Global News Journal

Tragedy or stagecraft: N. Korea’s food crisis

October 12, 2011

Tim Large, editor of Thomson Reuters Foundation’s AlertNet humanitarian news service, gives the back story to his special report Crisis grips North Korean rice bowl <http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/07/us-korea-north-food-idUSTRE7956DU20111007> . Any opinions expressed are his own.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

We need to talk about the Haqqanis

October 7, 2011

In a question and answer session last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about how the United States would balance its need to work with Pakistan while also putting it under pressure to end its alleged support for the Haqqani network.

from Africa News blog:

Was South Africa right to deny Dalai Lama a visa?

October 4, 2011

By Isaac Esipisu

Given that China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner and given the close relationship between Beijing and the ruling African National Congress, it didn’t come as a huge surprise that South Africa was in no hurry to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama.

from Afghan Journal:

In the U.S.-Pakistan fight, India an anxious spectator

September 29, 2011

Pakistan and the United States are in the middle of such a public and bruising fight that Islamabad's other pet hate, India, has receded into the background.  A Pakistani banker friend, only half in jest, said his country had bigger fish to fry than to worry about India, now that it had locked horns with the superpower.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s China Syndrome

September 28, 2011

At the height of Pakistan's crisis in relations with the United States, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani reminded his Chinese guest of the words he had used to describe its relationship with China. "Pak-China friendship is higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey."  In a press release issued by the prime minister's office during a visit to Islamabad by Chinese Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu, Gilani also promised China that "'your friends are our friends, your enemies are our enemies and your security is our security."

Reserved for Press

September 24, 2011

 

President Rafael Correa, the leftist leader of Ecuador, took on the media on Friday at the home of one of journalism’s pinnacles, Columbia University in New York.
The school awards the Cabot Prizes, journalism’s oldest, which honor the best and most courageous reporters covering the Americas. Oh, and let’s not forget the Pulitizer Prizes.
Correa has come under fire from media watchdogs and human rights groups who say he has limited press freedom since coming to power in 2007. But the president rarely shies away from a fight, whether it is with international bondholders, oil companies or critics of his policies.
For over 45 minutes, he lambasted the press, verbally jousted with journalists and students, and even drew some applause during his speech titled: “Vulnerable Societies: Media and Democracy in Latin America”.
Lee Bollinger, the President of Columbia University and a legal expert on freedom of speech issues, drew some laughter himself, even if unintentional, with his welcoming remarks that highlighted the controversy over the media in Ecuador.
Noting some of Correa’s achievements, Bollinger mentioned the president’s reelection and said: “And today Ecuador, in Ecuador, he remains a popular and widely admired leader,” to which the audience burst into laughter.
He continued and was interrupted by more laughter in mid-sentence when he said: “President Correa has also endured widespread criticism for his treatment of Ecuador’s print and broadcast media and for policies antagonistic to freedom of speech and press, it is said.”
Bollinger said he was eager to hear Correa’s account of the serious concerns.
“Students of the jurisprudence of free expression will recognize Ecuador’s laws as another form of seditious libel. Such laws which make criticisms of government officials a crime, typically have been adopted by emerging democracies or other societies seeking to extinguish threats to a fragile political structure,” Bollinger said.
He explained how even the United States had used similar tactics, citing the Seditious Libel act of 1798 and the World War I espionage act.
“But over time we have come to see the wisdom of repudiating this course of action. Through this experience a lesson we have learned is that the impulse to forbid government criticism has always later been understood to be an epic abdication of our society’s pledge to live by reason, to confront dissent with courage and to be temperate with dealing with misbehavior,” Bollinger said.
Correa spoke in English and told the audience: “We live in a world where the media, with its media power, has tried to replace the Rule of Law with the Rule of Opinion.”
At the same time, he defended freedom of expression and faced questions from students who asked how he could rationalize the apparent contradictions in his policies. He replied that these were complex issues worthy of discussion.
Correa has a dim view of the media structure in Ecuador, and the region overall.
“In Latin America … it seems very strange that there is no jail sentence for damaging a human being’s honor, although there is jail for those who are charged with mistreating a dog,” he said.
He has sued and won a case in the local courts against an outspoken critic and three board members of the opposition El Universo newspaper.
The paper’s former op-ed editor, Emilio Palacio, has since fled to Miami saying he feared he would not get a fair hearing from the judiciary at home. He and the board members were sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $40 million fine over a column that criticized how Correa handled a police mutiny in Sept. 2010.
Ecuador’s penal code punishes anyone who “falsely accuses” a public official of a crime.
Carlos Lauria, senior program coordinator for the Americas at the Committee to Protect Journalists, took direct aim at the president’s policies, saying he had urged the courts to imprison journalists just because he didn’t like their opinions.
Correa’s response: “Sir, you are lying and you are a liar.”
Click here for an audio clip of the exchange

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

The “end game” is in Pakistan

September 23, 2011

The United States has turned on Pakistan with such dizzying speed over the past few weeks that it is difficult to keep pace. Yet what is clear after Admiral Mike Mullen's extraordinarily blunt statement that the Haqqani militant network is a "veritable arm" of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is that it now has the Pakistan army very firmly in its sights.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

After Kabul attack, pressure remains on Pakistan

September 14, 2011

That the situation is bad in Afghanistan is obvious. Quite how bad is open to debate following the 20-hour attack by insurgents on Kabul, though former Indian intelligence chief B. Raman put it rather succinctly on his Twitter feed @SORBONNE75. "If one considers totality of picture---anti-terror, anti-insurgency---- US far from prevailing in Afghanistan. US troops after 10 yrs in same position as Soviet troops after 8 yrs were in 1987---victory increasingly elusive."

The 9/11 decade

September 12, 2011

On September 11, 2001 nearly 3000 people were killed in the worst attack on U.S. soil. We look back on how the last decade was shaped by the dramatic events of that day.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s Afghan policy: is that depth strategic or senseless?

September 8, 2011

At a conference earlier this year, someone made an argument, convincingly I thought, against the use of the expression "the end-game in Afghanistan".  Afghanistan as a country and the people in it will not come to an end when western forces leave, and nor is their future a game.  I was reminded of that comment reading a report published at the end of last month called "Pakistan, the United States , and the End Game in Afghanistan; Perceptions of Pakistan's Foreign Policy Elite."