Sunday, June 2, 2013

Japan in Depth / U.S. key in trilateral talks / 3 states to cooperate on N. Korean threat

On Saturday, a meeting between the Japanese, U.S. and South Korean defense chiefs in Singapore was held to discuss the containment of the North Korean nuclear and missile threat.  As the relation between Tokyo and Seoul has recently been deteriorating due to renewed controversy over various perceptions of history , this meeting is believed to have been arranged at the initiative of Washington.The three defense chiefs agreed to cooperate in deterring North Korea from engaging in further acts of nuclear and missile provocation. After the meeting, the defense chiefs issued a joint statement demanding Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons and development program. The statement also confirmed that Japan, the United States and South Korea would continue to cooperate in achieving that goal. Washington emphasized the importance of increased cooperation between Tokyo and Seoul in order to deter North Korea from engaging in new act of provocation.
Honami Nabeshima

U.N. urges end to 'comfort women' denial

The U.N. Committee against Torture has requested the Japanese government to reject attempts by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto to deny its wartime “military sexual slavery”, which has recently been a controvertial issue inside and outside of Japan.  The Mayor has been strongly criticized for his remark that comfort women were necessary for imperial Japanese Army. 
The U.N. committee urged Japanese government to “refute attempts to deny the facts by the government authorities and public figures and to retraumatize the victims through such repeated denials”, requiring Japan "to publicly acknowledge legal responsibility for the crimes of sexual slavery, and prosecute and punish perpetrators with appropriate penalties.” Committee member Fernando Marino expressed his concern about this issue at a press conference saying that more action is needed from the Japanese government to solve the comfort women issue in both “historical and real” terms. He said this phenomenon should be mentioned in Japanese history textbook so that the further violation of this kind would be prevented.
Honami Nabeshima

Six Child Laborers Injured This Morning in Kathmandu, India During Protest

At least 6 child workers have suffered from bone and head injuries during a protest in Kathmandu , India today to end violence and sexual exploitation of indentured child laborers. The murder of a twelve year old girl earlier this year sparked the peaceful protest that turned violent after police intervened.


UK considers an offer to engage in talks with Ecuador over Julian Assange

The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister has requested to engage in talks with the UK government regarding the fate of wikileaker Assange. Last year Julian Assange, an Australian, has received political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy fearing an eventual extradition to the United States. London police continue to monitor the Ecuadorian Embassy, on orders to arrest Assange if he leaves.

Sunni Cleric

This article describes the call (issued through a fatwa) by one Sunni Cleric to support the Syrian rebels against their government, and at the same time decrying Iran and the Hezbollah.  The rest of the article further describes the Sunni and Shiite divide involved with the war in Syria and how this is involving Lebanon in that divide.  Specifically, how it involves the Hezbollah and the conflict spreading into Lebanon.

Gaddafi assets in South Africa

There are currently investigations into Muammar Gaddafi, the ex-Libyan leader, and his family about assets worth roughly $1 billion stashed in South Africa. Libyan government has asked for help in retrieving diamonds, gold and cash to the country. It is believed that the assets were being held in four different banks and security companies in South Africa. There have been estimated that Muammar Gaddafi’s foreign assets are roughly worth $80 billion. In October 20011 Gaddafi was killed and any asset that belonged to him or his family is said to belong to the Libyans and should be returned. A Libyan official had said “officials have been appointed to investigate and secure assets in Africa on behalf of the people of Libya. Libya’s justice and finance ministers have been talking to the South African government about how Gaddafi had “possessed, obtained, looted, deposited or hidden” many of his assets illegally. Libyan investigators are currently meeting with South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma to talk about how they are going to locate and return the money.

In Syria, Hezbollah forces appear ready to attack rebels in city of Aleppo

Outside of Aleppo, Lebanese Hezbollah militants have assembled around the city. Many believe that this will invoke an attack on the city soon. According to an unnamed commander, there are 2,000 Hezbollah fighters that have stationed themselves outside of Aleppo. The article stated that the fighters have been previously stationed at cities such as Quisar and Damascus—here they have guarded the Shiite shrine of Sayyida Zaynab. The unnamed commander goes on to state that infiltrating into Aleppo is only the start of the game. He ends by saying that they will go after strongholds once they are in the city. 

