Sunday, March 16, 2014

US 'monitoring situation' as North Korea test-fires 25 rockets into sea

North Korea this week has tested 25 short range missiles in the sea. The Department of State spokeswoman has reacted saying that the United States is clearly monitoring the situation and has called for North Korea to refrain from provocative actions that might destabilize the country.

But South Korea is not the only country that has been influenced by these tests. The United States and Japan have also reacted after those short range missiles entered the Japan sea zone.

A reason why South Korea is frustrated is because North Korea have been testing missiles with possible intercontinental potential in December 2012, and carried out a third nuclear test in February 2013. It was then stung by fierce international criticism and sanctions. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Ming-seok "We consider it to be threatening and a military provocation".

It must be mentioned that the missiles were fired just days after the beginning of the joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States that North Korea is against. Those exercises done by the United States and South Korea together, routinely create tension between North Korea, South Korea and the United States.

To read the original link, please click on here.

Fatlum Gashi

US Rejects Crimea Vote, Cites Russian Intimidation

President Obama told Vladimir Putin that Crimea's vote to secede from Ukraine and join Russia would never be recognized by the United States and warned Moscow against making futher military moves toward southern and eastern Ukraine. This vote is a problem because Crimea has voted in favor of the split from the EU that some say violates the Ukrainian Constitution as well as international law. Putin argues that this vote was done fairly and legally, while the US and Obama states that the US and its allies in Europe will impose sanctions against Russia if it goes as far as annexing Crimea. These sanctions are expected to be announced on Monday. It seems as though a peaceful resolution may be difficult because no one knows at this point what Russia is going to do, it will be interesting to see the way this plays out, and to see if the US and Russia as well as the rest of Europe and EU will be able to come up with a positive solution to this situation.

-Josh Moorman


Early results show Crimea votes to join Russia

Preliminary results for the vote on having Crimea join Russia has shown strong support towards Crimea becoming part of Russia. With about 75% of the votes counted, the results so far have shown 96% in favor. The United States has emphasized that they will not be recognizing Crimea as a part of Russia, as they claim that it violates the Ukrainian constitution. Obama has come out stating that the elections were under threat and not true elections, as Russia has already intervened militarily there. It seems that the inevitable is finally happening, as tensions between Russia and the U.S have not been this high since the cold war. It should be interesting to see exactly how U.S responds(Most likely sanctions against Russia) and how Russia will respond to those.

MH370 New Revelations.

As the search for MH370 continues, the focus on the investigation into the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet remained on the pilots Sunday. Growing interests has focused on the pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53. Speculations have arisen that Mr. Shah was obsessive about Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Ibrahim was sentenced to five years in prison moments before the plane took off, locked up on a charge of sodomy. The Mail reported that Malaysian authorities fear that Zaharie, who was at Ibrahim's trial, may have been upset enough by Ibrahim's imprisonment to hijack his own aircraft as a form of political protest. Theories have come about that a possible hijacking centered around political protests. This information was coming off of claims by the on Sunday that the final words from the pilots came after the Boeing 777's data recorder and transponder had been disabled on March 8.

