April

The book Chavez gave Obama

A few national security partisans realize now there’s more to worry about than guns, bombs and rogue states. That would be ideas, and last week, a book. It’s a “really dangerous one that can put the White House at risk,” warned a not-very-serious David Brooks, the Mexican daily La Jornada’s Washington correspondent. He was referring to the book Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave Barack Obama during the recent Summit of the Americas.

WORLDNOTES - Venezuela, Greece, Japan, Iraq and Cuba

Venezuela: ALBA poses alternatives Greece: Labor faces repression Japan: Parliament OKs base treaty Iraq: Foreign firms deal for oil Cuba: Prisoner exchange to free the Five

A different kind of summit

As the 5th Summit of the Americas met in Trinidad and Tobago under the auspices of the Organization of American States, Latin American leaders ran the show and the prime hemispheric power, represented by President Barack Obama, listened. By contrast, capitalist globalization got top billing at the 2001 summit in Quebec City, and five years ago in Argentina, Washington pushed the Free Trade of the Americas Act.

Furor over Iranian leader speech at UN racism conference seen as diversion

Controversy over characterizations of Israel have diverted attention from the important purpose of the United Nations conference on combating racism taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, U.S. lawmakers and others charge. The diversion was unhelpfully, but predictably, fanned by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Somali pirates began as volunteer coast guard

Today's charging of Somali pirate Abduhl Wali-i-Musi along with the rescue of US ship captain, Richard Phillips, from Somali pirates has brought the world’s attention to Somalia once again, but the story of why Somali fishermen became pirates nearly 18 years ago is seldom told.

Organized labor challenges Irans theocratic state

With less than two months to go before the June presidential elections in Iran, labor unrest may yet be a factor determining the outcome. The news that Iranian workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company were forced once again to resort to industrial action this month will come as little surprise to those familiar with the pattern of labor relations in Iran.

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Penguins & melting ice: Arctic, Antarctic actors & barometers of globes future

The North and South Poles are at the center of the earth. The earth’s survival, that is. The two polar regions, the Arctic and Antarctic, are “actors and barometers” of rapid climate and environmental changes that the world is experiencing. That was the message last week of a joint meeting of the Arctic Council, involving eight countries as well as organizations of indigenous peoples, and the 47 Antarctic Treaty nations.

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U.S. lawmakers visit Cuba, fan winds of change

Momentum is building toward breaking down U.S.-imposed barriers against trade and travel with Cuba. The five-day visit to Cuba in early April of seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus provided a push.

Conflict threatens Ecuadors socialist government

Prevailing opinion places Ecuador in company with Venezuela and Bolivia as exemplars of “socialism of the 21st century.” The three countries rely upon sub-soil natural resource extraction to fund social programs. Falling oil and natural gas prices have forced their governments to improvise.

Future of classical music has a Venezuelan beat

CHICAGO — The internationally acclaimed Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela traveled to three cities in the United States this month, Washington, Chicago and Houston. And with this breath of fresh air from the South comes a new opportunity for the United States to get serious about music education.

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