May 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - When Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development from his impoverished country last week, he complained that Washington "still has a mentality of domination and submission" in the region. It was a familiar charge for the State Department's principal foreign aid agency. In the last two years, it has been booted out of Russia, snubbed in Egypt and declared unwelcome by a bloc of left-leaning Latin American countries. USAID "threatens our sovereignty and stability," the eight-nation Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas fumed in June in a resolution that accused the United States of political interference, conspiracy and "looting our natural resources.
May 5, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Speaking to the graduating class of Ohio State University in Columbus on Sunday, President Obama called on the students to embrace the school's motto, “education for citizenship,” and to press the government to act. He encouraged students to work to narrow the income gap between the middle class and the wealthy, to improve education for children and protect them from gun violence, and to better the environment, among other things....
April 20, 2013 |
The great Yogi Berra is said to have observed, "Predictions are difficult, particularly about the future" (or something very close to that). When UCLA history professor James Gelvin quoted Berra to that effect on Saturday, it served as a capstone to a wide-ranging discussion of the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Wait, scratch that. The term preferred by the panel of Mideast experts speaking at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was Arab Uprisings, not Arab Spring.
April 19, 2013 |
"It's a difficult business," writes David Graeber, "creating a new, alternative civilization. " Just open a window or turn on the TV - the same old civilization is rotting all around us. Budget cuts, police shootings, endless and ever-broadening wars, the climate in full-scale, almost-end-times spasm, a Congress of hand puppets yelping on about the manufactured crisis of the moment, a president whose answer to every crisis is More of the Same....
April 10, 2013 |
Pakistan is beset by a torrent of maladies. Its government is bankrupt. Its economy is mired in stagflation as the population booms. Terrorists strike all corners of the country. Civil conflict in its largest city, Karachi, has evolved from feuds between ethnic political parties into a Taliban war against them all, exacerbated by ever-powerful criminal mafias. The cancer of extremism is spreading deeper and the death toll mounts. But there is opportunity for change. Pakistan's political leaders have taken major steps toward institutionalizing civilian, democratic rule.
April 3, 2013 |
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - As Pakistan's leading political parties ramp up their campaigns ahead of parliamentary elections in mid-May, they face a burgeoning youth electorate that has become deeply disillusioned with the country's direction and doubtful that democracy is the best course to take, according to new report released Wednesday. A survey by the British Council found that nearly one-third of Pakistan's registered voters are between the ages of 18 and 29, and that more than half of those voters - roughly 13 million - would be going to the polls for the first time.
March 30, 2013 |
In the heady days of 1989, nondemocratic regimes fell like dominoes to the peaceful march of activists across Eastern Europe. Even China briefly appeared vulnerable to popular demands for a voice in how the country is ruled -- until the crackdown at Tiananmen Square. The spread of democratic rule was at its apex a decade ago, when many of Africa's strongmen went the way of the discredited European Communists. Free elections brought to power a new generation promising to wrest the continent from poverty.
February 3, 2013 |
My niece, the mother of a 3-year-old, told me she felt blackmailed: In order for her child to attend a birthday party at a gymnastics facility for young children, she had to sign a form that included this: "The undersigned agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless [this facility], its officers, managers, members, employees, servants, agents and coaches/instructors and their successors and assigns from and against all legal liability, claims, suits, damages, losses, and expenses, including attorneys' fees, threatened or incurred, and arising from the child's participation, or from any cause whatsoever.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 2013 |
The political prisoner looked ashen and bony - weary from the months of being held in his native Vietnam - as he was pulled into the tight embrace of his family. Nguyen Quoc Quan, a math professor turned democracy activist, had been detained almost as soon as he arrived in Ho Chi Minh City more than nine months ago, accused of attempting to overthrow the communist government. The government locked the 60-year-old from Garden Grove in a 9-foot-by-9-foot cell, his only company the minder assigned to watch his every move.
January 24, 2013 |
AMMAN, Jordan - The king of Tafayla had just been elected to the parliament. He strode through the neighborhood in the Jordanian capital Thursday, dressed in a black tracksuit and wearing a 5 o'clock shadow, his hair matted down. A henchman fired a handgun into the air in celebration as supporters shambled down an alley on their victory parade. There was, however, one group of men who heard the commotion from their dim clubhouse but opted to stay inside, stewing over black coffee and smoking Rothmans and Kents.