Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Russian missiles 'hit IS in Syria from Caspian Sea'

Russia had recently fired 26 missiles at 11 different Islamic state targets from warships in the Caspian Sea. This is a very big deal because Syria claims that these missiles have been hitting non Islamic State targets. Syria ground troops have launched an offensive against Russian air strikes because of this. Russia denies this saying they have been targeting and hitting all terrorists only. Russia and the free Syrian army have been in contact setting up a plan to fight IS and the other terrorist groups and prepare the ground for a political settlement. The United States is not backing Russia on this one as they believe they don't have the right strategy as they have been hitting non-terrorist groups and will continue to do so. Keep in mind that these missiles have to travel over Iraq and Iran and that itself is dangerous. The U.S. has already had one incident of one of our jets coming to close to Russian aircraft over Syria which is obviously why we are skeptical. I am interested to see how this place out within the next week or so.

Hayden Witt

Doctors Without Borders questions Kunduz Hospital attack

After the airstrike hit the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, the international president of the organization, Joanne Liu, called for an independent investigation of the attack. The attack killed 12 medical staffers and 10 patients.

Liu called out statements that described the attack as "collateral damage" or that brushed off the attack as an "accident." She believes that the attack was on the Geneva Commissions rather than just on the hospital. The bombing has been likened to a war crime. Despite Gen. John F. Campbell's statement that the hospital was "mistakenly struck", the 10 medical staff members killed in the attack happened to all be Afghan.

Healthcare must be accessible in areas where conflict may be taking place. According to Liu, we must safeguard space as to allow access to health care in areas of armed conflict.

The United States army, the Afghanistan authorities and NATO are looking into the bombing, however Liu refuses to rely entirely on inter-military organizations and has called upon the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to investigate the attack.

Upasna Barath

Edward Snowden's ready to go to prison, waiting on answer from U.S.

Edward Snowden is a position that no one wants to be in. He is being charged with three felony accounts, including violating the U.S. Espionage Act. The U.S. Espionage Act is that you cannot disclosed any information to the public no matter if it is right or wrong. Edward Snowden is not denying he did this. What he wants is to be able to come to prison in America as part of exile from Russia. He is currently being held in Moscow. He was not really detailed enough for me in the document, because he did not say how long he is willing to stay in prison. If you want to make a deal with someone, you must give them all the details. I think Snowden is trying to position himself in the eyes of the public as being the victim. I think what he did is wrong, and needs to be punished for it. I agree with the White House decision to deny a petition for president Obama to pardon Snowden. I would leave him in Russia if I was the United States. He leaked documents about top secret mass surveillance programs. You cannot do this under any circumstance. He stated that the Espionage act does not look at motives, well he should know that. The law does not look at why you do something, but rather if you did it or not. He needs to come up with a better argument if he wants to get a deal with the American government. I'm glad they are keeping him over there, because he is a traitor. He cannot be trusted and should serve as a deterrent for others. Sometimes you have to make an example out of people.

Milto Deli


Migration of Young Men Poses Risks for Both Europe and Syria

The current exodus in Syria will produce negative effects in years to come because  there will be no one left to reconstruct the country. Since the conflict began in Syria more than four years ago, thousands of Syrians have fled the country which only means that it will very difficult for Syria to build itself back up.

Now, for Europe, the large amount of immigrants may produce an underclass which in turn would call for higher taxes. However, as Lado Gvilava, the head of the International Organization for Migration in Turkey says; "migration can boost economies and trade as well as lead to cultural exchange."

The Syrians that have fled the country haven't done so due to economic reasons... they've done so seeking security. Thus, I believe that if one day Syria would return to the state in which it was prior to the war,  many refugees would return and try to build the country back up. Yet, it is also possible that this does not happen as many of the refugees are young adults who are in a sense excited for the experiences and adventures that await.

Therefore, if the migrants permanently settle in Europe, reconstruction of Syria seems almost impossible.

Rosie Torres

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Turkey to Receive Aid During Migrant Crisis

The European commission has drafted an action plan that would help Turkey navigate the migrant crisis. The plan would include
  • Providing up to €1bn (£0.74bn) for this year and next to help Turkey cope with refugees from Syria and Iraq
  • Resettlement of some refugees already in Turkey
  • Reinforce the Turkish coast guard to help it tackle smugglers
  • Build on plans for lifting visa requirements for Turks travelling to the EU

In exchange for these conveniences, Turkey would need to “implement asylum procedures and give priority to the opening of the six refugee reception centers built with the EU co-funding.”

