FEATURED PHOTOS AND STORIES

Monday:  July 28, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Wednesday
Apr112012

The South China Sea: China, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, & the Philippines all stake claim over oil-rich waters (REPORT) 

(MAP: The South China Sea/NASA)(HN, April 11, 2012) -- A cold-war `esque conflict is brewing in the area known as the South China Sea, though recently US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said there is no such scale of a dispute brewing.  It might be described then as an inter-Asia issue with China claiming the entire South China Sea for itself, with Taiwan and four ASEAN members - the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam - also making overlapping claims to parts of the territory.

THE PHILIPPINES

The Philippines and China are contesting sovereignty over a small group of rock formations known as Scarborough Shoal which the Philippines calls the Panatag Shoal but what China call's Huangyan Island. This weekend, Philippine Navy officials said eight Chinese fishing vessels had been found there, 124 nautical miles off the coast of Zambales province and the country’s largest warship, the US Hamilton-class cutter Gregorio del Pilar, was sent to investigate.

The fishermen claim they were seeking shelter from bad weather, and were prevented from entering the lagoon by a Philippine Naval gunboat. A boarding party found endangered marine species on the ships, and a standoff ensued after China sent two surveillance vessels to the area to prevent the arrest of its nationals, Vice Admiral Alexander P. Pama of the Philippine Navy told reporters at a briefing.

On Wednesday in Manila, the Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario met with the Chinese ambassador Ma Keqing over the matter and  both made a statement saying "We resolve to seek a diplomatic solution to the issue", though neither country is backing down from territorial claims to the Scarborough Shoal  region.

(PHOTO: A Chinese fishing boat boarded by Philippine Navy officers/DAF handout)The dispute is one of a myriad of conflicting claims over islands, reefs and shoals in the South China Sea pitting China against its Asian neighbors who, last year using patrol boats to disrupt hydrocarbon survey activities chasing away a ship working for Forum Energy off the Philippines and slicing cables of a vessel doing work for Vietnam. Some of the claims have drawn the United States to press China over sovereignty.

Both of the countries reject China's map of the South China Sea as a basis for joint development of oil and gas resources, and have pushed ahead with exploration work, leading to more confrontations as China expands the use of its marine surveillance vessels.

OIL? SHIPPING?

Also at play are the Spratly Islands, a group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea. The archipelago is situated off the coasts of the Philippines and Malaysia, about one third of the way from there to Vietnam - amounting to less than four square kilometers of land area over more than 425,000 square kilometers of ocean.  Such small, remote islands have little economic value in themselves, but are important in establishing international boundaries.

The islands stand as rich fishing grounds, and initial surveys indicate the islands may contain significant reserves of oil and natural gas which a 2008 US Energy Information Agency report said could be as much as 213 billion barrels of oil.

About 45 of the islands are occupied by small numbers of military forces from Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Brunei.

Tension has risen in the past two years over worries China is becoming more assertive in its claims to the area as needs for oil and gas rise in the population booming Communist nation in and as more goods are needed in the second largest nation on earth. 

Straddling the Spratly archipelago are also the main shipping lanes between East Asia and Europe and the Middle East and the control of these lanes has not been lost on those claiming sovereignty over these waters.

(MAP: South China Sea claims by country/USC China Center) The stakes have risen further since the US last year began refocusing its military attention on Asia, strengthening ties with the Philippines and Australia.  The US has a mutual defense treaty with the Philippines and has boosted military relations with Vietnam in recent years.

VIETNAM

On Tuesday, Chinese state media said a Chinese cruise ship, the `Scent of Princess Coconut', had completed a trial voyage to the Paracel Islands - Hoang Sa in Vietnamese - a cluster of close to 40 islets, outcrops and reefs that both Vietnam and China claim as theirs since ancient times.

The Scent of Princess Coconut docked at a port in the Chinese southern island of Hainan on Monday after the trip. The proposed opening of the Paracel Islands to tourism by China could add to the long-standing tension, which has drawn the United States into pressing China over the issue.

The Japanese-built ship carried out a three-day voyage to the northern shoals of the Paracels, though China said there was no firm timetable for a launch of such regular cruises. Initial Chinese plans call for ships to visit Woody Island, called Yongxing Island by China, though tourists would not be allowed to leave their boat.

Vietnam's foreign ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said Monday that the trip was "illegal and seriously violates Vietnam's sovereignty".

(PHOTO: Scent of Princess Coconut Cruise Ship/Yexiang Gongzhu)China and South Vietnam once administered different parts of the Paracels, but after a brief conflict in 1974, Beijing took control of the entire group of islands - although this remains disputed by Hanoi.

Last month, China detained 21 crew sailing on two Vietnamese fishing boats near the Paracels, sparking an angry rebuke from Hanoi.

INDIA, RUSSIA

Complicating matters as well are recent claims by both India and Russia which have both, in the past few months announced their own plans to go ahead with oil exploration in the South China Sea, in partnership with Vietnam.  China has vocally asked both nations to step aside saying, "China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea".

RESOLUTION?

