Negotiations between the US and Taliban in Afghanistan have reached a critical juncture, with a potential breakthrough of future peace talks.
The Arab League has threatened to turn to the UN Security Council to pressure Syria to accept its peace plan. The league has set a Wednesday deadline for Syria to act.
Voice of America (VOA), the jewel in America's public diplomacy effort abroad, is set to be streamlined. Some programs can be downsized. But VOA is in the national interest, especially as Russia, China, and Iran expand state-supported media. Cuts should be handled with care.
Every year, the group Transparency International releases its Corruption Perception Index, which measures the perception of corruption – misuse of public resources, bribery, and backdoor deals, to name a few – in countries worldwide. On a scale of 0 (most corrupt) to 10 (least corrupt), no country scores a 10 and more than two-thirds of the 183 countries on the index score below a 5. The US comes in at 7.1. The index is built using data from surveys examining enforcement of anticorruption laws, tracking of public funds, kickbacks in government contracts, etc.
The Arab League hit Syria with sanctions Sunday. The new sanctions include a travel ban on Syrian officials and a freeze on Syria government assets.
Libya named a new cabinet yesterday designed to win broad support and quiet tribal and regional rivalries. But it may not address issues raised by senior Libyan leader Mahmoud Jibril in a recent interview.
Some see the end of the NATO operation in Libya as a moment for Europe to step up with more robust support of the alliance. The US remains skeptical.
Exxon Mobil's quarterly profit rose 41 percent because the company sold oil and natural gas at higher prices, making up for lower production. Exxon Mobil sold oil in the U.S. for an average of $95.58 a barrel
While US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has been brought back to Washington, Arab leaders and China are still trying to bring the government and the opposition to an agreement.