Syria's ongoing civil war has shadowed the current U.N. General Assembly both with the danger of a widening regional humanitarian crisis and the challenge of a politically deadlocked U.N. Security Council.
U.S. President Barack Obama's speech before the U.N. General Assembly was directed to two domestic audiences. On Main Street USA where outrage and anguish over the killing of American diplomats, the trashing of diplomatic property throughout the Middle East and the seething resentment towards America is viewed as a both a bitter outcome of the Arab Spring and a questioning of the administration's policies.
The U.N. General Assembly has opened amid global storm clouds and economic gloom.
The killing of the American Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens, along with three other American diplomats, the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and the tearing down of the flag, replacing the stars and stripes with a black banner, all allegedly in response to an American-produced anti-Islamic video, shows the raw nerve of violent emotions just below the surface throughout the region.
Political uncertainty shadows Quebec in the aftermath of a contentious provincial election campaign.
It's been a year since Tropical Storm Irene unexpectedly crashed into Vermont, causing unprecedented flooding and damage throughout much of the Green Mountain state. Yet despite Irene's wrath across much of the Northeast, Vermont's near singular resilience and steadfastness in the face of the storm remains an enduring lesson.
The Normandy Beaches which witnessed the epic June 6, 1944 Allied landings leading to the liberation of France and Nazi-occupied Europe, have been etched in the annals modern history. Now the in a move supported by the French government, the landing beaches would be inscribed into UNESCO's World Heritage List, hopefully in time for the 70th anniversary of the landings in 2014.
One of the more common misperceptions in transatlantic relations is the near instinctive knee-jerk comment that the French don't like Americans. That is unless you overlook much of the music on French radio which is American, a considerable segment of prime time TV is American programs and a majority of the box office movie hits are produced in Hollywood ranging from “Batman” to “Lorax.”
As the London Olympics set new records for athletic achievements, the Summer Games equally highlight global competitions, both in the field of economics and nationalism. And despite all the naysayers that the London Games would not be ready, the traditional British can-do attitude prevailed (as it did in London 1948 Olympics as well), and came through with a spectacular opening ceremony and subsequent sporting contests.
These are tumultuous times in Syria. Civil war has engulfed the country, fierce fighting plagues the capital of Damascus, a bomb blast decimated the ruling regime's top security chiefs, and the Arab League called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down.