The Foreign Service Journal, November 2006

by the State Department’s claims of improvement in Saudi Arabia, where it says progress has been insignificant and “freedom of religion does not exist” ( press/2006/september/20060915 StateDeptRpt.html ). The USCIRF also denounced positive references to Vietnam’s progress in the report. Not surprisingly, the report has drawn even angrier responses from the CPCs. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini denounced it, claiming that it “pur- sues a U.S. foreign policy agenda and is of no value” ( turesarticle/2006/09/0C3098FB- CC24-49A5-8CAF-63CE752B BBAF.html ). While expressing Vietnam’s good will toward the United States, Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung pro- tested his nation’s being singled out as a country of particular concern. According to Dung, “Vietnam has made enormous progress on religious freedom” ( english/news/190906/domestic_ vn1.htm ). However, the report states that despite improvements for Pro- testants, certain Buddhist factions are still repressed. In Beijing, ForeignMinistry spokes- man Qin Gang dismissed the report as a “groundless” interference in China’s internal affairs. Ye Xiaowen of the State Administration for Religious Affairs remarked, “This subject has become a major obstacle to construc- tive cooperation between China and the United States” ( http://today. ) . In Pyongyang, officials charged that the United States should stop meddling in others states’ religious policies. “The United States is not a ‘religious judge’ but a chief culprit in the repression and extermination of religion,” declared the Rodong Sin- mun daily newspaper, citing U.S. cam- paigns in Afghanistan and Iraq ( http:// aspx ). Though not on the CPC list, Russia, too, was critical. “We did not expect balanced, unbiased judgments from this document,” states Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin ( www.interfax-religion. com/print.php?act=news&id=20 62 ). “Just like in previous years, the U.S. Department of State’s report is abundant in inaccurate and often grossly erroneous wordings. It jug- gles facts, outdated information, and references to apparently unreliable sources.” For the full report, see www. — Lamiya Rahman, Editorial Intern Answering Expatriate Booklovers’ SOS Anyone who spends long periods living overseas periodically entertains the wish that there were some easy way to find favorite English-language books abroad. , an online, mail-order book and books-on- tape rental service, goes a long way toward making that wish come true ( ) . Often described as “a Netflix for books,” Booksfree offers a selection of over 79,800 paperback and 13,800 audiobook titles. With access to a wide variety of genres, members can choose anything from classics to suspense thrillers to self-help guides. There is also a substantial Young Adults section. Here’s how it works. Simply log on to create your own booklist, and Booksfree delivers your selections for free, with prepaid return postage included. Once you return your books, the next choices on your list will be automatically sent out. The Web site is robust and user-friendly, and the many FAQs give clear answers to any ques- tion that you may have. As the site boasts, opting to rent books can save up to 80 percent of a typical book-loving individual or fami- ly’s annual expenditure on books. For a monthly fee, members are entitled to an unlimited number of rentals. The service offers four different plans, ranging from a two-book deal that lets you borrow two choices at a time for $8.49 a month, to a 12-books-at-a-time deal for $34.99. If you want to keep any of the books you borrow, Booksfree offers a discounted rate. Although Booksfree does not pro- vide international service, it does ship to APO/FPO addresses. Foreign Ser- vice employees can also receive books abroad through pouch mail. — Lamiya Rahman, Editorial Intern C Y B E R N O T E S S ept. 11, 2001, has not had the same reverberations as World Wars I and II, or the end of the Cold War. America has not reshaped the world, and the world has not reshaped America. But that does not mean that the challenges brought on by 9/11 are not momentous. The challenge for the United States is managing and mitigating the turmoil in the world, while taking steps to keep the American people safe. — Lee Hamilton, “Five Years After 9/11,” Remarks at Pace University, Sept. 7 staff/Hamilton_Pace.doc N O V E M B E R 2 0 0 6 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 13