Sunday, January 31, 2010

British Hostages Plead for Help

A British couple, the Chandlers, were captured off of their yacht, the Lynn Rival, on October 23, 2009 by Somalian Pirates. The Pirates originally asked for a $7 million dollar ransom, but the British government refused to pay due to ethics. Rachel Chandler said on video, "Please help us, these people are not treating us well. I'm old, I'm 56 and my husband is 60 years old. We need to be together because we have not much time left." Paul Chandler sent a video from a different location pleading for help. He stated, "Please help us, we have nobody to help us, we have no children... We have been in captivity for 98 days and we are not in good condition." Doctors examined the video and determined the couple to be in poor health and in need of help. As of now, the government is keeping in close contact with the Chandler's family and are monitoring the situation very closely.

By: Alyssa Rabulinski

Good Intentions means Jailtime in Haiti

A group of ten from Idaho tried to "help" 33 children--with the oldest being 12-years-old--by taking them from a local pastor and driving them across the border to the more stable Dominican Republic where they would be put in an orphanage. A few problems arose regarding this "saving" mission. The group had no proper documentation from the Haitian government despite the fact that they apparently had paperwork from the Dominican government. Another issue was the fact that there was no orphanage. The church group was going to put the children in a hotel until an orphanage had been established. Oh not to mention that the Haitian government had suspended all adoptions in order to prevent child trafficking. The group is going to go before a judge tomorrow and are currently being retained in jail.

By: Albie Braun

13 dead, 13 injured in Juarez shooting

A group of unidentified gunmen randomly opened fire at a party today in Juarez, Mexico. The attack killed 13 people, and injured at least 13 more. It was said the gunmen arrived at the location of the party, blocked off all the nearby streets and exits, and opened fire on the innocent bystanders. It's being suspected that the attacks were drug related according to initial reports. Juarez is a key location for drug cartels to distribute narcotics into the United States because of its close proximity to the border. In the past few years Mexico has become ridiculed with drug cartels which has led to a huge increase in murder rates within the country. According to the article, with this attack included, there have been over 160 murders in city of Juarez alone since the new year. Unfortunately, so long as drug cartels are going to have territory clashes, we can expect stories like this on a fairly frequent basis coming out of Mexico.

By: Cameron Adams

U.N. Official meets with Taliban

Kai Eide, the United Nations special representative in Afghanistan met with a group of Taliban leaders leading up to this week's international conference in London. President Hamid Karzai invited the Taliban to enter peach talks. Most of the important details of the meeting are unknown but this meeting is a small start to one day coming to some politcal settlement. There is also a plan to offer jobs and security from Afghan officials and Amercian commanders to the Taliban fighters in exchange for giving up insurgency. This week the United Nations Security Council decided to list sanctions on five former officials in the Taliban, one of which was a former foregin minister for the Taliban regime who know lives in Kabul and often acts as a mediator between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

By Alicia Panczyk

It's official, China is controling the media.

As if we didn't already know, a report from the IFJ (International Federation of Journalists) stating that "hundreds of regulations have been introduced since the Beijing Olympics in 2008 to restrict reporters writing on social unrest and scandal." Though it has been widely understood that China has been moderating what is shown on the news, this is the first official report which talks about the extent. This is unnerving not only to the international community, but for the Chinese people. Granted, this report will probably not be released in China, but the thought of all the scandals, controversy, and social uprisings which have gone under the radar because reporters were not allowed to write on them, and the social networking such as twitter and facebook, which would be alternate modes of information transfer are all banned is sickening. One has to wonder what the response would be by the Chinese people if they knew the extent of the intervention by the Government into the news there were being fed.

Megan Smith

Copenhagen Follow-up

A month after the Copenhagen Climate Summit, the leading nations in greenhouse gas emissions have turned in their plans to decrease. At the Summit nations promised to give $30 billion to developing countries affected by climate change and to reduce temperature increases. Scientists and environmentalists have bereaved the lack of substance to the Summit as there was no legally binding agreement, but U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called it an "essential beginning." It is the first time the U.N. has written statements from multiple nations on their intentions of cutting emissions. China's promised to decrease the most, saying they would reduce "carbon intensity"by 40-45% by 2020. The U.S. promised the least decrease, saying they cut emissions by 17% by 2020. The next U.N. negotiations on global warming will be in December of this year in Cancun, Mexico.

By Abbey Smith

British Couple - In Captivity for Three Months

After a British couple was captured by Somali pirates three months ago, the individuals were visited by a doctor and AFP reporter. Both the doctor and reporter claimed Rachel and Paul Chandler were in weakening condition, and needed help. The couple was captured by pirates when they were traveling to Tanzania. The pirates want 4.4 million euros, but the government refuses to pay ransoms to pirates. While the pirates continue to demand money, the captives grow more weak, and plead for the British Government to help. The couple has been separated, and Mrs. Chandler seems to grow more and more disoriented.

By: Meredith Hess

Friday, January 29, 2010

US to sell missiles, ships, helicopters to Taiwan: Pentagon

The United States is going to sell weapons worth more than six billions to Taiwan. What might China be thinking now? Will China respond to it? The Pentagon declared it’s plans on today. The package deal includes “Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and communications equipment for Taiwan's F-16 fleet.” The decision came despite China’s warning against Washington for not selling weapons to Taiwan. Even though the relation between mainland China and Taiwan has been improving, the Taiwan's President appealed to the U.S for sale of weapons insisting that Taiwan must remain alert when China has been investing heavily on it’s military. Taiwan and mainland China was divided by the civil war in 1949 and China still considers Taiwan as one of it’s territory. As per Taiwan Relations Act, the US is required to provide Taiwan with weapons for as a self defending measures. Read more at this link :

Submitted By: Namgyel Dorji

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Giving the people what they want

This is awesome. Who says McDonald's doesn't care about different countries culture?

