Egyptian Opposition Calls For Mass Protests
Opponents of Egypt's President Muhammad Morsi have dismissed his decision to press on with a referendum on a controversial draft constitution, calling for mass street protests. Egypt's main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, called for mass protests on December 11 against the draft constitution, saying it "does not represent the Egyptian people."
A Balanced Approach to Averting the Fiscal Cliff
Just weeks away looms the ‘fiscal cliff,’ a combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that everybody in Washington claims they want to avoid. We have a huge national debt because Washington spends too much, not because it doesn’t tax people enough.
Keeping the Internet Free
Just a few weeks ago, the Syrian government shut down the Internet nationwide during a military push against rebel forces that appear to be making progress. While service is back, it is obvious that Bashar Assad’s government has the power to take it down again. As the Chinese Communist Party transferred power, Google reported a sudden drop in Internet traffic. Gmail was down for most Chinese citizens.
Russian Diplomats Denounce US Visa, Banking Bans for Corrupt Officials
The U.S. Senate voted 92-4 Thursday to impose visa and banking bans on Russian officials suspected of involvement in human rights violations. Immediately after the Senate approved the American bill, known as the "Magnitsky Act," Russia’s Foreign Ministry immediately blasted the legislation and the vote as "theater of the absurd."
Egypt -- Constitution-Making by "We, the Majority"
Egypt’s constitution-making process has seemingly attained warp speed. Facing the threat of judicial dissolution, members of the Egyptian Constituent Assembly voted last Thursday to accept a draft of a new constitution. President Mohamed Morsi has called for an "almost immediate referendum" in which a majority is likely to approve the document. Is this extralegal process the final vindication of the people’s will?
Minding the Minority
As the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) once noted, James Madison said at the Constitutional Convention that the Founders intended the Senate to be ‘a necessary fence’ that could ‘protect the people against their rulers.’ In contrast to the House of Representatives, which was set up to represent the people’s passions, the Senate was conceived to both represent the states and serve as a chamber of sober reflection.
Is Europe’s Last Dictator Planning A Return To Serfdom?
Despite a five-year modernization program, Belarus's wood-processing industry just can't hang onto its skilled workers. Promises of higher wages and more attractive working conditions aren't doing the trick as workers continue to seek more lucrative employment in neighboring Russia. So President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has come up with a different idea: forced labor.
U.S. Extends Waivers On Iran Sanctions To China, Others
The United States has granted 180-day waivers on anti-Tehran sanctions to China, India, and a number of other countries in exchange for their reduction of oil purchases from Iran. President Barack Obama's administration has now renewed waivers for all 20 of Iran's major oil buyers, after granting them to Japan and 10 European Union countries in September.
South Korean singer Psy Apologizes For Decade-Old Anti-American Acts
South Korean singer Psy, famed for his viral video song "Gangnam Style," has apologized for anti-American performances a decade ago. Psy made the apology on December 8, ahead of his expected participation in an upcoming concert before U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington.
Republicans Say Fiscal Talks Still Stalled
U.S. President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress appear to remain far apart in talks to avert the so-called fiscal cliff of $600 billion in automatic government spending cuts and expiring tax cuts. The latest U.S. jobs figures played into the debate. With days dwindling for a compromise, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, bluntly accused the White House of wasting time and deliberately pushing the economy closer to the precipice.
Chemical Weapons Ready For Use By Assad Regime
US news channel NBC reported on Wednesday that despite several warnings, the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad has prepared chemical munitions for use in its increasingly desperate struggle with rebel factions. One senior US official told NBC that if the regime decides to use the weapons, "there's little the outside world can do to stop it."
Two-Thirds Of Countries Perceived To Be "Highly Corrupt"
The anticorruption group Transparency International (TI) says high levels of bribery, abuse of power, and secret dealings continue to "ravage" societies around the world, despite a growing public outcry over corrupt governments. The annual Corruption Perceptions Index, published on December 5 by the Berlin-based group, shows that two-thirds of 176 countries are perceived by citizens to be highly corrupt.
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