Sunday, May 31, 2009

Afghan Valley Offers Test for Obama Strategy

With the driving out of Taliban forces from Afghan valley territory of Jalrez Bazaar by US forces and the Taliban's subsequent flight from the territory offers a newfound freedom of transport and trade for Afghani merchants that was not present before. The results from the valley's freedom indicate positive results from the Obama administration's policy of increased troop presence in Afghanistan, and the valley serves as a test case for how this adjustment of forces will affect the region. While the early results look good, it is still no indication of how successful the plan will be as a whole. In the face of a complex social and political array of tribes and ethnicities, the US must not only pacify the insurgent effort, but it must turn the populace away from it through the establishment of a new, effect state force, including police, education, and economic opportunity. As an American officer puts it, "It's construction, not reconstruction." Part of the problem includes the concern that the insurgents have fled the area only to return some time later, thus nullifying much of the pacification effort. This is not without validity, as the Taliban has taken advantage of the thinly-spread American troop presence to lure them away form critical areas only to strike once they have left. In addition, there is the worry of low-level criminals focused more on profit than on principal-based motivation. US defense hopes that both of these problems can be resolved via mass-increase of troop presence due to population as well as tempting potential "money" insurgents away from crime with money/job opportunities. While still dissatisfied with the foreign troop presence, most Afghanis are tolerant of the US troop presence so long as they provide the necessary security and humanitarian effort to get the people back on their feet. Regardless, cultural strife along with continued isolated attacks fray relations between the two sides, and the reconstruction effort still has a considerable way to go. While the early positives are comforting to see, will the increased US presence finally start to give the Afghanis the prosperous and, most importantly, safe life they need to turn the situation around? Time will tell.

North Korea may launch long-range missile in weeks: report

By Adham Nemeh

This article is talking about possibility that North Korea might test a new long- range missile, which can reach the United States, and they are talking about how this missile is designed to strike the United States in case of any attack on North Korea. North Korea already made many tests in the past two weeks. This is not a positive point to North Korea, because most of the countries around the world are against the North Korean tests. This might end up in a war since the powerful countries around the world are trying to negotiate with North Korea they refused. This will lead for a war because using force is the only option will be available for the powerful countries. I believe North Korea is taking advantages of what is going on around the war of wars. They see how United States is already involved in many wars, and how it got weaker. I think they North Korea is mistaken because they are over doing it.

Cuba, U.S. to resume talks on migration, mail service

By Joe Kain
Original Article Here
Cuba has accepted the rcent U.S. overture to resume negotions between the two countries. These current negotions are going to be on mail service and migration. No date has been set up for the talks.

I see this as something only positive. Restarting talks with Cuba is something that should not have been suspended. The most positive thing is the hopeful fact that maybe in the future Cuban cigars will not be banned in America making them easily accessible.

Al-Qaeda Distrupted...Again

The Washington Post reports that according to a military report Al-Qaeda has been disrupted in its operations in the Swat valley. Thus helping the Pakistani army in defeating the common enemy. Furthermore, U.S. Officials say that these attacks will make the terrorist group more visible as it will have to use the internet and cellphone to communicate and find out information on the situation amongst its own ranks.

Now by now we have heard that Al-Qaeda has been severely damaged for the 100th time probably, yet each time it manages to find new recruits. Maybe with these strikes in order also the U.S. should launch a massive humanitarian and educational campaign which will target young Afghans and cut down on the Al-Qaeda recruiting power.

But what is very interesting is the fact that in the era of globalization, even the terrorist use cellphones and the internet, it seems that the IT boom has not missed them either. Let's also try to maybe introduce more capitalism, and soon the emails Al-Qaeda will be sending will be about which stocks to buy, and the cellphone conversations will be about whether Gucci or Armani is better.

Australia Says Melbourne Attacks on Indian Students Disturbing

By. Adnan Shaukat

Australia has been condemned by Indian authorities for not doing enough to stop racially motivated attacks aganist its students who are learning abroad. The Australian Prime Minister called the Indian PM to express how disturbed he was after last months' attack where a student was stabbed in the head by a screw-driver and still in the hospital after being left in a coma state. This Island country has 75,000 Indian students which make up 18% of its foreign study abroad student body.

These racially motivated attacks have been occurring for years in the last 12 months 70 students have been attacked. The Indian Student Board committee has asked the government to start a awareness program.

This attack and like many others are a serious problem for developed countries who rely on foreign labor (educated) for high-demanding jobs, that most of there local population are not capable of doing. If this does not stop potential students will be looking else-where for future employment which will deprive Australia the most needed brain-power.

First Talk with the Big Dog

by Sarah Richardson

Yesterday the US Treasury Chief left for China for the first major visit of the Obama administration. The idea is to strengthen the US-China relationship. Some are concerned based on the recently increased debt and dependence on China. I thought that it was particularly interesting considering our recent discussion about new world powers on the rise. The fact that China is concerned about the security of their investment in the American economy is something to think about.

Isreal stages biggest-ever war drill

By: Kelsey Gierzynski
According to CNN Isreal had a war drill that lasted five days. The government said it was done to help become more prepared for war. The drill will be done by schools, government offices, military, and public places. Civilians are told to go into a safe place that would protect them from any attack. The government said it wold include simulated air raids, rockets, and even would include use of weapons towards civilians. Civilians are supposed to look for a safe place to go to when this happens.
Iran is the country that Isreal is concerned most about. This concern grew when they started looking an nuclear weapons. They are concerned they are a target because of their support of Obama, as one of the reasons Iran would strike. While drills have happened recently this is the biggest one yet.

Republican Reaction to Sotomayor

Steve Stack

In an article in the Chicago Tribune the flip-flopping of Republicans concerning the tactics taken towards the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court was brought into light. Many Republicans, early on, were slow to criticize Sotomayor and call her a racist as many ultra-conservatives have already done. Now as the nomination process continues on, many are back tracking and are justifying the playing of the "race card". I think this is going to be a painful mistake by Republicans. Though they are in a tough spot to begin with in challenging Obama's pick, they are only digging themselves a bigger grave by following in the minds and footsteps of Gingrich and Limbaugh. What the Republican Party does not need any more attacks on minorities and to play a race card against a minority. It blows my mind that they openly charge her with potentially being a racist and not being able to be a "fair" judge because her life experiences influence her decision. The article makes a great point in that Justices Scalia and Alito have already admitted that their Italian backgrounds influence their decisions as judges. I also find it disturbing that the Republican Party is not for diverse life experiences in the Supreme Court when diversity would only benefit the decision making process of the nation's leading legal decion makers. In the end I believe playing a race card here, especially with such limited and unsubstantial evidence is just going to help Democrats and Independents build stronger coalitions against the Republican Party.

NATO exercises in Georgia come to close

The NATO military exercises in Georgia are ending as Russia continues to condemn them and call them provocative acts. The drills are taking place near South Ossetia, a disputed region that is recognized as independent by Russia. The drills were especially tense because Russia has based troops there since the war. Officials representing South Ossetia suggested other motives saying, “We do not rule out that the NATO-led exercises in Georgia are deliberately held in order to thwart the election in South Ossetia.” The exercises consisted of a crisis-response situation and a peacekeeping situation and run until June 3. According to some analysts, Georgia is demonstrating its desire to join NATO by hosting the exercises. The Russian President has said that the exercises are dangerous due to their proximity to Russian troops and provocative because they come so soon after the conflict between Georgia and Russia.
By Nathan Rutz

For G.M., a Step Toward Bankruptcy and a New Start

Matt Boguslawski

GM is planning to file to for bankruptcy protection on Monday.  The fate of this company and its employees has been in the minds of everyone, symbolizing the current economic downfall of which the US and the rest of the world is currently suffering.  President Obama is to give a speech covering his support of this route GM has chosen to take.  The company is to begin government support as soon as the bankruptcy has been filed.  With bankruptcy being the plan for GM who knows what other major companies are planning.

north korea threatens to attack south korea

by sunny singh

I personally do not believe this will happen between North and South Korea unless South Korea attacks first. The south has family ties trapped over in the North. I believe North Korea is just testing these missiles because they know we’re impotent. If a war ever occurs with North Korea, it would be “won” by the US and its allies, the amount of damage would be enormous. The two biggest cities in the world, by population are Seoul and Tokyo and they are within the short-range missile capabilities. A boob over these two urban areas would lead to huge loss of life.