Although not an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Nations) nation member, Chinese President Hu Jintao travelled to Phnom Penh ahead of the Asia bodies meeting in Cambodia last week to press his case over the South China Sea with Prime Minister Hun Sen - asking that ASEAN work to resolve the dispute among its members.  ASEAN, for its part has stated that it believes the issue should be discussed and solved among those members making claims to the area directly.

--- HUMNEWS

Friday
Mar302012

Asia pollution problem, drugs, economy on ASEAN Summit agenda (REPORT) 

(PHOTO: Haze over Bangkok at sunset/Flixya, Yumandible) (HN, March 31, 2012) - Thailand will raise haze that blanketed its northern region and its neighboring countries as an agenda concern for leaders to deal with at the 20th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia next week, April 3-4, according to Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) group includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Cambodia, whose chairmanship was handed over from Indonesia last year, is for the first time hosting the ASEAN summit and related meetings from today through Wednesday (March 30-April 4). The summit marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the regional bloc.

Some countries, including the Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Indonesia, support Thailand's initiative and the ASEAN leaders may issue a joint statement for cooperation to solve the haze problem, an annual occurrence.

(MAP: ASEAN nations) ECONOMY MATTERS

In preparation for the high level leaders meeting, finance ministers from ASEAN nations wrapped up their 16th gathering with an agreement to intensify economic and financial cooperation for realizing the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, said a joint statement released after the gathering.  

"The ASEAN finance ministers together with the troika of ASEAN central bank governors of Indonesia, Cambodia, and Brunei reaffirmed our commitment to maintain growth and development momentum and financial stability of the region in the face of difficult global challenges," said the statement.

It added the ministers exchanged views with the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund on policies to maintain stability in the current environment and called on them to continue to pursue innovative projects and assistance to better serve the needs of the ASEAN economies.

"We agreed to take all necessary actions to sustain growth and preserve the stability of financial markets," Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Keat Chhon said in a press briefing after the meeting.

(Video: Cambodia getting ready for ASEAN 2012/TeukTnotChou)

He said the ministers were also pleased that the ASEAN economies grew by 4.5 percent last year despite the heightened uncertainties in the global economy.   The ministers also agreed to continue intensifying efforts to build stronger integrated financial markets to achieve the ASEAN Economic Community.

Addressing the ASEAN economic situation at a meeting on Friday, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda said within ASEAN, Indonesia should continue robust growth on strong domestic demand, while Brunei will return to its trend growth thanks to high petroleum prices.   Thailand and the Philippines, both of which suffered a severe drop in exports toward the end of last year due to supply chain disruptions, are expected to show vibrant growth.

Vietnam continues to battle inflation, whilst Myanmar is expected to accelerate reforms, and Singapore, and to some extent Malaysia, will experience some slowdown, as they will be affected more by external conditions.

"But, importantly, we expect growth in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam--the so-called CLMV countries--to continue to outpace growth in middle-income ASEAN," he said. "All in all, despite a difficult external environment, we still expect ASEAN growth this year to remain robust at 5.2 percent."

ASIA DRUG FREE ZONE

Also on the Asian leaders agenda will be a declaration creating a drug-free zone among members in the next three years.  The 10 ASEAN leaders expect to endorse the declaration at their summit meeting next week. 

Arthayudh Srisamoot, director-general of Thailand's Foreign Ministry's ASEAN Affairs Department, said the government has pushed for the drug-free zone with member nations for some time, and was pleased to see the declaration finally come into being. The government regarded the zone as an important part of its campaign against drugs.

"ASEAN will try to give more cooperation and more coordination on drug policy as well as exchanging experiences among members," he said.

Cambodia will host the ASEAN Senior Officials meeting tomorrow and Saturday, a Foreign Ministerial Meeting on Sunday and Monday; the leaders' group meets Tuesday and Wednesday.  In June, Thailand will host a seminar on cross border management between ASEAN and Japan, South Korea and China (non ASEAN nations) to discuss rules and regulations for free flows of trade in the region.

The leaders are to praise Myanmar for making progress with political development after it invited ASEAN members and the media to observe its by-elections this weekend; hoping that open elections are the first step to more regional cooperation with this just emerging nation - including becoming a visa-free country for ASEAN citizens by 2015.

CHINA

Although not an ASEAN nation, China's presence is being heavily felt in Cambodia as President Hu Jintao arrived in the Phnom Penh capital Friday on a state visit to bolster ties between the already close nations, just days before the ASEAN meeting begins; and, having just left the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in New Delhi where leaders there called for the creation of a new global development bank  and where the attitude was described as `non-West, not anti-West'.

(MAP: The Philippine Sea is a marginal sea east & north of the Philippines/Wikipedia) Hu’s four-day trip is the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Cambodia in 12 years and is timed to showcase Beijing’s close relationship with the current ASEAN chair, observers say. It is likely that the thorny issue of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is likely to resurface among South East Asia leaders as well, without China being represented at the summit.

-- HUMNEWS (c)

 

Related:          Thailand: pollution puts Chiang Mai off the tourist trail

Related:          Will ASEAN Tackle South China Sea?