-William B. Robinson

Columbia Nearing Peace Deal

Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, said that the 50 year-long civil war that has ravaged the country many be coming to a close. Since 1962, guerrilla fighters known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces, or Farc, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, and other leftwing groups have engaged government forces and rightwing paramilitaries in a bloody conflict that, over five decades, has caused 220,000 casualties and has displaces 4.3 million people.  The conflict began in 1962 when "Campesinos in the countryside - who long felt abandoned by urban politicians - formed rebel groups" (online).  Santos said that the Farc is participating in peace talks with the Colombian government.  According to the article, "The current peace talks come amid stronger backing from Venezuela and other neigboring countries and signs that the losing strength because of army campaigns and desertion" (online).  Santos seems to be using the peace talks to his advantage, as another presidential election is scheduled in May.  Critics say that Santos has already made too many concessions to the Farc and after long, drawn-out, and unsuccessful negotiations in the past, claim that this one is of the same nature.  Santos made it clear that two of his objectives for peacetime are to integrate guerrilla fighters into government positions and to reduce the world's supply of cocaine in the future.  According to the article, "...he said the overall goal was not to humiliate the Farc but to persuade the guerrillas to swap their guns for votes - including the Farc's smaller rival, the National Liberation Army, which has not yet formerly entered into peace talks" (online).  According to Santos, "They can continue their objectives but through legal democratic channels.  I am willing to give them all the guarantees necessary for them to have this chance.  It is up to them if they can win or not...I tell them that many former guerrillas in Latin America are now heads of state, so think about it - let's stop the war" (online).  An end to the war may also mean an end to Colombia's long standing history of being one of the world's leading producers of cocaine.  According to Santos, " If we can agree to fight drug trafficking and substitute coca plants for legal crops it will have a big impact on the world because, unfortunately, for 40 years we have been the principal supplier of that drug" (online).  It will be interesting to see how the peace talks and negotiations between the Colombian government and rebel forces will turn out within the next few months. Santos is optimistic about ending the war saying, "Hopefully by the end of the year, we will have this deal done...It is a tipping point.  We have started not only conversations with the Farc, but a process whereby we are building the conditions to build peace for ever, not just for one or two years, but to change the history of this country" (online).

- Jack Mikolajczyk

Crimea to join Russia

Today, a referendum was held in Crimea. This day would determine whether or not Crimea would return to Russia or gain greater autonomy within Ukraine. An overwhelming 95% have voted on returning to Russia. Crimea's leader has stated that he will apply to join Russia tomorrow, March 17th. Russia's president, Putin, has backed pro-Russian forces in Crimea. However, the EU and the United States have called this an illegal occupation on foreign soil. Putin has stated that he has only the intention of protecting Russians in Crimea in Mind. The presence of Russian forces in Crimea definitely discredit the validity of a neutral democratic process in Crimea.  In my mind, how could you let the bully be in the same room when the teacher asks who put the tack on the chair. Even though 58% of Crimeans are ethnic Russian, that still leaves a large percentage of Ukrainian and tartars. Crimea has disbanded from the parliament in Kiev and will seek to join Moscow this coming week.

by Sergio Vargas


In Egypt the crackdown on “Islamists” has attained 16,000 detainees in prison camps. This hunting after the Muslim brotherhood has taken such a bad turn that the number of prisoners exceeds far more the tiny cells. The crackdown has attained an ambiguous degree that even women and children are said to have been jailed. I think that the worst is not even the imprisonment but the precarious conditions in which the detainees lingered.
The army portrayed the Muslim brotherhood as a terrorist group, and hence needed to fight against. It is not the fighting against extremists that is shocking but the way the military is addressing the issue. The Muslim brotherhood has been banned and any attempt to support the party is subject to punishment. This ban itself is against the ideal of freedom of expression and the right to association.
The news report also emphasis on the lack of basic necessities in the one of the cells for example 35 prisoners were crammed in a 7-by-5 meter. And as woman who visited her son in jail said “he looks like a caveman”. I think that the army should take new initiatives because the jailing method is nothing but a burden on the government and hell for the prisoners

But amidst all these imprisonment public opinion is still said to be largely supportive of the military.

Abdoul Siddo.

Rebel Town Yabroud recaptured in Syria

The Syrian town of Yabroud which sits near the border between Syria and Lebanon has been recaptured by government forces.  The Assad forces were assisted by Hezbollah fighters in recapturing the town after besieging the town since mid February.  This was the last rebel controlled town near the Syria/Lebanon border and was important for the control of supply routs.  In Lebanon, there has been a suicide car bombing in the Al-Nabi Othman village with two groups (the al-Nusra front in Lebanon and the Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna group in Baalbek) claiming responsibility, but both claim it to be in response to Hezbollah's involvement in Syria.

Jeff Kort

The Next Rwanda?

By Emily Canaday

"Never again" is happening again.
Civilian Muslims in western CAR are even now being targeted by militant Christian groups, with what analysts are calling a definite intention of eliminating the Islamic minority from the country- either by forced migration or by murder. The violence is justified, from the Christian perspective, by the supposed role of Muslims in the ousting of the former President last year by a religiously-affiliated rebel group. The Muslim Selenka held power in this part of CAR for more than ten months, and engaged in raping, looting, and violence of their own against the Christian majority- but now the tables have turned, and the country is in danger of spiraling into an endless cycle of "ethno-religious" revenge killings.

