Saudi Arabia: Surge in Executions

Human Rights Watch | Aug 23, 2014

The Death Penalty Worldwide Database, which collects information on executions across the globe, shows that Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world, and applies the death penalty to a range of offenses that do not constitute “most serious crimes,” including drug offenses, adultery, sorcery, and apostasy. According to media reports, Saudi Arabia has executed at least 34 people in 2014, including the 19 between August 4 and August 20. According to Agence France-Presse, Saudi Arabia executed at least 78 people in 2013. 

The Abe-Modi Summit Should Be a Signal to China

The Diplomat | Aug 23, 2014

The missed opportunity of not visiting Japan early enough should now be offset by the rhetoric of the joint statement. The converging geo-political interests of India and Japan in curbing the growing assertiveness of China in the Asia-Pacific is certainly one of the major factors binding the two nations together. 

These Maps Show the Best and Worst Countries for Journalists, and How Much has Changed in Recent Years

Global Post | Aug 23, 2014

Every year, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) publishes their World Press Freedom Index, which ranks every country in the world using the following six criteria: pluralism, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and infrastructure. This chart lists the ten best and worst places to be a journalist today. The time-lapse maps below tell a more complicated story.

China Beats Bad Image with Big Aid to Africa

Asia One World | Aug 23, 2014

Pushing back against criticism that its presence in Africa is mercenary, China has extended unprecedented generosity to the Western African countries in the grip of an Ebola epidemic. It is the first time that China has extended humanitarian aid to countries facing public health emergencies; state media characterized this as "fulfilling the duty of a big country" and "selfless".

China vs US - Superpower Standoff in Africa

The New Zealand Herald | Aug 23, 2014

Trade, facilitated by Beijing's deep public pockets, reciprocal visits by dignitaries, including Xi Jinping, and the estimated one million Chinese citizens who have made Africa home since 2001, soared to $200 billion last year, making China the continent's biggest trading partner. All of which has set off alarm bells in some Western quarters, with dark warnings about a new Scramble for Africa. Critics fret the United States - focused on the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific, the European Union and Russia - has made a strategic mistake.

Miley Cyrus Banned From Performing In Dominican Republic Based on 'Morality Grounds'

Breitbart | Aug 23, 2014

The pop star was scheduled to make an appearance in Santo Domingo Sept. 13, but the commission called the concert off Thursday after deciding her behavior goes against their 'morals and customs' and is even 'punishable by Dominican law,' the Associated Press reported. The country's decision could contradict the "Diplomacy in Action" statement, published by the U.S. Department of State, that cites there to be "no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events." 

Bao Bao’s One-year Birthday Panda-Monium

Washington Post | Aug 23, 2014

Her guests include Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai, who has called Bao Bao Washington’s other Chinese ambassador, acknowledging a longstanding practice of “panda diplomacy” where China would gift or loan pandas as a message of cute goodwill between two countries.

The Real Winner of America’s War on ISIS: Bashar al-Assad

Slate | Aug 23, 2014

More prominent voices—today it’s the former head of the British army—are now advocating the previously unthinkable position that Western governments should open dialogue with Assad. I don’t see that happening, but as Reuters reports, the regime now seems to be expecting a quieter opening...


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