Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry renewed his pointed attacks on President George W. Bush's handling of Iraq, accusing him of failing to "level with the world's leaders" about the war during his speech at the UN. \nThe two rivals in the bitterly-fought US presidential election traded barbs on Tuesday over who can best handle Iraq's democratic transition, after Bush demanded that the UN step up its help to the war-wracked nation. \nSix weeks from the Nov. 2 election, Bush told the UN General Assembly: "The UN and its member nations must respond to [Iraqi] Prime Minister Allawi's request and do more to help build an Iraq that is secure, democratic, federal and free." \nBush did not mention the election in his speech, but took up the battle afterward, telling reporters that Kerry "has taken so many different positions on Iraq that his statements are hardly credible at all." \nAt a press conference after Bush's speech, Kerry said the Republican president "failed to level with the world's leaders." \n"After lecturing them, instead of leading them to understand how we are all together with a stake in the outcome of Iraq, I believe the president missed an opportunity of enormous importance for our nation and for the world," Kerry told reporters. \nThe Democrat is vying to hammer home his attacks against Bush in the battleground state of Florida which decided the 2000 election, and was due to make a campaign stop in West Palm Beach yesterday. \n"[Bush] does not have the credibility to lead the world," Kerry added. \nHe said the US leader stood at the General Assembly before a "stony-faced body and barely talked about the realities at all of Iraq." \nKerry has made Iraq the centerpiece of his campaign attacks this week, charging on Monday that Bush's decision to invade Iraq created "a crisis of historic proportions." Tuesday, he said the Bush administration's management of the war has been "arrogant, lacking in candor and incompetent." \nBush, who met with Allawi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, brushed aside Kerry's attacks and countered that the world was safer without Saddam Hussein at the helm in Iraq. \n"And that stands in stark contrast to the statement my opponent made yesterday when he said that the world was better off with Saddam in power. I strongly disagree," Bush said. \nThe Democratic campaign has seized upon the rising US military toll and mounting insurgency chaos to step up its assault on Bush, while Republicans have blasted Kerry by accusing him of constantly changing his position on the war. \nA poll released Tuesday indicated Americans are divided on the value of the war: 43 percent believe the Iraq war bolstered the fight against terrorism, while 41 percent said the war undermined it, according to a Harris Interactive poll. \nIn August, 50 percent of Americans said the war had strengthened the fight against terror while 40 percent did not. \n"The almost daily reports of bombings and attacks, kidnappings and continued killing of Americans and Iraqis seem to do little to change public opinion," Harris Interactive said. \n"Most adult Americans, it seems, have made up their minds, and neither the recent news from Iraq nor the campaign rhetoric has had much impact on public opinion." \nKerry spoke at his first press conference in six weeks, timed to challenge Bush after the president's address to global leaders, and held in this vote-rich southern state. \nDemocrats here hope to tempt Cuban-American voters into their fold, some of whom have been angered by moves to limit visits home to the communist-ruled island off Florida's coast.
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,
An Australian graduate student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year said that he was threatened with a firing-squad execution and told not even US President Donald Trump could save his “sorry arse.” Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators told him was military espionage. Sigley, 30, was studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June last year, sparking alarm. A fluent speaker of Korean, he had written articles for several publications