Sunday, September 30, 2012

Millions Are Facing Food Crisis in Yemen, U.N. Agency Says

In Yemen, the population is going hungry. The turmoil from the revolt against Ali Abdullah Saleh has left many needing UN assistance for food. The lack of food stems from the rising food prices. The main reason for the rise and high cost of food in Yemen is because of the infertile land and  the majority of the food is imported. 5 million people are going hungry in Yemen and the majority being landless laborers. 3.8 million people are receiving food rations from the UN. This was risen from 1.2 million in January. With the fear of kidnapping and the political instability in Yemen, there are struggles in getting the rations out to the public. Therefore making the UN's job more difficult. A brighter note, there have been pledges and donations to Yemen that are about 7.86 billion dollars. Without political stability however, giving the aid becomes very difficult.

Geordano Reyes

Venezuelan youth could decide if Chavez remains in power

The fate of Hugo Chavez in the upcoming elections of Venezuela will be determined by the youth of the country who have become disillusioned with the administration of Chavez. Chavez has been in power for 14 years and not much has changed in his country. There are no jobs, crimes have increased and public infrastructure has not improved. According to the article there are 7.5 million Venezuelans between the ages of 18 to 30 who make up 40 of the electorate. Chavez knows how to work his charm through the young people but that charm might be fading considering that his government has not proven much in improving the lives of its people. Some of the population believe in his policy of nationalizing private industries and using Venezuela’s profit from oil on social programs. For the most part the economy of Venezuela has been relying on its profit from oil and foreign investment has left the country because of the continued nationalization of key industries. Without foreign investment no new jobs are created. Most young Venezuelans leave the country for greener pastures. It is now time for the people to choose a new leader that can usher in change.

by Albert Aguirre

Buddhist temples and homes torched in Bangladesh

Muslim Protestors say a photo posted by a Buddhist on facebook insulted Islam. Late on Saturday, protestors gathered in Buddhist villages to protest against the photograph. This protest then escalated on Sunday and resulted in 4 temples and 15 homes being torced to the ground. The area of Bangladesh, known as Cox's Bazar, is a prodominantly Muslim area. Muslims in the area have been angry over the California video that mocked Islam, so another poke at the prophet essentiatly was the straw that broke the camels back. Tension between the Muslims and Buddhists is not new in this area. Early this year on the border of Myanmar, the majority Buddhist community collided with the minority Muslims. At this time police have moved the suspected poster of the photo and his mother to safety. They also state they are doing everything they can to subdue the violence and tension.

View Article Here

Brittany Kancauski

Catastrophe in Syria: World Powers push for peace.

The agenda of the United Nations consist of coercing feuding forces into peace talks between syria's president Bashar Assad, and opposing entities. 30,000 casualties have been reported during the conflict in Syria. The 30,000 reported incidents dont do justice, there are countless more deaths that have occured that have not been accounted for, both of innocent people and opposing forces. The goal of the U.N. is to bring together Syria's (Bashar Assad's) Regime, and rebels. Consisting of nine representatives from both Assad's regime, allies of syria (a few are the U.S., European Union, and the Arab league) and Anti-assad group's spokesmen. The movement is backed by mainly western powers. Russia and China have vetoed three "western-backed" resolutions, causing a setback for inhabitants of Syria and the rest of the world who is watching. Millions of dollars are being provided for rival groups in syria to promote cooperation.

An excerpt from the article : "Clinton pledged $15 million in new non-lethal equipment -- mainly communications equipment -- and $30 in million humanitarian assistance to Syria's opposition. In total, the U.S. has offered $130 million in humanitarian supplies and about $40 million in equipment such as including satellite-linked computers, telephones and cameras. Britain and France have also offered millions of dollars worth of aid supplies and equipment."

The question I ask is where do we the United States government get the money to be handing out to other nations when we as a country have trillions of dollars worth of debt. Who are we indebting ourselves to, where is the money coming from? How can our country afford to provide such currency? Are there not any cost efficient resolutions besides giving millions of dollars away to people whom may use it for what it was provided for, or defect and use it where they see fit? Giving money away like this has no assurance that the funds will be used as intended, in fact, more harm maybe done. We maybe giving rival groups the means to afford more arms and military goods to further their feud and make the conflict much more catastrophic. There are many other ways we, the United States and the rest of the United Nations could help the situation. We need to get involved and prevent more deaths from occuring, we cant always be peacemakers and get everyone to get along, that takes time. But in the meantime, we sure can keep the peace by bringing bigger guns to the party with no intentions of using them to cause harm. The power of intimidation is underestimated, if there is an overwhelming force within the area the smart wouldnt dare to oppose a superior militaristic presence. Perhaps retain the peacekeepers in Syria until the peace talks have ended and a resolution has been reached, or dont intervene and let the civil war spread throughout other middle east nations. Handing money over is the easy way out, and there is no guarentee it will achieve anything other than putting us into more debt.

