Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taliban Hits Region Seen as "Safest" for Afghans

In resent months the Taliban has been moving into areas thought to be safer than the provinces that are normally victim to violence and unrest in Afghanistan. Bamian, one of the prettiest areas in Afghanistan and thought to have been one of the safest, is now threatened and scared of the appearance of the Taliban in the area. At night the Taliban come out of the mountains and kills and robs not only travelers but local officials also. For months they have been causing havoc in the area from destroying over a thousand year old statues to setting school on fire. People are scared to got o work and use the roads in and out of the province. From that citizen have gathered in protest and to demand action to be taken. They see it as the Taliban trying to do this to make it clear that they are still strong and have the ability to go all over the country. Others also see it as a positive thing by saying that they are being forced into these safer places. Either way, it is dangerous and sad to see that now even the once thought safe places in a dangerous country no longer exist. Michele Dobbs http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/31/world/asia/taliban-hits-region-seen-as-safest-for-afghans.html?pagewanted=2&ref=world&_r=0

Using Sandy to fearmonger about climate change is a pretty savvy idea


So, fearmongering over climate change in the middle of a devastating hurricane may seem a bit low, but take a moment to consider the issues.  Several models of projected climate change have been proposed that estimate sea levels to rise stably to the levels seen from Hurricane Sandy, about nine feet, by 2200.  Setting the exact timescale aside, the experts agree:  at our current level of emissions, much of the coastal land in the world will inevitably be underwater.  Greenland and Antarctica are not projected to completely melt by that time, but a more likely 40% of Greenland will melt by then, leading to the projected 9 feet.  I'm sure we will continue to see more reports about this in the coming days of Sandy's aftermath, with environmentalists trying to capitalize on the shock factor of the hurricane to shake policymakers into action.  It won't matter, but it will happen.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Damascus car bombings as Syria 'ceasefire' ends


There has been an attempt at a ceasefire between rebel forces and security forces in Syria; however, this has abruptly come to an end.  The truce was supposed to be held for the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.  However, according to the Russian foreign minister neither side has truly followed it.  Since the truce was laid  out there have been over 400 casualties totaling from all sides of the conflict.  However, the truce has officially come to an end with the ending of the holiday and two car bombs going off in residential districts killing over 10 more people.  There is no positive outlook currently in this situation and there apparently has been no reason or cause for any international body to step in and help to truly cease the violence in Syria.

Matt Stochelski

Collapse of Syrian truce shows limits of U.N. diplomacy

Much bloodshed has been brought out due to an attack from the Syrian air force. In observance of an Islamic holiday, one of the most important ones, the U.N. asked for a truce that hoped to last only 4 days between the rebel forces and the Syrian troops, which never came through according to many missiles and bombings on both sides. This civil war has brought on a large death toll and is showing possibilities of bringing in other neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. This just proves how little effect the U.N. actually has on countries.


Geordano Reyes

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Panetta Says Risk Impeded Deployment to Benghazi


Defense Secratery said that the U.S. did not send troops into Libya after the attack on September 11 because it was too risky.  The U.S. government had no idea what was actually happening on the ground.  He said they were not willing to deploy without real time information on what was happening in the country.  There was some action taken.  Panetta did, upon hearing the events on September 11, move forces closer to Libya.  All the forces that were moved, however, did not arrive in time to be any real use because of communication time delays.  The Republicans continue to question whether the attacks were handled in the necessary way.  John Boehner says that information now out in the open contradicts how the Democrats described the nature and cause of the terrorist attack.

Chris Lencioni 

Iran's Drone Technology

In response to a drone being shot down this month 25 miles over the Israeli boarder, accusations were made that the drone was Iranian. In response to these accusations Iran admits to have far more advanced drones and that the drone shot down was not Iran's best developed technology. A few months ago Iran admitted to attempting to copy the United States' RQ-170 Sentinel Drone. This recent incident raises tensions between the west and Iran, adding to the current tensions due to a possible nuclear weapons program being developed in the state.

Ryan Bartell

Suicide bomber in Nigeria wounds nearly 100

Sunday morning, a suicide bomber drove a jeep into a crowded Catholic Church. The explosion killed at least 5 and wounded around 100. The area in Northern Nigeria is a violent area because of ethnic and religious differences. So far, no group has come forward to claim the attack. But, an Islamist sect Boko Haram has claimed similar attacks in the past. The bombing sparked reprisals amoung some Christian youths in the area. After the blast angry Christians youths took to the streets and 2 bodies were seen laying in pools of blood. The violence is stirring up in the area and most of the violence seems to be fueled by religious differences.

View Article Here

Brittany Kancauski

Al-Qaeda Leader, Ayman al-Zawahri pushes for Kidnapping Westerners in Exchange for Imprisoned Al-Qaeda

The leader of Al-Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahri recently uploaded a video trying to push for the kidnapping of westerners for imprisoned Al-Qaeda. This news is disturbing. Within the video Ayman commands the abduction of people from "countries waging wars on Muslims," he also said "this is the only language which they [us] understand." Ayman also supports the violence going on in Syria and is for the Syrian uprising. Even more disturbing news, Ayman urges for the upholding of Islamic Shariah law in Egypt. Ayman is pushing the Islamic Shariah law to be placed into the new constitution of Egypt. Fear of supression of free expression, women and minorities rights is apparent within the general population of Egypt. Ayman insists the "Shariah must be the source of legislation," combining religion and government is dangerous and will undoubtedly create violence if this allowed to happen. Ayman called for muslims who border Syria to support the uprising, stating "I urge Muslims everywhere...torise up to support the brothers in Syria, to get rid of the cancerous criminal regime...Syrian people have the right to defend themselves with all means," this is going to create more violence and it is unacceptable that world powers are doing nothing to rid Syria of the violence. Peaceful negotiation can be upheld in Syria with boots on the ground, we can stop thousands of innocent lives from ending. Someone must act soon, and Ayman must be stopped. Ayman is the greatest threat to global peace, he utilizes his rank, religion and charisma to promote violence and to strike terror accross the globe.