By: Allison Vigna

Hezbollah and Syria

This article describes the ongoing conflict in Syria, looking at the current situation in the town of Quasir in addition to the larger picture. The town, held by rebel forces, is besieged by the Syrian army with the Hezbollah partially involved.  The general situation in the town, as the article indicates, is poor.  Foreign aid (the Red Cross) cannot get in to the city because the Syrian army is not allowing any to enter.


Baptists plan exodus from Boy Scouts

This article really is not surprising to me that some groups, especially religious groups, are deciding to not participate in the Boy Scouts anymore. Most Church groups do not believe in gay marriage and consider it a sin to engage in such acts. This article explains how Baptists from Arkansas are making the decision to discontinue their ties with the Boy Scouts of America after their decision to lift the ban on gay individuals being allowed as troop leaders. The article goes on to say that Southern Baptists are going to be leaving the Boy Scouts in huge numbers because of the recent decision. Most Baptists are saying that it isn't because of hatred towards gay people, but because of a moral stance in their religion.

James Modelski

Al Qaeda Prisoner Transferred to Maurtania

In this article, there are multiple sources confirming that Al Qaeda member Younis al-Mauritani, who was arrested in 2011, has been transferred to a prison in Mauritania. He was originally detained at an American Military base in Afghanistan. It is understood that it was American intelligence services.

Post written by Patrick Weisgerber

Egyptian Court Rules Upper House of PArliment Elections Illegal

An Egyptian Court has ruled that the Shura Council was elected illegally, delivering a serious blow to Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party. This ruling questions the legitimacy of the constitution drawn by the FJP. The Court stated that the existing Shura Council may remain until new elections. The date of these new elections has not been decided as of yet. Whether this results in further growth in Egyptian political institutions remains to be seen.

William Ragan

Myanmar reaches preliminary truce with Kachin rebels

The Kachin rebels and government representatives have signed a seven-point plan, which includes an agreement to halt all hostilities. In addition, they promised to hold political dialogue with the rebels, who have long wished for political recognition and autonomy.The two sides also agreed to hold discussions on resettling people displaced by the fighting and create a joint monitoring team.

-Madelyn Higdon

Illinois same sex marriage

In this Chicago Tribune article, the writer explains the decision of the state of Illinois to not discuss the issue of gay marriage. Lawmakers never voted on the decision after weeks of build-up of the possibility of Illinois becoming the 13th state to approve same sex marriage. Democrats across the state of Illinois are mostly in favor of the decision to approve same sex marriage. Governor Quinn said that he was ready to sign the bill, but as we saw he never had the chance to.

James Modelski

Lashio continues to be site for Buddhist/Muslim conflict

Due to a rumor spread the day before that a Muslim man had doused a Buddhist woman with fuel and set her on fire, many Buddhist youths set to the streets to find Muslim residents to attack. The mobs went on to set fire to many buildings, especially after the police refused to give over the man who was accused of setting fire to the Buddhist woman. At least one person has died due to being 'hacked to death.'

Clashes continue in Turkey

Thousands of protesters in Istanbul are participating in the second day of the country’s most intense anti-government demonstrations in years. Turkish riot police are using tear gas and water cannons to subdue the crowds, but this is only fueling them even more. Plans to redevelop a city park in Taksim Square prompted a peaceful protest, to which the police responded harshly, and in what many believe was an unjust manner. Since then, the public has responded in the manner that is currently being played our across the country.

At least 80 people have been injured, while hundreds have been detained by police. Mevlut Cavusoglu, the vice president of foreign affairs, said the excessive police force that began the anti-government protests would be investigated because it “is not acceptable” as the country is trying to democratize.

Crowds marching down major streets chanting “unite against fascism” and “government resign” were fired at with tear gas and water cannons as police helicopters flew overhead. The protesters are young men and women with surgical masks or bandannas around their mouths. They are using Twitter and Facebook to organize themselves and regroup when dispersed. Anger is now pointed towards the Prime Minister and the media. They say the media has “sold out” to the government and is not covering the protests.