-Bryan Trepanier

U.S. May Have Put Mistaken Faith in Libya Site’s Security

Before the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya, there was an attack that occurred on June 6.  There was a bombing outside the American diplomatic mission to which the Libyan security forces were able to mount an effective response.  There was also a team of Special Forces that aided the Libyan forces in April and June.  The amount of unpreparedness shown by the security forces is augmented by the mortar attack that happened after the initial attack.  The compound was overrun from three different sides.  There were five Libyan guards and only three had weapons.  Those three took up a defensive position on the roof of one of the buildings and held off the assailants as best they could.  The ambassador's bodyguard was seen running across the compound to try and get to the ambassador.  A convoy was able to escape the compound and make it to an annex building that no one was supposed to know about.  Just as the American convoy arrived at the annex, the attackers opened fire with mortars that are assumed to have been put in place before the initial attack.  Through all this, no one knew where Chris Stevens was.  It was not until about 4:00am that it was discovered Mr. Stevens was deceased.

Chris Lencioni

Deadly Day in Iraq

An increase of violence occurred on Sunday due to a wave of bombings, making it the deadliest day in Iraq in a month. The bombings happened in and around Baghdad, specifically in the city center,the neighborhood al-Mashahda and al-Amel, and the city of Taji. There were a total of seven explosions, which killed twenty people according to police and other city officials. A minimum of thirty seven people were injured in the attacks. The attacks were aimed towards the Shiite Muslim community. In a separate attack on the same day, four people were killed and nineteen were wounded because of a car bomb explosion. The car exploded near another Shiite holy site, about 12 miles southeast of Baghdad. The violence in Iraq is rising again after a period of peace. 
By Emina Pivac;postID=5542535837666741614

US military deaths in Afghanistan hit 2,000

The title says it all. The conflict going on in Afghanistan, now totaling 11 years in length, has officially claimed the lives of two thousand Americans. Grimly reminding the public that there is indeed still a brutal conflict going on in that part of the world and that our own men and women are going over there still sacrificing themselves. The latest deaths to add to the total are from a recent firefight with allied Afghan troops, a mix of confusion and friendly fire. The milestone in U.S deaths comes as the coalition of NATO troops is steadily withdrawing troops from that area, and in the process of training an Afghan police force and military to take the fight into their own hands. The program to train these Afghan soldiers has cost the American tax payers 22 billion dollars. A stunning amount, seeing how we have a ton of problems at home noteworthy of taking care of.

Afghan Inside Attack Kills 2 Americans..

An Afghan soldier shot and killed 2 American soldiers and 2 members from the Afghanistan army.  This has been one of many insider attacks, and now the number is up to 2,000 troop deaths since 2001.  These attacks are a huge threat to NATO and their mission for the country.  The shooting happened on Saturday, and it is believed that there was a misunderstanding or a miscommunication between Afghan army soldiers and American soldiers.  This incident occurred at 5:00 in the Sayd Abad district, and NATO believes this was an "insider attack".  These attacks have dissolved the trust between the soldiers and the international forces.  These forces need to work side by side in order for the strategy of the security operations for Afghanistan, as the United States and other nations will be pulling out the last troops in 2014.
Julie Marchese

Libyans Hand Over Their Weapons

In Libya's capital city of Tripoli hundreds of Libyans turned over their weapons to military personnel. This effort, established by the Libyan military, is part of an effort to disband militia and attempt to resolve many sources of violence in the nation. Among the six-hundred some different types of weapons turned in were two tanks, anti-aircraft guns, land mines, rocket and artillery launchers, as well as numerous heavy machine guns. Colonel Hussein Abdullah Khalifa claimed that some of this weaponry turned was from the militia group responsible for the downfall of Gaddafi. Many rewards are offered to those who turn in their arms such as jobs and cars. 

Ryan Bartell

Wave of Bombings Across Iraq

On Sunday Insurgents attacked Shiite neighborhoods and security forces and killed 26 people.  They conducted many attacks in different cities saying that this is an attempt to reestablish sectarian conflict and to undermine the public confidence.  The latest bombings is raising concerns for the U.N and the U.S. on if the current Iraqi government has the ability to contain the strong violence.  The attacks are increasing week by week with many car bombings in many cities.  No terrorist group has claimed the attacks but experts believe that it was Al Qaeda because of their car bombing hallmark.  Insurgents swore to take back parts of the country like Taji because they were pushed out by the American troops.  Car bombs are occurring every single day claiming many civilian and police officer lives.  The division between Shiites and the Sunnis still remains strong.  Although Iraqi forces have been failing on stopping the attacks, officials say that the violence has dropped as a few years ago when the bloodshed was at its highest.

