Thursday, January 29, 2015

Will our historically low violence rates hurt our future as a species?

World violence levels are at an all time low in human history, but is that necessarily a good thing? David Attenborough, an English naturalist takes a bit of a negative outlook on humanity's colonization of the earth claiming "Humans are a plague on Earth" though this statement is a bit extreme it holds a bit of truth. Humans are certainly getting to the point where they are overpopulating the Earth and natural resources are not becoming more abundant. In the past violence between humans, in addition to weak defense against nature's natural selection, has acted as a counterweight balancing out the cancerous like growth of our species across this planet. Change needs to be made, according to Attenborough humans have proved that they cannot control climate change so the next step should be to limit population growth by implementing sex education which encourages smaller families. While I agree with him that sex education and smaller families is a model we should be gin to move towards I still think the real objective should be controlling global warming. Specifically in finding clean supplements for oil power and efficient ways to purify water. humanity as a species is at a low point when it comes to violence and crime world wide however the irony is if Attenborough is correct this historic golden age may lead to our inevitable doom. In my mind it is up to powerful countries such as ours The United States and others to blaze the trail to a healthier existence. 

Michael Johnson 
The Visual History of the Rise of Political Freedom and the Decrease in Violence-  http://ourworldindata.org/VisualHistoryOf/Violence.html#/title-slide  

Will it really stop?





Like discussing in class, there is a lot of tensions on the boarders. This past week, the missile strike that occurred was going to cause uproar and commotion. What makes me happy is the way Israel is acting upon the missile strike. They are discussing, communicating, and not fighting back. “The threats to Israel on its northern border must stop,” Ms. Mogherini said in a statement distributed on Thursday, calling for “an immediate cessation of hostilities.” We are worried about the hostilities because we need to address them and start asking how and why we can stop the threats, fights, and have better communication to diffuse the disputes. The article, in my opinion, was great and really expressed a direct example of what we talked about in class on Weds. Hezbollah Said to Not Be Planning More Action Against Israel and hopefully this stays, so violence will stop.




Danielle Wright


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/30/world/middleeast/hezbollah-israel-missile-strike.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Greece is Anti-Austerity

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30975437

This article announces the new Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras and expresses the worry and support from across the world. He seemed very supported among the Greeks that voted him in, but the rest of Europe seems a little worried. Tsipras is running on an anti-austerity, which I'm not completely sure what that entails. The definition of the word is, in essence, sternness and simplicity. The biggest worry of Europe is that without this sternness and focused commitment to improving the country's debt to the EU, the EU member since 1981 will be a drain on the Euro, already losing value against the USD.

This party baffles me, to be honest. It will be interesting to see what Tsipras's anti-austerity will lead to. Perhaps the redistribution of Greece's budget will have radical change on the country's economy. Perhaps without the simple sternness, the country will fall apart. In my mind, despite the election, won't people continue to make money however they did before? If there was some radical change that could have benefited Greece, wouldn't those actions have already been taken?

I guess I don't understand this issue completely. The rest of Europe is pretty worried, but if they weren't getting their money back before, I'm not sure how much of an impact one Prime Minister will have on that. If anything, radical changes will cause radical change. I imagine at this point, only good can come out of a change to Greece's economy.

Crystal Hartsough

Monday, January 26, 2015

Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/business/economy/middle-class-shrinks-further-as-more-fall-out-instead-of-climbing-up.html?_r=0

Article notices huge shrink of the middle class started with the beginning of a new millennium. Comparing to the statistics in 1960's most of the population belonged  to the middle class. Situation has been drastically changed. The middle class has been going lower and lower making the clear distinction and bigger gap between the lower and high classes. Middle class's struggle has been notices by President Obama who emphasized that on the State of the Union Speech, especially with his suggestions connected with college paying.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What Now For Oil-Zackary Ledlow

http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/22/news/economy/saudi-king-dead-oil/

Everyone is excited for all the prices of gasoline going down.  I know it costs almost half of what it used to, to fill the tank in my car.  This amounts to huge savings not just for me, but everyone that drives a car.  We used to be held hostage by the prices at the pump.  Not in recent weeks however.  What some of you may not know, is that the king of Saudi Arabia has passed away.  Saudi Arabia hold 16% of the world's oil reserves.  Everyone is asking themselves, will his passing effect the prices at the pump?  The answer is, it has slightly caused a raise in the prices.  But don't worry because the transfer of power in Saudi Arabia is expected to be smooth and the oil will keep flowing freely.


