Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Indonesia’s election: faster, better … boring?

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By Sara Webb

It takes India weeks to complete an election and it never passes without flashes of violence.

But the much younger democracy of Indonesia voted calmly for their president on Wednesday and got the voting over in five hours with a good indication of the result — a second term for the reformist ex-general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono — out just a couple of hours later.

“Faster, Better,” was the racy campaign slogan of Jusuf Kalla, one of Yudhoyono’s challengers. He trailed in a distant

third, but his rally cry somehow seems fitting for the country’s remarkable journey since the chaotic coda of President Suharto’s authoritarian rule a decade ago.

from UK News:

Is Britain paying too high a price in Afghanistan?

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The death toll among British troops in Afghanistan is rising fast.  The soldier who died on Tuesday was the seventh to die in the last week and the 176th since the war began.

Last Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe became the highest ranking British soldier to die in the conflict in Afghanistan when he was killed in Helmand. British commanders are quoted as saying things are going to get worse before they get better.

Iran stocks up on censorship tools

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– Tom Abate covers the technology sector for GlobalPost, where this article first appeared. The views are his own. —

When Iranian protesters used internet services like Twitter to gain global attention they also reminded the world that oppressive regimes continue to buy or build technologies to enforce censorship.

from FaithWorld:

Pope urges bold world economic reform before G8 summit

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popePope Benedict issued an ambitious call to reform the way the world works on Tuesday shortly before its most powerful leaders meet at the G8 summit in Italy. His latest encyclical, entitled "Charity in Truth," presents a long list of steps he thinks are needed to overcome the financial crisis and shift economic activity from the profit motive to a goal of solidarity of all people.

Following are some of his proposals. The italics are from the original text. Do you think they are realistic food for thought or idealistic notions with no hope of being put into practice?

from Tales from the Trail:

Honduran coup tests Obama in Latin America

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SALVADOR/

Deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya got his strongest endorsement yet from President Barack Obama on Tuesday as the exiled leftist leader returned to Washington to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
 
The United States has joined Latin America in unanimously condemning the military coup in the banana-producing country that ran Zelaya out of town in his pajamas ten days ago.
 
But Washington has been reluctant to slap sanctions on Honduras and cut off U.S. aid. Instead it is cautiously looking for a negotiated and peaceful resolution to a crisis that looks like a win-win situation for the United States' main adversary in the hemisphere, Venezuela's leftist leader Hugo Chavez.
 
Zelaya, a wealthy rancher who turned left in office and signed on to Chavez's growing anti-U.S. coalition, is hardly the best poster boy for democracy. His moves to follow Chavez's example and extend presidential term limits in Honduras sparked the political crisis in which the Honduran Supreme Court, with the backing of Congress, ordered the army to oust the president.
 
After years of U.S. neglect of Latin America during the Bush administration, Obama is trying to improve relations with the region and cannot afford to be on the wrong side of a crisis that many Latin Americans see as a flashback to a dark era of military dictatorships supported by the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.

HONDURAS/                                                                     

How much did Russia know about Manas negotiations?

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David L. Stern covers the former Soviet Union and the Black Sea region for GlobalPost, where this article originally ran.

KIEV, Ukraine  — Was Kyrgyzstan’s decision last week not to evict American forces from a strategic air base the result of the “Obama Effect” — President Barack Obama’s reputed benign influence on how other nations now view the United States — or evidence of the new president’s hardball negotiating tactics?

The answer holds implications for the American leader’s first meeting with Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, when he is in Moscow July 6 to 8. Depending on whether the Kyrgyz reversal was made with or without the Kremlin’s blessing, the base issue could be a sign of how U.S.-Russian relations will develop over the next four years.

from The Great Debate UK:

Is Iraq stable enough to cope without U.S. troops?

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Tim Cocks-Tim Cocks is a Reuters correspondent based in Baghdad.-

For the U.S. military, it's the million dollar question -- or rather the $687 billion question, according to a recent estimate of the Iraq war's total cost. Is Iraq now stable enough for them to take a permanent back seat?

The short answer is no one knows. The only way they were ever going to find out was to leave Iraq's own forces to it and hope the whole thing doesn't come tumbling down. They started doing that on Tuesday when they pulled out of Iraqi cities.

Best of June: Counting swans, sex spots in Taiwan and stoned wallabies

“One swan, two swans, three swans…”

Queen Elizabeth is having her swans counted. The annual Swan Upping, a tradition dating to the 12th century involving a census of swans on the River Thames, is conducted by the queen’s official Swan Marker. The process involves the Swan Marker rowing up the Thames for five days with the Swan Warden in traditional skiffs while wearing special scarlet uniforms and counting, weighing and measuring swans and cygnets.

Climate change shrinks Scotland’s wild sheep

Wild sheep on a remote Scottish island are shrinking, and scientists say global warming is to blame. The Soay sheep should be getting bigger, according to classical evolutionary theory, but they are 5 percent smaller than 25 years ago.

When is a coup not a coup?

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Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was seized by the military, bundled onto a plane in his pajamas and flown out of the country. The people who took over the country last Sunday say it was not a coup.

The interim government, led by Congress speaker Roberto Micheletti, argue that Zelaya’s ouster was legal as it was ordered by the Supreme Court after the president had tried to extend his four-year term in office illegally. 
 
They say he was acting unconstitutionally and had to be removed. 
 
The rest of the world seems to disagree. From U.S. President Barack Obama to arch-U.S. rival Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, world leaders have condemned Zelaya’s removal and used the term “coup.”
 
In the days before the coup, opposition leaders said they planned to impeach Zelaya over his plan to hold an unofficial public survey to gauge support for letting presidents run for re-election beyond the current one four-year term. They said a congressional committee set up to investigate Zelaya found he had violated the Central American nation’s laws and would ask Congress to declare him unfit to rule. 
 
Does one unconstitutional act justify another? In a democracy, is it ever justified for soldiers to seize a president and spirit him out of the country? Does the fact that Congress quickly elected a successor, who will serve only until presidential elections in November, make any difference?

from India Insight:

South Asia’s failing states

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Foreign Policy magazine has just released its 2009 list of failing states or those at risk of failure and South Asia makes for sobering reading.

All of India's neighbours, except for tiny Bhutan, figure in the list of top 25 states that are faltering, although their rankings have improved marginally over the previous year.

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