Monday, October 20, 2014
With its Carnival reputation and skin-baring beach life, Brazil may look like a liberal bastion. But unease over a worsening economy and deteriorating public safety, plus a backlash against recent gay-rights gains, are propelling a conservative rise that will shape the next administration, regardless of who wins the presidency.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Commentators in the media are expressing generally positive views on the cautious first steps that nearly 200 Catholic bishops, priests and lay persons have taken in recent days at what is shaping up to be a groundbreaking meeting in Rome, called a synod. The steps involve lengthy discussions, followed by straight from the shoulder feedback from participants representing a wide gamut of personal, theological, and social views on the concept of family.
Leon Panetta, after twenty months as U.S. Secretary of Defense and before that two years as director of the CIA, has brought forth memoirs. The volume is blunt in criticizing others, including President Barack Obama. This imitates Robert Gates, Panetta's immediate predecessor at the Pentagon.
Rebooting a slowing economy in a nation of 250 million where inequality is rising, a looming decision on raising fuel prices and vulnerability to any U.S. interest rate hikes would be enough to tax any incoming president.
Turkey is turning a deaf ear to insistent pressure to take a more pro-active stance in the fight against Islamic State (IS) jihadists, adding to existing strains with the West under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Chablis region of France produces the world's purest expression of chardonnay. This statement reflects at least two concepts. First, the practice of judicious use, or even the absence, of oak leaving the grapes to sing their own song.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
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.
A sudden plunge in the price of oil is sending economic and political shockwaves around the world. Oil exporting countries are bracing for potentially crippling budget shortfalls and importing nations are benefiting from the lowest prices in four years.
The current situation regarding naturalization and loss of nationality in Taiwan is very clear, both according to the law and in practice: non-nationals wishing to acquire Taiwanese nationality are required to first renounce their current nationality (Enforcement Rules of the Nationality Act, Article 8), while current nationals who acquire a foreign nationality may (but are not required to) apply for renunciation of Taiwanese nationality (Nationality Act, Article 11).
Some doctors in countries hit hardest by the deadly Ebola disease decline to operate on pregnant women for fear the virus could spread. Governments face calls from frightened citizens to bar travel to and from afflicted nations. Meanwhile, the stakes get higher as more