As of today turkey has yet to accept the action plan put forward by the EU. But an agreement is expected in the coming days as the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been in Brussels meeting with the EU leaders to finalize a deal. 

Turkey is essential during this migrant crisis, as they have already allowed 2.2 million Syrian refugees into their country. European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has said, "It is clear that we need Turkey. The Commission will come to its aid."

However Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci is not thrilled about the plan, he has reportedly said “his country would welcome a financial contribution from the EU to ease the strain of hosting migrants, but that funding would "not be a solution" to the crisis. I would tend to agree with him something more needs to be done to stop the mass exodus of migrants through Europe.  Turkey believes “millions more refugees could flee the conflict in Syria due to Russian and Iranian involvement.” If this continues to happen it does not bode well for other European countries especially those who cannot support the migrants. The EU and the United States need to get together and figure out a solution sooner rater than later.

Ashley Rot

Sunday, October 4, 2015

ISIS Destroys Another Monument at Palmyra Ruins in Syria

ISIS destroyed another monument in the ancient city of Palmyra besides that the militants destroyed two historical temple in Syria in recent months because they regarded those ancient buildings were pagan and sacrilegious. The temples blown up were one of Unesco World Heritage sites. Unesco considered those conducts as war crimes. To deal with those attacks to ancient monuments and buildings, Syria’s official had moved hundreds of them to safe locations.
Tomomi Osada

Japan to focus on African health system, extremism at 2016 summit: Abe

Japan to focus on African health system, extremism at 2016 summit: Abe 

For the 2016 summit the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said Japan is going to focus on improving Africa's health system and curb extremism. Japan is going to back Africa's strong will to overcome the challenges they've faced. Some challenges Africa has gone through are Ebola virus, terrorism, and falling commodity prices. In order to further support Africa, Japan wants to become a nonpermanent member of the UN security council next year because many of the conversations are about the stability and peace in Africa. I think this would be a good idea because since Japan is already expanding and developing their relationship with Africa this could potentially open up more door for development opportunities not only for Africa, but also for Asia. Japan is trying to play a more significant role in peace and stability for Asia too. I hope President Abe can follow through with everything he's been saying to the press because his ideas and goals sound great. It's nice to see Japan reach out and participate in global issues because most of the time I don't hear much about Japan in the news, but now I'm starting to hear more and more.

 UK and Saudi Arabia 'in secret deal' over human rights council place

Leaked documents suggest vote-trading deal was conducted to both nations to secure a seat at UN's influential body.

 Communications between the UK and Saudi Arabia seem to indicate that they traded votes for each other to be on the Human Rights Council, which ordinarily wouldn't be a huge problem if not for the fact that Saudi Arabia is really good at having really bad human rights. Aside from the recent reports of a Shia activist, Ali Mohammed al-nimr, being charged with protesting his government, which may result in his crucifixion, it is also likely that the kingdom has sanctioned more than 100 beheadings. Those numbers rival ISIS in terms of human rights violations.

When one considers the criteria that make suitable Human Rights Council candidates, like say countries with outstanding human rights records, it is strange that the UK needed help from Saudi Arabia to be on this council. Personally I don't think this vote trading is the real goal, because whether this was leaked or not, do you really think Britain needed to deal with a literal devil to get this seat? No one else was willing to help vote for Britain? Instead its possible the back scratching that Saudi Arabia is doing in return is not clear yet, and possibly won't be, because conspiracies and reasons.

It is worth noting that the UN replaced the HRC almost 10 years ago because countries with poor human rights records somehow found their way onto it. Perhaps they see the human rights council like the US presidency, change it up every few years, see what happens! It's a barrel full of laughs when you invite the unorthodox human rights advocate heavy hitters like Iran and Syria who would also be 100% viable candidates for this council.

Before I go too far off the rails it would be best to return to the topic at hand. This news comes at an inconvenient time for Saudi Arabia because other instances of human rights violations that they brought to America have surfaced in the time between their election in 2013 and today. Two of these Articles are also linked below, you don't even need to read past the link to understand the full gravity of Britain's trade. In an ideal world, only the good guys get put on the Human Rights Council, in our world I hope Britain was properly compensated for harming both their reputation and the reputation of the Human Rights Council.  

