President Hamid Karzai is in Washington this week for meetings with President Obama and other officials. One of the key issues to be discussed is the number of American troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014, when the bulk of U.S. and NATO forces leave.
Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, has landed in North Korea. His trip there is a bit of a mystery. North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, recently set out a series of policy goals that included expanding science and technology as a way to improve the North Korean economy in 2013.
President Obama wants Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon. Hagel's confirmation would put four men with close ties from their Senate days at the center of the nation's foreign policy and national security policymaking. And that's something Obama is willing to fight for.
France recently hosted discussions between Afghan and Taliban officials. The meetings again raised the possibility of negotiations to end the fighting in Afghanistan, though many analysts remain deeply skeptical.
Escalating violence between ethnic insurgents and the government in Myanmar has foreign governments concerned. The insurgents have been fighting a little-known civil war for autonomy for more than six decades. The current escalation makes some observers question whether Myanmar's new civilian government is in full control of the military, and whether Western countries were too hasty in lifting economic sanctions imposed on the former ruling military junta.
China has indicated that it will stop handing down sentences to its "re-education through labor" camps, which allow detention without trial for up to four years. Many questions remain about what will happen to those currently detained and what might become of these labor camps.
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