The Envoy
  • Clinton meets with Syrian opposition

    Citizen video released by Ugarit News of mourners carrying the body of a person during a funeral in the city of Homs, Syria on August 2, 2011. (AP)Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met this morning with members of the U.S.-based Syrian opposition. The meeting came as the United States intensified its condemnation of Bashar al-Assad's continuing crackdown on anti-government unrest.

    The Syrian regime's "assault on civilians" highlights "again the brutality and viciousness of the Assad regime," Clinton said in a statement released by the State Department yesterday.

    "As I have said before, President Assad has lost his legitimacy with the Syrian people," Clinton's statement continued. "Syria will be a better place when a democratic transition goes forward."

    Clinton's meeting at the State Department at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday included Radwan Ziadeh, an analyst based at George Washington University, Mohammad Alabdalla, and others who wished for their names not to be published out of concern over retribution against their families by the Syrian regime.

    The delegation of U.S.-based Syrian opposition members and Syrian-American activists "is scheduled to discuss the ongoing assaults and violations on Syrians, specifically the recent attacks on the cities of Hama, Deir ez-Zor, and other Syrian cities," Ziadeh said in a press release to journalists.

    The U.S. and European allies have struggled to forge an effective international response to the Syrian bloodshed.

    Read More »from Clinton meets with Syrian opposition
  • President Barack Obama with members of the national security team receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the White House Situation Room on May 1, 2011. (Pete Souza/White House/AP)While the whole world knows about the U.S. Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May, many of the details of the mission have been shrouded in operational secrecy--until now.

    In an astonishingly detailed reconstruction published Monday by the New Yorker, reporter Nicholas Schmidle goes deep inside the planning and execution of the May 1 raid. The scope of specificity and suspense in Schmidle's tick-tock makes for a powerful read. (As just a sampler, see these few lines: "… Nine years, seven months, and twenty days after September 11th, an American was a trigger pull from ending bin Laden's life. The first round, a 5.56-mm. bullet, struck bin Laden in the chest. As he fell backward, the SEAL fired a second round into his head, just above his left eye. On his radio, he reported, 'For God and country—Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.' After a pause, he added, 'Geronimo E.K.I.A.'—'enemy killed in action.'"…)

    While the whole piece is worth your attention, here are five things we learned from the New Yorker's reconstruction of the raid:

    Read More »from Inside the raid that killed Osama bin Laden: “Crankshaft,” DEVGRU and a dog named Cairo
  • Syrian troops kept up attacks on Hama Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. (AP)In one of the bloodiest days in the Arab Spring protests against repressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, the Syrian military killed as may as 120 people in Hama Sunday. The brutal crackdown came on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

    But even as the United States and European Union issued stinging condemnations of the Bashar al-Assad regime in the wake of the massacre, the international community continues to struggle in putting together a coordinated and effective response to the growing violence in Syria. American and European diplomats face a backlash among some United Nations member states stemming from the inconclusive military intervention in Libya; meanwhile, Western leaders find it hard to exert more direct diplomatic pressure on Assad's regime, thanks to Syria's own complicated geopolitical position in the Muslim world.

    Leaders of other Arab states have also been distinctly muted in their response to the Syrian violence--which is estimated to have killed more than 1,600 since March. Their reluctance stems in part from concern the Syrian revolt could further exacerbate sectarian rifts between Sunni and Shia Muslims in neighboring states, including Iraq and Lebanon.

    "Everybody recognizes that the Assad regime is in a real bind," said Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in an interview with The Envoy Monday. "There are a lot of constraints, though, about actions."

    Read More »from International outcry grows over Syria violence, but response so far constrained


(679 Stories)
  • Early Glance: Railroad companies

    Shares of some top railroad companies are mixed at 10 a.m.: CSX rose $.05 or .2 percent, to $31.54. Canadian National Railway Co. rose $.29 or .4 percent, to $72.79. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. rose ...

  • U.S. to help train people to spot potential violent extremists
    U.S. to help train people to spot potential violent extremists

    "Today, few threats are more urgent than the threat posed by violent extremism," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video announcing the program. The Department of Justice, the White House, and other agencies are starting a series of pilot programs to bring together community leaders, law-enforcement officials, and others to develop a strategy to counter the threat, Holder said. While existing programs have focused on community leaders, the new programs will also include teachers and mental health and social services professionals to provide more support and develop ways to spot potential extremists, an official familiar with the program said.

  • Gas production blamed for rise in Colorado, New Mexico quakes
    Gas production blamed for rise in Colorado, New Mexico quakes

    By Daniel Wallis DENVER (Reuters) - The deep injection of wastewater underground by energy companies during methane gas extraction has caused a dramatic rise in the number of earthquakes in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001, U.S. government scientists said in a study released on Monday. The study by U.S. Geological Survey researchers is the latest to link energy production methods to an increase in quakes in regions where those techniques are used. Energy companies began producing coal-bed methane in Colorado in 1994, then in New Mexico five years later. ...


    DEAR ABBY: Your response to "Offended Daughter" (Aug. 10), whose mother didn't like her lounging in a bikini top at her house because of her weight, was inconsiderate, irresponsible and, frankly, offensive. You started off well, advising her to consider her mother's preference because it's her house, but your second paragraph took a wrong turn. You used your column to imply she should not feel comfortable in her own skin. You assumed her doctor thinks she's unhealthy, knowing nothing about her other than the fact she's 60 to 70 pounds more than "average. ...

  • Receipt showing LeSean McCoy's 20-cent tip gets $99,000 bid on eBay
    Receipt showing LeSean McCoy's 20-cent tip gets $99,000 bid on eBay

    The receipt showing the 20-cent tip Eagles running back LeSean McCoy left on a $61.56 bill at a Philadelphia burger joint last week is up for sale on eBay. Current bid: $99,900.

  • Tiny Qatar plays outsize role in US war strategy
    Tiny Qatar plays outsize role in US war strategy

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Just miles (kilometers) from where former Guantanamo Bay terror suspects have resettled, American warplanes take off from Qatar's al-Udeid air base in the global war on extremism.

  • Toddler Freaks Out After Dad Shaves Off His Beard
    Toddler Freaks Out After Dad Shaves Off His Beard

    Never in the history of peekaboo has the outcome been so dramatic. One toddler learned the hard way that the fun game does not always end well.

  • Altered Cover Girl Ad Reveals Just How Awful the NFL’s ‘Game Face’ Is for Women

    It’s no secret that Photoshop is used to turn the female models in fashion and beauty advertisements into visions of unrealistic perfection—to the frustration of feminists and body image advocates. But in the wake of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice’s firing for punching his wife, Janay Rice, in an elevator, a critic of the National Football League’s inept handling of the situation has used the photo-editing tool to keep the spotlight on the sport’s domestic violence problem.

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