China’s belated response to the oil rig crisis demonstrates the limits of its regional soft power. Focusing on, negotiating over, and perhaps even solving one of its maritime disputes would go a long way toward enhancing China’s regional soft power.
Israeli and Palestinian presidents meet in an unprecedented prayer meeting with Pope Francis on Sunday, a gesture he hopes will “re-create a desire, a possibility” of eventually re-launching the Middle East’s stalled peace process.
Vietnamese and Philippine naval forces planned to play football, volleyball and tug-of-war Sunday in the first such display of camaraderie in the Spratly Islands in the South China sea where territorial rifts with China have flared.
Twenty-five years ago, weeks of student led, pro-democracy demonstrations in China ended when tanks rolled in to Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. The events at Tiananmen grabbed the American public’s attention and seemed to shift Americans’ views of China within a short period of time.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is running for re-election Tuesday, June 3, can be thankful his neighbors do not get to vote. Strong majorities of the publics in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia and Turkey and half the public in Lebanon voice a very unfavorable view of the embattled Syrian leader, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
Protesters demonstrating against the military, which seized power in last month's coup d'état, have been spotted invoking the three-fingered salute used by the oppressed population in the films of Suzanne Collins's young adult science-fiction series. In the wake of international news channels such as CNN and the BBC being taken off air, as well as HBO and the Disney Channel, it is especially significant that this small but pointed gesture of protest should have sprung from popular culture.
The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will meet with the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to pray for peace on June 8. The pontiff extended the invitation to President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when he was on his official visit to the Holy Land earlier this week.
A week into the coup, army troops continue to be a highly visible presence on Chiang Mai's streets with bases set up at two of the main gates that ring the old city. On Monday, security forces used the area to carry out highly visible anti-riot drills while tourists watched and took photos. Chiang Mai's newest arrivals continue with their holidays much as before, haggling with tuk-tuk drivers and sauntering about the city in various states of undress though, according to locals, in increasingly smaller numbers.