-Zayde Contreras

Turkish court condemns army officials in potentially flawed trial

An Istanbul security court distributed sentences of six to twenty years to three hundred twenty five officers over an alleged coup attempt against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AK party in 2003.  The trial was celebrated as historical, as it was the first time the civilian government had charged members of the military.  This is especially significant for Turkey's fairly unstable democratic state, which as suffered military intervention on four different occasions.  Despite this, many parties have suggested the trial was corrupt, with the sole modicum of evidence against the officers being a CD containing information about the coup attempt.  The defense's key witnesses were never heard, and the data disc cited companies that did not exist at the alleged time the coup plot was hatched.  The defense will most likely appeal to a higher court, which could eventually lead them to the European Court of Human Rights.  

Andrew DuBois

The Bravery of Afghan Girls

This is an article that I found to be very interesting because of my interest of Middle Eastern culture involving women. Many of us are familiar with how women are treated in Afghanistan and how educating women is becoming an issue. There are so many customs that women and girls need to follow in order to ensure a safe day. In this article, is about the obstacles that young girls face when going to school. A simple task that we take for granted, such as walking to school would be difficult for the average Afghan girl. First of all, there are many Afghans who believe women and girls should not be educated at all. When young girls walk to school, it is like walking through a warzone. Not just in the metaphorical since, but also literally. There have been reports of girls who faced acid attacks by people who believe in the Taliban and that girls should not be educated. However, the number of girls being educated is increasing each year. In 2001, no girls were to be educated. Now, there are three million girls in school.

Blog written by Antoinette Williams

Kanyan forces attack last remaining stronghold al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia

This last Friday, Kenyan forces were able to invade al- Shabab's last strong hold in Somalia. In the past year and half forces form the three countries of Kenya, Burundi, and Uganda teamed up to get rid of the al- Shabab forces that took control of the capital and many other small towns where they stayed. The fact they have taken over many of these small towns and regained access to the capital is a very positive for Kenya, but also the fact that with this invasion hurts the al-Shabab economically too is a strong point for the Kenyan Forces. They will most likely economically hurt them because they allied withal- Qaida and they collected taxes on products coming into the Indian Ocean port, which this taxing is their main source of income. It appears that with this new step forward for the Kenyan Forces will result in more extreme fighters to resort to suicide bombings but fortunately hopefully weakening the al- Shabab forces with the less dedicated fighters going back to their normal lives and jobs. Some are saying this is a "victory" for Kenya and will most likely be beneficial for Somalia. Even though the al- Shabab experienced heavy casualties, while Kenya lost none, they believe they still have control of the city and even tweeted about the situation. It was mentioned that AFRICOM is monitoring the situation but does not want to become involved in the fighting, even though they have help equip and train them to fight. I think this is a good move for Kenya and their troops to finally stand up to al-Shabab and fight to take back control of the city and make is safer for the people of somalia. Written by: Michele Dobbs

Kye and the Relentless Pussy Riot

Three women from Russia use punk music to protest politics and religion in a Moscow Cathedral.  Russia didn't like this and decides to arrest them for their act.  They are branded for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred".  The girls were flexing there muscles in a way that America may have cheered for, but Russia did not support.  The sentence for their actions is 2 years imprisonment for talking against religion and the Russian state.
They apologized for the effect their song may have had on religions, but said they did it for a political reason.  Their lawyer believes that because of the state of Russia, they may not be excused from this sentence, but hopes that their apology will reduce the term.

It's interesting to see how different countries handle the freedom of speech we Americans take for granted.  Here, we probably wouldn't even be stopped.  In other countries, however, jail is an appropriate act that even a lawyer can't save you from.  The amount of control that countries have on their citizens is amazing.  Even in a globalized world where universal ideas are commonplace, such acts as these are not tolerated.  This is more than an expression of a lack of globalism, this is Russia's culture.  This is how they prove they exist.  People are not allowed to express their disdain for the way things are.  This sentence expresses the amount of freedom we as Americans are allotted, and the amount of force that would be required to make a change.
Posted by: Kye Manuel Holston

U.S. Move to Give Egypt $450 Million in Aid Meets Resistanace

After the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak the United States has pledged to give 1 billion dollars in aid to Egypt to help with their transition to democracy. The Obama admisitration notified congress Friday that it would give Egypt an emergency cash infusion of $450 millions dollars but the aid was met with resistance from a lawmaker worried about the new leadership of Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood. The lawmaker worried about the aid was Representative Kay Granger of Texas who doubted the urgent need for the extra assistance. Hilary Clinton on the other hand has said the world needs to do more to support governments such as Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. This has been a hot topic lately and seems to have become an important topic in the presidential campaign all the sudden.