Is Disney really being stereoypical?

By: Marissa Rankins

I'm not exactly sure that this is totally world news, but it is a very good topic and kind of pretains to me so I felt like I should wirte on it.

It's finally happened: Disney's first black princess. You would think that the community would be happy over this news, especially since Disney has gone so far as to promote other countries through their princesses before hitting one of the United States biggest cultural influences. They have and Arabian Jasmine, a Chinese Mulan, and even and Indian Pocahontas who even though she is technically from the United States Indians are one of the biggest minorities. There weren't any controversies when these princesses came to the screen, but now all of a sudden its an issue when a black princess takes the stage. I give Disney major props for doing this, regardless if it seems like they should of done it a little sooner. The controversies, though, are coming from the movie itself. The movie is set in 1920's New Orleans and the Tiana, the main character, is actually a waitress. The movie is full of New Orleans themes and jazz music. Another controversy is that the prince in the movie isn't even black, he's Brazilian. Seriously, people need to stop reading so much into a children's movie and jsut be happy that there is a movie out there now that has a black princess and is from Disney. The next step Disney should take is a Mexican princess. They might as well keep the issue going since they have started it. How are other races going to see this movie, though? Are they even going to care? Especially since Disney has pretty much covered every other race. I don't know wheter to be happy about this change or skeptical. Obviously if it took Disney this long to finally create a black princess then they probably don't really care about the issue that much either.

Pakistan retakes main town in Swat Valley

This is a major milestone in Pakistan's fight with the Taliban. It lends credence to the idea that this is a real offensive aimed at destroying the militants, not just another token gesture to appease the US before making a peace agreement with the militants again. On the bad side, most of the town center was destroyed and extensive damage was done to the rest of the town, although, with the lifting of the curfew people were already returning and beginning to buy and sell. On top of this the Pakistani military says that it is continue operations into the countryside as well. It appears that with this most recent attack against the militants that Pakistan is seriously trying to rid the country of them.

by Andrew Horton

Cuba, U.S. to resume talks on migration, mail service

by: Salma bawazir
Cuba has decided to resume recommence with the US over migration mail services. As of now mail services through third party courtiers. The Cuban has raised the prospect of the future discussions about counter narcotics, counter terrorism. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commenced a visit to Central America Sunday, among new US steps on the way to ties with Cuba that Washington anticipation will slow an unexpected regional push to end Havana's separation. I think it will positive input if there can be mail delivered between two nations.

Cuba and U.S. to Resume Talks on Migration and Mail Service

By: Peter Fribert

Cuba has agreed to resume talks with the United States over issues such as migration and mail service between the two countries, two senior State Department officials said to CNN. Currently, mail service between the United States and Cuba goes through different third-party countries. This comes after the Bush Administration in January 2004 suspended any all talks on migration with Cuba and Hillary Clinton currently leaving for El Salvador and Honduras. No date or time has been set for the talks between Cuba and the United States.

A resumption of talks would follow President Obama's easing of family travel and financial restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba.

US and China eye economic co-ordination

Brian Murray

Representatives from the United States and China are meeting in order to align economic interests in this financial hardship. The US and China will be discussing exit strategies from this crisis. The Federal Reserve feels that the rise in yields are part of the normalization process and are monitoring this activity closely. More importantly,China is concerned with the $1,400 bn in assets and the security of our fiscal policy. The tricky part of these negotiations is setting short term policies that can be easily converted into long term plannings.

When China and the US discuss exit strategies, important facts are omitted. As a primary financial investment rule: High Risk, High Return. The United States and China working out exit strategies implies they wish to seek a high return following these current financial situations.

It's all the rave

by megan smith

Child soldiers that is. Everyone's doing it--abducting children from their homes, brainwashing them, telling them that if they sing hymns and rub themselves with holy water God will protect them from bullets, and forcing them to kill. I mean, it worked for the LRA right? Oh, wait, I forgot, it didn't work! Then why is Chad's rebel group (UFR)trying it out? Granted, the LRA were able to kill many many people, but in the end, it's not like they gained what they were after. Unicef is currently working to obtain 80 of the children. Unfortunately, it is too late for an unknown amount of children who have already died in a conflict they never wanted.

Doctor who performed abortions shot to death

By: Latoyia Kimbrough

CNN reports that Dr. George Tiller, 67, was shot and killed outside his Reformation Lutheran Church, shortly after 10 a.m. His Wichita, Kansas women's clinic has been the target of anti-abortion protests for years. Tiller was one of the few U.S. physicians who still performed late-term abortions but he survived a 1993 shooting. Wichita police said they were searching for a powder-blue Ford Taurus in connection with the killing. Witnesses to the killing provided a license plate number of the car the killer used to speed away from the church. The anti-abortion group Operation Rescue has led numerous demonstrations at Tiller's clinic but they condemned the shooting as a "cowardly act." Recently in March 2009 Tiller was acquitted of 19 counts of performing procedures unlawfully at his clinic which was in response to the charges made by abortion opponents. On the Operation Rescue website they refer to Tiller as a "monster" who has "been able to get away with murder." Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, called Tiller "a mass murderer." Randall also gave a written statement saying, “I am more concerned that the Obama administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder, and we still must call abortion by its proper name." If Tiller was killed because of his work, he will be the fourth U.S. physician killed by abortion opponents since 1993.

The "Great Recession"

By: Katie Pfefferle

Recent news on the global economy indicates that things are looking up. The GDP contraction in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2009 was less than it has been. Japanese factory output rose by 5.2%, the largest percentage monthly increase in half a century. Even Europe’s numbers are less gloomy. Consumer confidence in the U.K. has grown and as have retail sales in Germany. For some hopeful economists these are all signs that the global recession is coming to an end.

However, as an article in The Economist argues, these encouraging signs really aren’t very indicative of the real sitatuion. Instead, a more sober analysis is needed. For example, “when a particular figure outdoes predictions it may be because those expectations were overly pessimistic, rather than a sign that something fundamental has changed for the better.” The increased retail sales and consumer confidence in German and the U.K. respectively could be temporary results of retailer incentives. The fundamental causes of the recession still haven’t been adequately addressed. Not enough has been done for the credit and financial problems at the root of the recession. Yes, consumption has been historically able to end recessions but consumers now are strapped with more debt than ever and are much less willing to open their wallets.

Until the financial institutions are better strengthened we shouldn’t expect to see an end to the global recession in the near future.

Cuba Open to Additional Direct Talks With U.S.

By: Michelle Cole

In this article from the New York Times today, it says that Cuba is willing to continue talking about issues of migration, as well as with a postal service link between us and them. In addition to this, they said that they are willing to talk about drug issues, counter terrorism, and disaster relief issues. These talks are showing how Obama is trying to take steps to open up communication with Cuba, and how we are finally starting to be able to work with them.

The article goes on to talk about how Hillary Clinton was in Honduras talking about if Cuba would be allowed back in the Organization of American States. Clinton said she didn't see that happening until Havana adopted more democratic ways. Overall this article shows how we are starting to become more open to talking with Cuba, and hopefully we will be able to work something out with them to open up trade and communication with them.

Attacking the Issue of Child Soldiers

Madeline Moton

According to BBC news reports the UN is attempting to release over 80 child soldiers in Chad taken prisoner by the Chad army during rebel fighting. After their capture, Unicef arrived to withdraw child under the age of 17 from the groups of child soldiers and taken them to a demobilization center as soon and as quickly as possible. As expected, Unicef and the Red Cross have been pushing and proding at the Chadian government to allow them access to the children. According to Unicef, the government has been allowing them access to the most recent captives, however interestingly enough, both sides (the rebels and the govenment) have been constantly using child soldiers.

Many non-governmental orginaztions (NGOs) are getting invloved in the issue of child soldiers, including a British actor who is the Unicef Goodwill Ambassador. In 2007 Chad signed the Paris Engagements on the protection of children which obliges them to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers.

The Progress that is being made towards abolishing child soldiering is beginning to make a difference in the international system, with more countries and individuals becoming aware of the degree of negativty and human rights loss recruting children to be soldiers brings. The only problem now however that the UN and other international orginations will be facing more, is how to get the countries that do child soldiering to stop completely anf forever.

