Saturday, August 22, 2015
Syria continues to descend into the inferno while the international community stands transfixed. A political solution seems elusive as ever, the civil war grinds on having killed over 250,000 people, and over 12 million people have fled their homeland. Alarmed by these developments, the U.N. Security Council has affirmed its support for finding a durable political settlement to a crisis which after four years of fighting not only threatens Syria, but dangerously has morphed into a regional threat.
After embarrassing false starts, U.S. President Barack Obama is making a final push to close Guantanamo prison, but to fulfill that glaringly incomplete campaign promise he faces unpalatable compromises and internal resistance.
Turkey's almost month-long campaign of airstrikes against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the Turkish southeast and northern Iraq will weaken but cannot destroy the Kurdish militant group, analysts say.
Friday, August 21, 2015
By official data, mainland China is becoming safer from accidents year after year. But the explosions over the Tianjin port last week are a stark reminder that it has far to go in preventing workplace disasters -- from blasts on factory floors to leaks of oil pipes and warehouse fires.
The mainland Chinese government needs to quickly ascertain the causes of recent massive explosions while also disclosing pertinent information.
Amid nationwide grief over Monday's deadly bombing at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, a slogan of solidarity among Thais has emerged. "Stronger Together" is now echoing across social media, after it appeared on a banner at the candlelit vigil held at the shrine a day after the attack.
During her failed 2008 White House campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton derided rival Barack Obama's lofty talk of hope and change as equivalent to expecting "celestial choirs" to drop from the sky and inspire people to do the right thing.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Two brief statements by Singapore's Minister of Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam yesterday brought home how closely the fate of Singapore is related to the internal politics of its closest neighbors.
The Mainland Chinese authorities' handling of the Tianjin explosions bears many of the hallmarks of their standard approach to the litany of disasters in the country -- a clampdown on discussion, official obfuscation, and carefully targeted media condemnation.
With a swath of one of the world's busiest ports in ruins, more than a billion U.S. dollars in losses, and some major multinational firms still unable to access their premises, the economic impact of the Tianjin explosions could reverberate for months.