Read more here

Saturday, June 1, 2013

U.S. Eases Tech Exports to Help Iranian Dissenters

This article is about the eased restrictions of selling devices such as smartphones, laptops, and computer software from the United States to Iran. The purpose of easing the restrictions is to increase the use of social media during the protests. Unfortunately the United States moves would not have any immediate impact on the election campaign. It will take time for companies to examine the decision and develop strategies

Partiers Disappear in Mexico City

Eleven young people, seven men and four women, disappeared after a night of partying in the popular Zona Rosa neighborhood.  All of them are from Tepito, a crime ridden slum in the heart of Mexico City.  Five days after the investigation started, it is not sure whether they were abducted or not, their disappearance remains a mystery.  This disappearance in particular is surprising because it most likely took place in Zona Rosa, an area very populous and popular and only steps away from the American and British embassies.  The one common denominator of all the missing people was that they all went to the Heavens After Nightclub that night.  A man informed the families of the missing people that employees had ushered the young people into SUV's from the nightclub.  That man escaped before he could be questioned further and is now missing. The state Anti-Kidnapping Office has taken the case and according to them no ransom notes have been issued.  In just six years however, Mexico City has been deemed one of the safest cities in the country.  Homicides from .0171% to.0095%, violent thefts from .2309% to .1571% and kidnappings from .001% to .0004%.  This sudden mass kidnapping is alarming and hopefully does not become a common occurence.

Zabludovsky, K. (2013, Jun 01). Concern grows as group disappears in mexico. New York Times. Retrieved from

By:  Adam Sehr

Hagel Warns China on ‘Growing Threat’ of Cyberattacks

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel addresses strong concerns over growing Chinese cyberattacks against the U.S. at the on-going annual Asia Security Summit of the International Institute of Strategic Studies in Singapore- The Shangri-La Dialogue. He called on America and its allies to “establish international norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace," especially as earlier this week leaked report from the Pentagon Chinese hackers having had access to secret US weapons programmes hit the news.

In the same gesture, Mr. Hagel stressed that more talks between American and Chinese militaries are essential for building trust and reducing the risk of mistrust. The U.S. and China dialogues have been remarkably direct at this Summit as Chinese delegate immediately challenged Mr. Hagel's comments. Major General Yao Yunzhu said that she was not convinced - and China was not convinced - that the U.S. wanted a "comprehensive" relationship with China, and "the new United States policy in Asia and the Pacific amounts to containment of China."

In addition, it is also very interesting to see Mr. Hagel's stress on the role of new technologies on the U.S.'s re-approach to Asia - the Obama administration's "Asia pivot." He said that the U.S. will keep its "decisive military edge." Lastly, the article also talks about the printing of a new South China Sea map by China that redesignates the nine-dash line as its national boundary, in accordance with Chinese law, which a recent Pentagon report said they "did not comport" with the UNCLOS.

It is also worth-noticing that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam, which involves in a long territorial disputes with China over the Islands in South China Sea, gave a "feisty" opening address that drew big attention from international media. He stressed that the repeatedly lamenting lack of trust between China and its neighbors, between China and the U.S. has paved way for rising regional tensions. Mr. Nguyen said that regional organizations are supposed to take care of such tensions but "the missing strategic trust in implementing arrangements" has undermined their efforts.

It will be interesting to watch the connections of Shangri-La Dialogue with the meeting between China's new President Xi Jinping and President Obama at a summit in California next week.

Read more at:

By Yen Do

Apartheid Still Being Practiced in South Africa

Two decades after the racist, segregationist system in South Africa known as apartheid was abolished, a new town was just discovered that maintains much of that discriminatory tradition. This white-only town has its own school, and has a statue of the ex-Prime Minister associated with apartheid. They claim they aren't racist, just trying to preserve their own culture, language, and minority interests.