-Bryan Trepanier


Malala's Family Comes to Visit Her In the Hospital

This is news that everyone has been keeping up with. As we all know, 15 year old Malala who is a Pakastani girl, was shot for standing up for what she believes in. This is a girl who loves education so much that she would do anything to ensure she is in school. However, the Taliban believes women should not be educated, and this is what led to Malala being shot. Six days after she was shot, she was flown to a hospital in Britain where they treated her injuries. Recently, Malala's family has shown up at the hospital. He expressed his gratitude to both the British and Pakistani government for helping his daughter. The father is proud of his daughter and stands by her decision, but he was really afraid he would have to plan his daughter's funeral. He is happy that his daughter survived and very proud of her for standing up for her beliefs.

In this article you can read what these last few days have been like for Malala's family and how they are coping with the situation.

Blog written by: Antoinette Williams


Testing Tunisia's commitment to democracy

Tunisia had an election on October 23rd in order to vote for new representatives for a constituent assembly.  Their job is to re-write the constitution.  The moderate Islamist party al-Nahda are favorites to win the election.  The success of a democracy in Tunisia depends not only on who wins but more on the direction taken by the constituent assembly once it is created.  Now that Ben Ali's (the former president) regime has been kicked out of power, Tunisia is discovering new divisions within their society.  Divisions such as conservative religious identities that have resurfaced.  Or the interior regions of Tunisia that have been neglected for a long time now want a stronger voice in politics.  Many citizens and both parties are still uniting for this election because everyone knows how important this election is for their country to succeed.  Their is some fear that former Ben Ali regime members will try and scare people away from the voting booths and try to push themselves back to the former corrupt power.  Although these are small paranoid rumors, anything can happen.  Only time will tell if the election is a success. 


By Zayde Contreras  

Britain Ready For A "Brixit"?

The United Kingdom has been part of the European Union since 1973, but recently there has been chatter within the British government that hints that there is discontent over Britain's place in the European Union. Britain tends to pay more into European Union than it receives back from other countries within the EU. British prime minister, David Cameron, has tried to defuse any talk about leaving the EU or in other words a "Brixit". He insists that he will be able to refocus Britain's goals and efforts in order to increase support for staying in the EU. Even though the prime minister says this, he has hinted a lot recently that he may hold a referendum regarding the relations between Britain and the EU. Nothing is set in stone but a British populace, agitated over the struggling EU economy, is pushing towards a retreat out of the EU. 

Here's the link to the article:

Aaron Langer

China Is Wary Of U.S. Candidate's Tough Talk

China is always a topic among presidential debate discussions and they have been accustomed to this, however in the past debate China was brought into the discussion 22 times, all of which were in a negative way. This usually goes away after the election, however leaders and business executives think our relationship with China may not bounce back to normal so quickly after this election. The debates this year have accused China of unfair trade practices as well as sparked discussions of whether or not it is right for presidential candidates to invest in Chinese based companies. A couple of other reasons the U.S. Chinese relationship has weakened over the past few years is differences in trade ideas as well as a fear that China is infringing on the United State's influence in Asia. It is expected that China will be a hot topic in the next debate so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out, and even more interesting to see how the relationship continues after the election. 


Posted by Josh Moorman

Rape shatters traditional silenece in India


This article is about a 16 year old girl in India who spoke out against her attackers. They were at least eight of them and they dragged her to a stone shelter on the out skirts of a field and then procceded to rape and abuse her for more than three hours. They told her that if she told anyone that they would kill her but she spoke out anyway. She is apart of a low-caste that was formally known as the untouchables so this made it increasingly harder for her story to be heard. The attackers video taped the whole ordeal as a trophie and began showing it around the town. Eventually it made its way to the victims father and he soon after committed suicide. The low-caste society was in uproar and was demanding justice. Her family was at the point that they had no reason to remain silent anymore. India has a strict code of silence when it comes to rape especially in small villages because after a rape a girl is seen as unfit for marraige and is disgraced. This however is slowly changing due to change in gender dynamics and the male dominated culture in the northern villages in India. The media is reporting cases more regularly and it is making it easier for victims to come forward. However the small changes that are being made I do not think even begin to have a ripple in the pool. Most rape victims are still blamed for their rapes and publicly scorned. In this patrircal society change is very diffficult and almost at a stalemate. My heart goes out to all the women living in these communitites. They deserve and better,safer, and more fufilling life then the one they are forced into. Hopefully people take notice to this and see the urgent need for social reform in India and try to help in any way that they can.

Posted by: Katelyn Krumreich

Is it a mistake to withdraw from Afghanistan?


    Afghanistan is a tired issue for the American public and their representatives in Congress.  The author of this Economist article published yesterday makes the case that Afghanistan, while fraught with difficulty, is not a lost cause and withdrawing Western troops at this stage could mean the difference between a stable transition to democracy and political collapse.  He points to the improving security situation, wider access to social media and the press as measures of potential victory in Afghanistan. The author insists that President Karzai reform the electoral system and not stand in for another term in order to add legitimacy to the democratic government of Afghanistan.  I've noticed that the Economist has often chafed at the idea of early withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Occupying a nation with such a strong national and religious identity is certainly a difficult, perhaps impossible task.  The internal instability of the Afghan security forces and the inevitable involvement of Pakistan and Iran in funding the instability will certainly spell a dismal future for democratic Afghanistan.  Time will tell, though withdrawal after so much sacrifice does seem a terrible waste.  If the situation is left as it is, the progress bought by 11 years of bloodshed and massive amounts of Western funding may be undone in a matter of weeks when Western troops withdraw.

Andrew DuBois

China Edges Out U.S. as Top Foreign-Investment Draw Amid World Decline

Global foreign direct investments fell 8% to $668 billion in the first six months of this year.  This happened because the flow to the U.S. and to other large economies declined.  As this happened, Russia and India posted large declines.  Because of this, China now is a top destination for foreign investment, and is beating the United States in that respect. China is now the number one recipient for FDI, even though the global trend has been falling FDIs in places such as the United States.  Despite the 3% decline that China sees in this investing, this has been the trend and they are still doing remarkably well with their foreign direct investment.
Julie Marchese

Swedish princess to wed American 'soulmate'

A Swedish princess fell in love with an American. Princess Madaleine's previous fiancee was caught cheating on her. To mend her broken heart, the princess moved to New York where she then met her current fiancee Chris. In order to ask for her hand in marriage, Chris had to ask for the King's blessing as well as the Swedish government's. After he had permission, he proposed to the princess. Madaleine said the proposal was "romantic and intimate", but the couple will not share any more details. After the wedding they will be next in line for the throne after Madaleine's older sister who also married a commoner.