Stuart Young

 Main Article:

Just read the Link:

Another Bangladesh Murder Claimed by Islamic State (IS) Militants

Yesterday, October 3rd, a Japanese-born man and farm worker, Kunio Hoshi, was shot in Kaunia, Bangladesh. The police said that this was the second foreign national murder within a week’s time—the first being an aid worker from Italy that was killed in Dhaka. Although the Islamic State (IS) militants are claiming responsibility for both killings, the authorities stated that they had not yet substantiated the claims. Journalists purport that such violence against foreigners is unusual, but these incidents have occurred in conjunction with brutal attacks on secular bloggers and have caused both the United States and the United Kingdom to issue warnings to their citizens to exercise caution regarding traveling to or in Bangladesh.

Since Dhaka is the same city where the bloggers have been murdered recently and the home of the global hitlist, it is definitely a dangerous place these days. One has to wonder about the strength of the militants in this area and what it means not only for foreign-born and non-conformists, but for all people living there.

Amanda Zgonina

McCain: Russian airstrikes target CIA-backed Rebels

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), has confirmed that some of the Russian airstrikes in Syria were not targeted against ISIS but against anti-Assad rebels, according to CNN. "Their initial strikes were against individuals and group that have been funded and trained by our CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), in a credible flaunting of any kind of cooperation or effort to conceal what (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's priority is -- and that is, of course, to prop up (Syrian President) Bashar Assad," McCain said in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo. McCain says these reports can be confirmed due to communication with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other U.S. backed Syrian groups.

Meanwhile, while the Russian Defense Ministry reports that Russian military forces bombed eight ISIS positions, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter was cautious to confirm Russia's reports. Carter went as far as saying "... it does appear that [the Russian airstrikes] were in areas where there probably were not [ISIS] forces.

Dan Bennington

What does Sanctions by European Union on Bururndi's top Officials means?

Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa, bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Burundi is the third poorest country in African according to Infoplease . However, the story of Burundi is something that is not just about an impoverished and a turbulent nation, it is about a hopeful nation. Since 2005, Burundians has been rebuilding their nation after 12 years of civil unrest which lasted from 1993 to 2005. The conflict ended with a peace process that brought in the 2005 constitution providing guaranteed representation for both Hutu and Tutsi, and parliamentary elections that led to Pierre Nkurunziza, from the Hutu FDD, becoming President. As a Burundian/Rwanda dual citizenship, this was a very major step toward a harmonious political cooperation among the two competing tribes. However, the peace accord faced a backslash 10 years later on April 25 2015 when the ruling political party in Burundi, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), announced that the incumbent President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, would run for a third term in the 2015 presidential election. The announcement sparked protests by those opposed to Nkurunziza seeking a third term in office. The government on the other hand, responded with force and brutality rather than negotiating with the protesters. As a result, the European sanctions were imposed to the top officials who were the perpetrators for the protest and those who responded with violence. It is a major deal for Burundi, since the sanctions are forcing the nation to respond by bringing to justice those who perpetrated violent protest and those who responded to peaceful protesters with violence. To sum up, I am still optimistic for the future of Burundi for several reasons:
  • Albeit, the violent protesters and the civil unrest this past year, the nation army which is 60% Hutu, and 40% Tutsi did not side on either side which was something unusual from past civil unrest.
  • In addition, the army in several instances did protect non violent protesters which was also very unusual from our history.
  • The new Parliament and government that Nkurunziza instituted did not violate the 2005 constitution providing guaranteed representation for both Hutu and Tutsi

Attacted below is the Burundian Map

Tim Byukusenge
Article from: Burundi crisis: Nkurunziza aides and coup plotter face EU sanctions

Assad says no peace settlement until war against terrorists is won

Syrian president Bashar  Al-assad said that there could not be a reform until terrorism has been stopped completely, but which terrorist group is he talking about??? In class we spoke about Syria and how they are divided into three different regions Theres the Assad regime, The rebels and the islamic state. Out of those three the one group that stands out as a terrorist group is the islamic state. When I hear the word rebel or rebels the first things that comes to mind is robin hood,he stole from the rich to give to the poor,he helped the people. Isn't that what all rebels do? if yes why is Russia bombing them and not the one group that is causing terrorism. Syria opposition does not approve of the five day old Russia campaign and has refused to participate in an peace initiatives that are offered. They believe that Russia should be targeting the islamic state and not the rebels,which I agree completely. What do the people want? the Assad regime to take over or the rebels?