Rights groups say that an international peace-keeping force putting boots on the ground, alongside French and African Union forces, is needed to bring about an end to the indiscriminate violence, after which point religious points of tension can be addressed.

Aides: 3 bad options for Abbas when he meets Obama

For decades almost every secretary of state has worked to bring peace between Israel and Palestine. On Monday Palestinian President Abbas will be visiting DC and meeting with Obama and Kerry. The purpose is to discuss the peace agreement that Kerry has drafted. Does Abbas like the peace agreement; no. But that doesn't mean that he or Netanyahu will say no to the process altogether. Neither leader wants to be the one who derailed the peace process and possibly lose close ties with the United States. If the peace process does fail Abbas believes that he will have other options. But for Kerry and the United States it means a wasted 20 years of of mediated talks.

By: Janine Yeh

Driving Restrictions in Paris as Pollution Levels Rise

Recently, pollution levels in Paris have gotten to such dangerous levels, that the French government is instituting a restriction on the number of motor vehicles allowed to drive on the streets of Paris.  The past five days have seen some of the heaviest pollution in Paris in recent years, since 2007.  The driving restrictions are to be enforced after 5:30 in the morning; cars and motorcycles will be allowed to drive based on odd and even license plate numbers.  To alleviate some of the problems Parisians are undoubtedly going to face with the new restriction, the government has provided free public transportation for Parisians this past weekend.  Many citizens, however, are reluctant to respect the ban of motor vehicles on certain days.  Many have no other choice to commute to work and, in many cases, driving would save them a lot of time than using public transit.  The article states, "Warehouse worker Jean Sanglier lives in the eastern Paris suburbs of Chelles and drives to work in Neuilly-Plaisance, eight kilometers to the west.  'How will I get to work?' he said.  'It takes 20 minutes by road, and one and and a half hours on public transport.'  He added that if he is fined, 'it's my boss who's going to have to pay'" (online).  The fine for breaking the vehicle driving restrictions is by no means extravagant; 22 Euros will pay off a citation and many Parisians are choosing to incur the fine for the privilege of driving.  The article also mentioned a few exceptions to the rule, including "electric and hybrid cars, taxis, and cars with at least three people on board to encourage car-sharing.  But all trucks will be banned" (online).  The hanging smog that is polluting the air in Paris is the result of consecutive warm days and cold nights.  The pollution problem and the current response by the government is also expected to play a role in the upcoming municipal elections scheduled to be held next week on Sunday.

- Jack Mikolajczyk

100+ slaughtered in Nigeria

Nigeria's "Middle Belt," namely the villages of Ugwar Sankwai, Ungwan Gata, and Chenshyi, continues to be rocked with ethnic, geographic, and religious strife. The predominantly agrarian, Muslim Fulani tribe is being accused of committing the atrocities against the mostly Christian Berom community. This brand of land dispute has almost no bearing on the infamous Boko Haram, an al-Qaeda-aligned outfit that advocates forcefully for Sharia law in northern Nigeria. Indeed, it should be reiterated that Al-Jazeera suggests this is more accurately characterized as a land dispute, rather than an ethnic or religious conflict.

Of equal importance is the relatively little attention these widespread acts of violence generate, both within Nigeria and the international community altogether. Festering conflicts have resulted in the death of over 3,000 in Nigeria since 2010 but, as this violence has little perceived economic relevance, it tends to go unreported. It also unfairly stains the international reputation of Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, which facilitates largely peaceful relations between its 170 million Christians and Muslims.

Posted by Colin Wescott

Vote of Secession for Crimea

As the crisis in the Ukraine continues Russia has backed the movement of Crimea to secede from the Ukraine. People are “flocking” to the polling stations to vote on the matter. In the short period of six hours the turnout for the vote was already at 44.27%. According to the journalists the majority of the voters who came out are in favor of the secession whereas those who do not wish to succeed are boycotting the vote all together. The ballots consist of two questions. The first asks the voter if they think that they should rejoin Russia, the second if the Ukraine should return to the 1992 status where the region of Crimea would have much more autonomy. However, the ballot does not have an option for voters for Crimea to stay as it is. This vote has been condemned as illegal by the Ukraine and the West only gaining backing from Russia. This situation will be interesting to watch and see what the people of Crimea want. Clearly things will not stay the same, but it will be interesting to see the steps that Crimea, Russia, and the Ukraine will take and how the West will react.

Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 established as "intentional"

In regards to the ongoing story of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, authorities have now established that the disappearance of the plane was intentional. Investigators have also started to look into the pilots’ history, with the Malaysian police standing outside his home ever since the plane was reported missing. Many are wondering which individual, the pilot or First officer, said the last recorded message, “All right, goodnight.” from the flight before it went off the radar. In lieu of these events, some aviation students and former passengers came forward to describe their experience with the two people who were flying the plane. A passenger named Jonti Roos once got an invitation from the First officer, Fariq Ab Hamid, to take a look around the cockpit. At the time, Hamid was captured smoking with another pilot inside the cockpit, with Roos taking pictures. Officials from Malaysia Airlines were surprised about this report, stating, “We are shocked by these allegations.”

US officials are also baffled by the Malaysian authorities’ apparent slowness of their search for the plane. As of this weekend, about 25 nations are aiding Malaysia in looking for the aircraft. Based on the course that the airplane took, search parties have started to focus on the northwest coast of Australia and out into the open waters of the Indian Ocean.

By: Lauren Marie De Guzman
For the article, please click HERE.

Russia Vetoes U.N. Security Council Resolution On Crimea

NPR:  Surprisingly, Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution that would affirm Crimea's sovereignty and national borders. As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia was the only vote against the resolution out of 13 (China abstained). On Sunday, a referendum will offer voters the choice to either join Russia or become more independent from the Ukraine. However, many fear that Crimea is not the only territory Putin is looking to reclaim. Countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan all have considerable ethnic Russian populations. Many post-Soviet states also have a strong Russian military presence with troops on the ground or training facilities. Also, many of these states have a considerable oil/gas reserves and are heavily dependent on trade with both Russia and China. Under the guise of rescuing Russians, Putin could make considerable waves in reclaiming territory throughout the post-USSR. Especially in poor areas like Moldova, the Russian government could use considerable power to shift policies in their favor. All in all, many are comparing the situation in Crimea to Hitler's occupation of the Sudetenland during WWII. 

Emily Goodfellow
#PSC 222

Friday, March 14, 2014

Venezuela accuses US secretary of state of 'Murder'

The U.S secretary of State, John Kerry, has been addressed recently by Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Elias Jaua, as a murder. Mr Jaua said it frankly in the national TV “Mr Kerry, we denounce you before the world. You are inciting violence in Venezuela, and we will denounce it in every part of the world. We denounce you as a murderer of the Venezuelan people”. While The U.S. on the other hand says that Venezuela uses that as a scapegoat from its scandal. This comes in a reaction to Kerry’s comments about accusing Venezuela of launching a terroristic campaign against its people in response to the demonstration. However the congress is planning to apply sanctions on Venezuela in a bid to force Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, to stop the human crisis. In fact, Mr. Maduro has mentioned that he is advising President Obama by avoiding being written in the history that he attacked Venezuela during his last two years of office. While the opposition on the other hand confirmed that they are going to remain on the streets till they achieve their demands.

Written By,
Youssef Mekawy

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Violence flares again in Gaza, southern Israel

The cease-fire that had been in place did not last long being that on Thursday Gaza sent a volley of 17 rockets into Southern Israel. This was followed up by the Israeli air force conducting several strikes and hitting what they thought to be 7 terrorist sites. This all was supposedly because three Islamist Jihad members were inspecting an Israeli drone and were killed by an Israeli airstrike, or so the Palestinians argued. Israel on the other hand argues that this is all because of the Hamas who govern Gaza. The preexisting cease-fire came due to four Palestinian residents were critically injured after an Israeli air strike.

