Friday, April 18, 2014

Berlin group advocates removal of Russian tanks from a memorial

I was surprised to read this story, considering I lived in Berlin in fall 2012. The memorial in question is the Soviet war memorial in the Tiergarten (think central park). It is shocking to see how far nations are willing to go in protest of the Russian invasion of the Crimea!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Korean Ferry Sinks, Leaving Country in Distress

On Wednesday, a South Korean ferry boat carrying about 400 passengers, many of whom were high school students, sank. Many passengers have been rescued, however, 9 have been confirmed dead and there are still many who remain missing. The students on the ferry were taking a four-day field trip to a popular island resort, as a break before they have to take their difficult college entrance exams. As of now, no foul play can be seen, but some speculate that the sinking was caused by an act by North Korea.

Alexandria Corriveau

Ukraine crisis talks

Diplomats issued a statement on Thursday to reduce the tensions in the Ukrainian crisis. The statement called for illegal activities such as armed groups and seized buildings to be disarmed and returned to their rightful owners. The statement also urges for the violence in Ukraine to stop. The statement was issued in hopes that the violence will stop and that all Russian troops on the border of Ukraine will be removed. President Obama has also issued many statements indicating that he has told Putin to back down. The president has also signed off on allowing nonlethal aid to be delivered to the Ukraine military. The U.S. has not agreed to sending lethal aid to Ukraine because it could only worsen the crisis. The statement developed from the crisis talk will hopefully diffuse the escalating situation between Ukraine and Russia.    

 Alexandra Avery

Nigeria: Fate of 115 Abducted Girls Unknown

In Maiduguri, Nigeria 115 female students were abducted from school by Islamic extremists. The Nigerian military reported that almost all of the school girls were returned but the principal of the school said that only 14 of the 115 were returned. The girls that returned all had escaped from the abductors. A reward of $300,000 was offered for information that would lead to the release of the girls. Schools had been cancelled in the area due to the attacks three weeks ago but the girls were called back to take their final exams. This abduction is one of many involving students. Extremists sometimes kill them, like in February when 59 students were burned to death in their dorms for going to school that is un-Islamic. Kidnapping the girls is a scary fate for them because they could be used as cooks, sex slaves, or porters. Considering that only 5 percent of children in Nigeria are able to go to school it is heartbreaking to see that they are under attack for it.

Monique Martinez

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jordan's Ambassador Kidnapped

The Jordanian ambassador to Libya Fawaz al-Aytan and members of his security were kidnapped in Tripoli, Libya on Tuesday. It's reported that a group of masked gunmen ambushed al-Aytans convoy and took him and members of his security away from the scene. Both Libyan and Jordanian foreign and prime ministers have discussed the issue with each other. Initial predictions assume that the kidnapping was a calculated operation to have leverage in order to get a Libyan individual being held in a Jordan jail freed. Royal Jordanian, the national airline of Jordan, has cancelled it's flights to Tripoli as a result of the kidnapping. Life for political officials has been rough for Jordan and Libya, as Libya's Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni had to recently step down after his convoy came under attack in Tripoli as well. Furthermore Egyptian, South Korean, and Tunisian officials have also been captured and subsequently released in Tripoli in the past.

Alec Phillipp

Amid Venezuela's Crisis, an Urgent Need for Dialogue

Protests against President Nicolas Maduro have raised awareness around the world about the situation of Latin American countries that still struggle with authoritarian governments. The article linked below was written by the government's opposition leader, Henrique Capriles Radonski.His insight in what is happening in Venezuela is very honest. He exposes the politic and economical crisis happening in the country. Mr. Maduro is not the first Venezuelan leader to act in an authoritative way, prior to him Venezuela was led by Hugo Chavez. Among the many violent conflicts happening in Venezuela, he points out to the astonishing inflation, with food prices going up by 75% in the last twelve months, the increasing foreign debt that is reaching $100 billion and media censorship. He finishes his article by asking the President to at least consider talking about all this issues because if he doesn't work things out Venezuela will continue on it's path to degradation. 


Mariana Cury
PSC 102

Female Candidate Navigates Hurdle-Filled Campaign Trial in India

This article follows the perspective of Shefali Misra as she is looking to gain a seat for the 543 parliamentary seats.  And the compelling spin on this perspective is she is a woman trying to enter Indian politics, whereas votes commonly imbue corruption, bribery, manipulation, and threats.  To help these roadblocks, Misra aims to better the opportunities for women; a feat entering its long journey. 

The largest issue in India reform is the thousands of cultural differences that exist.  While diversity is good, the vast amount of diversity in India will benefit some while impeding on others.  The greatest challenge is finding a universal reform that is all beneficial, but that reality seems only a dream. 

This is an interesting political race in India because their is such a great diversity where segmentation tactics, luck, and blessings, as Misra sought from a religious leader, are factors that play into the success of a single campaign.  It seems that money is mentioned little in news covering this campaign, but in the end it will be a great movement for women not only because a woman has been given entry into Indian politics, but because her intentions involve granting new opportunities for Indian women.  Misra also aims to focus on the betterment for India's quality of life and not so much on new short term loan options or free equipment distribution; the qualities many male politicians take priority on. 

Scott Bishop

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ukraine Forces Storm a Town, Defying Russia

The ongoing dilemma between Russia and Ukraine hit new heights. For the first time since the stand off has occurred, Ukraine has sent militants to counter against the Russian forces. Russia had warned then Ukrainians not to send troops, but they defied this called. Several members were injured in this stand off and one Ukrainian officer has been killed. These events have been going on for the past couple of months, with it intensifying recently, when Russia sent thousands of troops to the Crimea border. This has lead the United States to become involved, with the Russians making false claims about the United States.

Jordan Messick

Dubai Seeks to Become Islamic Economic Hub

Following a government decree set in December, Dubai is seeking to strengthen its Islamic finance industry by offering higher and specialized education in Islamic finance. Dubai set up a center, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, which will provide services (including auditing services and platform for conflict resolution) for the Islamic financial industry as its goal to become a global center for the Islamic economy.  The need for higher education in this industry arose when they realized that Islamic finance is growing in scale and sophistication, however, the industry lacked workers who were skilled academically and work experiences.  It is said that total Islamic financial assets are growing 17 percent per year and will be reaching a values of 2.67 trillion in 2017. This will definitely be increasing employment rates in the Emirates. So this interest to strength education is to meet the need of the industry as well as to compete with nations such as Britain and Malaysia which are strong in Islamic finance. It’ll be interesting to see the continuous growth of this industry and its impact on the nations. 

Zahabu Lenning 

English Universities Losing International Students

This article written on April 13th, 2014 reports that the number of international students enrolling in English universities has dropped for the first time in nearly thirty years. International enrollment in English universities has been on a long-term trend of double-digit growth, until now. Britain brings in more international students than any other country except the United States, bringing in a revenue of $17 billion. A report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England has reported that the number of students enrolling in full-time "taught graduate programs" has decreased by 1% from the 2010-2011 school year to the 2012-2013 year. This is troubling because 74% of the students who make up those programs are made up of international students. The last time international student numbers decreased in Britain was in the early 1980's, when universities began charging international students tuition. The report also shows high amounts of students coming from China, Pakistan and India. The article speculates several possible explanations for this decline and how it may effect further English higher education.

Read the full article:

-Ambrielle Barker

U.S. remains a wild card in Scottish independence vote

      This article discusses the issue on Scotland trying to gain independence from Britain. As the support for their independence is growing, the United States remain silent. The Obama administration has stated "the future of Scotland is an internal matter" which could actually be taken as either a good or a bad approach to the situation. By Scotland gaining independence, it would cause years of negotiations over the future of the British nuclear weapons program, North Sea oil reserves and the pound, as stated in the article. Losing Scotland from the United Kingdom would be a disadvantage because Scotland is a third of the U.K.’s landmass and a tenth of its gross national product. That includes a decent amount of the revenue from rich North Sea oil reserves. Also, they would gain Britain’s nuclear weapons without "a port to call home". According to the article, President Obama is greatly respected by the people of Scotland, if  the United States choose to put in their word it may be likely for Scotland to think twice about leaving the UK. However, "analysts say a strong American statement could tilt the balance in a tight vote. But no one knows which way." This is where the real problem lies, it seems to be a big decision for the US to make, either to maintain their relationship with Scotland or to think of the UK as a whole and try to stop the changes that will most likely have a great impact nationally.

-Monica Gryszowka

Small Lebonese Town's Population Bursts as Syrian Refugees Cross the Border

In the small border town of Arsal, Lebanon, the population is at a maximum level as new refugees continue to cross the border. As Syrians are welcomed to the small town, they are still caught in cross fire as there are rebels inside of Lebanon. Lebanon is aiding Syria in the war and cutting off supplies to rebel, and helping them reclaim towns on the Syrian border.

Many of the refugees are upset with the United Nations, claiming that not enough is being done. Refugees are living in make shift tents and their presence has nearly tripled the population. Last week, the refugee population reached 1 million. The UN has only contributed about $242 million and that's a fraction of what is needed for the refugee crisis alone. One man was quoted as saying "if we were animals, the world would have more compassion". Doctors on sight see death everyday.

Lebanon is an incredibly small country and can only take in so much. This is a situation that is in definite need of help. The only things is that there needs to be a lot of money put forth. To be completely honest, I don't think that the money will come from the United States, just for the fact that we are in so much debt right now. Some money, but not as much as what other countries would give. But that money can sure as hell be pulled together by the UN. When it comes to war refugees, people need to take a step back and realize that they have absolutely nothing and they absolutely need help. I know there is a lot going on in the world, but that's why the UN is there.

A video and the article can be found at:

Elizabeth Brennan
John Kissel- Week 2
Two Kenyans who had been kid-napped in Somalia were rescued this past Friday.  The two were taken by al-Qaeda terrorist group Al-Shabaab in 2011.  They were rescued by mission group AMISOM.  The AMISOM have been supporting Somalia in the effort to control terrorism in Somalia, especially the Al-Shabaab.  A lot of terrorism in Kenya and Somalia is due to the Al-Shabaab.  The danger in Somalia is still at a very high rate.  The bombings and attacks by the al-Qaeda put kids and innocent civilians in danger for their lives.  Somalia needs help in their effort to stop the attacks and kid nappings going on. 

To Russia with love? Transnistria, a territory caught in a time warp.

Transnistria is a piece of land around the size of Rhode Island that is in between Ukraine and Russia. It currently belongs to neither, making it an independent state. According to the article, it is a "frozen conflict"of Russia and Moscow, meaning Russia never resolved its issue with Moscow, therefore Transnistria was simply put back on the shelf and would only be taken down when needed. Security is very high, as it doesn't allow foreigners or journalists to cross the border. The author of the article, Karl Penhaul, and others, searched for alternate routes and pretended to be interested in one of Transnistria's nightclubs in order to gain access inside. They even went as far as breaking a bottle of alcohol inside the van to make their endeavor more realistic. Once inside, they realized this tiny state was very pro-communist and pro-Russia. There were streets named after Marx and Engel, and after interviewing several natives it was clear that the citizens of Transnistria were all for joining Russia. They believe that becoming a part of Russia will only bring good, such as a better economy and more jobs. If the Russian army were to invade tomorrow, Transnistria would be more than okay with that.

Here is the link to the article:

-Reyna Herrera

Ukraine Forces and Pro-Russian Militants Battle Over Local Police Station

Pro-Russian militants have battled over a local police station in Ukraine. Thinking that they can increase their power in Ukraine. It was a risky step toward their plan to increase their ego in power. Dozens of masked men where even caught on live footage in the nytimes article, and if one were to pay attention, none of those men were uniformed. They all look different, meaning it may no longer be a political fight, but more so a military based battle. They have raised awareness to the Ukraine military. I'm curious to see what Ukraine will do to protect their cities from the Pro-Russian militants. Would they involve the U.S? Or would they fend for themselves? I honestly feel like Russia needs to carefully consider what they will do next when it comes their battle tactics.

--Crystal Madrigal
Chandler Olah-3 Killed in Shootings at Jewish Centers-

Frazier Glenn Cross faces charges of premeditated first degree murder and is scheduled to appear in court on April 14th, 2014. Cross opened fire at two Jewish facilities near Kansas City on Sunday, killing 3 people. Authorities are investigating whether the crime was one of hate as the suspect has criminal ties with white supremacist groups and was involved with previous incidents. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, described Cross as a longtime, "raging anti-Semite" who has posted extensively in an online forum that advocates exterminating Jews. Frazier Glenn Cross was arrested at a nearby elementary school after the shootings. While a total of five persons shot, only two were able to make it away with their lives.
John Kissel-week 1
Violence in Iraq has increased tremendously in the last year.  The article even says how 2013 was the most dangerous and violent year since 2008.  My article is about multiple events happening in Iraq, resulting in 28 deaths in the last few days.  One of the events involved gunmen attacking a leaders family, killing three of them.  The U.S. have been in Iraq for over 10 years and the violence has increased.  The U.S needs to find a better solution to stop the violence and most importantly have less or none Americans in the U.S.  This Article shows a very diverse group of events happening resulting in deaths and violent actions.  Iraq is out of control, and America is doing nothing to help it.

Attempted murder charge against 9-month-old dismissed in Pakistan

In Islamabad, Pakistan, a 9 month old boy named Mohammad Musa was charged with murder. The charges came about from an incident involving his whole family on January 31st. Police accompanied officials from the government-owned power company to identify homes with illegal electricity connections. Many of the residents of the neighborhood threw stones at policemen when they came toward them including Musa's family. A big controversy developed because they believed the boy's entire family was involved but just he was charged. Authorities are trying to make sure his record is cleared of this so he can grow up with a clean record. Rachel Rodewald

Trouble in Thailand

Because of where Thailand is at there are many different ethnic and cultural influences currently under one government. Slowly, through other political issues, the divisions in these different identities and belief systems are beginning to reemerge. It seems that the division can been seen geographically, with the northern part of the country leaning one way and the southern part (also closer to the capital) leaning in a different direction. As a result there the people in Thailand have a better sense of regionality than the do of nationalism. Some citizens are think this is the most divided the country has been in recent memory. It also sounds like Bangkok does have a ton of control over citizens' daily lives, or at least they have in the past. Apparently, things like the greetings the people use and what the national food is are enforced by the government. To add to the mess, the king that has historically been instrumental in uniting the people, is ailing and hasn't been involved in these growing issues. As a result of all these factors both sides seem to think if tensions intensify anymore a civil war is eminent. From what I read about the history of Thailand, I gather that there is a long history of countless examples of realism. I think if this war happens, it will be interesting to see if this tradition continues. 

Katie Krupica

Here's the link.

Philippine, Vietnamese Navies To Unite Against China Over Beers and Volleyball

            In an April 11, 2014 article on titled Philippine, Vietnamese Navies To Unite Against China Over Beers and Volleyball, authors Manuel Mogato and Greg Torode describe a change in the military dynamic in the Asian Pacific.  The Philippines, Vietnam, India, Japan and even Russia have taken sides against China in the disputed Spratly archipelago. According to the authors, these nations are working closely together for the purpose of deterring Chinese aggression in their claims over islands surrounding the trillion-dollar trade route. "China's projection of naval power into Asia's waters is driving them together."
            These nations, many of them longtime enemies, are now coming together to face increasing Chinese aggression over disputed territories. China responded of course, by meeting with the United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and telling "Washington to restrain Japan and chided the Philippines." China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea and "accuses the various claimants of stirring up trouble." 
            Although the Philippines and other small nations are attempting to resolve the situation with China diplomatically, China refuses to participate. "Manila filed the case last month with the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. China has refused to participate."
            This situation continues to escalate and it is likely we will see more alliances in the coming months. It is not yet known whether China will continue to escalate already aggressive schemes to force its will on smaller nations in the region. It is also not yet known if China is willing to risk butting heads with the United States, as the mutual defense treaties the US has with the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand would ensure an American military response in at least a minimal capacity.

By Christopher M. Vacek

Reports of poison gas attack in Syria so far 'unsubstantiated', Powers says

Online videos depicting villagers in a rural Syrian town north of Damascus suffering from poisonous gas attacks are being investigated by the United Nations' U.S. ambassador Samantha Power. So far the reports of the poisonous attacks are unsubstantiated, but Powers reports they are doing everything they can to establish what happened and will take the appropriate steps once they have confirmed what went on.

Syria recently agreed to a negotiated diplomatic settlement that aimed at eliminating their chemical warfare weapons. More than half of the weapons in Syria have been removed so far due to the settlement, however news of the gas attacks may have the United States rethinking the agreement. Obama has been under fire for his dealings with Syria and their usage of chemical warfare. Rhetoric from those who criticized Obama's treaty with Syria will definitely enhance in the next couple days.

Both sides of the ongoing civil war in Syria are blaming one another for the alleged attack.

Tess Godhardt

"Kim Jong Un 'Re-Elected' To Top Post"

by Charlotte Alfred

This last Wednesday, North Korea's Parliament met to re-elect Kim Jong Un to the top military leadership position. North Korea's parliamentary group, the Supreme People's Assembly, is more of a bureaucratic precaution, rather then an actual democratic act, it seems. While North Korean's vote for those on the Supreme People's Assembly, none of the candidates ran against any opposition. The group meets once a year and, according to one academic source, has never voted against a bill proposed by the government. The group cheered a loud hurrah when it was announced Kim Jong Un would retake office. The article outlines that this happiness might be encouraged by the examples of others who tried to stand against Kim Jong Un's wishes. This includes Kim Jong Un's uncle being put to death for treason. North Korea continues to stand by its Supreme Leader.

Find article from the Huffingtonpost here.

Katie Madel

Waking Up to the Russian Threat

The article linked below is an interview with the head of NATO, Mr. Rasmussen. Mr. Rasmussen is also the former Danish Prime Minister. In this interview he talks about how Europe has misread Vladimir Putin. Many scholars of IR have reached the same conclusion about Russia's leader. Vladimir Putin has been inconsistent with his words and attitudes towards international politics. I found interesting that Mr. Rasmussen points out Russia's commitment to improve Russian military during past years. In my opinion is a strong signal of Russia's intentions. According to Mr. Rasmussen, Russia has boosted military spending by 79% in the past decade. In response to Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea, NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Moscow. Europe still depends on Russian oil and gas which complicates the situation even further. After Russia's attitudes towards Georgia in 2008, I believe the West should have been more cautious towards Russia's territory expansion goals. A stronger reaction to Russian actions in 2008 could have prevented Russian actions in Crimea and Ukraine.


Mariana Cury
PSC 102

Pro-Russian Gunmen Take Over Eastern Ukrainian City’s Police Headquarters

Things in Ukraine look to be escalating as multiple sources are reporting violence in small towns in the east of the country on Saturday. Pro-Russian forces ave reportedly occupied a police headquarters in a small city and have attacked government buildings in towns nearby. A few dozen men were involved in the attacks, which noted as carrying modern weapons and wearing the same uniforms as those who invaded Crimea. Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed strong concern with Ukraine noting that the attacks were organized and that if Russia does not de-escalate their involvement in eastern Ukraine, there would be consequences. Vice President Biden will be traveling to Kiev this month to meet with Ukraine government officials to show continued US support of a sovereign Ukraine state.

To many in Ukraine, the violence look very similar to the beginning of the Crimea takeover by Russia. A major problem with eastern Ukraine is that many that live near the border have many ties to Russia, including language and business interests. Many support separatism in eastern Ukraine.

It will be interesting to see what takes place as the conflict in Ukraine progresses. For the full article, follow the link below.

-Mike Prosia

Ukraine anti-terrorist starts bloody battle

On Sunday April 13 Ukraine declared an “anti-terrorist” operation against the pro-Russian group using the Army against a revolt in the Donetsk region. This resulted in a bloody gun fight that caused casualties and wounded on both sides of the struggle for the eastern part of the country.  Armed assaults were launched on government buildings in the Donetsk region, close to the Russian border. The start of this gunfight is seen as problematic because Russia has been waiting for a reason to invade. 

-Antonio Sobevski

The Bourgeois' Global Warming Agenda

Bjorn Lamborg “How Green Energy Policies Hurt the Poor,” The Spectator (UK)

I initially found an except of Lomborg's piece in the Wall Street Journal's "notable and quotable" section, but was later able to find the full piece online. The language of the two paragraph excerpt from the WSJ aims at the intentions of the West to provide renewable energy options (primarily solar and wind) to fuel the rest of the world (South America, Africa, South-East Asia) in their economies' attempt to lift themselves from poverty. Understanding that pollution is terrible for the well-being of the human race and doing nothing about it is terrible, but using non-renewable fossil fuels for economic growth has shown itself time and time again as the answer for establishing a middle class and lifting hundreds of millions from poverty -- which Lamborg asserts is essential to achieving higher standards of living and well-being. the use of fossil fuels powered the entire West and helped make them the economic powerhouses of the world for much of the 20th century. Lomborg even sarcastically claims that "Africa is the renewable utopia, getting 50 per cent of its energy from renewables -- though nobody wants to emulate it." Their energy sustainability only powers what we think of as Third-World. "In 1971, China derived 40 per cent of its energy from renewables." Despite that great energy efficiency, most African nations remain in poverty and China's growth came only after increasing their use of fossil fuels to build and populate the cities that became the producers for the world's goods. In China, fossil fuels have helped lift about 680 million people from poverty. Because of their poverty much of the underdeveloped world resorts to renewable energy sources such as wood for heating, which increases indoor pollutants and lowers life expectancy. "In the West, we take our supply of electricity for granted," Lomborg writes. "After a century, we’ve forgotten that plentiful, affordable and dependable energy is the lifeblood of modern civilisation and prosperity." Have we forgotten, or are we advantageously using our leverage?  

The International Relations textbook, in talking about Marxism, labeled a North-South divide. In effect, it attempts to say that the class struggle is no longer as pressing between demographics within developed western nation states as it is between established western nation states and emerging markets. In Marxist theory, it is not a stretch to say that the West, acting as the Bourgeois, is attempting to prevent emerging markets from attaining quickened economic growth (and real capitalism, which is a step necessary for the communist revolution to occur) by attempting to limit their use of fossil fuels to power their economy. In line with what I believe would be Marx’s explanation, the West would lose power if the emerging economies outpaced them over the next century (capitalism is a zero-sum game), but in order to keep hold of their Bourgeois-style leverage over the world (a.k.a. the proletariat), they must shroud their intentions in global environmental goodwill.
-Mitchell Wood  

Chilean Wildfire

A wildfire in the city of Valparaiso Chile has gotten out of control and killed at the least 7 people. The fire has also destroyed about 500 homes. It has been reported that the fires started sometime in the afternoon on Saturday at the edge of the city and spread rapidly due to high winds. Thousands of residents have been evacuated along with many inmates from a prison.  The regional governor Ricardo Bravo explained, “This is the worst disaster I have seen; now we fear that the fire will spread to the center of the city, which would increase the severity of the emergency."  On Sunday their president declared the city a catastrophe zone and has put the Chile military in charge of maintaining order throughout the chaotic event. 

Alexandra Avery

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Number of Migrants Rescued Off Italy Surges

During the past 4 days, about 6,000 migrants have been rescued by the Italian Navy.  The ships have been patrolling an area of the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and North Africa as part of a project established after the shipwreck  off the Italian island of Lampedusa, last October. Critics have argued that Italy is encouraging migrants to come because they know they will be rescued by the patrolling Italian Navy ships.

Since the beginning of the year about 15,000 migrants have arrived in Italy. Most are from Mail, Eritrea and Syria. Last year, there was about 43,000  illegal migrants who arrived in Italy. Many of the migrants use Italy as a port to Northern Europe countries that offer better welfare systems. Italy plans to move many the migrants to other towns and cities across Italy so no one citie is overwhelmed with new arrivals.

Since there has been an increase in migrants in the last few years, immigration is set to be a major topic at the European Union summit this June.

Jackie Bland

Thursday, April 10, 2014

UN Criticized for Ignoring South Sudan Humanitarian Crisis

South Sudan is currently undergoing a major humanitarian crisis and political unrest, leaving tens of thousands of civilians displaced due to peacekeeping soldiers stationed in the capital city, Juba. The UN has constructed a makeshift shelter for the displaced refugees. However, the camp was not designed to shelter the number of people it currently shelters, and things are going downhill. Multiple latrines have collapsed, exploding the risk of waterborne illness and disease is running rampant. The refugees are forced to stay in wet, "natural drainage channels because there is no other space. Many are at risk of starvation, and this issue will not get better with the rainy season on its way.

Doctors Without Borders, the charity that cooperates with the UN frequently, and is currently providing aid to the thousands displaced by the crisis, has criticized the UN, saying that it has been ignoring the squalid conditions the people have been living in. In addition, it is reported that the UN has denied requests to expand the refugee camp into the dry parts of the UN compound, which would benefit all immensely. The UN should take action and not just stand by and watch as thousands die because of disease and starvation that could have been prevented.

Alexandria Corriveau

Ukranian President Reaches out to Russian Occupants

Ukranian President Oleksandr Turchynov assured that any pro-Russian individuals still held up in administrative building in Urkaine can put down their weapons and leave peacefully without prosecution. This differs from the initial sentiment that the Interior Minister said which asserted that the conflict will be resolved even if it required the use of force. Recent reports show that Russian forces and military hardware have been grouping outside Ukrainian borders. Russian officials have responded by saying that they have not made and military action outside Ukrainian borders and that all reports are simply trying to paint them in a negative light. Some media outlets have claimed that Putin may be scaling up his troops for a possible large scale military action in Ukraine, but we all know how reliable media reports can be. Whatever may be the case, the issue in Ukraine is far from over and the microscope still remains focused on Putin.

Alec Phillipp

U.N. to Send Peacekeepers to Central African Republic

Somini Sengupta presents an article informing of a U.N. decision to deploy 12,000 peacekeepers to Central African Republic to maintain what is described as anarchy.  Neighboring countries have pulled some peacekeeping troops out due to abuse toward C.A.R. civilians, and questions as to U.N. troops avoiding similar abuse is a common concern.  2,000 troops currently reside for this action, and the deployment of the other 10,000 has not yet been confirmed.

It is interesting to see that another country is attempting to temporarily serve as a form of power to eliminate anarchy when the native body of rule fails to come through.  In a sense, C.A.R. seems to be the concern of the U.N. insofar as jurisdiction and the people are restrained to standards of social norm deemed as such by another ruling body.  But in such cases that those preserving peace can spark even more intense revolution (i.e. peacekeepers killing rioters) it begs the question as to if the peacekeepers are exhibiting their own anarchy, or is it more self-preservation.  

Scott Bishop

Article Here

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Withholding Intel from Ukraine

As pressures rise between Ukraine and Russia, new information  has surfaced that United States intelligence agencies have discovered  detailed information regarding Russia's intentions. Intercepts, geographical locations and analysis pinpoint the various areas Russian troops are stationed and ready, for what can only be assumed to be, a mass invasion of Ukraine. The question remains why the United States, with repeated empathy expressed towards the Ukrainian people from President Obama, refuses to take action and provide the information needed for Ukraine to have their military defense at the ready. While it goes without saying that the Ukraine is terribly out matched militarily, in comparison to Russia, the intel if delivered to Ukraine on time, could at least result in a strong defensive line. 

-Alexandra Dominguez 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Philippine top court defies church to back birth control

The supreme court in the Philippines has approved a birth control law to help the poor who cannot afford it and lower the rates of maternal mortality. After years of pressure to defy the bill from the Catholic church, The president finally passed it with excitement. All of the contraceptives will be free an widely available in clinics as well as medical care. Considering that 80% of the Philippines citizens are Catholic, the church has a very strong influence; however they have an extremely high birth rate which is why the law was needed to be put in place allowing the country to continue to progress.

Serene Branch

View the article here.

Brazil Ups Policing Program as World Cup Approaches

Taylor Barnes from the New York Times writes about the increased policing program in the slums of Rio De Janeiro. This comes from a five-year policing program that places permanent police units in certain slums. By doing this, the country limits the number of sudden police raids that leads to violence and chaos. For the most part, these police units are being placed in slums that divide the airport and typical tourist attractions.

Since Brazil is hosting this year’s World Cup soccer tournament, it’s likely that this it is trying to get crime and chaos in poor neighborhoods under control, since it will be on the world stage. Given the locations of the police, this new policing policy doesn’t seem to be spreading to other parts of Rio De Janeiro, just the parts “visible” to the world.

Some critics are saying that this “occupation is a political move intended to impress voters nervous about security ahead of elections for governor and president this fall”. Taylor adds that people seem to be going about their lives calmly, even with armed soldiers and tanks wandering through their neighborhoods.

Posted by Evy Lopez

Monday, April 7, 2014

India Begins World’s Largest Democratic Exercise

On Monday, April 7, India’s elections began in the most remote northeastern corner of the country. The elections are for selecting 543 members of the lower house of Parliament. There were estimated 8,000 polling stations opened in 6 different districts. This is the world’s largest democratic election, with 814 million eligible voters throughout India. The election will consist of nine-phases across India that will last until May 16. Since there is widespread social change, this election is seen as a historic one. Opinion polls show that voters are leaning toward the B.J.P. Voters are for the first time, mobilizing on social media and demographics include rural and young voters. As the article states, voters are “harnessing a popular demand for change”.

-Monique Martinez

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"U.S. Says It Tried to Build a Social Media Site in Cuba, but Failed"

Someone brought this up the other day during class and I wanted to learn more about it and thought this was interesting. The Obama administration said "it wasn't a covert program to overthrow the government." The fact that that had to be mentioned struck a weird chord with me. If that had to be addressed I don't think they should have started this up in the first place. They also said there wouldn't be any mention of the US involved but they're the ones who started it so that seemed odd to me. Some of the people involved stated that it was a dumb idea and I have to agree with them. I get that social media is huge and that's what most people's lives revolve around and get their news from but it was a stretch. It just goes to show how obsessed and immersed our world is in technology. Hillary Clinton pushed for this saying social media has helped in situations before and although she may be right, I think it was a stupid idea to turn to twitter for something this serious. It is kind of interesting though that even the government is using twitter.

Pakistan Taliban extend cease-fire, demand prisoner release

On Friday, The Pakistani Taliban (also know as the TTP) has issued A cease-fire deadline extension until April 10th. This decision came after a meeting with the government officials of Pakistan. The government has released 19 TTP Prisoners. The Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has agreed to this in hopes that it will create peace between the two parties. Sharif has been under pressure to create peace in Pakistan so these demands were a must, to be met. TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told CNN that the meeting was held in a progressive sense,  with both sides wanting the best outcome. He went on to say the ultimate decision was agreed upon for both sides to release all prisoners. It seems relations between the two are at a positive progression, only time will tell where relations ultimately end up.

-Larry Holman

  PSC 102

Info from: Zahir Shah Sherazi, CNN

In Hunt for Malaysian Jet, Signals Prompt Searchers to Narrow Their Focus

What seems like a never ending mystery, multinational crews are still in search for the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Despite previous leads on where the plane had crashed, it still hasn't been uncovered. Friday, a Chinese vessel received signals in the Indian Ocean of sounds equivalent to that of the mysterious "black box". The black box although, has a battery life of around one week. This means that we shouldn't have our hopes super high on this discovery. After a week, the box no longer sends off signals to beacons. The new signals come a thousand miles north of Australia, a little past the search area that had previously been set. We are still hanging on waiting to see if the plane ever emerges, but as each day passes by the chances diminish.
Jordan Messick
PSC 102

In a Test of Wills With China, U.S. Sticks Up for Japan

In past Western Pacific Naval Symposiums each border country of the Pacific Ocean has been able to attend. Every two years, there has been a different host, and this year it is China's turn to host the naval event in Qingdao. Yet, issues rose when China decided not to invite their known rival, Japan.
The U.S. stood back in astonishment stating, 
“It is so totally high school,” a senior American defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. “We were, like, ‘Really? You’re going to do that?’ ” After years of quarrel with Japan, China started the 'high school drama' in the W.P.N.S this year. 
In my opinion it is extremely immature of China to do so, especially if this year is the first year they are able to host the event. Yes, China and Japan has had issues that interfere with politics, but in a professional standpoint, it became childish. 
This event not only gathers the naval circles but each country is able to display their ships, missiles, etc. China displayed themselves as unprofessional and the article started and continued to be humorous about the situation; China and Japan being known as the "Mean Girls" in high school and continuing, "
Dozens of Chinese ambassadors have criticized Japan in letters written to global newspapers; in one, China’s ambassador to Britain compared Japan to the evil Lord Voldemort of “Harry Potter” fame."This entire article not only laid out the serious issue but also showed the comical side to the event. 

-Crystal Madrigal

Protests in Venezuela rage on

Although its coverage has not been as prominent as that of the Ukraine crisis, anti-government protests in Venezuela are continuing on. The demonstrations have been going on for weeks, as the anti-government rallies are aimed at blaming President Nicolas Maduro for economic strife that they are living in. He has shown no hesitation in using physical violence to attempt to subdue the crowds.  In total it is estimated that at least 31 people have died and over 450 have been injured in clashes between the protesters and the government forces. In an interview Maduro expressed no remorse for the way he has handled the protests, often blaming the citizens for their own problems and refusing to give in to their demands for him to resign. This conflict began right around the time that the Ukraine crisis did yet it is still perpetuating itself. At this point it seems that both sides are resisting compromise so it appears that the issue will continue, but hopefully no more lives will have to  be lost in the issue.

Alec Phillipp