By Alyssa Ramos

Palestinian Man Trampled by Cow

During the holiday of Eid al-Adha thousands of sheep and cows are slaughtered for a feast. Most of the slaughtering is done in front of an audience so the animals get nervous. Since cows are so expensive, people take pride in killing their own cow and sharing it with their neighbors and also the poor. They like to make a spectacle of the event and put on a show for anyone who will watch. On Saturday, a Palestinian man was trying to slaughter a cow when the cow got scared and literally ran over the man, killing him. A few other people were injured by the escaped cow as well. Two similar cases occured during the holiday as well, in one case, a boy and an untrained butcher were injured by a runaway bull that was recaptured an hour later, and in the other case, another young boy was lightly injured by a runaway bull that was also captured just hours later. 
By- Emina Pivac

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fourth tibetian man sets himself on fire in protest.

A U.S.-based rights group says a 24-year-old Tibetan farmer has become the fourth man in a far western Chinese county to set himself on fire this week in protest against Chinese rule.

This is the third man to die in the recent weeks due to the protests. Chinese government officials are offering 7700 dollars to Tipsters of the self immoulations. 

in the past week in Xiahe, in Gansu province, a herdsman, a farmer, and a man in his late 20s have done the same in various locations. All four died.
Xiahe county is home to Labrang Monastery, which is one of the most important outside of Tibet, and was the site of numerous protests by monks following deadly ethnic violence in Tibet in 2008 that was the most sustained Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in decades


Kyler Juckins 

France Footing Bill for Abortions

France's lower house, the National Assembly, passed a bill essentially making abortion free. Al-Jazeera reports the bill will likely pass the Senate as well. This landmark legislation marks another progressive step for France, who recently elected Socialist Francois Hollande. Specifically, the bill allows for reimbursements up to $580. It also pays for contraceptive measures for women ages fifteen to eighteen. French views on abortion, in general, have consistently erred on the liberal side, despite budget issues. These include allowing minors to terminate a pregnancy without parental consent and unconventional methods of abortion. Given the current state of the French economy, increases in national medical insurance for such controversial procedures are sure to cause backlash.

You can read more on the story here

Posted by Colin Wescott

Garbage Collectors' Strike in Bangalore of India Raises an Issue of Trash Disposal

Bangalore is the major city of India's growing economy. In the past, it was the cleanest in India. However, the city has turned this upside down because the Indian government failed to manage the landfill accordingly with the booming economy. Those huge piles and piles of trash also are contaminating daily water supply, river, and streets; thereby, causing health problems. The preceding week, the garbage transporters started to protest, claiming that they have not received any wages for months. Without being picked up by them, the trashes mounted in streets of a town, named Garden City, exacerbating the situation. The city's infrastructure is such a turmoil that its wastes are no place to go. Previously, the companies paid the truckers to dump the garbage to somewhere unknown of. In 2000, even though the "door-to-door trash pick-up program" was developed, where the trashes are gone remains as a secret. Population growth also serves as a catalyst to worsen at this critical point of landfills swallowing the lakes, rivers, and lands. Since the local people cannot rely on government anymore, they are trying to build an N.G.O to control this issue.

It's a great article to talk about a lot of things such as dark sides of capitalism, current environmental issues, lack of reaction by the government, formation of N.G.O to tackle the problems, and so on. 

Source: India's Plague, Trash, Drowns Its Garden City During Strike

Posted by: Aye-Myat-Myat Thinn

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bo is Expelled From Parliament

The former prominent Community party member Bo Xilai was expelled from parliament today and there for can no longer be protected by the legal immunity he had with the position and will no face a number of offenses. Although there is talk that the trial could start within a week or so, it is still unclear to when they will be able to hold the trial. The attorney hired to represent him said that he has not even been able to get any information of the case yet and believes that they will not hold the trial until after the congress starts. He is alleged to have a number of offenses against him ranging from taking bribes to having a number of sexual relationships with a number of women. This will not be the first time he has been around high profile trials given that his wife has recently been prosecuted for murdering a business man. He is in a high profile prison too. The main issue the Chinese leaders are having is determining when to hold the trial because they are worried it will come off negatively to the public if they hold the trial too close to the new leader change when the case is mainly focused on corruption and abuse of power within the party. Bo hasn't been seen or heard from since March when he was removed from one of his positions. Michele Dobbs http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203937004578078303497236908.html?mod=e2tw

Farmer Arrested for being Victim of Israeli Stone Throwers

In the West Bank a farmer Mohammed Abd Alhamid Soleib was arrested October 14th while harvesting his crops. He cultivates his land and is always in fear of the colonist attacks. The area of his harvest is located in Saffa which is very close to an Israeli colony. This Palestinian land has recently been accompanied with several Israeli settlements near by. Many farmers like Mohammed are in fear for their crops. Mohammed was growing olive trees at the time. This group of colonist that were attacking him threw rocks and later the Israeli soldiers came and arrested Mohammed without charges. He is now banned from visiting his own land.The Israeli attackers got off with no charge and back to their homes in the near by colony Bayt Ain.


Published October 18th 2012.

Kacie Greer

Riots in Myanmar


Lately there has been a lot of violence in Myanmar due to the tensions between the Rohingya Muslims and the majority of others, who in Myanmar are Buddhist. 64 people were left dead and over 100 were wounded from this violence, with a startling 75,000 people displaced according to this article. This is a really sad story because the government of Myanmar doesn't view the Rohingya as an ethnic group, but rather classifies them as Bengali. However, Bangladesh also denies their citizenship. Essentialy, the Rohingya are a group of 800,000 people who don't have a home where they are accepted. There is discrimination and hatred against them in both Myanmar and Bangladesh.