Mark Vear

Political killings continue to plague Libya

Ever since the aftermath of its 2011 revolution, Libya has continued to suffer through widespread violence within the region.  In the last two years, at least 1,200 people have been killed due to numerous acts of revenge and power clashes.  Political divisions within the General National Congress have essentially left the government powerless, and the power struggle has kept Prime Minister Ali Zeidan under the fear of dismissal before he was ousted on Tuesday.  No other place has been as affected by the turmoil than the city of Benghazi, the origin of the uprising.  Over 100 prominent figures, security officials, and judges have been assassinated in the last two years and the rampant killings have crippled government and security forces.  Residents of the city have continuously complained about the lawless behavior of the militias and the extreme Islamist groups that hold their bases there.  As time goes by, the rate of killings is only increasing, and foreign consulates of diplomats of neighboring countries have been targeted as well in an attempt to scare away allies of the new order.  A Libyan congressman of the National Security committee describes the assassination campaign as "a systematic process to eliminate the building of a modern state" (he also wished to remain anonymous because he feared the consequences of publicly defying these extremist groups).  Even in the town east of Benghazi, Derna, extremist groups are targeting moderate Islamists who may be supporting the transition into a more democratic state.  Therefore, most of the assassinations in Derna have been linked to ideological motivations by extremist groups who had refused to join the others in the uprising.

Amanda Ngo 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Israel Retaliates After Gaza Rocket Attack

After numerous Gaza rockets struck Israeli settlements early wednesday Israel responded with airstrikes in 6 strategic Gaza locations. The Al-Quds Brigade, a faction of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attack. The attacks on Israel were purported to be the most substantial attack in two years against Israel. The Israeli military tweeted that a total of 41 rockets hit in Israel and they responded with strikes on 29 areas. Following the attacks the Israeli foreign minister told the army that he supported a full occupation of Gaza in any future action. In stating a reason for the attacks the spokesmen of the Al-Quds Brigade stated that Israel has repeatedly violated their truce with the Palestinians.

Alec Phillipp

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In Venezuela protests heighten with killing of student leader

The ongoing protests in Venezuela are heightening with 22 deaths.  Students recently have been actively involved in the protests within the country, fighting for their human rights.  Monday night in San Cristobal, a student leader, Daniel Tinoco, was shot after security used brutal force to close off essential intersections.  It has not been officially released who shot Tinoco, but the mayor of San Cristobal went to Twitter to discuss the protests.  He declared the paramilitaries along with the National Guard have become allies with the government and are known to be "colectivos".  President Maduro wanted to have a peace conference with the opposition groups recently, but the opposition will not discuss peace until protesters are released from jail.  The protests are increasingly becoming more and more violent with the usage of tear gas and other means of force.  The protests in Venezuela are spreading and these protests through Venezuela will not cease until there is solution.
Brooke Reed 

Monday, March 10, 2014

No Winner in El Salvador's Close Presidential

No winner has been announced in El Salvador's close Presidential election. About 6,634 votes is all that is separating the two candidates. The electoral tribunal is saying that the votes are too close and it is making it impossible to name a winner. Sanchez Ceren, who is a former rebel commander and who is now the governing party's candidate had a lead.  Magistrate has concluded that they will need to review blank and contested ballots and still complete counting about 10,500 absentee ballots casted by Salvadorans living abroad. Makes the election process interesting because they count citizens living abroad. It could be a strategic move to hold on the winner by somehow having abroad living voters vote in favor of which ever candidate is highly wanted to win. Mr. Sanchez Ceren opponent is Mr. Norman Quijano who is a two term major of San Salvador. Mr. Ceren has told Mr. Quijano to wait out the counting of the ballots and "respect the will of the Salvadoran people." Mr. Quijano responded in a speech "the armed forces are watching the fraud that is being concocted." The public didn't take lightly to armed force comment since they have worked so hard for a democracy since 1992 after a 12 year civil war. The public is taking this political opponents not so highly since the civil war was to eliminate political opponents. It seems that Mr. Ceren is very calm and it seems like he almost knows how this election is going to turn out. El Faro, an online newspaper is calling for candidates to acknowledge the country's division and for them to find a common ground. It is interesting to read about how countries have democratic government and have political opponents but yet the candidates can't be too opposite of each other for the fear that it will fall back to prior to the civil war. Opinion polls have given Mr. Ceren double digit lead over Mr. Quijano, even though El Salvador is highly known for the trouble is faces of gang violence and anemic economic growth. Mr. Ceren has a trust relationship with the people of El Salvador. El Salvador is known  as one of the highest rate of murder in the world but under Mr. Ceren those rates are dropping.