Zackary Ledlow

The Ebola Crisis Too Slow to Respond

In 2014, West Africa suffered the severe outbreak of the deadly disease known as Ebola. Over 8,500 people have died in the area and WHO, the World Health Organization, have admitted to fault. Dr. Chan, the director-general of WHO, said it "delivered some horrific shocks and surprises" (which should not really be a shock). The Ebola virus paved the way for the WHO and others to take more measures to protect and treat patients of any disease. However, the most recent count of Ebola is down to just five a week in Liberia, when earlier it was 500.

I mean, I'm glad that the number of cases went down and it is being treated better but I sincerely wish it was taken more seriously. This disease is extremely life-threatening and it shouldn't take something catastrophic to maintain good health regulations. Dealing with an ill family member who almost died several times while seeking medical care due to medical malpractice, diseases should not be considered an "oh well" kind of thing. I strongly feel that if the correct measures were taken and the Ebola outbreak was taken more seriously, the disease would not have spread as deadly as it did and it would not have been such a big shock. Seriously, "promise reforms"? To me, that shows some irresponsibility and a lack of wanting to help if the virus itself was not enough to urge immediate medical help. I just hope that people take health and public health more seriously, especially since this disease was pandemic.

Julianna Grandinetti
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30974649

Trolling Russia

A good look at the breakdown of relations between Russia and the West, which is a long-time coming; the Ukraine is only the final straw. And it is better described as the Bear finally lashing out after having the stick waved in its face over and over again for years.

"Until now, Russia, like a country bumpkin in Eton, tried to belong. It attended the gathering of the grandees where it was shunned, paid its dues to European bodies that condemned it, patiently suffered ceaseless hectoring of the great powers and irritating baiting of the East European small-timers alike. But something broke there. The lad does not want to belong anymore; he picked up his stuff and went home."

The part Russia chose to take in the Charlie Hebdo demonstrations as well as its decision not to attend the Holocaust memorial day in Auschwitz signals reflect the fact that Russia has had enough of trying to fit in with the US-European order. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, made only a token appearance at the Charlie Hebdo demonstrations before going to spend his time praying in the Church. "Je ne suis pas Charlie," Lavrov said on Russia's behalf, in effect; Russia is not going to lionize a sacriligious cartoon that caricatured Christianity as obscenely as it did Islam.

"Thus Lavrov’s escape to the church was a counter-demonstration, saying: Russia is for Christ, and Russia is not against Muslims."

Russia has spent a long time trying to fit in with the West and to advance its common interests with the United States. It supported the US war on terror when it began in Afghanistan. It agreed to the sanctions on Iran and North Korea. Its attempts to establish partnerships with the United States and Europe have been repaid with the bombings of Serbia (a Russian ally), the breaking of the promise that NATO would not admit the countries of Eastern Europe, the US arming of Georgia (leading it to invade South Ossetia and trigger a war with Russia in 2006), US backing for Chechen terrorism, the Western-backed attempts to overthrow the government of Syria (another Russian ally), and finally the Western-backed coup that overthrow Yanukovych in Ukraine and installed an anti-Russian government, while the Western media used everything from Pussy Riot to the Sochi Olympics to try and make a mockery of Russia.

It's not just Vladimir Putin who's had enough of this. Russians have had enough of this. That is why Putin remains overwhelmingly popularly in spite of the Western-engineered sabotage of the Russian economy: Russians are tired of their country being lied to, mocked, and betrayed. They want a leader who will stand up for their country, and make them proud again. Putin is that leader. He is not a madman. He is doing what the people of Russia want him to do.

Russia could have been our ally. But that's not the way our government played its cards. Now it's poked the Bear in the face with the stick one too many times, and then it dares to wonder "What's going on in Putin's head?"

