Sunday, March 15, 2015

Catholic Church Supporting Military Efforts To Combat ISIS

The Vatican has recently stated that they will support military efforts in the fight against ISIS. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's main representative at the United Nations announced, "We have to stop this kind of genocide" during an interview on Friday. He then continued to state, "Otherwise we'll be crying out in the future about why we didn't do something, why we allowed such a terrible tragedy to happen." The Vatican wants the United Nations and the Security Council to head the fight against ISIS. Archbishop Tomasi believes the best way to combat ISIS is with a plan formulated by the United Nations including countries that will also help in the fight against ISIS from the Middle East. The Catholic Church is also calling for aid to help the people that had their homes and daily lives taken away from ISIS attacks.

When the Catholic Church is supporting the use of military power, the world knows that military action needs to be taken. Typically, the Vatican will not promote war unless given the correct circumstances. Many innocent lives are being killed by ISIS and unfortunately, lives are continually going to be lost if something is not done. With the help of the United Nations, something can be done. The pressure from Middle Eastern states will also help contain ISIS. Middle Eastern states will probably have the biggest influence on ISIS in getting them to stop their horrible acts of violence. Hopefully, ISIS will listen, and realize they need to stop these horrendous acts.

Cara Howell

Putin's 'Spring Fever'

Rumors have already begun to spread throughout the world about Putin's health. The rumor started when he had to cancel a meeting with several world leaders. Could Putin's faltering health foreshadow Russia's? we'll have to wait ad find out. Several of Putin's advisers how every say hes still in very good health and that it is only a minor hick up. Putin remains in the shadow. Putin's minor sickness however hurts his image throughout the world. Putin is often seen as a strong Russian man seen doing very masculine tings. This small sickness however hurts his public image.

Sigi Padilla

Cotton says "no regrets" about Iran letter

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton did not back down and was adamant that the letter he and 46 other GOP senators signed was well needed to Iran. Senate Republicans recently sent a letter to the Iranian leaders about the nuclear negotiations that have been going on with them and President Obama. For a while now the United States has imposed great sanctions on Iran for their nuclear agenda. The U.S. has been constantly working on a deal with Iran for them to stop their enrichment of uranium in order to lift economic sanctions against Iran. The letter was pretty simple in that Republicans stressed that any deal Obama makes with the Iranian leaders that has not been approved by Congress will not be binding and that sanctions will come again in 2017 when Obama leaves office. Many officials such as John Kerry saw this act by Cotton and Senate Republicans as undermining the Obama administration efforts. Supporters see it as Republicans trying to make sure that the president does not make a bad deal with Iran. While many critics believe that their actions breached foreign policy. This marks the second time where Congress took matters into their own hands regarding foreign policy. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Congress a few weeks ago without even meeting with the president. This is highly irregular and confrontational because the president is usually the one who speaks with foreign leaders and institutes his military agenda. I think it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. There is some major polarization occurring in Washington and the ability for branches to work together is dwindling. I just hope that Iran sees the U.S. is not backing down and that their nuclear agenda will not be something that we will tolerate no matter what. I think that was clear in the letter.

Seth Hillesland

Church Bombings in Lahore kill dozens

Dozens are left dead in a predominately Christian section of the city of Lahore in the wealthy province of Punjab. In a synchronized suicide bombing attack on a Catholic church during a heavily packed Sunday service. A Taliban splinter group claims responsibility for the attack. After the bombing protests by the small Christian minority began to ensue that then lead to violent mob behavior. A man thought to be linked to the attack was burned to death and another was nearly beaten to death in an attempted lynching by the crowd of angry Pakistani Christians.    
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the 6th largest country in the world home to around 196 million people the nation was formed in 1956 when Pakistan gained independence from India. With a religious makeup of around 97% muslim, attacks on religious minorities are sadly not that uncommon. Violence in this part of Pakistan is however more uncommon than in other parts, but due to the government's failure to hold peaceful dialogue with Taliban leaders violence has become even more common and has spread to all corners of the country. Given Pakistan's nascency and freshly gained independence violence and internal issues regarding insurgency should almost be expected. I like to think of the United States' own history, we didn't have a cooperative comprehensive government until after the civil war 78 years after our own struggle for independence -- and we still struggle to form a more perfect union. Pakistan has only been in existence for 59 years. Rome was not built in a day.