Simona Gudynaite

Jordanian Judge Killed by Israeli Soldiers at Border Crossing

Raed Zeiter was a judge in the magistrates court in Amman.  He was killed on Monday by Israeli soldiers.  The Israeli army is claiming that Zeiter came over to the West Bank by bus at 9:30am.  He tried to grab one of the soldier's guns and was able to get a hold of a four foot pole that the soldiers use to check for bombs under vehicles.  The soldier's are claiming that they had no way to control Zeiter, and the decision was made to open fire.  Palestine and Jordan are questioning the Israeli Army's account, but Israel is claiming that the account is based on eye witnesses of passengers on the bus at the scene.  The Allenby Bridge, where the shooting occurred, was closed for several hours while the situation was sorted out.  The bridge is controlled by both Jordan and Israel.  A second separate incident occurred in the West Bank the same day.  A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli Army fire. 

Shooting on West Bank bridge

By: Chris Lencioni

More than 4.3M Syrian children need humanitarian aid

According to the charity Save the Children the three year long war in Syria has taken a devastating toll on children's health in the country. The report, A Devastating Toll, indicates that due to the three years of violence nearly 10,000 children's lives have been lost in a direct link to the war. Horrifying stories continue to cripple the country and child mortality rates continue to increase at an insurmountable rate. "The extent of the decline in Syria's health system is demonstrated in many horrific ways, including children having limbs amputated because the clinics they present to don't have necessary equipment to treat them," said the report. As the humanitarian crisis has taken ahold of nearly every part of the country there are certain neighborhoods that are strategic footholds for the rebel forces, these specific cites have been cut off from food and medical aid entirely. Residents in Yarmouk ,(a town near Damascus), statistics state that nearly 60 percent of the 20,000 residents are suffering from malnutrition and many have dies of starvation. Hospitals in this region have closed and the rebel groups have looted what was left of an already dwindled medical supply. It is not this region alone that suffers and due to the war there has been a worry that a complete collapse of the health care system may be soon to follow. Vaccination program have all but stopped which has resulted in a reemergence of polio. Poor living conditions and water sanitation issues have also resulted in a drastic increase in parasitic diseases as well. The drastic increase in outbreaks have health care officials worried that viruses like polio and others may start to reimage on a global scale, threatening neighboring countries that have tentative health care statuses as well. Syria is a grave concern for the international community but I cannot help but feel that the situation is so tragic that the international community does not know what is the right course of action at this point. The US has had little involvement and it has seemed to lack the incentive to intervene and muddy itself with yet another "messy" conflict. I cant help but wonder if the US had a more strategic interest in Syria if we would take more of an interest in finding a solution to this surmounting problem? In a larger question is the US not intervening because it is being pragmatic or are we purely acting out our realistic model of statecraft? Is it because the US gains no strategic benefit from an intervention in Syria the true reason we are not intervening or a combination of both?

Katelyn Krumreich

Sunday, March 9, 2014

US Navy's Next Generation Aircraft Carrier Begins Testing Phase

The US Navy is in the middle of constructing the first of a new type of aircraft carrier. This new type of ship has the latest radar technology and sophisticated systems to accommodate unmanned, carrier launched drones. The ship is the first of its kind, and according will go through more than two years of testing before it is put to use in the field. These new ships are set to replaced the Navy's current Nimitz-class warships, which have been in use sine the 1970's. The Navy argues that the benefits of these new types of ships are too great to not move forward with the program, even though some lawmakers are not too excited about the amount of money being spent on these ships. These new aircraft carriers cost 12.8 billion dollars a piece to build. This makes me think of our class discussion about how the United States defense spending far out spends any other country in the world. We discussed whether or not spending over 700 billion dollars a year on defense alone was necessary. The Navy defends its position and says it is an investment because they are planning on using these ships for the next fifty years. We also discussed in class the way collateral damage in wars, despite vastly improved technological advancements, has remained about the same. This makes me wonder about the ethics of using drones. The fact that this much money is being spent with one of the biggest motivators being the ability to launch unmanned drones off the ships shows that this technology is on the rise and will most likely continue to follow that pattern. It will definitely be interesting to follow along with the news and see how war technology advances over the next several years.