Tim Mulhair

http://www.unz.com/ishamir/trolling-russia/

Breached pipeline exposed

Last Monday a pipeline broke in the yellow stone river spilling 50,000 gallons of oil into the river. through out the investigations into the cause of spill it was found that part of the pipeline was exposed less than 50 feet from the break in the pipe. this is a big problem because according to pipeline regulations those pipes are suppose to be at least 4 feet below the ground.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/breached-pipeline-spilled-oil-lies-exposed-riverbed-28469338
-Thomas Barry

Barack and Narendra sitting in a tree..

In a recent meeting over lunch Indian Prime Minister  Narendra Modi explains with one quote his new relationship with Barack Obama. He states that, "Earlier we were close, now we are together." This is important news for Americans especially because having close ties with India will help curb dependence on the Asian powerhouse China. With India's growing economy Barack Obama hopes that his new earned friend will remain beneficial to the American people. With nuclear warfare becoming a global "problem", breaking the long standing impasse of civil nuclear trade with India is a very big step for both countries. Is this new relationship superficial, or is there a greater benefit for both countries?

Matt Marcotte

Video Shows Decapitated Body of Japanese Hostage of ISIS

Yesterday a video was posted on YouTube that showed one of the two Japanese hostages, Kenji Goto, on his knees holding a photograph depicting the decapitation of the other hostage, Haruna  Yukawa. The three-minute long video entailed a kidnapper's voice stating that the blame for Mr. Yukawa's death was on Japanese Prime Minister Abe, for his failure to pay a two-hundred million ransom for both men. Now the kidnappers have changed the ransom, instead of money, the demand the release of bomber suspect Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, who is suspected to have taken part in the triple hotel bombings in Jordan's capital in 2005. The future of Kenji Goto is uncertain, due to Japan's established stance of non-agressive involvement in international politics. Hopefully negotiations will bring the safe return of the remaining hostage back to Japan.

Article can be found Here

Anne Sortino
(Apologies for the font size change in the middle of the post, I'm doing this on my phone and it won't allow me to fix it.)

Online post calls for release of convicted terrorist to save Japanese ISIS hostage

We found out that ISIS beheaded one of the Japanese hostages earlier this week after a video file was posted online Saturday showing an image of a Japanese hostage beheaded for everyone to see. This image was posted to grab the attention of the Japanese prime minister. The reason this happened was because Japan refused ISIS's demand that Japan pay them two million dollars to save their two hostages. Although one life was already lost due to the beheading, ISIS was altering a new ultimatum for the one life still living. The Japanese government looked into everything to make sure it is creditable, and they found that it was very true, although now the Japanese government is not sure how the will respond to the new demand yet.

Paul Rollet

http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/25/world/isis-japan-hostages/index.html

Four men of Moroccan descent, but Spanish citizenship, were arrested in Northern Africa upon suspicion of planning an attack on Spain.  Interior minister Jorge Fernández Díaz stated that the men are two pairs of brothers who are "'highly radicalized and highly trained'".  Spain has increased its border control after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in France earlier this month; the interior minister stated that the brothers shared many parallels with the attackers in France. The investigation started after the brothers posted a video on Facebook depicting military training and urging viewers to perform jihad.  -Kaytlin St.Clair