What is amazing about this story is the clarity with which it relates to two theories we learned about in class. Firstly, it illustrates the clash of civilizations because the violence here has been caused by religious and ethnic distinctions. Secondly, it illustrates how resource scarcity can lead to conflict because at the end of the article it states that many people in Myanmar view the Rohingyas as as intruders from Bangladesh who came to steal scarce land.

Jon Kingzette 

Sex with 10 Men Every Week just to Eat

The Swaziland economy is currently so terrible that roughly 50% of all youths in the country are unemployed. This forces many young girls into a life of prostitution in order to eat and cloth themselves. One girl, Nelsie (not her real name) became a prostitute after her parents died in a car accident. She says she needs to service at least 10 every week just earn enough to feed herself. Sometimes she sleeps with up to 5 or 6 men a day.

She prefers that the customers use condoms, since she got HIV when she was raped. She believes that her country isn't trying hard enough to fix the terrible economy and she says she will die in this job. "Right now I don't feel that I am a human being," she told the reporter.

Swaziland is currently looking to the South Africans to give them a $355,000,000 bailout, but until then, the country doesn't have any solutions to their terrible economic problem.

Stephanie Smith

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Memorial to Roma and Sinti Holocaust Victims in Berlin

On Wednesday, a ceremony took place in the Tiergarten Park near the Reichstag parliament building, where Germany paid tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Sinti and Roma people killed by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust.  Many historians estimate between 220,000 and 500,000 Sinti and Roma people in Europe were killed by the Nazis because they were regarded as an inferior race.  Some died in massacres, while others perished in concentration camps.  The long-delayed monument, a circular dark pool of water with a triangular plinth at the center, is close to Berlin's monument to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.  The dark pool was conceived as a lake of silent tears, but also as a symbol for loss and the re-emergence of life.  Chancellor Angela Merkel responded how "remembering the victims went hand-in-hand with a commitment to protect minorities today."  Furthermore, another memorial to the disabled and mentally ill who were killed is planned to take place in the future.
More information at:

Amanda Ngo

Caonima Style

On Wednesday Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei posted a cover of the popular Korean pop song Gangnam Style called Caonima Style. Caonima translates as grass mud horse which is depicted as an alpaca like creature created by Chinese Internet users as a protest against censorship by the Chinese government. The word caonima also sounds very similar to a strong curse word that is forbidden from use on social networking sites. The video was removed by the Chinese government on Thursday.


DJ Willey

Iran Says Stop Sanctions or It Will Stop Oil

The United States and the European Union have been making plans to further increase the sanctions put on Iran. These sanctions were put in place as an attempt to curb Iran's nuclear program. On Tuesday, Iran stated that it would stop oil exports if pressure from Western sanctions got any tighter. Iran claims that they have a "Plan B". Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi told reporter in Dubai that, "We have prepared a plan to run the country without any oil revenues...If you continue to add to the sanctions we (will) cut our oil exports to the world...We are hopeful that this doesn't happen, because citizens will suffer. We don't want to see European and U.S. citizens suffer."

Sanctions have already brought Iran's oil exports from 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2011 to a new low of  860,000 bpd in September of this year. According to calculations, Iran is making around $95 million from daily crude sales. This is about $147 million less than what it was making last year. 

People are skeptical of Iran's threat to stop oil exports. Carsten Fritsch of Commerzbank says, "What else can they export to generate the necessary revenues?" The U.S. government estimates that crude sales provide about half of the Iranian government's revenue and that oil and oil products make up nearly 80% of the country's total exports. Leo Drollas, Chief Economist at the Centre for Global Energy Studies, says, "It's just making noise. It would be like cutting off their nose to spite their face."

By Abigail Van Hook

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

8,100 Mine Strike Members Fired in South Africa

8,100 mine workers were fired at a South African mine, Gold Fields Limited's KDC East mine to be exact, following a strike. 15,000 workers had been on and off of strike since August in hopes of gaining higher payment for their work. This week, most of the members had gone back to work but 8,100 did not resulting in them losing their jobs. The 8,100 strike members were given 24 hours (this Wednesday) to make an appeal. For the last two months, numerous mines had been dealing with strikes at mines in South Africa ranging from non-violent to violent. In September at the Gold One mine, thirty-four strike members were killed by authorities and left a dozen with injuries from the incident.


Christina Drozek

Pakistan Taliban Threatens 17 Year Old Girl

Taliban members in Pakistan have threatened a 17 year old girl named Hinna Khan in a phone call. The call was made to the cell phone of Hinna's mother. The caller said that Hinna would be next. Hinna is a young activist from the same area as Malala Yousafzai who was recently shot in the head by Taliban members. Hinna's father, Reyatullah Khan, has long been an activist in Pakistan. He has received threats before but is now more careful since the attack on Malala. Many Pakistanis who are against the Taliban are hoping for government crackdowns on such attacks.

Tommy Hilton


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Instability feared in Lebanon

Lebanese troops were sent to the streets tuesday morning to ease the tensions after a car bombing recently. Several groups say fridays car bombing was initiated to try and destabilize Lebanon. At least 100 people, including 31 Syrians, were apprehended in raids in Beirut and the Lebanese port city of Tripoli, the state-run news outlet NNA reported

"These units are still storming into places where gunmen are hiding in Beirut and Tripoli," the Lebanese Army Command said in a statement.

Lebanese tanks, armored personnel carriers and soldiers have patrolled the two cities in wake of the car bombing that killed the nation's top intelligence chief. On Monday, seven people were killed in unrest in Tripoli

The Nations intelligence Chief was known for criticizing the Syrians and there government for meddling in Lebanon's affairs. 


