Saturday, October 31, 2015

Russian Aircraft Crashes in Sinai

Carrying  224 people including 17 children, crashed Saturday in Sinai in north east of Egypt after 20 minutes from taking off from Sharm Alsheik near to the read sea. Officials from the Egyptian government said that there is no survivors. The passengers were all Russians except 3 Ukrainians.After the crash ISIS claimed responsibility of shutting down the plane and they are stating that this only a sample from what they can do. This comes after Russians strikes on ISIS in Syria. From the other side Putin  gave orders to send special groups to investigate the accident and to find it who is really behind this. This is really an indecent that will develop as the truth revel about the causes of the crash rather its technical problem or its really ISIS who dropped the plane.The question here, how is the Russians will deal with this and how things will develop as more detail comes ?

Link :

Rusia Wants to Avoid Proxy War

The United States has decided to put special forces on the ground to assist opposition forces fighting against ISIS. This is significant because it is the first time that actual United States troops will be put on the ground in Syria, our prior involvement was limited to air support. Russia, in response, warns that this will create the risk of a proxy war.

The potential of a proxy war is quite serious, as it could raise US/Russia tensions even higher. Given that the number of involved US forces is small (less than 50 soldiers), the chance of conflict is low, but it will be important for the two militaries to openly communicate about their actions. However, any hope of true cooperation between the two powers in Syria is quite low, given that they are supporting opposing sides in the civil war.

Currently, the bulk of US and Russian tension lays in Syria, and the outcome of its civil war will have a significant effect on the relationship between the two global powers.

Blane Erwin

Friday, October 30, 2015

China’s New Child Policy

The communist party announced on Wednesday that they would be changing their child policy in an effort to promote a balanced growth of population. This new policy, which will go into effect sometime next year, will now allow couples to have two children instead of just one. China is changing this policy due to economic reasons, they are worried because their population is growing old before it get rich. Within the next 15 years China “could become home to the highest elderly population on the planet.” Of the nearly 1.3 billion people living in China over 400 million of them will be over the age of 60. 

China has already begun to feel the burden of their population. According to Wang Feng a professor at Fudan University, “History will look back to see the one-child policy as one of the most glaring policy mistakes that China has made in its modern history." The one-child policy was originally put into place to curb their fast growing population and to spur the economy.

Over the years China has been much more relaxed with its one child policy, allowing millions of Chinese to more than one child, especially parents, who themselves were an only child, to have a second child. However many Chinese have not taken advantage of the offer because of the rising costs of living, and how expensive it is to raise a child in the big cities of China. Schooling is just one example of something being so expensive many could not afford putting more than one child through school.

Now the “world's second largest economy is facing a struggle to maintain its growth, because there simply would not be enough workers to push the economy forward in the future.”

It is important for this policy change to work because if it doesn’t China may very well lose its standing among global powers. It will be interesting to watch this situation in China to play out over the next few years.

Ashley Rot

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Snowden under protection of EU

The former NSA employee may finally be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. EU parliament has voted this Thursday to protect Edward Snowden from extradition. For people who do not know, Snowden decided to share classified information about massive intrusive surveillance of the American public by the NSA. He is being charged with violation of the Espionage Act, theft of government property (documents that he has in his possession, some of which have been released already), unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communications of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person. The US Department of Defense believes that Snowden has put America in danger and he needs to come back to face the consequences of those actions. The first time many people heard of Edward Snowden was when he was revealed as the author of numerous encrypted emails in the intriguing, yet paranoia-inducing documentary Citizenfour. EU parliament calls Snowden a "whistleblower and international human rights defender". In August of 2013, Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum after his month-long stay in the Moscow airport. In 2014 he was granted a three-year residence permit. This guy just won't give up. He did what he thought was right and he has a lot of people behind his decision.

I'm rooting for you, Snowden.

Ellen Kent

China to End One-Child Policy, Allowing Families Two Children

This article talks about the One Child policy has China has had up until now. Due to certain circumstances, China will let  people have more than one child now starting from next year. There will be a new policy which will require families to have two children. However, many families, still do not want to have more than one child because it is too expensive and China is a very high competitive country. Many couples say that raising a child in China is too expensive and that the change of policy will not affect their lives. However, it is predicted that the population will grow at about 6% in the future. The change of policy from one child to having two children is predicted to have a future economic growth in China.

By: Miljana Kumati

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Austria Weighs Building Border Fence

With as many as 8,000 migrants entering Austria each day, Austria is considering building a fence along its border with Slovenia to help control the amount of immigrants heading North through Europe. The country's interior minister declared earlier today that the intention is not to close the border, but to rather establish order.

The decision has been contemplated since Austria has witnessed how even the wealthiest nations in Europe like Germany and Sweden have had a hard time organizing and controlling the flow of migrants and refugees. Such flow has been straining the resources of such wealthy countries, and since Austria is not a Germany or a Sweden, then it is 'understandable' that it is doing what it is in order to protect its own economy and people.

However, the large influx of migrants entering Austria are not looking to stay in Austria, they are simply passing through, to reach Germany.  Yet, there are those might decide to stay and that is what Austria seems to want to avoid. Due to such border talks, relations between Germany and Austria have been tense and full of rancor.

Now we will see how the severely refugee crisis could test even the strongest of ties.