Egypt's Dwindling Hope

Egypt- a country known for its historic richness and cultural bounty, yet it is only seen for its dictators and violent oppression. Egypt's geographical location acts as a bridge between the Middle Eastern and North African world. However, it is not for its history or cultural amalgamation that Egypt pops up on a Twitter feed. As the stronghold for the Arab Spring of 2010, Egypt's protests and eventual overthrowing of longtime President Hosni Mubarak allowed it to become the face of revolution and civil activism for Middle Eastern and North African people. As the world watched, Egyptians from all backgrounds stomped Tahrir Square to demand the removal of a dictator who, for almost thirty years, militarized Egyptian socio-economic issues. Through the lens of social media, Egypt became a symbol of revolutionaries collaborating for the progression of an entire nation. However, today in 2015, Egyptians still find themselves in disarray and discontent with their political leadership. After removing Mubarak, electing Mohammad Mursi, and now attempting to overthrow Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Egyptians remain to clash with their own government. With feelings that not much has changed since Mubarak's removal, many Egyptian people still find themselves in an authoritarian regime; Sisi's new legal stance of restricting protests is exemplary of this. As we reach the fourth anniversary of the Arab Spring, peaceful protests created to commemorate those who lost their lives in the first revolution of 2011, turn violent as almost 20 members of the protest are shot and killed. Egypt's confliction between Sisi and a more democratic rule proves to be the same story from years past. However, it is its protestors and courageous activists that find themselves unfortunate. Whether it be the Egyptian court dropping case against Morsi and his sons of corruption, or many passionate Sisi supporters backing his relentless militant unlimited rule, it is evident that the Egyptian government will not see "true" democracy anytime soon.

Yoomna Rahim
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/1/25/egypt-protesters-killed.html

Police: Syria-related terror arrests in Britain jumped 6-fold last year

This article that I looked into has to deal with the rise of terrorism and the effects it is having on European nation's police forces. The United Kingdom has reported that the number of terrorist arrests or individuals that had terror plans has increased 6-fold from last year. Last year (or 2013) Scotland Yard had only made 25 arrests pertaining to any Islamic terrorist activities. This past year (2014) Scotland Yard made 165 arrests across Britain for crimes such as: the financing, commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, and attending a terrorist training camp. The other issue that I believe is very significant is that back in August the terror threat level in the UK had been raised from "substantial" to "severe". I think this report only continues to point out the level of danger that radical Islamic terrorist pose to the world. Obviously, everybody knows about what happened in France, but it is not just France. Great Britain has a vast amount of evidence and facts about how the escalation of these terror groups continues to be a problem. I really hope that the U.S. (considering we are the greatest, most powerful nation in the world, whom which everyone looks to for support) can get their act together and realize that not only do we need protection, but the world needs protection from these savages. I would not have a problem with sending in high powered weapons or even some foot soldiers to put an end to ISIS and the threat that they pose to the "world".

Seth Hillesland

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/01/23/police-syria-related-terror-arrests-in-britain-jumped-6-fold-last-year/ 

Obama and Modi Meet to Improve Countries' Ties

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/world/asia/obama-lands-in-india-with-aim-of-improving-ties.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&hp&_r=0

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/obama-in-india-barack-obama-narendra-modi-walk-and-talk-nuke-deal/article6821020.ece?homepage=true

This week, President Obama met with Prime Minister Modi in India to discuss the issue of nuclear reactors.  For years, American firms have been unable to build nuclear reactors in India.  After the discussions this week, nuclear contracts will be able to be signed between Indian and US firms.  Issues concerning liability have not yet been disclosed.  While the nuclear pact was the main purpose of the visit, the two leaders also renewed a defense pact and discussed environmental concerns.  In comparing articles from the Hindu and the New York Times, I found that the latter spent a large amount of time focusing on the amicable relationship between Obama and Modi, an emphasis that was not found in the Hindu.  In addition, the Hindu mentions the discussions on the Bilateral Investment Treaty and Intellectual property rights, both topics which impact many Indian professionals in the United States.

Marissa Holaway

Mulims in France are Feeling Alienated, and for the Right Reasons

Although France forbids the collection of data on ethnicity and religion, there is said to be an estimated 5 million Muslims in France (about 7.5 percent of the population). This data concludes that France has the largest Muslim population in Europe. Most of these French Muslims emigrated from the French colonies in Africa. The French were never especially welcoming to the Muslim migrants, due to the fact the they are feeling that secularism has been used to attack Islam. Now, over 1,200 French Muslims have left France and joined ISIS in Syria (more than in any other country). This has been caused by the responses to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo - or lack thereof - from French Muslims.
full article: http://theweek.com/articles/535096/frances-alienated-muslims
Sarah Irene Rosenberg

Ukraine and Russia

There is a war being fought within Ukraine, a boarder country of Russia. The Russian government is backing different rebel groups in Ukraine and utilizing russian soldiers and military. It's a battle over territory and political control. It's creating a lot of pain for the people who live in Ukrain. There are different groups inside of Ukraine, and some want out. Russia denies the evidence that they are involved in this fight, but there is a lot of evidence saying that they are.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/24/world/europe/ukraine-violence.html?_r=0

Written by Sarah Bruno

Greence and Anti-Austerity

The Syriza party ("Radical Coalition of the Left") is projected to win either just under the majority of available seats in  Greece's government or perhaps even the majority. The party's main label is that its very much anti-austerity, which might conflict with some of the countries in the European Union (namely Germany). Austerity which is an economic system that encourages a government working within a recession to lower its expenditures in order to keep the costs and taxes on a similar level (if not resulting in a government surplus) as a means to recover over time. For many citizens in Greece this has not been a favorable strategy, and as such they have chosen to let disappointment guide their votes. This update leaves us wondering just how the European Union will respond to the future of Greece. Will countries, such as Germany, even want Greece to remain in the E.U.? We will have to wait and see what the anti-austerity group can do for Greece amidst its continued debt troubles.

BBC Source

Japan Hostage Death



           Japan hostage Isis death... This is outrageous and disgusting. According to the article, a few different people voice their feelings on on a television debate show, Mr. Abe condemned the apparent killing of Mr. Yukawa as an “outrageous and unforgivable act of violence,” and demanded the immediate release of Mr. Goto. Well when Japan did not pay what Isis wanted the violence and killing was taped and shown. This is disgusting Isis is continuing to such heinous things to people. I understand fighting for what you believe and not everyone will agree on situations and issues but this is turning into another disgusting part of the world we need to stop. We need to start asking the right questions to Isis on why they are doing what they are doing, how could we work together to stop violence, and how can this world stop the terror and work on needs and wants of everyone. Isis really is starting to tick me off to the point where I cannot stand to even read about them after this article. It sickens me and worries me are we really understanding what is going on with us and the Isis?
How can we start to stop this before it becomes unstoppable? 


Danielle Wright


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/25/world/middleeast/japan-hostages-video-islamic-state.html?_r=0

Argentina's 1994 Bombing Conspiracy

A prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing(85 killed) of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina was found dead in his apartment last week. Alberto Nisman(the prosecutor) accused the country's president, foreign minister and other officials of covering up Iran's involvement in the attack. Nisman was invited to bring his evidence to Congress on Monday, but was found dead inside his apartment the day before with a gunshot wound to his head.  At first, some thought it was a suicide, but now many Argentinians believe he was murdered. Nisman's report was received by a court less than 2 days after his body was found. The report made its case with tapped telephone conversations between representatives of Argentina and Iran and concludes that Argentina stopped pursuing the named Iranian suspects in the bombing in exchange for a trade deal. Intercepted phone calls between representatives of both countries show there was a conspiracy to create a new hypothesis for the bombing and change the direction of the investigation based on fake evidence to remove the heat from the Iranians. The investigation is continuing and some Argentinean have even started protesting.  
Carlitos Rangel
Article: http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/22/americas/argentina-prosecutor-alberto-nisman-death/index.html

Edgar Lungu Is Sworn In As Zambia's New President

Following the death of former Zambian President, Michael Sata, Edgar Lungu was sworn in as the new president of Zambia. Lungu won a close election, beating out rival Hakainde Hichilema by less than 2% of the vote. Lunge will carry out the rest of Sata's presidential term until new elections come around in the fall of 2016. Previously, Edgar Lungu served as the head of the Justice and Defense Ministries under from President Sata. Lunge comes from the same political party as Michael Sata. Less than half of the Zambian population came out to vote in this election. Rival candidate Hakainde Hichilema called the outcome "fraudulent" as he believed he should have won. The new government has already increased taxes on mining companies. Zambia's economy relies heavily on mining and these new taxes could cost citizens their jobs.

