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  • Counting Down to Zero

    It's impossible to walk out of the film 'Countdown to Zero' without having a strong opinion on whether the United States should continue to develop and warehouse nuclear weapons. Produced by the World Security Institute in concert with Lawrence Bender ('An Inconvenient Truth'), the film is engineered to elicit a "no nukes" response.
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    Turkey: Choosing a Scary European Model

    There has been speculation about where Turkey is heading ever since the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002. The early years suggested to most observers that Turkey was heading West, as the AKP lobbied hard for membership in the European Union, and pushed the liberal-democratic and free-market reforms that membership requires. Lately, the consensus view has shifted 180 degrees.
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    Taliban Seeks Vengeance in Wake of WikiLeaks

    After WikiLeaks published a trove of U.S. intelligence documents—some of which listed the names and villages of Afghans who had been secretly cooperating with the American military—it didn’t take long for the Taliban to react. A spokesman for the group quickly threatened to “punish” any Afghan listed as having “collaborated” with the U.S. and the Kabul authorities against the growing Taliban insurgency. In recent days, the Taliban has demonstrated how seriously those threats should be considered.
  • North Korea Wants to Talk

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has been full of tough talk lately. His regime threatened “retaliatory sacred war” in response to recent joint U.S. and South Korean naval exercises, and that was only the latest threat against Washington and Seoul since they blamed the North for sinking the warship Cheonan in March.
  • The African Union Sighs at Somalia

    Somalia’s future looks more precarious every day. Last week’s African Union summit ended with promises that Guinea and Djibouti would send battalions of reinforcements to keep the AU’s embattled peacekeeping force in Mogadishu from being overrun by the Islamist militants of Al-Shabab. But the mission may be doomed nonetheless; most AU members see scant chance of success in Somalia and now fear their presence may be making things worse.
  • China's Neighbors Move to Hedge Its Power

    Brinkmanship is making for a testy summer in East Asia. In recent years, China has been building up its naval fleet, enabling it to maintain control over trade routes. Now, its activities are provoking pushback from neighbors, and attempts to contain the rising superpower appear to be entering a new phase.
  • Saudi Arabia's Nuclear Power Pursuit

    Saudi Arabia wants to go nuclear. Like many developing nations, the kingdom has seen its electricity demand soar in recent years—more than 8 percent annually—and is actively searching for alternatives to fossil fuels. Enter nuclear power: last month Saudi Arabia announced a joint initiative with Japan’s Toshiba and American firms the Shaw Group and Exelon to build and operate at least two nuclear power plants in the country. This comes on the heels of the establishment in April of the King Abdullah City for Nuclear and Renewable Energy, an organization to manage future energy sources.
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    How Pakistan Helps the Taliban

    Pakistan's ongoing support of the Afghan Taliban is anything but news to insurgents. Many of them readily admit their utter dependence on the country's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, not only for sanctuary and safe passage but also, some say, for much of their financial support. One officer offered an unverifiable estimate that Pakistan provides roughly 80 percent of the insurgents' funding.
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    South America's Designer Hotel Boom

    Thanks to a number of red-hot economies, led by Brazil, and successful crackdowns against crime in places like Colombia and Peru, South America has become the new hotspot for developers of high-end designer boutiques, resorts, and villas.
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    The Rise of China's Own Spielberg

    As a director, Feng has become a strong draw on his own—an anomaly in Chinese entertainment, where movie stars usually make or break a film. Since his 1994 debut film, “Gone Forever With My Love”, he has made a dozen movies, each one shattering a record in China.
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    China's Bad Statistics

    Deng Xiaoping’s oft-repeated aphorism for the Chinese Communist Party is to “seek truth from facts.” As the recently released second-quarter GDP growth figure of 10.3 percent reminds us, this is difficult to do when it comes to the Middle Kingdom.
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    North Korean Soccer Team Punished for World Cup Failure

    In June, the North Korean soccer team dropped out of the World Cup without a point after conceding 12 goals in three games. Since the players returned home, they have been publicly shamed, according to reports. The manager has been forced to become a construction worker, and there are fears for his safety.
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    The Power of Zero

    We may not precisely know the scale of the illicit trafficking in fissile materials, but we do know that rogue salesmen are peddling nuclear technology on the black market. The enterprising father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, A. Q. Khan, hawked his wares for years before my group at the CIA caught him red-handed and put him out of business for selling a nuclear bomb to Libya in late 2003.
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    Taliban Says It Will Target Names Exposed by WikiLeaks

    The U.S. military has already accused WikiLeaks of having "the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family" on its hands after leaking 92,000 classified documents. The Taliban has now confirmed it is poring through the documents, and intends to hunt down and punish any suspected spies named.
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    Four Journalists Kidnapped in Mexican Drug Violence

    Earlier this week it emerged that prison officials in northern Mexico had allegedly let drug-gang assassins out repeatedly—and supplied them with weapons and trucks—to massacre 35 people. Now journalists covering the story have been kidnapped.
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    'Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance'

    In light of the botched Israeli raid on the Gaza aid flotilla and the continuing rule of Gaza by Hamas, it might seem as though the situation in the Middle East is as hopeless as ever. It’s actually worse, says David Gardner: if the world—especially the Arab nations and the major Western powers—doesn’t address several major problems now, a new dark age could last for generations.
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    Not Enough Electricity in Afghanistan and Iraq

    American troops might have had a real shot at winning hearts and minds if they’d just been able to deliver the basic service in Iraq and Afghanistan: electricity. Instead, they furnished an object lesson in superpower incompetence.
  • Lawyer in Iran Stoning Case Is Now Targeted by Authorities

    Earlier this month, Iranian human-rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei helped draw the world's attention to his client, a woman who faced imminent stoning for adultery. Now, according to human-rights activists, he is in hiding himself for fear of retribution.
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    Rome's Subculture of Gay Priests Rocks the Vatican

    For residents of Rome, the sight of courting priests is hardly an anomaly. But a recent exposÈ is rocking the Catholic Church, which victims’ advocates say has responded with more urgency to the rumor of gay priests than to the history of child sex abuse.
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    Wyclef Jean May Run for Haitian Presidency

    Former Fugees star Wyclef Jean, born outside Port-au-Prince, is not ruling out a run for president in the country's Nov. 28 election, according to a statement his family gave to the media.
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    WikiLeaks Documents Confirm What We Already Know

    Researchers confronting the giant heap of 92,000 documents from Afghanistan just dumped by WikiLeaks may think they will reveal something about the U.S. military's actions. But the preliminary answer is that there is less to the documents than meets the eye.
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    After Revealing Afghan War Secrets, Wikileaks Prepares Document Dumps on Iraq and Diplomacy

    While the world has begun picking through the 90,000 classified reports on U.S. military activity in Afghanistan obtained and released by freedom of information website Wikileaks, Declassified has learned that tens of thousands of additional U.S. government documents—including military reports relating to the Iraq War and State Department diplomatic cables—may surface in forthcoming document dumps.