international politics | KUOW News and Information

international politics

Dozens Killed As Libyan Militias Battle For Tripoli's Airport

Jul 21, 2014

At least 47 people have been killed in fighting over the past 24 hours between rival Libyan militias battling for control of Tripoli's international airport.

The country's health ministry said late Sunday that the fighting also wounded 120 people. The Associated Press reports:

"The weeklong battle over the airport is being waged by a powerful militia from the western city of Zintan, which controls the facility, and Islamist-led militias, including fighters from Misrata, east of Tripoli. The clashes resumed Sunday after cease-fire efforts failed.

Flickr Photo/Miller Center (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Kenneth Pollack, senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, about President Obama's remarks on Iraq Thursday morning.

What happened after Africa's biggest country split in two? Renee Montagne talks to James Copnall about his book, A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts: Sudan and South Sudan's Bitter and Incomplete Divorce.

Marcie Sillman talks with Majid al-Bahadli, a Seattleite who fled Iraq after the first Gulf War. He is among a group of Iraqi-Americans who organized a rally Monday to protest the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's escalation of violence.

AP Photo/Ajit Solanki

David Hyde interviews former Washingtonian, diplomat and scholar Haroon Ullah about the recent election of  Narendra Modi to be the next prime minister of India.

Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for more than 300 years. This fall, that could change. In mid-September, a referendum on independence will determine whether Scotland breaks off from England, Northern Ireland and Wales to become a sovereign nation.

Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, is ground zero in this debate. The East End of this city is poor and run down, with some of the worst health figures in Europe. Men here are expected to live into only their mid-50s, some 30 years less than in wealthy areas.

Post-Chavez Venezuela: A Political House Of Mirrors

Mar 3, 2014
AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

Steve Scher talks with Jose Antonio Lucero, chair of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Washington, about the protests in Venezuela.

Update at 1 p.m. ET. Our Latest Head And Link, Part II:

Russia Denies Issuing Ultimatum Or Warning Ukraine Of 'Storm'

The top of that post:

We're adding updates throughout this post as the day continues.

Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, where months of public protests led last week to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych's government. His opponents are now installing pro-Western ministers to replace the pro-Russian leaders who worked for Yanukovych. The interim government is expected to be in charge at least until new elections can be held, perhaps in late May.

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Ross Reynolds talks with associate professor Scott Radnitz about the growing tension in Ukraine and why there has been a rise in violence. Radnitz explains how the situation in Ukraine differs from the other post-Soviet countries.

Flickr Photo/Ryan Lejbak

Marcie Sillman discusses the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics with Jill Dougherty, former CNN foreign affairs correspondent.

Dougherty spoke at the University of Washington's Ellison Center about the state of Russia and U.S. affairs.

KUOW Photo/Jeannie Yandel

Ross Reynolds talks with author Joseph Cirincione about his latest book “Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late.” 

Flickr Photo/European Commission DG ECHO

Marcie Sillman speaks with Moses Monynhial Dut, a student and maintenance engineer for Seattle's Smith Tower, about his journey out of South Sudan and how he views the conflict today.

Weird Stuff World Leaders Give Each Other

Jan 14, 2014

You say potato, John Kerry says let's give it to Russia.

Flickr Photo/Kitty Chirapongse

Ross Reynolds speaks with ​Thai political blogger and foreign correspondent Saksith Saiyasombut about the anti-government protests shutting down Bangkok streets, and what it means for the future of democracy in Thailand.

AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon

When former basketball star Dennis Rodman implied to CNN that Kenneth Bae, a Lynnwood, Wash., man imprisoned in North Korea, had committed a crime, Bae’s sister lashed out.

Officials In U.S. Stumped By China's Claim Of Tainted Northwest Shellfish

Dec 16, 2013

Environment and health officials in the U.S. say they are puzzled by China’s decision to ban shellfish harvested from Northern California to Alaska. State officials say their records don’t show the same unsafe toxin levels that were detected by a lab in China.

China says it found toxins in two shipments of geoducks. These giant clams harvested in Puget Sound and Alaska can go for $150 a pound. Washington’s shellfish industry overall is worth $270 million, and China is the top export market.

