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Tom's Take

February 26th, 2010
02:24 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Today, we will will wrap up the most pressing issues of the week. With Europe facing a deepening economic crisis, Christiane talks with Spanish foreign minister Miguel Moratinos about his country’s fiscal problems, protests in the streets, and Europe’s stumbling efforts to confront the world’s political and economic challenges as one. And as the world looks to Bonn for the next round of climate talks, we have a lively discussion with leading climate scientist James Hansen, New York Times Pulitzer prize winning columnist Thomas Friedman, and Bjorn Lomborg, author of the Skeptical Environmentalist. We talk to them about the climate change movement’s loss of footing since Copenhagen, “climategate”, and the resignation of UN climate chief Yvo de Boer.  Finally, Christiane talks with North Korea expert Sung-Yoon Lee about how the secretive regime could be preparing for a post-Kim Jong Il era. Now here are some perspectives on some of today's headlines.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

AFGHANISTAN - Are today's bomb attacks in Kabul the Taliban's response to calls for "reintegration and reconciliation"?

– Deadly blasts in capital targeting foreigners kill at least 17 people and wound many others

– Those killed include at least eight Indians and one Pakistani

– Attacks come as U.S., British, Afghan troops continue offensive in Marjah area and   international and Afghan officials step up rhetoric on possible talks with Taliban

QUESTION: Are Taliban as united as they appear in their opposition to possible talks with the Karzai government in Afghanistan?
FULL POST


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Tom's Take

February 22nd, 2010
06:35 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

On AMANPOUR today, we look at North Korea. It has the biggest annual defense budget in the world relative to its GDP, with the fifth largest army.  For decades, the government’s priority has been to build its arsenal and feed those most loyal to it at the expense of the general population who rely on foreign handouts to avoid starvation.  But there are signs that the North Korean “palace economy” may be crumbling with rumors of street protests and a potential succession crisis.  Christiane will speak to U.N. Under-Secretary-General Lynn Pascoe, the first high-ranking U.N. official to visit North Korea in six years.  She’ll also talk with Tufts University professor Sung-Yoon Lee about what can be done to prepare for the potential collapse of the North Korean regime. North Korea is not the only story in the news today. Here are some perspectives.

Tom Evans

Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

IRAN – Does Iran care about international reaction to its nuclear program?

–         Iran has picked almost 20 potential sites for new uranium enrichment plants and could begin planning for two of them this year

–         Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iran does not believe in nuclear weaponry, even though draft IAEA report said Tehran may be trying to build a nuclear warhead

–         Western powers trying to drum up support for more international sanctions, and Israel has unveiled a long range drone fleet that has the capability to fly over Iranian territory

QUESTION: Will world powers unite around more sanctions… or will countries such as Israel pursue their own solutions to tackle Iran’s nuclear ambitions?

FULL POST


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Tom's Take

February 18th, 2010
01:12 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

AMANPOUR. today has an Exclusive interview with the outgoing United Nations special representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, who steps down in early March.  The offensive in the South of the country has focused attention on the battlefield, yet Eide says that success in Afghanistan will ultimately be political not military.  Christiane also speaks to one of the world’s preeminent experts on the Taliban, Ahmed Rashid, about the capture of the Taliban second in command, Mullah Baradar.   Afghanistan tops our round-up of stories in the news today. Here are some perspectives.

Tom Evans

Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

AFGHANISTAN – Is Pakistan stepping up its cooperation with U.S. and Afghanistan in fight against Afghan Taliban?

–         Afghan official tells Associated Press Pakistan arrested two Taliban ‘shadow’ provincial governors 10 to 12 days ago

–         Taliban ‘shadow’ governors were reportedly key figures responsible for insurgent group’s expansion in northern Afghanistan recently

–         Arrests came around same time Pakistani and U.S. operatives apprehended Afghan Taliban’s number two figure, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Pakistani city of Karachi

QUESTION: Is stepped up Pakistani cooperation with U.S. and Afghanistan an effort by Islamabad to show it must be taken seriously as a partner in the reconciliation process in Afghanistan?

FULL POST


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Tom's Take

February 16th, 2010
01:06 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Today on AMANPOUR. we focus on Iran as it defies the world on two fronts – its nuclear program and its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns that Iran “is becoming a military dictatorship” during her latest Middle East tour, Christiane has an exclusive interview with the Secretary-General of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, Mohammad Javad Larijani, who fiercely defends his country’s record on human rights. Iran tops our roundup of today’s news headlines.

Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

IRAN – Will Iran’s nuclear program spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East?

–         U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Saudi Arabia today, says “evidence doesn’t support” Iran’s claim it is pursuing a peaceful nuclear program

–         Clinton says Iran could trigger a nuclear arms race that could turn “quite dangerous” as she put it

–         Clinton was winding up three-day visit to Persian Gulf nations as U.S. tries to shore up its allies and seek support for new sanctions against Iran

QUESTION:  Is U.S. moving towards a Cold War style policy of “containment” against Iran as Tehran moves ahead with its nuclear program?

FULL POST


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Tom's Take

February 9th, 2010
02:12 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

On AMANPOUR. today, we look at Nigeria. With its vast oil wealth and immense reserves of human capital, it should be the powerhouse of Africa. Instead, the country faces a sea of troubles, with a president who is absent and an unresolved insurgency. Complicating the situation is Nigeria’s ethnic politics - the divisions between the President, a Northern Muslim refusing to turn over power to his Vice President, a Southern Christian. Among our guests today is one of Nigeria’s literary lions, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka. Now here are some perspectives on some other news in the headlines today.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

PAKISTAN – Will death of Pakistan Taliban leader lead to a new direction for the insurgency?

–         Three Taliban sources tell CNN Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died while on the way to Karachi for medical treatment

–         Government has been looking into reports Mehsud died after being wounded in a suspected U.S. drone attack last month

–         Drone attack came a few days after Mehsud appeared in a videotape with man thought to be the suicide bomber who killed eight people at a CIA base in Afghanistan on Dec. 30

QUESTION: Will death of Mehsud open a window for negotiations between the Pakistan Taliban and the government in Islamabad?
FULL POST


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Tom's Take

February 8th, 2010
01:14 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

On AMANPOUR. today, as U.S. military forces stand down in Iraq, the relative calm has been disrupted by new bombings and a political dispute over the contentious issue of banning 500 Sunni parliamentary candidates from the upcoming elections.  The Sons of Iraq, the mostly Sunni group largely credited for the recent lull in the violence, is saying it is not being given due recognition and wants all its members fully integrated into the Iraqi Security Forces.  What does this political turmoil tell us about the future of Iraq? Christiane spoke to Iraq’s Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi on Friday and her interview will air today. Iraq is one of the stories in our news roundup this morning. Here are some perspectives.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

IRAQ – Do attacks on Shia pilgrims indicate that sectarian violence is increasing and political divisions are increasing?

–         Iraq reeling from series of attacks on Shia pilgrims in holy city of Karbala and elsewhere last week that killed dozens of people

–         Fears attacks could prompt sectarian backlash by Shias against minority Sunnis that could undermine elections due to be held on March 7

–         U.S. blames al Qaeda for attacks, with Centcom chief General David Petraeus calling the bombings the “barbaric actions” of a morally bankrupt al Qaeda

QUESTION: Can Iraq’s political leaders remain calm in face of attempts to provoke sectarian explosion ahead of elections?

FULL POST


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Tom's Take

February 4th, 2010
05:13 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

On AMANPOUR. today, we focus on the rising tensions this year between the U.S. and China. As the U.S. enters a rough patch in relations with this rising power over arms sales to Taiwan, a much delayed meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama, and the Google censoring dispute, are we witnessing a realignment of global power?   How should the rest of the world respond to the shifting tectonic plates in the U.S.-China relationship? China and the U.S. top our roundup of the top stories of the day. Here are some perspectives.

Tom Evans

Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

CHINA/U.S. – What lies behind the growing friction between Washington and China?

– Beijing today hits back at U.S. on trade and economic policy, saying its currency is at a reasonable level and American companies are not at a disadvantage in China

– Washington and China already at loggerheads over other issues, such as Tibet, arms sales to Taiwan, and censorship and hacking targeting Google

– China’s economy, which weathered recession far better than the U.S. and Europe, is poised to overtake Japan as the world’s number two this year

QUESTION: Is China’s growing assertiveness on the world stage the beginning of a new era in China’s relations not just with the U.S. but the rest of the world as well? FULL POST


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Tom's Take

February 3rd, 2010
01:15 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

On AMANPOUR. today, we focus on Islam and Europe. With recent news that France is moving closer to banning the full Muslim veil, the recent attack on the Danish cartoonist by a Somali man with links to al-Shabaab, and the banning in Britain of a radical Islamic group, Europe is grappling to come to terms with its growing Muslim minority. After years of accepting Muslim immigrants, some European nations are growing fearful of the Muslims in their midst and placing new limits on immigration and the activities of extreme Islamic groups.  Some politicians are capitalizing on those fears, making Islam a hot political issue in Europe. Is Europe feeling it’s had enough of Islam? There are plenty of other stories to tell you about as well. Here are some perspectives on some headlines in the news today.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

PAKISTAN/U.S. – How big is the U.S. military footprint in Pakistan?

