U.S. travel alert comes amid al Qaida glee over prison breaks

 

The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert for U.S. citizens Friday as it suspended operations in 21 Muslim countries in response to “current information” that suggests al Qaida-affiliated militant groups might strike within the next month.

Apart from mentioning that an attack might occur in or emanate from the Arabian Peninsula, which is home to one of the most active al Qaida branches, the State Department’s announcement gave few details on the nature of the threat and didn’t provide specifics about when or where such an attack might take place.

“They may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” the State Department’s travel alert said.

Future of Italy’s coalition hangs in the balance as Berlusconi plays the victim

Debate rages following conviction for tax evasion

Paddy Agnew

In the wake of the tsunami that hit Italian politics on Thursday night, when former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was adjudged guilty of tax evasion via his Mediaset TV company, the future of the 100-day old Enrico Letta-led PD-PDL coalition government now hangs in the balance.

That, at least, would appear to be the obvious conclusion to be drawn from a tempestuous day after yesterday, marked by bellicose noises on the part of Berlusconi’s PDL party, by a relative silence from the centre-left PDs and by reassuring tones from Letta.

At a meeting with PDL parliamentarians last night, Berlusconi again touched on reform of the justice system, even suggesting that if it could be enacted immediately, then parliament should be dissolved and early elections called.

Tackling Hardship: Beating FIFA at Its Own Game in South Africa

By Antje Windmann

‘Amandla’ is a relatively modest, German-run football school in a Cape Town township. But unlike many well-funded projects in South Africa sponsored by FIFA since the last World Cup, the camp changes the lives of thousands of children.

Cape Town becomes a hellish place just behind Table Mountain. Only a few kilometers from the villas of the wealthy is Khayelitsha Township, a sea of mildewed corrugated metal huts and portable toilets spread across the dusty landscape.

The township is home to more than one-and-a-half million people. Many are unemployed and hungry, and one in three residents is HIV positive. There is no running water, but there is plenty of violence in Khayelitsha, which has one of the world’s highest crime rates. Muggings and rapes are part of everyday life in the slum, which sees an average of 12 murders a day


North Korean children able to inherit from South’s citizens

August 3, 2013

Choe Sang-Hun

The Supreme Court of South Korea has ruled for the first time that North Korean children of a South Korean citizen have the right to inherit their deceased parent’s property.

The verdict set a legal precedent with far-reaching implications on the divided Korean peninsula, as it opened the way for what could be a flood of similar lawsuits. Millions of Koreans were separated from their families after the peninsula was divided at the end of World War II in 1945, and the border was sealed with the 1950-53 Korean War.

Many of those living in the South died without meeting their children, spouses or siblings in the North again or finding a way to bequeath their fortunes to those living there. There is no telephone, email or letter exchange allowed between the two Koreas.

After 8 defiant years, Ahmadinejad leaves Iran isolated and cash-strapped

Iran’s most divisive president since the 1979 revolution initially won praise, but his successor is now tasked with undoing the damage Ahmadinejad wrought at home and abroad.

By Staff writer

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today ascended to the global stage one last time, capping his tumultuous eight-year presidency with an anti-Israel harangue that made no mention of the political damage he is widely perceived as inflicting upon the Islamic Republic and its leadership.

Damage control from Mr. Ahmadinejad’s legacy at home and abroad is sure to absorb much of the early work of the incoming centrist President-elect Hassan Rohani, who brings with him expectations of sweeping change.

The cleric and former nuclear negotiator has promised an economic turnaround, easing Iran’s isolation, nuclear “transparency,” and above all, moderation. He will be sworn into office on Sunday.

Could cricket have a big future in China?

This weekend, sports fans in England and Australia are likely to be gripped by the Ashes. In China, they are more likely to be watching basketball. But could that be about to change?

“It’s a paddle. For a canoe. Isn’t it?” We had just shown a cricket bat to a lady in a park to see if she knew what it was.

Night was falling, and many people were strolling among the trees, enjoying cooler evening temperatures. From nearby came the rousing chorus of revolutionary songs, sung by dozens of men and women, who could remember different times in China.