Rosie Torres

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Feds raid drug 'super tunnel' with railway on U.S.-Mexico border

An underground drug tunnel that was about 800 yards long and ran from a Tijuana warehouse to a San Diego warehouse was raided. This tunnel has electricity, lighting, tracks, and everything needed to transport drugs between countries. Authorities found 12 tons of marijuana which has a street value of 6 million dollars! An undercover agent busted the dealers as he acted like he was gathering the marijuana and transporting dirt between the tunnels. When he found out they were going to transfer the marijuana from one warehouse to another is when he busted them. 22 people were arrested and this was the 10th tunnel found in the last 10 years in the same area. Really is fascinating when you think about how this is done.

Hayden Witt

China says it warned and tracked U.S. warship in South China Sea

My first reaction to this article is that this situation can get very messy if not solved peacefully. China has stated that it warned and tracked a United States Navy ship that came close to one of its artificial island in the South China Sea. China is not messing around with United States navy ships being so close to their region. China sent out two Chinese warships along with naval warplanes to monitor and warn the American vessel. This seems like a risky move for China. I would not want to mess with the United States to much. China is not yet the more powerful country, and this could deter them from being. I understand to be the man, you have to beat the man, but I am not sure China is ready to face the man. I know I am bias here, but I am on the side of the United States. I do not believe the United States when they are saying the operation was routine and in line with international law. I think the whole we are just doing routine trips is a whole lie, but I think the United States should be able to have their vessels in this area. This is definitely going to deter China from continuing to grow into the regional hegemony so I understand their viewpoint too. I thought it was humorous when Chinese ministry of foreign affair basically said to the United States do not make us build up our capabilities. The United States is just not a country you want to threaten. I understand that you do not want to let someone else bully you, but be careful who you are picking on. Even Taiwan is rejecting China's claim over some of these artificial islands. I was also wondering if this might be a reaction from China having navy ships in September near United States territorial waters off Alaska. I think that played a role in this. The United States does not let things go, and they always are looking to get back at other countries. This whole situation gets even trickier, because artificial islands are not usually afforded the 12 mile territorial zone under international law. I believe this issue will continue to grow, and we will see many more examples of this throughout the world.

Milto Deli


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Whistleblowers in Peril as Government Policies Shaft Press Freedoms

No day is ever a good day to be an advocate of freedom in the face of government control of civil liberties, but, similar to every other day, it continues to get worse. Ever since Edward Snowden's whistle went platinum on its international record deal when exposing the United States government, the parts of the UN who try to do the right thing have been evaluating the worlds protection for journalists and whistleblowers. Unsurprisingly, the worlds governments from the big boys like America, China and Russia, to the up and coming despots in Africa, have very little interest in protecting the thorns in their sides. What surprises me the most is that people around the world are not interested in keeping whistleblowers at big spy agencies safe, when the one of the biggest games in town, America, have been proven to spy on their allies most secretest secrets ever spoken.

The article goes on to talk about a fascinating cauldron of interests aligning. All the witches from big and small countries to the big transnational witches in the UN are all involved in shady business, so keeping whistle blowing frogs safe is not in anyone's interest. It refers to an incident where a UN official leaked French troops sexually abusing people in the Central African Republic, which was reported poorly at the time because UN troops had been accused of other, similar, charges elsewhere. The pot calling the kettle black is ordinarily used when referring to hypocrisy, but now the pot isn't calling the kettle black because the pot wants to keep its color hidden from everyone with eyes.

We see you governments, sometimes you do good things, most times you do morally questionable things. Maybe if you spent the resources that go to silencing whistleblowers on competent staff you wouldn't need to keep anyone quiet.

Stuart Young

Conservatives Win in Poland

Today in Poland the Law and Justice conservative party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski won 39% of the vote which is expected to give them sole governance in their parliamentary style democracy system. Ousting Ewa Kopacz of the centrist Civic Platform party, Beata Szydio, the daughter of a miner, now has the title of Prime Minister.With ties to the Catholic Church, the party is in favor of a ban on abortion and in-vitro fertilization as well as tax breaks. It is also unhappy about the agreement to allow 7,000 immigrants to enter Poland, but is a strong supporter of NATO due to keep Russia in check. The Civic Platform party will be the primary opposer though three other parties are expected to win seats including the Polish Peasants Party, a right wing party of Pawel Kukiz, the Polish rock figure, and the “Pro-busines party” called Modern Poland.

There is definitely a resemblance between Poland’s Law and Justice party's platform and 2016 Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s in terms of immigration, abortion and tax cuts.Given the almost complete overhaul of power in Poland, one can’t help but wonder if the results of the election are foreshadowing what will happen at the polls next year in the U.S. No matter what side of the aisle one is on, it is clear that the American people are tired of candidates who flip flop their views in order to be elected.         

