I could not keep my eyes off the graves, could not stop staring at them even as I walked away, turning repeatedly to look over my shoulder at them as I slogged my way across the gravel-strewn shore of Beechey Island until they disappeared from view. It was profoundly saddening to contemplate their presence on a low-lying, windswept outpost of the Canadian Arctic, to imagine the fear and loneliness those buried here must have felt as they faced death in the harshest of conditions, thousands of miles and a world removed from their homes. And yet, they were the lucky ones, the first casualties of an expedition that vanished 173 years ago while searching for the fabled Northwest Passage between Atlantic and Pacific, whose remaining members met their doom after their ships became frozen in never-yielding sea ice, who perished one by one waiting for a summer that never came. Not until 1906 was the Northwest Passage eventually transited by ship; the feat would not be repeated for nearly 40 … [Read more...] about The race to lay claim on the Bering Strait as Arctic ice retreats
Chinas top diplomat
On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech in which he said that the US will "crush" Iran by the means of economic sanctions and military pressure. The Trump administration's new policy on Iran comes just weeks after the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo said that the US is now intent on restraining Iran's influence in the Middle East and ensuring that Tehran is never able to develop nuclear weapons. But many political analysts and pundits in Washington say the new policy amounts to one of regime change. Some Arab countries will likely welcome this new tougher US policy. Saudi Arabia, Iran's arch-rival in the region, has openly called the Iranian regime a member of the "axis of evil" in the past. Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which may also back Washington's policy to isolate Iran. Earlier this month, GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani said … [Read more...] about Could America’s hardline policies towards Iran be a dilemma for Arab countries?
Observers have long speculated about what US President Donald Trump might discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet, but only once it was officially confirmed did Trump comment on the agenda. Syria and the US elections will be discussed in Helsinki on Monday — and so will Ukraine. Ukraine's Crimean peninsula was annexed by Moscow, in violation of international law, after the Maidan protests in 2014, and a bloody war has been raging in the east of the country for four years. But with the continuing war in Syria as well as the recent indictment of 12 Russian hackers, just how much time the leaders will devote to Ukraine is unclear. Russia has maintained that Crimea is "an indivisible part of Russia." Statements Trump has made on Crimea have also given Kyiv cause for concern. Questioned recently about the possibility of Washington adjusting its stance on the Crimean question, he answered, "We'll see." Read more: NATO chief predicts increased … [Read more...] about Ukrainians nervous that Trump, Putin could decide on Crimea question
A grand jury in the United States has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for stealing information on 500,000 voters and hacking Democratic Party computers during the 2016 US presidential election, the US Justice Department said on Friday. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the charges drawn up by special counsel Robert Mueller, the lead investigator in an ongoing probe into possible collusion between the US President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russian government. Read more: US intelligence report: Putin 'ordered' targeted involvement in US election The spies allegedly gained access to the voters' information after hacking a state election board. They are also accused of stealing emails from Democratic Party computers, including devices belonging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign team, and then releasing them online months before the November 7 election. A Kremlin official has denied the accusations, … [Read more...] about 12 Russian spies charged for hacking 2016 US presidential election