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5 things you need to know about Kim Jong Il's brain

ATLANTA — North Korea stands accused of sinking a South Korean warship without provocation, killing 46 of its crew.  So just what was Kim Jong Il thinking in what must have been a deliberate move to enrage the South and the international community?

Opinion: Conservatives eye Big Brother

BOSTON — This is not going to be your grandfather’s Conservative Party in Britain anymore.

Opinion: Victory for Obama, by way of Pyongyang

NEW YORK — One of the many theories about North Korea which appears to float on thin air goes something like this: China, the one country with real leverage over crazy Kim and his gulag, loves the status quo. Like that guy in your neighborhood who walks around with a pit bull straining against its leash, the Chinese parade their influence on the Pygmy of Pyongyang, as if to remind the neighborhood that without the strong hand of Beijing, Kim Jong-il’s steroid-fed army of Stalinist zealots would run amok all over East Asia.

Analysis: Holiday in the "Axis of Evil"

YAZD, Iran —“You are American?” a surprised Iranian asked me as I sat down near him in a restaurant famous for eggplant and pomegranate stews. “How did you get a visa?”

Opinion: Close look at Colombian elections

WASHINGTON — Colombia will hold its presidential elections on May 30. Until recently, pundits took for granted that the winner would be someone with a strong connection with President Alvaro Uribe. Political trends took an unexpected direction in March suggesting that the electorate, although highly supportive of Uribe as a person, wants some change.

Opinion: Germans resist naked swaps

BOSTON — The “D” word — derivatives — achieved pariah status again this week on both sides of the Atlantic as governments continued their epic battles to rein in an unwieldy financial system. In an effort to curb speculation, Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority banned the purchase of credit default swaps on government debt unless investors own the underlying bonds. The U.S. Senate Senate Thursday passed a sweeping financial reform bill that requires most derivatives to be traded on exchanges and prevents banks from trading them.

Opinion: Uranium swap declaration improved Turkey's hand

ISTANBUL, Turkey — The joint declaration of the ministers of foreign affairs of Turkey, Iran and Brazil signed on Monday came as a surprise to the international community. But the United States’ reaction to the uranium swap agreement, and the Turkish interpretation of this reaction, once more highlighted the gap between the U.S. and Turkey in their approaches to what is one of the most important issues on the transatlantic agenda.

Opinion: A year on, Sri Lanka suffers

One year ago, the war in Sri Lanka ended. But the events since May 2009 have proven that the country is still in need of critical dialogue and reflection. This week marks the one-year anniversary of Sri Lanka’s military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the end of the island’s civil war. In Colombo, the mood is festive — or was until heavy rains postponed a celebratory parade planned for May 18th. During rehearsals, decorated soldiers hoisted Sri Lankan flags and filled Galle Face Green in preparation for the affair.

Opinion: UN sanctions risk real progress on Iran

Editor's note: Stephen Kinzer, author of the new book "Reset: Iran, Turkey and America's Future," has just left Iran, where he had a rare glimpse inside the country at a time when many correspondents are being denied journalist visas. He traveled on a tourist visa and, now that he is out, offers GlobalPost this analysis and a series of upcoming reports on his recent journey.

Opinion: Push is on for UN sanctions on Iran

NEW YORK — The surprise Turkish-Brazilian diplomatic coup this week, which resulted in Iran agreeing to transfer a quantity of its uranium abroad for enrichment, may or may not help solve the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program. But it does indicate that nations of increasing influence whose traditions and history place them far outside George W. Bush’s black-and-white world of “evil” don’t intend stand aside as another nuclear nonproliferation crisis slides toward armed conflict.
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