Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ex-CIA chief John Brennan: Russians contacted Trump campaign

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/23/politics/john-brennan-house-intelligence-committee/index.html
The former CIA Director John Brennan told the House Russia investigators Tuesday that Russia "brazenly interfered" in US elections, including actively contacting members of President Donald Trump's campaign but he stopped shy of dubbing it as collusion.Brennan was speaking to the House intelligence committee on the extent of Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections and possible ties to the Trump campaign, where he was asked about how Moscow recruits sources "wittingly and unwittingly." "Frequently, people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late," Brennan said.Brennan said that he first picked up on Russia's active meddling last summer and, in an August 4, 2016, phone call with Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia's FSB intelligence agency, warned him against further interference. Bortnikov, Brennan said, denied any active efforts in the election.
--Jessie Birchall

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The UK is deploying soldiers to patrol streets because another attack could be 'imminent'


http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/23/europe/uk-terror-threat-level-critical-soldiers/index.html

Following the attack at the Manchester Arena from Monday night, the United Kingdom has decided to deploy soldiers to take over guard duties at key sites.  The purpose of this is to allow elite police to focus on the threat of another possible terrorist attack.  Authorities have been trying to determine if Salman Abedia, the man who is thought to have carried out the attack outside the Manchester Arena, acted alone or with others.  The possibility of the involvement of others hasn't been ruled out yet.  Due to this uncertainty, the UK has increased security presence and activated a plan they call Operation Temperer, which involves the replacement of elite police with soldiers at key sites such as railway stations, airports, concerts, and sports events.  All of this follows the UK raising the threat level to "critical", which has only happened on two other instances in 2006, when officers stopped an attempt to blow up jets leaving Britain for the US, and in 2007, when a man tried to ram a burning car loaded with gas canisters into Glasgow Airport.  The last time the UK deployed troops occurred in 2003 in response to a plot to bring down a British airliner by al Qaeda.  With the FA Cup final happening this weekend, UK officials didn't want to take any chances.

Shannon McDonald

Monday, May 22, 2017

Recent Explosions at Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester

Monday night there was an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. The Explosion has left 19 dead and reports of at least 50 injured. People are saying that these explosions may be linked to a terrorist group, although investigations are still underway. The explosions came at the very end of the concert, as Ariana had just finished and walked off the stage. It is very likely that the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber. However, due to the recency of the event, more will be known through further investigations by Manchester police. 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/22/europe/manchester-arena-incident/

-Asfa Anwer
http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/22/politics/trump-israel-western-wall/index.html


President Trump is the first U.S sitting president to visit the Western Wall in Israel. He did so without any Israeli government officials by him even though that is what Israel requested. During this foreign visit Trump is trying to clear the air with Israel and the news that he leaked information to the Russians about Israel. He also promised to recognize Jerusalem has the capital of Israel throughout his campaign even though the U.S has never took that claim due to the conflicts between Palestine and Israel. He did not fulfill that promise (yet) due to warnings from foreign policy folks in Washington and Arab leaders because it could hurt chances of finding peace between the two regions.

Thomas Semanic

Turkey crowd taunts coup suspects at mass trial near Ankara

In this article, BBC reports that there are a "hostile crowd" of protesters waiting outside of a trial of 221 government officials who are being accused of trying to oust the president of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogen.  The officials on trial are being charged for a multitude of things, including the supposed murder of 250 innocent civilians after a botched coup attempt.




http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39998049

Climate Change threatens seed supply

With the rising water levels caused by climate change, water breeches the entrance of the storage facility of over 500 million seeds kept in case of global emergencies where food supplies would need to be replenished. The seeds were unharmed by the breach, but it is due to global warming that the permafrost containing the seeds is melting. 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/21/us/doomsday-seed-vault-water-breach/index.html

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Anthony Weiner pleads guilty to sexting charges

Former Democrat Congressman Anthony D. Weiner has pleaded guilty to sending sexually explicit text messages to a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina, including one image of his genitals with his 4-year-old son in the background. During his plea, he cried out loud, stating that he knew his actions were "as morally wrong as it was unlawful." His wife Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, filed for divorce immediately following his plea. He will now have to register as a sex offender and may face a possible prison sentence, with Federal Prosecutors stating that 21-27 months would suffice. It was Weiner's investigation which found a laptop, belonging to Huma Abedin, with a trove of emails which launched former FBI director Comey to launch a new investigation into the Hillary Clinton's handling of emails, which many views, including members of her campaign, to have cost her the election. This was not the first incident of Mr. Weiner's sexual misconduct, as inappropriate communications between several adult women cost him his congressional seat, his career, and his marriage.