Amanda Zgonina
The Central African Republic is a country located in Central Africa , bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo to the south and Cameroon to the west. In recent years, the country has took a calamitous and vicious route of religious intolerance where the confrontation between the Muslim group Seleka and the mainly Christian and animist group anti-Balaka is committing serious human rights violations. This conflict, which started as mainly political, is progressively taking a religious character as there are increasing reports of retaliation killings by the Christian and Muslim populations respectively.
To understand what is happening today in Central African Republic(CAR) requires both understanding of the history of the country, its economic situation, and its religious components. However, this would require us to do extensive research and readings which would abstract us from the main point of this blog post which is mainly to increase awareness of the mass atrocities that are happening in this poor nation.
Concisely, after the 2012 coup of François Bozizé by the Seleka rebel group shifted the nation's long-lasting and deep-rooted ethnic and regional political conflicts into religious one; and the increased instability that resulted after the coup, paved the way to lawlessness and turmoil. The rise of the anti-Balaka militia worsened the conflict towards the end of the year 2013 with international warnings of a "genocide" and fighting was largely from reprisal attacks on civilians from Seleka's predominantly Muslim fighters and Christian militias called "anti-balaka. The killing of civilians, although unusual in the political conflicts of the past, took another route when the Christian based militia, the anti-Balaka, decided also to not only kill civilians in reprisal killings but targeted them to convert at gunpoint. In conclusion, the violence and brutality in CAR has gotten less media attention mainly due to the middle eastern political crisis, therefore I encourage everyone to not only read about this post but also think of the Muslims who are the victims in CAR which I believe would bring pressure to the new government to prevent this mass atrocity and Islamophobia that has ravaged this nation.

US Been Cleared for New Nuclear Facility

For the first time in over roughly 20 years there will be a new nuclear power plant in the United States, This power plant's construction orginally began in the 70's but was halted by some shady activity surrounding the production. After a long wait there is a new life in the project as it has been approved by the TVA to complete the power plant and on the condition the facility is up to code, it will become active. This article may not fit as directly into internation affairs as others but this nuclear power plant just like any of the many facilities similar should probably be a global decision. As we had discussed during the class there are many ethical questions that should be raised with considering the use of anything nuclear. Now this is not a nuclear warhead, it is not specifically designed with the intention of causing harm. The concern should surrond the nunmber of facilities, the structural integrity of these sites and disposal, because in regards to nuclear weapons or power, we are all in this together regardless if individuals want to.

TVA Cleared to Start First New U.S. Nuclear Power Plant in Nearly 20 Years

Alex Benson

Russian Ships Near Data Cables Are Too Close for U.S. Comfort

Russian submarines have been spotted operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications.  This discovery is raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict. While there is no evidence yet of any cable cutting, it is part of a growing concern among officials over the accelerated activity by Russian armed forces around the globe. United States is increasingly viewing every Russian move through a lens of deep distrust.  These actions are very similar to how the U.S viewed Russia during the cold war.  One NATO ally, Norway, is so concerned that it has asked its neighbors for aid in tracking Russian submarines. Submarines are not the only vessels that are snooping on the undersea cables. American officials closely monitor the Yantar, which Russian officials insist is an oceanographic ship with no threat.
- Tom Sora

More Issues in Syria

I think I speak for all of us when I say the issue in Syria is growing and getting more and more severe as the days pass. As the bombings progress and keep happening, Russia still denies that they are bombing civilians intentionally. Most of us assume that Russia is doing these intentionally but we can't prove that to this date and we never will be able to unless we talk to the people in charge, which we all know that isn't happening anytime soon. I see this issue growing and becoming worse in the future and not getting much better until the internal problems within Syria are resolved. The airstrike that recently took place in Syria killed 46 members of one family and then another bomb hit near a bakery that killed 13 people in another family.

Being a civilian we don't have much input in the position our government takes in these issue or the decisions they make in the front offices of the government. We all know that they are taking certain steps to help resolve the issues but we can only do so much. I know we all want to be the savior and be a hero in these smaller countries but sometimes we need to sit back and let them solve there own issues. It's just like a little kid and his dad sometime you have to let a kid make a mistake so he can learn from it and not make the same mistake twice. The United States can't keep jumping in because although history doesn't repeat itself it sure does rhyme a lot and we need to break this trend.
Jacob Cox

Haitian Voters try to turn page

Haiti has gone through a lot since the earthquake that devastated the country in 2010. It is still recovering from that and people are still living in poverty, for the most part. It is sad to see that even though it has been quite some time since the earthquake hit, that there has not been any reform with legislation to help the people get back on their feet. People are trying to not allow other citizens to vote by using intimidation and violence within Haiti. The people who are trying to vote are threatened with being killed or severely hurt, which makes it hard for there to be a fair election and promote change within the country. Many of them are so pessimistic about being there, it makes me sad that a country that wants fair elections cannot get them. It also makes me realize that in the united States we do have it good here, even though we complain about our politics. The politician that are in Haiti now are corrupt and are not helping the citizens at all, and there is little hope that they can get the help they need. I hope that they can have an election this year and be able to vote without anything bad happening. 

Samantha Koldenhoven
Cables underwater fuel more than 95 percent of daily communications around the world. Some governments have radar tracking systems to monitor areas around their cables, the US is one of them. The US is worried about Russia and the potential that they may sever these wires. What would this do to us though? Well, internet would be down...for a while. And an action like this by Russia would most likely cause quite a lot of tension. Cables get cut all the time on accident by natural disasters and anchors. It is possible for a person to cut a cable without the use of high tech equipment. A pair of garden shears and some scuba equipment will do. But thousands of volts could kill you before you get to reap any sort of benefit from your plan. Should we be worried about Russia potentially taking us off the grid for a few hours? I don't think so. Plus, this would just be another provocation point from Russia to the US. 
Ellen Kent

White House changing hostage policy

This week the Obama administration announced a new policy on dealing with Americans being held in foreign countries. While the nation is still committed to policy of not giving any concessions to kidnappers, the government while allow for some negotiations to take place. It is not clear how effective these negotiations will be. This shift in policy is a reflection of the rise of kidnappings of Americans abroad in  the recent months and years. The Obama administration estimates that more than 30 Americans are currently being held in foreign nations.

