Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommended Marine Corps General James Mattis July 8 to head the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the joint military command for the Middle East that includes supervision of the Iraq and Afghan wars. The U.S. Central Command combines theater command of the four service branches as well as special operations for the Middle East and Central Asia.
The French parliament voted unanimously June 29 to give final approval to a new law to criminalize “psychological violence,” prompting criticism from judges and rights groups who worry about privacy violations and how the rule will actually be enforced.
Following a meeting on July 7 between Cuban President Raul Castro and Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Archbishop of Havana, the diocesan office released an announcement that the Cuban government has agreed to set free 52 political prisoners and allow them to leave the country.
In his inaugural speech as President, Thomas Jefferson entreats us as a people, a nation, and a government to be friends of all nations but to avoid entangling alliances with all. One of the best ways to express our friendship with other nations in a way that requires no treaties, no trade agreements, and no alliances, is through international competition.
Octavia Nasr, a senior Middle East editor at CNN, has been fired from her position after writing in a post on Twitter that she "respected" Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah — a Lebanese Shia Muslim leader with links to the terrorist group Hezbollah who died on July 4. Nasr wrote: "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.... One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot."
“Airports in Britain, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates have refused to offer fuel to Iranian passenger jets after unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington,” according to a report in the UK Telegraph. “Kuwaiti airports have also declined to offer fuel to Iranian passenger planes.”
In a scenario that could have come from George Orwell’s famous book 1984, a controversial government surveillance system that uses hidden microphones to snoop on public conversations in Europe has been exposed. And it’s already drawing strong criticism from privacy advocates.
The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency reported on July 5 that evidence it put into the 3,000-page Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has several factual errors. The Dutch agency still remained firmly behind the conclusions in the United Nations-sponsored IPCC report.
The American government, over the last decade, has been notoriously remiss in keeping illegal aliens from crossing our border with Mexico. The Arizona Legislature recently passed a “controversial” law requiring that the existing federal immigration laws be enforced — prompting a threatened lawsuit from the federal government (for enforcing its own laws).
Trade representatives of mainland China and the Republic of China on Taiwan signed a trade deal called the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in the Chinese city of Chonqquing on June 29, as negotiators on both sides spoke of a new era in ties across the Taiwan Strait.