Rallies in California

by Jessica Goerke

A march led by gay marriage supporters was held Saturday, May 30th in California. Marchers were escorted by California Highway Patrol from Selma, CA as they continued into Fresno City to express opposition to the Courts ruling on Proposition 8. One veteran activist commented, "Fresno represents middle America values, and we can start changing our neighbors' feelings about gay marriage beginning right here in the Central Valley. We're doing exactly what the freedom riders would do in the South in the 1960s, which is reaching into communities that are different from us so we can all live in equality."

In response to the march, opponents of gay marriage are also voicing their opinion. Rallies in Fresno City and San Diego will take place to celebrate weddings between men and women.

North Korea at it again.

David Sibley

According to this article, North Korea seems to be preparing to do another missile test. However, it is believed that North Korea still does not have the technological capability to add a nuclear device to any of its warheads, and that the transport and preparing this missile could take a possible few weeks. I think that if this turns out to be true, then it shows that North Korea may be suffering from an internal crisis due to the succession of Kim Jong-il, or a way for the North to try and get its way from the other major nations. However, I think that the communist nation could soon find itself able to garner any attention as it continues to behave like an irratic toddler, and may attempt to do something foolhardy and dangerous to itself and other nations to regain international attention.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mexican Navy Rescues 5 Men Adrift for Weeks

By Stephanie Gesselle

The Mexican navy rescued five Ecuadorians Wednesday. The five aboard identified themselves as Jaime Arturo Alaba Chavez, the 35-year-old captain; Víctor Hugo Alaba Chavez, the 32-year-old cook; Edison Prado Alaba, a 27-year-old sailor; Carlos Cheme Vazquez, a 37-year-old sailor; and Raul Contreras Vera, a 64-year-old machinist. The men had been adrift in a fishing boat off the coast of Chiapas. According to the men they had deported May 6 and when their engine died five days later they had been forced to stay on the boat with no food or supplies. The men had signaled a passing plane for help and the Mexican navy responded with a 49 foot vessel which carried out the rescue. They were examined by medical personal who determined that they were dehydrated. Mexican officials believe that the boat may have been used for illicit purposes.

Convicted killer beheaded, put on display in Saudi Arabia

By Stephanie Gesselle

On Friday, a Saudi Arabian man was beheaded for murder. The man was sentenced to death for the murder of an 11 year old boy and his father. The boy was kidnapped, tied, up and strangled to death. The boys father came to find him and the murderer axed the father to death. The head of the murderer Al-Anzi was publicly displayed. The ministry argues that the head must be displayed as a warning and deterrent to others.
The display has caused major controversy among human rights agencies. According to the Saudi Interior Ministry the man was sentenced to death and crucifixion. Human rights agencies are outraged by this public display because it does not reflect Christianity in any form. According to officials the “crucifixion” was misinterpreted and the public display is not appropriate. Amnesty International issued a statement deploring the punishment, with the group's Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui saying in a statement it is "horrific" that beheading and crucifixions "still happen." They added that the death penalty is used in excess in Saudi Arabia and that the system should be monitored. In many cases individuals are not informed of their rights and our convicted based on confessions obtained through duress.

Gitmo detainees in Australia

By: Brionna Givens

A third request has been sent to Australia asking them to take in some Gitmo detainees according to Stephen Smith, Australia's Foreign Minister. The detainees that are in question are ten Uighurs, Muslims from northwestern China. They have been in Gitmo for six years. The US will not allow them to live in the US even though they are not considered enemy combatants anymore. Also the US will not send them back to China for fear that they will be tortured and executed. Stephen Smith stated that the Australian government will "consider these on a case-by-case basis". But an Australian opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull said "Australia should not accept any former terror suspects that the United States is not prepared to take in."

Three Men Hanged in Iran for Mosque bombing

By: Rachel Polster

On Saturday three men who were involved in a bombing of a mosque in Zahedan were hanged. The explosion occurred two days earlier that killed at least 20 and injured over 125 people. A judiciary spokesman told the state-fun news agency that the men, Haji Noti Zehi, Gholam Rasoul Shai Zehi, and Zabilhollah Naroubi had smuggled the explosives in the country. The three men were hanged in public right before the funerals of the people that were killed. They were charged with waging war (against God), corruption on earth and activities against the state. They had confessed to their crime and had also been connected to past bombings and hostage taking incidents.

Pakistan secures key Swat Valley city

Aundrea Entrekin
The Pakistani military says security forces have taken back the city of Mingora from the Taliban, calling it a significant victory in its offensive against the Taliban. Mingora is the largest city in Pakistan's Swat Valley where security forces have been fighting the Taliban in a month-long offensive."It is a great accomplishment," said Pakistani Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. "This is the largest city in Swat and for all practical purposes, Mingora has been secured."The fighting has uprooted about 2.4 million Pakistanis from their homes in the northwestern region of the country, according to the latest data from the United Nations. Of those displaced, about 10 percent -- or 240,000 -- are living in refugee camps, according to the U.N.This is important because any blow to the taliban is a very good thing.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Clout in College

Justin Lynch

The Chicago Tribune had an astonishing report on how Illinois politicans were able to get children, kids of friends, and even people they barely know admitted to U of I, some with subpar academic records. Stuff like this probably happens at private colleges and it's understandable. Higher education is no different from politics: money buys influence, and if a big donor wants a grandson admitted, it probably gets done. However, with a school that uses taxpayer money, this is appalling.

U of I is the conscience of this state. Its high quality research, athletics, and standards make it one of the best schools in Illinois and certainly the Midwest. Not surprisingly, soon after the report the U of I president pledged to review the admissions system.

Magna to save Opel

By: Almas Khan

Finance minister Peer Steinbrueck, said that a deal has been made. Germany agreed to a deal with Magna International which is a Canadian car parts maker, to take over Opel which is part of the US car maker GM. In Berlin German politicians, US government officials and executives from GM Magna have met. They met to discuss about General Motors which is a parent company of Opel, is going to file for bankruptcy protection in the US in the next five years. The German government is going to provide 1.5bn euros as a loan. Magna also said that it will put more than 500m euros into Opel. Magna is backed by a Russian bank and Truckmaker. The reason why this is so important for Germanys economy is because Opel employs more than 25,000 people in Germany. By June 1st the ownership of the US based business is going to be shared between the US government which will own 72.5% of it and the union's health trust which will own 17.5% and GM's former creditors.

The Health of a Likely Presidential Candidate Comes Under Brazil’s Microscope

By: Micah Bacheller

She is known as the "Iron Lady" and has helped President Lula really gain the favor of the masses in his second term. Her name is Dilma Yousseff, and she is expected to be the successor of Lula at the end of his second term. Presently she is Lula's chief of staff, but aspires to much more. There are a couple of problems with Ms.Yousseff rise to power. She currently has cancer, and is constantly at the hospital for her treatment. She is gaining popularity, and Lula has pushed her into that position as his own successor. Since she does have the blessing hand of Lula, people think she will be elected in 2010. The problem is that when the first election after the military dictatorship happened in 1985, the then voter winner president Tancredo Neves died before being sworn into office. The Brazilian people are afraid that might happen again.

Another problem is that there are speculations that Lula might try and alter the constitution so that he could run for another term. This would start pushing Brazil to an authoritarian regime, and that would not go well with the USA. On the other hand, with Lula pushing Yousseff to the front, it reminded me of what happened in Russia with Putin and Mediedved. Although it is hard to say if Lula will seek to stay in power somehow or not, because their is no position such as a prime minister in Brazil.

US to host next G20 world meeting

By: Micah Bacheller

The White house has confirmed that the next G20 summit of world leaders will happen in the United States. The meetings will take place in Pittsburgh, on September 24th and 25th. The great leaders will meet to discuss how the decisions of the last summit in London are working. They will go over the implementation of the plan so far, and decide if further money is needed to try and jump start the economy.
The choice of location is also interesting to look at. First, the USA was chosen as a country to host the summit. This demonstrates that the US is trying to reach out, listen and be open minded about the problems of the rest of the world. Looking at Pittsburgh as the choice of city is also interesting. It could have been in New York, the DC area, but they chose not too. Pittsburgh is a great example of a city that was once a depressed industry city, but is now a bustling city again. That is the kind of strength and mentality that the world needs in this economic crisis.

