November 15, 2011 |
Syria's increasingly isolated government fought to maintain its grasp on power in the face of bitter criticism from neighbors and former allies who questioned the right of President Bashar Assad to continue ruling his country after months of bloody repression. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former supporter of Assad, declared that Syria was on "the edge of the cliff" in a blunt, personal message to the embattled president. "Those who fire on their own people will go down in history as leaders who feed on blood," warned Erdogan, who also referred to Assad by his first name, a show of disrespect.
November 15, 2011
Syria has been the outlier in the Arab Spring, with President Bashar Assad holding on to power while other autocrats in the region have been ousted — or worse — one after another. But now that the reforms he promised have failed to materialize, Assad is losing the support of other Arab leaders. That development doesn't guarantee that he will step aside, but it makes it more likely. And it vindicates the case for Western sanctions. Over the weekend, the Arab League suspended Syria's membership in the organization, two weeks after a delegation from the group reached an agreement with Assad.
November 11, 2011 |
Demonstrators across Syria demanded Friday that the Arab League take decisive action against the government of President Bashar Assad, opposition activists said, as a rights group accused Damascus of crimes against humanity during its crackdown on dissent. The opposition reported that government forces killed at least 37 people, half in the central city of Homs, which has become a center of the almost eight-month rebellion against Assad's rule. The casualty numbers could not be independently verified.
November 11, 2011 |
After gaining momentum with their successful bid to join UNESCO, Palestinians now seem uncertain about their next move to win full membership in the United Nations and frustrated with their progress. The Palestinians' U.N. application was discussed Friday at the world body's Security Council, but no vote was taken. Divisions among council members - including a veto threat from the U.S. - make the application almost certain to fail. In recent days, Palestinian leaders have acknowledged privately that they don't even have the nine votes needed to forward the application to the U.N. General Assembly, meaning the Obama administration may not have to use its veto.
November 2, 2011
In past decades, Palestinian nationalists thought they had to hijack planes or blow up Israeli civilians in order to attract international attention. Some still do, but moderate leaders are lately discovering that the path to recognition might lie instead through the United Nations. On Monday, they won a key victory when Palestine — a state that doesn't technically exist — was granted membership in the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. That's giving the Obama administration fits and angering pro-Israel members of Congress from both U.S. political parties, but regardless of how one feels about the proper borders of Israel, the Palestinian switch to a diplomatic strategy represents progress.
October 24, 2011 |
The Palestinian bid for statehood recognition by the United Nations is almost certain to be rejected if it is taken up by the Security Council. But as early as this week, the governing assembly of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization could grant the Palestinians membership in that organization. If this happens, as is widely expected, the United States would have to resign from UNESCO because of a 20-year-old law forbidding the payment of dues by the U.S. to any U.N. body that accepts Palestine as a member.
October 17, 2011 |
In a move that could signal trouble for the Big East Conference's proposed football expansion, Missouri reportedly is a step closer to leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. A Missouri official told the New York Times on Monday that a decision to apply for SEC membership was "inevitable and imminent" and anticipated "no problem" in being accepted. Realignment dominoes have rarely fallen in any expected order or fashion. However, a move by Missouri has been the most anticipated move out there, one that could cause the Big 12 to look for a replacement with Big East schools Louisville and West Virginia, though Brigham Young is also in the mix. Monday night, Big East presidents unanimously voted to increase the league's exit fee for football schools from $5 million to $10 million, contingent on Navy and Air Force joining the league, CBSSports.com reported.
October 6, 2011 |
After more than a year of watching their league be picked apart, leaders of Big 12 Conference schools finally made a proactive move Thursday by voting to add Texas Christian as early as next year. It was the first aggressive act by a league desperate to secure its membership amid dramatic shifts in conference affiliation. And if the Horned Frogs join the Big 12, it would be another sharp blow to the Big East, which was expecting to welcome TCU next year. TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. suggested TCU is all but ready to join the Big 12. "These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU," Boschini said.
October 6, 2011 |
Warehouse club Costco Wholesale Corp. will raise annual membership fees 10% amid rising costs. The discount chain announced the price hike Wednesday, the same day that it reported strong fourth-quarter and September sales growth. The fee increase, which goes into effect Nov. 1, affects members in the U.S. and Canada and is Costco's first since May 2006. The company has locations around the world including Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia. The company will raise annual membership fees by $5 for U.S. individual, business and business add-on customers as well as for Canada business members.
September 20, 2011 |
Diplomats on Tuesday raced to nail down a plan to deflect the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, crafting a face-saving formula that could lessen the immediate prospect of a Security Council veto, which the Obama administration desperately sought to avoid. Under the plan, the council decision on the application for recognition, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to make Friday, would be put off indefinitely. That would buy time for the U.S. to try to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and would keep $600 million a year in American aid and other international assistance flowing to the Palestinians.