Russians Admit to Arming the Taliban

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/russia-arming-taliban

Russia has recently been arming the Taliban with heavy weaponry in order for them to "fight Isis," a claim that has been looked at very skeptically from an American point of view. The article goes on to make a few more claims about various things that the Russians are doing which most Americans would see as alarming, such as only "pretending to fight Isis." The article also goes on to remind the reader that Trump had promised many Americans during his campaign that the united states would soon be on good terms with Russia even though there seems to be little to no real evidence of this happening.

-Anthony Colant

North Korea calls latest solid-fuel missile test successful

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/north-korea-calls-latest-solid-fuel-missile-test-successful/2017/05/21/8aea1cc2-3e93-11e7-b29f-f40ffced2ddb_story.html?utm_term=.029c959f0cd0

The article states that North Korea had a successful test launch of a solid-fuel missile, which is harder to detect by foreign parties. It further explains that liquid-fuel rockets must load the fuel separately, and that the carriers that carry the liquid can be seen by satellites; the solid-fuel missiles, however, don't have this issue, and can be fired much more secretively, making them harder to prepare for overall. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the launch a challenge to the world, and will bring it up at the upcoming G-7 summit in Italy.

ASSANGE'S RAPE CHARGES DROPPED

Sweden top prosecutor Marianne Ny said that Julian Assange was being revoked to due that it was impossible to serve him notice. As for the woman who accused Assange of rape was shocked, she will maintain her accusations against him. Julian Assange's lawyer Per Samuelson said that prosecutor's decision presented a total victory for his client. Julian Assange was angry with the prosecution and stated that for 7 years he was detained without charge, while his kids grew up and his name has been slandered. An interesting fact is that if Assange were to return to Sweden before 2020 the case could resume. Julian lives in Ecuadorean embassy in England, and has been living there since 2012. The reason that he lives in the Ecuadorean embassy is that Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, and he released U.S. classified documents, secrets that showed what the United States  does around the world. He believes that the rape charges were made up so Julian get extradited from Sweden to the U.S, so he can be charged for the releasing of the classified documents. If he leaves the embassy, he will be automatically arrested and extradited to the U.S or he will get shot.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39973864






Syria's 'moderate rebels' to form a new alliance

This article is reporting on a story about the U.S.’s move via the CIA to reengage a program of arming and equipping moderate Syrian rebels, and begins by talking to a Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander who states they are getting support from “friends of Syria”. The article continues, by underscoring that the current plans are still early in development, and that the CIA remains active by funding rebels not to join the Moscow sponsored talks. After which the article trails on discussing the conflicting fractions and the strenuous relationship between rebel factions, including the Kurds, Turkey, and the U.S. in forming their counter ISIS operations.


Nathaniel Dust

In Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump ops to keep her head bare

Among discussions of basic human rights, especially women's rights, Melania Trump's decision to not wear a head scarf was signinficant.  Especially considering her husband's prior criticism of Michelle Obama to refuse to wear the scaf as well.  I see this as symbolic of the relationship between the president and the first lady.  Although husbands and wives don't always necessarily get along, one can assume that a presdent and his family would at least be on the same page.  At the very least, be notifed of his stance beforehand, if they weren't already aware.  It seems as though more and more people who are close with the President are seemingly turning against him.  Melania's move in Saudi Arabia is a good example of that. If it's not, it's simply an example of ignorance.

Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/21/melania-trump-headscarf-saudi-arabia/

Chicago Launches Campaign in Response to Trump's Immigration Policies

The city of Chicago has decided to launch "One Chicago", a campaign in response to President Trump's threats to cut off funding for sanctuary cities. For reference, a "sanctuary city" is a term that gets applied to jurisdictions that have policies in place designed to limit cooperation with or involvement in federal immigration enforcement actions. In Chicago's case, there are an estimated $3.6 billion in federal funds that are at stake. This money goes towards anything from feeding low-income pregnant women, repairing infrastructure, and building or fixing affordable housing. The campaign in Chicago is established to unify all Chicagoans as one city and one voice. It will be interesting to see how the whole funding situation for sanctuary cities plays out not only in Chicago, but in all major cities across the country.


-Matthew G. Mayes

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/21/politics/one-chicago-campaign/index.html

Trumps Visit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Recently, President Trump visited Riyadh,Saudi Arabia to speak on issues such as terrorism. Surprisingly, Trumps tone on the Muslim faith was a lot different, compared to, when he was campaigning and how Islam is the root of all destruction. He quotes from the meeting " I stand before you as the representative of the American People to deliver a message of friendship and hope and love. Our vision is one of peace, prosperity in this region and all through the world". A significant difference of what was said through out his campaign. As Trump visit More Middle East countries--countries where their main religion is Islam--will it change his prospective and give him greater knowledge of the Muslim population? Knowledge that will be essential to eliminate ignorance and ethnocentrism as he develops Foreign Affairs as President of the United States.

Abroad, President Trump's reality collides with candidate Trump's words
http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/21/politics/trump-saudi-arabia-speech-terror-rhetoric/index.html

Cameron Butler

No, Google’s Not a Bird: Bringing the Internet to Rural India


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/21/world/asia/internet-in-india.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront 


This was an interesting read and definitely evokes reflection on the difference of cultures between a small rural town in India and our lives here in the U.S.  This article focuses on the life in Taradand, a town which has normally been very disconnected from the government, let alone the outside world.  With the introduction of internet and mobile devices, Taradand is seeing huge technological advances.  I think it also connects to the topic of globalization, as Western technology is being introduced to a small Eastern rural town, thus uniting different parts of the world that are "plugged in."


Ally Bockay

In Mary Papenfuss' article, Arctic Doomsday Seed Vault Gets Doused By Climate Change, she describes how the vault that was created to preserve seeds of the world's plants was flooded due to the rapid change in the climate due to climate change.  Papenfuss states that none of the seeds were harmed but the entrance to the vault was completely flooded due to the melting of permafrost.  Officials had chosen this location due to the fact that they believed that the permafrost in this location would not melt.  The Norwegian government, which owns the vault, and Statsbygg, the agency that runs the facility, both have stated that they will be keeping a closer eye on the vault and installing waterproofed walls to preserve the vault.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/seed-vault-flooded_us_5920d547e4b034684b0cda63

Trump's New Weapons Deal

While on his first international trip as president, Trump has been covered frequently as many presidents are during this time. Rather than focusing on the headlines of CNN that try to invoke conflict and hurt the image of our president, like, "Did President Trump Bow or Bend?", I would like to focus on something he accomplished. During Obama's presidency, he pushed hard to ensure the line of weapons to Saudi Arabia, spending more than $115 billion dollars, more than any other president during our 71-year alliance. Trump not only met what Obama put in, but tripled it. Trump has successful set a $350 billion 10 year supply for Saudi Arabia's enhancement of weapons while tension rises nearly on all borders. Of that $350 billion, $110 billion will take effect immediately. It will be interesting how this impacts our Gulf ally, and the Middle East where fighting never seems to end.

Lucas Wittenkeller


http://www.dailywire.com/news/16694/trump-seals-350-billion-ten-year-weapons-deal-joshua-yasmeh

In Speech on Islam, Trump Strikes a More Moderate Tone

President Trump gave a speech for Muslims around the world to get rid of there evil way of terrorism. The President presented terrorism in a bipolar conflict within Islam and not as a extremist group. Reaction to the speech where mixed with some people because they feel like trump is going against all muslims.