Mixed Israeli-Palestinian Reaction to White House Summit

By Adham Nemeh
This article is talking about how the Palestinians are happy because of the meeting which happened between President Barack Obama and their president Mahmoud Abbas. In this meeting President Obama showed Palestinian that that United States is supporting the creation of the Palestinian State. While he also condemned Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank. Such a announcement would raise the tension between Israel and the United States sine Israel is refusing the idea of creating a Palestinian State. In addition this is would create a better relationship between the United States and Palestine, this way the government and people in Palestine would be able to trust the United State more unlikely when President Bush was leading. In general i believe this is the right solution because it helps to have a better peace in the area.

A New Kind of Security

by James Hoffman

President Obama announced today (Friday), in front of a group of government and White House officials, that he will soon pick our nation's first leader of the office of cyber security. He described the development of this new oraganization as a "transformational moment." Obama senses this is important because our nation has for too long had insufficient protection and security in the the realm of computer networking. It is time too step up in our cyber security is overdue. Our newtwork connected world offers just as many threats as possibilities, and Obama expressed this by saying, "Cyberspace is real, and so is the risk that comes with it."

Malaria; The next pandemic?

Sherri Siegele

Scientific teams from the UK and U.S. show that people in Cambodia are becoming drug resistant to malaria drugs. In 2006 the World Health Organization warned that this might happen and requested that the most effective drug, artemesinin, be limited in its distribution to prevent resistance build up. Malaria kills a million people every year. Twice in the past older malaria drugs became drug resistance in South East Asia resulting in drug resistance parasites being spread to Africa. This resulted in wide-spread deaths. Half the world’s population is at risk if the situation is not controlled. While malaria will spread to the western world it is developing states that will suffer the most casualties, especially Africa where malaria is already a huge problem. This may sound stupid but I’m wondering why over time human’s haven’t built up a natural resistance to malaria.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Somali president calls for help in battling Islamist militias

By: Dan Dierdorff
In a report from CNN the war torn country of Somalia seems to be trying to fix the situation it is in. The president of Somalia has reached out to the International community in order to end an insurgency by a islamic extremist group who is designated a terrorist group. The president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, has claimed that the group, Al-Shabab, is also responsible for attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is a big step for Somalia. They are clearly trying to take steps in stabalizing Mogadishu and this may lead to efforts to stop the pirates too. I hope that the UN or someone steps up to fight this group. This probably won't happen because the last time a power went into Somalia in 93 it turned out to be a disaster. Hopefully Somalia's situation will become better and this country can do something. It just isn't fair for what they have to go through. Maybe there is a bright future ahead for the Somali people.

As if they arent crazy enough

Amanda Dominguez

So its started. Attacks on appointed Supreme Court judge, Sonia Sotomayor, have begun and we can thank none other then a rep from Colorado, Tom Tancredo, who is, surprise surprise, republican. He went on to then criticize Sotomayor for being a part of National Council of La Raza, an organization he went on to say was like the Latino KKK. La Raza is one of the oldest Hispanic advocacy groups with over 300 neighborhood affiliates and sponsorship from groups such as Citigroup. Comments like these, however, just go to show how the republican party has gone off the deep end and I have a feeling we will be hearing much more from them in the near future.

Rwanda killers to face solitary

Amanda Dominguez

In a recent BBC news article, if approved by the Senate in Rwanda, it is possible that war criminals from the Rwandan genocide will face life sentences in solitary confinement since the death penalty was abolished in 2007. What i found most interesting about this article was its mention of the abolition of the death penalty and also that after over ten years, those who committed crimes during the genocide will now have to pay for their crimes.

Albinos living in fear in Tanzania

Amanda Dominguez

An interesting story from BBC news revels a new type of killing in Africa, particularly in Tanzania and the surrounding areas. Supposedly there are 11 men that are being tried for the killing of albinos and the selling of their body parts for the use to witchcraft. Apparently Witchdoctors in the area are claiming that potions made with the body parts of albinos will bring luck love and business. Apparently this is nothing new because according to the artical there have been hundreds of witchdoctors and business people arrested but due to the slowness and corruption of the system, little has been done. What i found most interesting is that albinoism seems to effect more people in this region and there is extimated that 172,000 people are effected by this. I think this is one of the most ineresting and disturbing burtalities to come out Africa. It will be intresteing to see how much attention this recieves here in the US, if at all.

Ahmadinejad Boasts of Enhanced Nuclear Capability

By: Blayne Sim

Iranian President Ahmadinijad stated Iran has gained access to enriched uranium. He went on to state that the western world "dare not threaten us." This expanding nuclear program has been one of the center pieces of his re-election campaign for next month. This issue is nothing new. It seems to me that he continues to cooperate, just to turn around and threaten the same parties. I don't think he wants to be trusted because it creates tension, but it focuses the world's attention on Iran. I think that this is a move to make the Iranian people feel they must vote for him in the election. This tension will only shake things up for the relations with countries such as the U.S. Every time the U.S. seems to have good communication with Iran, he goes and makes an outrageous statement like this. Nothing good is going to come from this statement, and the U.S. needs to be very careful with their relationship with Iran.

Alert level raised

by Nial Maloney

After North Korea threatened military action after the nuclear test earlier this week, South Korea and the U.S. have both raised their alert levels. It was raised up to its second highest level earlier today for the first time since the last North Korean nuclear test in 2006. Defcon is still at stage 4 and reconnaissance operations into North Korea will increase.

On Monday and Tuesday, North Korea tested some nuclear short range missiles and on Wednesday threatened an attack after South Korea joined the U.S. in trying to stop trafficking of high powered weapons. Back in 2008, North Korea agreed to stop its nuclear weapons program but that deal has died down since and North Korea is now going to restart it's nuclear reactor.
U.S. foreclosure crisis
By: Abedaslam Ayesh

More homeowners than ever before are falling behind on their mortgage payments and sliding into foreclosure, according to figures released on Thursday, a sign that the country’s housing crisis is spreading through the ranks of previously stable borrowers.
About 5.4 million of the country’s 45 million home loans were delinquent or in some stage of the foreclosure process in the first three months of the year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. About 12.07 percent of all mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, up from 11.93 percent at the end of 2008. Housing specialists said the number of foreclosures was probably keep rising as more people lose their jobs or are forced to trade full-time work for part-time. Nearly six million jobs have been lost since the recession began a year and a half ago, and many economists expect the unemployment rate to rise to 10 percent from its current 8.9 percent.
More defaults by unemployed homeowners could shunt more houses onto an already saturated market, economist said, dragging prices down farther. “We’re still caught in this vicious cycle,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight. “These numbers were horrible, and they’re going to get worse. This problem’s going to be with us for a while.” The wave of employment-driven foreclosures could pose new challenges to the administration as it tries to stabilize falling housing values and keep up to nine million families in their homes.
I believe President Obama is taking the appropriate measures to contain and eventually get rid of this housing crisis by passing new economic reform bills. We live and learn!
The US a leader of Human Rights?
By: Abedaslam Ayesh

An Afghan who has spent over six years at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay was only about 12 when he was detained, not 16 or 17 as his official record says, an Afghan rights group said Tuesday. Interviews with the family of Mohammed Jawad, who like many poor Afghans does not know his exact age or birthday, showed he was probably not even a teenager when he was arrested in 2002, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission said.
He was picked up by the Afghan police in connection with a grenade attack in Kabul in which two United States soldiers and their Afghan interpreter were wounded. He was transferred to American custody and flown to Guantánamo in early 2003. Commissioner Nader Nadery said Mr. Jawad was tortured and abused by the Afghan police and at Guantánamo. The commission is seeking his release and repatriation.
I’m a firm believer former President Bush has displayed poor leadership that unfortunately has a mere reflection of the entire US as a whole for electing a reckless individual. We live and learn!
Obama Chooses Five Ambassadors
By: Abedaslam Ayesh

President Obama has picked a retired Citigroup executive as ambassador to Britain, a theology professor to represent the United States at the Vatican and a former member of the Sept. 11 commission as envoy to India.The five ambassadors announced on Wednesday, whose nominations require confirmation by the Senate, included Louis Susman, a retired vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, for the post in Britain. He has also been a major Democratic fund-raiser.
The White House also announced that it planned to nominate Miguel H. Díaz, an associate professor of theology at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., as the envoy to the Vatican. Former Representative Tim Remero of Indiana, a Democrat who served on the Sept. 11 commission, was selected to be ambassador to New Delhi. Charles Rivkin, a former financial analyst and homeland security adviser, was chosen for the job in France. He has run companies like the Jim Henson Company. John Roos, an Internet and biotechnology lawyer, was tapped as the United States’ top diplomat to Japan. I appreciate the check of powers where the President needs confirmation from the senate to nominate the ambassadors. The selection of ambassadors is a very delicate process which requires more than one person.