China Imposes First-Ever West Coast Shellfish Ban

Dec 13, 2013

China has suspended imports of shellfish from the west coast of the United States -- an unprecedented move that cuts off a $270 million Northwest industry from its biggest export market.

China said it decided to impose the ban after recent shipments of geoduck clams from Northwest waters were found by its own government inspectors to have high levels of arsenic and a toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's 'Greatest Son,' Dies At 95

Dec 6, 2013
AP Photo

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid icon has died, according to South Africa President Jacob Zuma. He was 95.

Christina Asima seems tired for a 13-year-old. I meet the shy-mannered girl in the remote farming village of Chitera, in the southern African nation of Malawi. She wears a bright pink zip-up shirt and a blue print cloth wrapped up to her chest. Snuggled in that, hugging her side, is a chubby-cheeked baby boy.

My gut assumption is that the infant must be Christina's little brother. I know 8-month-old Praise is actually her son. Still, it's startling when, as we speak, she shifts him around front to nurse.

Lashkar Gah is the capital of the volatile province that alone grows half of Afghanistan's opium poppy. Cultivation here grew by 34 percent over last year.

On Fridays, hundreds of men gather at the bazaar along the Helmand River, the lifeblood of this arid province. Vendors sell everything from livestock to boxes of artisanal medicine.

There's no sign of poppy here. In fact, the farmers we talk to like 26-year-old Khairullah, who goes by one name, say they are actually too poor to grow it.

Big Life Foundation Photo/Nick Brandt

They’re calling it The Crush.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to destroy six tons of elephant ivory on Thursday to draw attention to the ongoing decimation of wild elephants by poachers. Wildlife service officials will grind up tusks, trinkets and carvings seized from traffickers over the past 25 years. The tusks are typically trafficked in the illegal Chinese and Japanese ivory market.

Gun-toting militiamen man the steel gate that leads into the Tripoli zoo. A sign promises a garden of animals. Inside, there are paths that meander through a maze of cages and animal habitats. Monkeys climb trees; hippos submerge themselves in water and lions lounge in the heat.

Just a few hundred yards away, there's a different kind of cage: Inside there are people — migrants waiting to be deported or to prove they are in Libya legally.

AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin

Former pro basketball player Dennis Rodman has returned to North Korea for another so-called “basketball diplomacy” tour. Yet just last week, North Korea canceled the visit of US envoy Robert King, who was attempting to secure the release of Lynnwood resident Kenneth Bae.

In the past, North Korea has attempted to use detentions of Americans to win diplomatic concessions. Why did they cancel King’s trip? And what does North Korea gain by inviting Dennis Rodman back? David Hyde spoke with Charles Armstrong, professor of history at Columbia University, to find out.

Dennis Rodman: Kim Jong Un is "awesome."

Does Rodman's attitude toward the North Korean leader help legitimize his regime? North Korean media has been playing up the unlikely duo's relationship, but Armstrong had this to say about Rodman's testimony:


Peter Blair Henry
Courtesy/NYU

A handful of third-world countries have turned themselves around from numerous hardships in the past 30 years: China rose from seemingly hopeless poverty, Mexico bounced back from the Third World Debt Crisis, Brazil overcame hyperinflation. 

Ask Americans to point out Cyprus, and most would have to spin a globe several times before noticing the small island nation, east of Greece and south of Turkey.

But whether or not you have ever given a thought to the 1.1 million people living there under the warm Mediterranean sun, Cyprus might send a chill up your spine this week.

US Attorney General Eric Holder is pondering what to do about Washington and Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, a substance still illegal under US law. But it’s also become an international issue. Last Thursday, the United Nations issued a press release stating Washington state’s legalization actually violates international law. This statement comes amidst criticism from Latin American leaders calling America’s inconsistency between foreign and domestic drug policies hypocritical. The Obama administration has said a legalization strategy — at least abroad — is off the table. Ross Reynolds talks with Bruce Bagley, a professor of international studies at the University of Miami and expert on US-Latin America relations.

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