Posted by Josh Moorman

Mistaken Onion

This article discusses briefly how an Iranian news agency, Fars, republished an article in the satirical magazine The Onion as if the article was a real news story. The republished article was one which said that opinion polls in the U.S. would rather have anybody in office, including Ahmadinejad, over President Obama. Even more hilarious than the blunder is the supposition that if there were opinion polls taken of rural whites in the U.S., they would actually prefer Ahmadinejad. The editor of Fars made this assertion.

This article caught my attention for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I love the fact that this Al Jazeera article is about an original article that was republished. Basically, it's an article in an article in an article. Secondly, something that actually has significant meaning is the cultural discrepancy between the west and the east. China's Beijing Evening News made a similar blunder by treating an Onion article as if it was reality. I think that satirical pieces are much more commonplace in the west than the east, as well as sarcasm and the rich use of irony. Perhaps these cultural differences are partly caused by the difference between democratic nations and those that are not democratic. Usually satires are against the particular social and political structure in place, and if you are not allowed to question those things in certain countries than there would be no such thing as satire.

Jon Kingzette

Pope Benedict XVI's Butler put on Trial

In Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI's butler, Paolo Gabriele, went to trial on Saturday.  He was charged with aggravated theft for stealing the pope's confidential papers, including personal letters to the pope, and leaking them to the press.  His co-defendant, Claudio Sciarpelletti, is a computer expert who was accused of  aiding Gabriele, but did not attend the proceedings.  The two-hour hearing was held in a courtroom in a palazzo behind the apse of St. Peter's Basilica.  Gabriele has admitted to taking the documents and some of the leaked documents "opened an especially unflattering vista onto some questionable administrative practices as well as inner wrangling at the Vatican."  Mr. Gabriele passed some of the documents to an Italian journalist who then published it in his book, "His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Pope Benedict XVI."  Records show that Gabriele's intent was to expose the "evil and corruption everywhere in the church" so that the church would be brought back on the right path.  Gabriele will serve time in an Italian prison if he is convicted since Vatican City does not have a prison system.  Furthermore, if he is indeed convicted, many believe he will receive the papal pardon he asked for in a letter written to the pope asking for his forgiveness.

More information at:

Amanda Ngo

5 Dead After Clash Between U.S. and Afghan Troops

Recently, there was an incident between U.S. and Afghan soldiers. Two Americans and three Afghans were killed. When questioned, the Afghans said that the American soldiers attacked first. When the Americans were questioned, they said the Afghans attacked them first. However, both sides regret the attack. Two different Afghan officials were questioned. Even they had two different stories. One believes that the fight started when a mortar shell accidentally hit two of the U.S. soldiers. The other said that it began when an Afghan soldier open-fired on the Americans. In any case, it is unclear what happened. Both sides should have been working together on a project. Many restrictions have been put on joint patrolling.
There are also suspicions that the incident is linked to the derogatory youtube video about their prophet Muhammad. It also could have been planned by the Taliban.

By Alyssa Ramos

Anti-austerity rallies hit Spain and Portugal

According to the article posted on Al Jazeera, thousands of protesters in Spain and Portugal rallied in the capital cites opposing the proposed austerity measures that would cut the public debt and the deficit. Secondly, the article mentions that the  reason why many people, especially in Spain are opposed to the austerity measures is because they are still in a recession and unemployment in close to 25%.  

Furthermore, The  budget approved by Prime Minister Marian Rajoy is in protest because the plan calls for pay cuts and a rise in sales tax. Furthermore, in Portugal, where it already had a $78 billion  bailout from the EU, is facing backlash for the governments plan for spending cuts and raising taxes. Lastly, in my view country's like Spain, Portgual, Greece and Italy should be aware of what will happen if they do not pass austerity measures, raising taxes and cutting benefits is never the most popular, and is immensely difficult to do when these countries have high unemployment, but if they do not do it now then the chances of the country being financially secure in the future is less likely, and protests are only going to continue.

Sarah Cline
Intro International Affairs
Dr. Muck

Syrian Military Headquarters Attacked by Rebels

The Syrian military headquarters were attatcked by a few Syrian rebels. The attack has been classified as the most aggressive one the people have seen in two months. There were fifteen reported  fatalities, one being a Syrian broadcaster who was located near the site during the attack. Fourteen others were injured. The location of the attack had the people in uproar. It indicated that the rebels had easy access to the military headquarters. There was a claim that after the upheaval in Damascus, some 40 inhabitants of a nearby suburb were executed and shot in the head.