Could the election of President Lungu cause a civil war in Zambia? Could this war possibly be led by presidential contender Hakainde Hichilema? With the taxes being raised on mining companies, citizens could possibly become very angry if their jobs are taken away. Hichilema is already angry about not winning the presidential office, so he could possibly jump right in with rebel citizens and start a war.  It is hard to pay employees' salaries if companies have their taxes increased. The citizens want to earn money and they cannot earn money if they do not have jobs. The government needs to listen to their citizens and take account for what they want, so a civil war does not break out. A civil war would be more destructive to an economy and country as a whole if a civil war does indeed take place.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/world/africa/zambias-new-president-edgar-lungu-is-sworn-in.html?ref=world

Cara Howell

Saturday, January 24, 2015

ISIS Claims another Victim and has more demands

ISIS has released a video of a surviving hostage, Kenji Goto, holding a photo of what seems to be the beheaded compatriot Haruna Yukawa.  The killed this other hostage because Japan did not make the deadline of 72 hours to pay $200 million for both of the hostages.  ISIS made a new demand for a prisoner swap between the living hostage and a “sister” in prison, Sajida al-Rishawi.  The US sent its condolences to Japan and assured the perpetrators will be taken to justice and ultimately defeated.

I think this article is compelling because it is yet another move from ISIS to get the things it wants.  It goes along with the reading about the four functions of force.  They are trying to compel countries to pay them and release prisoners to ISIS.  This organization has become a problem because they have gained a lot of power over some time and the US can do very little about it.  It’s not so easy as to just declare war on them because they do not reside in a single country.  How would a country declare war on an organization? It cannot possibly declare war on all of the countries that ISIS resides in.  Being an organization, ISIS has an advantage of mobility, lack of morality, and fast action.  The US and other countries around the world need to do something about ISIS without getting involved in other countries that don’t want outside involvement, a seemingly impossible task.


Brad Munson

World leaders in Saudi Arabia to pay tribute to late king

World leaders in Saudi Arabia to pay tribute to late king

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30962740
Saudi Arabia King Abdullah died on Friday after in charge of the country for 10 years, world leaders including British Prime Minister and French president, have gathered there to pay their respect. Mr. Obama also will be there on Tuesday right after visiting India. 

World leaders show their tributes to the late king for his contributions to the world. However, human rights groups argue that Abdullah had suppressed human rights in Saudi Arabia. In the eyes of Saudi Arabian, he actually was a reformer while the new king is a staunch conservative.

All in all, because of the succession of monarch, Saudi Arabia no doubt will meet a series of challenges. Reforms, terrorism, economy... The new king Salman bears huge responsibility for leading the country well. 

Ruyi Wang 

War is Exploding Anew in Ukraine; Rebels Vow More

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/24/world/europe/ukraine-violence.html?ref=world&_r=0

In the midst of their winter, Eastern Ukraine is battling Russian armies and equipment that have recently invaded. This breaks the cease fire put in place in September, and civilians are facing violence of mortars and tanks while rebels fight back against the invasion. This new attack has shown that Vladimir Putin will not be held back by Western sanctions and collapsed oil prices. Seperatist leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko has released statements that they will not stop until Ukrainian armies are pushed back out of the Donetsk region, especially with the new reinforcements and ununiformed troops from Russia. In spite of the economic risk from the West, Putin's annexation of Crimea and tensions with the West have actually raised his approval rating. President Petro O. Poroshenko commented on the fighting, "If the enemy does not want to abide by the cease-fire, if the enemy doesn't want to stop the suffering of innocent people in Ukrainian villages and towns, we will give it to them in the teeth." This resurgence of violence on the part of Russian supported rebels shows that pressure from the West is not enough to prevent the aggressive attacks on Eastern Ukraine. I am curious how the international community will react in light of the broken cease-fire agreement. 

Allie Grossmann

Ukraine conflict intensifies --- shelling kills 30

Janurary 24, 2015. In the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, 30 people where killed by missiles reportedly fired by separatist rebels and the Russian military. This comes after the break down of Ukraine peace talks as rebels reject future talks for reasons unknown. Fighting in the region is surging to intense levels and the United Nations claim that an estimate of 262 people have been killed in just nine days since negotiations crumbled.