The new policy also creates a "fusion cell" of government agencies that will help better facilitate the negotiation and rescue process. The new fusion cell with consist of members of several Cabinet departments and the intelligence community. A top concern of the this group will be dealing with the families of hostages. The entire policy was heavily influenced by the lobbying efforts of several hostage families and survivors. One of their main points was a promise to not prosecute, or threat to prosecute, families that attempt to pay the ransoms offered by terrorist groups.

Tyler Allen
Full Article: Obama: We should do everything to help hostages    

UK police raid home of Tiananmen Square survivor following peaceful protest in London

The arrival of Chinese president Xi Jinping in the UK this week only served to further arouse suspicions of sordid relations between China and Britain when UK police forcefully arrested Tiananmen Square survivor Shao Jiang for protesting peacefully outside Xi's welcome reception in London's Mansion House. Jiang was arrested, detained, and subsequently had his family's home raided for blocking President Xi's motorcade in the London streets while holding two signs reading "End autocracy" and "Democracy now." Due to the nature of the arrest, many suspect that this is a further example of Britain acquiescing to Chinese demands in order to keep business relations strong; these trade relations come at the expense, protesters say, of exploited Chinese workers who are unable to rally for better working conditions under China's government.

Two British-Tibetan women were also arrested for waving Tibetan flags along the motorcade's route; Tibet has long been a sore subject for the Chinese government, who invaded the country in the '50s and has held it tightly ever since despite Tibetan pleas for freedom. Witnesses say that the police originally did not intend to arrest the women, but that they later received orders to the contrary.

Human rights groups are accusing Britain of "trading away" human rights to better Chinese-British relations, and many groups in Britain were shocked by the strange arrests and raids.

Shao Jiang, who watched his fellow student protesters be massacred in Beijing in 1989 during the Tiananmen Square incident, was released on bail Wednesday along with the two Tibetan women. Jiang was a member of the small, revolutionary first group of students in Beijing who initially drafted the demands of the protest which gave way to the massacre. He was arrested following Tiananmen Square and spent over a year being "questioned" in a Chinese prison before fleeing the country. His wife told reporters that the arrest and the raid felt very similar to what they experienced during their tumultuous years in China.

Samantha Johnson

Ex-British PM Tony Blair apologizes for Iraq War 'mistakes

Tony Blair former prime Minister of Britain had apologized for mistakes in the planning of the Iraq War. George W bush administration attacked Iraq on false information. They were told that Saddam hussein had mass destruction weapons,but the weapons were never found. They went to war based on false information, but Bush believed that there was a possibility that Saddam had weapons hiding somewhere  . Going to war must have been a very difficult decision to make, but why make such a big decision based on unreliable information ? We could have saved thousands of lives. Blair also apologizes for the consequences the war brought. ISIS branched off of al-queda and was formed on April 2013 in took control of Raqqua a Syrian city. The former minster says that he takes no responsibility for the creation of ISIS. 

Noelia Reyes

Catholic bishops at synod call for a more welcoming church, Chicago Tribune, October 24.

The Catholic Church has finally opened the door for discussion to subjects that have been vetoed for many years. I believe that the Catholic Church is one of the most important organizations in the world. However, the automatic removal of persons who are divorced or identify as homosexuals is becoming more and more detrimental to the Catholic Church if the Catholic Church intends to continue to grow its members throughout the world. I believe that the Catholic Church’s lengthy battle with divorced and homosexual individuals is causing the Catholic Church to lose many members. The proliferation of new segments of Christianity is here to stay in the modern world. Accordingly, the Catholic Church needs to understand and empathize with these new segments. Most importantly, the Catholic Church needs to become more approachable to these diverse segments of Christianity by offering teachings that are more consistent with addressing a more diverse and multicultural demographic.

Yiby Person

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Attack in Bangladesh

During a Muslim holiday this past Saturday, three bombs exploded in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The outcome of this explosion was 104 people wounded and a 16 year old boy in critical condition. This was also the third violent incident ISIS has claimed over the past couple months, the other two being shooting of two foreigners. A local Islamist group called, the Ansarullah Bangla Team, has also recently threatened to attack media providers if they continue to have unveiled women as news reporters or anchors. Bangladesh's food minster stated that these attacks are from outside sources since Sunnis and Shiites have a brotherly relationship in Bangladesh.

Ben Reynold

EU Meeting : refuges crises

The European Union calls for an emergency meeting with leaders from Balkan states to discus they refuges crises. A draft is going to be past in the meeting to call the countries to stop waving through migrants without the agreement of their neighbors. While thousands of people are stuck on the Balkans states such Croatia and Serbia.
The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated that the meeting will be about trying  to reach and agreement so no more people stay stuck in the rivers and the borders. He added "we will soon see families in cold rivers in the Balkans perish miserably''.
the drafter will call for control and gradual movement of people that they are invading the region.
Also in the meeting the EU proposed that Greece send extra 400 guard to Slovenia.
Meanwhile the Hungarian government announced that they will close borders. From my opinion I believe this meeting came a bit late because they crises of refuges have been a hated debate since the summer and it's increasing in a very fast paste. Many people are suffering and dying and the EU needs to find a solution for this humane case.