Kyler Juckins

Monday, October 22, 2012

Anti-Putin opposition elected in Russian online poll


There has been a 3 day vote in which the Russian opposition have "elected" a new leader to challenge Putin. This was completely unsanctioned, but was done in protest to Putin's corrupt ways.  The elected person is  the popular anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny.  Essentially all that this vote has done was shown what the people of Russia's true feelings are toward its government, due to their choice of voting in an anti-corruption campaigner.  The current administration has done little to care or acknowledge it and view it as just simple protest; however, opposition is hoping that this vote will get the people of Russia to rise up against their government like they had last winter.  Alexei Navalny got his political strength through his blogs about his findings of corrupt Russian Politics.  With this knowledge he essentially made a Russian type Wiki-leaks.  It's web address is <rospil.info> (note you need google translate in order to access some of the information.

Matt Stochelski

South Korea blocks leaflet launch after North 'strike' threat

North Korea has threatened the South with open fire when a group of activists wanted to launch balloons. This balloon launching was normal, usually done on several occasions near a demilitarized zone in Imijingak Park. South Korean officials have decided to blockade the activists and ask them to give up their plans. This is not just empty threats from North Korea, they have sent out the Korean People's Army and they mean business. People on the border were asked to evacuate. South Korea is trying to plead with both the activists and North Korea asking them to ease tensions. The North-South Korean border remains the most highly militarized zone, with any spark could end in massive violence.

Geordano Reyes

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Angry Lebanese Attempt to Storm Government Offices


A funeral was held on Sunday for Brigadier General and security chief Wissam al-Hassan that was killed by a car bombing in Libya.  After the funeral, protestors took to the streets and tried to storm the Grand Serail.  The protestors claimed that Prime Minister Najib Mikati is nothing more than a puppet to Bashar al-Assad's Syrian administration.  Security forces surrounded the complex with barbed wire and lobbed tear gas into the crowd and fired their guns into the air.  No one was harmed in the main protest.  There were other protests that happened in other parts of Lebanon such as Tripoli where one person was killed.  A former prime minister and Sunni Muslim leader went on the air and said the killing of al-Hassan was an outrage, but after the protests started, he went back on the air and exclaimed that, "the street is not the way to solve issues."  Tensions are becoming higher and higher in Lebanon because of the unrest and fighting in Syria. 

Chris Lencioni

Australia slashes scientific research budget


Nearly half a billion dollars in finding will be cut from a program that pays for the overhead costs of scientific research in Australia over the next four years.  This will represent a slow in growth for the purpose of ensuring that continued funding to universities for research is sustainable.  This is a direct response to the abysmal global market.  This will undoubtedly lead to job losses in higher education and research, as well as potentially encouraging much of Australia's research talent to leave the country.

This decision seems both short-sighted and frightening to me.  The Australian government stated that it was performing these cuts in order to create a billion dollars of savings this year, yet I do not understand the logic of sitting on that extra money rather than investing it in the future.  Scientific progress can provide astronomical boosts in economic growth in many fields, including computer science and biotechnology.  The value of such progress cannot be underestimated, and Australia may send much of its research workforce packing to other countries.  The de-prioritization of scientific progress is not restricted to Australia, however.  It is on the rapid rise in the United States (see http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=antiscience-beliefs-jeopardize-us-democracy).  I fear that Australia's decision here may set a global pattern of cutting funding to research that might help us to make progress to get out of our economic mess.  How else can be deal with our energy crisis and climate change unless we invest in finding new technologies?

Andrew DuBois

Russians Kill 49 Militants

Russia's anti-terrorism unit reports that Russian security killed 49 militants in the North Causcasus region. Rebels in the area have been attempting to establish an Islamic State in the area. Vladimir Putin had ordered sercurity forces to ensure the militants do not disrupt important Russian events, like the 2014 Winter Olympics. In an unknown time line, the security forces took out 9 group leader, destroyed 90 bases, found 26 weapon caches, and detained 30 militants. Leaders of the insurgency have stated that they will attack the Winter Olympics, which are to be held just west of a Muslim region where violence happens daily. Putin has also vowed to hunt down a prominate Causcasus Erimate Doku Umarvo.

View Article Here

Brittany Kancauski

Elephant Tusks Seized in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Customs found a little over 1,200 elephant tusks smuggled into shipping containers from Kenya and Tanzania. Elephant tusks are highly expensive, just one can earn thousands of dollars when sold on the black market. They are mainly used for making ivory ornaments. The tusks that were found in Honk Kong were valued at around 3.4 million dollars. Seven people have been arrested in the case so far. Similar cases usually also link back to Kenyan or Tanzanian ports. Ivory trade has resulted in a huge decline in the elephant population. In 1930, there were more than 5 million elephants in Africa, today, only 450,000 elephants reside there.

By- Emina Pivac


No Wars for Water

There have been concerns that war will start over lack of freshwater. Although many of these predictions are a bit extreme, they might be accurate within the next couple of years. Global warming has been increasing droughts and flooding which will lessen the amount of freshwater. Many riparian states, or countries surrounding a body of water, already have trouble sharing freshwater. These issues occur from different ideas of how much water should be consumed in attempts to conserve it. For example, tensions have been rising in states bordering the Nile River. Larger states like Egypt and Ethiopia have been working on making a treaty to avoid war in the future when global warming has had an effect on the Nile.


By Alyssa Ramos

Poll: Race for White House all tied up

The race for the presidency is all tied up according to recent polling across numerous polling websites and sources. With one debate left i think we will begin to get a clearer cut of who is going to win afterwards. The next debate is on foreign policy. I think that the president and Romney will be very careful in the upcoming debate when it comes to talking about foreign policy, especially with turmoil in Syria and other places in the middle east. I believe that it is pretty clear that most American's DO NOT want to have anything to do with the middle east, but i think that on both candidates agenda's, there is some sort of plan to take some action in the middle east. It should be interesting to see how the two candidates word tomorrows debate and I think we will have a clear cut winner after tomorrows debate.

-Adam Olson


Chaos in Beirut

Violence took to the streets at a funeral in Beirut.  The street protest of the late Prime Minister Najib Mikati was broken up by teargas, fired weapons, and radio announcements.  The protesters reject the government of the now dead Mikati.  They say hey was a 'puppet' for Bashar al-Assad.  The funeral was the excuse the protesters were looking for to voice there opinions of the Syrian government.

