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United Nations

The Takeaway

NRA Lobbying at the UN, But Keeping Quiet in Colorado

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In the days since the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, the National Rifle Association hasn’t engaged with the debates about gun control. But the organization has been busy elsewhere: At the United Nations.

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The Takeaway

Syrian Conflict Taking Heavy Toll on Children

Monday, July 23, 2012

Clashes continued across Syria over the weekend. As the conflict drags on, the toll of war is increasingly carried by Syria’s youngest citizens.

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The Takeaway

Uncertainty Looms in Syria

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In Syria, uncertainty about the future of the country looms after bomb blasts in Damascus reportedly killed at least three members of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's inner circle yesterday. From Cairo to Washington, officials expressed confidence that this latest violence will have repercussions.

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The Takeaway

CIA Secretly Steering Arms to Syrian Rebels, New Report Claims

Thursday, June 21, 2012

News reports claim that British and US leaders are prepared to offer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad clemency if he agrees to help push for a UN-sponsored conference on political transition in Syria. This could put an end to the violence, but would no doubt spell a bittersweet end for many Syrians who want to see al-Assad answer for his actions.

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The Takeaway

International Sex Trafficking Trail Leads to the US

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report was released yesterday. Philip Martin, an investigative reporter from WGBH, reports on trafficking from Thailand.

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The Takeaway

UN Report: Syrian Government Using Children as Human Shields

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

According to a report by the UN's Secretary General as part of the UN's annual report on children and armed conflict, the Syrian government is torturing children and using them as human shields. The report is also critical of opposition forces in Syria and accuses the Free Syrian Army of recruiting children. Radhika Coomaraswamy is the UN's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

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The Takeaway

Syrian Crisis Continuing Coverage: Civilians Forced to Flee

Friday, June 08, 2012

Away from the politics and diplomacy, there's an unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria. Today the International Committee of the Red Cross said that more Syrian civilians are being forced to leave their homes to escape the fighting between the Syrian troops and the opposition forces. Sean Maguire is a spokesman ...

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The Takeaway

Fawaz Gerges on the Latest from Syria

Friday, June 01, 2012

Another massacre in Syria and more video showing horribly brutalized bodies. In the latest allegation, men were taken from a work bus and killed, execution style. The latest allegations suggests the same pattern as in the killings in Houla last week, actions taken by pro-government militia known as Shabiha. The United Nations Human Rights Commission is meeting in an emergency session to talk about the bloody events in Houla and now this latest atrocity.

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The Takeaway

Massacre Near Homs Puts Pressure on US Role in Syria

Monday, May 28, 2012

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss a massacre that took place over the weekend in the Syrian town of Houla. The Syrian government insists that its tanks and artillery were not responsible for attacks that killed at least 90 villagers – including 32 children – but monitors who visited the village after the attacks said they found evidence that the Syrian military fired on civilians. Amr Al Azm, member of the Syrian opposition and professor of history and anthropology at Shawnee State University and Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, react to the latest news from Syria.

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The Takeaway

Update from Bomb Blasts in Damascus: Live Report

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Syrian capital has gotten used to the sound of sirens, but this morning's two bomb blasts stand out as perhaps the most deadly in the capital. Syria's health minister says at least 50 people are dead, at least 170 wounded. The blasts were so powerful, a facade of a military intelligence build was ripped off. Today's bombing calls into question the entire UN peace plan. It's current mission inside the country is to monitor the peace, but seemingly there is very little peace to monitor. Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for Kofi Annan, Joint Envoy for Syria responds. We are also joined by correspondent for The World Laura Lynch from inside Syria.

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The Takeaway

Update from Syria with The World's Laura Lynch

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A tense violent backdrop to some very difficult to interpret elections in Syria over the past few days and now everything is once again on the verge of unraveling. Free Syrian Army chief Riad al-Asaad, a leader of the opposition has told a London-based newspaper that "our people are demanding that we defend them." It's another sign that the tentitive peace process initiated by UN special envoy Kofi Annan may be crumbling. Laura Lynch is a correspondent for PRI's The World, produced by our partner WGBH.