Noelia Reyes

No Peace from Assad

Assad has no intentions of talking peace with anybody anytime soon because the war against terrorism isn't over yet. Ever peace negotiation that he has been apart of has gone nowhere according to his representatives and himself. Assad isn't happy because he knows that five day old Russian air strikes is targeting him and not the ISIS group. Although both the Russians and Assad have referred to the group as terrorists but the Russians are still targeting Assad with the air strikes.

I think that the war on terrorism is going to be a long process and it is not going to be solved in just one day. But the Russians are not helping at all at this point in time because they aren't doing what they say they are doing. I think that the middle east is such a mess right now and all Russia is doing is making it messier. We all need to get on board and help end the war on terrorism but right now nobody is really doing what they say they are doing.

Jacob Cox

Human rights no longer a "top priority" to UK government

Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Secretary at Britain's Foreign Office, admitted recently to British MPs that issues concerning human rights are no longer given the attention of the UK government that they used to be. McDonald went further to say that human rights (as a part of foreign policy) have now been overshadowed by the need to "promote British companies abroad," a strategy McDonald refers to as the "prosperity agenda."

The comments came as a shock to many human rights organizations which count on states such as Britain for continued support in pursuing violations of human rights. McDonald's speech was especially surprising in light of recent turmoil in the Middle East and Syria.

Both Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch have expressed concern over the comments and have vowed to look further into the issue. A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office has rebuked McDonald's statement, saying that human rights are still as important a topic as ever and that they are "intrinsically linked" with Britain's foreign policy. Further speculation arises due to a change in the Foreign Office's leadership a year ago with the appointment of Philip Hammond, the new Foreign Secretary. After the change, some say, human rights began to fall by the wayside as focus shifted towards economic strategies instead. It will be interesting to see in the near-future where Britain focuses its alliances and where it draws the line.

Samantha Johnson

Colombia kills most wanted drug lord

The cocaine top do in North America and Europe, Victor Navarro was killed. With a $5 million dollar reward from the U.S government, Colombia has a burden of its shoulders. Victor was believed to own several criminal organizations, and owned productions that dealt with cocaine distributed in North America, and part of Europe. Knowing Colombia's history with drug lords, Victor is just another name added to the list of the deceased.

Victor, a notable drug lord like any other used means of corruption to run his businesses. Accusations against him also included money laundering, and shipping cocaine to USA. Victor's marks the beginning to a hopeful end of illegal cocaine shipments.

It is clear why USA wanted him dead, despite his cocaine distributions in USA, the liberal approach taken by the US government portrys the exercising power of ending tyranny in the world. As Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos noted, "criminals face justice, or end under the ground."



Assad claims coalition between Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq must succeed or whole region will be destroyed

With Russia's recent involvement in the conflict in Syria in the form of airstrikes, and the Russian Parliament voting in favour of Russian military intervention. President Bashar al- Assad has stated in an interview on Iranian state television that as this coalition has experience in fighting what he dubbed "terrorism" that it would succeed as long as the countries in the coalition used their military, civil and intelligence services to fight terrorism. This suggests that Assad may be asking these nations, namely Russia for increased intervention in their fight against Islamic State and Syrian Rebels. Assad although added that if this coalition was not successful the whole region could be destroyed, however the President expressed confidence that this coalition would succeed in fighting "terrorism". Russian airstrikes have allegedly flown 20 missions and struck 10 Islamic State targets in the past 24 hours alone, however U.S intelligence suggests that this is in fact a cover for Russian military action against the Syrian rebels. Iranian troops are reportedly preparing to aid Russia with Syrian ground assault areas controlled by rebels receiving arms and funding from the United States and the United Kingdom. These airstrikes have reportedly killed civilians in these areas although President Putin has denied these claims. Prime Minister David Cameron has criticized Russian military intervention , arguing that this will only help to destabilize the region further.

Afghan response to hospital bombing

This article was interesting to read because the Afghan  government is seeming to want to keep the United States around. There was an airstrike that hit the hospital where there were some Doctors Without Boarders there. The Afghan government has kept quiet about it because they do not want to be quick to blame the United States. With the Taliban taking over Kunduz, it solidifies the reasoning to keep U.S. troops there. I find that it is hard to the United States to stay there, but at the same time if the Taliban keeps taking cities that are important, it may be a better option to have soldiers helping out Afghanistan. The Afghan government is being quiet because it is important that the U.S. stays there to help keep the Taliban under control. The U.S. will help stop the spreading of the Taliban taking over key cities.

