Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Tales from the Trail:
When President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize last October it caught most by surprise and sent his lawyers scurrying to quietly make sure that the president could receive the prestigious award without running afoul with the U.S. Constitution or federal law.
A provision in the Constitution, known as the Emoluments Clause, bars the receipt of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind from a "King, Prince or foreign State". When the Nobel prize was established more than a century ago, Alfred Nobel's will specified that the recipient of the peace award was to be chosen by a committee of five people elected by the Norwegian parliament known as the Storting.
However, Justice Department lawyers told the White House in a 13-page legal memorandum -- sent to the White House counsel last December and released late Thursday -- that the U.S. Constitution and federal law did not bar Obama from receiving the prize.
The memo went through various legal arguments, such as whether congressional approval was needed -- no was the answer -- and the level of involvement by the Norwegian government in the selection process. The lawyers determined that the Storting had "no meaningful role" in selecting the prize recipients or funding the $1.4 million award.
The European Union seems to have developed a habit of shooting itself in the foot.
The latest self-inflicted wound was an attack on Wednesday by a euro-sceptic British member of the European Parliament who dismissed Herman Van Rompuy, the new EU president, as a “damp rag” who had no legitimacy and threatened democracy.
Try as it might, the European Union’s efforts to act like a bigger player in world affairs keep running into obstacles.
The latest setback is a report that President Barack Obama won’t be able to make it to the annual EU-U.S. summit this year, pencilled in for Madrid in May. A hectic domestic agenda and the fact the U.S. president made 10 foreign trips last year — more than any other president in his first year in office — means staying at home is the priority and the Europe Union will have to wait.
It’s more than six years since mostly non-Arab rebels in Sudan’s western Darfur region revolted after accusing Khartoum of neglecting their remote corner of Africa’s biggest country. Khartoum’s U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem, declared in New York this week that the “war in Darfur is over.”
But Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, disagrees. Although levels of violence in Darfur have fallen, he told the Security Council that crimes “are continuing.” He said those crimes include indiscriminate bombings of civilians, creation of inhumane conditions for displaced people in order to “exterminate” them, rapes and sexual violence, and the use of child soldiers.
The ICC has already issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, another government official and a former Janjaweed militia leader for war crimes in a government-led counter-insurgency campaign that drove more than 2 million from their homes. The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people have died since the conflict erupted in 2003, but Khartoum rejects that figure.
from Raw Japan:
They may be on first-name terms, but Barack's discussions with Yukio during his 24-hour stay in Tokyo have left unresolved a feud over a U.S. military base and deeper questions about the future.
They agreed to review the five decade-old U.S.-Japan alliance as both countries adapt to China's rising regional and global clout, and they agreed to resolve as soon as possible a dispute over the U.S. Marines Futenma airbase on Japan's southern island of Okinawa.