Related:          ASEAN security experts meet in Cambodia to strengthen small weapon control

Tuesday
Mar272012

With US Health Law Debate at Supreme Court, A Look at the State Of Global Health Care (REPORT) 

(Video BNBalenda)

(HN, March 27, 2012) - As the US Supreme Court takes up a controversial healthcare reform bill - the signature campaign issue of President Barack Obama's 2008 election promises - the fate of US citizens healthcare system remains in the hands of just 9 people.  

After two days of hearings at the high court where lawyers on both sides are presenting arguments, the Justices appear closely divided along ideological lines with the majority of questions to the Obama administration's lawyer being about whether Congress had the power to require people to buy medical insurance; the main sticking point of the law.

The court will hear a third and final day of arguments on Wednesday. 26 of the 50 states and a small-business trade group are challenging a law they say would essentially define where the limits would be on US federal power if people opposed to insurance were forced to buy coverage.

The court's ruling on the insurance requirement, which takes effect in 2014 according to current law passed by the US Congress in 2010, could decide the fate of the massive multi-part healthcare overhaul meant to improve access to medical care and extend insurance to more than 30 million Americans.

Outside the venerable Washington, DC courthouse, thousands of people demonstrated for and against the law which many in US politics call "Obamacare".  After the three day presentations, the Court is scheduled to take some time, and release its decision on whether or not the law is constitutional sometime in late summer; making the healthcare issue a central campaign theme again in November 2012 US presidential election

A hard fought US Republican candidate race has been playing out for months between former US state of Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, former US Senator Rick Santorum, and US Congressman Ron Paul - all of whom have significant professional experience with the healthcare issue.

But for the US public, the physicians community, and the American insurance industry the delay in deciding where the healthcare system is going is troubling and for many, means the - expensive - difference between life and death. 

(GRAPH: NatGeo 2007 table showing relationship between health care costs, life expectancy) The United States spends more on medical care per person than any country, yet life expectancy is shorter than in most other developed nations and many developing ones. Annual U.S. healthcare spending totals $2.6 trillion, about 18% of the annual GDP, or $8,402 per person according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

A New York Times/CBS News poll showed that a narrow majority of Americans oppose the individual mandate, 51% to 45%, but strongly supported other provisions of the law covering pre-existing medical conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance plans. Roughly 15% of Americans lack insurance coverage, a factor in life span which contributes to an estimated 45,000 deaths a year.

HEALTHCARE IN OTHER COUNTRIES

In other countries, the decision to create a universal or government supported health care system has been an easier one, long decided upon.

32 of the 33 developed nations of the world have universal health care, with the United States being the lone exception. The following list, compiled from World Health Organization sources, shows the start date and type of  system used to implement universal health care in each developed country; and a `universal health care plan' can mean having both public and private insurance and medical providers.

(GRAPH: Blue countries have a government health system, green going there, orange 2-tier/WHO)These are in order of date of system:  Norway, 1912, Single Payer; New Zealand, 1938, Two Tier; Japan, 1938, Single Payer; Germany, 1941, Insurance Mandate; Belgium, 1945, Insurance Mandate; United Kingdom, 1948, Single Payer; Kuwait, 1950, Single Payer; Sweden, 1955, Single Payer; Bahrain, 1957, Single Payer;  Brunei, 1958, Single Payer; Canada, 1966, Single Payer; Netherlands, 1966, Two-Tier; Austria, 1967, Insurance Mandate; United Arab Emirates, 1971, Single Payer; Finland, 1972, Single Payer; Slovenia, 1972, Single Payer; Denmark, 1973, Two-Tier; Luxembourg, 1973, Insurance Mandate; France, 1974, Two-Tier; Australia, 1975, Two Tier; Ireland, 1977, Two-Tier; Italy, 1978, Single Payer; Portugal, 1979, Single Payer; Cyprus, 1980, Single Payer; Greece, 1983, Insurance Mandate; Spain, 1986, Single Payer; South Korea, 1988, Insurance Mandate; Iceland, 1990, Single Payer; Hong Kong, 1993, Two-Tier; Singapore, 1993, Two-Tier; Switzerland, 1994, Insurance Mandate; Israel, 1995, Two-Tier.

System Types:

Single Payer: The government provides insurance for all residents (or citizens) and pays all health care expenses except for copays and coinsurance. Providers may be public, private, or a combination of both.

Two-Tier: The government provides or mandates catastrophic or minimum insurance coverage for all residents (or citizens), while allowing the purchase of additional voluntary insurance or fee-for service care when desired. In Singapore all residents receive a catastrophic policy from the government coupled with a health savings account that they use to pay for routine care. In other countries like Ireland and Israel, the government provides a core policy which the majority of the population supplement with private insurance.

Insurance Mandate: The government mandates that all citizens purchase insurance, whether from private, public, or non-profit insurers. In some cases the insurer list is quite restrictive, while in others a healthy private market for insurance is simply regulated and standardized by the government. In this kind of system insurers are barred from rejecting sick individuals, and individuals are required to purchase insurance, in order to prevent typical health care market failures from arising.