Taliban Won't Confess to Red Cross Assault

The Taliban, or "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" (their preferred title), is now claiming that their group was not involved in the recent attack on the Red Cross office. They respect the neutrality of the organization, but their denial is untrustworthy. Even if it wasn't the senior Taliban agents who carried out a suicide bombing and short raid on the Red Cross, it was likely junior agents also responsible for roadside bombs. Communication and management between the higher and lower ranks of the Taliban isn't strong.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Peaceful Protestors Tear Gassed in Turkey

This article is about a peaceful protest movement that took place in Turkey. The protest was in Taksim Square where the government is looking to tear down a forested area to put up a new shopping mall. Protesters were hit with tear gas while chanting that they will not allow the A.K.P to take over Taksim. This movement is connected to the protesters being upset about the Turkey government supporting the Syrian rebels, which has led to car bombings spilling over into Turkey. Some protesters were quoted in saying that they are fed up with the government choosing what is built without the consent of the public. They want more school, not shopping malls. One protester stated “Where are the opera houses? The theaters? The culture and youth centers? What about those? They only choose what will bring them the most profit without considering what we need.”

Written by Patrick Weisgerber

Taliban denies attack on the Red Cross in Afghanistan

After an attack on the the offices of the International Committee for the Red Cross in Afghanistan many turned to the Taliban to take responsibility although in the past they have supported the Red Cross in the past.  The Taliban released a statement backing away from any responsibility to the attacks on the Red Cross.  Since the attack no one has taken responsibility, but it is a possibility it could be another faction of the Taliban not directly involved with them.
 The Red Cross in Afghanistan is one of the organization's largest with over 1800 employees and 17 locations. Also, this is the second attack on the Red Cross in Afghanistan in the last week.  A spokeman from the Red Cross in Afghanistan spoke publicly about not understanding why they were attacked and from now on they have to "rethink how they operate".  They are resuming their operations tomorrow.

Brooke Reed

An Ill Salvadoran Woman is denied an abortion

In El Salvador, a court denied an ill woman only known as "Beatriz" an abortion after being told from doctors told her once her unborn baby is born her life would be at risk.  Beatriz is suffering from lupus and kidney problems and her unborn child is not developing properly.  The unborn child is not expected to survive long after its' birth.  In the court case Beatriz argued that an abortion could save her life.  A 3-1 vote ruled that Beatriz's was not seriously in danger right now, but it possibly could be in the future.  The ruling also ruled that one life could not take priority over another.  The doctors will proceed to monitor her condition and the fetus's to be able to make the medical decisions.  Her options are not limited by this ruling. Beatriz could travel to another country to have an abortion to save her life.

Brooke Reed

US Allows Export of Devices and Software to Iran in Runup to Election

As of yesterday, through joint action of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State, the U.S. has temporarily lifted sanctions on communication devices, software, and services to Iran. These sanctions have been in place since before social media began its rise to popularity. The purpose of this is to empower the people and allow them to access information in preparation for the election in June. Previously the Iranian government had asked the U.S. to lift this ban in order to get information out around the world. They refer to a video out of Iran that went viral, but the only reason this happened was because someone broke the U.S. sanctions.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Coronavirus Death Reported in France

Coronavirus Death Reported in France
From BBC News, May 28, 2013

A sixty-five year-old tourist in Dubai died in the hospital Tuesday due to the coronavirus. This virus emerged only last year and there have been forty-four cases worldwide since its emergence. The infected persons in more than half of these cases have died from the virus and most cases are linked to travel to the Middle East, many to Saudi Arabia. The coronavirus is similar to SARS and the common cold and have spurred global concern over the potential danger if it spreads. In reality, the risk of infection are low but the global community is working to find the cause and root of the virus so it can be prevented.

Written by: Michelle Ankerholtz

Crystal meth users pose problems for Afghanistan's future

The number of crystal meth users in Afghanistan has risen sharply in recent years, which is especially dangerous in a country that has already been so plagued by opium addictions.  Afghanistan is the world's leading producer of opium, and profits from heroin production are used to fund the Taliban.  There are already more than one million opium addicts in the country, and their treatment options are much more limited than in other countries.  The growing prevalence of crystal meth use poses a problem for the country, now that foreign troops have been removed; there is the possibility of a "power vacuum" as well as the possibility that the country becomes part of trafficking meth made from Iran into other countries in the Pacific.

