PakistanBack in February, Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, predicted that the additional 17,000 U.S. troops scheduled to be sent to Afghanistan would remain there for three to five years. The additional 17,000 troops would bring total U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan up to around 55,000, and an AP article in the Army Times for February 19 reported that still another 10,000 U.S. soldiers could be sent to Afghanistan in the future.

Carol DuffyAlfred Lord Tennyson may be turning in his grave. The author of some of the most exalted poetry in the English language, such as “Crossing the Bar” and “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” would probably be appalled to learn that Britain’s newest poet laureate — an honor Tennyson held from 1850 until his death in 1892 — is Carol Ann Duffy, an open lesbian much of whose poetry is a celebration of her sexual deviancy.

Geert WildersIt appears as if another country is afraid of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders because of his outspoken views about Islam and his film Fitna, which intersperses excerpts from the Koran with depictions of Islamic violence. Following the lead of Great Britain, Denmark has postponed a conference on free speech to which Wilders was invited by the Danish People’s Party.

North KoreaIn the midst of an economic crisis and worries over a global epidemic, North Korea’s creaky totalitarian state continues to occupy headline news. North Korea, arguably the last Stalinist regime on Earth, has, over the past decade, conducted three long-range missile tests — none of which has come remotely close to demonstrating an ability to reach even western Alaska, much less deliver a payload to the continental United States — and carried out a single, low-yield nuclear test that apparently was only partly successful. Now the North Koreans are threatening more missile and nuclear tests unless the UN Security Council apologizes for tightening sanctions over the latest missile launch.

timal tigersThe long-running war in Sri Lanka, the impoverished Indian Ocean nation suspended like a tropical teardrop below India’s southern tip, appears to be near an end. The secessionist war between the Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) and the majority Sinhalese government has attracted sporadic international attention over the years, but never the sort of sustained intervention that has taken place in the Balkans or in the Middle East.