---HUMNEWS, with research from WHO, Wikipedia, NatGeo.

Friday
Jan132012

THE HUM - WORLD HEADLINES - JANUARY 13/14, 2012

(PHOTO: Poppy field in Afghanistan/UN NEWS CENTRE)Afghanistan 

UN-backed survey shows sharp rise in opium production and prices

Albania 

Energy shortages mean a difficult winter for Albanians

Albania Condemns Call for Blockade of Serbia

Albania to Sell Nine Obsolete Chinese-Made Military Aircraft

World Bank will provide a fund worth USD 40 mln to the Albanian government

Tirana Airport – an unlikely East European success story

Algeria 

Algeria chairs G-77, vows group "will be heard" in 2012 

Algeria’s Leader Tells Turkey to Stop Making Political Capital Out of Massacre History

Desertec Nation Algeria to Host Huge Solar Trade Fair in Algerica

Angola 

Over 200 Tried for Helping Illegal Immigration

Minister admits development of culture industry

Media organs must promote morally uplifting songs

(PHOTO: Runner Ray Miller recently returned fr/Antarctica, where he ran in the Antarctica Ice Marathon. For Miller, it completed a goal of running a marathon on every continent/Post Crescent)

American Samoa 

American Samoa lawmaker says 14 too young for marriage

American Samoa census puts population at 55,500

Antarctica 

Runner braves Antarctica during trek across globe

Beleaguered Antarctica Mission Cut Short

Mawson commemoration in Antarctica

Helen Skelton’s a Blue Peter World Beater

Warming helps albatross speed - for now

Antigua & Barbuda 

Antigua Power Plant - No Straight Answers

Policy on agriculture complete

Customs Officers Worried About Overtime

Argentina 

Argentina and IMF moving closer, admit holding regular bilateral contact

Argentina faces a continuous drought

Argentina Heat Stresses Summer Crops

Armenia 

OSCE chair concerned about Armenian-Azerbaijani contact line

Armenia ranked 39th in annual Index of Economic Freedom

Armenian Urban Development Minister to lead ruling coalition party headquarters - newspaper

Iran, Armenians and Armenia‎ (Perspective)

Australia 

Three whaling activists transferred to customs boat

New global seed bank where deposits are guaranteed to grow

Australian man sentenced to lashings in Saudi Arabia for blasphemy conviction returns home

Australia fumes over smoking kangaroos

Dwarf left wheelchair-bound after being dropped on night out celebrating his birthday

Miranda Kerr named new Qantas ambassador

Australia ranked highest on nuclear security (Press release)

Austria 

(PHOTO: Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony firworks at the Bergisel Stadium in Innsbruck/Tom Degun)Innsbruck 2012 winter Youth Olympic Games get off the ground

Aruba 

Missing American teen Natalee Holloway declared legally dead

Azerbaijan 

Turkish FM to visit Azerbaijan to attend a trilateral meeting of Azerbaijani, Iranian and Turkish ministers 

Azerbaijani FM says African challenges should be addressed diplomatically

Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector provided 52.5% of budget tax revenue in 2011

(PHOTO: Mehriban Aliyeva is the First Lady of Azerbaijan) First lady of AZ to open exhibition of Azerbaijani art and culture in Davos

Bahamas 

Marathon Bahamas ready for the off

The Bahamas to launch wage and productivity survey with IDB support

New Fast Ferry Links Grand Bahama Island & Ft. Lauderdale, US

Bahrain 

Bahrain tries police for beating detainees to death

Bahrain: Rights Activist Attacked says Human Rights Watch

Major road projects planned in Bahrain

Ashrafs to build $10.6m tower 

Bangladesh 

(PHOTO: Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari confers the honorary Doctor of Literature on Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Agartala on Thursday. Also seen in the picture is HRD Minister Kapil Sibal./THE HINDU) Connectivity will generate economic vibrancy: Hasina

India, Bangladesh to cooperate in power sector

Biswa Ijtema begins, 6 devotees die

Barbados 

300 km natural gas line to Barbados coming

Belarus 

Belarusian Presidential Candidate Gets Three Years In 'Closed Regime'

Belarus Ranks 26th from End in Economic Freedom Rating

Have Belarusians Always Used the Cyrillic Alphabet?

World Ice Hockey Championship as leverage over Belarusian regime (Perspective)

Belgium 

Agreement reached in Belgium on Google Street View privacy concerns

Belgium Grocery Chain Food Lion to Cut 5,000 Jobs in U.S., EU

Belgian minister wants anti-gay Primate replaced

Belize 

Belize Maintenance Workers Rage Against City Hall

Belize's Minister of Education at a Georgia US college on BC Monday

PM's Wife Donates Wheelchairs

Belizean Studies Focus On Culture

Benin 

IMF co-hosts civil service reform conference in Benin

(PHOTO: Congolese rapper Baloji put behind him the life of an illegal migrant who survived for years through petty crime/TELEGRAPH)Water sectors of Benin and the Netherlands join forces

Bermuda 

Bermuda Marathon this weekend

Bermuda registers 54 new insurance companies in 2011

Soldiers are in line to get new uniforms

'Leaving Bermuda saved my life' (Perspective)