I think it is a controversial topic to keep the troops in Afghanistan because the American government for the most part wants the troops out of there because it has been such a long time. But instead if we stay it could help keep control over the Taliban. It is an interesting topic to think about and for now, I think that it may be a good idea to stay.

Samantha Koldenhoven

Thailand's military ruler is frustrated by the niceties of free seech

In 2014 the military overthrew the government over corruption. The military leader says that eventually after a constitution is written (making it the 21st Constitution that Thailand has had) a new democracy will be established. Once the new democracy is established civil rights will flourish but until then keep your mouth shut.
To that end Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha (The junta leader) is bringing critics in for an attitude adjustment. What I am interested in is how much push back westerners will receive. Thai culture is very interested in the west and western standards of beauty are very strong among the people. I wonder how much that will change if the junta leader manages to get a greater control over the media and can tear down well-known and important foreigners.
Joceline Hernandez

Mark Kelly, Donald Trump weigh in on gun control debate following Oregon shooting

In this article, Mark Kelly, the husband of ex-congresswoman and gun violence survivor Gabby Giffords, claims that the government needs to have tougher gun control laws. He says that the gun control laws make it easy for a stalker or a mentally ill person to be able to own a gun. After another mass shooting in Oregon where 10 innocent people ended up dead, he says that government definitely needs to have stricter gun laws. On the other hand, Donald Trump, is against stricter gun control laws. Even after the mass shooting in Oregon he still thinks that the gun control laws should not be stricter. In my personal opinion, I definitely do agree with Mark Kelly and I think that we need to have stricter gun control laws. I think that it will lead to less mass shootings in the United States and it will make everyone feel safer.

Miljana Kumati

China sending member of Politburo Standing Committee for North Korean commemorations

Since the beginning of time, China and Korea have always been neighbors. Korea was a part of China up until the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, when China was forced to relinquish power to Japan. When the Chinese recognized the independence of Korea after the treaty, they didn't, however, disconnect completely from their over seas neighbors. Korea did not automatically, however, become independent. There was much bloodshed to free Korea from the grasps of Japanese Colonialism.

Following the second Sino-Japanese war and Japanese surrender in 1945, the Chinese yet again had Korea's back. As one of the signers on the Cairo Declaration, China once again came to Korea's defense. The Cairo Declaration declared Korea independent and free from Japanese Colonialism. The Chinese also provided support for Korea during the Korean War.

Being North Korea's largest economic support, China had grounds to express their feelings about the third nuclear test in early 2013. This seemingly friendly alliance became incredibly tainted.

China does not seem to know exactly what they want. In 2013 in talks with President Obama, there was a clear desire to denuclearize China. Yet not even 4 years prior regarding the human rights crisis China would not sell them out. Is it just plain old fear? Or is there truly a mutually beneficial relationship?

If there truly is a soured relationship, as exemplified by Kim Jung-un's refusal to visit Beijing, then there begs the question, why is China extending their hand and attending the 70th anniversary of an absolutely terrorizing regime? What ulterior motives lie below this visit (if any)?

As such an unsteady and unpredictable regime continues to commit unimaginable crimes, one has to question if and when it will fall. And how catastrophic will that fall be even if they have China on their side? Will China be the one to knock down the first domino? Only time will tell what will happen regarding the multiple-millennium-long relationship that is China and North Korea. And perhaps more importantly, what will happen to the terrorizing regime under the control of Kim-Jung-un. What do we, as average citizens, actually know about what is going on in the minds of China's governmental officials, or in Kim Jung-un's.

Ellen Kent

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Airstrike Hits Hospital in Afghanistan; at Least 19 Killed

At least 19 people were killed when a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz was badly damaged early Saturday after being hit by what appears to have been an American airstrike, sparking international outrage.

The United States military confirmed an airstrike at 2:15 a.m., saying it had been targeting individuals “who were threatening the force” and that “there may have been collateral damage to a nearby medical facility."

The airstrike Saturday set off fires that were still burning hours later, and a nurse who survived described seeing colleagues so badly burned that they had died. At least 12 hospital staff members and seven patients, including three children, were killed in the strike.

