The Envoy
  • Cairo reeling after clashes kill 17 Christian Copts

    (Mohamed Omar/European Pressphoto Agency)Egypt was reeling Monday in the wake of Sunday's deadly round of protests in Cairo, which claimed 24 lives. Seventeen of the fatalities were members of the country's Christian Coptic minority; the clashes arose as Egyptian state television falsely accused peaceful Coptic protesters Sunday of attacking the country's security forces, and urged mobs onto the streets to protect the country's army and police.

    Sunday's incident marked the worst violence Cairo has seen since the onset of the so-called Arab Spring earlier this year. Popular protests in the city's central Tahrir Square led to the ouster in February of the country's long-standing authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.

    The shocking outbreak of violence erupted after Egypt's Copts staged a reportedly peaceful demonstration Sunday. Copt believers were protesting recent threats of violence against their church, which represents one of the oldest Christian civilizations in the world.

    Egyptian state-run media reports claimed that Christian demonstrators were attacking the police and military and urged the country's population onto the streets to protect the security forces.

    Read More »from Cairo reeling after clashes kill 17 Christian Copts
  • Joe Gordon. (ThaiPoliticalPrisoners.wordpress.com)A United States citizen could face 15 years in prison for allegedly insulting Thailand's king--by translating an article and posting it on his blog.

    Lerpong Wichaikhammat, 55, who also goes by the American name Joe W. Gordon, was arrested in May by a team of 20 Thai security agents on charges of "using the Internet to disseminate information that insults or threatens the monarchy after he translated an article and posted it on his blog," Reuters reported Monday.

    Gordon, who returned to Thailand last year after living for many years in Colorado, has pled guilty to the charge, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 9. Gordon was born in Thailand and has dual citizenship.

    "I plead guilty because no one can win the case," Gordon told journalists at his plea hearing, Reuters reported. "I have no chance. I want the American government to help release me. This is a case of freedom of expression."

    Thai security police allege that Gordon "is the owner of a blog that was established four years ago (i.e. when he did not reside in Thailand) with links that allowed downloading of Paul Handley's The King Never Smiles, a book that is banned but very widely available in Thailand in English and Thai," a website advocating for Gordon's release states. "He is also alleged to have translated some articles or a part of Handley's book."

    The American embassy in Thailand is reportedly providing consular assistance to Gordon, who lost his eighth bail hearing in September.

    Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has been hospitalized since 2009, is the world's oldest serving monarch. Being perceived to insult him in Thailand is a crime; even criticizing the "lese-majeste" laws banning perceived slights is a national taboo. The national news media largely neglects to report on the cases.

    Read More »from American faces 15 years in prison for blog post insulting Thai king
  • Mitt Romney at The Citadel Friday. (Mic Smith/AP)Speaking at South Carolina's Citadel military academy Friday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney offered the first extended glimpse of what his foreign policy agenda would be should he be elected president next November. The current GOP presidential primary front runner pledged to counter narratives of American decline by strengthening the military and ushering in a "new American century," The Ticket's Holly Bailey reports.

    But on specific issues--such as how to reconcile American public concerns with the soaring national debt with his proposal for expanded military spending, and what his timetable would be for the ten year old war in Afghanistan--Romney was notably vague, some foreign policy experts observed.

    "Romney lambasted Obama's foreign-affairs record as a series of "feckless policies" that have diminished the nation's standing around the world," Bailey writes:

    "This is America's moment. We should embrace the challenge, not shrink from it, not crawl into an isolationist shell, not wave the white flag of surrender, nor give in to those who assert America's time has passed," Romney declared. "That is utter nonsense. An eloquently justified surrender of world leadership is still surrender."

    Read More »from Romney pushes for ‘strong’ foreign policy but offers few specifics on Afghanistan

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  • Balotelli given one-match ban over racist post
    Balotelli given one-match ban over racist post

    London (AFP) - Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been suspended for one match, fined £25,000 ($39,176) and ordered to attend to an education course after making racist and anti-semitic comments.

  • Pope says will not be around in 10 years
    Pope says will not be around in 10 years

    Pope Francis said Friday he will not still be in the Vatican in ten years' time. Greeting athletes and officials from the Italian National Olympic Committee, the 78-year-old pontiff wished them well with their bid to host the 2024 Games, but said he would not be around to watch them. "Dear friends, best wishes for Rome's bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games," he said.

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