Bhutan 

Bird Flu back in Bhutan

Consumer protection bill passed

A new village takes shape in the woods after water source dries up

Bolivia 

Bolivia's Morales set for another showdown

Bolivian Parliament to Prioritize 70 Bills from Social Summit

Urban Growth Contaminating Lake Titicaca

McDonald’s Left Bolivia in 2002; Fast Food Still Abundant on City Streets

Bosnia-Herzegovinia 

Illegal weapons worry BH law enforcement

Botswana 

Botswana Diamonds beefs up efforts to find new deposits

Botswana bans South Africa imports of cloven animal products after new outbreak of foot and mouth disease

Prolonged blackouts in Botswana go unresolved

Alcohol consumers contribute positively to economy says official

Botswana metal head rock subculture on show in San Francisco, USA  

(PHOTO: The Pacific Island Nation of Kiribati votes for its President today/FILE) Brazil 

Brazilian orange juice in chemical scare

Brazilian security director for 2016 Olympics faces fraud charges

Heavy rain disrupts operations at Brazil's major iron ore miners

Floods, mudslides kill 39 in Brazil

Overtime pay for Brazil employees who answer work emails after shift

British Virgin Islands 

British Virgin Islands to grant Taiwan visa-free entry 

Brunei Darussalam 

Brunei Minister attends tourism meetings in Asia

Brunei hotels expect brisk business on Chinese New Year

Tainted ‘symbiotic partnership’ between Brunei regime and Shell (Perspective)

Bulgaria 

Bulgaria launches anti-mafia tribunal

Burundi 

Burundi opposition leader arrested in Tanzania 

Government officials cleared of embezzling debt repayment funds

Cameroon 

Teenage Mum Raped By Uncle Dares to Speak Out

Banana Production - Cameroon Targets 500,000 Tons Annually by 2013

(PHOTO: An Irrawaddy dolphin emerges from the Mekong River in Cambodia/ABC]Cambodia

Cambodian govt working to save Mekong dolphins

Canada

Canada PM to visit China in bid to secure higher oil sales

Billionaire jailed for failure to complete US-Canada Ambassador Bridge project

Conservatives to change civil marriage law

Cape Verde

Water Resources Group capital raising supports lead up to maiden contract

Cayman Islands

Mayo Clinic takes on Cayman’s overseas patient car

(PHOTO: Hydrothermal ‘black smoker’ vents near the Cayman Islands may offer new clues to the dispersal of deep sea organisms/NOAA)Caribbean yields deepest-ever ‘black smoker’ vents

Central African Republic

UN highlights "security vacuum" as northern clashes continue

Can you make a film about corruption in Africa and not be corrupted?

Chad

Work to begin on Chad rail network

Chile

Chile needs to boost hydroelectric output - govt

Syrah tops Wines of Chile Awards

Coma reclaims Dakar lead 

China

China's food prices increase as inflation drops in December

Beijing Reports Air Quality in Real Time

China vows to advance people-to-people links with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova

China to build "maritime highway"

(PHOTO: A Hello Kitty themed restaurant opens in Beijing/SCMP)Chinese vice premier calls for advancing poverty alleviation, reconstruction

A New Approach to Solving Climate Change, Part 4: China

Beijing Apple store egged after iPhone delay

Hello Kitty themed restaurant opens in Beijing

China cannot stop buying Iranian oil (Perspective)

Christmas Island

Shipwreck a disaster that keeps on taking from Christmas Island

Cocos Islands

How TVShack blazed a trail for illegal downloaders

Colombia

Former Head of Colombian Army Denies Links to Paramilitaries

4 survive as Colombia plane make emergency landing

(PHOTO: The clove market in Comoros & other countries is on the rise/GK Nair) Comoros

Cloves market revives on upcountry buying

Congo

Baloji: the sorcerer of African rap

Congo (DRC)

Smugglers bleed DRC dry

Cook Islands

Cook Islands police confirm amount stolen in Aitutaki bank robbery

Costa Rica

Trade visit boosts Costa Rica ties with Germany

Costa Rica: Low Temperatures Cause Pineapples To Fruit Early

Costa Rica Measles And Rubella Free: First In The Americas

Costa Rica: Rolling Back of Speeding Fines Generates Frustration 

Croatia 

Zagreb-Belgrade flights to take off this summer

Cuba 

French Mayor Demands Release of Cuban Five 

Cyprus

Hundreds delayed at Larnaca airport after unannounced strike

`Supercomputer’ unveiled at Cyprus Institute

Group of experts continues meetings in Cyprus on natural gas issue

Postal services go online

Euronews secures DTT in Greece and Cyprus

(PHOTO: German Minister of Economic Cooperation Dirk Niebel talks with a worker during a visit Wednesday to the Valle Central Wind Project in Santa Ana, Costa Rica southwest of San José/TICO TIMES)Czech Republic