–         Three U.S. troops are among seven people killed in a roadside bomb attack in northwest Pakistan near a school

–         Pakistan says American troops are in the country to help train local security forces

–         Bombing could be retaliation for repeated U.S. drone strikes against Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in border area near Afghanistan

QUESTION: Will there be a political backlash in Pakistan against the use of U.S. military personnel to train Pakistani security forces?

IRAQ – Are terrorists trying to stir up ethnic hatred by attacking Shia pilgrims?

–         Bombing kills 20 people and wounds 117 others in holy city of Karbala, south of Baghdad

–         Attack one of four targeting Shia pilgrims Wednesday who are celebrating the Arbaeen, the end of the 40-day mourning period that closes Ashura

–         Blasts raising fears Sunni extremists may be trying to disrupt the pilgrimage

QUESTION: Will the Shia community in Iraq stay calm in the face of these bomb attacks – or will Shia extremists retaliate?

SUDAN – Will decision to allow genocide case to proceed against Sudanese president lead to more vigorous international action to apprehend him?

–         Appeal judges order International Criminal Court to rule again on whether to allow genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for his role in campaign of violence in Darfur

–         Al-Bashir, who remains in office, already facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity

–         Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo wanted al-Bashir to face genocide charge at same time, but pre-trial judge left that off original arrest warrant, citing lack of evidence

QUESTION: Will countries that have allowed al-Bashir to visit in the past now consider arresting him if he travels again?


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Tom's Take

February 2nd, 2010
03:40 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

On AMANPOUR. today, we look at the aftermath of the massacre of at least 16 students at a birthday party in Juarez in Mexico this past weekend. The attack comes just weeks after Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent 2,000 U.S.-trained federal police officers to help restore order in this border city. The drug war in Mexico has claimed an estimated 17,000 lives in the past three years. Christiane looks at the effectiveness of Calderon’s military-style campaign against the narco-traffickers. Is militarization the price Mexican society must pay to win back the country? And in the process will the very fabric of Mexican democracy be torn apart? There are also other important stories to tell you about today. Here are some perspectives on some other headlines.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

CHINA/U.S. – Will new tensions between U.S. and China worsen already strained relationship?

– China warns U.S. that any meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama would harm bilateral relations between the two countries

– White House has not set a date for a meeting, but Dalai Lamai – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader – will be in U.S. in late February and in May

– Row over Tibet comes amid diplomatic tensions over Google’s charges of censorship and hacking by China, and dispute over U.S. plan to sell “defensive” weapons to Taiwan

QUESTION: Who has the stronger hand in the diplomatic maneuvering between the U.S. and China – Washington or Beijing?

FULL POST


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Tom's Take

February 1st, 2010
03:04 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

On AMANPOUR. today, we examine President Karzai’s plan for reconciliation with the Taliban.  It focuses on the reintegration of low-level Taliban fighters with Afghan society. The goal is to persuade them to lay down their arms and disavow their allegiance to Taliban leaders in exchange for jobs and security.  What are the realities on the ground that suddenly make including the Taliban in Afghanistan’s political process necessary?  Is this capitulation or the only way forward? That’s only one of the top stories this morning. Here are some perspectives on some of today’s other headlines.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

HAITI – Is the latest international aid plan for earthquake victims finally going to end the logjam?

–         aid agencies begin massive two-week food distribution effort aimed at reaching two million people in Port-au-Prince

–         plan for aid to be distributed from 16 sites across Port-au-Prince, but on Sunday people at only nine sites were able to collect food, water and other supplies, because of security concerns and need for more preparation

–         pickup points are being guarded by troops from U.S. and other countries because of fears of disorder

QUESTION: As the international aid effort gains momentum, what more is the Haitian government itself doing to step up its efforts to help needy people?

FULL POST


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