Conflict & Justice

Chatter: Afghanistan slams 'inconsistent' US peace talks




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Three's a crowd. Afghanistan has suspended talks with the US over a planned security pact, apparently in reponse to Washington's decision to relaunch direct negotiations with the Taliban.

A spokesman said Afghan President Hamid Karzai didn't like the name given to the Taliban's new political office in Qatar, where its meetings with US officials are due to take place. Reading between the lines, observers say that probably means Kabul resents not being invited to the party.

Policing Brazil's protests. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has said she's proud to see her compatriots "fighting for a better country." Not if they fight too hard, it seems: the government is to send a national security force to five of the cities where thousand-strong crowds are protesting.

The country hasn't seen anything like it in at least 20 years. GlobalPost finds out what's behind Brazil's winter of discontent.


He's a Berliner. Barack Obama is due to speak in the German capital today, almost 50 years to the day since another US president told the world that he was proud to call himself a citizen of Berlin (or a donut, depending on who you believe).

Unlike JFK, Obama's in for a less than rapturous welcome. Trans-Atlantic relations have taken a battering recently with the revelation of covert American surveillance operations, not to mention the US policies on drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay and global warming that are liable to get liberal Europeans riled up. We'll see if the call Obama's expected to make for a global reduction in nuclear weapons does anything to win his allies over. 

Record refugees. The world now has more refugees than at any time since 1994, according to new UN figures. Last year 7.6 million people were displaced, more than half of them from just five countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, and Syria.

Syria alone has become a "major new factor" driving the numbers up, the UN says, and that's even without factoring in the 2 million people thought to have fled the country's war in the past six months. At last year's rate a new person became displaced roughly every four seconds; this year, it looks set to be even faster. 


'Mein 노력.' There's a rumor going around that Kim Jong Un has been circulating copies of 'Mein Kampf,' Adolf Hitler's prison memoir and Nazi manifesto, to members of his inner circle. An anonymous North Korean source claims the Supreme Leader has instructed regime officials to study how Hitler turned post-WWI Germany into the Third Reich—with particular reference, oddly enough, to the Nazis' reverence for sport. (Though Hitler's position on basketball, alas, remains a mystery.)

North Korea's state media has since denied the report, dismissing it as a smear campaign by "despicable human scum" who it will "physically remove." Good job quashing those "violent totalitarianism" rumors, guys. Good job.