Czech Facebook campaign calls for Klaus to be renamed Havel

Denmark

Danish presidency seeks a greener, safer Europe

Kurdish TV in Denmark to Appeal ‘Terrorism’ Ruling

Half a million more join Denmark’s e-Boks digital mail service

Dominica

Dominica Social Security to invest in millionaire club resort in Barbados

IMF approves funds for Dominica

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Repatriates 1st Group Deported from U.S. in 2012, 132 Ex-Convicts

East Timor

East Timor to hold presidential elections in March

Ecuador

Ecuadorian Military Contingent to Travel to Haiti on Saturday

Egypt

Jimmy Carter disappointed with women's meager representation in Egypt's parliament

Carter: Egypt's Military Should Be 'Subservient' to Elected Officials

El Salvador

El Salvador to Declassify Reports from Commission on Truth 

Life in San Salvador (Video)

(PHOTO: On the streets of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea/SKYCRAPER CITY)Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea agrees to sell crude oil to Swaziland

Equatorial Guinea’s Malabo II, a metaphor of Africa’s rejuvenation (Perspective)

Eritrea

Youth Olympics bring ancestry into focus for Eritrean Alpine Skier

Estonia

Ex-Estonian spy chief charged with piracy

Ethiopia

Africa’s largest dam to lift Ethiopia out of poverty

Wars At Home And Abroad

Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands dispute gets heated

William Hague warns against Falklands intimidation

Argentina says no change in Mercosur decision to bar Falklands’ flagged vessels

Chile ratifies its position and denies existence of a Malvinas blockade

Fiji

Fiji TV investigated over belated text poll win for Bainimarama

Fiji Attorney General says New Zealand media "obtuse"

(PHOTO: Indonesian Fitria Nahdi left a job working for an international company to start a career as a collector & maker of jewelry. She has shown off her collection around the world, in countries as diverse as Singapore, Algeria, Germany, France & Japan/JG Photos)France

France to Lose AAA Rating From S&P, Finance Minister Says

France wants independent probe into death of journalist in Syria

French Polynesia

Suspected Tahiti bank robber identified as known musician

Gambia

Gambian president-elect Jammeh to be sworn in

Gaza and West Bank

'Gaza hackers' target Israel fire service website

Controversial Makeover for Gaza’s Beachfront

Georgia

President: Georgia is a small country and must fight for its citizens

Germany

Forced marriage in Germany: Turkey, Serbia, Kosovo leading the list

Ghana

Ghana’s oil find to affect women negatively – Research

Women Still Sidelined Politically As 2012 Election Approaches (Perspective)

(PHOTO: Gangs of San Salvador/ALJAZEERA)Greece

Price hikes making Greeks put out their cigarettes

Guatemala

Guatemala Overwhelmed by Seizures of Drug Chemicals

Guatemala ratifies UN-backed treaty banning nuclear tests

Guinea-Bissau

Angola donates US$16.5 million to rehabilitate Guinea Bissau armed forces

Death of West African leader leaves nation in disarray (Perspective)

Guyana

Guyana government calls out US mining company

Haiti

Haitian Diaspora Tests Brazil's International Solidarity

Haiti to Host Music Festivals Network Africa-Caribbean-Pacific 

Red Cross movement helping empower affected Haitians

Honduras

Hugo Chávez: "We Need Honduras"

Iceland

Iceland placing “great emphasis” on mackerel peace deal 

Iceland Unemployment Rate At 7-month High

Danish unions in action against Icelandic-owned airline

Northern Lights tour in Iceland holds 80 percent sighting rate

(PHOTO: Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC's `Top Gear' program & the controversial 'muffins' banner in the India special/BBC)India

Top Gear special prompts complaint from Indian high commission

Sagar fish found to have uranium

Yoko Ono on India’s ‘fertile ground’

Indonesia

Putting Sabah, Sarawak on the global map

Indonesian Culture, Illustrated in Jewels

Iran

EU to delay oil embargo on Iran for sx months

Ahmadinejad visits Ecuador

Iranian speaker visits Turkey

Tehran supports idea of holding nuclear talks in Turkey

Iraq

Iraqi PM cancels Czech visit, talks on L-159s to go ahead

Israel

Iran paper calls for retaliation against Israel for assassination

Was Israel behind Iran nuclear scientist's assassination? (Analysis)

Ivory Coast

Clinton to visit Ivory Coast, other W. African countries

Former finance minister Bohoun Bouabré dies

Jamaica

Give PM space to paint her legacy (Perspective)

(PHOTO: After 21 years, Croatia Airlines restarts the Zagrb-Belgrade route between Croatia & Serbia/CROATIAN AIR)Japan

Japan PM shuffles cabinet to rescue tax hike plan 

Jordan

Jordan authorities deny people injured in demonstration

Kazakhstan

Four Belarus’ MPs to monitor parliamentary election in Kazakhstan

Kenya

New crop varieties can cut poverty, study finds

UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bündchen Backs ‘Small is Beautiful’ Energy Solutions on First Official Fact-finding Mission to Africa / International Year of Sustainable Energy for All

Kenyan Security Forces Accused of Abuses Against Somalis

Kiribati

Kiribati heads to the polls to pick President

Kosovo

Analysts urge greater emphasis on Kosovo's agriculture sector

(PHOTO: Head of the Asian & Kuwaiti Olympic bodies Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah/GOVT) Kuwait

