Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Beijing: My home away from home

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By Ben Blanchard

I never thought I’d ever go to China. This may not sound strange, except that from the age of 16 I knew I wanted to study Chinese at university.

It was the early 1990s, and memories of what happened around Tiananmen Square a few years ago were still fresh in everybody’s minds.

I’d just read a biography of Chiang Kai-shek, the man who “lost” China to the Communists and was forced to retreat to Taiwan with his rump Nationalist government.

It was not China that fascinated me then, but Taiwan. China was this strange, closed place with apparently no respect for human rights or democracy, while Taiwan was busy lifting martial law and having free and open elections.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Assessing U.S. intervention in India-Pakistan: enough for now?

In the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, India's response has been to look to the United States to lean on Pakistan, which it blames for spawning Islamist militancy across the region, rather than launching any military retaliation of its own. So after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's trip to India and Pakistan last week, have the Americans done enough for now?

According to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Rice told Pakistan there was "irrefutable evidence" that elements within the country were involved in the Mumbai attacks. And it quotes unnamed sources as saying that behind-the-scenes she “pushed the Pakistani leaders to take care of the perpetrators, otherwise the U.S. will act”.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

The riddle of India, China military exercises

India and China are holding joint troop exercises this weekend in southern India.  As exercises between nations go nowadays these games named “Hand-in Hand 2008" are fairly low level and limited in scope. Certainly not on the scale of the naval, air and ground exercises that India and the United States have embarked upon in recent years.

But this is a difficult time in South Asia following the attacks in Mumbai which New Delhi says were orchestrated from Pakistan and for which it is seeking decisive action. So, for China, - Pakistan’s all weather ally -  to be sending a bunch of  troops to India at this fraught moment is certainly worthy of note, if nothing else.

from Blogs Dashboard:

Kurdish city prospers as Baghdad struggles

                                          

    Five years ago, the city of Sulaimaniya in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan was pretty nice, but Baghdad wasn't that bad either.

Breaking the news in Mumbai – literally

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The concept of a televised war was born in January 1991, when news networks reported live on the missiles slamming into Baghdad and millions watched from the comfort of their living rooms as tracer fire lit the sky above Iraq’s capital. A decade later,  the world watched in minute-by-minute horror as the twin towers came crashing down in New York. 

Now, with the ferocious militant attacks in Mumbai, we have arrived in “the age of celebrity terrorism“. Paul Cornish of Chatham House argues that apart from killing scores of people, what the Mumbai gunmen wanted was “an exaggerated and preferably extreme reaction on the part of governments, the media and public opinion”. 

from FaithWorld:

Obama wants to address the Muslim world — but from where?

Now here's an interesting question. The New York Times reports that President-elect Barack Obama wants to make "a major foreign policy speech from an Islamic capital during his first 100 days in office." But from which one? As NYT staffer Helene Cooper explains, it's a question that's fraught with diplomatic, religious and personal complications. After a day of calling around Washington, she found a consensus:

It’s got to be Cairo. Egypt is perfect. It’s certainly Muslim enough, populous enough and relevant enough. It’s an American ally, but there are enough tensions in the relationship that the choice will feel bold. The country has plenty of democracy problems, so Mr. Obama can speak directly to the need for a better democratic model there. It has got the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that has been embraced by a wide spectrum of the Islamic world, including the disenfranchised and the disaffected.

Ghana’s elections: Dare Africa hope?

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As Ghanaians get set to elect a new president and parliament on Sunday, there seems to be as much attention on what a new leader will mean for Ghana as on what message Ghana will send the world about the state of Africa today. After a dismal year with elections rigged or marred by violence in Kenya, Zimbabwe and most recently Nigeria, to name but a few, Africa could do with a pick-me-up.

Despite some wobbles and sporadic violence in northern Ghana where several people were killed in the early stages of the campaign, preparations for Sunday’s elections have gone relatively smoothly.

A victim of Palestinian torture speaks out

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I met a young man the other day in Hebron, a bustling Palestinian city on many hills, half an hour’s drive south of Jerusalem. He was pleasant, a little shy, a bit embarrassed at the fuss of inviting a foreign journalist into the modest apartment he shares with his wife and son.

We drank tea. He talked about how Hamas once tried to recruit him as a suicide bomber and how Israelis put him in jail for more than two years. Then he began to frown more, blinking through his glasses, and rubbing his aching joints.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Is Pakistan’s sovereignty under threat?

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has said non-state actors may have been behind the attacks in Mumbai and therefore big nations shouldn't allow themselves to be held hostage to their actions

But what is the world to do if such actors operate from the territory of a state and the state is unable or unwilling to act against them, especially because they were created by its intelligence agencies in the first place, asks leading U.S. scholar Robert Kagan at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Curbing militants in Pakistan; a trial of patience?

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged Pakistan to cooperate "fully and transparently" in investigations into the Mumbai attacks, while U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has pointed a finger at Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant group.

That's probably the kind of language that would go down well in India, which has been frustrated in the past by what it saw as the United States' failure to acknowledge the threat from Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant groups, instead preferring to rely on Pakistan as a useful ally in the region while focusing its own energies on defeating al Qaeda and the Taliban.

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