Adam D. Sothen        

50 die after bus plunges off road in southern Brazil

On Saturday, March 15, A bus that was driving a group worshipers that were headed to a religious event in Santa Catarina, southern Brazil dropped straight down off the road in a deep narrow fall, after turning a steep corner. The people working on this case counted today that 50 worshipers on the bus did not survive the fall. They said that the bus fell down 1,100 feet and 12 of the people on the bus were harmed, including four bodies that still have not been found. The article that I read also stated that there were many ambulances, helicopters, and help in general that came out to the scene to rescue the people that needed help, and find out exactly what went on Saturday during the incident. The article states that overall each year there are many accidents that happen on these roads in Brazil including a round up of 43,869 people that have died there because of the conditions. After I viewed the picture that was posted on the article, and scoped out the background scene of where it happened, I understood how it would have killed and injured so many people, and I feel that it should have a safer route overall due to all of the deaths that happened from people plummeting off those roads in southern Brazil.  

Paul Rollet

Obama, Netanyahu spat seeps into Israeli election

Two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a controversial speech to Congress revolving around enforcing sanctions within Iran to prevent nuclear development, it seems that his political jab at President Obama has come back to bite him. The Obama administration's form of "snub diplomacy" by denying Netanyahu a visit to the oval office has proven to be a method of influencing the Israeli public, and essentially manipulating the Prime Minister's behavior. As many of the Israeli's view the United States as close and crucial allies, it is important to maintain lively relations. For this reason, Netanyahu's recent visit to the United States may be harmful to his own personal campaign as elections come near. As President Obama called Netanyahu's speech "nothing new", Netanyahu in turn viewed his anti-Iran sermon as a way to boost electoral appeal by asserting that he is a world leader and will go to great lengths to protect Israel. Obama and Netanyahu's opposition has proven to be extremely divisive for the global world, as many of Obama's administration has begun to make efforts to oust the Prime Minister. As results for the Israeli election come out, it will be extremely interesting to see whether or not Netanyahu's speech will be his best asset or biggest mistake.

Yoomna Rahim

Putin 'Was Ready for Nuclear Alert'

Recently a documentary has been aired about the Russian involvement in the recent conflict between Crimea and Ukraine. In the documentary, The Path To The Motherland, Vladimir Putin has stated that he was ready to put weapons of mass destruction on standby during the recent Crimea crisis. He paints himself as a knight-in-shining-armor when describing his motivations for his involvement. For example he claimed that the people of Crimea were in danger before Russia annexed the region, and that Russia could not abandon them in their time of need. Additionally he stated that a poll stated that 75% of the population wished to be a part of Russia. Although Putin did not give any information about how well this survey was created. Plus he also made a note that he "saved" the Ukraine's former leader Viktor Yanukovych and his family as they fled from the violent protesters. Overall it is clear that Putin contributed to this documentary in order to save face in the international community when it is obvious that they were involved with the separatists groups who started this conflict in the first place.

By Anne Sortino

Paris Kosher Market Reopens After Charlie Hebdo-Related Killings

On sunday, a Kosher supermarket in Paris has reopened for the first time since January and is now heavily armed with security. They have reopened with the victims in mind. In fact, they have stated that they are reopening for the victims. However, shoppers at the store are not afraid to stop by and pick up a few goods. There is a memorial outside of the market for the twelve victims who were killed in January.

Julianna Grandinetti

Petrobras Corruption in Brazil

In Brazil, more than a million people have joined demonstrations demanding the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. The protesters believe the president must have known about a corruption scandal which dealt with Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company. Politicians say a lot of bribery took place when Rousseff was head of the company. Rousseff has been investigated by the attorney general, and she still denies any involvement. Many of the politicians accused of taking bribes come from the governing coalition. The largest demonstration took place in Sao Paulo, which attracted more than 500,000 people. Protesters could be seen with Brazilian flags and yellow shirts of the country's national soccer team, and they would shout slogans against the Workers' Party government and corruption. Opposition parties have backed protests but have no openly supported for the impeachment of the president. According to the investigation called by the Supreme Court, which approved the investigation of 54 people for their involvement in the kickback scheme, high-profile politicians took a share of the money given off from Petrobras. 