Swiss voters embrace shift to renewable energy

Following the example of Germany and Austria, it seems the Swiss Government will be the next to phase out nuclear power. Voters supported a government proposal to ban the construction of future nuclear plants, begin closing the 5 existing plants in 2019, and provide bailouts to struggling alternative or clean energy plants. Around 58% of voters backed the plan, dubbed "Energy Strategy 2050". Additionally, 40 extra francs per year will be paid by Swiss citizens to help fund the aforementioned alternative energy projects, which include hydroelectric and solar power plants.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-energy-idUSKBN18H0HM

To Trump, Human Rights Concerns Are Often a Barrier to Trade

as concern for human rights becomes continuously important in international politics today, one would think that the united states will be a strong advocate for it. while this has been true for most president, our current president thinks it is a barrier to trade in his own words "as long as they are allies in areas the president considers more important, namely security and economics."https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/world/middleeast/rex-w-tillerson-saudi-arabia-human-rights.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Emboldened by Rouhani’s Win, Iranians Seek Further Reforms

I chose to read this article because I wrote on the same topic last week and I wanted to follow up.  As expected, Rouhani won the Presidential election in Iran.  As a response to his victory, Iranian citizens took over the streets to dance, which is illegal.  They also celebrated the loss of Ebrahim Raisi.  Because Rouhani was elected again, the people hope he can continue the reform he began in his last term.  The people if Iran want more freedom, more trade, and less rules.  The aftermath of the election shows that Iran, in some ways, is moving toward a more westernized society.  At the very least, it appears that that is the way the citizens hope to head.  Sources say that for Rouhani to give the people all that they want socially will be a very difficult task.  However, seeing their reaction to the election sparked so much happiness in me. For that, I hope that even without major change Rouhani will be able to start a push for turning Iran into the society its people want.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/21/world/middleeast/iran-celebrate-elections-hassan-rouhani.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fmiddleeast&_r=0

Elena Vela

Protesters call for Temer resignation as uncertainty grips Brazil

In Brazil, there have been demonstrations to remove the corrupt president Michel Temer. The protests were prompted by the recent relevations that Temer had approved a payment of hushmoney to an encarcertated lawmaker who was convicted in connection to the overarching corruption scandal that has taken place over the past three years. The recording that demonstrates Temer's support of bribery would motivate many officials within the Brazilian government to accelerate an impeachment process. The timing of this political scandal could not be worse as Brazil is just beginning to regain economic stability after a historical recession. 

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-corruption-idUSKBN18H137

Sarah Obrist

North Korea fires medium-range missile in latest test

This article talks about how North Korea has successfully launched and tested a medium range missile from the city of Pukchang, into the sea. This is just another concerning issue that the rest of the world may face as it appears that North Korea is starting to come closer to officially being able to construct and possible use nuclear weapons. Much of what they have done is beginning to promote that they are a nation that does not act rationally towards their projected goals. Diplomatic pressure and political pressure will be applied, according to Rex Tillerson. This was just after North Korea had successfully tested another medium range missile that is capable of also carrying a heavy nuclear warhead. We all should be fairly concerned with this because we don't know how trigger happy Kim Jong-Un will become especially if nuclear power becomes an option for North Korea. All of this tension will be something to be closely watched in the follow days to come.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/21/north-korea-fires-unidentified-projectile

- Brett Johnson

Trump condemns 'Islamic extremism'

President Trump is on a trip to seek a coalition of nations to fight Islamic terrorism. On his trip he will be addressing two audiences. The leader from 50 different Muslim countries and the people back home in the United States. Trump has stated that their combined force would be able to stop terrorism and that his plan is not to attack a specific religion or race. He says "This is a battle between good and evil." Hopefully his speeches go well and improve relationships with many other countries.https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/05/21/trump-muslim-world-speech-saudi-arabia-terrorism/101976694/

Donald Trump, Who Routinely Demonized Muslims, Tries To Soften Rhetoric On Islam


This article talks about how President Trump tone has changed in regards to how he talks about terrorism. The article starts off by talks about the actual speech he had given when in Saudi Arabia and how there was a significant tonal shift when talking about terrorism in the region. The article then goes back and talks about how President Trump had talked about terrorism in the past and what he thoughts about Islam in the past. Overall this tonal shift is if anything President Trump not wanting the aggravate his host and creating a gap between the U.S. and the Islamic world.
 