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The Takeaway

Syrian Ceasefire Goes into Effect

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A ceasefire has come into force in Syria amid doubts expressed by Western countries about the government's willingness to stick to it. Correspondents say the truce appears to be largely holding, with no reports of casualties or deaths so far. The Syrian government and the armed opposition have both said they will abide by the ceasefire, but reserved the right to respond if attacked. We are joined by Ausama Monajed of the Syrian National Council.

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The Takeaway

Assad Demands Guarantee from Rebels

Monday, April 09, 2012

Tuesday marks the deadline for the Syrian government to begin drawing back troops as part of a cease-fire agreement with Syrian rebels brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. But on Sunday night, President Bashar al-Assad’s government announced new conditions for the troop pullback. Amr Al Azm is a member of the Syrian opposition and professor of history and anthropology at Shawnee State University, and Jim Muir is the Baghdad correspondent for the BBC.

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The Takeaway

An Argument Against Happiness

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Instead of just measuring economic health, should we be measuring our levels of happiness? That’s a question the United Nations is taking up this week in a session called "Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm." But how worthwhile is the "pursuit of happiness" in the first place? Wake Forest English professor Eric G. Wilson is the author of "Against Happiness: In Defense of Melancholy." He argues that Americans' fixation on happiness comes at a cost.

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The Takeaway

'Friends of Syria' Attempts to Bolster Opposition

Monday, April 02, 2012

Over the weekend, Friends of Syria, an organization of 60 nations created to support the Syrian opposition, gathered in Istanbul for yet another meeting on the seemingly unending revolt against President Bashar al-Assad. The meeting concluded with real results: Arab nations promised $100 million to pay the Syrian opposition fighters and the United States promised communications equipment and another $12 million in humanitarian aid. Is that enough to help the struggling opposition? Amr Al Azm, member of the Syrian opposition and professor of history and anthropology at Shawnee State University, explains. 

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The Takeaway

Syria Accepts UN Plan that Includes Daily Ceasefire

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

According to a spokesman for UN envoy Kofi Annan, Syria has accepted a United Nations plan to end bloodshed in the country. The plan includes a daily two-hour ceasefire by Syrian security forces to evacuate the injured and provide humanitarian aid. This plan comes as President Bashar al-Assad has traveled to the besieged Baba Amr neighborhood to inspect conditions. Michael Bristow is a correspondent for our partner the BBC.

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The Takeaway

How Have Iraq and Libya Changed US Foreign Policy?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The debate over whether to intervene in Syria continues, and many questions remain. What role would the U.S. play in an intervention? How should Americans engage the international community? Should we arm the Syrian opposition? 

Today we have the opportunity to reflect on the U.S.’s role in two recent conflicts. One year ago today, the American troops joined their French and British counterparts on the battlefield in Libya. Nine years ago today, the U.S. launched Operation Iraqi Freedom. What have we learned from these conflicts, and how do they inform U.S. foreign policy today? 

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The Takeaway

Syrian Opposition Leader on Country's Future, One Year after Protests Began

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Today is the one-year anniversary of the protest movement in Syria. While the Arab Spring brought regime change to Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has retained his grip on power. Syrian forces loyal to President Assad have stepped up attacks across the country. Yesterday, government forces began raiding Dara'a, the city where the uprising against the president began. In the last year, Syrian forces have killed more than 8,000 people, according to the United Nations. The international community can’t seem to agree on a solution, and the opposition movement is fractured. What's ahead for Syria?

 

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The Takeaway

UN Special Rapportuer: Solitary Confinement is Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Eighth Amendment declares that "cruel and unusual punishment" may not be inflicted on prisoners. But does solitary confinement constitute cruel and unusual punishment? In a new report looking at the imprisonment of Bradley Manning, the soldier suspected of leaking confidential military documents to the whistleblowing website Wikileaks, the UN Special Rapporteuer on Torture, Juan Mendez, says that it does. Having just completed a 14-month investigation, Mendez concludes that keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period might have constituted torture and has formally accused the U.S. government of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment towards Bradley Manning. 

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The Takeaway

Fighting For Women's Rights in the Western Sahara

Thursday, March 08, 2012

International Women's Day honors courageous women around the world like Fatma El-Mehdi, the first woman from the Western Sahara to attend a UN conference on women's rights. Ever since fleeing her home as a child, she has been dedicated to the cause of a free Western Sahara. There's another issue she's equally passionate about, however: women's rights.

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