s deceased military ruler Park Chung-hee, is a conservative known for her steadfast leadership. And when South Korea inaugurates its first-ever female president in a ceremony on Monday, Park’s reputation could hinge on her ability to handle her troublesome neighbor to the north.

Latin America weighs odds of claiming the next pope

February 11, 2013

If the Vatican chose the next pope based on demographics, there would be a clear regional frontrunner. Forty-two percent of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, and the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Monday could be an opportunity for the Holy See to elect its first non-European pope.

In North Carolina, fracking rights rise to surface

February 8, 2013

A natural gas pipeline is seen under construction near East Smithfield in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, January 7, 2012. REUTERS/Les Stone

Amid Syrian refugee flood, aid workers grapple with a new set of problems

February 7, 2013

A recent report on Syria’s growing refugee crisis showed the extent to which fears of sexual violence are driving women out of the warn-torn country.

Attacking obesity, one can at a time

February 6, 2013

 ”For over 125 years, we’ve been bringing people together. Today, we’d like people to come together on something that concerns all of us: obesity.”

Brennan’s confirmation and where CIA drones go from here

February 6, 2013

If President Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan is confirmed as director of the CIA on Thursday, he will take the role of the lead authority for CIA drone strikes, institutionalizing a program that has killed an unknown number of suspected militants and civilians since 2004. Although his confirmation is expected to help preserve the drone program while glossing over concerns about its transparency and effectiveness so far, his appointment leaves a bigger question about the CIA’s future role.

Russia’s press freedom score back down after crackdown

January 31, 2013

Russia has had a busy year clamping down on dissent, and now the Kremlin’s got something to show for it. The international non-profit organization Reporters Without Borders released its annual press freedom index on Wednesday, knocking six points from Russia’s 2012 score and ranking the country 148th out of 179 in the world for respecting media freedom.

Motor City poster boy Lutz touts horsepower — and hybrids

By Paul Lienert
January 18, 2013

DETROIT – Is Bob Lutz the poster boy for the 2013 Detroit auto show?

This year’s event, like Lutz, seems like a throwback to an earlier era. And, like Lutz, is rife with contradiction.

Mali and the Afghanistan comparison

January 17, 2013
A Malian soldie

A Malian soldier stands guard as Mali’s President Dioncounda Traore visits French troops at an air base in Bamako, Mali January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Newtown’s community struggles to understand one of its own

December 17, 2012

This column was originally published in the Wall Street Journal.

NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT – The word “community” is overused. It is even the title of a television sitcom. But in the context of Newtown – the Connecticut town of 27,000 that I’ve known as home since 1969 – it is authentic. Yet from within our midst came Adam Lanza, now a murderer of 20 innocent local children, six of their dedicated teachers, and his own mother.