In attempt to mend ties with its only ally.
Confirming speculation that Kim Jong-un is anxious to mend ties with China, the North Korean leader reportedly dispatched a “special envoy” to Beijing on Wednesday. Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, the first North Korean official to visit China on behalf of Kim, is a high-profile choice, as the acting director of the General Political Bureau of the North Korean People’s Army. A senior analyst at the Sejong Institute in South Korea confirmed that the meeting suggests there is something “quite urgent” to discuss. Considering that Kim sent his top military official, the agenda likely consists of convincing China—the nation’s only remaining ally—that North Korea’s nuclear-weapon touting is warranted. Good luck.
Afghans fear the very militias America has set up to protect them—and allegations of sexual violence abound. Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau report.
Jumadin, a 45-year-old farmer from the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, returned to his modest mud-brick home late one evening last January to find the front door shattered. He rushed inside, calling and searching for his 19-year-old daughter, Monizha, who had been home alone while Jumadin’s wife and three other children visited relatives in Pakistan. He was panic-stricken. The small house had been ransacked, and Monizha was nowhere inside.
So far the Obama administration has pledged only nonlethal and humanitarian aid, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wants to go much further—approving a bill Tuesday to arm the rebels.
In a bipartisan rebuke of the Obama administration’s Syria policy, almost all the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Tuesday to authorize arming moderate elements of the Syrian opposition.Democrats and Republicans alike criticized the Obama administration for not being more active in its efforts to encourage the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to support the more secular parts of the Syrian opposition, who could find themselves in another war with extremist groups now fighting alongside them if and when the regime falls.
To protest gay marriage and "Islamists."
Right-wing historian Dominique Venner shocked visitors Tuesday when he shot himself in the head at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. In a blog posted before his suicide, Venner denounced France's new law legalizing gay marriage and warned that his country was "falling into the power of Islamists." He said "new, spectacular, and symbolic gestures" would be needed to "reawaken" France's racial and cultural origins. Venner fought in France's colonial war in Algeria in the 1960s and was a member of the Organisation de l’Armée Secrète (OAS), a far-right terror group that attempted to overthrow the French government and assassinate President Charles de Gaulle after he agreed to give Algeria independence. Later in life Venner devoted himself to a career as a historian, winning a few prestigious prizes for his books. Members of the French far right, including Front National leader Marine Le Pen, praised Venner's suicide as "eminently political" and "Promethean."
Dismissing claims that it is ‘unethical.’
One of the head military physicians at the Guantánamo Bay detention center is denying claims that the force-feeding of prisoners—who have been on a hunger strike since February—is unethical. “It's very easy for folks outside of this place to make policies and decisions they think they would implement," the doctor told Al Jazeera. “When faced with people who are to the point of needing medical intervention to protect their life … suddenly it's not a very abstract decision.” The practice, which consists of threading a tube through the prisoner’s nose and injecting supplements into their stomach, was condemned by the American Medical Association in April.
The revolution that overthrew Mubarak and brought in the Islamists also gave hope to the country’s gays and lesbians. Bel Trew reports.
Ramy Yosef, a 21-year-old man from Egypt's Nile Delta, came out on Twitter last year. His family responded by forcing him from their home.Tarek, 28, recounts being beaten and robbed for "dressing like a faggot"—and avoiding the police for fear that they, too, would target him for being gay.Though homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, coming out has always been complicated and even dangerous.But now, even as Egypt becomes increasingly Islamized under Muslim Brotherhood rule, young gay activists are fighting back by building a rights movement and initiating a more public conversation about a subject long kept under wraps.
The most lurid scandal in Latin America is back—and creating trouble for strongman Ortega. Mac Margolis on a nasty family feud.
It’s been a bad month for Latin American autocrats. Earlier this month, onetime Guatemalan Generalissimo Efraín Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide and sentenced to 80 years in prison for his role in the Central American Cold War. Last week, Argentine dirty warrior Jorge Rafael Videla, who presided over the bloodiest period of the 1976–1983 dictatorship died behind bars in Buenos Aires. And such was the disarray of Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela that the autocrat’s successor Nicolas Maduro was left to explain why this oil-rich nation of 28 million is running short of food and toilet paper.
Buoyed by the escape of three Cleveland women held for a decade, Madeleine McCann’s parents now have a new lead: 20 ‘persons of interest’ who may have details of her 2007 disappearance.
It is hard to imagine the roller-coaster nightmare that Madeleine McCann’s parents must be going through. Six years have passed since Madeleine, then just shy of her 4th birthday, disappeared from a vacation apartment in the Algarve, Portugal, where she and her younger twin siblings were asleep. Her parents, Kate and Gerry, were considered primary suspects early on in the investigation by haphazard Portuguese police who focused erroneously on the couple from the moment the young girl disappeared, likely letting the real suspects escape justice.
Significant win for regime.
Hezbollah fighters joined with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces on Sunday to take back large swaths of Qusayr, a border city in Homs Province controlled by rebel fighters. The Syrian military pounded the city with air and artillery strikes, leaving 52 dead and injuring hundreds. Anti-government activists estimated regime loyalists took back roughly 60 percent of the city. It was a significant win for Assad, who believes the area is key to regaining control over rebel-held territories. Hezbollah’s role in the conflict has escalated recently, raising fears that the war may soon spread beyond Syria’s borders.
Dozens of American children are abducted to Japan every year—not by strangers, but by parents after messy divorces. As Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky and Jake Adelstein report, divorce laws protective of Japanese nationals encourage such illegal abductions.
Japan has a child-kidnapping problem. It’s not strangers snatching the kids on the playground or at the bus stop; the problem is that when a Japanese national divorces a foreigner overseas, he or she can abduct their children and bring them back to Japan, and the law ensures that the parent left behind has no rights to see the children or take them back home. The U.S. State Department reports that there have been over 100 such kidnappings since 1994, but according to a source, the number is closer to 400.
London Hacking Suspects Were Suspicious
Beheading victim identified as Lee Rigby.More
Massive Underwater Structure
Still puzzles archaeologists.More
Swedish Riots Reach Fourth Day
With protestors setting fire to 340 cars.More
SO, HE AGED WELL
Eighty-Year-Old Man Scales Everest
Yuichiro Miura now the oldest to reach the summit.More
TERROR OF LONDON
U.K. Soldiers Warned: ‘No Uniforms’
Man who was beheaded was an officer.More
New cellphone videos show police and pedestrians responding to Wednesday's horrific attack in London.
She is a true inspiration. Teenage activist Malala Yousafzai has released a video statement for the first time since being shot by the Taliban last October. 'God has given me this new life,' Malala says, and in return, she is launching the Malala Fund, created to help educate children all over the world.
May is Short Story Month. Here are Jane Ciabattari’s favorite new collections, from an ironic new voice to a posthumous release.