Archive: International

Who's Responsible for Keeping the Peace?

This is Anna, one of many friends I made in East Timor earlier this year. She attended school. She spoke three languages. She and her friends walked around their neighborhood in Dili without worrying about violence or lawlessness. Today, Anna is probably going hungry in a refugee camp, wanting nothing more than to be safe at home with her family. Finding food amid the chaos has become so difficult that some refugees have resorted to eating grass. Who is responsible for restoring order? Who should step in to ensure Anna and her friends get to return home, return to school, return to being the carefree kids they should be? Remember, Timor-Leste (the tiny country's official name) is not only the newest independent nation in the world, it's also one of the poorest. To expect it to fend for itself would be entirely unrealistic. In yesterday's Outlook section, a piece...

By Emily Messner | June 5, 2006; 12:55 PM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

They're Selling Uranium to Hu?

Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington yesterday reminded me of a deal Australia struck earlier this month to open up its vast uranium supply to Chinese consumption. Even though the full impact of the deal won't be felt for at least another few years, Aussies have jumped right into a fierce debate over nuclear energy. Some think Australia should give in and hop aboard the nuclear energy bandwagon. Others wonder whether they'd be best off following the example of New Zealand -- a country whose anti-nuclear policy is so hardcore that it once banned U.S. vessels with nuclear cargo from transiting through its waters. Specifically because of the China-uranium deal, Australians are facing conflicts between state and federal interests and arguing over just how far their dealings with non-democratic countries should go. But just as U.S. concerns over human rights violations in China tend not to stand in the...

By Emily Messner | April 21, 2006; 05:37 AM ET | Comments (113)

Gas Prices Around the World

Here's a sampling of gasoline prices per gallon outside the United States in 2005: Amsterdam: $6.48 London: $5.79 Paris: $5.54 Tokyo: $4.24 Beirut: $2.63 Riyadh: $0.91 Kuwait City: $0.78 Caracas: $0.12 A lot of the cost to Europeans can be attributed to taxes. The tax rate on gas in France, for example, is about 400 percent higher than that in the United States. For some idea of just how much less U.S. drivers pay for gasoline compared to Europeans, check out this chart. See that line way down below all the others? Yep, that's us. On the other end of the spectrum are several countries with rich oil reserves that happen to be controlled by the government. In oil-producing Venezuela, not only is gasoline not taxed, the government practically gives it away. (At 12 cents a gallon, Venezuelan drivers would get approximately 230 miles per U.S. dollar.) In the United...

By Emily Messner | April 4, 2006; 02:28 PM ET | Comments (14)

Immigration Policies Around the World

Note: For much of the information in this post, I relied on a useful guide to the citizenship laws around the world, compiled by the Office of Personnel Management -- it's worth a look. As we wrap up the immigration debate, let's take a look at how other countries handle some of these issues. On citizenship by virtue of birth: Like the United States, France, India, Ireland, Mexico and New Zealand all automatically confer citizenship on anyone born within their territory, regardless of the citizenship of the child's parents. Canada has the same law, unless the parents are illegally present in the country. Belgium, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Switzerland, among many others, do not recognize automatic citizenship by birth -- although exceptions may be made for orphans. Somewhere between these two poles fall the policies of Australia, Austria and the United Kingdom. Citizenship is only...

By Emily Messner | March 31, 2006; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (274)