Marion Gibney

Soldier pleads guilty in killing of 16 Afghan villagers

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales plead guilty to the killing of 16 Afghan civilians in hope to avoid death penalty. It was said this incident occurred due to Bales' post-traumatic stress disorder and sustained traumatic brain injury during a prior deployment to Iraq that the Army initially knew about. Bales lawyer suggests that the person who sent Bales in Afghanistan should be responsible. However, Afghan spokesperson for the Afghan President feels that the U.S. should implement justice and that Bales should face charges for the mass killing crime.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Germany to pay Holocaust victims new compensation

Germany has announced it is going to pay 8 million euros to holocaust survivors. There is an estimate that the money will go to about 56,000 people. This new payment is being made in order to take care of the elderly victims and to give compensation to survivors of open ghettos.This new payment is also going to survivors who have not yet received compensation, many living in the former Soviet Union. A lot of the money is going to survivors in Israel as well. This is said to be impressive because of the austerity cuts.

Myanmar Mosque, Muslim Orphanage Burned After Alleged Immolation of Buddhist Woman

A swarm of hundreds of angry men with machetes, iron pipes and bamboo poles, rode on motorcycles through the streets of Lashio, Myanmar.  Their outrage was fueled by Myanmar's embattled Muslim community and anti-Muslim unrest.  Within a few hours, at least one person was dead and four more injured.  The violence in Lashio is leading many to wonder whether President Thein Sein's government can or will be able to contain both the racial and religious intolerance.  Myanmar is still struggling to emerge from its past decades of military rule. The rioting started after reports that a Muslim man had set a Buddhist woman on fire.  Mobs took revenge by burning down Muslim shops, a mosque, and a Muslim orphanage.  The government, which began its rule in 2011 and promised a new democratic rule, appealed for calmness.  A presidential spokesman has pleaded, "Damaging religious buildings and creating religious riot is inappropriate for the democratic society we are trying to create." Muslims make up approximately 4 percent of Myanmar's 60 million people.  Anti-Muslim sentiment is tied to nationalism and the dominant Buddhist religion, making it difficult for new government leadership to stand up for the unpopular minority.  President Thein Sein and his administration have been criticized for not protecting Muslims in Myanmar; though last week he vowed to bring all violent perpetrators to justice.

Honduran gangs Salvatrucha and 18 Street announce truce

Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world but the recent ceasefire is the first step towards an agreement. The two most violent and notorious gangs in Honduras, Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 Street, said they would commit zero crime and zero violence on the streets. Although nothing has been signed, this is the first step towards a more lasting agreement. They want society and authorities to forgive them for the damage they have done but also want the government to listen since they need their help to earn an honest living and to be reintegrated into society.

Ecuador tries to fix satellite after space debris crash

Ecuador finally has its first and only satellite in space which collided with a cloud of particles from an old Soviet rocket last Thursday. Although it is still in orbit, it is spinning wildly over two axes. The satellite plays recording of Ecuador's national anthem while it transmits pictures from space. Ecuador is planning to launch another satellite in August.

Russian arms 'to deter foreign intervention in Syria'

In a article written by BBC it says that Russia says it will go ahead with deliveries of a russian anti-missle system called S-300 anti-aircraft system to Syria. The Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that "the missles were a "stabilising factor" that could dissuade "some hotheads" from entering the conflict. It says further in the article that "Russia also criticised an EU decision not to renew an arms embargo on Syria" I find this very confusing because an arms embargo means that arms cannot be sold to Syria yet the Russians are going to deliver weapon systems to Syria this seems very odd. Even more disturbing is that the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told BBC that "Russian missle systems had not yet left from Russia." he continues on to say that "I hope they will not leave, and if, God forbid, they reach Syria, we will know what to do," he said. This is a concern to me because Israel is saying in a way that they would take measures to make sure that these missiles will not be a threat to outside intervention like the United States and the EU. The question I have is that if the missiles are sent to Syria and Israel does act what will the repercussions.

