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February, 22, 2017

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Commentary
The telephone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Feb. 9 moved the two countries back from the edge of a precipice.
 
North Korea doesn't have many friends. There's China, its closest ally, and Singapore, where the North Korean elite have long gone in search of investors and shipping contracts. There are neighbors like Russia, and other nations isolated by politics and sanctions, like Syria and Cuba.
 
The annual get-together of European military and security chiefs in the southern German city of Munich is a traditional venue for governments to reassert their commitments; the conference served as inspiration for the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, which now performs the same function in Asia.
 
Americans weigh in on Presidents Day
The United States on Monday marks Presidents Day, a holiday that's taking on a new meaning for some Americans this year as President Donald Trump -- to the dismay of some and delight of others -- upends traditional notions of the office.
 
The first round of voting for the gubernatorial election in Jakarta seems to have gone in predictable ways, after the blatant way politicians courted the Islamic vote. Exit polls suggest a run-off between incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese and Christian, and Muslim scholar Anies Baswedan, who was regarded as a moderate.
 
Thomas Jefferson wrote from Paris to Edward Carrington, whom he sent as a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1788, on the importance of a free press to keep government in check. He concluded that if he had to choose between "a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
 
It is hard not to wonder whether Michael Flynn, the National Security Adviser of the United States of America, is the sacrificial lamb for having played the honest broker between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin much to the consternation of the world.
 
The government's latest reconciliation effort is underway with a Defense Ministry committee inviting political parties to discuss ways of achieving national unity.
 
The battle to legalize abortion in Nepal was hard won. Hindered by patriarchal notions nullifying the fundamental right of women to health and life, Nepal made huge strides forward in 2002, when a bill permitting abortion under broad grounds was signed into law.
 
On March 26, Hong Kong's next leader will be voted in by an Election Committee of 1,194 members. That only so few have a say reflects the failure of the 2014 Occupy Protests, where protesters demanded "one man, one vote" in choosing the chief executive.
 
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