“A few are still missing, they might have been buried in the rubble,” he said, declining to give his name because employees of Doctors Without Borders are not allowed to speak to reporters without authorization.

President Ashraf Ghani’s office released a statement Saturday evening saying that Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of American forces in Afghanistan, had apologized for the strike. However, General Campbell said in a statement that he was “aware of an incident that occurred at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz” but stopped short of taking responsibility, saying that the airstrike “was conducted against insurgents who were directly firing upon U.S. service members advising and assisting Afghan Security Forces.”

Airstrikes resulting in civilian casualties have caused tensions verging on hostility between the Afghan government and the United States for years. The former president, Hamid Karzai, was often in the uncomfortable position of explaining to his countrymen why Afghanistan’s biggest ally was killing innocent Afghans.

The strike came as the United States, for the first time since it began withdrawing most of its soldiers from Afghanistan, has begun to play an increasingly active role in the fight there. It is trying to support Afghan troops overwhelmed by the Taliban in Kunduz Province.

Eryn Sanclemente 

Russia will Increase its Syrian Airstrikes

Claiming that the first round of airstrikes have been successful, Russia plans to intensify its airstrkes against militants in the region. Russia stated that these airstrikes were to attack the Islamic State militants, but information about where the airstrikes occurred suggests that these airstrikes were actually targeted at government opposition forces. 

Put simply, Russia is lying about the actual targets of the airstrikes. It's obvious, and they know that the west knows they're lying about it. The statement that they will intensify the airstrikes is a message that they are going to continue their air action against Syrian rebels in support of the Assad regime. Although it would be a loss for human rights, it's probably best for the west to step down and allow Russia to handle this messy situation. 

Death toll rises in suspected US airstrike on Afghan hospital

Early this morning an US airstrike had accidently hit an Afghan hospital. The US had bombed the Afghan city of Kunduz as they believed the Taliban had recently taken control of the city last Monday. But, unfortunately the aerial attack had damaged and killed people at the local hospital including terrorists that were hiding inside the hospital. The US had released a statement saying that it was caused by collateral damage and that they had no intentions of bombing the hospital although it appeared that way because they did kill terrorists in the hospital but also innocent doctors and workers as well. They said they were threatened by forces which led to the attack and a total of nine people have been reported dead with several other severely injured. The Afghan government and the Taliban had been going back and forth trying to gain control of Kunduz. The US had been helping the government with airstrikes and other international forces had been helping them on the ground to prevent the Taliban of taking control. Hurting and killing staff members of the local hospital obviously wasn't the United States intentions but they felt threatened so they had to react accordingly. I'm sure we will be hearing more of this in the next couple days.

Hayden Witt

Friday, October 2, 2015

Nigeria's Abuja 'hit by two blasts'

"Two bomb blasts have rocked the outskirts of the Nigerian Capital, with casualties reported, officials say."

The Islamic group Boko Haram have targeted the capital of Borno state, Maiduguri, before this bombing, back in 2009.  The main focus for the continued attacks are to gain the north-east portion of Nigeria.

This campaign has been going on for years, but during this year, the security forces have reclaimed parts of the territory that have been captured by the Boko Haram fighters and have also freed many of the people that have been taken by the group.

This article also mentions the number of people that have died since Boko Haram began its insurgency.  Many people have died because of this group and how they want to carve out an Islamic state within Nigeria.

Ashley Karling

Japaese Citizens Acused of Spying on China

China Arrests Two Japanese Citizens for Alleged Spying

Two private Japanese citizens have been arrested in China for conducting spy like activities. This is not the first time China has arrested people going off limited amount of information, claiming individuals to be spyong on their country. This not the first time that China has detained individuals on suspicion of conducting espionage like activities.With those instances the accused were released with in a week to ten days after being arrested and found there was nothing suspicious going on. In this situation that does not seem to be the case; China claims that they just arrested they two people just the other day. While Japan on the other hand claims they have been detained since May. These are two very different stories, its hard to determine who is telling the truth.

Regardless of the actually time frame this activity raises some eye brows especially when looking at the other activity going on in the area between these two powerful states. There have been some heightened tense between the two countries as both as in disagreement over some small islands they both say they have claims to. Just a few weeks ago Japan got clearance from their government to expand their military power and the Navy's ability to venture out for the first time since WWII. On the other side China a few weeks ago had a parade showing off their military strength. And now this, one can only speculate what is going on. A fair judgement to make from these turn of events would be the both heads of states seem to be acting as a realist, looking out for their own self interest.