Insurgents Attack Red Cross Compound

In Kabul, Afghanistan, suicide bombers attacked the International Committee of the Red Cross on Wednesday. The organization has been in Afghanistan for over thirty years and had never had any problems with any groups. The Red Cross has actually always received praise from every side of the spectrum. All employees were evacuated by security forces and only one was injured. There was one guard killed and the other guard was injured. There were multiple suicide bombers who came to the entrance of the compound and were killed. Although the compound is guarded, the guards are not armed so therefore could not fight back at all.

Jessica Connor

UN Calls for End to Fighting in Syrian Town

On Wednesday, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution that calls for the end to fighting in and around the Syrian town of Qusayr. The United States, Turkey, and Qatar co-sponsored the resolution while Russia has spoken out against it. the UN Human Rights Council passed the resolution by a vote of 36 to 1, with 8 members abstaining and 2 members absent. The resolution condemns the intervention of foreign combatants on the government's side as well as the use of ballistic missiles and other heavy weaponry by the Syrian army. The US Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe states that, “the assault on Qusayr is the latest in the regime’s attempts to use sectarian-driven war to divide the Syrian people." On the other hand, Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov calls the resolution "odious and one-sided." This resolution comes as an attempt to end the violence in Syria and eventually the Syrian civil war.

Posted by: Liz Linning

Top militant killed in Pakistan drone strike

It has been confirmed that the Taliban's #2 militant leader, Wali-Ur Rehman Mehsud was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan today. Mehsud's aid, Fakhar-ul-Islam, and 2 others were killed in the strike. This is the first hit a drone strike has made since April as well as the first since Obama's counterterrorism speech last week. White House spokesman Jay Carney says that the administration will continue to target high ranking al-Qaeda members through 2014. The Long War Journal has recorded that the United States has launched 14 drone strikes this year. In addition to this they estimate that at least dozens more high ranking al-Qaeda officials could be potentially targeted. 

Alec Phillipp

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

1 killed, 1 wounded in fresh attack on polio workers in pakistan

On Tuesday, two women were shot while administering Polio vaccines in the village of Bedh Der, Pakistan. Two men on a motorbike shot at the women. One woman was killed, while the other woman was injured. In Pakistan, Polio still exists. Many of the people are skeptical of vaccines after they had been used to collect DNA from people close to Osama bin Laden. After this event, the Taliban banned Polio vaccinations for children. Although the Taliban has had connections with the Polio vaccines before, there has been no link to this case as of yet.

By: Allison Vigna

Malnourished Children Struggle to Learn

According to a charity, 1 in 4 children around the world are malnourished, and it is effecting their ability to learn.  They are much more illiterate than those around the world that have well nourishing diets.  This problem is also creating more child deaths, and is leaving less room for economic growth around the world.  There are 1,000 critical days where children need to be filled sufficiently--the beginning of their mothers pregnancy, until their second birthday.  This study focused on the countries of Ethiopia, Peru, India, and Vietnam.   Although the number of child deaths has decreased, and the number of children in school has increased in the recent years, malnutrition still poses a threat to these issues.

New SARS-like virus is a 'threat to the entire world'

There is a new coronavirus on the lose in the world. There have been 44 reported cases of this virus, killing 23 people so far. Most of the cases so far have been in the Middle East. The virus acts as a cold virus would. It is becoming something that could prove to be very fatal if not handled soon.

Minibus blast, suicide truck bomb kill at least 7 in Iraq

On Tuesday, May 28, 2013, two separate attacks occurred simultaneously in the country of Iraq. Near the northern region of the Iraqi territory, in the town of Sadr City, a police officer reported that a minibus bomb resulted in five causalities while wondering an additional twenty five individuals. On the same day, another police reporter stated that, a suicide bomber set off explosives in the town of Tarmiyah after the truck passed the police checkpoint. This attack killed a police officer and a civilian while wondering nine additional individuals. These two separate attacks are known to have followed a bloody day that ended with over seventy causalities. Currently, the attacks are under further investigation and all officials are remaining anonymous as they were not authorized to release any information.