By: Josh Moorman


Second round of sanctions for Russia

After little or no effect on Russia about their position toward the Ukraine, the United States President joined by his European allies has decided to target Russia in a second round of sanctions. The first sanctions consisted mainly in visa ban for some individuals as well as freezing of assets of some key leaders in Russian government. However, the rhetoric of European and American leaders is sharpening by becoming each time more cohesive on how should they act toward Russia.

In the last Thursday, Barack Obama offered to Putin to help him solve this issue by diplomatic means and that the interests of Russia and its Russian citizens in Crimea would be addressed but only through direct dialogue between two countries. Obama also said that by that kind of agreement, the Russian troops would have to return to their base in Russia and this would allow for International Community to go there, evaluate and possibly help both parties involved in the disagreement inside the Ukraine borders.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who actually is one of the most influential politicians in Europe, has expressed her deep concern by stating that Europe has experienced much disappointment these last weeks and it is very read to react! Moreover, Yulia Tymochenko, the previous Pro-European PM of Ukraine has stated after the meeting with Angela Merkel, that if Crimea joins Russia then there is a possibility of a guerrilla war.

For the original article, please click here.

Fatlum Gashi
PSC 222

Madrid Bombing Victims Face Continued Challenges

On March 11, 2004, ten bombs exploded on four separate commuter trains in Madrid's public transit system.  192 people were killed in the terror attack while close to 2,000 other people were injured.  Since the tragedy, countless support groups for survivors of the bombings have been established and funded by the Spanish government.  However, recent economic turmoil has force Spain's government to cut state funding for many of these support groups.  Many of the groups' representatives, including Angel De Marcos, of the 11 March Victims of Terrorism Association, has said that "There's so little work to go around, they're not going to hire anyone who has any kind of problem" (online).  Many of the survivors continue to suffer from psychological distress from the experiences they went through and the scenes they witnessed on that day in March ten years ago.  De Marcos went on to state that "From fighting evictions to providing groceries, confronting the consequences of poverty has now become part of the association's mandate" (online).  The Spanish ministry of the interior has announced recently that it has contributed substantially more funds for psychological help for victims of the terror attack and that over 300 million Euros have been spent in "the past ten years on health benefits, psychological help and training for victims" (online).  It will be interesting to see how the Spanish government will continue to fund associations dedicated to helping victims of the March 11, 2004 terror attacks in Madrid.

- Jack Mikolajczyk

Libyan 'force' goes after threatened North Korean oil tanker in rebel-held port

Libya has organized forces to take over the North Korean ship which has been in the surroundings of a port held by the militias opposed to the actual government. The country has been struggling with the issue of armed militias since the end of the revolution. It has always been a question of who gets the oil revenue when there is no a competent government to control the flow. But there is a semblance of organization as the ministers and some armed groups get together to strike back and destroy the tank if need be, though they stated that it would be last option. The city, the oil rich eastern part in question where the port is located has declared its independence, stating that they are seeking for their fair rights. The U.S state department spokesman Psaki has qualified the act as an "act of theft from the Libyan people". This act is clearly in violation of international norms and business ethics as there are many shareholders who will be whopped off of their dividends. Worst of all, it further tarnishes the image of the country for external investment. So after nagging its neighbors, now North Korea is also involved in crude oil theft. Seizing the exact opportunity to get it at a cheap price.
I would say that whenever a revolution is mal-handled and the post revolution not well planned, the revolution wouldn't be less bad as the situation down there. When a people think only about revolution without thinking about how to manage the aftermath the consequences will follow-up sooner or later. That being said I’m not arguing against revolutions, but people should be more cautious about the aftermath. And they should also stand for what they fought for, instead of dividing themselves and robbing off the revolution of its initial course.