Carlitos Rangel

When WMD-Potential Provides More Than Deterrence

       Yesterday, in The Washington Times, an article was published titled U.S. unease about nuclear weapon-weapons fuel takes aim at a South African vault. This particular article was troublesome, because it goes back to our class discussions on how nuclear weapons serve as a deterrent. The only problem with this case is that it goes back to my concern for unaligned third parties. The United States and South Africa could be trusted to not utilize their weapons; however, an unaligned third party (i.e., the Islamic State) could become interested in such an opportunity. Because the group remains disorganized in a geographic sense; there would be no way to respond effectively following an attack. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) serves little to deter terrorist organizations that have no home state.
       The article discusses South Africa's continued reluctance to give up its enriched reserves (still non-weapons grade) on the grounds that a nation has a right to pursue nuclear power for peaceful purposes (in this case, energy). Despite South Africa's claims,the United States continues to dread the possibility for theft of the uranium from what it believes is in inadequately secured facility. A battle breaks out the fray of international anarchy: in a longstanding debate over security and energy, which side will win out? Given the reemergence of this topic, I would conclude this blog stating that this will be an important topic to follow over the next few weeks; especially with the talks of Iran underway too.

-Jon Stanciu

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Perils of 'Shambaughism' in US Foreign Policy

Twilight of the CCP...AND Shambaughism?

Peter Lee at China Matters weighs in on an article published on March 6 in the Washington post by David Shambaugh, the leading US pundit on China. Shambaugh claimed that "the endgame of Communist rule in China has begun, and Xi Jinping's ruthless measures are only bringing the country closer to a breaking point."

Shambaugh was a proponent of U.S. engagement with China - and of a Chinese integration into the American-led liberal international order. Shambaugh and his colleagues envisioned a China that would, as Lee put it, "integrate itself into that order by means of suitable domestic and international liberalization, and by not pulling dick moves on human rights, nuclear non-proliferation, climate change, etc."

Shambaugh is no longer optimistic about this happening, and it important because Shambaugh's views tend to be opinion setters for America's pundits, politicians, and people. Shambaugh blames China under Xi Jinping for being "truculent, narrow-minded, and hypernationalist." As he puts it, China has not been acting as a 'responsible stakeholder'.

Lee criticizes 'Shambaughism' by pointing out a series of "dick moves" the United States has pulled on China during the years of engagement. As Lee puts it, "all great powers and wannabe great powers are truculent, narrow-minded, and hypernationalist - including the United States."

He attacks the Shambaugh model as pretending that the United States has no agency, that it never starts anything, that it never sets out to do anything to or in regards to China - that it is purely reactive, never proactive, "merely reacting to whatever crap the CCP panda flings out of its cage at the global order...Shambaughism," says Lee, "implies that the US is a passive observer of these unprovoked offenses."

Lee goes on to give his own predictions about China's future and his own interpretation of what Xi Jinping is up to, and it is well worth reading. However, I'd like to take something more broadly applicable away from this as well.

Our relations with China are not the only ones we view through the tainted lens of Shambaughism. The most pressing example is that of Russia. The American consensus places the entire crisis in Ukraine in the hands of Putin, labeling him as a destabilizing megalomaniac who threatens the entire world because he attacked Ukraine just because he is destabilizing megalomaniac - so naturally he might do the same thing anywhere else he pleases.

The American consensus on Russia is Shambaughism gone rampant. Russia's entire strategy in Ukraine has been reactive, not proactive. It was a reaction to an American-orchestrated overthrow of Ukraine's elected (and highly corrupt) pro-Russian government, which the United States backed in order to install a pro-European, anti-Russian (and also highly corrupt) regime.

The United States claims it supported the overthrow of Yanukovych only in reaction to violence against protestors. This is of course at odds with the facts: years of involvement and billions of dollars were put into organizing the anti-Yanukovych, anti-Russian opposition and assembling the Maidan protests - which was done as a proactive policy in order to flip Ukraine and weaken Russia.

The United States, in essence, dared Putin to respond forcefully to its anti-Russia regime change operation in Kiev, not expecting their bluff to be called. It was. The United States has ever since been condemning Putin as the next Hitler for taking over the highly strategic Crimea (and its pro-Russian, anti-Ukrainian population) and sustaining a rebellion by the pro-Russian Ukrainian opposition in the Donbass.