Vallarie Perez

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Extra Sanctions for Iran

Looks like Netanyahu’s bomb illustration did the trick. The European Union and the United States decided to toughen up nuclear sanctions. They hope that this will punish Iran and hold back Israel form a military strike. A top Western official said:

“What we will do next is intensify sanctions. They will include the financial area, definitely.”

The European Union foreign ministers will meet in Luxemourg on October 15 to discuss the measures that will be taken. Experts from the E3+3 (The trio of European nations plus the United States, Russia, and China) will get together in London soon to figure out their “negotiating position for any further meetings with the Iranians.”

Unfortunately, just last week, Israel stated that they think Iran is on the verge of bankruptcy because of sanctions, so sanctions will not work in “dissuading the regime in power in Tehran from pursing its nuclear ambitions.”

Friday, September 28, 2012

Brazil Needs to Improve Education Standards

Although Brazil's economy just passed UK's and positioned as sixth, the education standards are at 53rd of the world.  It raises a problem because country's natural resources have built the nation's wealth, but to be able to align with China, Brazil needs human resources. The inflation is getting higher; therefore, its economic growth is pulling back. Even though there are a good amount of students going to school, the teaching qualities are very low. Teachers started teaching without any practical training. The parents of some students hardly finished school, stopping their education at 4th or 5th grade. For building complex infrastructures such as dams, and highways, Brazil needs to hire engineers from foreign countries like Portugal. Currently constructing stadiums for 2014 World Cup is important for the country's appearance, and it needs educated citizens to have a successful future.  

Posted by: Aye-Myat-Myat Thinn

Source: Booming Brazil held back by education gap

Politician expelled from party in China

Chinese politician Bo Xilai was recently expelled from the Chinese Communist Party. Bo has been a controversial politician and has been involved in multiple scandals. Bo has been connected to the murder of a  British business Neil Heywood. Bo has also been accused of bribery, influence peddling, and engaging in improper sexual relationships. The Chinese Communist Party expelled Bo after an investigation of the murder of Neil Heywood and a visit from a police official that was connected to Bo in the scandal.

Tommy Hilton

Plane going to Mount Everest Region Crashes

A plane traveling the the Mount Everest Region crashed today, Friday,  killing 19 people. This aircraft was Sita Air most known as a domestic airline. This was the 7th fatal crash in Nepal since August 2010. Nepal is one of the most dangerous countries for air travel in the Asia-Pacific area. The majority of small airports in Nepal are tucked between the mountains. This crash did not happen like some previous crashes by hitting the side of a rock mountain. The recent crash happened immediately after takeoff. There was communication with the pilot seconds before the plane crashed. From the start of takeoff it appeared that the plane was experiencing some type of dysfunction. The pilot had announced it was a bird hit and within 2 seconds after talking the aircraft crashed. The pilot seemed to swerve to avoid a settlement and eventually the plane hit the banks of the Manohara River. This crashed killed everyone on board: 7 British, 5 Chinese 4 Nepalase, and the 3 crew.

By: Prateek Pradhan and Heather Thomas
Published September 28th 2012

Kacie Greer

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hints of Change in North Korea

In North Korea the legislative body the Supreme People's Assembly met for the second time this year and brought with them the winds of reform. Though the major news was extending the school age from 11 to 12 years old the major talk was about agriclutural reforms. The govenment controls most of the food supply and what the farmers grow is either taken by the govenment or sold in an auction. Naturally, this creates many problems such as over inflated food prices and as a result malnutrition for the mass population. The new leader Kim Jong-un who took over in 2011 wants to reverse the strict crackdown on private farming that his father put in place. Over one -third of their population is malnurists and they need 5 million tons of grains and potatoes to feed their people and right now they are producing only 3-4 million tons of food. As a result of this reform farmers will have more incentive to grow and thus the food supply and economy will grow as a result. This is all very interesting because this is the secind time this year that this lagislature has met this year and normally it rarley meets so as you can see change however small is happenning in North Korea. It is crazy to me that people are still hungry when I have so much to eat whenver I want its almost heartbreaking that a government would do that to its people. Now change is happening in such a bleak and horrific place, this makes me think if North Korea can change so can all of us.

Posted by Katelyn Krumreich

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Middle East Dominates UN Proceedings

Whether it's Iran, Israel, Syria, or Egypt, the Middle East continues to capture nearly all of the headlines from the United Nations general assembly in New York City.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his eighth and final address to the UN,  accused "uncivilized Zionists" of using "nuclear intimidation" as a basis of relations. On the heels of his comments in New York Monday that amount to Israel having no right to exist in the Middle East, Ahmadinejad earned the lion's share of publicity this week.