Canada to withdraw fighter jets from Syria and Iraq strikes

Last week Canada elected their new Prime minister, Justin Trudeau whose first initiation was to remove fighter jets from Syria and Iraq. The new Prime minister wants to strengthen Canada's foreign policy, and although his actions might seem to reduce international threats over Syria and Iraq, I think he is doing the right thing for his country. Pulling out of counter-terrorism operations will help Justin also reach his goal of restoring ties with Iran. Although Canadian jets were extracted from Syria, Trudeau will  keep troops on the ground to help train the Kurds. Question was, how would Obama react to this? This is how Trudeau noted it "I committed that we would continue to engage in a responsible way that understands how important Canada has a role to play in the fight against ISIL (Islamic State), but he (Barack Obama) understands the commitments I've made around ending the combat mission". At this stage its clear to us that its just politics. A leader will do what they feel is right, and although Trudeau's predecessor, Stephen Harper engaged in counter-terrorism operations, Trudeau will prove that their is another way.

By Arnold Gatondwe


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Planning Helps Mexico Avoid Major Problems From Hurricane Patricia

This article talks about Hurricane Patricia and how people have avoided it from having major consequences. According to the article, luckily there has been no deaths yet from Hurricane Patricia.  Authorities have done a good job of warning local residents, through announcements on radio, television, and social media. He said they have also done good work in evacuating people ahead of the storm. Also, what was important too was that people responded to the calls that the authorities were making to them. That was what went wrong in Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, people did not evacuate in time and thats why more than 1,800 people died. Also, according to the article, after the storm, the roads and highways were cleared out in a very quick time. This has brought good results after Hurricane Patricia hit Mexico. I think that people have been lucky but also acting in time has been a huge part of being safe during the hurricane. 

By: Miljana Kumati

EU Migrant Plan Criticized

Since Hungary closed its borders with Croatia on October 17th, Slovenia and Croatia have been feeling the pressure of asylum seekers as they are pressing through their countries in attempt to get to Austria and other western European countries.

Today Slovenian officials are struggling to cope with the staggering amount of refugees overcrowding their refugee centers. “Slovenian police estimated some 13,000 people had entered the country in the last 24 hours.” This latest surge of migrants is believed to be caused by the fear of colder weather, cold water, and more countries closing their borders. This new mass migration is just a day ahead of the European summit on the migrant crisis.

In the past few months “European nations have been criticized for being slow to react as hundreds of thousands of people seeking safety pour in through Greece and Italy.”

“The new EU plan urges countries not to "wave" asylum-seekers across their borders without consulting with their neighbors.” However Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said Saturday that “is impossible, whoever wrote this does not understand how things work and must have just woken up from a months-long sleep," He agues the only option is at “the border between Turkey and Greece, where the refugees first enter the EU.”

Only time will tell if the EU can come up with an effective plan to handle the mass refugee migration. Hopefully this plan comes sooner rather than later as this has been a continuous problem over the past few months.

Ashley Rot

Friday, October 23, 2015

Russian Airstrike Hits Syrian Hospital, Aid Group Says

The article talks about how Russia is attacking Syrian hospitals.  This last attack makes this the third hospital that has been bombed.  The Syrian-American Medical Society state that it was Russian warplanes were the culprits in the attacks on the hospitals.

Russia is actually denying that they had anything to do with the bombings of the hospitals.  Russia had started their airstrikes back in September to help out the government of Bashar al-Assad.  The airstrikes were targeting rebel groups in certain areas, including ones that are being supported by the United States.  Russia also states that they neer had used cluster ammunitions, but Assad`s regime has used cluster bombs in the past.

Ashley Karling

Double Standard says Putin

Putin is accusing the West of double standard over Syria. He says that the Western government supporting the Syrian opposition is for their own agenda, not really to help. He also state sin the article that we shouldn't divide terrorists up into categories like moderate and not moderate.

This all came from a meeting to discuss the crisis in Syria. Assad had a surprise visit to Moscow this week and there was opportunity to talk about Russia's military role in Syria and how this is supposed to help end the conflict.

Putin had launched airstikes in Syria in support of Assad which put Russia into the conflict. They ay they hit about 500 terrorist targets but in reality they killed 370 people, including 127 civilians, according to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. But despite all this the airstrikes are not letting up. Russia helping Assad could mean unblocking a long standing peace process.

What's happening in Syria is tricky; one one hand Putin is doing something to help his own agenda. We would be hypocrites and liars if we said that we have never done this. Putin working with Assad will make a frightening team and I believe that it could be a disaster for the Western governments. I think Putin is smart and unfortunately he is not on our side which is a problem for us. This situation  is just going to keep escalating.

Paulina Noga

Thursday, October 22, 2015

G.I. Is Killed Freeing Prisoners of ISIS in Iraq, First in 4 Years

American and Kurdish commandos raided an Islamic state prison in Iraq, freeing 70 prisoners. During the raid, an American soldier was fatally wounded. The soldier was the first to be killed in action since 2011. Four Kurdish soldiers were wounded. The American forces involved in the raid were a part of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command.