Shambaughism is blinding Americans to the fact of their own country's hegemonic and intrusive foreign policy, which continually provokes conflicts with rising powers like China, Russia, and Iran. "What did we ever do to Putin?" ask Americans deluded by Shambaughism.

Overthrow a pro-Russian government in Ukraine and replace it with one that has tried to ban the use of the Russian language (which half of Ukrainians speak as their first language) in public institutions. That's only the latest in a line of grievances that include:
- Making deals with Russian oligarchs in the 1990s that looted hundreds of billions of dollars from the country during its disastrous transition from communism to a market economy, while the Russian life expectancy and living conditions plummeted from economic disaster.
- Idolizing these oligarchs in the American media as "reformers" and "liberals" and overlooking their corruption and ties to the mafia.
- Bombing Russian ally Serbia in 1999 over a supposed genocide in Kosovo that had never happened (2,000 Kosovars, half of them rebel fighters, were killed in a counter-insurgency operation. That is not a genocide).
- Admitting the nations of Eastern Europe to NATO after assuring Russia when the Soviet Union was falling that it would not.
- Supporting fanatical Islamist Chechen separatist fighters who have committed horrific acts of terrorism against Russians and ran an economy based on kidnapping Russian people for ransom.
- Orchestrating protests that put the anti-Russian Saakashvili government into power in Georgia, building up the Georgian armed forces, blaming Russia for starting the war in 2006 which was actually initiated by Saakashvili when he sent the Georgian armed forces to invade South Ossetia, a separatist region protected by Russian peacekeepers..
- Defying the limits set in the Russian-approved resolution on Libya to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi and kill him, leaving Libya an anarchic disaster.
- Propping up the rebellion against the Russian-aligned government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, long after it was clear that the rebels were dominated by Islamists and that they had no chance of actually defeating the Assad regime.
- A campaign of ridicule and defamation against the Sochi Olympics.
- Idolizing and advocating for Pussy Riot, a band that desecrated a church as an act of protest and is hated by 90+% of Russians.

American Shambaughism dismisses all of this as irrelevant when it asks the fatuous question "what is Putin thinking?" when it comes to Ukraine.

I say it's not.

- Tim Mulhair

Case Against President Kenyatta Closed

March 14, 2015.

The International Criminal Court closed the criminal proceedings against Kenya's president, Uhura Kenyatta, last Friday. The prosecutors' had raised charges that accused Kenyatta of post-election violence in Kenya. Kenyatta had previously appeared before the court in 2011 to face allegations of orchestrating and financing ethnic clashes after the elections of 2007, which had an aftermath of 1,200 deaths and 600,000 displaced form their homes. However, due to lack of evidence, the case had been postponed several times. Prosecutors attributed their lack of evidence to Kenyan authorities, who according to them, obscured the case by making important information unaccessible and intimidating and bribing witnesses. Even though the case is closed for now and it seems as if Kenyatta is safe, the court stated that it leaves open the possibility of reviving these charges or bringing new ones up in the future.

-Ricardo Morales

The West's Historical Amnesia, Moral Collapse, and Criminal Culpability in Syria

Peter Lee writes a scathing response to an article in The Guardian shaking its head at the human toll of Syria's civil war on the fourth anniversary of its beginining. The Guardian, Lee says, might do well  to commemorate the responsibility of the United States and its allies in the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey for the bloodshed in Syria.

200,000 people in Syria are dead as of last year when observers of the war seem to have stopped keeping count, 3.5 million are refugees in other countries, and half of Syria's people have been forced to leave their homes. That is the human cost of civil war in Syria. The entire country lies in ruins, everyone has lost friend or relatives, and there is no hope of a moderate, democratic opposition overthrowing the government - because no moderate, democratic opposition exists as an armed force on the ground in Syria.

To this day, however, the United States and its allies are determined to keep the war going on. Why is that? Because Assad must not be allowed to win, they say. To this day they have continued funneling arms, funding, and recruits to the jihadist rebel forces to keep propping up the rebellion, which they recognized years ago was never actually going to defeat the Syrian government. But the rebels must be propped up, says the Obama administration and supporters of the war in the press (such as the writers of The Guardian). Why? To have a seat at the negotiating table, they say.