By reaffirming his aversion to foreign intervention in Syria, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi also garnered considerable attention this week. Morsi did, however, advocate "diplomatic pressure" on the oppressive regime of Bashar al-Assad. Whether the solution to Syrian unrest is regional or global may be out of Morsi's hands.

More information on this story, including reaction from President Obama, can be found at the hyperlink.

Posted by Colin Wescott

Revolutionaries in Egypt Refuse to Stop Painting in Mohammed Mahmoud Street

After the government renovation campaign tried to erase artwork placed on the outer walls of the American University, graffiti artists fight back with  spray can in hand. The subject matter on these walls were cartoon figures of Mubarak and his generals. These figures ruled over the Egyptian people with an iron fist for a long time until recently this June when a new government took hold. The artists were outraged by the new government's attempt to cover up these depictions since they stood for what these people had to go through and the oppression they faced. To them, it is a meaningful piece of history which should stand as a symbol to not be forgotten. Mohammed Mahmoud Street was also a location where many people perished during the protests against Mubarak after being killed by security personnel. As soon as the murals had been painted white, a man ran in with a paint can in hand and began to paint once again with numerous people following him and his actions. Now, new cartoons stand on the wall with the artists sending a message that they will always be ready to paint again in the name of their history to not be forgotten.

Sao Paulo averages 118 mile traffic jams.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, has on average 118 mile traffic jams. It takes people two hours to travel 15 miles to work, and another two hours to drive home, every day of the week. This city is known for having the worst traffic jams in the world, and the situation only gets worse as more and more people are able to afford buying their own car, a sign of belonging to the middle class. Currently, the Sao Paulo public transportation system is severely underfunded, which is why very few people turn to it as an alternative form of travel.

These horrible traffic jams that extend throughout the entire city are causing problems for consumer businesses, since trucks can only make 6 or 7 deliveries a week instead of 15 to 20. This forces businesses to double or triple the number of trucks, which causes prices of goods to rise.

To help ease the problem on commuters, Sao Paulo has a 24 hour, 7 day a week radio station devoted entirely to traffic, and ways to avoid the worst of it. They use reporters in cars (who usually get stuck in traffic themselves) and commuter call-ins to keep up to date. They also have a helicopter. One business that is booming because of the traffic jams is a helicopter taxi system for the rich, which is now up to 16 helicopters that are almost never on the ground for very long.

Stephanie Smith

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Obama urges unity against global extremism

Barrack Obama has confronted international leaders in his most recent speech to the UN. He would like for world powers to confront the turmoil in the middle east. Obama gave his speech on tuesday at the annual gathering of world leaders. This would be the last speech he will have in front of world leaders, before the November elections. "I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders, in all countries, to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism,'' Obama said. Campaign Politics shadowed his words, when he was talking about Iran's nuclear program, the ongoing violence that seems like it won't stop in Syria, and the potential peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the tensions that come with free speech in democracies. 

"True democracy, real freedom, is hard work." Obama said.

Kyler Juckins

Taiwan Enters the Fray

On Tuesday a fleet of Taiwanese fishing vessels and armed coast guard ships entered the disputed waters around the Senkaku/Diaoyu island chain. Japanese coast guard ships attempted to turn them away by firing water cannons at the Taiwanese ships. The ships left Taiwan on Monday to stake a claim to the disputed chain but have since left the territorial waters. A Taiwanese official was quoted as saying that the coast guard vessels were "armed and ordered to defend their vessels in the face of Japanese aggression." On Sunday Taiwanese activists held a rally in Taipei against Japan.

Japanese vice foreign minister Chikao Kawai also arrived in Beijing on Monday in order to help defuse the mounting tensions. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said "I plan to talk about preventing conflict and looking towards a peaceful solution in my general speech," as he was departing for New York.

DJ Willey

Monday, September 24, 2012

New 'Sars-like' coronavirus identified by UK officials

Sars was a respiratory illness that killed hundreds of people back when it was more prominent.  If you remember, it is the reason why people wore face masks for a while, maybe 10 (or so) years ago.  Now, UK officials have received a man from Qatar who has a virus that has many of the same properties of Sars, but is not stopped with the vaccination.  The first victim of the virus was in Saudi Arabia, and has died since first contracting the disease.  As of right now, the World Health Organization has not put any restrictions on travel, but has issued warnings for those surrounding areas.  So far there have only been two known cases and there is no evidence that the illness has spread to others; however, officials and virology experts urge caution when traveling abroad at this time.

