Today is the 176th birthday of Mark Twain, or as his parents knew him, Samuel L. Clemens. Twain is best known for his American fiction, including “Tom Sawyer,” but he was also an intrepid traveler and travel-writer who paved the way for the Bill Brysons of our day. In “Innocents Abroad" he wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Here are five delightful travel quotes from Twain's writings:
On Dec. 5, leaders from Afghanistan, NATO, and neighboring countries will meet in Bonn, Germany, to discuss the future of Afghanistan after US troops withdraw. The second conference comes 10 years after the first Bonn Conference, which took place months after the Sept. 11 attacks and the American-led invasion of Afghanistan. Here’s a look at what it is, what’s at stake, and why it matters.
Although China, the world's largest creditor, has bought European bonds in the past, experts doubts that it will reach out to help alleviate the Europe debt crisis. There are reasons why it would, and here are three main reasons why it won't:
China is the world’s biggest creditor, with foreign exchange reserves of around $3.2 trillion. Europe would like Beijing to use some of that money to lend a hand and help bail out the eurozone. China has stressed it will not be a savior to Europe, and there are a reasons it won't. However, there are a few reasons China could change course and come to the rescue. Here are three:
One Italian media sport is to capture outgoing Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s often rambling and controversial foot-in-mouth moments. Reuters and the BBC have also joined in with translations. Here are seven from the past decade:
The offices of a French satirical magazine were bombed early today, after the periodical published an issue about the Arab Spring with a caricature of the prophet Muhammad. The magazine featured the Muslim prophet as a “guest editor” for the magazine, Charlie Hebdo, threatening “100 lashes if you don't die of laughter!” Images of the prophet Muhammad are forbidden in Islam and have proved a source of controversy in recent years. Most disputes have stemmed from Western publications operating in countries with free speech and large Muslim immigrant populations. While Muslims contend that such images are deeply offensive and must not be published, free speech advocates have countered that the rules of an open society should not place prohibitions on religious drawings. And though not all incidents have resulted in violence, a number of have drawn widespread protest and unrest around the globe. Here are three that caught attention worldwide:
The '7 billionth baby' was officially born today, the United Nations estimates. Key to stabilizing that rapid population growth – and creating a sustainable future – is closing the gender gap and empowering women.
Occupy Europe? From Madrid to Athens, young people facing a bleak future are casting doubt on European identity.
With American unilateralism ebbing, Western nations and the rising BRICS countries are still finding their way to a new geopolitical balance – and Arab Spring nations like Syria are caught in the middle.
Somalia's famine has boosted demand for the malnutrition treatment Plumpy'nut. But a patent curtails production – and has sparked intense debate over balancing business interests with humanitarian need.
With famine in Africa and food prices at record highs, governments and agencies around the globe are looking to educate small farmers about more efficient, sustainable agriculture practices.
According to Amnesty International’s annual Death Sentences and Executions report, at least 527 people were executed in 23 countries in 2010, plus thousands in China. The number of people executed worldwide since 2007 is more than 2,500. Here are the five countries registering the most executions since 2007:
For the second year in a row, the United Kingdom’s University of Cambridge topped America’s Harvard University in the annual QS ranking of the world’s top universities. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a UK-based higher education consulting firm, released its much-anticipated list of the top 300 today. Academic reputation – a subjective assessment – accounts for 40 percent of the score that determines where schools end up on the rankings. You can get a closer look at the methodology here. This year’s top 10 dropped American universities Princeton and California Institute of Technology in favor of two other leading US schools. You can check out last year’s top 10 here and explore why QS’s rankings caused such a stir.
For most Muslims, Eid al-Fitr, the joyous end to the month-long fast of Ramadan, began last night. What's it all about?
Russia is expected within months to claim to the United Nations its right to annex about 380,000 square miles of the Arctic.
Today is the first day that most stock exchanges have been open since ratings agency Standard & Poor's announced its US credit downgrade from a AAA rating to AA+. Here’s how world markets have responded so far:
Muslims around the world will begin celebrating Ramadan today. Throughout the month-long holiday, they will fast from dawn to dusk. Ramadan is happening at the heart of summer this year, posing a greater challenge than normal for those observing the fast.
While the world is making progress on putting women in positions of power and passing legislation to promote gender equality, these laws often don't reach those who need the most help, says new UN report.
Social media: From Iran to Tunisia and Egypt and beyond, Twitter and Facebook are the power tools of civic upheaval – but social media is only one factor in the spread of democratic revolution.
The International Criminal Court issued international arrest warrants today for Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, and intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi, charging them with crimes against humanity in the early weeks of Libya's uprising. It is only the second-ever international arrest warrant for a sitting head of state and the inquiry that preceded it was one of only a handful into crimes committed by world leaders. Below, a look at prosecution of current and past world leaders: