Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Most of the world breathes in polluted air

In a recent article published by CNN, findings about air pollution have been brought forward. The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that almost everyone breathes in polluted air according to an air quality map. A staggering 92% of the worlds population is in areas that fail to meet WHO's guidelines. This is a major concern, seeing as pollution as multiple affects on internal health of ones body. The new air quality map was created with data that looks at particulate matter, found in air around the world. The most dangerous PM, 10, is seen all over the world on the map from the data they collected, some areas even exceed that threshold.

-Allie Downer

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Former Israeli Leader dies at 93

Shimon Peres served in Israel's parliament for nearly 50 years: he served as a minister in 12 different cabinets, was president once, and prime minister twice. Overall he served in the government for over 70 years. Peres was the last surviving member of the group of Israeli leaders who witnessed the creation of Israel as a state in 1948 and he was a founder of the Labor Zionist Youth Movement. He was also considered the "father of Israel's aeronautic and nuclear programs". Peres was extremely influential in helping to shape Israel and even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for negotiating the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians. Through all his work in the government and in leading Israel, Peres held unto faith that peace could be brought to the middle east despite all the conflict he witnessed. With his generation of leadership passing on with him, I wonder how this might influence Israel and it's thoughts on peace and how to move forward with future conflict.

-Mynk Richardson-Clerk

Double Bombing in Dresden, Germany

Just as the Germans were starting to get in the spirit of Unity Day (a holiday that marked the 26th anniversary of the joining of eastern and western Germany) two bomb attacks went off in separate locations in Dresden, Germany. One of those locations was a mosque and the other was where the festivities were going to be held next weekend: The International Congress Center. Due to the fear of terrorism and the uncertainty around who was the source of the attacks, Muslim institutions were put under increased surveillance according to Saxony Interior Minister Markus Ulbig. Though the attacks were clearly related since they happened within minutes of each other, the source of the attacks remain unknown. 

-Noemi L. Powell

Sunday, September 25, 2016

UN Security Council deeply divided over Russian airstrikes in Syria

Over the past three days, the Syrian city of Aleppo has been pummeled by over 150 airstrikes from Russian forces as well as the Syrian government under the direction of Bashar al-Assad. On Sunday alone, over 60 people were killed in these airstrikes, the majority of which targeted neighborhoods of the city that are currently in rebel hands. In response to these ongoing airstrikes, the United Nations Security Council convened on Sunday for an emergency meeting in order to consider action in response to these strikes. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, as well as the United Kingdom's Ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, both condemned Russia's role in these strikes and criticized its political and military support for the Assad regime. Power referred to Russia's action as "barbarism," while Rycroft said that the Assad regime and Russia have "plunged to new depths and unleashed a new hell on Aleppo." A ceasefire was negotiated on September 9 between the United States and Russia to temporarily halt fighting for humanitarian purposes. However, this ceasefire was irrevocably terminated when Russia bombed an aid convoy near Aleppo on Monday. Russia's fellow permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, all condemn Russia's support for the Assad regime. In spite of this, the fifth permanent member, China, supports Russia and the Assad regime, creating a noticeable rift in the Security Council.

-Justin Wysocke

Could India and Pakistan go to War?

After 18 Indian Soldiers were killed on base and Pakistan shut down accusations of involvement, questions about a potential war break out. Although peaceful relations along the boarder have held up for some years now, accusations and comments about Pakistan being a terrorist state could change things in the future. As war talk spreads through media, the future between these places remain uncertain.

Jackie Diaz

4 arrested, hundreds feared dead after migrant boat capsizes off Egypt

The crew of an "overloaded by 300 people" boat were arrested on Thursday with charges of human trafficking and involuntary manslaughter.  The vessel, designed to hold 150 passengers, departed from Egypt carrying 450 migrants crammed on board.  The ship collapsed under the weight of its passengers about 12 nautical miles northeast of Rashid, Egypt on Wednesday afternoon.  So far 163 victims have been rescued and 51 bodies have been recovered.  The rescue force is largely composed of local fishermen helping out the coast guard.  This overcrowded person smuggling attempt is unfortunately only one of hundreds.  The UN estimates that 300,000 people have arrived in Europe from the Middle East by sea this year alone and of those attempting to cross, 3,211 of them are believed to be dead.  These incidents shine a light on just how bad conditions must be for migrants to attempt to cross over in such a dangerous way.

China, Cuba agree to deepen economic ties

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Cuban President Raul Castro held a meeting in Havana on Saturday to discuss economic cooperation between the 2 nations. It is reported that Li promised China's dedication and commitment to retain the friendly relation with Cuba, as well as to support the country's socialist structure. Li also promised to deepen economic ties with Cuba by helping it boost infrastructure and improve trade and investment. Meanwhile, Castro expressed his wish to learn from China's rapid growth in economy, and his willingness to continue to cooperate with China as 2 developing countries.

-Mirina Uchida

Irish abortion laws: Protests held across the world

This story caught my attention initially on Twitter via #repealthe8th on Saturday when the primary march in Dublin took place. "#repealthe8th" refers to Ireland's 8th Amendment in their Constitution which forbids abortion. In 2013 a ban on the practice was removed so that it is legal if the mother's life is at risk. Protesters are calling for a repeal of  the 8th Amendment, and it's becoming hard to ignore them since they have gone global. According tot the article, this movement is now global with 20 other worldwide cities including Melbourne, Berlin, and London participating in marches and protests. People in Ireland are on both sides of the debate with religion playing a big role in people opinions. However, the Prime Minister Enda Kenny will hold a citizens' assembly next month to discuss the possibility of a vote to change the abortion laws.

-AC Christopherson

Muslim Political Movement Fields Christian Candidates

In Jordan's nearing parliamentary elections, the Islamic Action Front is making a historical decision to support four Christians. Never before in Middle Eastern modern elections has an Islamic political platform given its support to Christian politicians. There are two takes on this situation. Some feel that it is an encouraging sign of putting differences aside for the best in Jordan. Others see the combination as an attempt to gain popularity and votes. The Islamic Brotherhood's Manifesto does not have a section on providing protection for minorities, which Christians fall in. The director of Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, Musa Shteiwi, claims this outreach is all "cosmetic" in nature. The IAF says differently, however. In order to keep up with modern views of citizens, the IAF wants to be able to connect to more groups and offer solutions to corruption that has plagued the government. The election takes place on Tuesday, and will be important to view, as it could set a precedent for neighboring countries in the future.
Ben Ubert

South Korea Reveals it has a Plan to Assassinate Kim Jong Un

South Korea reveals to the media that in the case of a scenario that would require it, they have the capability and a functional plan to assassinate Kim Jong Un. If South Korea feels threatened by North Korea's nuclear weapons, they have elite troops on standby to make sure that the leader of North Korea can be eliminated. Their plan would be to use precision missiles to eliminate the facilities that Kim Jong Un would be located. Daniel Pinkston of Troy University agrees that it is in the countries best interest to have this plan thought out and it would be a mistake not to have these capabilities.

Mitch Reid

Russia Accused of War Crimes

Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the UN, accused Russia of committing war crimes with the Syrian Regime.  During Sundays airstrikes, 23 plus civilians were killed.  Samantha Power, UN representative for the US said Russia's actions were "barbarism, not counter-terrorism."  Reports say that 45 people, including 10 children, were killed on Saturday during the bombings, and that over 200 innocent civilians have been killed since the cease-fire ended on Monday.  As the UN continues an attempt to bring peace to Syria, it is starting to look like an impossible task.

-Andres Terronez

Egyptian Migrant Boat Sinking

                 A boat carrying migrants, from regions of North Africa and the Middle East, tragically sank off the coast of Egypt and resulted in the deaths of 162 people onboard.  The death toll continues to rise since the incident took place, on the 21st of September.  The vessel was illegally transporting nearly 600 migrants/refugees to Europe, the majority of whom were seeking asylum from the inhumanities displayed in their countries.  Interviews given to the survivors of the tragedy, unveiled that the smugglers operating the boat were forcibly charging the migrants extra money for the purchase of a lifejacket.  According to the article, only in the last two years, 10,000 plus people have perished crossing the Mediterranean Sea toward Europe.  It is undeniable, unfortunately, that more of these refugees/migrants will end up dying in their search for freedom from oppression. The conflict is one that can not be easily combatted or diminished and that is truly what makes the circumstances even more dire.

-Jaedyn Krebs-Carr

Mexico town women vote locally for first time

Although women have been able to vote in major presidential elections since the year of 1953, there are still towns in Mexico that hold on to traditional law. Towns such as Oaxaca, Mexico still hold men-only voter lists. A group of 11 women in Guevea de Humboldt went up against the law in a regional court. 500 out of 5,000 women turned out to vote at the polls. An interviewee, Catalina Martinez Jimenez was able to cast her vote at the age of 75. Though, she believed in it 
"being a miracle from God," she is not so sure whether she will be there for the next election. However, it seems as though in this day and age that women would feel liberalized, there are still some that hold on to those traditional methods. 

Alexa Ortiz

Japan’s Newest Technology Innovation: Priest Delivery

Japan has a new delivery service and it isn't for food. Japanese consumers, through Amazon, are now able to order a priest on Amazon with a set price to do services for people. They bring the temple to you instead of you going to the temple. I think that this is a great idea because people like things centered around them and this service is very convenient. It makes me wonder if this trend will spread. This has been a service by Amazon for a little over a year. There are 400 priests employed. Some services are $344 and others can be $639 depending on which package you select. This is the first online service of this kind and I am sure that it will catch on.

Lauren Whelan

Swiss voters back controversial surveillance law

The Swiss are typically known for their secretive banking laws, however a new counter terrrorism measure to "spy on terrorists and cyber criminals" got 65 percent of the vote in a public referendum. The Swiss government said the measure was more about letting intelligence do its job, rather than the general surviellance the U.S. National Security Agency is infamous for. Amnesty International called the bill "disproportionate". The bill goes into effect Sept. 1, 2017 according to the article. How extensive the surveillance will be and what the other 35 percent of the swiss population remains to be seen.

Swiss endorse new surveillance powers

Swiss voters have shown strong support for a law that would allow for increased surveillance among its civilians in the wake of rising global tensions. This policy strays away from Switzerland's generally neutral stance on domestic as well as foreign security. As much as 65% of citizens gave approval to the legislation that would allow for Swiss government security agencies to put hostile suspects under electronic surveillance with the approval of courts and the swiss defense cabinet. The Swiss government was caught just years ago spying on thousands of its citizens and received a generally negative response from its people. This new bill is a clear sign that people in Europe are becoming uneasy in even the more peaceful parts of the continent. The law is said by officials to only target the most high risk targets.

-Tanner James

Corrupt Cops in Mexico Asssault 11 Women

Over a decade ago in Mexico City, there was a protest against Mexican governor Enrique Nieto. Demonstrators had taken over the central square and in the process, police violently arrested over 40 women and took them to a far away jail. These women were beaten, raped, and tortured by the police for days before being released. Now 10 years later, 11 of these women are speaking up about the tragic incident and hoping to bring a case against the police department. International human rights officials are looking into the incident and are fighting for an investigation to be held but there is only so much that they can do. Realists would blame this inability to act on anarchy. There is no world government to hold Mexico or Nieto responsible for the assault on the women. At this point in time, there is not much else that officials can do because the Mexican government is not fully cooperating with investigations.

-Mynk Richardson-Clerk

85 Dead In Aleppo Bombing

Russia is being accused of bombing the contested area of Aleppo, Syria that killed 85 and wounded over 300. Instead of helping innocent civilians, Russia is bombing hospitals, first-responders, and humanitarians who are trying to help people in Syria stay alive. While Russia may or may not be doing the bombing themselves, they are backing Syria's president Assad in his stance on the Syrian civil war. Russia, in a sense, handed Assad the gun and is letting him fire at will. The United States, Britain, and France met today to discuss their plan of action moving forward on the issue. The innocent in Syria are looking at the U.S. and Britain to help dampen the atrocities being committed against them. Hopefully someone will intervene very soon.

By Alex Khatcherian

Cartoon offends Islam, Jordanian writer fatally shot.

 On sunday morning, a well known Jordanian writer and political activist was shot dead as he headed to courtroom to face charges for posting cartoons on facebook which offended Islam. A witness describes the shooter as conservative muslim. Nahed Hattar, a secular christian was arrested for sharing a cartoon on his facebook page. The cartoon is described to be a conversation between a muslim man and God. Muslims were offended as it depicted God with disrespect.  Hattar was in jail for two weeks before being freed on bail for the hearing on sunday. Hattar's family now blames Jordan's Government.

Anisha Venkatesh Babu

Evidence of a Chinese Economic Downturn

Unfinished Chinese building projects could forecast a downfall for the Chinese economy. Premiers in the government reject this claim. Any downturn of China's integrated economy could spell consequences around the world.

-Rodney Ross

John Kerry launches blistering attack on Russia at UN

John Kerry took the UN floor during the United Nations General Assembly and berated his Russian counterpart for actions taken by Russian forces in Syria. Russian aircraft engaged what they thought was either an ISIS or rebel convoy, it turns out the convoy was actually an aid convoy attempting ti deliver necessary aid to the people of Syria. This comes during a very heated moment in the Syrian conflict as the most recent cease fire beings to crumble. The Russians did not claim the bombing instead tried to pass it off with excuses my favorite being spontaneous combustion. This eventt further puts strain on the fragile environment that is Syria as well as places an even greater strain on the relations between the United States and Russia.

-Sean Raleigh

India challenges Pakistan to a War... against Poverty and Illiteracy

     In light of the recent terror attacks in Kashmir, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi criticized Pakistan for its actions in a party rally. He claimed that Pakistan "wanted bloodshed, killing of people, and terror". He also said that while India and Pakistan attained their independence at the same time, India exported software, while Pakistan exported terror. To taunt the Pakistani government, he issued a challenge, saying: "I want to tell the people of Pakistan, India is ready to fight you. If you have the strength, come forward to fight against poverty. Let's see who wins. Let's see who is able to defeat poverty and illiteracy first, Pakistan or India".

-Mohammed Khan

Warplanes pound Syria's Aleppo, U.N Securiy Council meets

With the help of Russia, Syrian government forces led an aerial bombing of a stronghold in the northern region of Aleppo. Russia's involvement in the latest offensive by Syrian forces appears to have squashed any hope for diplomacy since the collapse of the international ceasefire last week. The goal for the Syrian forces is to capture the rebel-held half of Syria's largest city, where there are more than 250,000 civilians are trapped. In doing so, this accomplishment would become the biggest victory of the civil war for President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

-Chase Gozdziak

Saturday, September 24, 2016

South Korea’s President Has No Easy Options in Dealing with an Aggressive North

South Korea's President, Park Geun-hye, has had the luxury of making decisions on what to do about the North Koreans' nuclear tests. Park, who is a conservative, has been dealing with the North by keeping and placing more sanctions on them. Most of her liberal counterparts have urged Park to speak with the North's leader Kim Jong-un. This is easier said than done due to extreme tension and hostility between the North and South. "She can stay on her current course, facing more provocations from Pyongyang and the likelihood of going down in history as the president during whose term the North completed nuclear weaponization. Or she can try to engage an erratic government that has gone so far as to call her a prostitute, and that has not agreed to discuss the possibility of nuclear disarmament in any future talks," quoted from the New York Times. Park was also responsible for accepting Thaad, which stands for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, from the United States. With North Korea being "at the final stage of nuclear weaponization", South Korea agreed to accept the missile-interceptor. This decision came with great scrutiny from China which causes more tensions between the North and South because of China's alliance with the North and the North's hatred for Western Civilization in general. The last key factor that this article mentions is that the South will continue to side with the United States. "Ms. Park’s choice of Washington over Beijing in the dispute has been seen here as a momentous decision and a central part of her legacy. 'When President Park calls Thaad inevitable, she sends a message that when relations between the United States and China turn bad and South Korea has to choose, it will be the United States,' said Lee Jung-chul, a political scientist at Soongsil University in Seoul."

Friday, September 23, 2016

Enrique Peña Nieto Covers up Police Sexual Abuse

Enrique Peña Nieto, the president of Mexico, is in the news again. He has been getting a lot of bad publicity because of everything he has allowed during his presidency and during his time as governor. An investigation is being conducted after 11 Mexican women were brutally sexually assaulted by police officers in a town named Atenco while Peña Nieto was governor. Instead of helping these women, he tried to cover up and denied the allegations, calling them liars, and blaming radical groups, stating that they make women make up accusations to discredit the government. These women watched the men that ruined their lives walk away freely, while they have to live with the mental and physical scars caused by the traumatic events. These women were a mix of students, merchants, and activists. One of the victims was going to a prestigious school before this event occurred. After the assault, she lost motivation and lost hope in society, living in fear for the rest of her life. About 24 people that have been charged with abuse of authority have been acquitted at trial or on appeal. They’re still walking away like nothing happened because the government is still covering up for them and they’re assigning these cases to the low-level officers who are purposely doing a bad job. After 10 years, Peña Nieto returned to Atenco but focused on Children’s Day. Comments about the protests, deaths, or rapes were not made by him or local reports.

--Jazmin Galindo

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why the Syrian Truce Was Doomed From The Start

During the cease-fire between rebels and the Syrian government, an aide truck was attacked and destroyed, killing 20 civilians. Humanitarian aide was a huge reason for the cease-fire, but it seems that the truce was never going to hold up. The cease-fire wasn't negotiated directly between the Syrian government and the rebels. Instead, the US and Russia did all the talking, and now they're blaming each other for the attack. Additionally, the US and Russia did not convince all of the warring groups to agree to this deal. Furthermore, the war in Syria is so dispersed and complex, with so many different groups involved, that a cease-fire between all parties in all locations was unreasonable.

-Hannah Friedle

Russia may have used its Backup plan

With the shaky cease fire in tatters, Russia may have just made matters even worse.  They have deployed one of their aircraft carriers to the waters off the waters of Syria's coast.  John Carrey spoke out against Russia's actions.  This will make the ceasefire much harder to up hold, and all the while it is already going very wrong very quickly. There have already been many cases of violence amplifying in Syria and its only a few weeks old at this point.  Furthermore, the US has come forward as saying that Russia was the one that bombed the aid convoy heading to Aleppo.   The article on CNN's website had this quote, The United States has reached the preliminary conclusion that Russian warplanes bombed the aid convoy, US officials have told CNN, and say that Russia is responsible, whether it was Russian planes -- or the Syrian regime's -- that struck."  So, things do not look optimistic for the ceasefire.

John Carmody

With Boeing Deal, Americans Are Coming to Iran

American citizens will once again be taking up residence in Tehran, the first to do so since the Islamic revolution and hostage crisis in 1979 and 1980. Eighty Boeing jets and an initial batch of seventeen Airbus planes out of a potential total of one hundred and eighteen will be going to Iran. This sale will have the important effect of ending an era of absolute isolation between countries. Boeing will have to open an administrative office in Tehran, and technicians (Americans) will have to move there to train their Iranian counterparts in the care and maintenance of the planes. Buying planes from the United States and opening a Boeing office may seem insignificant, but it is representing a huge shift in relations between the two countries.

-Taylor Sikora

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ISIS May Have Used Chemical Weapons Against U.S.

According to the article written by the Huffington Post, the United States military is testing to see if any chemical agents were used in an attack in Iraq that came within meters of U.S. forces. Fortunately, no persons from the U.S. were injured in the attack. It fell near a base where U.S. forces are working hard to prepare an airfield to take back the city of Mosul from the radical group. Tests are underway to look at the tar-like substance that tested positive for mustard agent. United States forces have used multiple airstrikes to take out the Islamic States chemical reserves.

