December 9, 2007

Iran abandoned nuclear weapons program in 2003

According to a new National Intelligence Estimate, Iran halted it's nuclear arms program in 2003.

The report, a consensus of the major intelligence bureaus, said that they were "highly confident" that the arms program was shut down in 2003 and "moderately confident" that it remains shut down, the New York Times reported. The report said that Iran probably wouldn't be able to produce a nuclear weapon until 2013.

The Bush administration's reaction indicates that there will probably not be a huge change in policy as a result of this information, despite the fact that it contradicts previous intelligence, the BBC said. However it may complicate efforts to pass a U.N. Security Council Resolution imposing sanctions on Iran.

The two stories were similar, since they were both first reports of the intelligence. The BBC story was shorter and more to the point, as they tend to be, and it included information about how this would affect U.N. processes.

December 2, 2007

Venezuela Votes

Venezuelans cast their votes Sunday on whether President Hugo Chavez's reforms will go into effect.

The BBC reported that suggested reforms include indefinitely extending Chavez's right to run for reelection, reducing the work day to six hours, putting the Central Bank in Chavez's control and reducing the voting age.

According to the New York Times, opposition groups have found a common cause in encouraging voters to vote against Chavez.

The New York Times article seemed to be more openly anti-Chavez. There was a lot more background information and most of it was negative. It was telling that the BBC reported a huge voter turnout while the New York Times focused on areas where they said turnout was low.

November 18, 2007

UN Climate Change Report

The UN released the fourth and final installment of its climate report, which synthesizes the information from the previous three.

The New York Times said that one of the most important findings is that a temperature increase of one to three degrees would be enough to induce species extinction and a rise in sea levels. The BBC reported that some of the panel's previous predictions have come to pass earlier than expected.

According to the BBC, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of the results and the necessity of proper government reactions. He said there are inexpensive ways to prevent the worst case scenarios from happening

World leaders will meet next week in Bali to discuss a climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the New York Times said.

The two stories carried basically the same information but organized it differently. The BBC started with the reaction of the UN secretary general and then went on to discuss the implications of the findings. The New York Times spent more time analyzing the findings before listing what exactly the findings were.

November 11, 2007

Police Enter Former Khmer Rouge Official's Home

Cambodian police entered the home of former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary Sunday evening.

The AP as reported in the New York Times reported that witnesses said Sary would be put on trial before Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal.

According to the BBC, Sary is the brother-in-law of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. He was the first senior Khmer Rouge leader to defect, which meant a royal pardon. The pardon, however, does not protect him from arrest.

Both were breaking stories. They each had slightly different information, probably a result of the fact that the event just happened.

November 4, 2007

King Tut's Face Revealed

The mummified body of King Tutankhamun went on display Sunday, giving the public their first chance to see the face of the famous mummy.

According to the BBC, the humidity caused by tourists visiting Tut's tomb put the mummy at risk for deterioration. To prevent this, the mummy was transferred to a climate-controlled box.

King Tut's tomb, discovered in 1922, is the only Egyptian tomb that was not raided by looters, reported the Washington Post.

The BBC story was shorter and included less background or quotes. This could be because it is principally a broadcast medium.

Pakistan's Leader Declares Emergency Rule

Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution and flooded the streets with police Saturday in what he called emergency rule.

According to the New York Times the move seems to be a response to the Supreme Court case that is questioning the legality of his re-election.

Some people, including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, are calling the action martial law, said the New York Times.

The Washington Post reported that in the last 24 hours, up to 500 opposition activists have been arrested. Non state-run news stations have been taken off the air.

The U.S. has responded by saying they will review the aid being sent to Pakistan, said the Washington Post.

The Washington Post story seemed more like a follow-up story, although I'm not sure if it was. It talked more about the effects of the crackdown, while the New York Times spent more time explaining the crackdown.

October 28, 2007

Sudan Declares Cease-Fire

Sudan's government declared a cease-fire at the opening of peace talks on Darfur.

Several important rebel leaders boycotted the talks, lessening the possibility of real progress, reported the New York Times.

Ceasefires and peace talks have been organized in the past only to prove ineffective, reported the BBC.

The BBC and New York Times stories were similar. The New York Times' was longer and contained more quotes, but they were framed similarly.

October 21, 2007

Turkey Angry Over U.S. Vote on Armenian Genocide

Turkey's military commander has warned that the country's ties with the U.S. will be badly damaged if the House of Representatives approves a resolution that Turkey carried out a genocide on Armenians almost 100 years ago.

