Global News Journal

Should Europe help Obama out over Guantanamo?

April 30, 2009

 Barely noticed, the United States sent a top diplomat to  Europe this week to seek help on an important commitment by President Barack Obama — to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
   
The trip by veteran envoy Dan Fried to Brussels and Prague is part of efforts to persuade European states to take in some of the 241 remaining detainees at the prison, synonomous for many with rights abuses in the “war on terror” under U.S. President George W. Bush.
   
Europe has long called for the jail to be shut down, but only a few countries — such as France, Portugal and Albania — have  volunteered to resettle any inmates from third countries such as Afghanistan or China.
   
 Time is steadily running out if Obama is to achieve his goal of clearing and closing the prison by next January.  A perceived  lack of European help could sour the much-vaunted new start in transatlantic ties which both sides say they want.
  
But many European officials are asking why they should help the United States out of a hole it dug itself into.
   
The main problem does not involve the small number of  so-called high-value  terror suspects in the camp — they will remain in detention and Washington does not seriously expect anyone to come forward and take them off its hands.
   
Nor does it involve the 17 detainees who have already been cleared for release. The really hot issue is the fate of  the remaining detainees who are not high risk but have not been given the full all-clear.
   
 European officials fear the affair could turn into a legal and political nightmare. Who will take which detainees? Given that much of Europe is now border-free, how will one country reassure its neighbours if it agrees to resettle inmates? And doesn’t the fact that European states have different national policies on surveillance and detention pose extra problems?
   
Worse still, the political fall-out could be devastating. If , for example, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner carried out an attack in Germany just before an election this year, how would Chancellor Angela Merkel explain it to voters? 

The Bitter End for South Korea’s Leaders

April 30, 2009

By Jon Herskovitz

There is almost no such thing as a happy retirement for South Korea’s former presidents.

Mexicans take flu outbreak with dose of skepticism

April 29, 2009

Mexicans are taking the swine flu outbreak a bit like they do their tequila – seriously, but with a big pinch of salt.

Everything you wanted to know about swine flu

April 29, 2009

John McConnell, an editor at The Lancet and founding Editor of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, is answering questions about the swine flu:

Scandal-plagued Greeks shrug off corruption

April 29, 2009

Bombarded with revelations of scandals for decades, Greeks have developed a slightly thick skin regarding graft. An opinion poll this week showed corruption was rated fifth among top voter
concerns, coming after the global economic crisis, education, crime and health.

Post card from Nigeria

April 29, 2009

This is one in a series of post cards from Reuters correspondents across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Steinbrueck admits long meetings hurt his rear end

April 26, 2009

It took only a few disarmingly pointed questions from four 7th grade Berlin students to get German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck to loosen up and deviate from the usual stock answers he – and fellow political leaders – serve up.

from Africa News blog:

Can Zuma live up to unity pledge?

April 26, 2009

Pledging to work for national unity is pretty much a formality for any election winner, but in the case of South Africa’s Jacob Zuma it may be more than a platitude. It may need to be.

Post card from Dubai

April 24, 2009

This is one in a series of post cards by Reuters reporters across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Post card from Russia

April 24, 2009

This is one in a series of post cards from Reuters reporters across Europe, Middle East and Africa.