International Musings January 9, 2015: Three Paris terrorists killed, four hostages dead after Kosher grocery attack

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Three Paris terrorists killed, four hostages dead after Kosher grocery attack

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The reign of terror continued in Paris, France on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 as two hostage situations unfolded in two different locations, a kosher grocery store and a printing warehouse leaving four hostages dead, four injured, and killing three of…READ MORE

International Musings January 8, 2015: After Paris Charlie Hebdo newspaper terrorist attack: manhunt, outrage, support

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After Paris Charlie Hebdo newspaper terrorist attack: manhunt, outrage, support

By Bonnie K. Goodman

After a terrorist attack on Wednesday morning, Jan. 7, 2015 in Paris, France there has been an outpouring of international support for France and the newspaper at the epicenter of the attack from political leaders, the public and journalism community…READ MORE

International Musings December 28, 2014: AirAsia Flight QZ8501 missing, reports it crashed, 162 aboard all believed dead

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AirAsia Flight QZ8501 missing, reports it crashed, 162 aboard all believed dead

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Another airplane has gone missing in Southeast Asia, on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014 at 7:24 a.m local time an AirAsia Airbus A320-200 with 162 aboard including passengers and crewmembers went missing after the pilots requested a change…READ MORE

Full Text International Politics September 19, 2014: UK PM David Cameron’s Statement on Scottish Independence Referendum No Vote — Transcript

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Press release

Scottish Independence Referendum: statement by the Prime Minister

Source: Gov.UK, 9-19-14

“The people of Scotland have spoken” said Prime Minister David Cameron following the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum.

Prime Minister David Cameron gave a statement to media at Downing Street following the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum.

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He said:

The people of Scotland have spoken. It is a clear result. They have kept our country of 4 nations together. Like millions of other people, I am delighted. As I said during the campaign, it would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end.

And I know that sentiment was shared by people, not just across our country, but also around the world because of what we’ve achieved together in the past and what we can do together in the future.

So now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together, and to move forward. A vital part of that will be a balanced settlement – fair to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

Let us first remember why we had this debate – and why it was right to do so.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) was elected in Scotland in 2011 and promised a referendum on independence. We could have blocked that; we could have put it off, but just as with other big issues, it was right to take – not duck – the big decision.

I am a passionate believer in our United Kingdom – I wanted more than anything for our United Kingdom to stay together.

But I am also a democrat. And it was right that we respected the SNP’s majority in Holyrood and gave the Scottish people their right to have their say.

Let us also remember why it was right to ask the definitive question, Yes or No. Because now the debate has been settled for a generation or as Alex Salmond has said, perhaps for a lifetime.

So there can be no disputes, no re-runs – we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people.

Scotland voted for a stronger Scottish Parliament backed by the strength and security of the United Kingdom and I want to congratulate the No campaign for that – for showing people that our nations really are better together.

I also want to pay tribute to Yes Scotland for a well-fought campaign and to say to all those who did vote for independence: “we hear you”.

We now have a chance – a great opportunity – to change the way the British people are governed, and change it for the better.

Political leaders on all sides of the debate now bear a heavy responsibility to come together and work constructively to advance the interests of people in Scotland, as well as those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, for each and every citizen of our United Kingdom.

To those in Scotland sceptical of the constitutional promises made, let me say this we have delivered on devolution under this government, and we will do so again in the next Parliament.

The 3 pro-union parties have made commitments, clear commitments, on further powers for the Scottish Parliament. We will ensure that they are honoured in full.

And I can announce today that Lord Smith of Kelvin – who so successfully led Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games – has agreed to oversee the process to take forward the devolution commitments, with powers over tax, spending and welfare all agreed by November and draft legislation published by January.

Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs. The rights of these voters need to be respected, preserved and enhanced as well.

It is absolutely right that a new and fair settlement for Scotland should be accompanied by a new and fair settlement that applies to all parts of our United Kingdom. In Wales, there are proposals to give the Welsh government and Assembly more powers. And I want Wales to be at the heart of the debate on how to make our United Kingdom work for all our nations. In Northern Ireland, we must work to ensure that the devolved institutions function effectively.

I have long believed that a crucial part missing from this national discussion is England. We have heard the voice of Scotland – and now the millions of voices of England must also be heard. The question of English votes for English laws – the so-called West Lothian question – requires a decisive answer.

So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland.

I hope that is going to take place on a cross-party basis. I have asked William Hague to draw up these plans. We will set up a Cabinet Committee right away and proposals will also be ready to the same timetable. I hope the Labour Party and other parties will contribute.

It is also important we have wider civic engagement about to improve governance in our United Kingdom, including how to empower our great cities. And we will say more about this in the coming days.

This referendum has been hard fought. It has stirred strong passions. It has electrified politics in Scotland, and caught the imagination of people across the whole of our United Kingdom.

It will be remembered as a powerful demonstration of the strength and vitality of our ancient democracy. Record numbers registered to vote and record numbers cast their vote. We can all be proud of that. It has reminded us how fortunate we are that we are able to settle these vital issues at the ballot box, peacefully and calmly.

“Now we must look forward, and turn this into the moment when everyone – whichever way they voted – comes together to build that better, brighter future for our entire United Kingdom.