Matt Stochelski

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Foxconn Factory in China Is Closed After Worker Riot

The company that gained world-wide attention for its presumed unfair labor practices producing in demand gadgets such as the Iphone is in the news again. Worker riots in one of the factories of Foxconn in China has resulted in several employees being hospitalized and the factory being closed. It was still being confirmed if the factory that closed temporarily where producing the new Iphone 5 that Apple launched last week. Although Foxconn has tried to improved its relationship with its employees to but improve its labor standards its employees continue to protest. Factory workers now in China demand for better labor conditions and their rights to be recognized.

Rebel leadership announces move from Turkey to Syria

The leaders of Free Syrian Army announced to the public that they will be moving into Syria from Turkey.        
The head leader said that they would be moving in to areas in Syria that the rebels seized during the fighting. This leadership movement is a huge strategic advantage to the Free Syrian Army because when they were based in Turkey it was hard to coordinate with rebel brigades across Syria and made communication not as strong.  After they move into these safe areas their first plan is to start planning on how to liberate Damascus.  Recent fighting in Aleppo and Damascus proves that the regime can't fully secure those two critical cities.  According to Jeffrey White, a defense analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Free Syrian Army has grown in the past months and have been getting more organized.  This improvement means that the rebels have a better chance of challenging the strong government regime. 

-Zayde Contreras

Muslims Protest in Athens over anti-Islam film

It seems like there are other areas of unrest because of this singular film. The enraged Muslims crowed in Athens, clashed with the police. They had banners saying "punish mockers of our prophet" It seems like Muslims all over the world are getting restless from this film. The riot police were keeping them away from the US Embassy to prevent a violent act. The angered Muslims were met with tear gas at other gathering spots.

Geordano Reyes

Chinese Court Sentences Ex-Police Chief to 15 Years

China’s court gave Wang Lijun a 15 year jail sentence on the accounts of bribery, defection, abuse of power, and breaking the law for personal gain.  Had Lijun not previously complied with the law in order to convict his wife of the murder of a British man, he would have faced much more serious charges.  Now Mr. Bo, the former party leader of Chongqing is under investigation.  Some believe that the Obama administration should be happy that Wang escaped execution, because when he fled to a U.S. consulate in February, the U.S. did not offer him asylum.  Mr. Bo has supporters that believe he should have to face interdisciplinary measures, but not criminal charges, seeing as the charges have a 98% conviction rate which would mean some jail time for him.  The idea of Mr. Wang going to trial seems more likely now that they have discovered Mr. Bo was very likely involved or has interfered with the trial of the British man who was murdered.   The British government has asked the Chinese government to look into and further investigate the murder of the British man, and find out more about what happened.  In doing so, they hope to strengthen the connection between that and Mr. Bo and Mr. Wang.

Julie Marchese

Attack in Libya was Major Blow to CIA Efforts

Once the smoke had cleared from the attacks in Libya, the C.I.A. presence in the country had suffered a major setback.  Along with all the U.S. officials that were evacuated from the country, were about twelve U.S. Central Intelligence Agents.  These evacuations came at a time when the C.I.A was making a lot of headway in the country.  The first major problem is that in order to investigate the attack the C.I.A presence in Libya would have made the investigation much easier.  Before they were extracted, the agents had been gathering information on Ansar al-Sharia, a militia group, Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda affiliates, Islamic extremists known as Salafis, and loyalist still loyal to the ex-ruler Qaddafi. All of this progress hit a wall with the attack on the U.S. embassy.  The state department did inform that intelligence is still being gathered by informants on the ground in Libya.  The U.S. has sent over F.B.I. Agents in order to find out what group was responsible for the attacks, and as it looks right now, Al Qaeda is the prime suspect for who is responsible. "Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN’s 'State of the Union, program on Sunday that there was 'a high degree of probability that it is an Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-affiliated group that had a very specific target in mind, and that was to attack the consulate and cause as much harm, chaos and death as possible.'”

Blog Written By: Chris Lencioni

Wife Of FBI Agent Asks For Help From Iranian President

The article that I chose to share is an article about Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent, who went to Iran on a business trip five years ago and did not return home. It is to be believed that the former agent is being held hostage.  His wife, Christine Levinson, has been trying to do all she can to find him even after all these years. Recently, she has gone to New York to plead with the Iranian President, who was attending the UN General Assembly to get his help on the issue. Christine Levinson believes the Iranian President can help her because he has promised to help with finding her husband before by having his people investigate. According to the former FBI agent’s family, Levinson was in Iran in order to investigate a cigarette smuggling in Iran when he had gone missing. Last year, the Iranian government claimed they do not know what occurred and what happened to Levinson. This week in Time Square, pictures and messages were set up in order to get the UN delegates to help locate him. Recently, the FBI has offered a reward of one million dollars for any information that will lead to Levinson’s return. It is still unclear of who is holding Levinson captive, but they believe he is somewhere in Southwest Asia. It is also believed that he is still alive.