Kye Manuel Holston

Cuba to ease travel abroad for many citizens

The Cuban government led by Fidel and his brother Raul Castro have eased the restrictions on travel outside of Cuba to its citizen. Before any Cubans could travel they needed an exit visa, most Cubans earn only $30 a month and the cost of application and bureaucracies in applying for an exit-visa deters most Cubans to apply. Travel is only a dream for many of them. The basic human right to travel is trampled by the exit-visa that the Cuban government has imposed. Many believe that those who leave Cuba will not return. The government fearful of such brain drain in the country would most likely limit the exit-visas for professionals such as doctors, engineers, scientists, athletes, etc. That can easily defect to other countries particularly the United States.


by Albert Aguirre

GOP blows secrets & risks lives...

Some Libyans who had secretly been helping the United States had their identities exposed because information was released by House Oversight Chairman Representative Darrell Issa.  It is believed that this "document dump" was done on purpose because it was the weekend before the presidential foreign policy debate.  However, people are furious about this because they think that Issa is distorting the story of the attack in Benghazi ahead of the presidential debate.  There is much debate amongst whether or not this was done with a malevolent intent.  Issa, it seems, is attempting to put a negative perspective on the story of the attack in Benghazi when there is not enough credible evidence to back what he is trying to say, and in the process endangering other people.
Julie Marchese

Shift in Guatemala's Justice System

After a 8 demonstrators were killed and 34 wounded on October 4 when they went to the streets to protest rising energy prices, the government looked into the violence and the way it was handled by the soldiers that took action. The country's attorney general had investigators and prosecutors to investigate the scene and interview the wounded at hospitals. After the investigations, they were able to charge eight army privates and a colonel for extrajudicial assignation and can face minimum of 320 years in prison since they were not supposed to be near the protest. The president worked to end the ban on U.S. Military aid in which now he has approved the opening of two new military bases and signed a treaty to allow for U.S. Marines to patrol Guatemala. From this event, he has said he will agree with the actions of the attorney general and will not use the military in the future when dealing with such issues. This goes to show how President Perez is more willing to work to reform his country, considering the amount of corruption and violence it is used to. It talked about how the Attorney General Paz, is well respected in the international world is the one of the few in Guatemala that have gotten to meet with Hillary Clinton. Her professionalism is helping to change the way the issues like this have been handled in the past. According to others they said it was one of the guards to shoot first and the soldiers shot in the air and then to protect themselves. It also shows how the Public Ministry is doing positive things in the country and will hopefully continue to reform the system the country has been dealing with for many years. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/soldiers-arrest-marks-shift-in-guatemalas-justice-system-amid-civil-war-legacy/2012/10/21/d6463ae4-1bab-11e2-8817-41b9a7aaabc7_story.html Michele Dobbs

11 Al Quaeda Supporters Arrested

Al  Quaeda lin ked operatives were planning to execute a terrorist attack and target Western and Middle Eastern officials as well as the US embassy in the capital. They also seemed to have an interest in attacking the governements sources of tourism that provide wealth in their economy.The attackers planned to initially attack shopping centers and cafes so police force attention would be focused there, acting as a distraction. Once the distraction had begun, the actual targets would be attacked (The embassy and officials). 11 Al Quaeda "supporters" were arrested. Some of the reported weapons that were intended to be used in these attacks inclued machine guns, car bombs, mortar shells and TNT. This has been the most recent reported terrorist strike in Jordyn in seven years.

Vallarie Perez

Cyber Attacks Continue; Iran Suspected

Recent cyber attacks on United States banks point to Iran. Attacks on Capital One Financial Corp. and BB&T Corp. are part a recent stream of attacks on banks and oil companies by the accused Qassam Cyber Fighters. QCF is believed to be supported by the Iranian government. U.S. officials suspect the attacks are retaliation to recent western sanctions on Iran. These sanctions are intended to halt development of its nuclear program.

Ryan Bartell

Syrian man loses 18 relatives

A man by the name of Sheikh Mohammed Fardoun told CNN in a phone interview that he had a list of 18 relatives that were all killed in one day by one airstrike on Thursday.  The Syrian government had ordered more shelling of his city.  He ran outside to find his aunts home completely destroyed to the ground with his relatives inside, dead.  Sheikh tells CNN that this is indiscriminate killing.  Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi and a Free Syrian Army general said Thursday they are open to a proposal by U.N. and Arab League for a cease-fire during the Muslim holiday of Eidul Ad'ha. This cease-fire would last begin on October 25th.  This doesn't satisfy any of the resisdents in these bombed areas because they believe a cease-fire is not what they should be negotiating but rather a no-fly zone.   Kids are being massacred every day and the rebels can only defend their people with bullets.  What they need is  a no-fly zone so more innocent don't die anymore.  More and more of the killings in Syria have been civilians rather then soldiers.  Also now people are accusing the government of kidnapping thousands of activist in the group called "Avaaz" in the past 19 months and sending them to torture camps.  The situation is only getting worse and the government insist that it's only trying to secure it's country from "armed terrorist groups."


By: Zayde Contreras

No Nuke Talks With Iran

The New York Times reported that Iran has agreed to one-on-one negotiations over its nuclear program with the United States. The New York Times stated that these talks would not happen until after the election on November 6. The New York Times quoted unnamed officials when reporting this story. While that sounds nice, because Iran has been a key foreign policy topic in the US elections and their nuclear program has gotten attention this year, it is not true. US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor says that the statement in the New Your Times is false. According to Vietor, the United States and Iran have not "agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections". In fact, negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 negotiation group--which includes the UK, US, France, China, Russia, and Germany--have stalled. Vietor says:

"We continue to work...on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally...The president has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that. The onus is on the Iranians to do so, otherwise they will continue to face crippling sanctions and increased pressure."

by Abigail Van Hook
US denies Iran nuclear talks New York Times report

Shenanigans at Beirut Funeral

Lebanese security chief Wissam al-Hassan's funeral was interrupted Sunday by protests at government headquarters in Beirut. Hassan died Friday in a car bomb, which lead to a renewed call for the resignation of PM Najib Mikati. This is where the clarity ends; rebel (Sunni) forces blame the "terrorist" acts on Syrians, while Shia Muslims, who support the Syrian regime, point the finger at the rebels. Hassan had close ties to recent anti-Syrian uprisings in Lebanon. Observers predict Lebanon may erupt into civil war. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad would rather infect neighboring countries with unrest, as opposed to allowing a conflict to be limited to Syria. Syrian officials condemned the attacks amid the controversy.

