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"Terrorism: the Shockwave of Bloody Friday," headlined the French daily Le Monde, after a series of deadly, coordinated, and barbaric attacks by radical Islamists on three continents. The massacre of 28 European (mostly British) tourists in Tunisia at a beach resort, the grisly beheading of a plant manager near Lyon, France, the senseless sectarian slaughter of 26 Muslim worshipers at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, and the killings of 150 civilians in Kobane, Syria by Islamic State, are the latest sanguinary statistics in a war which many people choose to politely forget.
PARIS-International development assistance still remains a vital element in reducing global poverty. What's known as Official Development Assistance (ODA) has now reached record levels of more than US$135 billion annually and is channeled to a group of 148 countries ranging from the poorest of the poor such as Bangladesh and Haiti to better-off but needy lands such as Egypt and Kenya.
The number of refugees fleeing their native lands as well as people being internally displaced in their home countries has surged beyond even the most dire predictions. Just six months ago, a U.N. report launched an urgent appeal for US$16.4 billion to assist 58 million people; a record number of refugees, internally displaced persons and victims of famine.
Facing the onslaught of wanton destruction, cultural pillage and a growing back market for stolen antiquities, both Iraq and Syria are feeling the brunt not only of the ideological violence of the Islamic State (IS), but the barbaric "cultural cleansing" of antiques dating back millennia. As the Middle East confronts the expansion of the IS terrorist state we also face the unintended consequences of both historic destruction and equally the attacks on religious minorities such as the Christians and Yazidis.
Describing the situation as a "collapse of law and order" on the territories controlled by the self-proclaimed rebel Republics, and amid on-going hostilities between the Ukrainian government troops and Russian backed separatists, a scathing new U.N. report overviews a fast deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine.
Amid modest economic growth worldwide, East Asia still leads the way. That' s according to the U.N.'s updated "World Economic Situation Prospects" where the global economic growth is expected to register 2.8 percent this year, a downward revision of 0.3 percent from an earlier forecast.
The fall of the critically important city of Ramadi to Islamic State terrorists, the widening humanitarian crisis throughout the country involving millions of displaced persons and the continuing pressures on a still-fragile central government in Baghdad bode ill for Iraq's future stability and security. These setbacks for the beleaguered Baghdad government equally shadow Washington where the Obama administration appears in denial over the depth of this crisis.
In a stirring and substantive foreign policy address, Senator Marco Rubio (Republican, Florida) presented his presidential vision for a new America. Calling for transformative leadership in the 21st century, the Republican primary hopeful spoke passionately about the need for a reinvigorated American policy posture at a time when as he said, "Foreign affairs never mattered more."
The targeted killings of journalists, the suffocating censorship in many countries and the widening governmental controls on media activities characterize the contemporary media landscape in large parts of the world. And add the ghastly shock effect of beheadings of journalists in the Middle East by Islamic State or the barbaric attacks in the heart of Paris against the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, or the pervasive intimidation against the investigative press in Mexico by drug lords, and the picture becomes more alarming.
The rhetoric reached the heights of the Himalayas, the pomp and pageantry evoked that of an operetta, but the political optics delivered a clearly focused political message: Pakistan has a firm and reliable friend in the People's Republic of China.
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