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How to explain national performance at the Olympics?

China and both Koreas were in the top 5 medal winners as of Aug. 1. Gold medallists Kai Qin and Yutong Luo of China pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men's Synchronised 3m Springboard final on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games.  /Adam Pretty/Getty Images

John J. Metzler PARIS — As the London Olympics set new records for athletic achievements, the Summer Games equally highlight global competitions, both in the field of sport and nationalism. And despite all the naysayers that the London Games would not be ready, the traditional British can-do attitude prevailed (as they did in London 1948), [...]

August 2nd, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,China,Columnists,COMMENTARY,England,Exclusives,France,John Metzler,NE Asia,South Korea,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Culture | Read More »

Frenchman turns states evidence in murder mystery involving wife of once-powerful Bo Xilai

Gu Kailai, wife of Bo Xilai, with Patrick Henri Devillers, the French architect with whom she may have had an affair.

Special to A former intimate of Gu Kailai, the wife of ousted Chinese strongman Bo Xilai, flew to Beijing only days before prosecutors announced she was being charged with murder. Patrick Henri Devillers, the Frenchman who shared an apartment in Britain with Gu, surrendered to Chinese authorities on July 17. Gu’s indictment for [...]

July 29th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,China,England,Exclusives,France,Intel Brief,Life,NE Asia,Top Stories | Read More »

With Syria set to implode, Russia and China check UN action

Members vote during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria on July 19 in New York.  /Don Emmert/AFP

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — These are tumultuous times in Syria. Civil war has engulfed the country, fierce fighting plagues the capital of Damascus, a bomb blast decimated the ruling regime’s top security chiefs, and the Arab League called on President Bashar Assad to step down. But as the world watches in suspended animation, [...]

July 25th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,China,Columnists,COMMENTARY,England,Exclusives,John Metzler,Mideast,NE Asia,Russia,Syria,Top Stories,United Nations,World Links | Read More »

Olympic uniform controversary brings bipartisan ‘gotcha moment’

U.S. Olympic athletes rower Giuseppe Lanzone, left, and swimmer Ryan Lochte are pictured wearing the 2012 US Olympic team uniforms, made by Ralph Lauren.  /Reuters

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — With the London Summer Olympics fast approaching, the eyes of America are on Team USA, or more precisely on the manufacturer’s labels on their uniforms. What looked like a proud sporting moment when designer Ralph Lauren unveiled a really classy looking blue navy blazer, white pants and slightly improbable [...]

July 18th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Columnists,COMMENTARY,England,Exclusives,John Metzler,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Culture,U.S. Politics | Read More »

UK turns back Russian ship reportedly delivering helicopters to Syria

The MV Alaed had its insurance withdrawn by The Standard Club in London while it was about 50 miles off Scotland’s north coast.

Special to LONDON — Britain has forced the return of a Russian weapons ship bound for Syria. Officials said Britain’s Royal Navy tracked the voyage of a Russian cargo ship laden with Mi-24 attack helicopters for the Syrian Air Force. The officials said the London government succeeded in withdrawing insurance for the Russian-flagged MV [...]

June 20th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,England,Exclusives,Mideast,Russia,Syria,Top Stories | Read More »

Hot air about the Falkland Islands reaches the UN

Margaret Thatcher in 1983.

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The Falkland Island Road Show has come to the United Nations, with all the political trappings of drama, hyper-nationalism, and self-righteous moralizing. The focus remains on the future of this windswept British territory in the South Atlantic claimed by, and also once invaded by, neighboring Argentina. Now thirty years [...]

June 20th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Americas,Argentina,Columnists,COMMENTARY,England,Exclusives,John Metzler,Life,Top Stories,United Nations | Read More »

U.S. hires firm to cultivate rule of law in Iraq, Lebanon

BAE Systems' office in Edinburgh.  /Murdo Macleod/The Guardian

Special to WASHINGTON — The United States has awarded BAE Systems a contract for law enforcement programs in at least two Middle East countries deemed dangerous for Americans. The State Department awarded BAE Systems a contract to support criminal justice and development programs in Iraq and Lebanon. BAE would provide the services under the [...]

June 19th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,England,Exclusives,Hizbullah,Iraq,Lebanon,Mideast,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Military | Read More »

Britain’s Royal Jubilee — It’s about tradition not celebrity

Britain's Queen Elizabeth waves as she stands with Prince William, 2nd right, Prince Charles, left, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, right on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to mark her Diamond Jubilee in London on June 5.  /Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The world needs a good party and reason to forget, even fleetingly, the conflicts, crises and economic doldrums which have befallen us. Thus Britain’s Diamond Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II brings us that wistful respite but more importantly a lesson; that tradition trumps trendy, and often celebrity too. The [...]

June 7th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Columnists,COMMENTARY,England,John Metzler,Life,Top Stories | Read More »

The coming train wreck

G8 Nations heads of state (from left) Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French President Francois Hollande, U.S. President Barack Obama, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Russia's Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev gather at Camp David, Maryland on May 19.  /Larry Downing/Reuters

Sol W. Sanders   [See Archive] Resembling a huge 74-wheeler packed with unassembled goodies, the U.S. is stranded on the world economy grade-crossing with the Euro express gathering speed as it tears down the Trans-Atlantic financial tracks for a seemingly inevitable collision. A police report written by patronizing Harvard economists some time in the dim [...]

May 21st, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Columnists,COMMENTARY,Daily Brief,England,Exclusives,France,Germany,Greece,Life,Sol Sanders,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Economy,World Links | Read More »

Britain warns visitors to Sinai to travel in convoys

Special to LONDON — Britain has warned against travel to Egypt, particularly the turbulent Sinai Peninsula. The Foreign Office has issued a travel warning against several Middle East states, including Egypt and Turkey. The government department cited the danger of attack and abduction by anti-government elements along major highways, particularly in Sinai. “Due to [...]

May 17th, 2012 | Posted in Egypt,England,Exclusives,Top Stories | Read More »

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