Let's stop and ask ourselves what would happen if Assad were allowed to win, if he had been allowed to win. Lee refers back to a second article he wrote in 2011 entitled The Syrian Revolution Hijacked. Excerpted:

The Syrian revolution—a broad-based, non-sectarian, democratic anti-despot national movement—has failed.
Mass demonstrations never materialized in Damascus and Aleppo. The military and security forces didn’t crack. The Alawite on Sunni crackdown (Alawites form the backbone of the army/security forces/irregular goon squads) fomented sectarian divisions, with most non-Sunnis minorities cleaving desperately to the Assad regime. Prosperous Sunnis have presumably been hedging their bets by donating to the anti-government cause in recent days but have not explicitly abandoned the regime.
The Gulf powers and the West would have welcomed a Ba’athist regime collapse at the hand of domestic anti-government demonstrations.
That didn’t happen.
As the peaceful democratic movement has faltered, there has been no move from the Western/Gulf powers to encourage reconciliation and reforms.
Quite the contrary, in fact.
Whenever Assad makes an offer of reform, the Western powers dismiss it as too late and/or insincere.
Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesperson, counseled Syrian dissidents to defy the Assad regime’s offer of an amnesty in return for handing in illegal weapons
The Syrian uprising against Assad was defeated within months by the end of 2011. The rebels were beaten. The death toll?


The war in Syria could have been over then. But the US, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia would not accept it. The US cleared its allies to supply massive shipments of weaponry and open the doors for jihadists to go Syria and wage war against the government. Ever since 2011, the popular uprising the US continues to refer to has been hijacked by jihad and artificially sustained through the supply of weapons and money from foreign countries.

The Syrian opposition, or the coalition of foreign jihadists and Islamist militias that calls itself the moderate opposition, would collapse within a couple months if it was cut off from foreign funding and arms, if countries like Turkey and Jordan closed their borders to Syria.

And the war would be over.

It could have been over as early as three years ago. 200,000 people who are dead today could still be alive. Millions who've lost their homes could still be living in them. ISIS would not even be half as strong as it is today.

For any real humanitarians out there (as the writers of The Guardian imagine themselves to be), the solution to the war in Syria has been clear and obvious for three years now.

Let the Assad regime win already, for the love of God!

- Tim Mulhair

Nigeria: Boko Haram bomb factory uncovered in troubled northeast

Last week troops took back a key northern town captured by Boko Haram fighters last August. Upon taking back the town the troops found a bomb factory disguised as a fertilizer plant. Inside the factory they found suicide bomber vets and improvised detonator devices. The article goes on to talk about the newly forged relationship between Boko Haram and ISIS and outlines the terror Boko Haram has been inciting in Nigeria since 2009. Constantly in the news we are hearing about Boko Haram suicide bombings in Nigeria, any success troops can get against slowing and stopping the suicide attacks is a victory against the radicals that have been terrorizing Nigeria. Though the alliance between Boko Haram and ISIS is a horrifying thought but personally I think this is a last ditch effort by Boko Haram to remain alive. Lately it seems there have been more and more articles in the news about Boko Haram's defeats by military troops across Nigeria. At first I thought it was just propaganda by the US backed side but now I believe Boko Haram is truly struggling and needs to turn to other terrorist organizations for support.

Michael Johnson

Casualty Estimates on the War in Ukraine - 14,000 Ukrainian Soldiers & 5,500 Rebel Fighters KIA

This report from Tatzhit Mihailovic is the first believable estimate I've seen of the casualties in the Ukrainian civil war. The Ukrainian government and the separatist rebels give casualty reports so wildly different from one another they might as well come from different planets. As Mihailovic puts it, "Both sides in the Ukrainian civil war hugely overestimate enemy losses and conceal most of their own. Therefore, there is pressing need for a fact-based estimate of the loss of life."

Mihailovic uses the reports of armored vehicles destroyed as documented by the database website as the basis of its estimates. Lost Armour is well-regarded as an accurate source by both Western and Russian observers, documenting vehicle losses that are captured on camera. Lost Armour has logged 627 Ukrainian Army vehicles destroyed and 376 captured, versus 76 rebel-held vehicles destroyed and 27 recaptured by the Ukrainian Army.