-Heather Krynicki
(11th blog post)

“UK parliamentary committee to probe intelligence agency’s work in light of soldier’s brutal murder”

“UK parliamentary committee to probe intelligence agency’s work in light of soldier’s brutal murder”

After the murder of a British soldier by an Islamic extremist attack, the parliamentary intelligence committee will carry out a report on whether the intelligence services fell short beforehand.  Since the suspects were known before the murder, questions about whether authorities could have done something more to prevent the killing.

“Rescuers save a newborn from sewer pipe beneath public restroom in China”

“Rescuers save a newborn from sewer pipe beneath public restroom in China”

When a tenant heard a baby crying in a public restroom, rescuers came to save the baby from a sewage pipe below a squat toilet. The baby is recovering in a Chinese hospital where people came with diapers, baby clothes, milk, with offers to adopt the baby. It is not clear on how the baby ended up in the toilet, but police are treating this as an attempted homicide.

Mass dawn killings raise curtain on Syrian war

There was an attack in Baida with people raiding the civilians houses and killing the most people in the two year war. The Syrian Observatory for human rights said that there were at least 300 dead in this attack.The Syrian government has trie to keep this a secret, but an officer affirmed that the perpetrators were government loyalists. Because of the support for the rebels, Badai was a prime target for the government supporters.

Liz Gerhardt

EU Fails to Negotiate A Renewed Arms Embargo in Syria

The European Union has failed to work out a renewal of an arms embargo in Syria. This raises the question of whether or not new arms will be supplied to opposition fighters. Both Britain and France have been on the EU's tail, saying that they should show more of a commitment to Syria's opposition fighters. One of the biggest points of contention among other EU states is that supplying weapons to the opposition could end up actually supplying arms to jidhadists, pushing Russia to send more weapons to the regime. Russia will continue with sending anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, however, with justification that it will help stabilize Syria without the need of a foreign intervention.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Investigation of Buddhist monk death in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka government is to investigate the recent death of a Buddhist monk after a protest. Specifically, they intend to learn more of the role of the media in his death following his self-immolation outside of a holy shrine. Officials have argued that journalists filming the scene should have ceased their reports in efforts to save the life of the monk. He has since become a martyr amongst his sect of Buddhists for his protest against the Muslim method of slaughtering cattle in the region.

Meghan Steinbeiss

Kerry announces $4 billion economic development proposal for West Bank

Secretary of State John Kerry announced a 4 billion dollar plan to stimulate the economic areas around the West Bank. He believes that peace talks have been stalled by the lack of economic development. The money is coming from the private sector, and Kerry has spent the last six weeks recruiting corporate investment. Improving lives and expectations for Palestinians is the key objective for building an independent Palestine and peace with neighboring Israel. The money will focus on jobs and tourism, lowering the unemployment rate which currently stands at 21%. Kerry has made re-initiating peace talks between Palestine and Israel his main objective and it looks as though this plan may make some headway, although the Palestinian side said it would not accept economic rehabilitation in the place of an independent state. Israeli-imposed economic restrictions has constrained sustainable growth in Palestine, and key economic players on both sides are calling for change.

Jill Laumbacher

Kurdish Peace Process

The PKK withdrawal from Turkey is the first step of three in an aim to form a political solution for the Kurdish peace process. Yet, there are mothers and family members of those militants that would prefer to be with their children over seeing them leave - wanting peace to include the PKK instead of require it leave.

"The speed and nature of the process have puzzled many people, both inside and outside Turkey. That Turkey attempts to solve its most intractable issue through open political dialogue - and with no serious public backlash to date - has further surprised many."

The first step was a ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK, followed by PKK withdrawal. The third step is to move the "Kurdish issue" from military perspective into the political arena.

Overall, Turkey has banned over 27 political parties citing territorial integrity for those with Kurdish ties, but the bans also include religious Islamic parties as well. This transition has so far been filled with tension without dissolution into violence but progression does not mean that the tensions have lessened.