By: Justin Lynch

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sri Lanka president wins re-election

Sri Lanka's president won re-election on Tuesday, but not without some problems. For one, the opponent was being held in a hotel surrounded by armed soldiers. Second, the election commissioner seemed to be distraught and pleaded he be allowed to resign with the exact quote "I cannot bear this anymore." Also, the president misused state media by only talking about his party and not even mentioning the competition. Pretty shady...

By: Justin Lynch

U.S. helping Yemen fight terrorism

Stories like these are really cool. U.S. military intelligence and secret military teams have been helping Yemen track and kill suspected terrorists. President Obama authorized the strikes starting six weeks ago. Another interesting part of this article is that Obama has also authorized "a dramatic increase" of CIA drone missiles into Pakistan to kill suspected Al-Qaeda and Taliban members.

By: Justin Lynch

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yemen and the IMF/World Bank

This is an interesting article, it relates to what we were talking in class about today and the role of the IMF and World Bank.
As we discussed in class, the nation of Yemen is facing severe problems; a decline in oil production as well as eventual water shortages. Similar to how AIG and Leahman Brothers primarily relied on investment in pre-packaged mortgages due to the real estate bubble, yemen has primarily relied on its oil as a source of income.
When this income ends, the socio-economic conditions becomes ripe for reactionary beleif systems. The IMF and World Bank are not pledging new funds but rather helping the country best allocate 5 billion dollars from past donations.

Greg Voegtle

Iraq continues to face security problems

As the U.S. continues to scale back the number of its troops in Iraq, the long term stability of the country remains in question. While violence has notably decreased across the country, and Iraqis have replaced American soldiers at checkpoints and in patrols, insurgents seem to be getting more creative and better coordinated in their tactics. Today a suicide car bomber did significant damage to a crime lab in Baghdad, killing at least 22. This comes only a day after separate suicide bombers attacked three separate hotels known to be frequented by security contractors and American journalists. U.S. military officials are concerned about the increased planning and coordination involved in this simultaneous attacks, which continue to be Sunni-directed at the Shiite government. It appears that insurgents have gotten better at concealing bombs in hidden compartments and inside the actual chassis of cars, which often elude bomb detection.

Chris Bilbro

Senators push for more efficient Haiti adoptions

Of all the children in Haiti before the massive earthquake, 380,000 of them were orphans. Now that number has increased since the quake and the U.S. is looking to help as much as possible. Several children that have since come to the U.S. are here on humanitarian waivers, due to their official paperwork being lost in the quake. No new children will be sent to the U.S., unless they were already in the adoption process. The ones already entered will go first, and this should help alleviate some of the orphans. However, for those children not entered into the system are at risk for being victims of trafficking. This is a serious problem and as the time lingers on the risks go up, so it is respectable to take orphan children out of this situation.

By: Lindsay Weidling

U.S. nonproliferation post unfilled

Since we had been talking about nonproliferation in class, I thought this story would be pertinent: President Obama still hasn't nominated an assistant secretary for international security and negotiations, the post that oversees the State Department's bureau responsible for U.S. nonproliferation policy. Why? First, the Obama Administration is conducting full FBI background and financial checks, probably a good idea after getting burned on some nominees throughout 2009. But also, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee thinks there are too many positions that need Senate confirmation that should just be appointed staff jobs.

By: Justin Lynch

Monday, January 25, 2010

Even U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan didn't like troop surge

Two months ago, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan warned his bosses that dealing with Hamid Karzai was not a good idea and that a "temporary" troop surge would only further our long-term involvement in the troubled area. He also doubted the ability of the Afghani police forces to take over in the future. This is just another argument against President Obama's troop surge, a bad idea for a region that is unused to a central government (Afghanistan is an area more used to tribal rule than central government), and is with one now that is unabashedly corrupt and silences critics through torture. This resignation letter, from a U.S. government civilian representative in Afghanistan, sums up the arguments most succinctly.

By: Justin Lynch

U.S. woefully underprepared for cyberattacks

With the 21st century, America has to be ready for attacks to come in varying forms...what makes it even harder to prepare is the fact that we sometimes don't know who's doing the attacking. The article suggests that interestingly enough, the Obama Administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are using language more fitting to nuclear deterrence, in that the United States will levy sanctions and isolate countries that harbor those that launch cyberattacks. The case of China and Google is examined, and while Google traced the attacks as coming from China, the issue of accusing the Chinese government of allowing/spearheading them gets into sensitive diplomatic areas.

By: Justin Lynch

Sri Lanka Election

On Tuesday, voters in Sri Lanka will go to the polls to either re-elect the formerly popular president that ran the government when the decades-long war against rebels was won, or the general that actually served and ended the war. The Sri Lanka electorate is tired of the incumbent giving out government jobs to relatives and friends and are frustrated at the lack of economic recovery.

By: Justin Lynch

Sunday, January 24, 2010

U.S. seeks charges against former Guatemalan President

The United States is looking extradite and try former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo on money laundering charges. Portillo, who served as Guatemalan President from 2000 to 2004 is accused of funneling money into Caribbean and European accounts via United States banks. Portillo is most notably remembered for promising to clean up corruption in the Guatemalan government, however it was later found that his political stint was just as corrupt as previous administrations. As of Sunday night, Guatemalan police had conducted four raids, all of which came up unsuccessful in locating Portillo. As the search continues we should remember this isn't the first time the United States has gone after a foreign leader, and certainly won't be the last.