What makes this absolutely critical is Mariupol's location in eastern Ukraine. Bordering the sea of Azov, Mariupol hugs a coastal route that leads to the Russian border of recently annexed Crimea. The region is sought after by separatists who coin the notion of Novorossiya; a re-claiming of the fragments of Russia's former Empire. While the aforementioned is to be taken with a grain of salt, one can merely speculate when claims are being made by Russia to 'protect' ethnic Russians in any region currently sharing the Russian border.

Josephine Madrawska

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/1/24/mariupol-ukraine.html

Obama to Saudi Arabia

Obama has plans to visit Saudi Arabia, to meet and ay respects to the new king. Obama is expected to travel this Tuesday after he gives an speech in India.
Originally the Vice President Joe Biden was going to led a delegation on Obama's behalf but, the whole administration adjust his agenda of the Us-India trip so the visit Saudi Arabia could be possible.

"'The President regrets that he will be unable to visit Agra during this trip,' Earnest said." Obama had scheduled a visit to Agra, where the Taj Mahal is situated. And with the change of plans he won't be able to attend.

There was no reason given for the sudden change of plans, but it surely has something to do with all the critics that the administration got after not sending a representative to the march held in Paris after  the attacks.


- Pam Gomez

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/24/middleeast/saudi-arabia-royals-obama/index.html

One Japanese hostage of ISIS was killed


This article talks about Japanese hostages of ISIS. On Saturday, a purported image was reported that one of Japanese hostage(Mr. Yukawa) of ISIS was killed and this would be the first time to be killed Japanese people by the Islamic State. Another hostage Mr. Goto seems that he is still alive. The kidnappers demanded $200 millions as a ransom from Japan until Friday but after they killed Mr. Yukawa, they changed their demand. The new demand is to release Sajida Mubarak al-RIshawi, an imprisoned woman in Jordan for trading for Mr. Goto. The Japanese government has been trying to contact the Kidnappers.
            After I read this article, I got so sad. I do not understand why they have to kill people who are not their enemy. When I saw the article about Charlie Hebdo, of course I was thinking about this issue seriously but I sat on the sidelines. I do not know that what the Japanese government is going to handle this issue but I do not want to abandon the hostage. I do not know which choice is correct, but I hope they find the way to save him. I think the Japanese policy towards terrorism will change dramatically through this experience. The Japanese government should cooperate with other countries to deal with terrorism problem and save hostage’s life.
Ryota Taniguchi

Free Speech is challenged Everywhere -- not just France.

In my previous post I discussed how India's post-imperialist developing democratic government is at a very pivotal point in it's development. With the success of the world's largest election and high aspirations and goals set by the newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi the question is now, is India moving in the right direction? In southern India, in the state of Tamil Nadu, a prominent writer in the region was strong-armed into silence by Hindu nationalists. Perumal Murugan is a prominent writer in Southern India who recently wrote a fictitious book depicting a woman partaking in alcohol and engaging in sexual promiscuity inside of a Hindu temple. This caused outrage amongst Hindu-nationalist, and violence and large scale book burnings within Murugan's hometown. After a long closed door meeting with government officials. Murugan announced he will be pulling all of his books from circulation and no longer have public appearances. Murugan was forced into silence. The question boomerangs back:  Is India moving in the right direction? After the public textbook changes in Gujarat to Hindu-centered teachings, and now the forced silence of a writer who fictitiously delineates an immoral hindu woman, it seems though the government is not looking out for the best interest of the gestalt of India, but only the Hindus of India. This is contrary to India's secular government's framework. What if in the United States the government forced Dan Brown author of, "The DaVinci Code" into silence, because it depicts Christ having a child, and the majority of the United States and politicians are Christian. I think that Modi and the Hindu-nationalists have extremely large shoes to fill, especially after the wonderfully executed election. Instead of limiting free speech, and indoctrinating children I think it would be wise to focus on more important national issues like pollution, and food and water insecurity.    