PKK Mothers
Kurdish Peace Process

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Iran’s presidential candidates begin campaign sprint

There are 8 competitors vying for the Iranian presidential position in an election that looks much different than the one in 2009. Printers and publishers are under advisory to conserve paper, which became more expensive since the United States sanctions came into place; this election is devoid of posters, fliers, and brochures that characterized previous elections. The candidate getting the most attention (the two most high-profile candidates were disqualified from the race) is Iran's lead nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili. He wants to continue with the ideals of the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution, a very conservative Islamic purity. The most liberal of the candidates is Hassan Rouhani, the only candidate addressing the concerns of the countries ethnic and tribal minorities, non-Muslims, and women. There are about 3 weeks until the elections.

Jill Laumbacher

Stockholm riots

There has been rioting in Stockholm in a part of the city where many immigrants live. Apparently Sweden has issues with social inequality and unemployment of immigrants. Sweden has been accepting a large amount of immigrants seeking asylum. 15% of the country being born outside Sweden. The riots resulted in some car burnings and attacks on buildings. They are said to have been over youth joblessness. Sweden has a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Immigrants with poor education, not finding jobs. The article seems to call into question the Sweden most people think of as warm and welcoming.

Maoist attack in India kills dozen

At least 27 people were killed after a convoy was ambushed by Maoist rebels. Among the dead were also congress members. Maoists triggered a landmine which fired at the vehicles. Authorities are calling this an attack on democracy. These Maoist rebels, known as Naxalites, have been fighting the government for decades, trying to gain land and jobs for the poor.

China calls on North Korea to enter Nuclear Talks

China’s leader sent a “blunt message” to Pyongyang, saying that he should return to the negotiating table to talk about nuclear disarmament. Kim Jung Un was in China for three days, and had his personal envoy deliver a letter to President Xi Jinping at a meeting in Beijing. Although the government has not said what the letter said, Kim Jung Un envoy said that his country is willing to “take positive actions to solve problems through dialogue”. Most observers believe that Pyongyang will not go to talks that have conditions to get rid of their nuclear weapons. It is believed that North Korea has nuclear ballistic missiles but they have a low reliability. It is said that the reason for the letter from Kim was to improve and develop relations between North Korea and China. There has been a lot of tension between Pyongyang, Beijing and Washington have been extremely high this year because of threats against the US and South Korea. This month North Korea has been test firing rockets after they criticized the U.S for having aircraft carriers at the South Korean ports and running naval drills.

Rockets hit Beirut, 5 injured

Five people have been injured after two rockets hit Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The specific region of the city that was hit is a known stronghold of Hezbollah, the armed Shia group that is supporting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his fight against Syrian rebels. The rockets came one day after Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, stated in a speech that Hezbollah was “committed to fighting in the war.” It is too early to know who fired the rockets, but they originated from a southeastern region outside of the city. Lebanon’s army said it found two abandoned rocket launchers near Aitat in the Mount Lebanon area. A third rocket that fell, but did not explode, is being looked for by the state. 

In the past, Syrian rebels have threatened Hezbollah for supporting Assad’s regime. Hezbollah has responded, saying they would “confront any attack against it from whatever side or place it comes from”. 

Read more here.

Myanmar jails Muslims over religious violence

AL JAZEERA:  A court in Myanmar has sentenced seven Muslims to prison on charges of religious violence that left dozens dead. The men were accused of murdering a Buddhist monk in the town of Meiktila that sparked violence elsewhere across the region. So far, no Buddhists have been charged in connection with the religious violence. Government prosecutors in the region claim that both sides are being treated and charged equally. In total, 87 people have been arrested and only 38 of those have been Buddhist. The President has sent the army to restore order against "political opportunists and religious extremists". Human Rights activists have come forward in protest against the arrests suggesting that the violence has been targeted against Muslims only. Muslims make up 4% of Myanmar's population. Last year over 200 people were killed in Buddhist-Muslim violence including mostly Muslim Rohingya who are denied citizenship in the country.

Emily Goodfellow
LEV 350 (#9)

Merkel Weighs Into EU-China Trade Row

This article is about the possible trade conflict between the European Union and China. The article explains how Angela Merkel intervene in this conflict by arguing that both parts have to prevent any possible conflict and they should work together and do everything that is possible. The European Union is considering and imposing tariffs to some of the products imported from China. China is an increasingly important market that can beneficiate the European Union. Also, the trade with China is very important because China is one of the largest trading partners of Europe.