By: Cameron Adams

South Korea Warns North on a First Nuclear Strike

The news regarding North Korea intending to strike South Korea with nuclear weapon has been off and on for a while. Will it actually happen? If it does, what would the U.N Security do which is still trying to bring North Korea to six party talk in regards to nuclear arms disarmament? Will the U.S protect the South Korea as promised to keep it under its nuclear umbrella? The two Koreas recently exchanged some tough talks where North threatening to blow away the South. The defense minister of South Korea said that if there is clear indication of North’s attack, then the South should strike first. But, it is also obvious that North even without nuclear weapon and just with its military could easily attack south which is located within the reach of North Korean rockets and artillery. There were mixed reactions from the North in recent weeks. At one time the North proposed the development of business and tourism with the south and just days later threatened disregard all the dialogues with Seoul. The two Koreas are still on war since there had been no peace treaty established after the Korean War of early 1950s. For details, follow this link

Submitted By:
Namgyel Dorji

Bin Laden Tape

Another allegedly Osama Bin Laden tape has warned the U.S. of imminent attacks if the country continues to support Israel. Though the authenticity of the tape has not been confirmed, it was addressed directly to President Obama and declares that as long as there is no peace in Palestine, their will be no peace for the U.S. The tape also claims responsibility for the December 25 bombing attempt and calls the culprit a "hero." The last tape of this kind came in September 2009 when it warned Obama that he could not stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Washington-based IntelCenter thought this new tape could be an indicator of attack in the next 12 months.

-Abbey Smith

Saturday, January 23, 2010


UN chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri has admitted to a 'minor' slip up in the Nobel prize winning report on the Himalayan glaciers. The original report read that the Himalayan glaciers would very likely be gone by the year 2035. That's pretty soon, right? Wrong. Apparently there was a mistake, and the real date for the glaciers disappearance is in 2350, only about three hundred and thirty years off. No biggie. Though Pachauri firmly states that the receding glaciers is still an issue, this raises much controversy in the greater international discussion of global warming. How the international community will interpenetrate this slip up will be interesting. There is a good chance that this will even further give support to those who do not support the theory of global warming all together. This one mistake has the potential to set back hundreds of hours of dialogue on the issue.

by megan smith

Friday, January 22, 2010

Poland risks conflict with Russia

Poland announced it will base US Patriot missiles in northern Poland, only 60 miles from the Russian border, closer than orginally planned. Poland and the United States signed an agreement in December to station U.S troops in Poland to service the missiles, which will be part of Poland's national secuirty system. The decision to have the missiles so close to Russia might eventually cause conflict between the two states. So far, Russia's Defense Ministry said it would not increase it's Baltic Fleet weaponry which contradicts an earlier quote from Russian news agency that they would.

By:Alicia Panczyk

Britain raises threat level to severe

This is pretty troubling...this means an attack is "highly likely." Terrorists are again trying to target international flights.

Justin Lynch

Cash for Work Program: Haitian Jobs Created

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN envoy Bill Clinton have stated that Haitian jobs need to be created to stimulate the economy and pave the road to recovery. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has already employed hundreds of Haitians for humanitarian work, and expects another 700 will be hired for the grim task of clearing rubble in Port au Prince. The program is called Cash for Work. Former President Bill Clinton said "[i]t’s really important to give young people something positive to do and a lot of people there want to be a part of rebuilding their country.” Ban Ki-moon echoed Mr. Clinton's sentiments, and has made an international appeal for more than $41 million to support the UNDP program. The world bank has also forgiven Haiti of its $38 million debt.

By: Caleb B. Ray
Source: UN News Centre

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Remember how excited you were about communion wine; be a Buddhist, now you can have it all the time!

A group of monks in Japan are now attempting to give Buddhism a "face lift" by integrating hip hop and booze into their message to the youth. Taking a more liberal approach to religion in order to get younger people involved is nothing new, but alcohol? It seems that is one thing that most religions advocate abstinence from. Hip hop on the other hand might actually help. Outside of south central LA, Japan might have the largest concentration of individuals who are still fanatical about old school hip hop, break dancing and such. The monks argue that they are trying to bring the Buddhist mantras to the people in a way that they can understand. Understandable, but at what cost? I'm not familiar with Buddhism, but if they are compromising their values just to get people to the temple, the problem with bringing people into the faith still lies. Just because people are present in body does not mean that they are buying into the faith. I think the plan was clever, and it seems to be working; I just think there is infinite opportunity for a significant backfire.

by Sarah Richardson

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pakistan the "Beating Heart" of al-Qaida

State Department coordinator for counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin told journalists yesterday that while the growing presence of terrorist groups in Yemen is increasingly evident, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (or FATA) of Pakistan still poses the greatest threat to dismantling al-Qaida. According to Benjamin, tribal governments have more interaction with al-Qaida than any other group, and actively support its efforts in this region of the country. Despite the dangerous situation in Pakistan, and the fact that the country remains the strongest area of support for al-Qaida, Benjamin did not dismiss Yemen as an important target for U.S. efforts to uproot terrorist cells. The attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner by an al-Qaida offshoot based in Yemen has brought increased international visibility to the nation, but according to Benjamin the country has been of concern to intelligence officials. This comes on the heels of a report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that claims three dozen Americans traveled to Yemen for training with al-Qaida.

Chris Bilbro

Child Abuse by Irish Clergy

The Pope summoned multiple Irish Bishops to the Vatican to discuss covered up child abuse that has taken place over the years in Ireland. The Irish Bishops will meet with the Pope in mid-February concerning the abuse that took place from 1975-2004. The Pope has already met with Jim Moriarty and Donal Murray, two senior Irish Bishops that resigned in December. The Dublin Archdiocese created a committee, the Commission of Investigation, to investigate all of the claims of child abuse by priests. Moriarty apologized to the survivors and families because actions and inaction does not take away the suffering the people involved have endured. Murray was aware of complaints and suspicions of child sexual abuse in the archdiocese. After reading the reports the Commission of Investigation compiled, the Pope said after the meeting he was "deeply disturbed and distressed" by the report's findings.

