A Test for the Australia-US alliance

The controversy over Prime Minister John Howard’s slagging off of US Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has hardly simmered down before Australia gets ready to face another, with the arrival tomorrow (Feb. 22) of the US Vice President Dick Cheney to thank Canberra for its military contributions to the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.…

Arroyo Backed into a Corner Over Assassinations

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may be on a collision course with her military establishment after she succumbed to international pressure Wednesday and ordered the release of a critical report into a continuing plague of political assassinations of leftist organizers. Following harsh criticism early in the day from a senior UN official over the killings,…

Zhou Zhengyi Has Lost His Best Friend

When Zhou Zhengyi went to prison in Shanghai in 2004, he was treated like a king – lavish meals, the use of his mobile phone so that he could run his business and a year off his sentence. Once the richest man in China’s richest city, the stock and property tycoon benefited from his close…

Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi May be Primed to Explode

Intelligence reports in Indonesia and Australia are signaling that murderous sectarian violence is about to return to the Poso area of central Sulawesi by such fundamentalist organizations as Jemaah Islamiah. Last week, claiming information that militants blamed for the deadly series of bombings in Bali and Jakarta over the past several years could be in…

Nobel Laureate Launches New Political Party in Bangladesh

Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize as the creator of micro credit financing for the poor, formally announced Sunday that he will form a new political party, saying he has a mission to enter the political arena in his strife torn country. “I will formally launch the party later this month and it…

The Blood Politics of the Philippines

I am a warlord's daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, relative, and friend. On my bloodline I blame the deaths of hundreds of men in Abra. But I am powerless to undo what members of my clan have wrought. Many times I have cursed my forefathers for the tragedy of living in a place that is beautiful…

Muhammad Yunus’s New Crusade

Can Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for revolutionizing credit for the poor, do anything about the dismal state of politics in his native Bangladesh? The country, currently under a state of emergency, has been riven by bitter political rivalries ever since it split away from Pakistan in 1971. Now Yunus, whose Grameen…

North Korea Strikes a Deal on Nukes

Five months after it conducted an underground nuclear test that sent shockwaves around the world, North Korea has agreed to a landmark deal with the United States and other powers, including China and Russia, to halt the operation of the main nuclear reactor at the heart of its atomic weapons program. The agreement, if followed…

Righting Mao’s Wrongs

Fifty years after Chairman Mao Zedong launched his mass persecution of China’s intelligentsia, the victims, in a different world and a different China, want a public apology and financial compensation. But, terrified of revisiting its history, the Communist Party will not apologise or pay any compensation. It wants the anniversary of the persecution to pass…

North Korea Pushes the West’s Buttons

With the United States and North Korea on the threshold of striking a new deal under which Pyongyang would halt its development of nuclear weapons in exchange for aid and diplomatic normalization with the US and eventually with Japan, North Korea is back at its old tricks, throwing up last-minute demands that opposing negotiators are unwilling…