Background information on the story as well as more in-depth coverage can be found here.

Posted by Colin Wescott

U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

According to U.S. officials the United States and Iran have agreed to meet and discuss Iran's nuclear program for the first time. This could be a last effort to diplomaticaly figure out the situation in Iran before a military strike becomes necessary. Iranian officials however, insist that they wait until after the presidential election so they know for sure who they will be in the discussions with. This could be good or bad for President Obama because he can use this as a positive thing in his campaign that he is close to a nuclear resolution with Iran, however it could go wrong and not be a positive thing after the talks. This could also help Mitt Romney or hurt him because no one knows how he will react. He has always said Obama is too weak when it comes to our relationship with Iran so it is unclear if he would be willing to talk with them at all. Also Romney is against Iran enriching uranium at all even for energy purposes so he may not be too lenient in the discussions.


Posted by Josh Moorman

Cold War Tactics in Korea


This article discussed the fact that South Korea has upgraded its ballistic missiles so they can fire up to 800 kilometers. Before, they could only fire 300 kilometers. This move by the South Koreans was taken as a measure of deterrence against North Korea, who in April shot off a failed long-range rocket. Many people in Washington, along with the South Koreans, assumed that this long-range rocket was fired to test long-range missile capabilities. Therefore, South Korea needed to increase the range of their missiles to counter North Korea's move in an attempt to prevent North Korea from trying to make missiles. Although this article is relatively insignificant now because there have been no consequences from these moves, it has great ideological implications. We are seeing in the Koreas today what happened between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War. We see the same suspcion and assumptions of North Korea that we had of Russia and we also see the principle of deterrence at a very simple level here. Another concern raised in this article is that Russia, China, and Japan are now in range of South Korea's missiles, and their reaction to this will be uncertain.

Jon Kingzette

Freedom of speech at Twitter brings a change to Saudi Arabia by itself

Media is a powerful tool for revolutions in politics, but for a regime country like Saudi Arabia, Twitter is exceptional compared to other types of media. Unlike old days, local people criticize the royal family frankly, talk about government corruption and people's ignorance, and women write about the clerics who causes the oppression. The news can be spread to the outside world efficiently by hashtags. It is very surprising that 2.9 million of Saudis used their actual names, and consequently, the government lacks the ability to control them. Faisal Abdullah, a lawyer, claimed that Twitter helped to create a real parliament that politicians can discuss without limitations. However, it is difficult to say if this freedom of speech can result in reforms in country's political system. Nevertheless, it uncovers that the fact that of how angry they are at the royal family, and leads people inside the country to realize that the revolution is necessary for their survival. Moreover, the expressions of people on Twitter also let the authorities know how the oppressed think about them. From the end of last year, a Twitter user named Mujtahidd, meaning "studious," wrote about scandals of the royal family, but the root of this identity is not found yet. Even a prisoner has 85,000 followers as he posted feeds from a mobile that is sometimes brought into his cell.

Posted by Aye-Myat-Myat Thinn

Source: Twitter Gives Saudi Arabia a Revolution of Its Own

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Turkey and Egypt Seek Alliance

As political and economic troubles continue in Egypt and with war on Turkey's borders, these two countries, each with roots in political Islam, have turned to each other to build an alliance.  The two countries have recently completed joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and Turkey has even offered a $2 billion aid package to bolster Egypt's economy.  Furthermore, a wide-range partnership is expected to occur when the Turkish prime minister goes to Cairo.  Since Turkey's ties with Syria have been severed, its political and economic associations with the Arab world have been undermined.  As a result, the alliance could "help it emerge from the tumult of Arab revolutions."  Even though each country have different understandings as to how Islam and democracy coexist, their connection offers a future for a new Sunni Islamic bloc.  On the other hand, the two leaders have "risked alienating their domestic political audiences by engaging so deeply with each other" (Turkey's secularists versus Egypt's conservative Muslims).  In addition, as Turkey's role is changing in the Middle East, there still exists the Egyptian psyche that Egypt should be the leader of the region.
More information at:

Amanda Ngo

U.S. Presidential Candidates Worry China

During an election season, a variety of topics come up in the debates leading up to Election Day. One topic though has come up a lot in the debates, especially during the 2nd presidential debate. Both Obama and Romney both talk about being tougher on China. Normally, China is brought up during an election season and forgotten about after the election. But with the drastic increase in anti-China sentiment from both candidates, this issue doesn't look like it will disappear as it has in previous years. China is being accused of deflating the value of its currency, being responsible for the weakness in the American job market, and the Chinese company Hauwei is a potential national security threat. Not much is being done now about China but we will have to see after the election, to see if the president will back up his words and crack down on China.

Here's the link:

Aaron Langer

Scotland Leads Charge For Secessionist Movement

Scotland is one of a few regions looking to gain independence from their country. Scotland is trying to gain independence from the United Kingdom while Catalonia is trying to secede from Spain and Flanders is trying to secede from Belgium. These regions want to secede because they believe that they make more profit for their country than they receive from their country. The view of secession is still a view held by a minority at this point in Scotland and Flanders. However, in Catalonia the support seems to be at or above 50 percent.