The raid was an important strike against ISIS. Five Islamic state fighters were detained and killed and commandos were able to retrieve important information about the terrorist group. The commandos had expected to rescue 20 prisoners but ended up saving 70, even throughout a firefight. The prisoners who were freed said that the militants had decided to execute them at dawn after their morning prayer, and that they were to be buried in a trench that had already been dug.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Canada to withdraw fighter jets from Syria and Iraq strikes

Under the new Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has now decided that he will withdraw the fighter jets from Iraq and Syria in which were fighting against the Islamic State. There is no timetable on when they will get pulled but it was the old Prime Minister's idea to keep the jets there until March of 2016. Also a few other things were bought up on what the new PM wants to do. Some notables are to legalize marijuana, cut taxes for the middle class, and take in more Syrian refugees. The previous PM was more on the conservative side unlike Trudeau who appears to be more aggressive, at least in the beginning. He also wants to communicate with the US on how to improve their environment and decrease emissions. He is definitely looking to change the Canadian mentality as he is quoted saying "Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world over the past 10 years". We will see what happens.

Hayden Witt

Assad in surprise visit to Moscow

Syria's president Bashar Al-assad visits Moscow to meet with Putin.

The meeting was held on Tuesday, but was not announced until this morning. President Al-assad thanked Putin for launching the air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State. He also stated that since Putin had become involved in the matter, Syria has made great strides towards resolving matters. Great strides? No offense, President Al-assad, but when 11 million have had to leave their homes on top of the 25,000 Syrians who have been killed and the 1 million injured... there are no strides being made. None whatsoever!

"Terrorism is a 'real obstacle to a political solution', " said Mr. Assad, "and of course the whole (Syrian) people want to take part in deciding the fate of their state, and not just the leadership."

No kidding Mr. Assad. No kidding. However, when the Syrian people want to take part in deciding the fate of their state, they are not allowed and instead are simply attacked. So for Mr. Putin to praise Syrians and advice them to "keep resisting, keep have 'suffered' serious losses, but have recently achieved 'serious' results..." is absolutely cynical.

The meeting concluded with Mr. Putin thanking Mr. Assad for trusting him and Russia, along with Mr. Assad thanking Mr. Putin for the standing next to Syria and supporting Syria's unity and independence. "Had Mr. Putin, not intervened. the situation in Syria would be more tragic.

Rosie Torres

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hacker who allegedly passed U.S. military data to ISIS arrested in Malaysia

While scrolling through CNN's website, I ran into this article about Ardit Freizi. I am fascinated with online hacking, because I think the United States does not realize yet how potentially dangerous this can become in the future. Ardit Freizi is being detained in Malaysia on a US arrest warrant. He is being accused of hacking into a United States company and stealing the identities of more than 1,000 U.S. service members and federal employees. Not only did Freizi steal this information, he gave it to ISIS. This is not only a cyber attack, but also an attack of terrorism. I think this is the direction terrorists groups are moving in. They are more proficient on the web than I think we give them credit for. Freizi gave this information to several ISIS members. One of them was Junaid Hussein. Ironically, Junaid Hussein was a British hacker who actively tried to recruit Westerners on social media and over the web to join ISIS. It is scary to see how much ISIS is truly growing. The United States did state that they killed Hussein in an airstrike in August in Syria. It is remarkable to see how they can convince regular people to join them. I live in Bolingbrook, and there was a story about a year ago, about someone from Bolingbrook being arrested for trying to join ISIS. I believe he was arrested at the airport about to board a flight. This young man who I do not know was a year younger than me. I write about this example, because that could have easily been me attempting to get onto a plane to join ISIS. Another thing that really scared me in the article was that ISIS has a division called Cyber Caliphate. Cyber Caliphate launches hacks onto military and government websites of numerous countries, including France and the United States. ISIS has a division in their group just solely for the basis of cyber attacks. Cyber attacks add a whole other issue into how to stop ISIS. One thing that I did not like about the article at all was that they mentioned that Freizi might have mental health issues. While I do think this is important to note to a certain extent, I think CNN tried to suggest that his potential mental health issues lead him to do this. I hate when I see the news always portraying people with mental health issues as more prone to violence, or they write the story in a way that the mental health issue caused this. There are so many people with mental health issues that would never even think about joining ISIS. Another thing that did not surprise me was that the family of Ardit Freizi was shocked to have found out he is being accused of these charges. The family stated that they loved what the United States did in Kosovo. Ardit Freizi is a Kosovo student. This just goes to show that we need to stop thinking that only one type of people are capable of joining ISIS. Sometimes people do things that you would never expect them to do. If the courts recognize that Freizi is mentally ill, then they will release him to his family so they can take care of him. I hope this is the result, because I think this guy just needs to be with his family. If it turns out to be true of the allegations against him, I think he needs to be extradited to the United States and put in prison for numerous years, but nothing over 10 years. In conclusion, the issues of online hacking into our military and government database do not appear to be going away any time shortly.

Milto Deli


Monday, October 19, 2015

United States agrees to clean up Palomares, Spain.

In 1966, an American B-52 bomber collided with a tanker during mid-air refueling over the coast of Spain. Its wreckage, including four hydrogen bombs, fell over the Spanish town of Palomares. Thankfully, the bombs did not detonate, and nobody on the ground was injured by the wreckage, but the bombs did rupture allowing radioactivity to leak out in the area.

The primary mission of the cleanup by the United States Military was the recovery of the atomic bombs, which was successful. They cleaned up some of the radioactive soil, but not all of it. There is still a significant amount of land that has been left contaminated, even almost 50 years after the incident. And the people of the town want the area to be cleaned up.