Mihailovic's analysis then extrapolates casualty figures by computing this data with the ratios of men lost and killed to armored vehicles destroyed in wars involving comparable armies in the past - the First Chechen War, Desert Storm, and the civil war in Syria. Also figuring into his estimates are the reported numbers of medevac operations for wounded soldiers carried out by the Ukrainian Army (around 12,000 as of January). His estimates take into account the fact that the Ukrainian Army is much more heavily mechanized than the rebel forces, so while it has lost nearly ten times as many vehicles, the casualty ratio in terms of men is more even - about two to three Ukrainian soldiers killed or wounded for every rebel.

The final figures he arrives at are about 14,000 Ukrainian soldiers KIA and more than 20,000 wounded, alongside around 5,600 separatists KIA and 12,000 wounded. Civilian deaths he estimates at 6,000-7,000, a range that is generally agreed upon by both the Ukrainian government and the Novorussian rebels.

These figures may not prove to be very accurate in the end, but they are definitely more believable than any of the ones the Ukrainian government or the rebels have put out so far.

- Tim Mulhair

Cyclone devastates South Pacific islands of Vanuatu

Cyclone Pam, a category five tropical storm, hit the archipelago of Vanuatu leaving entire villages destroyed.  8 people have been confirmed dead in Port Vila, the countries capital; however, the UN estimates that over a dozen were killed from the cyclone.  Unofficial reports claim that 44 people have died in the Panama Province.  The article primarily addresses Port Vila; however, it is expected that more vulnerable islands have suffered even more damage.  Thousands of people took refuge in emergency shelters; however, msot suffered through the storm in their homes.  As communications are down in most of the country, the total amount of damage will most likely be unknown for quite a few days. The president of Vanuatu, Baldwin Londsdale, appealed for international support while attending the World Conference on Disaster Risk and Reduction in Japan.  Australia is preparing to send a crisis response team if needed, stating, "There are destructive winds, rain, flooding, landslides, sea surges and very rough seas and the storm is exceedingly destructive there.  We are still assessing the situation, but we stand ready to assist."

Marissa Holaway

UK teens at Turkey-Syria boarder

            A few weeks ago I wrote about the article that explains UK teenagers left London for Turkey, and they are also believed to head for Syria. Then today, I read the article with a video clip that says the three teenagers were at Turkey-Syria boarder. According to the article, the day before they left Turkey, at least one of them contacted a woman, Aqsa Mahmood, who left Scotland for Syria in 2013, and accused her of trying to recruit others through social media. She has a blog and posted how to travel to Syria for young women to marry jihadis like she did.
            According to the article, teenagers are just 15, 16 years old (Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15). I cannot unerstand why they headed for Syria and maybe join ISIS. I do not know about religion so I have no idea what it means to get married to jihadis, but I do not think joining ISIS meet that desire because I saw a lot of articles that explains Muslim people saying their religion is not like ISIS says. Teenagers have not forged their identities and easily lose their identities; I think ISIS takes advantage those weaknesses. I think we should protect young people from problems like being recruited by ISIS. Moreover, we all need to understand the concepts of every religion and not misunderstand them like the recent misunderstanding of Islam. It is really sad that lately so many anti-Islamic movements have happened all over the world.

Ryota Taniguchi

Three British Girls Spotted

In this article it discusses a video that was released that shows 3 girls that resemble the three British girls that ran off to ISIS. It talks about how these girls are following advice from another young woman by the name of Aqsa Mahmood through social media. This young woman has been posting advice through social media and has been posting links with other people who are also giving advice. This advice is specifically for women trying to join ISIS.

ISIS has been brainwashing the younger generation for quite some time now. This is scary to think about because not only is ISIS brainwashing, but the younger women to joined ISIS that were brainwashed are now doing the brainwashing. Or, is it really even brainwashing? Could it be that these people are joining ISIS of their own accords and actually believe it is the right decision? Either way, there is something that the larger countries need to do either to fix the problems that those who join ISIS think we have, or actually stop ISIS all together.