Blog written by Antoinette Williams

2012Sep23 Kye

A Buddhist site in Afghanistan has been purchased by a Chinese corporation.  This site is rich in history, but due to the fact that it lies on top of copper, it is scheduled to be torn down.  The company, the World Bank, and Afghan Ministries want this site torn down immediately to extract its valuable ore.  No one in charge cares that they are defacing history.  Archaeologists were given 3 years, a term that ends in December, to excavate this site.  They say the total excavation time will take 30 years, but they don't have a choice.
The author of this article seems biased against this site being turned into a money pit.  They say the potential for slave labor, environmental toxins, and lost important history will be the effects of this dig.
With ties to the silk road and information about Afghanistan's connections to the rest of Asia in its past, losing this site will greatly cripple the knowledge of Afghanistan's past.

Posted by: Kye Manuel Holston

Avalanche in Nepal

An avalalnche hit Mount Manaslu this weekend and left at least nine people dead with a few people still missing on the slopes. Rescuers and officials are still trying to figure out how many people were actually in the climbing party before the avalanche hit. Five climbers are still alive and have been flown to the hospital for treatment. Air searches were made impossible by the weather conditions on Sunday, so progression was slowed. Mount Manaslu has dozens of deaths each year due to its dangerous conditions. It is the eigth highest mountain in the world.
By: Emina Pivac

North Korea Plans Agriculture Reforms

In a move to end rising food prices and malnutrition problems, North Korea plans to allow farmers to keep 30 to 50 percent of their crop depending on the region. This reform will also boost the Norths economy and will help crack down on private production. Kim Jong-un plans to gain investments form China in order to help the economy recover from sanctions put upon them for nuclear weapons testing. Kim Jong-un also shows intent to "banish memories of his father's austere 17-year rule." His plan of liberalizing the economy can only go so far, without losing his family's firm grip of power.

Ryan Bartell

China cancels diplomatic event with Japan over islands

There is a big dispute amoung China, Japan, and Taiwan. A series of five islands are currenly under Japan's control. A ceremony in honor of the peace between Japan and China for forty years was postponed due to the conflict over the islands. The islands are uninhabited, but they have many natural resources. The disputed islands are also historically a part of China. They were recently visited by Japanese officials which made China more angry. This visit was in honor of the Japanese soldiers that died in World War II. Also the same time period in which Japan was controlling part of China.
Taiwan has also been showing it's frustration. They have been participating in rallies chanting against Japan and have also threatened to stop buying Japanese goods.

By: Alyssa Ramos

Yemeni Religious Figure - Terrorist or Spiritual Advisor?

Very little is known about Abdul Majeed Zindani, a Muslim activist in Yemen. Shrouded in secrecy, opinions on Zindani are wide-ranging. Recent claims that he developed a cure for AIDS have critically damaged his international standing. But the cleric still commands power from a far-reaching network of associates, and his recent comments regarding unrest in the Middle East have attracted more scrutiny from the world community. Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that several hundred protestors stormed the US embassy in Sana'a, the Yemeni capital, at Zindani's urging. "The cleric with the red beard", as Zindani is known, has since tempered his rhetoric, advocating peaceful protest. US Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, was not convinced, calling Zindani "a supporter of terrorism." With all the uncertainty surrounding cleric and country, one thing can be deduced definitively: Zindani will will play a critical role in international relations in Yemen in the near future.

You can read more on the story here.

Posted by Colin Wescott

Egypt Stands Up To USA

Egypt's newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, has laid the new ground rules for interactions between Egypt and the United States.  He says that America must be much more careful with the actions it takes in the Middle-East since there are already tense relations with the Islamic people of the region.  Also, they should repair the damages they have already done.  He also stated that the USA should play a stronger role in helping to build a Palestinian state in order to assure the continual following of Egypt's treaty with Israel.  Morsi told the United States that he will not "live by the same rules" as his predecessor and follow everything the United States say.  However, peace between the two nations will remain. In response, the United States stated that Egypt and Morsi should handled the attacks on the U.S. Embassy quicker. Morsi responded by saying he must do with whats best for his people and taking his time to act on the situation would cause less anti-USA back-lash from Egyptians.  Morsi says Egypt and the United States have "a shared objective, each to live free in their own land, according to their customs and values, in a fair and democratic fashion". Morsi hoped to meet with President Obama to smooth over any issues but his request for a meeting was withdrawn when both administrations know the complications of election politics and how it might affect President Obama's chance for re-election.

Here's the link for the article:

Aaron Langer