By: Alyssa Rabulinski

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

China region cut off from rest of world

After riots between two ethnic groups, China's communist regime cut off internet access, text messages, and phone calls since last July. Of course, foreign investment and travel in the region has fallen dramatically, and people have had to travel hundreds of miles to keep their businesses going and/or communicate with loved ones.

Justin Lynch

Vietnamese Democracy

In the mid-90's, relations between the United States and Vietnam started to improve, as the countries started talking to each other and some sanctions were lifted. This story, however, sounds like it would come from China. Four people suspected of agitating for democracy were arrested and are going to be put on trial for overthrowing the government, almost a joke because basically nobody is acquitted of these charges if they're suspected of being against Communism. What's even worse is the charges are punishable by firing squad. All this comes around a recent crackdown on civil liberties, including the limiting of civilians on Facebook. Oh the joys of totalitarian communism...

Justin Lynch

Monday, January 18, 2010

Defense chief says no US police role in Haiti

Since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti the United States has sent troops and resources to aid in recovery but no new police roles will take affect. Those troops there now can protect themselves and people in need but there will not be an overall policing role. While violence is rising the situation is manageable as of now. With Haitian police, UN officials, and the United States troops there is security and should be ok as long as looters don't become out of control. With an estimated 200,000 dead there will be a long recovery as only 70,000 bodies have been recovered. Much money has been donated and the recovery process has begun but it will be a long recovery and the United States is a much needed force in Haiti.

By: Lindsay Weidling

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pinera Wins Chilean Election

For the first time in 52 years the country of Chile has democratically elected a right wing President. Sebastian Pinera, a Harvard educated economist assumed the Chilean Presidency after Eduardo Frei, his main opponent, publicly conceded defeat. According to the story, Pinera ran his campaign primarily on "hopes for change", and promised to create a million jobs to help stimulate the economy. It was said Pinera and Frei shared the same stance on virtually all the political topics, except for human rights. With Chile and many other Latin American countries, the human rights issue has been a long endowed struggle for quite some time. It's a quite touchy subject with the citizens of post dictator-led countries that used torture and ruthless interrogation as a means of rule. It would appear the Chilean people are ready for change, and we'll soon find out if Sebastian Pinera can deliver.

By Cameron Adams

Turky and Israel try to repair relations

Turkey and Israel are trying to repair relations after an Israeli minister disrespected a Turkish ambassador on public television. The country of Turkey is split between Europe and the Middle East, much like their political center, but recently Turkey has been trying to reconnect with the Middle East. An apology was made by Israel was followed by a visit to the capital of Ankara and a military contract. Because of dissolving military problems for Turkey and a growing trade with India for Israel, contact broke down in the 1990's. Most believe that the relationship will be repaired if only because Turkey doesn't want anger the Jewish supporters in Congress.

By Albie Braun

Iranian Media Implicates U.S., Israel in Assassination

The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that the bombing which killed a well-known nuclear scientist was in fact an assassination which, "revealed signs of the involvement of the Zionist regime, the U.S. and their allies in Iran." A senior U.S. administration official completely denied the charges, calling them "absurd". As of yet, there has been no response from Israeli officials. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that such actions would not deter the nation from continuing its work on nuclear technology, but rather speed it up. The Iranian media also implicated a relatively obscure monarchist support group, known as the Royal Association of Iran, for the bombing as well as participation in the recent riots and civil unrest that has plagued the nation.
By: Nick McGuire


China is known both for its rapid economic growth as well as the lack of human rights in the country. Though the homosexuality prevails in the country, none dare to come out in the public fearing consequences where it has been viewed as taboo. Not anymore. Last Wednesday, the state press in its front page featured a photo of publicly married gay couple for the first time in the country. That shows the openness of the China to homosexuality. The couple Zeng Anquan, 45, and Pan Wenjie, 27, tied the knot at a gay bar which according the paper the first such public event in the country. China’s first government –backed gay bar opened last December in Yunnan province. As recent as 2001, homosexuality was officially considered a form of mental illness. The one child policy of China and the preference for boys in the family has resulted in uneven ratio between men and women and the state media recently reported that by 2020, approximately 24million Chinese men will lack wives. Could the homosexuality be an option to this issue?

Submitted By: Namgyel Dorji

Ukraine elections will lead to runoff

After the first round of voting between Viktor Yanukovich and Yulia Tymoshenko among other candidates, nobody has enough of a majority to win outright so there will be a runoff election. Ukraine has been a country with lots of political infighting after the hopeful Orange Revolution in 2004. This race will signal how Ukraine interacts with the rest of the world, with Yanukovich promising to have a more independent Ukraine and Tymoshenko is more western-leaning.

Justin Lynch

UK Anxiety Over Influence in Europe After Crisis

While UK has been a growing, and stable economy for years, the economic down-turn has taken its toll. A once envied population is now being questioned by many. Tax-payers are stepping in and people are starting to wonder if this sought after economic system is really all it was cracked up to be. They are concerned France and Germany are moving in and taking over, and the UK will lose the reputation they had been maintaining. Due to this situation, The UK believes their best option is to adopt a sense of humility and become more engaged. If the UK wants to gain a positive reputation and higher standing again, this sense of humility can help build a positive re-pour.

Posted By: Meredith Hess

Malaysia Church Attacks Continue.