Dan Worden   

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election in victory for moderates


The Iranian President elections are over and President Hassan Rouhani was reelected.  Rouhani beat his conservative counterpart Ebrahim Raisi.  Rouhani won 57% of the vote while his rival only received 38% of the vote so Rouhani won by a large gap.  This shows that the citizens of Iran favor globalization.  The United States Secretary of State Tillerson said that he hopes Rouhani will put an end to Iran’s destabilization campaign in the region.  Also Tillerson hopes that Iran’s missile tests will be stopped, and hopes the reelected President will give rights of free speech to Iranian citizens.  About 40 million Iranian voters voted on Friday and more than 70% of eligible voters voted in this election.  It was unlikely for Raisi to win since no Iranian president who ran for reelection has ever lost.  Rouhani addressed his people on Saturday saying that he hopes Iran can live in peace with the rest of the world.  Finally, the article talks about how Putin and Assad were among the first to congratulate Rouhani on his reelection.  Both of them saying that they have full confidence that they their countries will cooperate with the reelected president.   
http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/20/middleeast/iran-rouhani-election/index.html

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ferry service opens between North Korea and Russia

The last thing that anyone ever expected to come out of the tensions between the West, Russia, and North Korea was tourism. But, yes, it is officially happening. A Russian company known as InvestStroyTrest owns a ship called the Man Gyong Bong that functions as a transportation service for cargo and tourists. The company's most prominent passengers include Russians and representatives from Chinese tourist companies, but could expect Chinese tourists and North Koreans with jobs located in Russia in the future. This no doubt has political ramifications as North Korea and Russia are economic allies and will go so far as to support each other politically. It also seems to be a sort of odd and somewhat cheesy solution to the fact that Russia and North Korea have agreed to increase trade and build railways to make it easier and efficient to do so. Japan used to be a stop on the Man Gyong Bong's route, but ever since the first nuclear test conducted by Pyongyang in 2006, Japan has cut off services and continually expresses concern over the transportation service. While this whole idea seems incredibly corrupt, there are definitely some nice assets to the ferry service. This includes forty cabins, a restaurant, two bars, slot machines, a shop no doubt for souvenirs bordering on the side of propaganda, a sauna, and a room for karaoke. There is also room for fifteen hundred tons of cargo. The shipment of goods by land from Vladivostok, Russia to Rajin, North Korea is reported to take twenty two hours. The purpose of the trip is for the tour to Vladivostok to leave a mark on Chinese tourists. As noted, the Russians can take their services to Rajin in North Korea, which is part of the Rason special economic zone, so they need to be invited.  

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/18/ferry-service-between-north-korea-russia-starts-weekly-service 

Pakistan Is Ordered to Suspend Execution of Indian Convicted of Espionage


https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/18/world/asia/kulbhushan-sudhir-jadhav-pakistan-india-execution.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&smtyp=cur&_r=0&referer=

Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, a retired Indian naval officer convicted of espionage, was arrested in March 2016 and accused by the Pakistani government of being a part of terrorist activities  in the southwest province of Baluchistan.  He was sentenced to death in April of this year.  Authorities in Pakistan believe his arrest is proof of India's involvement in terrorist activities in their country.  The Indian government, however, believes that Mr. Jadhav was conducting business in Iran before Pakistani authorities kidnapped him and took him to Pakistan.  The Indian government thinks that the Pakistani government prevented Mr. Jadhav from having a fair trial and from having access to consular officers following his arrest, along with violating the Vienna Convention.  A case was filed with the International Court of Justice by the Indian government.  As a result, the International Court of Justice has ordered Pakistan to delay Mr. Jadhav's execution until it's able to rule on the case.  The Indian government celebrated the court's order, while the Pakistani government played it down, claiming that "These measures have no bearing whatsoever on the final decision of the court," in a statement.

Shannon McDonald

Turkish security involved in DC protester assault

CNN Politics reported on a protest that turned violent after the current president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Trump. Involved were Turkish security officials and Erdogan security staff as well as Turkish-Americans in a violent protest outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. Eventually, American police officers attempted to stop the violent attacks between the two parties. However, the exact rundown of how the protest turned violent remains unclear. DC police department and federal law enforcement are currently sorting through security footage to figure out a timeline. As of now, it is known that the incident came as Trump extended a warm welcome to the authoritarian Turkish leader - a relationship that has been strained throughout the previous Obama administration. This dynamic between Trump who is “looking forward to having very strong and solid discussions” and promising to make “a great relationship even better,” and Turkey will remain a topic of interest, especially as Turkey and the US have differing opinions on Trump’s decision to arm Kurdish militias in helping the fight against ISIS.