Kuwait ranks 71 on ‘economic freedom’ 

Kyrgyzstan 

Kyrgyzstan intends to take an active part in Afghanistan’s restoration – Ruslan Kazakbaev

Laos 

Nine more Cambodian ‘loggers’ nabbed in Laos

Latvia

Latvian PM promises foreign investors to continue improving judicial system

Secretariat for Latvia’s EU presidency likely to start work in February

Lebanon

UN chief to start trip to Lebanon, United Arab Emirates

Luxembourg

Luxemburg Speedway loses its promoters

Macedonia

Subsidies give boost to housing sector

Luxurious suburbs spring up in Macedonia

E-democracy: making government closer to the people in Macedonia

Orthodox Macedonians celebrate faith, family

Malawi

Malawians paying highly for tolerating bad governance

Malaysia

Malaysia ranked as No. 1 halal-friendly OIC nation

Maldives

Maldives faces tides of change

(PHOTO: The affluent Zlokukjani suburb in Macedonia reflects the new living arrangements in the country's capital/SETimes]Mali

Mali boosts security as desert festival starts in Qaeda zone

India loans $100 million to Mali for power project 

Marshall Islands

Dengue fever declines in Majuro but on increase on Ebeye

Mauritius

Mauritius tops African household lighting survey

Mexico

Mexico expects millions to visit for 2012 solstice

US GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Mexican roots unearthed

Calderon Adviser Falls Short in Defending Boss' Security Policy (Perspective)

Moldova

Fowl cholera spreading actively in Moldova and Ukraine

Mongolia

China, Mongolia to boost ties

Montenegro

Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro sign free travel agreement

Morocco

Senior Libyan official denies imposition of visa restriction on Moroccans

Mozambique

Seed management improving food security in Mozambique

(PHOTO: Burmese negotiators & opposition work to ink peace deall/KUENSEL)Myanmar

End in sight for Burma's 63-year old insurgency

Myanmar frees more political prisoners

Namibia 

Fitch Maintains Our BBB - Rating but the Outlook Slips From Positive to Stable

Nepal 

Nepal detains 90 illegal Tibetan immigrants - police

Nicaragua

Maquilas Shift to El Salvador and Nicaragua

Nigeria

Negotiations Fail to End Strike in Nigerian Fuel Subsidy Showdown

Nigerian oil shutdown to begin Sunday: union

Protests: 4,000 displaced in Benin, 300 injured nationwide —Red Cross

North Korea

Kim Jong-il to be embalmed and put on display

North Korea Launches English Version Of Party Newspaper

Northern Mariana Islands

New Northern Mariana Islands cargo airline on Guam leg

Pakistan

President Zardari’s exit fuels Pakistan coup fears

Papua New Guinea

PNG watchdog warns of govt’s growing irrelevance

Philippines

Women killed, found in bag at Philippines airport

Qatar

Doha 2020 using the YOG to fine tune their bid / GOALS event in Doha

Russia

Users pour cold water on Putin's Internet foray

Rwanda

Man accused in Rwandan genocide wins temporary reprieve

Some Truth and Justice for Rwanda at Last (Perspective)

Saint Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts crowned in regional teen pageant 

(PHOTO: St. Lucia/GOVT) Saint Lucia

St Lucia Ranks Highest in Caribbean for Economic Freedom: Report

Sao Tome and Principe

President of Sao Tome and Principe to visit Angola

Saudi Arabia

Saudi forces shoot dead Shiite protester 

Senegal

Senegal, Burkina Faso regulators sign co-operation agreement

Serbia

Plugged in: Serbians embrace social media

Media war crimes under investigation in Serbia

Policies on Kosovo ignite Serbian bloggers

In Serbia, an effort to encourage organ donation

Solomon Islands

Former Solomon Islands prime minister says re-arming is a positive sign

Somalia

ICRC Suspends Food Aid to 1.1 Million Somalis

AU Asks UN Security Council to Expand Somalia Mission

South Africa

Durban listed as South Africa's most costly city: study

South Korea

South Korea’s National Assembly arrives in Azerbaijan  

Spain

Spanish Navy Thwarts Pirate Attack in Indian Ocean

Gays in Spain get retirement home

Tanzania

Tanzania Leads in Region On Well-Being

(PHOTO: Flooding in Thailand/New Strait Times)Thailand

Possible terrorist attacks in Bangkok, warns US

More flood victims evacuated in Pahang

Tokelau

Below average rainfall predicted for Tokelau and Tuvalu this wet season

Tonga 

Tonga’s parliamentary speaker yet to return despite impending court appearance

Tonga’s public servants threaten industrial action over retirement fund

Tunisia

Several Arab leaders invited to Tunisian celebrations 

Turkey

Gul can’t serve second term - parliamentary commission

Turkish FM set to visit Russia and US for nuke, Syria talks 

Turkish court charges Britain’s Fergie over orphan TV show

Uganda

Country Improves in Democratic Rankings

Ukraine

Tymoshenko is granted asylum in Czech Republic

United Kingdom

Bahrain visit loses sparkle as Arab jewels cause controversy for Crown

United States

Wealth conflict trumps racial hostility: Pew study

US President, Israeli Premier discuss Iran

I will pay if you will, Buffett tells Republicans

US first lady wins thousands of followers as @michelleobama

US FDA tests Brazilian orange juice at Port Newark after fungicide scare

Coca-Cola Warns FDA of Fungicide

Global Challenge: Springfield students test their knowledge of world geography

(PHOTO: The image of Che Guevara appeared briefly during a presentation by Dieter Zetsche, head of Daimler AG's Mercedes unit, at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas/The Miami Herald/Daimler)Venezuela