A side note to add to this mess, the President of Japan has recently made a comment saying they would like to strengthen their relations with China. Words mean one thing but actions mean another.

Alex Benson

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Human Rights Activists Condemn Houthi Militia's Atrocities Against Women in Yemen

Human Rights Activists Condemn Houthi Militia's Atrocities Against Women in Yemen

Dr. Mona Hejres, a member of the Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) and head of Together for Human Rights, expressed that women had faced human rights crimes including killing, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, and use of excessive force during the revolution that drove Saleh out of power. Houthi militia and Saleh group are to blame for the murders, forced disappearances, and kidnappings.  On top of this, the people are deprived of the basic educational and health services.  To help correct this treatment, Dr. Mona Hejres has called upon the international community to act on their responsibilities to help protect the Yemeni people. She also appealed to the UN Security Council to enforce its resolutions on Yemen and ensure protection, safety and security for its people, and particularly women.

Tom Sora
"An Israeli couple was shot dead while they were driving through the occupied West Bank" and Israeli forces believe that the person who did this was Palestinian. Apparently the couple was killed in Itamar, a Jewish settlement, and the four children in the car were unhurt. There were gunshot wounds in the man and severe wounds in the woman. Both were dead when the paramedics got there. 

There has been a hatred for so long between the Muslims and Jews there. The holy site called the Temple Mount is a sacred place that the Jews believe is rightfully theirs; a gift from God. The Muslims also believe that it is rightfully theirs. Both religions have "proof" in the holy scriptures that the place was meant for them. There will always be these tensions between these people because both are certain that the are correct. There is no sharing the Temple Mount; they must have it for themselves. 

These tensions have been going on for so long that it seems almost impossible for it to ever stop. I completely understand where both sides are coming from in relations to not giving up the Temple Mount. If the holy text that they so proudly believe in tell them that it is theirs, of course they will fight for it and protect it. It is noble but on one hand it is so violent. The violence and brutality never stops and so many suffer for it.

Paulina Noga

College Shooting in Oregon

13 people have been killed in a shooting at Umpqua Community College in the US state of Oregon.

20 year old student opened fire in a classroom Thursday morning which caused the death of 13 and injured many. President Obama has exaperatedly responded with "We are not the only country on Earth with mental illness or with people who want to harm to each other, but we are the only country that has these mass shootings every few months."

He is absolutely right. Over the past years, we have had multiple shootings on college campus', elementary schools, movie theaters, along with shopping centres, and yet we do not learn from experience.

One would think that most establishments, especially schools would have formal security staff. It's understandable that many schools and public establishments refrain from having formal security staff because of the "bad" and unsafe image that such may generate. However, I think that it would be best to have such image than to have wounded and fatally hurt citizens.

Although the gunman's motives are unknown, there are reports in which he had warned of his intentions on social media. As far as being captured, the gunman died in a shootout with the police.
Now what are we going to do? Brush it off? Continue to ignore mental illnesses?  Not take any measures and wait for the next president to figure it out?

If the U.K. and Australia have been able to figure it out, then so should we. After all, aren't we the most powerful?

Rosie Torres

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Russia and Israel cosy up over Syria

"Though on opposing sides of the Syrian conflict, Netanyahu and Putin agree on a lot."

Vladimir Putin expressed Russia's strong support for the Syrian army against ISIS at the UN General Assembly this week as Israel launched three missiles at the outposts of that very same army.  Israel is definitely not intimidated by Russia's military presence in Syria. However, the emergency meeting between Putin and Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has "put Israeli minds at ease" since Russia has agreed not to jeopardize Israeli's strategic interests in Russia, and Israel has agreed to not help those who try to jeopardize Russia-Syria relations.

Israel is largely benefitting from its agreement to not sell arms to either of Putin's neighboring Rivals, Ukraine and Georgia, as well as the drone technology they have supplied Russia with. Although Russia has continued supplying Israel's enemies with weapons, they haven't supplied Iran advanced systems, much to Israel's satisfaction. 

Israel has been diversifying its alliances, which includes Putin as well as leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, and Japan. Although Netanyahu has a shaky relationship with Obama, America's decreasing influence over the middle east is going to benefit Israel anyway. 