International Headlines September 19, 2014: Scotland Votes in Referendum to Remain in the UK 55 to 45 percent

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Scotland Votes to Remain in the UK

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images (EDINBURGH, Scotland)

The people of Scotland have voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. Voters Thursday rejected a referendum that would’ve granted Scotland independence and separated it from the rest of Great Britain, which also includes England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The vote was 55 percent to 45 percent against independence….READ MORE

Full Text International Politics September 14, 2014: UK PM David Cameron’s statement in reaction to murder of aid worker David Haines — Transcript

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Press release

PM reaction to murder of aid worker David Haines

Source: Gov.UK, 9-14-14

“Today, the whole country will want to express its deep sympathy for David Haines’ family”, says Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Prime Minister said:

Today, the whole country will want to express its deep sympathy for David Haines’ family. They have endured the last 18 months of David’s captivity with extraordinary courage.

And now David has been murdered in the most callous and brutal way imaginable by an organisation which is the embodiment of evil.

We will hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice, no matter how long it takes.

David Haines was an aid worker. He went into harm’s way not to harm people, but to help his fellow human beings in the hour of their direst need – from the Balkans to the Middle East.

His family spoke of the joy he felt when he learned he had got this job in Syria.

His selflessness, his decency, his burning desire to help others has today cost him his life.

But the whole country, like his grieving family, can be incredibly proud of what he did and what he stood for in his humanitarian mission.

David Haines was a British hero. The fact that an aid worker was taken, held and brutally murdered at the hands of ISIL sums up what this organisation stands for.

They are killing and slaughtering thousands of people, Muslims, Christians, minorities across Iraq and Syria.

They boast of their brutality. They claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace.

They are not Muslims. They are monsters. They make no secret of their desire to do as much harm not just in the Middle East, but to any countries or peoples who seek to stand in their way or dare to stand for values they disagree with.

It was an ISIL fanatic who gunned down 4 people in a museum in Brussels.

So, let me be clear.

The British people need to know that this is a fanatical organisation called ISIL, that has not only murdered a British hostage.

They have planned – and continue to plan – attacks across Europe and in our country.

We are a peaceful people.

We do not seek out confrontation.

But we need to understand.

We cannot ignore this threat to our security and that of our allies.

There is no option of keeping our heads down that would make us safe.

The problem will merely get worse, as it has done over recent months, not just for us, but for Europe and for the world.

We cannot just walk on by if we are to keep this country safe.

We have to confront this menace.

Step by step, we must drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy ISIL and what it stands for.

We will do so in a calm, deliberate way – but with an iron determination.

We will not do so on our own – but by working closely with our allies, not just the United States and in Europe, but also in the region.

Because this organisation poses a massive threat to the entire Middle East.

So we will defeat ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.

First, we will work with the Iraqi government to ensure it represents all its people, and is able to tackle this threat effectively.

We will support the Kurdish regional government, who are holding the front line against ISIL.

We will help them protect their own people – and the minorities, including Christians, they have helped already – through our supplies of ammunition and through training.

Second, we will work at the UN to mobilise the broadest possible support to bear down on ISIL.

Third, the United States is taking direct military action. We support their efforts.

British Tornadoes and surveillance aircraft have been helping with intelligence gathering and logistics.

This is not about British combat troops on the ground.

It is about working with others to extinguish this terrorist threat.

As this strategy intensifies, we are ready to take whatever steps are necessary to deal with this threat and keep our country safe.

Fourth, we will continue to support the enormous humanitarian efforts, including using the RAF to do so, to help the literally millions of people who have fled ISIL and are now living in appalling conditions.

And fifth, and perhaps most important, we will maintain and continually reinforce our formidable counter-terrorist effort here at home to prevent attacks and to hunt down those who are planning them.

People across this country will have been sickened by the fact that it could have been a British citizen – a British citizen – who could have carried out this unspeakable act.

It is the very opposite of everything our country stands for.

It falls to the government, and to each and every one of us, to drain this poison from our society and to take on this warped ideology that is radicalising some of our young people.

The murder of David Haines at the hands of ISIL will not lead Britain to shirk our responsibility, with our allies, to deal with the threat this organisation poses.

It must strengthen our resolve.

We must recognise that it will take time to eradicate a threat like this.

It will require, as I have described, action at home and abroad.

This is not something we can do on our own – we have to work with the rest of the world.

But ultimately our security as a nation, the way we go about our everyday lives in this free and tolerant society that is Britain, has always depended on our readiness to act against those who stand for hatred and who stand for destruction.

And that is exactly what we will do.

International Headlines March 8, 2014: Massive Search Underway for Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

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Massive Search Underway for Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

A massive search and rescue operation is underway in Southeast Asia for the Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 people on board lost contact with air traffic controllers….READ MORE

International Politics March 7, 2014: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea

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For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea

Source: NYT, 3-7-14

Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press
Pro-Russian demonstrators in Red Square in Moscow. Lawmakers from Crimea went to Moscow Friday to lay plans for joining Russia.

Leaders of both houses of Russia’s Parliament said that they would support a vote by Crimeans to break away from Ukraine, ignoring sanctions threats and warnings from the U.S. and other countries….READ MORE

International Politics March 6, 2014: Crimea Plans Referendum Vote to Secede From Ukraine as Discord Rises

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Crimea Plans a Vote to Secede From Ukraine as Discord Rises

Source: NYT, 3-6-14

Uriel Sinai for The New York Times

As the pro-Russian authorities in Crimea pressed ahead with measures to break away from Ukraine, the United States imposed its first sanctions on Russian officials involved in the military occupation of the strategic peninsula….READ MORE

International Politics March 5, 2014: US Effort to Broker Russia-Ukraine Diplomacy Fails

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U.S. Effort to Broker Russia-Ukraine Diplomacy Fails

Source: NYT, 3-5-14

Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti Kremlin, via Associated Press

Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart said there would be more discussions, as the European Union offered aid worth as much as $15 billion over the next two years….READ MORE