Since a recent court ruling which allows Malay newspapers to utilize the word "Allah" as a translation for "God", eleven Christian churches have been vandalized. This particular article suggests that counter attacks on local mosques have begun as well. Though the government has been quick to criticize the attacks, there has not been any tangible efforts to end the violence. It is thought that this is due to upcoming elections in an attempt to drum up Malay nationalism, seeing as only a small 9% of the total population identifies themselves as Christian. If these violent acts of vandalism continue, however, the government will soon be forced to take some sort of action.

by megan smith

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti Relief Troubles

The United States has promised to have up to 10,000 troops in Haiti by Monday. Since the devestating earthquake hit on Tuesday, aid workers have flooded in from around the world. Death estimates are currently at 45,000-50,000, but if survivors are not found soon, that number will only escalate. Despite the thousands of workers trying to help, many problems have delayed aid, leaving survivors even more desperate. The problems include no room in the airports for incoming aid carriers, roads blocked by debirs, and damage to 30% of the buildings in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti's capital. Millions of people need aid, but the U.N.'s World Food Program has only been able to feed a few thousand. For now, the main road from the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbor on the island, is open, but many other roads need to be cleared in order for rescue teams to truly help. The biggest opponent in this effort is time. The longer people are left trapped under buildings or without food and clean water, the more the death toll will rise.

By Abbey Smith

Thursday, January 14, 2010

United Nations Directly Affected by Earthquake in Haiti

The earthquake in Haiti has and will continue to have a devastating amount of people unaccounted for. Included in the mix of those unaccounted for are members of the United Nations. As many as 150 members of the United Nations mission in Haiti are currently missing. The headquarters of the United Nations mission collapsed during the earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, which had a magnitude of 7.0. Some of the missing members include two of the top civilian’s officials at the mission, Special Representative Hedi Annabi, of Tunisia, and his top deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa of Brazil. Sixteen members of the Brazilian peacekeeping force are confirmed dead. Included in the unaccounted for peacekeepers are members of Helen Clark’s staff. Helen Clark, the head of the United Nations Development Program, said about 38 members of her staff live in a building adjacent to the headquarters, and they are currently unaccounted for. It is believed that an estimated ten of her staff members were inside the United Nations building when it collapsed, according to Clark. Other members of the United Nations lived in the Montana Hotel, which was ruined in the earthquake. There are approximately 9,000 United Nations members in Haiti, with 3,000 of them living in the Port-au-Prince area. Peace keepers are working hard to clear away rubble and assist the people of Haiti, as this is their number one priority, while keeping in mind the concern of their missing co-workers at heart.

By: Alyssa Rabulinski

JC to PR: You Idiot...

Pat Robertson's remarks on Wednesday were nothing short of disgusting. Robertson made remarks on his "700 club," claiming that Haitians are suffering for making a pact with the devil nearly 250 years ago, and cursed the entire country to poverty. With 100,000 people estimated dead, and that estimation is possibly increasing, and three million Haitians affected by this disaster, remarks like Robertson's are not only unneeded, but only drag Christianity down with him. The people in Haiti have been out in the streets crying to God and Jesus Christ for help, a fact Robertson simply ignored. Keep in mind, this man who said Islam is a fascist organization. Mr. Robertson, on behalf of all Americans concerned with the Haiti disaster, please, stay quiet. Video of the remarks after the jump

By: Caleb Ray
Source: ThinkProgress

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Al Qaeda Air

How this could be happening in a post 9/11 world is beyond me...airplanes filled with drugs, weapons, and who knows what else are flying back and forth between lawless areas in South America controlled by death squads and lawless areas in Africa where guerrilla warfare has been going on for decades. Why is this not bigger news?

Justin Lynch

Status of Nigeria Uncertain as President Remains Absent

Nigeria's president, Umaru Yar'Adua, left his country leaderless seven weeks ago when he flew to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. Originally citing a heart problem, Yar'Adua has not been heard from since, as rumors grow that he has been left brain dead and comatose. The Nigerian government denies this is, but will not confirm that he is in good health, or provide proof that he is still alive. The president has made no public statements since leaving the country, leaving many to suspect the country may soon be plunged into the chaos of a power vacuum. This is Nigeria's most serious crisis since the end of 33 years of military rule, and it is widely feared that in lack of a leader it may soon return to military control. Growing unrest in the heavily Islamic north, coupled with rebels in the south who are “losing patience” with the government in the absence of its popular leader, this could not have come at as worse time. Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempt to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas day has only further damaged the situation. Neither the president nor the vice-president have commented on this terror attack, bringing Nigeria's relationship with Washington to an all-time low. As Africa's second largest oil producer, Nigeria's increasingly uncertain political stability may have serious consequences for the United States.

Chris Bilbro

Google and Chinese Human Rights

In order for a internet company, such as Google, to do business with a nation like China, certain censorship laws must be respected and followed. Unlike in many western nations, censorship in China is rather prevalent, whether it be internet or newspapers.
Google had originally been divided internally over whether would be done under censorship in china, however it was decided upon that by not being involved, it would be more disadvantageous to human rights.
This position of doing business with the Chinese Government recently changed when Google found out email accounts of Chinese human rights activists had been hacked into.
Baidu, Google's competitor, and close aly with the Chinese government, re-framed the issue; by stating Google had backed out due to financial reasons rather than human rights reasons. He stated Google came in second to his company in ownership of the Chinese market.
Google owned almost 1/3 of a the growing 1 billion dollar market, and was predicted to pull in 600 million dollars this year alone, had they stayed in.

Greg Voegtle

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prayers for Haiti

As if Haiti did not already have enough issues, they now have to plan for recovery from a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake. Just last year they were tormented by serial devastating hurricanes. I can't help but to feel an incredible amount of empathy for them especially considering that I personally know a student who is here studying from Haiti. When I was in Costa Rica, there was a huge flood in Houston, where my family is, and I could not get in touch with them for over a week.
The quake was strong enough to felt in Cuba, so it was certainly strong enough to do some serious damage in small Haiti. Native Haitian, celebrity, and nephew of the Haitian Ambassador, Wyclef Jean called for immediate aid to the area. The center of the quake was very close to Port au Prince, most populated and the main commercial area in the country.
This indecent and Haiti's immediate call to the United States brings urges me to ask, why don't we pursue a global supranational governing body. Even for the nations that have the most power and resources, it is always expected of us to help when smaller nations are in need. What a burden to carry! Wouldn't it be nice to be able to share those responsibilities?

by Sarah Richardson

The Santa Claus Logic Math

This doesn't have anything to do with Global Governance but it does have to do with an in-class discussion.. I also didn't write this but found it online so take it for what it's worth haha.