The Washington Post reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that they will go ahead with the vote, despite protests from the White House.

The U.S. military depends on Turkey as a base for transferring supplies to Iraq, reported the New York Times. Further complicating relations is the conflict between separatist Kurdish rebels in Northern Iraq and the Turkish military. The two sides have been attacking each other for some time.

The New York Times put the context of the issue high in the story, while the Washington Post talked about the politics and then explained why it was important.

October 14, 2007

Global Abortion Rate Study

A study on global abortion rates showed that abortion rates are not affected by the legality of abortion.

World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute published the study in the journal Lancet. It showed that high levels of use of contraception and contraceptive education led to a decrease in abortions, reported the New York Times.

The New York Times also reported that abstinence-only education, which the Bush administration advocates, does not show to be effective in lowering abortion rates.

Another study published in the Lancet journal showed that maternal deaths have only decreased 1% in the past 15 years. Unsafe abortions are a major factor in this, reported the BBC.

The New York Times article focused on abortion rates and their relation to legality and contraception. The BBC article focused more on maternal death rates and used that as a segue into talking about the WHO study.

October 4, 2007

Myanmar Governement Shuts Down Internet

In an effort to stem the flow of information to the rest of the world and to the Burmese themselves, Myanmar's government shut down the Internet.

Bloggers key to the promotion of democracy in Myanmar now find it virtually impossible to disseminate information, said the Guardian.

According to the New York Times, since Myanmar has only two Internet service providers, shutting them down was not a very difficult task. Most telephone service was also shut down.

The Internet has been vital in distributing information and images of the conflict in Myanmar. Now not only is the Internet unavailable, but journalists and even amateur photographers are being threatened, the New York Times reported.

The New York Times article was longer and had information from more sources. I felt it was more complete than the Guardian's article.

September 30, 2007

UN Envoy Sent to Myanmar

UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari was sent to Myanmar Sunday to help resolve a violent crackdown on activists protesting the military junta that runs the country.

Gambari met with detained democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but was not able to speak to Myanmar's top two junta leaders, which had been one of the goals of the visit, the AP News service reported.

According to the AP, there is a wide range of a opinions as to whether the envoy will accomplish anything. One Asian diplomat expressed optimism that this was a step towards a peaceful resolution, while a representative of Suu Kyi's party said that the envoy would be able to do little more than relay messages between the opposing sides.

Myanmar has a history of ignoring outside pressure, but in a rare move China and the Association of South East Asian Nations, both normally allies of Myanmar, have denounced the violence taking place, reported BBC News.

The BBC News story was shorter than the AP's. The AP story had a little more background information. One thing I found interesting was that the BBC called the country Burma, while most American publications I've looked at call it Myanmar. I wonder which is correct. Another interesting detail I found in the AP's story was the pope's take on events. This seemed almost irrelevant to me considering that only 1% of Myanmar's population is Catholic.

September 24, 2007

Monks Protest in Myanmar

20,000 protesters marched in Myanmar Sunday in protest of the military junta that controls the government. The march was lead by a group of Buddhist monks and nuns. This is the largest protest in Myanmar since 1988.

A group of 400 broke off at one point to March to the house of Suu Kyi, a pro-democracy leader who has been on house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years, said the Associated Press as printed in the Washington Post.

Unlike the 1988 protest, where 3,000 people were killed, the government has not responded harshly as of yet. According to the New York Times, this is in part because of fear of public retaliation and the fact that monks are leading the protests.

The New York Times article had more quotes and background information than the Associated Press.

September 16, 2007

Shinzo Abe Resigns

Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, unexpectedly resigned Sept. 12.

According to the BBC News one of Abe's reasons for departing was that "Japan needed a new leader to 'fight against terrorism.'" Abe had already announced that he would resign if he was not able to convince parliament to extend a military operation in support of the United States in Afghanistan. The timing of his resignation, right before the parliamentary session began, was not expected.

Public opinion of Abe had been low for awhile, as a result of a series of scandals surrounding both Abe and a number of his cabinet officials. According to the New York Times, it was a Abe's failure to disclose a bookkeeping problem with the country's pension system that left the public most unhappy.

The main difference between the BBC's coverage and the New York Times coverage was organization. The New York Times talked about how unexpected the decision was before giving much background on Abe, while the BBC waited until the end to talk about the "surprise timing." I also found it interesting that the BBC mentioned Abe's interest in the "fight against terror" several times, whereas the New York Times never used this wording.