Despite what many observers see as a politically reformist presidency of Hassan Rouhani, the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran remains dire. A recently released U.N. report paints a grim picture of widespread executions, a tarnished judicial system, systematic religious persecution, and widespread discrimination against women.
Canada has yet again been given a reality jolt. Twice within three days, "lone wolf" terrorists have killed Canadian soldiers on Canadian soil; one outside Montreal and another at the symbolic National War Memorial in Ottawa. The Ottawa incident also saw the apparent lone gunmen rush into the Houses of Parliament, wildly firing shots in an attempt kill legislators. Fortunately he failed.
In its annual round of diplomatic musical chairs, the General Assembly chose five new members for the coveted seats on the Security Council, the U.N.'s most prestigious body. The new members, Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela begin their two year terms starting in January 2015.
Hong Kong has always been a city of contrasts. Wealth, a free economy, a feisty media and rule of law have always contrasted with poverty, crowding and claustrophobia.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But the Korean Peninsula remains stifled by a wall of division," stated South Korean President Park Geun-hye. In a landmark address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Park made the bold assertion, "I call on the international community to stand with us in tearing down the world's last remaining wall of division."
The specter and shadow of international terrorism tragically clouds the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session, yet again. The growing menace from ISIS/ISIL jihadi terrorists threatening the sovereignty of Iraq and Syria goes beyond the Middle East and now extends to possible terror strikes in Western Europe and the United States.
Presidents, prime ministers, kings and potentates are gathering in New York for the 69th General Assembly of the U.N. But as diplomats come together for the annual general debate which begins on Sept. 24, there' s a cloud of political and social unease greeting delegations from the 193 member states; issues ranging from regional wars, to humanitarian crises, nuclear proliferation, the spread of infections disease, and the scimitar of ISIS terrorism.
Speaking in the somber shadow of the September 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America in 2001, U.S. President Barack Obama sought to stake out an ambitious military and political strategy to degrade and defeat the new surge of Middle Eastern terrorism now sweeping Iraq and Syria.
In what can only be described as a plague on both your houses, an U.N. investigative panel has issued a specific and sickening verdict on the ongoing violence in Syria's civil war.
The countdown started in Sarajevo in June 1914, the conflagration followed in August. The assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serb nationalist set in motion a series of events in which the great European powers marched, with near lockstep, into a war that would devour seventeen million people, devastate nations and dismantle empires.