Use of Che Guevara image by Mercedes-Benz outrages South Florida's Cuban exiles

Vietnam

Vietnam to launch earth-monitoring satellites

Wallis and Futuna Islands

Wallis and Futuna pulls out of Pacific Arts Festival citing financial concerns

Wallis senator says cost of living concerns remain

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's Swav gaining in African handset market

World

The State of Global Ultra-Wealth

Despite end-of-year decline, 2011 food prices highest on record – UN

Development: Ban, Al-Nasser task G-77 on development agenda

Africa begins to rise above aid as the domestic private sector becomes the engine of growth

New cables to Africa bring hope for telecom sector

South American weather dominates market news

Addicted! Scientists show how internet dependency alters the human brain

IRENA meeting heralds new Regional Energy Era

GLOBAL: Branch campus growth has moved to Asia

Container and Bulk Freight Handling Company Sees a Century Milestone

(PHOTO: Sizing up exoplanets: this chart compares artists' concepts of the smallest known exoplanets, or planets orbiting outside the solar system, to our own planets Mars & Earth/NASA/JPL-Caltech)Brics look nothing like a solid investment (Perspective)

Destabilizing the world (Perspective)

Space

Space station avoids orbiting junk

Astronomers discover three alien planets smaller than Earth

(PHOTO: Youth Olympic Rings, Innsbruck, Austria/EPA)SPECIAL FOCUS:

Winter Youth Olympics open at Innsbruck, Austria for the first time ever Friday, 1/13/12.  

Innsbruck ready to host record third Olympic event

Olympics: Youth Olympics get winter world premiere in Innsbruck

Youth Olympic Games get underway

Heavy snowfall will not stop us hosting great Games, says Innsbruck 2012 chief

There will be no gigantism at our Opening Ceremony, reveals Innsbruck 2012

Youth Olympics: Great rehearsal for Sochi 2014

Asian, Kuwaiti Olympic chief heads to Innsbruck for Winter Youth Games

Doha, Baku, Promote 2020 Summer Games Bids

Innsbruck 2012 will prove truly inspirational just as Singapore 2010 did, says IOC President (Perspective)  

Curlers gear up for Winter Youth Olympics

Taekwondo kicks in for youth at Team Trials

 

Athletes:

Austria hockey goalkeeper dedicates Winter Youth Olympic Games to his friend

Highly touted forward to play in inaugural Winter Games in Austria, Kemptville hockey player skates to Youth Olympics

Nicholson set to take on world at Winter Youth Olympic Games

(PHOTO: Thomas Scoffin from Whitehorse, Canada will head to Austria to compete in the Winter Youth Olympic Games. He is the skip for the Canadian Youth Olympic Curling team/CBC)Whitehorse teen to compete in winter youth Olympics  

Local skier headed to Youth Olympics

Cayman’s teen skier to make Olympic youth debut

Travers injury may halt Olympic quest

Kim Yu Na encourages young athletes to enjoy first-ever winter YOG

Youth Olympics bring ancestry into focus for Eritrean Alpine Skier

Iranian teenage girl competes in Winter Youth Olympics

Ireland’s Florence Bell at Youth Winter Olympics

Winter Youth Olympics: Woodward leads Team GB in Innsbruck

(PHOTO: Skiier Sive Speelman flying the South African flag at the Winter Youth Olympics/Gap 2011)McNeill sets her sights on Olympic success

Small to carry flag at Winter Youth Games

Menzies targeting Olympic glory after schools success

Summerhayes to Carry Flag for Team GB at Youth Winter Olympics

Brakeman Sawyers ready to go full throttle for bobsleigh medal

South Africa teen off to Winter Youth Olympics

Gordon honoured by refereeing role at first Youth Winter Olympics

Sackville woman to represent Canada at 1st Youth Olympic Winter Games

Jake Peterson chosen as Team USA flag bearer for inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck

(PHOTO: Skiier Katie Summerhayes for Great Britain) NZ flag bearer for Winter Youth Olympic Games named

Russian Youth Olympics Team leaves for Innsbruck

Holy Ghost’s Kerr to Play in Winter Youth Olympics

Park City snowboarder excited about Youth Olympics invite

Three locals ready for Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck

Edwin Minney of Wind Gap to play in Winter Youth Olympic Games

Willowbrook speed skater competing at inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games

Eau Claire teen soars to Youth Olympics (updated)