There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to to 15% of the total -- 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the Earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the Earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle ever made on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second (a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour).

The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull ten times the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload -- not even counting the weight of the sleigh -- to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison, this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the boat, not the monarch).

353,000+ tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance; this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

By: Justin Lynch

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mini-wars, Large impact:Terrorism

With increasing troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. military presence in Iraq and an overall increase in spending since the Bush administrations Declaration of a "War on Terror", one would think Al-Queda was on the verge of collapse. However, despite successful attempts in eradicating top Al-Queda leaders, the group has shown increasing reliance on individuals who believe in its ideology. Recruiting grounds such as Yemen and Somalia are countries of interest. These mini fronts, will cause even more off a stretch on the part of the US military, and are much more difficult for counterterrorism experts to combat.

Greg Voegtle

A bubble about to burst: China

China has become the world's largest automobile market, with millions of Chinese taking advantage of a surging economy and buying cars. However, as the article points out, this sustained boom is in danger of going the way of America's ecomomic expansion and leaving a huge recession. The government put over half a trillion into the economy and has banks making many more loans than in the past...China's bubble is ready to burst.

By: Justin Lynch

Gay marriage ban challenged in California court

As it has been noted that Barack Obama has put this particular issue on the back burner, it has not stayed on the back burner for others. It is being put to trial to determine whether or not states can ban same-sex marriage. If the Supreme Court rules on this case there will be no appeals and it will stand as ruled upon. This issue applies to many people throughout and the verdict could make history. As medical marijuana may appear to be legalized eventually, I think gay marriage may also become legal. People share views some backing gay marriage while others are opposed. It will be interesting to see if equality happens for gay people in the marriage sector.

By: Lindsay Weidling

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tensions between India and China

The tensions between China and India begin with the dispute over Kashmir but has evolved into more of a competition between the two new world powers. Both countries are developing nations that have had a major expansion in both economy, industry, and influence in world politics. The most basic part of the dispute is the fact that the border between the two countries conflicts with China's control over Tibet. Minimal efforts have been made by India whereas China either ignores the problem or promotes paranoia among its civilization. However, trade has helped to promote cooperation and bring the two nations to a more agreeable understanding.

By Albie Braun

Three Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike

Well this shouldn't surprise anyone, there is yet another Israeli-Palestinian conflict to report from the Middle-East. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, three Palestinian men were killed by Israeli Defense Forces as they were preparing to fire rockets into southern Israel. It's being reported that up to 20 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza just this week. Clearly, Israeli and Palestinian relations have digressed in the past year with an estimated 1,166 deaths as a result of fighting. Netanyahu insists that so long as Palestinian forces instigate the state of Israel with these attacks there will be retaliation, terrorist acts will simply not be tolerated. He also adds "this is not how peace is made. Peace is made by educating towards reconciliation, by encouraging good neighborly relations and by developing mutual respect." For this regions sake, lets hope both sides take this advice to heart.

By: Cameron Adams

UAE Sheikh Acquitted of Torture

Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan has been cleared of the charge of torturing Mohammed Shah Poor, a business associate, despite a widely publicized tape showing him beating Poor as well as running him over with a car. The court ruled he had been under the influence of drugs, thus unaware or his actions, making him not guilty. Shiek Issa is a member of the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates and is the first of his family to be investigated for a crime. Though the fact that he was tried shows anyone in the UAE can be investigated, the ruling offers little for those who believe the family has violated human rights. The other men involved in the torture were brothers Ghassan and Bassam Nabulsi and three other men. All five received some form of punishment, ranging from one to five years in prison and over $2,000 equivalent in fines.

By Abbey Smith

Al Qaeda admits attack on CIA

Al Qaeda claims responsibilty for the deaths of seven CIA agents from a suicide boming last month in Afganistan. The suicide bomber was working as a double agent who was recruited as a counterterrorism intelligence source. According to a statement posted on an Islamist website, the attack was an act of revenge for the deaths of the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan and operatives who were killed in a missile strike by the U.S military last August. Several militant groups have tried to take claim for the attack and analysts say these groups may be competeing for credit to spread the word which will attract new donations and recruits. On Sunday, in an email from Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, he stated that his arm of the Islamic movement carried out the attack and reiterating that the reason was to seek out revenge.


By: Alicia Panczyk

UK Preparing to Ban Islamist Group

A controversial Islamist support group is set to be banned by the British government in the very near future. The group, known as Al-Muhajiroun, has drawn massive attention in recent days after proposing to hold a demonstration in a British town that receives British war dead returning from Afghanistan. The ban itself would prevent the group from holding any type of meetings or raising funds while making membership a criminal offense. Similar groups have already been banned in previous years, a step that the British government felt was necessary to combat domestic as well as international terrorism. The group's leader, outspoken British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, said that he would not stop simply because a ban is put in place and that "Muslims everywhere are obliged to work collectively to establish the Islamic State and Sharia law in the UK or wherever they are - those things can't change."

By: Nick McGuire

Obama's Guantanamo Problems Pile up

Despite Obama's intention to shut down Guantanamo Bay, his January 22nd 2010 deadline will remain unaccomplished. With the recent increase of Yemeni prisoners, and those left with no sign of trial, Guantanamo Bay does not seem to be approaching the fate Obama had in store. With recent findings of al-Qaeda training in Yemen, there is a greater hesitation to eliminate Guantanamo Bay. Those prisoners facing the possibility of no trial may be moved to a new location in Thomson, Illinois.
As Guantanamo Bay's future becomes more cloudy, human rights activists grow more frustrated. While the facility fails to release those who were cleared, activists speak out on the injustice these individuals. Despite their protests, it has become increasingly more difficult for prisoners to seek an appeal.
Due to these many set-backs, it appears as though Guantanamo Bay is currently facing an uncertain future.


