Japan Pledges $6 BN to Mekong Nations as China Prepares New Bank

The Financial Express | Jul 4, 2015

Japan said on Saturday it would extend around $6 billion in development aid to Mekong region countries, as China prepares to launch a new institutional lender seen as encroaching on the regional clout of Tokyo and ally Washington. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam all have strong economic growth potential, and are promising destinations for Japanese exporters of railway systems, power plants and other infrastructure.

Under Obama U.S. More Popular Abroad

Lobe Log | Jul 4, 2015

The Republican/neocon narrative that the United States has steadily lost its standing in the eyes of the world since Obama succeeded George W.

Putin Tells Obama He Wants Dialogue Based on Equality and Respect

Reuters | Jul 4, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for dialogue based on equal treatment and mutual respect with the United States on Saturday in a congratulatory message to President Barack Obama marking U.S. Independence Day. Putin said U.S.-Russian relations remained important for solving global crises. The two countries have disagreements over the conflict in Ukraine, defense matters and democracy.

The Amazing Story of a Tsunami Survivor Who Turned into a Soccer Star

Washington Post, The | Jul 4, 2015

Moved by the child's plight, Portugal's soccer federation donated some 40,000 euros to build Martunis and his surviving family a new house. Cristiano Ronaldo, now a global superstar but then still a rising talent, paid Martunis a visit in 2005 and met him a few instances thereafter.

The Arts Power On

Straits Times, The | Jul 4, 2015

From 'cultural desert' to a city with 66 arts performances a day, Singapore has come a long way. A week of half-price tickets for local shows sponsored by companies could help bring the arts closer to average families.

Business Elite as Nigeria’s Public Diplomacy Instruments

This Day Live | Jul 4, 2015

There is only as much traditional diplomacy of state-to-state exchanges can do. The reality of contemporary times is that non-state actors have become increasingly potent agents of diplomacy engaged directly or indirectly by states in pursuit of their foreign policy interests.

Democracy is Not a Mystifying Western Plot – It Is a Universal Value

Guardian, The | Jul 3, 2015

We should demystify democracy. Democracy is not a western plot, it is a universal value. Virtually all countries have aspects of democratic culture in place to some degree, and absolutely every country has room to strengthen the quality of their democracy.

Zarif’s Wife Adds a New Twist to the Talks

IranWire | Jul 3, 2015

As this week’s final nuclear talks got underway, there was one uninvited guest: Maryam Imanieh, the wife of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. She arrived at Vienna’s Palais Saxe-Coburg Hotel with Hossein Fereydoon, President Hassan Rouhani’s brother, adding a new twist to the final days of negotiations.

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