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John Boehner appears to have stunned everyone, including friends and allies, with his announcement on Sept. 25 that he is leaving the post of speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives -- and also retiring from Congress. This concludes a tour of service in the top leadership post that has been especially difficult.
"An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," is a useful starting place for discussion of the influence of Pope Francis during his historic visit to the Americas. To modern readers, the Biblical quote (Exodus 21:24) may seem cruel and brutal, but the Old Testament sentiment actually meant revolutionary progress.
"Corporations can only commit crimes through flesh and blood people," declared Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Q. Yates. She made the statement in an interview regarding important new rules which emphasize prosecuting individuals as well as banks as institutions. The regulations were issued on Sept. 9.
Turkey has just hosted important meetings of top representatives of the Group of 20 (G-20) nations. Finance ministers met Sept. 4-5, labor and employment ministers Sept. 3-4, both in the capital city, Ankara. The organization began in 1999 to further coordinate monetary policies in the aftermath of the enormous Asian financial crisis. The member nations together account for approximately 85 percent of the world's gross economic product.
U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to Alaska highlights vital foreign policy as well as environmental challenges. The difficulties confronting the global north undeniably are serious. This gathering is related to the Arctic Council, which includes the Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
The 38th Parallel dividing North and South Korea is less tense thanks to a sensible new agreement. Pyongyang has expressed regret over land mines injuring South Korean soldiers. The South will curtail loudspeaker broadcasts. The confrontation led to artillery fire.
"Here is a book you should have, Mr. Director," and with that Jacqueline Kennedy handed CIA director Allen Dulles a copy of "From Russia with Love" by Ian Fleming, the latest novel in the series featuring lethal British agent James Bond. Their 1957 encounter in Palm Beach bears on continuing controversies, and too many recent embarrassments, involving U.S. government intelligence.
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The U.S. 2016 presidential campaign seems different. Traditionally, the Republicans have nominated a known-quantity candidate with extensive government experience. The Democrats are more given to surprises.
"The country that invented drama and democracy is not disappointing," is how Bloomberg News described unfolding political and economic developments in Greece. The phrase was used in a news analysis several years ago, but remains apt to the now long-term European melodrama featuring the Greeks center stage.
Turkey has shifted significantly in the war against ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria), and is now striking the enemy directly and permitting the United States-led coalition to use air bases. On July 28, an emergency North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting was held in Brussels, at Turkey's request. Alliance solidarity was reconfirmed.
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