By: Meredith Hess

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Togo's Team Drops out of Africa Cup of Nations

Togo's team decides to leave the Africa Cup of Nations following Friday's attack on their team's bus after crossing the Congo-Angola border. Nine individuals, including two players, were killed an several others were injured. Although the Angola government claimed that it was an isolated act and urged the team to continue with the competition, "rebels who have been fighting for the region's independence later said they had carried out the attack,"and the Togo government has withdrawn the team from the competition.

A very valid question lurks in the air: should they resign in the interest of safety, or continue on in an effort to demonstrate to terrorists that their tactics are not effective? Terrorism is a very sensitive subject for us all. Although the act itself may be concentrated, it's affects are much more widespread than the people who are hurt directly.

by Sarah Richardson

South Asian Rivals Exchange Fire Over Border

Two nuclear powers in South Asia reportedly exchanged fire in the border area over the weekend. Around midnight, India fired four rockets over the Pakistan border in retaliation to two unexploded rockets that were found along the Indian border. Pakistan denied the claim of two rockets being sent from their side. Indian border guards have been instructed to "retaliate heavily," however, as of now the firing has stopped. Indian government official Home Minister P. Chidambaram hinted that Pakistan was involved in the attack in Srinagar earlier in the week, which led to the death of two Indian militants. The two nations have a long history of fighting over territory, until they reached a ceasefire agreement in 2003. However, tensions rose again in November 2008, after the deadly attacks in Mumbai, which claimed the life of 160 people. Since this time, violence and hostility have escalated between the two nations, leaving behind the peaceful participation shown in previous years.

By: Alyssa Rabulinski

US warns of attacks on Uganda-Sudan planes

After an attempted attack on December 25, 2009, the United States has taken extra precautions for US travellers. These travelers were also under more of a severe threat traveling between Juba in Sudan and the Ugandan capital, Kampala. There will be more security checks due to the bomb in the man's,Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's, underpants on the December 25th scare. This threat has been known for sometime and is suspicious, but Sudan as well as 14 other countries are where US travelers will be subject to more intense searches and measures. No one knows how severe these extremists are but this threat has been going on for sometime and there is no need to take chances, especially with the recent attempt on the 25th.

By: Lindsay Weidling

Violence in Sudan

by megan smith

Just when the world was thinking the situation in Sudan was calming down a bit, tragedy struck again. A reported 139 people have been killed, and about another 45 injured in the latest cattle based conflict. With the UN simply stating that this attack in conjunction with the overall rise in violence is a 'deep concern', steps from the outside world are still not being taken to aid those being effected. According to Al Jazeera this rise in violence has killed thousands, and displaced around 250,000 more people. The simple fact is that this kind of constant violence can not continue, but without other nations stepping in a lending a hand, it never will.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dispute over the term for "God" results in Malaysian church bombings

Three Christian churches in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were firebombed on Friday. The bombings are in response to the debate over the usage of "Allah" by Christians in Malaysia, an Islamic nation. Crowds gathered outside two major mosques to protest a recent repeal of a ban against Roman Catholics using "Allah" as a translation for "God." The reasoning behind the protest is that "many Muslims [in Malaysia] have argued that the use of the word by other religions could confuse believers and tempt them to convert from Islam." Other Islamic nations such as Egypt allow Christians to use the term "Allah," simply because the majority of the nation is Arabic speaking. Prime Minister Najib Razak denied governmental involvement while condemning the bombings.

By: Caleb B. Ray
Source: The New York Times

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Europe Debates Use of Full-Body Scanners at Airports

The European Union is divided on the issue of whether to enforce full body scanners at airports or not. Some countries such as Italy, Britain, and Netherlands joined the U.S with the plans of installing scanners whereas others like Spain and Belgium remain skeptical about the plan. Germany and France didn’t express any opinions yet although German Interior Ministry spokesman mentioned that there has to be a thorough study of whether such scanning will improve the security, if there are any health risks and if it will harm individual’s rights. The security measures at airports had increased after a Nigerian man Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight which was its on way to Detroit on Christmas Day from Amsterdam.

What's the deal with Yemen?

As we talked about in class today, the man that failed to set off the bomb on a plane on Christmas Day probably got his undie bomb from Yemen, a country that for the most part had been ignored in foreign policy discussions about the Middle East. In 2000, Yemen came up on the world spotlight for the USS Cole bombing. Now, the country's battle against extremists is front and center...but how did a country become a hotbed for terrorism? Here's how.

By: Justin Lynch

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

CIA Deceived by Double Agent

The CIA base in Afghanistan was recently bombed by a suicide bomber. The base, heavily secured, was not on guard for this particular visitor. He had been recommended by Jordanian intelligence officials, for he had provided valuable information about Al-Queda for the Jordanian intelligence agency. Due to his close ties with the CIA's fellow intellegence partners, he was not searched when he entered the base. His deception has resulted in the death of 7 CIA officials, which brings an emotional and strategic counter terrorism loss as well. The 7 men that died were part of an elite counterterrorist unit in the region (NY Times article) and such a loss is devasting to future operations. This also raises fears about the Al-Queda's structure and its ability to maintain power and influnce despite U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

Greg Voegtle;_ylt=AsLhWMlPyQMscX4Y3hkjr4BvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTJzcnZjaTQwBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwMTA2L21sX2pvcmRhbl9jaWFfYWZnaGFuX2F0dGFjawRjcG9zAzEEcG9zAzIEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yeQRzbGsDY2lhYm9tYmVyY29l

