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February 12, 2013 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
It might have been a chance meeting or a cunning act of propaganda, but the encounter more than 40 years ago between two pingpong champions - one Chinese, the other American - launched what President Nixon would call "the week that changed the world. " Zhuang Zedong, the captain of the Chinese team competing at the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships in Japan, was at the back of his team's bus when its doors swung open for a straggler, American juniors champion Glenn Cowan. With the United States and China still stuck in the Cold War, none of the Chinese players dared utter a word to the American.
January 24, 2013 | By Paul Richter, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Sen. John F. Kerry pledged Thursday that as secretary of State he would de-emphasize the military role "thrust upon us" by Sept. 11, saying "we cannot afford a diplomacy that is defined by troops or drones or confrontation. " Appearing at his confirmation hearing before longtime colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Massachusetts Democrat said it was time to spotlight America's international efforts to promote human rights, fight disease and lift the world's poor.
January 24, 2013 | By Peter Hotez
Could "vaccine diplomacy" work on the Korean peninsula? The short answer is yes. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in a New Year's Day speech, called for reductions in international tension and an end to confrontation with South Korea, while raising the prospect of reunification between the North and South. Ultimately, science diplomacy could play an essential role in helping catalyze improved North-South relations in 2013, with joint programs for elimination of neglected diseases as a cornerstone.
November 19, 2012 | By Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times
YANGON, Myanmar - Barack Obama was riding in his motorcade, the first U.S. president to visit long-isolated Myanmar, when he suddenly ordered an unscheduled detour Monday. The Secret Service scrambled. Police raced ahead to clear crowded roads. Tourists were chased away. Soon Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were barefoot in the muggy afternoon. They hiked up a long set of marble stairs and took in the 325-foot-tall Shwedagon Pagoda, which is covered with gilt leaf and topped by a jewel-encrusted spire.
November 19, 2012 | By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The increasingly bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip is threatening the Obama administration's plans to reinvigorate its Middle East diplomacy, creating new obstacles across the region as the president prepares for his second term. With negotiators struggling to craft a cease-fire agreement, diplomats and experts say the strife is hampering administration efforts to help resolve the civil war in Syria, improve relations with Egypt's new government, support moderate Palestinian leaders and check Iran's growing ambitions.
September 30, 2012 | By Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times
The sky was no limit for the space shuttle program in 1991. Three shuttles orbited Earth regularly, and a fourth, Endeavour, had just rolled off a Palmdale production line. With construction of the International Space Station looming, the future was bright for NASA's prized fleet. The space agency planned to use the shuttles for many years, perhaps decades. But Ken Phillips was already thinking ahead. Phillips, aerospace curator of the California Science Center, made an audacious proposal to his boss that year: Acquire one of the shuttles.
August 8, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - Signaling a new era in Egypt's diplomacy, President Mohamed Morsi met withIran's vice president Wednesday in the highest-level official contact between the two strategic nations in decades. Morsi's visit with Hamid Baghaei gave Iran a diplomatic coup amid sharpening international pressure over its nuclear program and links to Syria. It came as Egypt's new Islamist president looks to gradually reshape the pro-American policies of toppled leader Hosni Mubarak to reflect political shifts brought by the"Arab Spring" revolts.
July 26, 2012 | By Jon Healey
On his first campaign trip overseas, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney learned the first rule of diplomacy: Never say what you're really thinking. Romney is getting heat from some of the press in London for telling an American news outlet (NBC Nightly News) on Wednesday that there were "disconcerting" signs about the city's readiness for the Summer Olympic Games, which open officially Friday night. In particular, Romney noted reports that faulted the private security company hired for the Games for "not having enough people," as well as the "supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials.
May 9, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro and Paul Richter, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Days before Christmas 2010, Congress was in a foul mood. Republicans had just swept the midterm elections, but Democrats were intent on finishing the year with a landmark lame-duck session on President Obama's top priorities. One measure, a revamped nuclear nonproliferation treaty with Russia, faced Republican opposition and an uncertain fate. Key GOP leaders opposed it. But Sen.Richard G. Lugarof Indiana, the party's elder statesman on foreign policy issues, was in favor.
March 26, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
Fourteen years after Pope John Paul II made his landmark visit to Cuba, his successor, Benedict XVI, arrives Monday in a changed country where the Roman Catholic Church occupies its most influential role since the communist revolution half a century ago. The once-marginalized church's new position owes to the careful diplomacy of charismatic Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the most senior Cuban prelate; the political ascension of Raul Castro, more pragmatic...
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