Cuban news media are charging the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba with being a bagman for groups seeking to overthrow Cuba’s government.
Every four years the Olympic games bring together athletes from all corners of the world to compete in the planet’s biggest international multi-sports tournament. This year’s Summer Olympic games are scheduled to kick off in August in Beijing. The next Winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010. Currently 203 countries participate in the Olympics, more than the 193 countries belonging to the United Nations.
Feelings about the state of Israel occupy a broad spectrum of world opinion, from adoring admiration in some quarters to hate veering into outright anti-Semitism from some others. As an expression of the 19th- and 20th-century Jewish national emancipation movement, Israel has achieved what its founders dreamed of — a country like any other, with all the attributes, positive and negative.
Cyclone hits Myanmar. Earthquake rocks China. In each case, thousands of lives have been snuffed out by nature’s wrath. Given the combination of global warming and extreme poverty, we’re likely to see more extreme natural and human calamities. Here in the United States, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 resulted in almost 2,000 deaths, and hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced.
The Chinese government’s response to a massive earthquake in Sichuan Province May 12 has been swift, according to a number of news sources. The government said that tremors and aftershocks were felt in 16 provinces, from Tibet to Beijing. Up to 15,000 people have been killed with many tens of thousands more still missing and injured, and over 500,000 houses have been destroyed.
While the rest of Latin America moves left, Mexican President Felipe Calderon is pushing hard in the other direction with a thinly disguised plan to privatize PEMEX, the huge state oil company that provides 40 percent of the Mexican government’s revenues.
The surprise results of Nepal’s elections are now giving way to the next, perhaps more challenging, step of piecing together a coalition to write a new constitution and move toward abolishing the monarchy. In the recent election, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won the most seats — 220 out of 601 — in the Constituent Assembly that is tasked with writing the constitution and deciding on the political framework for the Himalayan nation. Nepal has been ruled by a Hindu king for more than 200 years.
In a blow to the revolutionary Bolivian government of President Evo Morales, overwhelmingly elected in 2005 as the nation’s first indigenous president, a much anticipated autonomy referendum in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz department gained approval by an estimated 80 percent of voters on May 4.