-Allie Downer

Oil Slump Threatens Russian Economy

Oil prices are down once more, with WTI crude settling around 45 dollars earlier today. While oil bulls are painting a hopeful picture in the energy sector's future, outlining increasing demand and a slowdown in supply, the International Energy Agency is predicting more of the same: oil demand is slackening, while production is on the rise. With no cap on oil production being implemented within OPEC countries, the market continues to be flooded with crude -- even as demand has reached an all time low of 0.8 million barrels per day in Q3 of this year.

What does this mean for Russia? Today, Russia's "rainy day" fund has been dipped into -- and dipped into again, leaving it almost depleted: it's balance in 2014 before oil prices dipped was a comfortable 91 billion dollars, and now sits at 32 billion this month.

With oil prices set to stay below 50 dollars in the near future, Russia's 2016 budget seems to be falling short, as it was based on the assumption that crude would rise above 50 dollars. With their reserves dangerously low, Russia may have to turn to their welfare fund in order to maintain the Ruble's stability. The welfare fund is designed to finance future investment projects and cover long term pensions -- with markedly less liquid assets, this supply of 70 billion dollars may be impossible to withdraw from in copious amounts.

The government will reveal next year's budget plan after a parliamentary election this weekend.

World's most prized coffee today. $80 pr lb.

This year holds a record in the Coffee world. One of the world's most prized coffees, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, recently seen a dramatic increase in price. Because the Jamaican coffee only grows on one side of one mountain range in Jamaica and it is considered to be one of the most rare and delicious coffees. Demand has increased greatly within the past few months this year due to that specific mountain range losing half their crop leaving the coffee that was left to be raised to $80 a pound. Many legit and high quality coffee brands are paying top dollar just to sell the coffee. It is now considered the most rarest coffee in within the past few decades but production of the crop is meant to stay small to keep it's quality at peek.

David Soto

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias hits his 20th medal

Daniel Dias is a Paralympic swimmer on the category S5, a category for athletes with "short stature and an additional impairment”. Mr. Dias got to represent the host country for the last two weeks in Rio. The athlete had an incredible performance, and with his gold medal in the 50m freestyle he scored the medal number 20 of his career, 12 gold, 6 silver and 2 bronze. The swimmer, was loudly cheered by the crowds, who supported him during the games. 
Ana Maria Gentil

Thousands Flee Fire at Refugee Camp in Greece

This past Monday, around 4,000 individuals were evacuated from the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos after a fire ravaged the site. 

Over 50 UNHCR refugee housing units were destroyed, with the potential to house over 800 people. Although 30 people were injured, none were killed and UNHCR is providing replacement tents for those left homeless from the blaze. Over 95 unaccompanied children were escorted to the Pikpa reception site nearby, according to the UNHCR. 

For hundreds of thousands of migrants escaping the war in the middle east, Lesbos is often their first stop. Although Lesbos holds a capacity of 3,500 refugees, they are currently sheltering 5,300. This over capacity points towards poor living conditions, which in turn fuel a feeling of uncertainty and doubt amongst refugees. 

Greece will continue to shelter refugees from the Middle East, in a national effort to advocate for human rights. As one islander said, "We are monsters if we don't do this -- why should we be given a prize for being human beings?" 

Monday, September 19, 2016

International Barista Competition Held in Australlia

Each year there is a Barista and Latte Art competition which Gloria Jeans Coffees host in various places around the world. For every country which has a Gloria Jeans, there is a National Champion to represent that country. This year the International Competition is held in Australia and for many countries like the United States, there are multiple semi-finals before the world finals. There are 900+ Gloria Jeans in Australia and Gloria Jeans around the world far out numbers the amount of Starbucks Internationally. There is a lot of vigorous progression within the coffee world so the winner gets to represent their nation with the best skill and latest techniques of the trade.

