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April 3, 2012
A day after representatives of 83 nations promised "additional appropriate measures" to shore up the Syrian opposition, a special United Nations envoy said Monday that the Bashar Assad regime will withdraw troops from populated areas by April 10, with a mutual cease-fire to begin within 48 hours. To put it mildly, skepticism is in order. Assad has reneged on similar commitments in the past, and Russia, one of his two supporters on the U.N. Security Council, shows no signs of abandoning its ally.
April 2, 2012
Policymakers have long agreed that Washington needs to make more spectrum available for wireless services, but they've struggled to convince the federal agencies that control more than half of the usable frequencies. A new report from the Obama administration raised hopes last week, suggesting a way to squeeze more room for commercial networks out of some prime frequencies that are crowded with federal users. More than 20 agencies now have exclusive rights to the spectrum in question (1755 Mhz to 1850 Mhz)
March 25, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Cuba this week is clearly intended to be a pastoral mission, not a political one. Coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the island's patron saint, the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, it is timed to help revive interest in Catholicism in one of Latin America's less devout countries and to draw followers to the church. But we hope Benedict's visit will serve another objective as well: to persuade President Raul Castro to abandon his crackdown on dissidents and show greater respect for human rights.
March 15, 2012
In the seemingly interminable campaign for the 2012 Republican nomination, one result after another has been called "definitive" or a "breakthrough," only for those superlatives to be dusted off again after the next round of voting. But the outcome of Tuesday's primaries in Alabama and Mississippi does seem to mark a milestone: the beginning of a two-candidate race between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. True, Newt Gingrich, who finished second to Santorum in both states, says he isn't going anywhere and even attempted to portray himself and Santorum as an anti-Romney tag team.
March 9, 2012
To the evident discomfort of the White House and President Obama's reelection campaign, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called for the Democratic Party's 2012 platform to include an endorsement of same-sex marriage. Instead of resenting - or fearing - the mayor's proposal, Obama should embrace it and end once and for all the exasperating "evolution" of his views on the subject. In an interview with Politico, the mayor, who will serve as chairman of the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., said: "I believe in family values, and I believe that we all ought to be able to have a family and marry if you want to. I don't think the government should be in that business of denying people the fundamental right to marry.
February 27, 2012
Last May, after months of reports on how poor a job Los Angeles does recouping about half a billion dollars that it is owed, and after a few more months of chattering and philosophizing, the City Council voted to create a position to take charge of collections. It got the title wrong - "inspector general" utterly fails to describe the collections position - but let's not quibble over words. Let's just get back some of that $541 million. And let's now, eight months later, check back in with the inspector general to see how the job is going, how much money has actually been pulled in, how much should be written off as uncollectable and what additional tasks our debt marshal should undertake.
February 15, 2012 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
As the Russian presidential race enters its final weeks, a radio station considered one of the country's few stalwarts of free speech is facing orders from its government-owned parent company to reshuffle management, officials said Tuesday. The Echo of Moscow station, which is often critical of the government, is expected to lose editor in chief Alexei Venediktov, his first deputy, Vladimir Varfolomeyev, and at least two other key members of its board of directors in late March, leaving a pro-Kremlin majority on the board, station officials and media experts said.
January 30, 2012
When Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown last year, there was immediate concern in Washington about the future of U.S. relations with Egypt. Mubarak, though a tyrant, had been a reliable ally, which explained why the Obama administration temporized about whether he should step down. Once he was gone and a supposedly transitional military council promised elections, a new concern arose: that the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups would dominate a new elected government and - in the worst-case scenario - renounce the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli treaty.
January 29, 2012
Earlier this month Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa went to Washington in his capacity as president of theU.S. Conference of Mayors and scolded the federal government for its chronic underfunding of cities. He came home in time for the release of an audit report criticizing his administration for leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money on the table. Why? In some cases, the city departments the mayor oversees simply failed to apply. Did Villaraigosa mess up? In this case, perhaps not. Let's be clear: The mayor's administration has been terrible at collecting money.
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