First public discussion of abortion in South Korea

Dr. Choi Anna and her colleague Dr. Shim Sang-duk are trying to make a public discussion on the ethics of abortion, a currently widespread, illegal, and never-talked-about issue. Dr. Choi and Dr. Shim say that before they stopped performing abotions in September, they were performing about 30 a month, which is twice the amount of babies they delivered each month. They formed a group, Gynob, which has called on doctors to discuss whether or not they have performed illegal abortions and also developed an organization, Pro-Life doctors, to discourage women form having abortions and report clinics who practice illegally. They are not trying to solve the problem of a law that is not enforced by making the law less strict, but rather by eliminating abortions altogether. This is unusual for South Korea, because abortions are widespread and do not have as much emotional or religious significance as the West, and also because public discussion of "family issues" is not encouraged. The government is now trying to stop abortions to raise the fertility rate, but is having difficulty because doctors are very unwilling to give up their illegal, cash payments for abortions.
By: Sam Lent

Kenya Plans to Deport Muslim Cleric to Jamaica

Jamaican-born Muslim cleric, Abdullah el-Faisal, is being deported from Kenya because he may have had a hand in the Christmas Day bombing attempt by a Nigerian man. Faisal was tried in Britain in 2003 for spreading messages of radical hatred (urging others to kill Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Americans) and deported in 2007. Faisal was supposedly on a preaching tour in Kenya, but authorities feared he would encourage radicalism in a country that is already been the target of al Quaeda attacks. Faisal was found guilty of encouraging followers to use chemical and nuclear weapons against enemies of other faiths in 2003, but not deported until the British government linked him to the London bombings of July 2005. Most recently, the Nigerian suspect in the attempted bombing Christmas Day made a posting online in May 2005 referring to Mr. Faisal as the cleric he listened to.
By: Sam Lent

Iran Professors Ask for End to Violence

Risking expulsion and arrest, 88 professors at Tehran University signed a letter asking the country's supreme religious leader to stop using violence against protestors, as it shows the government's weakness. In addition, five opposition leaders from abroad wrote a letter calling for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's resignation, release of political prisoners, freedom of speech, and fair elections. This letter stated that, "The hatred and resentment that had built up against the regime in the past three decades has deep roots. The discontent has a great destructive power and can unleash a vast wave of violence throughout society." Though neither letter impacted the government's actions, it was still an important event because the letters challenged the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei's, actions, which was unthinkable before protests broke out in June after the election.
By: Sam Lent

U.S. and British embassies close in Yemen

This past Sunday, the U.S. and British embassies in Yemen closed due to a "specific, credible, and ongoing threat." Shortly after the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight by a 23-year-old Nigerian man, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the U.S. government linked the suspect to al Qaeda in Yemen and the Yemen-base al Qaeda took responsibility. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that Britain will work with America to support the Yemeni government in its efforts to fight terrorism.
By: Sam Lent

China executes British man

The UK is condemning China for executing a British national, Akmal Shaikh, on drug smuggling charges. This was the first European to be executed in China in 50 years. According to Chinese law, if a person is carrying more than 50 grams of heroin, they can be sentenced to death, and Shaikh was carrying 4 kilograms. The UK, however, is against the death penalty and, in addition to that, believes that the Chinese government ignored Shaikh's mental state. Those who knew the man say he was bipolar and tricked into trafficking drugs, but China failed to take Shaikh's mental health into consideration.
By: Sam Lent

Sunday, January 3, 2010

North Korea detains American man

On Christmas Day, American activist and Christian missionary Robert Park crossed a frozen river from China into North Korea. Park went to bring attention to human rights issues in North Korea and entered the country armed with a Bible and letters to Kim Jong II. Four days later, North Korea announced that they had an American man in custody for entering the country illegally but would not provide any further details. Park has not been heard from since.
By: Sam Lent

Irag spokesman: Ex-Blackwater employees not wanted in Iraq

Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh announced that Iraq is actively pursuing Blackwater employees in the country, even if they currently work for other companies. The government will also file suit against five Blackwater employees who were cleared of charges in 2007 concerning the murder of 17 people in Nusour Square in Baghdad. Ali al-Dabbagh said that, "Investigations carried out by specialized Iraqi authorities unequivocally found that the Blackwater guards committed murder."
By: Sam Lent

Pakistani Taliban claims Turncoat CIA operative behind attack

The Pakistani Taliban says that they used a CIA operative to execute the bombing in Afghanistan that killed 7 CIA agents. Qari Hussain, a top militant for the Pakistani Taliban, claims that the CIA operative contacted the group and said he was "willing to attack the U.S. Intelligence Agency on the militants' behalf." The Afghan Taliban, however, have also taken responsibility for the attack, and because the event deals with covert operations, it is nearly impossible to verify either claim.
By: Sam Lent

Official: KGB chief ordered Hitler's remains destroyed

The head archivist of Russia's Federal Security Service finally confirmed that the KGB did, in fact, burn Hitler's remains under direct orders in 1970. 24 years after Hitler's body was secretly buried, a group of special KGB agents took part in an operation called "The Archives," where they burned the remains in a bonfire and threw them in a river. According to the documents, the Soviets burned the remains for fear that they would become a place of worship for supporters of fascist ideas.
By: Sam Lent

Pakistan court orders men's ears, noses hacked off

Two men were tried under anti-terror laws in Lahore, Pakistan for attacking a woman and cutting off her nose and ears after they thought she was dead. The men, who had three accomplices, were trying to make an example of the woman for rejecting a marriage proposal. The court tried them under anti-terror laws because "the incident 'created tyranny' in the district." The court sentenced the two brothers to life in prison and charged with a 700,000 rupee fine to compensate the victim. The court also ordered that the men's ears and noses be cut off, but the high court must first approve it and a doctor must declare that the men would survive the punishment.
By: Sam Lent