Abdoul Siddo

Korean Elections

This Sunday, North Korea held parliamentary elections under the leadership of Kim Jong-un.  At first, it seems like a democratic success for Korea, but the actual situation is much more demeaning.There was one candidate for each of the 687 districts of which all deputies were elected with unanimous decision. In these elections, the voters turned up and simply marked their vote on unnamed ballots. Obviously a far cry from any semblance of a democratic process, the elections serve mostly as effective political consensus. Since Kim Jong-un took over in December he has restructured the elite's power. This past December, Kim Jong-un had his uncle, second most powerful man in Korea, executed on charges of corruption and plotting to overthrow him. These elections seem to be related to this execution since they are mostly to reinforce his own position with loyal followers of his own.  As global events progress, it seems like Korea is being pushed to the sidelines while other events such as the ones in Ukraine and Venezeuela bubble to the top. However, as is usual with Korea, might go ahead and continue nuclear pursuits of warheads. As one of the most difficult places to penetrate in the world, how long until it becomes the main focus of the world and must be dealt with directly? Some consider the leader a loose cannon and any action from them is usually negatively directed at the U.S.

by Sergio Vargas

Strength of Israeli lobby evident in New York legislature

The American Studies Association (ASA) recently called for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions as a result of perceived oppression of Arab and Palestinian students. In turn, New York State Senator Jeff Klein (D) sponsored a bill freezing state university funds to activities of the ASA. "I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people gain an inch in New York," Klein's office said. Klein's bill passed 56-4, but has yet to be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo (D).

ASA president-elect Lisa Duggan said the actions of the New York legislature restrict academic freedom and condone human rights violations. This struggle comes on the heels of a major annual AIPAC conference last week in Washington, D.C., and remains highly controversial: The New York Times reports that 80 percent of U.S. universities denounced the call for boycott and five universities withdrew from ASA membership altogether. Regardless of the effectiveness of the boycott or legislators' rhetoric, this situation is only the latest in a decades-long tug-of-war between pro-Israel activists and Palestinian supporters that has bitterly divided the United States as well as the international community.

You can read more about the story here.

Posted by Colin Wescott

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, Notorious Knights Templar Cartel Leader, killed in Mexico.

Late Sunday evening, Mexican authorities confirmed that the leader of the Knights Templar Cartel was killed in an early-morning shootout with troops despite being declared dead by authorities in 2010. Alejandro Rubido, security spokesman for President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration, said that despite the December 2010 announcement Moreno had been killed in a shootout with federal police, national government officials taking over Michoacan in January investigated reports that he was alive. Tomas Zeron, head of the criminal investigation unit for the federal Attorney General's Office, said the body of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez had been confirmed 100 percent by fingerprints. The Mexican military had been tracking Moreno and marines and soldiers confronted him in Timbuscatio, a town in the remote mountains of the western Michoacan, his cartel's headquarters. Upon being met with resistance, troops fired upon Moreno and killed him,

-William B. Robinson #PSC222

IMF report recognizes that inequality slows economic growth

Recently, a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was published that found that lower inequality in countries was associated with faster economic growth. An article was recently written commenting on this new report by those at The Nation. The IMF already has a reputation for its neoliberal approach to development, focusing mainly on shifting a developing countries burden to the middle and lower classes. This has been true in many cases over the past few decades in Argentina, Bolivia, and nearly the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. The notorious programs have devastated countries in the past and caused political crises as well as development to come to nearly a standstill when it comes to the middle and lower classes of these societies.

That being said it is unclear what the IMF will actually do with this new found knowledge as it currently stands, because this information turns all that the IMF has done in the past on its head. For the IMF to go from protecting major industry bosses and encouraging privatization to funding public health programs, education, and public sector jobs (all of which encourage greater equality) is probably not going to happen overnight. However, some change has already come as was referenced in the article which suggests that the IMF is likely on the right path when it comes to reworking its policies towards those that.....actually work.

Missing Malaysia Flight

Vietnamese navy planes have reported sighting what many believe to be the debris of the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing late last week somewhere over the South China Sea. The flight had 239 passengers three of which were Americans. The flight went missing with contact being cut off and vanishing from all radar screens raising many questions about the planes disappearance. Two large pieces of debris located near oil lines in the water are believed belong to the missing flight. As of right now 40 ships and 34 aircraft from 9 different countries are all looking for this missing flight.  There are many theories surrounding the missing flight and officials have yet to rule anything out. Identities of all the passengers are being reviewed and it has been found the two stolen passports were used by passengers on the flight arising suspicions of a possible terrorist attack. Although nothing yet has been confirmed Interpol has spoken of its security concern due to the fact that people with stolen passports were able to gain admittance to an international flight.