Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Japan PM gets face-time with Obama

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Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who took office earlier this month, hoped to impress voters as he made his debut at a meeting of G8 and G20 leaders in Canada last weekend, but saw media play at home overshadowed by the World Cup and a scandal roiling Japan’s traditional sport of sumo.

Still, Kan did manage to claim one prize from his summit debut – lots of face-time with U.S. President Barack Obama. Kan’s predecessor Yukio Hatoyama quit after just eight months in office in part because he botched up relations with Japan’s biggest ally over the relocation of a U.S. military base on Okinawa. So brief chats with Obama in between sessions, including one on Obama’s love for green tea ice cream, and a full, 30-minute meeting with the U.S. President at the end of his trip should comfort voters. An improvement from a mere 10 minutes Hatoyama was allotted when he met Obama at a nuclear safety summit in April.

Media were super-alert for Kan’s interaction with other leaders, too.  Kan appeared at ease as he talked to Russian Presdient Dmitry Medvedev on their way to an outdoor G8 leaders’ “family photo”. But after the photo, Kan was left standing outside a circle formed by other leaders as they chatted and laughed. “Go, elbow yourself in!” reporters cheered on as they watched footage broadcast into the media centre. But by the time Kan squeezed himself in, leaders had started to disperse and move on.

from Tales from the Trail:

The coming conflict with China

2008 was the last presidential election when voters didn't know or care about the candidates views on China, argues political risk analyst Ian Bremmer.

NUCLEAR-SUMMIT/Bremmer's new book "The End of the Free Market" argues that the Chinese economic model -- which he calls state capitalism -- is so fundamentally different from Western free market capitalism that tensions and economic conflict are inevitable in the years ahead.

from Afghan Journal:

U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan set to overtake Iraq

(On patrol in Kandahar proivince.Reuters/Jonathon Burch

(On patrol in Kandahar province. Reuters/Jonathon Burch)

At some point this month or early June, the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan will outnumber those in Iraq, writes Michael E. O 'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution. It's an artificial milestone but it is worth noting because it tells you a good deal about the two wars and where the United States stands in each.

The cross-over is also a measure of how big and rapid has the shift been in America's military power toward Afghanistan since President Barack Obama took office last year promising to bring the troops home.

from Tales from the Trail:

Senate Republicans keeping powder dry on START treaty

There appears to be no rush among Senate Republicans to finish what President Barack Obama STARTed when he signed the new arms reduction treaty recently with Russia's Dmitry Medvedev.

NUCLEAR-SUMMIT/At a closed-door meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans listened to arms experts and leaders in their caucus discuss the deal, a follow-on to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

from Tales from the Trail:

Holbrooke hits the airwaves in new push

When President Barack Obama snuck into Afghanistan unannounced last month, a notable omission on Air Force One was his special representative for the region, veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke. OBAMA-AFGHANISTAN

Leaving out the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan on Obama's very first trip to Kabul as president raised a few eyebrows.

from Tales from the Trail:

Obama to World Cup? Well, if U.S. team reaches the finals….

BASEBALL/

President Barack Obama has said he might make the trip to this summer's soccer World Cup in South Africa -- but won't commit unless the U.S. team reaches the finals, according to South Africa's foreign minister.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, at the State Department to formally launch the new U.S.-South Africa "strategic dialogue" agreement, said Obama had indicated he might be lured to the World Cup, which begins on June 11 and holds its final at Soccer City in Johannesburg on July 11.

from Tales from the Trail:

Security summit honors Polish leaders who died in plane crash

NUCLEAR-SUMMIT/

Dozens of world leaders stood and bowed their heads in a moment of silence honoring Polish President Lech Kaczynski and nearly 100 others who died on Saturday in a plane crash in western Russia. U.S. President Barack Obama remembered the deaths as losses not just for their own country, "a close friend and ally," but for the world, before making remarks formally opening a gathering of world leaders to discuss nuclear security issues.

"Before I begin, I want to take this moment once again to acknowledge the terrible tragedy that struck the Polish people this weekend. All of us were shocked and deeply saddened by the devastating loss of President Kaczynski, the first lady and so many distinguished civilian and military leaders from your country. This was a loss not just for Poland but for the world," Obama said.

from Tales from the Trail:

How to ease traffic tie-ups in Washington: hold a nuclear security summit

There's nuclear security, and then there's street security. NUCLEAR-SUMMIT/OBAMA

High-level delegations from nearly 50 countries gathered in Washington to talk, talk, talk, and talk some more about keeping the world safe from nuclear terrorism at the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Barack Obama.

That in turn required Washington to cope with ensuring the safety of the world leaders gathered to mull world security.

from Afghan Journal:

Standing by your friends:India, U.S. push ahead with nuclear deal

OBAMA-INDIA

For all the hand-wringing in India over getting sidelined by the United States in its regional strategy,  the two countries have gone ahead and just completed an important deal on the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from reactors to be built in India.

The agreement is a key step in the implementation of the India-U.S.  civil nuclear pact which grants India access to nuclear fuel and technology, even though it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Under the agreement India can reprocess U.S.-originated nuclear material under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards which in itself is a symbolic concession, according to the Washington Post. It said that the Indians were a bit concerned about the idea of American officials running around their  nuclear reactors , a sort of  "a symbolic, sovereignty issue" as  a source in the U.S. nuclear industry said. They would rather submit to oversight by the IAEA, which thus far is a model the United States has only followed for nuclear collaboration with  Europe and Japan.

U.S. public servants sacrifice cash prizes

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President Barack Obama had to give up his $1.4 million Nobel Peace prize award, but at least he got to choose which charities would benefit — he named 10, with the largest share going to Fisher House, which houses families of wounded veterans while they receive treatment.

BUSHNo such luck for Dr. Francis Collins, head of the U.S. National Institutes of  Health.

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