Upasna Barath

Russia Launches Airstrikes in Syria, Adding a New Wrinkle

After reading this article, I was just in shock of how terrible of a condition Syria is in right now. I'm not an expert by any means in International Politics, and honestly before this class, had barely any knowledge of international politics, but it seems to me that what Vladimir Putin did today is extremely dangerous. Putin, who is the president of Russia, ordered an airstrike in Syria today. This makes the current situation in Syria that much worse. What really stuck out to me is what are the true intentions of Russia doing this. Russia has stated that the reason they are in Syria is to fight ISIS, but the airstrike took place in the central city of Homs. Homs is not really home to ISIS, but to groups who are against Bashar al-Assad, who is Syria's president. It should be noted that Assad is an ally for Russia. I believe Russia did this just to protect Assad, with very little interest in fighting ISIS. Also, in the article they mention how this will not go over well with western Diplomats. They warned Russia that fighting opposed groups who want Assad out of power is very dangerous. To me, I could just imagine Putin responding with a yeah oh well type of attitude. He does what he wants, and when he wants. Russia did warn the United States hours before the attacks that they were conducting an air mission. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It seems that Russia is just saying watch out America, because we are going to protect Bashar al-Assad. Another interesting twist to this is that America does not want Assad in power. Americans feel that for stable peace to occur, Assad must go. It is going to be much harder to get Assad out of power now with Russia helping him. This just goes to show that states are protecting their own interests. Russia wants Assad in power, and is willing to go to great lengths to keep him there. The article also mentions other reasons for why Putin would do this, such as to draw attention away from the Ukraine conflict and there troubling economy. This is towards the bottom of the article, and before getting to this part, I was actually thinking that Putin might be doing this to draw away attention to how weak Russia is right now. From what I have read about where Russia is as a country right now, they have all seemed to agree on the fact that Russia is as weak as it may ever have been. This would be a great way for Putin to strengthen the perception of Russia. Overall, I do not believe this issue in Syria will go away anytime soon, and it's kinda of sad. I hope everything gets better in Syria, especially for the refugees.

Milto Deli


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Greece’s Debt Crisis Explained by The New York Times

What if Greece left the Eurozone?
“At the height of the debt crisis a few years ago, many experts worried that Greece’s problems would spill over to the rest of the world. If Greece defaulted on its debt and exited the Eurozone, they argued, it might create global financial shocks bigger than the collapse of Lehman Brothers did.”

            Europe is a continent that was the center of two major military world conflicts in the first half of the twentieth century. At the end of the last century, the European Union was established as a central organization that would strengthen Europe. However, different generations have varying viewpoints as to the success of the European Union. For Europeans younger than fifty years old, the European Union is the root cause of Europe’s economic crisis. However, Europeans older than fifty years old realize that the European Union has been influential in maintaining peace on the continent.  The European Union needs to see the proverbial “big picture” and work together for the benefit of all of its countries. Although the system is relative new and adjustments are necessary, I am convinced that maintaining the European Union is the solution.
Yiby Person

Conflict in the Central African Republic

Violence in the Central African Republic is getting worse as ”transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza was in New York at the U.N. General Assembly.” Over the past few days at least 42 people have been killed, and on Monday over 500 prisoners had escaped from jail. The unrest is  “sparked by the death of a Muslim man whose body was left near a mosque.” Then over the weekend Muslim militants retaliated and killed several people in a Christian neighborhood.  

U.S. officials have condemned the unrest and have pledged their full support to Samba-Panza and her government. U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement, "We fully support the efforts of the Central African and international forces to re-establish order and bring these perpetrators to justice." “The era during which such individuals have been able to carry out their malevolent actions with impunity must come to an end."

The religious and ethnic unrest has been going on since 2013 when “Muslim Séléka rebels seized power in the majority Christian country.” Over the past two years the rebels have divided a nation, and continuous violence has killed thousands of people. There is an election scheduled to replace the interim president on October 18th but many experts don’t see the election actually happening on time as the violence continues. The Pope is also scheduled to visit in November as he tours Africa. It will be interesting to see if he follows through with his visit if there is still uncontrollable violence in the country. It will also be interesting to see if once a new president is elected, if they can bring this unrest to a stop and lessen the divide between the two religions.

Ashley Rot