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May, 31, 2016

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Commentary > China Post > Arthur Cyr
Tsai Ing-wen has been formally inaugurated as the new president of Taiwan. She is the first woman to hold this top government position, a milestone of tremendous importance.
 
North Korea, the world's last remaining truly totalitarian dictatorship, held a Communist Party Congress from May 6 to 9. Tight total control of the enormous, closely choreographed show was self-evident. The last such party congress was held in 1980, an occasion for regime founder Kim Il Sung to indicate succession of power to his son Kim Jong Il.
 
The criminal destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine is back in the news in important ways. The association Bellingcat has just released a report with remarkably specific evidence implicating Russia.
 
The days when global oil production was symbolized by Arab states are gone, and important contemporary events confirm a new reality. In mid-April, governments of major oil producing nations failed to achieve agreement on cutting back their production.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Britain, including a joint press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron on April 22, underscores the vital partnership between that nation and the United States. The visit also highlights the complementary roles of two influential international leaders -- Prime Minister Cameron and Queen Elizabeth II.
 
Once again in Afghanistan, the Taliban has captured headlines through a spectacular and startling military attack. On April 19, a terrorist explosion rocked a section of Kabul. Early estimates indicate 28 people were killed and approximately 300 wounded. Last September, the extremist Islamic movement temporarily overran the city of Kunduz.
 
"An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," is a useful starting place for discussion of the influence of Pope Francis, who is proving to be a remarkably active and activist leader of the Roman Catholic Church. To modern readers, the Biblical quote (Exodus 21:24) may seem brutal, but the Old Testament sentiment actually meant revolutionary progress.
 
The Nuclear Summit in Washington D.C. concluded April 1 with a formal statement underscoring nuclear weapons control. These are particularly horrific weapons of mass destruction. Press commentary dismissing the exercise as just another diplomats' talkfest is misleading.
 
Very brutal criminals are facing justice. On March 24, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted Radovan Karadzic of genocide. He is responsible for a massacre of approximately 8,000 men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Cuba is the latest move in a series which spans his tenure in the White House, and occurs in the context of long-term hostility between the two countries. President Calvin Coolidge was the last U.S. chief executive to visit the island nation, in early 1928.
 
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