Thankfully, after all of this time, the United States and Spain have agreed to clean up the remaining contaminated land. Which is great news for the people of the area, but it also serves as a reminder for us today. Nuclear weapons and nuclear energy come at the cost of radioactive waste, which can be incredibly deadly, and is almost impossible to clean up. After almost 50 years there is still land that is unsafe to use, and the best cleanup method that is available to get rid of it? Pick up the soil, and bury it somewhere far away from people.

This incident happened under the highly watchful eyes of the United States government, which has taken great care of its nuclear programs to prevent disasters from happening, but accidents do happen, and they can have incredibly serious consequences. It's something else to consider when engaging in nuclear negotiations - if a state wants to acquire nuclear weapons, it needs to be able to take every possible measure to avoid these sorts of accidents.

Blane Erwin

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Understanding the US Policies challenges in the Middle East.

The US geopolitical structure in the middle east that has lasted four decades is now in shambles due to the increased complexity of the political structure of this region. On the one end, the region has become very destabilized — Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan ,and Yemen are completely devastated by war. On the other end, the civil wars are very ideologically and religiously oriented , ethnically divided, and economically devastating. The wars are divided ideologically and ethnically with SHIITE countries supporting their allies and the SUNNI countries unwilling to fully cooperate in thwarting ISIS, since they fear that it would empower the SHIITE countries, in particular IRAN, and the wars have been economically and socially devastating since they have resulted in a destruction of the infrastructures and the biggest migrant crisis of the century. In brief, there is a very immediate and vivid need of a new US strategy on the region; and especially, with the Russian presence in the region and the Iranian imperial tendency threatening the former US strategies on the region, the ISIS caliphate ideology and military expansion which completely annihilate any of the US strategies on the region, and the Asad regime in Syria resistance to relinquish power.
Written By: Tim Byukusenge
A Path Out of the Middle East Collapse

Obama Condems Violence in Israel, opens door for North Korea

As violence escalates in the disputed Holy Land, President Obama has denounced the violence and is calling for a "two-state solution," or for Israel to give up land to the refugees in the West Bank and Palestine. In the past few weeks, eight Israelis have been killed in thirty attacks and, according to the Palestinians, thirty Palestinians have been killed in retaliatory attacks.

Meanwhile, the President commended Park Geun-hye, the president of South Korea, for her efforts at reunification with North Korea. The two countries have technically been at war since 1950, and have been close to going to full-blown war in recent years. The President said he would never accept a "nuclear North Korea" and praised efforts from the South to reunify the long-divided nation.

I am afraid the President has ignored the fact the North Korea is, in fact, a nuclear power and that this ignorance will lead to higher tensions between the Korean peninsula and a greater threat to Western nations. As for the violence in the Holy Land, I think the President needs to remember the urgency of the Israelis, as they are threatened daily by radical fundamentalists, some of whom are supported by a soon-to-be nuclear Iran. But, that is just my opinion.

Dan Bennington

16 Year-old Boy "Kidnapped" by Chinese Security Officials

On October 15, John Kirby of the U.S. State Department advocated for the ‘freedom of movement’ of a 16 year-old boy, named Bao Zhuoxuan, being held under house arrest by the Chinese government after his parents were jailed a few months ago for their involvement as lawyers in peaceful political, religious, and women’s rights’ activities. While family friends were attempting to help him escape to San Francisco on October 6, he was intercepted by Chinese authorities, which Bao has described as a kidnapping. It was made known this week that he is being detained at his grandmother’s home located in Inner Mongolia. This Friday in Beijing U.S. assistant secretary of State Tom Malinowski challenged officials of China concerning the treatment of Bao and his mother, Ms. Wang, claiming that both the detention length and the absence of council were violations of China’s laws. According to U.S. officials, the detainment of Bao demonstrates the targeting of Chinese citizens by the Chinese government in a “systematic campaign of abuse.”


Apparently, China is trying to silence those citizens who politically threaten the government’s authoritative control. It’s decision to use a lawyer’s teenage son has drawn the attention of the U.S. Hopefully, our intervention will result in the release of the young man so he can continue his studies as he hoped to do in San Francisco.

Amanda Zgonina

Israeli Soldier Is Killed in Attack by Palestinian

Israeli Soldier Is Killed in Attack by Palestinian

In the desert city of Beersheba, a Palestinian armed with a pistol and a knife grabbed another attacked an Israeli officer, fatally shot him, and wounded at least nine other people.  The Palestinian assailant was eventually killed at the scene by responding officers.  The attack took place at a bus station where thousands of people pass through daily.  The mayor of Beersheba, Ruvik Danilovich said “Fifty thousand people go through the central bus station on a daily basis, and the police have been doing their best to inspect people, but they cannot hermetically seal off this area against perpetrators”. The identity of the assailant in Beersheba is not known, and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But officials from Hamas, the Islamic militant group that dominates Gaza, praised it.  The Palestinians have also accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force because at least 18 suspects have been killed at the scene of the nearly 30 attacks on Israelis this month. 
Tom Sora

