Rarely covered in the English-speaking press because of its past as a Portuguese colony, the behavior of the government in Angola is becoming increasingly troubling. Crony capitalism isn't rare on the African continent—or indeed anywhere else in the world—but Angola's iteration is particularly extreme. Following a civil war that ran on and off from the nation's independence from Portugal in 1975 all the way to 2002, Angola’s elite—overseen by 71-year old President José Eduardo dos Santos—has fed greedily at a trough of oil and gas.
Saudi Arabia’s proposal to move the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) toward unity received a blow during the IISS Manama Dialogue Forum, held Dec. 7 ahead of the council meeting in Kuwait, where ministers plan to discuss the issue.
The Catholic Church’s crisis in clergy child sexual abuse is rooted in a de facto immunity enjoyed by bishops and cardinals, regardless of their negligence. The soft-glove approach to accountability by John Paul II and Benedict XVI stemmed from a theological concept, apostolic succession, which sees every bishop as a spiritual descendant of Jesus’s apostles. Somewhere along the way, apostolic succession erased the memory of Judas, the betrayer.
When your Thanksgiving dinner table feels like an international crisis, this advice shows how public diplomacy principles can come to the rescue.
This week Sunni and Shia Muslims ushered in the Islamic New Year and the beginning of the holy month of Muharram. For Shias, the month also is a time to mourn the events that sparked the centuries-old schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims.1 Pew Research Center polls conducted in 2011-2012 find high levels of concern about sectarian tensions in several countries where Sunnis and Shias live side by side.
A survey of Jewish residents in the United States has found that 1 in 5 say they have no religion, and their ranks appear to be growing. People in this category feel pride in being Jewish and a strong sense of belonging to the greater Jewish community. But they say their connection is based mostly on culture and ancestry, not necessarily on belief in God or observance of religious law. A large majority said remembering the Holocaust, being ethical and advocating for social justice formed the core of their Jewish identity.
Worldwide membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has hit 15 million, representing a three-fold increase over the last three decades, Mormon leaders said Saturday. LDS President Thomas S. Monson announced the milestone during the opening session of a two-day church conference. The biannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brings 100,000 members to Salt Lake City.
The rise of Islamist radicalism continues to threaten U.S. interests in the greater Middle East. Last year's attacks on U.S. embassies, instability in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, and an increase in political activism among Salafist movements are all cause for concern. In Pakistan, extremist networks use U.S. drone strikes and the killing of Osama bin Laden to rally people to their cause.