January 9, 2013 |
After 22 months of civil war, in which an estimated 60,000 people have died, Syrian President Bashar Assad gave a defiant speech Sunday that ruled out negotiations with rebel fighters and made clear that he intends to remain in power as long as possible. Assad's words came as no great surprise. Seasoned diplomats, including former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, have tried and failed to broker a peace. So why does the war drag on? One key reason is that neither side believes it is losing.
January 5, 2013 |
GUATEMALA CITY - She holds one of the most dangerous jobs in this spectacularly dangerous country, confronting the most feared and powerful men of the Guatemalan present: gang leaders; dirty public officials; shot-callers in the Mexican drug cartels who have bled in from the north. She is also taking on the titans of Guatemala's past: military men and security chiefs whom she has accused of human rights abuses during the nation's brutal 35-year civil war. Guatemala's emblematic 20th century strongman, Efrain Rios Montt, has been under house arrest since January, when her office charged him with genocide and crimes against humanity.
January 2, 2013 |
BEIRUT, Lebanon --An American journalist was reported missing in Syria on Wednesday, six weeks after he was reportedly abducted by armed men. James Foley, 39, was taken by gunmen on Nov. 22 in the northern province of Idlib, his family said. Foley, a freelancer, had reported previously from Syria, Iraq and Libya, where he was held prisoner in 2011 by government forces during that country's civil war. Most recently, he had been shooting videos in Syria for Agence France-Presse.
January 2, 2013 |
The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago this week, has often been criticized by blacks, by radicals and also by mainstream historians who doubt its significance as a turning point in the Civil War and in American history. The skeptics range from conservatives in Lincoln's time, to Howard Zinn and Gore Vidal more recently, and include Richard Hofstadter, who wrote in his classic 1948 book "The American Political Tradition" that the Emancipation Proclamation "had all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading.
January 2, 2013 |
BEIRUT, Lebanon --The United Nations said Wednesday that more than 60,000 people have died in Syria's bloody internal war, surpassing the Syrian opposition's estimates by one-third. The head of the United Nations Human Rights office, which released the numbers, faulted the entire international community, including the U.N., for having “fiddled around the edges while Syria burns.” Meanwhile, close to 100 people were reported killed around Damascus in air raids, including 72 people at a gas station Wednesday, according to a rebel activist spokesperson. There was no confirmation from the Syrian government.
December 23, 2012 |
Here is the particular brilliance of Quentin Tarantino: He can rip a horrific page out of history - for his latest, "Django Unchained," slavery in the antebellum South - put it through his favorite grindhouse mill, kick in biting comedy whose sheer audacity and searing irony demands laughter, and yet ... and yet ... never for a moment diminish or let us forget the brutal reality. What the writer-director did so caustically to Nazis in 2009's "Inglourious Basterds" - scalping (literally)
December 7, 2012 |
38 Nooses Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End Scott W. Berg Pantheon: 384 pp., $27.95 In summer 1862, as President Abraham Lincoln waged war to keep 11 Southern slave-holding states from seceding from the Union, four young Dakota Indians approached a farmhouse in what is now central Minnesota looking for food after a failed hunting expedition. Drunk, they quickly compounded a series of bad decisions and shot dead the farmer, two other men, a woman and a 15-year-old girl, all white.
November 18, 2012 |
RICHMOND, Va. - Below the spaghetti-works of Interstate 95, beside a canal where excursion boats are the only watercraft, I try to imagine a group of African American workers on the day after Union soldiers brought freedom to Richmond. They were repairing a bridge in the newly surrendered capital of the Confederacy when a tall, gangly man in a stovepipe hat approached from the James River. A few Marines surrounded him, but there was no fanfare. President Abraham Lincoln had just arrived by rowboat to see the city that had been his nemesis for four long years of the Civil War. Pandemonium erupted.
November 17, 2012 |
The Expendables 2 Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99 Available on VOD beginning Nov. 20 Doubling down on what worked just fine two years ago, this sequel brings back Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and adds Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme to the roster of action veterans paying homage to the big, dumb guns-and-bombs flicks of the 1980s. The plot this time has the team of mercenaries losing one of their own and exacting revenge, but "plot" isn't really the point of either of the "Expendables" movies; the idea is to show buff, beloved old stars, swapping quips and bullets while running in slow-motion ahead of explosions.
November 14, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- President Obama drew a careful limit around the U.S. role in the civil war in Syria, saying he would not recognize the opposition as a “government in exile,” or yield to mounting international pressure to begin arming militias battling President Bashar Assad. Obama said at a White House news conference that his administration would continue providing humanitarian aid to victims and refugees, and keep pressing the opposition to become more unified and to exclude extremists.