  • Helen Majer

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/turkey-erdogan-incident/

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Putin offers transcript of Trump meeting with Lavrov

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/russia-us-trump-lavrov-intel/index.html
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to provide a transcript of the controversial Oval Office meeting between Donald Trump and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which raised the stakes in an affair that has sent the White House into a tailspin. "If the US administration finds it necessary, we are ready to provide the record of the conversation between Trump and Lavrov to the Senate and Congress," Putin said. This is another woe for Trump, his meeting with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak came a day after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, who was the man leading an investigation into the links between members of the Presidents campaign team and Russia.
--Jessie Birchall



    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Trump Unveils Classified Information With Russia?

    On Monday, a news story was broken by the Washington Post, revealing that Trump had disclosed classified information with Russian officials, in a meeting last week. The information was allegedly about  ISIS, given by a confidential third party country, helping the US in the war with ISIS. This information is reportedly important for the fight against ISIS, and Donald Trump defended his statement, by saying he wished to help Russia in its fight in a recent tweet. This is in opposition to the original response given by the White House, denying any accusations of leaks. Although the news is alarming, it is considered perfectly legal to do, as the president has authority to declassify any classified information. However, this has stirred more uneasiness with the public, as the recent Comey firing was only a week ago.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/us/politics/trump-intelligence-russia-classified.html?_r=0

    -Asfa Anwer

    Monday, May 15, 2017

    https://www.vox.com/first-person/2017/5/12/15628206/north-korea-defector-yeonmi-park

    This article is about a young girl who escaped North Korea when she was 13 to China and now currently lives in the U.S. She talks about doublethink which is two contrary ideas you have in your mind. How can you believe North Korea is the greatest country in the world when you see so much beauty and prosperity around the world you would never dream of? She says the people of North Korea are experts at lying to eachother. The images of people dying from poverty, famine, etc. are images she can never erase. I think this article does a good job of pointing out a personal story of the regime of North Korea. When will this regime end, will it end, and if so how? It will be interesting to see how other nations over time deal with North Korea.

    Thomas Semanic

    Sunday, May 14, 2017

    A Look at the Presidential Candidates in Iran

    The road to presidency is underway in Iran.  In total, there are six candidates running to become president and all are older men.  The candidates are either principlists, which are strict conservatives, or reformists, which are known to be more modern.  One of the candidates is the current President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.  The article states that no president has ever lost re-election in Iran.  However, it will be interesting to see if this will continue to hold true with regard to other recent elections that took people by surprise.  Along with an apparent shift toward populism elsewhere in the world, Rouhani has received much criticism toward his dealings with the U.S.  Also running is the vice president, a prosecutor, a mayor, a former culture minister, and an ex leader of sports organization for the country.  The article also says that unlike elsewhere in the middle east, the votes of Iranian people matter and make a difference toward the outcome.  Voting is set to take place on Friday. 

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/world/middleeast/a-look-at-the-presidential-candidates-in-iran.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fmiddleeast

    Elena Vela

    North Korea missile test was 'new type of ballistic rocket'

    On Sunday North Korea had made claims that they had tested a new type of rocket, one large enough to carry a large nuclear warhead. North Korea said that it was a test of the abilities of a newly developed ballistic rocket. South Korea militant members said that the missiles appeared to leave and re-enter the atmosphere. This being a crucial step for the development of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles or ICBMs. As a result of this test and the many previous North Korean missile tests US and Japan have called for meetings of the UN Security Council scheduled for Tuesday. It will be interesting to see what steps the US and other member of the UN take to deal with North Korea in the future.