Adam D. Sothen

http://alj.am/1u89FXO          

China protest over Japan's comment on border issue with India

On January 19, 2015 the Ministry of Foreign Affiars of the People's Republic of China protested against the comment which made by Fumio Kishida, the Foreign Minister of Japan. On January 17, Fumio Kishida attended the Council on World Problems and gave a speech in New Delhi, India. The purpose of the speech was to appeal Japan as a staunch pacifist and strengthen the relationship between India and Japan. In the question-and-answer session, he was asked about border-related question and remarked that Arunachal Pradesh is considered a part of Indian territory. China immediately protested against Japanese government and requested to clarify their position. On the same day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has clarified that they do not hold any position in this border issue. In order to avoid conflict, I think Japan should not be involved in this delicate border issues between India and China. Instead, they should respect their effort to resolve it through negotiation. Because of these controversial remark are made in the conference, most media will only broadcast about it and the significant point of the conference will not be reported. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-slams-japan-on-arunachal-pradesh-controversy-hong-lei-fumio-kishida-sushma-swaraj/1/414105.html
Eri Sato

USA Needs to Work on its Human Rights? Cuba Thinks So..



On Wednesday the United States and Cuba began talks to try and rebuild their diplomatic relationship after more than 50 years of embargos. However the next day Cuban officials bashed the U.S. A.’s human rights record. They refereed to  Guantanamo Bay, to "police abuse" in Ferguson and New York to racial and gender inequalities,” as some of the ways that the United States has poor human rights. Cuba suggested "building up on the positive experience achieved in Cuba with regard to the enjoyment of human rights.” This is sad coming from one of the worst human rights violators in the world. Cuba is known to “repress individuals and groups who criticize the government or call for basic human rights.” And according to the Human Rights Watch, which published an article just last year, saying officials “punish dissent and instill fear in the public, including beatings, public acts of shaming, termination of employment, and threats of long-term imprisonment,"

So the question is, is the United States human rights situation really that bad? I think while we can improve in some areas, such as lack of equal pay for men and women in the same job position and racial discrimination, we are still leaders compared to a lot of other countries. To name a few Cuba, China, and North Korea, all tend to repress and punish their citizens if they speak out against their government.


Ashley Rot

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Globalization's Biggest Threat -- Slow World Economic Growth

This article is an analysis on how the current world economics are effecting Globalization, it specifically mentions the slow economic growth in the European Union and Asians relation between Japan, China, and South Korea and specifically Japan and China. In this article by Panos Mourdoukoutas, the author, asserts that slow economic progression in the European Union has rejuvenated old ideologies popular after World War II and during the Cold War such as Nationalism and Communism. He then discusses the current economic relations in powerful Asian countries, pointing out the stagnation of the Japanese economy and China's rapid growth how public opinion in China has negatively influenced Japanese business and trade within China and the effects this could have on Asian economy. Though to be fair I do not think Mourdoukoutas is taking into account President Abe's plans to revitalize his country's economy which could lead the Asian region in the opposite direction as the author is predicting. 

It's an interesting point he brings up regardless of if he is right or wrong and I think it relates back to the global relations theories we've been discussing in class. Are communist philosophies making a return? How will the recent slow economic growth affect globalization? Of course only with time we can know for sure but in my opinion I do not believe the results will be as negative as Mourdoukoutas seems to think. In my belief countries do not want to unfavorable negotiations with foreign countries, modern powers, especially democracies, will not want to revert to realist theories and will at the very least choose a liberal constructivist approach to foreign policies and try to get the best net gain for both themselves and their allies. 
Michael Johnson 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rebuilding relationships with Cuba

We as a country have had an embargo on Cuba since for around 60 years now.  The Obama administration has loosened up some of the travel restrictions since then but now is the first time that a governor will lead a trade mission in Cuba.  The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, will be going to Cuba to promote an initiative for foreign investment in New York State.  This is a big deal because it shows how things have changed.  It isn’t a drastic change like all of the sudden we are vacationing there, but we are sending large politicians there and loosening the restrictions slowly.  Obamas new policy is expanding US travel to and trade with Cuba.  We can slowly start to see the effects of the Cold War drifting away!

Brad Munson