Global crisis 'hits human rights'

By: Liz Hasseld

The global economic crisis is said to be bringing human rights abuses, according to Amnesty International. "Rising prices meant millions were struggling to meet basic needs in Africa and Asia, it said, and protests were being met with repression." These political conflicts led to suffering in Africa and Asia. The 400-page report, examined 157 countries, and concluded that human rights were being ignored in pursuit of stabilizing the global economy. The poorest of the poor are getting the worst of this economic crisis, the report said. When these people tried to protest, they were met with repression and violence. The report stressed the need for international leaders to set an example and end poverty. Because this poverty will lead to mass chaos and violence.

"Economic recovery will be neither sustainable nor equitable if governments fail to tackle abuses that drive and deepen poverty, or armed conflicts that generate new violations," said Amnesty's Secretary General, Irene Khan.

Cookies > Waterboarding

Justin Lynch

According to an article in Time Magazine, an interrogation session with one of Osama Bin Laden's top lieutenants led to FBI agents giving the diabetic terrorist Abu Jindal some sugar cookies, to which he opened up with information. There was no word on whether a glass of milk was also provided.

Mexican Border Violence

Justin Lynch

The media has sensationalized the border violence spilling into America. To be honest, I thought the violence between Mexican drug cartels and the Mexican government fighting them had started to spill into the United States, but that's just not true. Crime rates in counties near the border have either decreased or stayed the same.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

‘150-day battle’: N. Korea succession drama?

This article speculates on why the North Koreans have been testing missiles and such lately. They've come to the conclusion that it is to instill them with "national pride." They believe this is a military campaign to unify the nation. This article also addresses the issue of succession in North Korea while the leader Kim Jong Il's health worsens. Kim was said to want to name his successor in 2012, but the process has sped up to what's been billed in the North as a "150-day battle."
Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court
By: Abedaslam Ayesh

The Judicial Confirmation Network, a conservative advocacy group, began
airing the Internet Ad spotlighting Judge Sotomayor’s past statements
about the role of the appeals court and how gender and ethnic heritage
may play a role in judicial decision-making. In many ways, Republican
responses have been calibrated as some are fearful of further alienating
Hispanics — the nation’s fastest growing group of voters.
She has issued no major decisions on abortion, the death penalty, gay
rights or national security. And while she has been more liberal than
not in cases concerning criminal defendants, employment discrimination
and free speech, a look at her most noteworthy opinions reveals no grand
vision, An employment discrimination lawsuit, the Ricci case, in which
Ms. Sotomayor ruled along with a panel of appeals judges, against 18
white firefighters, will likely attract many questions during her
confirmation hearings this summer, Mr. Liptak notes. The case is now
before the Supreme Court and with a ruling expected in the next month or
so, her decision is likely to be overturned by the bench she hopes to
I believe when president Obama has announced his favor of Sonia being
nominated on the supreme court and having other’s question his judgment
and what ever the outcome will affect the Hispanic population in the US.
Very fragile event/issue.
Obama against Israel’s construction of West Bank settlements

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was expected to focus on the
issue of settlement expansion in his meeting with President Obama in
their meeting scheduled for Thursday in Washington. President Obama and
other senior American officials have called on the government of
Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud Party who came
into office almost two months ago, to halt all settlement activity.
Almost 300,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank,
excluding East Jerusalem, among a Palestinian population of some 2.5
million. Much of the world considers the 120 or so settlements a
violation of international law.
Many religious Jewish nationalists say it is their right to settle in
the biblical heartland of the West Bank, which they refer to as Judea
and Samaria. Other Israelis cite security reasons for holding on to the
areas captured in the 1967 war. Another point of contention between the
Israeli government and the Obama administration is Mr. Netanyahu’s
refusal to publicly endorse a two-state solution for the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a cornerstone of American policy.
I believe the Israeli government’s domestic security agenda is and will
always be to contain and regulate/ control the lives of the
North Korea Threatens Military Strikes on South

North Korea threatened Wednesday to launch military strikes against
South Korea if any of its ships were stopped or searched as part of an
American-led operation to intercept vessels suspected of carrying
weapons of mass destruction.
South Korea agreed to join the global interdiction program after North
Korea tested a nuclear device on Monday — its second nuclear test in
three years. The North had earlier warned the South not to participate
in the effort, known as the Proliferation Security Intiative.
“We consider this a declaration of war against us,” an unidentified
North Korean military spokesman said Wednesday in a statement carried by
the North’s official news agency, KCNA. “Any hostile act against our
peaceful vessels, including search and seizure, will be considered an
unpardonable infringement on our sovereignty and we will immediately
respond with a powerful military strike.” Technically, the two Koreas
have remained at war for more than 50 years, because the 1953 armistice
never gave way to a final peace treaty. The United Nations Security
Council is in the process of crafting a response, which may include
additional economic sanctions; the North has said it would consider such
sanctions a declaration of war.
The proliferation security initiative was begun in 2003 by the Bush
administration, and South Korea had wavered on joining it for fear of
provoking the North. Russia, Britain, France and Israel are among the 95
signers of the initiative, which India, Pakistan and China have not
signed. I believe the U.S. and the rest of the world will collectively
work together for the interests of the global security which is being
threaten by North Korea’s reckless behavior.
Fatal car bombing in Pakistan
Abedaslam Ayesh

LAHORE, Pakistan — Suicide attackers spraying gunfire rammed a carload
of explosives into a building housing an ambulance service here on
Wednesday, killing at least 23 people, almost 300 people were injured in
the attack. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the attack may have
been in reprisal for the Pakistani Army’s campaign against Taliban
militants in the northwestern Swat Valley. The dead included 14
policemen and a colonel belonging to the intelligence agency, according
to an intelligence official speaking on condition of anonymity because
he was not authorized to speak to the news media.
It was the third attack in three months in or near Lahore, which is the
capital and cultural hub of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and
affluent province. Earlier attacks provoked official fears that Taliban
insurgents had teamed up with local militants, including
Lashkar-e-taiba, suspected of conducting the attacks in Mumbai, India,
in November that killed at least 163 people. The United States has been
pressing Pakistan to move against the militants to undermine their
support for the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. Gen. David H.
petracus, head of the Central Command, was in Islamabad to meet
Pakistani leaders when the attack happened, Reuters reported.
I believe Pakistan has to create a plan to to contain and gradually
eradicate all terrorist groups within Pakistan that had migrated from
Afghanistan and that had already been present in Pakistan.

Sotomayor appointed.

Patrick Larson

This article highlights the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Many people call adding a far left liberal to the Supreme Court favoritism by Barrack O’Bama, but the issue with this is that the retiring justice was a far left liberal. O’Bama realized that it was necessary to uphold the balance of the Supreme Court. I do not believe any president wants to upset the balance of 4 liberals, 4 conservatives, and a moderate that has balanced our supreme court for years. The reason for this is it gets even decisions on the cases at hand and I would argue that this is the most important facet of our government. It sets the standards that I live by.

An Answer to Nuclear Waste

by Patrick Whelan

The Economist Magazine published an article entitled Pernicious Pellets. The article discusses how a new plastic could cut the amount of radioactive waste from nuclear power stations around the world. The article begins with a critical fact about nuclear power that is not recognized by many people. Nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases that cause global warming. With energy demands on the rise and more nations looking to make clean energy a priority, nuclear power is a logic choice. The article states "Nuclear power-stations also create low-level waste. This is less dangerous but much more abundant. And less dangerous is not the same as safe, so this waste, too, must be disposed carefully." Low level waste is treated with water which cools the core of the reactor.

Scientist in Germany and India believe they have found a new way to deal with the wast. The solution is to mop up the waste in the water with plastic. When the water is pumped through the reactors core sometimes the ions become radioactive which makes the water radioactive, which also makes the pipes sometimes become radioactive. In order to make the steel in the pipes stronger to handle the radioactive waste, engineers line it with cobalt. When scientist clean the cobalt by trapping it, they capture more non-radioactive iron ions than radioactive ones. The solution is a plastic polymer that binds to cobalt and then taking the the radioactive ions and putting them in hydrochloric acid. A small amount of polymer used can as the article states, "Mop up a lot of radioactive cobalt."