    -Matthew G. Mayes


    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39918497

    Russia, This Time the Victim of a Cyberattack, Voices Outrage


    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/14/world/europe/russia-cyberattack-wannacry-ransomware.html

    This article talks about the latest case of "cyberterrorism" - Russia has been the victim of cyberattacks crashing numerous computer systems. During the presidential election, there was controversy over Russia potentially breaching systems to influence the results of the election. It's interesting to see it from this point of view and how it has spread and resulted in global cyberattacks. This article is also a great depiction of our world today and how advanced technology has become and how dependent on it we've become. Countries' security is at risk with hacking and we're seeing a new form of "terror" when our computer systems are affected.

    China Announces a new "Silk Road"

    In a meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping announced his "Belt and Road Initiative," which call for a $100 billion investment across Asia and Europe to promote Chinese global influence. The plan includes building ports, railways, and other forms of infrastructure in over 65 nations. The US, Russia, and India have expressed their unease as they fear that China is using this to increase their influence, while other nations have expressed their interest in the investment. Beijing has stated it has "no desire to impose our will on others," but called for economic integration and greater cooperation on security, finance, and anti-terrorism, and to step-up against what he believes to be the root causes of terrorism; poverty and social injustice. China plans on excluding the United States and Japan, as they view that they are a threat to local interests.

    Ebola is spreading, and more people are dying

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/14/health/ebola-outbreak-congo-drc/index.html


    Ebola is spreading in  northern part of Democratic Republic of Congo. Last week the World Health Organization came out and said that  3 people have died possibly of Ebola. On Saturday it was confirmed that the reason 3 people died was because of Ebola. Health officials from WHO are investigating 17 other cases linked to Ebola. As of right now there is no vaccine to prevent or cure Ebola. The United States Center for Disease Control has been notified the Ebola news in Congo. They are ready to provide and support Congo with whatever needs. This is not new to the country of Congo. The country has had 8 outbreaks of Ebola since 1976.  In 2014 the outbreak of Ebola claimed 49 lives. In 1995, 250 people died from the outbreak.

    The World Health Organization is advising people to be aware of their surroundings, and to go to the feel if they have fever or other symptoms. Also there are forces on the ground to provide leadership to mount an effective response to the outbreak.

    Possible Negotions With North Korea

    Recently, from the diplomat of North Korea, Choi Sun-hee has spoken to Beijings reporters about potential negotiations. Choi Sun-Hee has mentioned certain "conditions" have to be met in order to initiate a discussion. The last negotiation dates back in 2008--dating nearly a decade ago. While negotiations were mentioned, the two captive U.S citizens were not mentioned alon with the report. The captives were suspected as assassinators to kill the the North Korean Leader; leading the American civilians to captivity under North Korean law. While, negoatioans between two actors may relieve tentisions, such as nuclear weapons, the release of the U.S citizens may be achieved, if negotiations are well executed.

    North Korea Open to U.S. Talks Under Certain 'Conditions' — Official - NBC News
    https://apple.news/Ax-sK1476TeKndBE55tPeYw

    Western Banks’ Battle for Dominance Reaches Bond Market

    As economic conditions in the U.S. have stabilized and domestic yields remain low there is an appeal for increasing Chinese corporate bond yields, this is due to high risks related to questionably high levels of corporate debt in China, which has led to increased competition between historically dominate western banks, i.e. Wall Street, and the rising financing power of Chinese banks. This threat to western banking dominance has created an increase in banking pressure on western financial institutions to expand their underwriting of Chinese firms as their Chinese counterparts are more willing to accept lower profit margins and maintain a greater degree of secrecy. The article go further in-depth explaining that this secrecy is done by what are called x-account orders, and that such orders maintain a level of discretion between the issuer and the institution as to the amount of bonds they will purchase. This lack of transparency has made it increasingly difficult for western institutions to compete with what they don’t know, and has created a risky and uncomfortable investing environment.


    Nathaniel Dust

    WHO confirms second Ebola case in Congo outbreak

    A recent outbreak of Ebola has appeared in the Congo. Currently, 19 are infected and three people have died due to it. While, many governments have offered help in the case of an epidemic, the Congo is not worried as of yet, because they  have had many outbreaks of Ebola in he past. Also the world is prepared if there is to be  a major outbreak, as we have 30,000 doses of vaccine on standby.

    http://www.dw.com/en/who-confirms-second-ebola-case-in-congo-outbreak/a-38838096