--David Soto--

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The EU is Locked in a Toxic Crisis

The EU is trying to decide what to do after Britain decided to leave the union. The collective action problems that the EU has worked together against have gotten a bit larger since their is not another country helping to solve the problem. Some major issues that the EU works together to solve are immigrants who arrive to the continent, problems with ISIS from the south, and Russian aggression from the east. There isn't always one solution to these problems as  the EU sometimes lacks authority, but they can require agreement between the nation’s capitals and the power of the EU is decreased since there is one less nation involved. In the EU’s state of the address this week, the president emphasized on the need to rally up more states in to help their cause because with just their current constituents, it would be hard to get any action done. It will be interesting to see where the EU goes from here and where they will end up. Will this split make the EU stronger as time goes on or will it continue to weaken?

Lauren Whelan 

Merkel's Party loses support in Berlin State Elections

     Berlin, known to be a diverse and multicultural city has seen a surge in more right-wing support in recent state elections. The AFD, the German right wing party has won 14% in the recent election, according to public broadcasters' projections. Angela Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union only won 17.5%. This result is actually the worst one for the CDU since after the fall of the Berlin wall. The election's prime issues were mainly centered around poor public services, housing shortages, and problems arising from the recent influx of Syrian refugees. The AFD has been gaining support in light of these problems, and hopes that its successes can be replicated in the national government. These results are showing that there is a significant shift in the political climate of Germany, where support seems to be growing for fringe populist right wing parties, rather than left leaning 'peoples' parties.

-Mohammed Khan

Air strikes hit rebel-held areas of Aleppo, monitors say

After the US and Russia agreed on a ceasefire last monday, there were four airstrikes in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Several people were injured but it was not clearly reported on who carried out the strikes. There is much question of how the US could have made the mistake of conducting these air strikes and it has caused much tension between the US and Russia, "putting 'a very big question mark' over the truce's future, said Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin".

Mitch Reid

Japan, US, S.Korea want sanctions on N.Korea

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se held a meeting in New York on Sunday, to discuss the North Korea situation. The ministers released a joint statement in which the 3 nations agreed on several matters, including their co-operation to have the UN Security Council take on a new settlement to impose fresh sanctions on North Korea, and to continuously work against the nation's violations of human rights including abductions of Japanese citizens.
-Mirina Uchida-

Southeast Asia Becomes the World's Hotbed for Piracy

Recently, the waters within and surrounding the archipelago nations of Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines have vastly overtaken the Horn of Africa to become the world's most dangerous geographical area for piracy. According to the International Maritime Bureau, there were a reported 178 pirate attacks on ships sailing through Southeast Asia, while there were none reported around the Horn of Africa. The latter is credited to a recent crackdown on pirate groups in Somalia by the militaries of multiple nations. According to the Bureau, a third of the 98 pirate attacks that occurred in the first third of this year happened in Southeast Asia. The largest current threat to shipping in Southeast Asia is a terrorist group known as Abu Sayyaf, an extremist group based in the Sulu archipelago in the southern Philippines. This group is best known for taking whole crews of ships as hostages and holding them for ransom. In response to this hostage-for-ransom trend, the nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines agreed in May to form an alliance whereby the three countries' navies will "conduct coordinated naval security patrols in the Sulu Archipelago," allowing them to collectively fight against pirate groups like Abu Sayyaf. The three navies also have the right to pursue pirate vessels or pirate-hijacked vessels across national boundaries of the three countries, thereby assuring the fastest possible military response to hijackings. The hope is that through these three nations' cooperation, piracy attacks will reduce in number in Southeast Asia. In spite of this, there are many scholars who doubt that these nations will be able to successfully work together.

-Justin Wysocke

President of Mexico could follow marijuana vote of California

Current Mexican President Enrique Nieto has proposed a liberation on his country's drug laws. Through current delegation with California lawmakers, he believes that the country's drug situation may turn around. If California does legalize cannabis, there will be others wanting Mexico to follow. Although for California, this law would allow people over the age of 21 to use marijuana for private use through licensing and taxing. As cannabis use is a growing trend in a few states already, it is easy to see how impactful this could be for Mexico. Nieto has modified his stance on this subject by previously being a conservative on drug policy. The executive director of Drug Policy Alliance believes that Mexico could be swayed by the 'fiscal opportunities of regulated cannabis'.

Alexa Ortiz