Scientist also believe using this polymer would be cheaper to use than getting rid of the large quantities of waste like transporting and storing it. The technology is new and scientist are still working on it, but it is a welcomed change to just storing nuclear waste in drums deep in mountains. The international Atomic Energy Agency believes that seventy new nuclear power plants will be built over the next fifteen years, mainly in Asia to meet energy demands. I would not want to live near a nuclear power plant myself, but the possibility of treating nuclear waste with plastic can have a huge impact on this form of energy which is making a comeback in a time of clean energy demands.

North Korea Warns of Military Action

Justin Moriarty

According to MSNBC North Korea has warned of military action against its neighbor, South Korea, if any repercussions follow after North Korea has completed some more nuclear testing. The images of military leaders and troops in a North Korea stadium celebrating a successful launch test are concerning. This country is seemingly disrupting relations globally and for them to come out and use the phrase 'mercifully punish' those who oppose their actions is quite alarming.

Gitmo Prisoners? Hardin, Montana to the Rescue!

Yes, apparently the poorest region in the state of Montana is offerring to house all Gitmo prisoners.  The town of Hardin, a small town of roughly 3500 people is being hit the hardest by the recession and feels that taking in the prisoners would help create jobs. They have a prison that is completely empty and meets maximum security standards. Reactions are mixed, some people on the Hill aren't convinced the small town understands the full extent of what it's asking to take on. Some citizens of Hardin are a bit uncomfortable that some of the worst terrorist in the world will be five blocks from the center of town and eleven blocks from school.  Regardless, if Washington answers the towns offer, it has yet to be heard.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Guerrilla War in Colombia

By Jeff Gimm

A prolonged battle between government forces and a Marxist rebel group has displaced 4 million people in Colombia. Due to this strife, Colombia places second in the world for the number of internally displaced people behind Sudan. Many of those displaced are native populations.
This internal struggle has gotten very little press when compared to the Sudan. Perhaps this is because Americans associate Colombia with the drug trade and that any violence that goes on there, we assume must have to do with that.

Two for two!

by megan smith

Both Hispanic, and a woman, Sonia Sotomayor will soon grace the Supreme Court with her presence. Bringing more judicial experience to the court than seen in 70 years, it is going to be hard for the Senate to not approve of Sotomayor. Educated at both Princeton and Yale, there is not much to complain about with this pick.

Taliban seek return to peace deal in Pakistan

by: Salma Bawazir
The Taliban wanted to return to a pace deal, because of under pressure fighting with the military. They have declared that they proclaimed that they are willing to deactivate if the government lets the sharia be applied in the region. So far the governement has rejected the offer. They government wants the Taliban pull out of Swat arrest. The deal between the two have fell apart because the Taliban declined to deactivate and move into the Buner district which is located outside the region.

Tanzanians: Saving One Life At A Time

By: Erica McCauley

With over half of the world's mothers that die from childbirth, Tanzanians are trying as hard as they can to save mothers and children. People who are not even doctors are performing births. Tanzania is known to be one of the poorest countries in the world due to their lack of health care. Their goals are almost too much for this countries to handle. In trying to build more clinics, hospitals, and emergency centers; and with trying to train more doctoral assistants and midwives, Tanzania still has an annual death rate of 13,000 people. Their efforts are trying to allow women in labor easy access to a maternity ward before her life becomes in danger as well as the baby's. Because hospitals are nearly 25 miles away from civilization, many women arrive with an already crowning baby, too late, or not at all. Many of these women arrive, and have already been trying to give birth for more than two days. Most of these women die along with their babies, and die young. Many children whom have their mother's die to save them, have been orphaned. With all this sadness, death, and tragedy, the W.H.O has finally taken some initiative to help these women and families. They have named a goal of reducing maternal deaths by 75% by 2015. This is the first real action in decades from a global institution. Compared to Ireland's birth death rate (1 to every 100,000 births), Tanzania comes in with one of the highest birth death rates: 950 to every 100,000 births. This problem was fixed nearly a century ago with developed countries. Where is the aid when it comes to developing countries? The government has made a promise to start building more health care centers; however, it cannot even properly staff the clinics it has now. Many Tanzanian hospitals try to compensate for their lack of trained doctors by depending on medical assistants. In addition to lack of medically trained doctors, women lack medically trained midwives and assistants. Hospitals are trying to push the government to build resting homes for the women to wait at when birth is near so they do not have to travel as far while in birth. Also, they are trying to convince the government to start covering the cost of all birth expenses for women. Another attempt to lower the maternity death rate is to send representatives into the villages, marketplaces, and to the village elders to try to convince women to use the hospitals. With the help of an Angelican Church Mission, concrete houses with the access to running water are being offered, a nurse school is being built, and the director of the church lobbied to raise current salaries. The ultimate goal for these hospitals: “Coming here to cure people is good, but what can we do to prevent this?” Mr. Mgego asked. “So that one day we can say, flying doctors, you can come, but we have only one patient, or nobody, around here.”

It's Sotomayor!

Justin Lynch

President Obama has made his first nomination to the Supreme Court this morning, picking Sonia Sotomayor to the high court. She has been a judge for almost two decades and would be the first Hispanic to serve on the court. Barring some judicial surprise, she should be confirmed. The pick was definitely a smart one for Obama.

Monday, May 25, 2009

how much does a diploma really cost???

by sunny singh

The report is actually from last month; however I found it very interesting especially the event happened in a well developed country like France. As we all know China has become stronger than before and the rise of middle class has increased dramatically. Which means most parents can afford sending their children to study in foreign countries like U.S, Canada, UK and France. Most students will choose France because the cost of education is a lot less comparing to U.S and U.K. what seems to be interesting is a group of student which is well organized offer to pay to obtain a fake diploma. According to the article it cost 2700euro for a diploma (business management) and the funny thing is 1/3 of those student do not even speak French

Karadzic Claims Immunity

Kurt Kamrath

Radovan Karadzic, a former Bosnian Serb leader, is claiming that he was guaranteed immunity in 1996 by Richard Holbrooke. At the time Holbrooke was the top American diplomat in Bosnia and is currently the US envoy the Pakistan and Afghanistan. Karadzic claimed that an agreement was reached granting him immunity so long as he removed himself from any public office. Karadzic was arrested last year and is being charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) with genocide and crimes against humanity. His lawyers filed a motion for dismissal on Monday, and they are seeking a special hearing to establish the truth of Karadzic's claims. Holbrooke denies that any agreement was ever reached, but Karadzic has the former Bosnian Serb foreign minister and assembly leader on hand as witnesses of the agreement. However, the tribunal has already stated that any immunity agreement between Karadzic and the US is not binding on the ICTY.

South Korean Suicide

From Brianna Howell

Saturday, May 23, Roh Moo-hyun, the former president of South Korea committed suicide by jumping off of a cliff. Roh was president from 2003-2008. His campaign and political stance had been founded on anti-corruption promises, however he and his family had been caught in corruption scandals throughout his term. He faced impeachment trials but was never charged. His brother was imprisioned for bribery charges. In a note left, he stated that he had, "made the life of too many people difficult." After his term, he had returned to his small village to redeem his reputation as a man for the people. This suicide came as a shock to many citizens who were still supporters, however after the suicide, his former supporters are growing skeptical and see this as an undeniable sign of his wrong doings. “Before this incident I thought he was a clean president and I respected him. I have changed my mind”, says Park Song-deuk, a resident of Mr Roh’s village.