Brad Munson

Myanmar Ferry Sinks - Dozens Feared Dead

March 14, 2015. Off the western coast of Myanmar, an overloaded ferry succumbs to bad weather and sinks, leaving at least 47 people dead. Despite estimated numbers thus far, government officials believe that the death toll in this incident is much higher. The ship, carrying approximately 214 passengers and crew, voyaged across high seas late Friday from the coastal town of Taunggok to the capital of Rakhine state, Sittwe. A senior official with the Inland Water Transportation Department confirmed that, 167 have been rescued, but the rest are either feared dead or missing. Despite these numbers, residents in Taunggok believe that the death toll is likely higher, as ferries are often overloaded with unregistered passengers. Because of unregistered passengers, it's difficult to get estimated numbers from the number of tickets sold, because the number is simply unreliable. Sunken ferries are not uncommon in a region that heavily relies of poorly maintained ferries for transportation. A reported 10 people were killed in 2010 when a ferry capsized in the Irrawaddy delta region. Around 38 people died in 2008 when a ship sank in the Yway River. In recent years, the number of incidents rose given the departure of desperate Muslim Rohingya who, in the thousands, crowd into small and dangerous boats to escape persecution, usually in a voyage to Thailand or Malaysia.

- Josephine Madrawska

Friday, March 13, 2015

Egypt: Plans To Build A New Capital

The Egyptian government has announced it's plans to build a new capital just east of Cairo, the current capital. The project is projected to cost around 45 billion dollars and will possibly take around five to seven years to complete. This project is supposed to help with the congestion that is said to come to Cairo in the next 40 years. The new city, which has yet to be named, would include 200 schools and colleges, more than 600 health care facilities, and will house around five million residents. An "Egyptian Shangri La," this project, which will create at least a million jobs, has hopes in bringing the Egyptian economy back on it's feet. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have each pledged four billion dollars to invest in Egypt's new world capital.
Full article:
~Sarah Irene Rosenberg

U.S. admiral raises alarm over Russian military threat

U.S. admiral raises alarm over Russian military threat

Russia is working on a program to deploy " ling-range conventionally armed cruise missiles, "which can be launched from its bomber aircraft, submarines and warships. This ongoing movement makes the U.S. worry about its safety. Because before this, it is only the U.S. that uses its superior military power to monitor Russian military aircrafts. Also, this time, North American Aerospace Defense Command feels that Russian flights are now at a pace that is complete different from the past. NORAD is now facing the threat. 

Ruyi Wang 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"What Indians Won’t See"

The documentary should not be banned. We are all allowed to voice and speak out, especially for something as serious as this. It is vital to have these discussions. Is a democracy that restricts speech, expression and debate a real democracy? What kind of world are we living in?
 The documentary makes a connection between patriarchal views of the culprits and lawyers and the rape itself. This is a leap of logic not supported in facts. Patriarchy may be wrong, unjust and regressive but there is scant evidence that it causes people to rape. I believe that if someone or their family wants to speak out they should, and if someone who raped someone or murdered someone they should have the right to tell their story to so we can learn why they did what they did and figure out how to stop it.

-Danielle Wright

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Iraq Government Concerned about ISIS looting

Khorsabad in northern Iraq is the latest ancient site to be attacked by the Islamic State militant group. ISIS has continued their destruction of ancient ruins and artifacts in Khorsabad resulting in the Iraq government to investigate. Adel Shirshab, the country's tourism and antiquities minister, told The AP there are concerns that ISIS will remove artifacts and damage the site, located 15 kilometers (9 miles) northeast of Mosul. Many witness reports have concluded that terrorist from the group had begun destruction of Khorsabad early Sunday. ISIS has destroyed 3,000-year old Nimrod and 2,000-year old Hatra -- both UNESCO world heritage sites. The Islamic State group currently controls about a third of Iraq and Syria. ISIS has warned that any artifacts that promote idolatry that violates their fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law will be exterminated. In January, ISIS burned hundreds of books from the Mosul library and Mosul University, including many rare manuscripts. The UN Security Council has reported grave concern.

Another way ISIS is destroying the world. I think the eagerness is there, but I still don't know how the world powers have not come together yet to come up with a collaborative plan. Everyone sees the imminent threat, but there have really been no clear goals or initiatives set out. I really hope the world powers can come together to devise a plan where all of the great powers of the world contribute to destroying ISIS.

Seth Hillesland

Making Egypt's Streets Safe for Women

Eman Helal is a photographer in Egypt.  While photographing, she must dress as a man to protect herself from the violence that women often face in the streets.  Since the Arab Spring, physical attacks on women have increased, often due to less police offer to control the violence.  Helal decided to do a story covering the public harassment that women face.  She conducted interviews with women who were often hesitant to share their stories and to be photographed.  Not only is Helal working on this project to raise awareness, she is also involved with anti-harassment campaigns.

Marissa Holaway