Tommy Hilton


Friday, October 19, 2012

Thousands Mourn Former King

Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk died Wednesday. Sihanouk was 89 years old and served 6 decades in Cambodia. He was in China when he died. Wednesday thousands were mourning over his loss saying this was his final return. Many said he was the father and they were the children. Sihanouk served as the king during some of the most trubelent times. He signaled the end of an era and heavy politics that the country held. To many the passing of the king was the end of the activist monarchy and his role was the distinction between king and politician. He is most remembered as someone who showed great concern for the poor.
Thomas Fuller
October 18th 2012

Kacie Greer

West Bank's all-female ticket runs for change


Two years in the making the "Women of the Town" are campaigning and look to win the municipal elections that are going to be held in the West Bank of Palestine. For two long years these five women have been planning and developing their strategy for winning this election. They are one of two all women tickets running. After two years of boycotts and postponements it looks like these women might actually get to see their dreams of an election come true. They have been working on gaining their support of their community and changing the opinion of women in public office. It has not been easy of course but it looks like they may have a chance. Out of 4,700 people running for municipal seats 25 percent are women. The "women of the town" are campaigning for a  variety of reasons and the number one is probably city planning. Such things include drainage ditches, road improvement, and youth empowerment ( not just male youth). These women have taken on such a grave undertaking. Many sacrifices have been made and many members have been lost on the bases of ridicule and fear of family disownment. The undertaking is great and the women know this and they are willing and ready to take these consequences for what they feel to be right and just. The women know they might not win but that does not frighten them. they say that they have a plan and that is,  “We will create an all-woman shadow council that will ensure the local council works for our needs.”

Posted by: Katelyn Krumreich            

Woman Beheaded

An Afghan woman was found murdered and beheaded for refusing to prostitute herself. The young woman was only 20 years old and was actually murdered by her mother-in-law and cousin. Her husband was at work when the murder occured. It is said after her husband left for work, the young woman's mother-in-law tried to talk her into prostituting herself, but she refused to do it. It is said that girls and women in Afghanistan always face being raped or sold off into prostitution. There is little they can do about the situation and refusing would just lead to their deaths. This just shows that the situation in Afghanistan concerning girls and women are still at its worse even though it is trying to be improved.

Also in this articile, it tells another story about a 13 year old girl who was married off to an Afghan army member and was raped and tortured. Today, she still faces a challenging life and is emotionally scarred by the abuse she experienced.


Blog written by Antoinette Williams

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Japanese ministers visit controversial shine

On Thursday two ministers and several parliament members visited a cnotroversial war shrine. The shine is seen as a symbol of Japan's militarism during World War II and also commemorates those who died during the war, including 14 wartime leaders who were convicted of war crimes. On Wednesday Japan's main opposition party leader, Shinzo Abe, also visited the shrine; it is widely thought that Abe is likely to succeed current prime minister Yoshihiko Noda. The recent visits have been sharply criticized by China's Xinhua news agency and strains the relations between China and Japan even further. Previous visits to the shrine have also been criticized by China and North and South Korea. Japan's chief cabinet spokesman dowplayed the significance of the two most recentvisits and Land minister Yuichiro Hata, one of the two who most recently visited the shrine, said "it won't be a big diplomatic problem." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei disagreed with Hata's remarks.


DJ Willey

US Navy Men Rape Japanese Woman Adding Fuel to the Flame

After a long resentment of United States troops being stationed in Japan (especially with the largest base being in Okinawa), the actions of two US naval men has led to the push for the US troops to leave once more. Early October 16, the two naval men had allegedly raped a Japanese woman and were taken into custody later that day. Japanese authorities have led protests against the US military and government for better measures to keep such a horrible catastrophe to occur again. In addition to the actions of these two men, just two months before another US troop had been accused of rape,  as well as two other cases of rape in 1995 and 2008 of young girls ages twelve and fourteen. With the Japanese people outraged by the actions of US troops that have been taking place throughout the years, the US government has agreed to do whatever they can  throughout the investigation. Japanese and America had made an announcement that almost half of the troops stationed in Okinawa will be moved to another location in the Asian-Pacific location.


Christina Drozek

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Leaders for Change in China

Chen Guangcheng is a blind activist representing the poor in China by standing up against the Chinese government, accusing officials of forced abortions. After being arrested, beaten, and later put under house arrest, he somehow managed to escape (remember, he’s blind) and fled the US. Apparently, officials came in the house in the middle of the night to attack him and his family, so Chen’s nephew grabbed a knife and defended the family while Chen escaped. His nephew is on trial for attempted murder.

Bo Xilai was a powerful government official who was forced out of his position and his currently still detained. His wife supposedly murdered some other official, but the main belief as to why Bo is going through a hardship is because of his political views, with a desire to return to Mao-era revolution.

These two very different people could lead to a drastic change in China. However, many Chinese don’t know most of the story due to government regulated black outs on the topic. Out of 40 people questioned, only 2 people claimed to know who Chen Guangcheng is.

Stephanie Smith

Monday, October 15, 2012

Portugal reveals tough 2013 budget

There is more financial chaos in the European Union today as Portugal announces its 2013 budget.  One of the key notes of the released budgets is that the income tax will rise from 9.8% to 13.2% next year.  The government also announced spending cuts of 2.7bn Euros, which will cause the country to lose 2% of its public sector workforce, or 600,000 people.  Understandably, this lead to a riot of over 2,000 people at the capital demanding that the entire government resign due to poor legislation and leadership.  The government states that it is a necessary measure to bring the budget deficit down to 4.5% in the next two years.  This gets me thinking about our own budget deficit.  The US has done hardly anything at all to cut the deficit.  This instance in Portugal also shows that tax hikes and spending cuts are what cause people to lose jobs, much like we are doing right now.  However, Portugal is only doing this because it is in a predicament financially; however, if we get to the point of no return, I hope that we can look onto the EU and see that problems that they had and make sure that we do not follow  in their footsteps.

Matt Stochelski

Pakistani teen shot by Taliban becomes 'daughter of the nation'

The Pakitstani teen who was shot in the head on October 9th by the Taliban was flown to the United Kingdom on Monday. She will under go intensive reconstruction of her skull and neuro rehabilitation. This women was attacked because of her outlook on how young women should be treated and educated in Pakistan. The people of the country have been outraged. Many have hoped that the government will step up there fight against the Taliban and there allies.

The protests are continuing in Pakistan, but right wing Islamist parties who are usually in the streets rallying against the US and protesting, are refraining from doing so due to the fact that they share common feelings on maintaining Islamic laws throughout the land. 

“This shooting sends a chilling effect to anyone. If they [the Taliban] can shoot a young girl, then anyone can be a target,” T. Kumar, director of International Advocacy for Amnesty International USA.

Kyler Juckins