North Korea faces Security Council Reaction

The United Nations Security Council is going to begin working on a new resolution for North Korea after North Korea’s nuclear test. Members strongly opposed the test while North Korea continued to claim it is part of its work towards a state of nuclear deterrence. The US ambassador to the UN said that “The US thinks that this is a grave violation of international law and a threat to regional and international peace and security.” The Russian envoy said that “The members of the Security Council voiced their strong opposition to, and condemnation of, the nuclear test conducted by [North Korea].” The Council will first issue a statement condemning the test and then will work on another resolution to secure the peace and security in the region.
By: Nathan Rutz

Cornering Foreign Fields

Apparently the fact that the US does not have enough farming left to supply enough food for our population is not a problem, or won't be anymore. If we simply buy or lease huge amounts of land in other countries to grow our own supplies like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and China, we would be fine. The countries that are selling or leasing their land to be farmed are Sudan, Ethiopia, Congo, and Pakistan. Some critics are hoping this won't lead to modern day versions of colonization of these poorer countries and are also concerned that none of the food grown is given or bought by the native population. So even though it sounds like a great way to help malnutrition, it isn't actually helping anything for the countries that are selling their land - unless you are the local governments and you are prospering from it.
By: Jill Prendeville

Iraq’s Trade Minister Resigns Amid Corruption Inquiry

Posted By Justin Bresolin

In what seems to be a theme for certain countries, the Trade Minister of Iraq, Abdul Falah al-Sudani, has resigned today under accusations of corruption. While not explicitly charged with any crime, he is currently under investigation and the head of Parliament is hoping to have an arrest warrent issued for Sudani by the end of the week. Sudani's duties as trade minister include oversight of the countries imports and rationing to the citizenry, and issues of insufficient amounts of food rations, many long past expiration dates, being distributed to the citizenry have prompted suspicion into the former Minister Sudani's activities. Sudani denies the allegations of corruption, claiming them to be the product of disgruntled ex-employees in the Ministry. Sudani is considered to be one of the first politicians to fall victim to the recent rise in Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's campaign efforts to stamp out corruption within the Iraqi government, a response to discontent regarding his past efforts at addressing this problem. Though he hasn't given any details, Maliki announced that he would be planning "to make extensive changes to his cabinet."

While it is good to see efforts toward addressing the concerns and issues of the people in a still unstable country, it remains to be seen how effectively such an anti-corruption campaign will be pursued. It sounds like corruption is rife enough that the near-entirity of Iraq's cabinet (and subsequently many individuals below that level) will have to be altered, and such dramatic change can bring problems of its own.

Ahmadinejad Says the Nuclear Issue is Over

Today the Iranian president declared that the nuclear issue is no longer an issue in their opinion.  He also made it clear that if they are re-elected, he would call for a debate with Obama about their ownership of nuclear arms.  Although the five permanent members of the U.N. security council have tried opening talks with Iran in the past, Iran continues to operate only within the outlines of the International Atomic Energy Agency.  

When asked about the recent detonation of a nuclear bomb in North Korea, Iran denied any cooperation.  

Misconceptions about Child Soliders

by Jeff Gimm

A recent article by Foreign Policy laid out several misconceptions that many in the West have about child soliders. Often overlooked in reports about Africa and the Middle East, one key misconception is that child soliders are a new phenomena, created by globalization. This, Foreign Policy tells us, is not true at all because during the 17th and 18th centuries there were children assisting on ships and in armies with hauling supplies and loading cannons. The other major misconception is that these "Child Soliders" are just that, soliders. It is in fact a misnomer, as these children are also messengers, spies and sex slaves.
While there has been increased awareness of the problem of child soliders in the past few years, there has not been nearly enough attention on why this is important besides the atrociousness of the notion of making children fight in wars. According to the article, many of today's top Taliban leaders got their start as childen fighting against the Soviets invading Afghanistan. If we do not learn the from the mistakes of the past 20 years, we may be fighting these children 15 years from now.

Punjab Riots After Vienna Killing

By Mei Kin Chew

A preacher from an Indian sect was killed by a rival Sikh group in Austria, causing commotions with thousands of Sikhs clashing with police and setting fire to buildings, vehicles and a train. A man was shot dead by the police and at least six people were arrested for arson.

Chief Minister of Punjab Prakash Singh Badal has called for an all party meeting and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed for calm.

The preacher, Sant Rama Nand was attacked by six men with knives during a religious ceremony and did not survive his fatal wounds in the hospital.

Tehran blocks access to Facebook

by: salma bawazir
Iran has blocked social networking site Facebook. They did this before the presidential elections.
Iran has blocked access to social networking site Facebook ahead of June's presidential elections, Iran's Ilna news agency and web users say. The reasons for this action they claim that the action had taken to stop reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi from using the site for his campaign. This action happened couple days before the election. Many facebook users expressed their disappointment because of this ban. Mir Hossein Mousavi also had 5000 supporters on his facebook page.
I think that blocking social network such as facebook is so foolish. I mean there are other social networks such as myspace that is as powerful. Facebook is great way for elections. I think that this action might effect the elections slightly.

North Korea Defies International Warnings with Nuclear Test

By Adham Nemeh

This article is talking about how Korea did a underground nuclear test. This test was even stronger than the one they did back in 2006. It also mentioned how North Korea test-fired a short-range missile just hours after the nuclear test. Many countries were against this nuclear test such as South Korea and Japan, also Japan said that they will respond to this test soon. In addtion to that United Kindom, United States, and Rassia said this test is wrong and mentioned how that might cause a big problem in the area. I beleive this going to make the problem even bigger, because North Korea refused to even negotiate with other countries about the test that they have been doing lately, and they keep in doing these test. I beleive this is going to cause other countries to use thier army to force North Korea to stop such a test, and it will be such a big mess for North Korea.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Refugees survive on food 'cows won't eat'

By: Joe Kain
Original Article Here

More and more people each day are leaving their homes to go to the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar. The camp is almost a city as it contains 93,000 people right now and it continues to grow as more people flee to escape the fighting between the Pakistan army and Taliban fighters. However, this is just one camp. Officials say up to 1.8 million people are being forced from their homes. The UN estimates that this is the largest relocation of people in Pakistan since the country was formed in 1947. The Jalozai refugee camp has provisions such as food and water but according to a one man at the camp, "it's very poor quality -- even the cows won't eat it."

U.N seeks full access to Sri Lankan refugee camps

By: Kelsey Gierzynski

With the large amounts of poeple located in camps that have fell victim to the civil war going on in Sri Lanka, the U.N has now come out saying they want to be able to go into these camps. The U.N says that there are many injured and suffering people in these camps and that they want the access to deliver aid to these people. The government said that the United Nations is able to access these camps now in order to deliver the aid needed by the poeple. However, the aid that the United Nations is alowed to give is limited. The government said they want the access to remain limited because they believe there are still some rebel groups around that are going to try to smuggle young men out of these camps. They believe that NGO's were invovled in a plot like this. The government said that they would let aid get in that would help people with their basic needs.

North Korea Confirms "powerful" Nuclear Test

By. Adnan Shaukat

North Korea on May 25th tested a new nuclear device more powerful than the one tested 3 years ago. The NKorea government stated that the testing was required by its scientist to bolster the deterrence aganist enemies of NKorea. The device used higher level of explosives and technology, according to state media, the results resolved "scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology." Meanwhile SKorea has called for a security council meeting, and Japan has decided to set up a fast reaction task force dealing with any potential threats.

At these turn of events, one can only speculate which direction NKorea wants to take there foreign policy in the region. Whereas 2 weeks ago they conducted a long-range rocket test, and with nuclear proliferation taking place in the black market, one can easily get there hands on a miniaturized nuclear device to fit missiles capable of small warheads.

Overall, this test comes as no surprise espically with no-break though in the six-nation talks, and promises from both sides being broken.

Swine Flu...again

The second person in New York has died of swine flu. There's a catch, though. This person had a underlying health condition that made her more likely to catch the flu. There have been many death due to this flu, but is this the case for them as well? If so then the whole world shouldn't be in a panic, in my opinoin. If the people that are getting the swine flu getting it due to another health problem that they have then the people who have no serious illness whouldn't be worried, right? If this is the case it should be looked into because then the world would be in less of a panic and maybe we wouldn't have to worry about people from Mexico being detained just because they are from Mexico. But that's just my opinion.

Tamil Tigers

By: Liz Hasseld

The Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka have admitted that their leader is dead. The group now claims it will use non-violent methods to fight for Tamils' rights. Sri Lankan troops cornered the rebels in a coastal strip, bringing this 26 year fight to an end. The groups declared a week of mourning for their dead leader, starting on 25 May.

There have been conflicting reports of the death of the Tiger's leader. "They initially said he had been killed in an ambush by commandos as he tried to break through government lines in an ambulance. But the army later said his body was found on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon and he had been shot in scrubland - probably during fierce fighting." Before these causes had been released the group was denying the death all together.

