Donald Trump may love pissing on Pakistan as a safe-haven for 'terrorists.' He may cut off aid. And then, too, he may learn to genuflect to the nuclear-tipped neighbor of Afghanistan, the home of America's longest war.
-- WASHINGTON (AP) — As bad as President Donald Trump describes U.S.-Pakistani ties today, they can get far worse.In Thailand, a million-dollar collection of expensive watches has (in the public eye) put the lie to the ruling generals' promise five years ago to root out corruption.
Over 16 years that included hundreds of deadly U.S. drone strikes, Osama bin Laden’s killing on Pakistani soil and accusations Pakistan helps insurgents that kill Americans, the reluctant allies never reached one point of no return: Pakistan closing the air routes to Afghanistan.
It’s an action that could all but cripple the U.S.-backed military fight against the Taliban. It could also be tantamount to Pakistan going to war with the United States.
Even if such a step is seen as unlikely by most officials and observers, Pakistan’s ability to shape the destiny of America’s longest war is a reminder of how much leverage the country maintains at a time Trump is suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance.
-- BANGKOK (AP) — Entering their fifth year in power, Thailand’s ruling generals may be running out of time and it’s not for a lack of watches.In Chile, the Roman Catholic Pope Francis hit a serious speed bump Thursday in his efforts to heal if not quell public outrage about the priestly pedophile scandal. Speaking as he left the South American country, the pope said that short of concrete evidence, he would view accusations against priestly offenders as "calumny."
A growing uproar over the deputy prime minister’s mind-boggling array of luxury timepieces is damaging the military government’s image so badly that some observers believe it could eventually pave the way for its downfall.
Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan — a career military man who receives only a modest salary — has so far been spotted wearing a total of 25 opulent time pieces, none of which appears on his last declaration of assets. His belated explanation — that he borrowed them from friends — has been met with ridicule.
-- SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Pope Francis accused victims of Chile’s most notorious pedophile of slander Thursday, an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic Church its credibility in the country.In doing this, the pope touched on one of the core difficulties of sexual abuse as it occurred in the past: The testimony is credible, but the case boils down to he-said-s/he-said. There are competing desires to punish the guilty and to adhere to a policy of innocent-until-proven-guilty. In this arena, volume is wont to replace facts. On the other hand, facts -- even circumstantial or uncorroborated ones -- be damned... sexual blackmail is a calumny that should not be brooked. Everyone takes a stand, frequently without folding in the fact that that stand is a choice for which the chooser is willing to take responsibility.
Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up the sex crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, such accusations against Barros are “all calumny.”
The pope’s remarks drew shock from Chileans and immediate rebuke from victims and their advocates. They noted the accusers were deemed credible enough by the Vatican that it sentenced Karadima to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for his crimes in 2011. A Chilean judge also found the victims to be credible, saying that while she had to drop criminal charges against Karadima because too much time had passed, proof of his crimes wasn’t lacking.
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest corporation in the world. You might think it could afford a little humility. But that's just my stand. Laying claim to a good name while indulging in bad acts -- it's a great game, but it won't wash forever.