Daily Archives: November 19, 2009

By James Blitz, defence and diplomatic editor, in Kabul

President Hamid Karzai’s inauguration speech has long been seen as a critical moment for him to spell out his determination to improve Afghan governance in his second term of office and begin the fight against corruption.

But the part of the speech that will make the headlines tonight in the US and Europe is his commitment to get the Afghan National Army and police into a position where they can manage the nation’s security alone by the middle of the next decade. Read more

By Geoff Dyer, FT China bureau chief

Barack Obama made one last final attempt to speak directly to ordinary Chinese people at the end of his three-day visit, giving an interview in Beijing yesterday to Southern Weekend, one of China’s more outspoken newspapers. Read more

By Geoff Dyer, FT China bureau chief

Now that the Obama circus has left town, the biggest sigh of relief comes from the group of people often labelled as China’s “dissidents”: human rights lawyers, serial petitioners and democracy advocates. Even though the US president went out of his way to be diplomatic about human rights issues and did not have any extra-curricular meetings with independent intellectuals, Beijing still detained dozens of people and put others under house arrestRead more