I really hope these 'nonviolent methods' the tigers claim they will use, will be used.

senate voted 90-6 on funding closing of Gutmo

by sunny singh

Senate voted 90-6 on funding closing of Gitmo. So, my first question would be where are we putting those detainees. These are not U.S citizen but they do have a right to trial. So if we find them guilty, do they have to be executed the next day? We still need a place to detain them and bringing them to the US soil makes no different, we might continue with Gitmo. My position is that Gitmo won’t be closed, but instead be renamed and most likely moved to Afghanistan

link to fox news

Death of a leader

By Mike Woodard

Roh Moo-hyun, the former South Korean president, committed suicide on May 23rd. Roh Moo-hyun had his pride and reputation was earlier ruined when he admitted to graft. Roh Moo-hyun was expected to soon face charges and decided to choose suicide instead. The article continues to go on to talk about how South Korean presidents have had a history of corruption and scandals. The people in South Korea thought Mr. Roh was different because he constantly spoke out against scandals like graft in his speeches while running.

Cute but contagious

Brian Murray

This article discusses how there has been a huge decline in the population of bats in the United States. According to the article, white-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that shows up as a white powdery substance on the bats face, wings, and legs. This disease has spread swiftly through the United States impacting seven states on the east cost. Nearly half a million bats have deceased because of this disease which originated in New York. This decline in the North American bat population causes concern for everyone. Bats generally will eat their body weight in bugs per night of feasting. However, with half a million bats dead already, this means that the bugs and insect population is not being balanced. Ultimately, this could result in the farmers using more insecticide on their crop instead of having the natural bat insecticide in place.

Iran three years short of a nuke, OH NO! 2012 happening after all...

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has reported on Iran's nuclear program and said it is three years short from developing its first nuclear weapon. This statement has matched some of the independent analysts reporting on Iran's program.

Mullen said that either ways: bombing Iran's facilities or Iran with a nuke is a bad scenario. Any progress should be made through diplomatic channels

Story according to Reuters.

Rebels Seize Army Base

By: Brionna Givens

The UN and the African Union peacekeeping forces have said rebels have taken over the army base at Kornoi, located in Sudan, which is near the Darfur region. The rebel group who is believed to have seized the base is known as "JEM"(Justice and Equality Movement). Peace talks between Sudan and the rebel group "JEM" start on Wednesday in Qatar. Both Chad and Sudan have been accusing each other government of supporting the rebel groups in their territories.

11 killed at music festival stampede in Morocco

by: Latoyia Kimbrough

CNN reports that after an eight-day music festival in Morocco at least eleven people were killed and thirty wounded in a stampede that broke out on Saturday night. Some of the victims to the stampede were five women, four men and two children. It was on the last night of the festival when the event took place and some of the performers of the night included Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder.

U.S. offers to renew talks with Cuba on immigration

By Rachel Polster

The United States government is intending to renew previous talks about immigration with the Cuban government. Their goal is for safe, legal, and orderly migration and to look at the recent trends in illegal Cuban migration to the United States. Bush would not allow for any such talks because of the Cuban dictatorship. President Obama however, is trying to ease family travel and financial restrictions between the US and Cuba. Last month, high-ranking State diplomats of both countries met for informal talk on how the two countries can coordinate on issues. Republicans are not in favor of such meetings because they feel that the US should insist a change in the Cuban dictatorship before complying with the country through talks. This issue is obviously not going to be solved any time soon, but change is in progress.

Facebook Blocked in Iran

By: Michelle Cole

This article talks about how Facebook is being banned in Iran because of fears that this social networking site can help in people's political campaigns. If people try to access the site, they will get a pop up message in Farsi telling them that, "access to this site is not possible." A representative from Facebook said they were saddened that Iranians didn't have access to the site becasue it would give them a chance to get more information on the political candidates, and they also think that Facebook should be open to anyone around the world.

While I can see Facebook's point, it really is a very American way of thinking to think that just becasue we have Facebook and love it, that all other countries should do the same. If their government doesn't want it's people to have access to Facebook at this time, then nobody should be trying to stop them. Also, it's not like the people of Iran are blocked from any type of communication, simply one site out of billions that are on the web.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trouble in Latvia

Latvia is one of the nations struggling the most in this current economic downturn. They are extremely credit ridden, and is trying to cut its government deficit that accounts for around twelve percent of the GDP, and is expected to rise further. Many people are struggling to find work, and the current administration is planning on forcing down wages of civic officials. Most of the Latvian crisis has rose from the fact that Latvia uses two currents, the Lat, and the Euro, and were trying to phase the Lat out. However, the Lat is still in wide use, and unfortunately for the country, the Latvians average house hold debt is 85percent euros. Thus the Government is trying to devalue its own currency. I think it will be really interesting to see what goes in Latvia, as we see the class divides diminish as people continue to struggle to make ends meet.

U.N. Secretary-General in Sri Lanka

By: Peter Fribert

On Thursday, the people of Sri Lanka celebrated in the streets the victorious outcome of there 25 year civil war. Some felt that this was seen in good judgment but the United Nations felt that celebrating the outcome of there civil war was in poor taste. In response, they sent a representative: Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

Ban Ki-moon toured a displacement camp in Sri Lanka on Saturday. He visited portions of Manik Farm, a sprawling camp for internally displaced people in the country's north. Some in the camp had experienced fierce fighting in recent months, saying they did not believe at points that they were going to survive. These accounts show just how bloody and long the civil war was in Sri Lanka.

The United Nations is still not happy with Sri Lanka. The United Nations feel that the Sri Lankan government is not doing enough in providing enough aid and support for there country. Ban is also scheduled to meet with the President of Sri Lanka and his senior advisors later today.

According to CNN, "I hope my visit today can help begin a process of national recovery, renewal and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans," Ban said in a written statement issued Friday. "That is why I am here."

Freedom of Venezuelan Press

By Jenny Elgin

Recently an independent Venezuelan TV station made criticizing remarks about President Hugo Chavez, and the United Nations and Organization of American States are worried about the government's response. The O.A.S. has stated that since the comments were aired, the government has "generated an atmosphere of intimidation", while the government denied the allegations and says they are investigated whether the TV station broke any laws or not.

My first thoughts were to be supportive of the TV station for taking advantage of their right to free press, but I think that is heavily influenced by the values I hold as an American - it's hard not to see safe free press as anything but good. Reading this article has made me interested as to what the Venezuelan public would say on the matter.

Climate Changes Effecting Chile

Madeline Moton

port from BBC news said that approaching climate changes in Chile could have economically and environmentally devastating effects on the country.  According to Chilean scientists, there will be projected temperature increases of at least 1C to 1.5C and a drop in rainfall of at least 10 to 15% in the next 40 years.  This may not seem like much of a difference in rainfall and temperature change, but because Chile relies so greatly on their agriculture, it will effect them.  Chile is one of the top exporters of copper, fruit and forestry products, so any slight alterations in the climate may be the deciding factor as to whether or not the country will be able to continue to export the same amount of goods.  Another climate change that is  potential threat to all of the globe, is the reduction of water.  The Chileans are also worried about this in terms of their agricultural growth and means of survival.  

The government is beginning to take the problem of climate change more seriously, but also has high hopes that the country will be able to adapt to the climate alternations, which is a new approach to the problem that has a more positive outlook.  Maybe humanity is not destined for destruction, maybe it is it destined for change.

Cancer patient first to use Washington's assisted suicide law

Aundrea Entrekin

Recently Washington State passed a very controversial law. A law that allows assisted suicide. Washington's first person to use this law died some time this past week. She was told a month ago that she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer, she wanted to die with a clear head and she knew she could not die naturally that way because the pain killers she was on was not letting her.

Organ also has this law, they passed it back in 1994 and to date over 400 people have used this law for help.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mancow gets waterboarded, calls it torture

Justin Lynch

Mancow Muller, an outspoken talk radio conservative that has consistently defended waterboarding and refused to call it torture, underwent waterboarding on Friday. He immediately changed his tune afterward...

Mr. Roh Commits Suicide

By: Almas Khan

South Korea's ex president, Roh Moo-kyun, commits suicide by jumping off a mountain. Mr. Roh was 62 years old and was a former president that left the office in February 2008. An aide to the former president said that he had left a note that seemed to look like a suicide note. Mr. Roh died before reaching the hopital in Busan. Mr. Roh was a human rights lawyer before taking office. When taking office, he had promised to fight corruption. After his party was hit by scandal, he was suspended in 2004. After going through a lot of turmoil, the constitutional court overturned the impeachment and reinstated Mr.Roh. Last month Mr. Roh was questioned about the millions of dollars he had taken in bribes. The former president appologized for taking bribes in public on television. Later he also said that the money that his wife had recieved was not bribe a way for her to get rid of her debt.