Iran tests long range missiles

Iran, in direct violation of international treaties and UN sanctions, Iran has tested a long range missile which could potentially carry a nuclear war head to a neighboring state. This is raising fears of the speculated nuclear program that Iran is pursuing, missiles were also used in part of a military parade, suggesting that Iran is attempting to intimidate its neighbors. The missiles themselves are said to have a range of just over 1000 miles, easily enough range to launch attacks at Israel if they so desired. There is also the possibility that the test will prompt Iran's neighbors to do the same, increasing tension in the region, despite Iran's claims that their nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

Typhoon hits Philippines

This weekend a powerful tropical storm hit the island nation of Philippines. The storm came with winds of up to 150 mph and dropped 39 inches of rain on the main island of Luzon. While the main city of Manila was not directly hit by the storm, some 20,000 citizens were still displaced due to the Typhoon Koppu. Some residents in more remote places were not able to be reached because of the poor road conditions in the country. So far only two people have been killed by the storm but the number is expected to rise as the storm moves closer to more densely populated areas on the island. The storm isn't expected to move back out to sea until early Tuesday. The storm comes at a time when the country was already experiencing a lot of internal turmoil. Such turmoil and corruption has made rescue efforts even more difficult then it should be.

The Typhoon has also strained the Philippine armed forces has they try to aid in the recovery effort. The recovery effort is expected to take at least a month. This means that the Philippine armed forces are depleted in the South China Sea. China could see this perceived weakness and further their aggression and expansion in the region.

Tyler Allen   

Migrant Crisis and Tension Rising

Tensions is rising again among thousands of migrants heading to the north Balkan states as part of their route to West of Europe . Recently Croatia asked Slovenia to open borders and accept around 5000 migrants per day so that can facilitate the movement towards West of Europe.
The migrants who are coming from Serbia and Greece.The majority of these peace seekers are traveling through the Balkans, most of them trying ti reach Austria, Germany and many other states.
This issue of immigrants have been a heated debate  since the summer and its still rising. From the other side the countries who are closing their borders are actually making the situation worse and worse.
For instance, the Slovenian interior minster states " we cannot accept unlimited numbers of migrants if we know that they cannot continue their journey''. This  problem is really a very critical situation because the countries in Balkan are not rich countries and they cant deal with the big numbers of people. This case will be develop more and more until we see what the European Union do with it. Are they going to accept more or they will close borders in chance to try top them?

Article Link:

The Colombian government and Farc have been in a civil war for over 100 years and they have decided to set aside there differences to to persue the disappearance of 50,000 people in Colombia.They will work together to recover the remains if those who have been killed from unmarked graves and to locate those who might still be alive.They have a six months to sign the peace treaty.Red cross will assist with the search as well as the family members of the victims,BBC news and Colombia as whole. Something that stood out to me from this article is that they referred to the Farc as a rebel group rather than a terrorist group. By definition of the department of defense they would be considered a terrorist group. I just think that the choice of wording gave the article a sense of positivity rather than a negativity feel to it . If the author would have chosen the word terrorist millions of question would have crossed my mind such as  "how can a government share and trust information with a terrorist group" something along those lines. I think the fact that these two groups coming together will impact Colombia in a positive way. It will show the people that Colombia can come together to solve issues regardless of their differences.

Noelia Reyes

The Republican Establishment's Weak Tea

Popular discourse throughout the 2016 Presidential campaign has been focused on anger and discontent in the electorate. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have a possible explanation for what lies behind this unhappiness. The only Republican acting as if he has a working theory of his own is Donald Trump. 

The Democratic debate last week was heavy on policy talk. The debate last week showed, both Clinton and Sanders see the public’s anger and frustration towards primarily economic issues, and they’re offering a myriad of proposals on college affordability, family leave, child care and breaking up concentrated economic power. The idea is that renewing broadly shared prosperity and helping the hard-pressed to solve particular problems in their lives will cure much of what ails us. 

The mainstream Republicans have rather little to say about the specific challenges facing the middle and working classes. Instead, Republicans say — as they have for more than 30 years — that tax cuts tilted toward investors will get the economy to grow faster, which they believe will take care of everything else.

In fact, Republicans seem to want a government that would do less for everybody. Florida senator Marco Rubio, for example, dismissed the Democratic debate as a competition over “who was going to give away the most free stuff: Free college education. Free college education for people illegally in this country. Free health care. Free everything.”
The weak tea being served by the Republican mainstream explains Trump’s staying power. He is speaking clearly to a group that sociologist Donald Warren identified in 1976 as Middle American radicals. These voters, Warren said, feel that “the middle class has been seriously neglected,” and see “government as favoring both the rich and the poor simultaneously.” 

For their part, the established politicians in the Republican field still don’t have an effective response to Trump. Until they do, he will continue to haunt them.

Eryn Sanclemente

U.S. blocks some anti-drug funds for Mexico

The United States has cut 15% of the funding that they give to Mexico to help battle the war on drugs there. Mexico's government receives funding to help the human rights issues there but since there has been very little progress, the United States has decided to cut 15% of the funding that goes to the security and forces helping to stop the drug cartels. I think that this sends a huge message to Mexico. If they are going to be receiving funding to help them figure out their domestic problems, they need to make a bigger effort to change these human rights. Many people have been wrongfully tortured or killed this past year. The United States helps Mexico with this because it is supposed to help with the crazy amount of drug issues that are happening there, and in turn affecting the United States, such as with immigration and drugs being smuggled here as well. I think that it is good that they we made these cuts because it is such an issue there and it needs to be taken more seriously. They aren't just going to be handed money and not make any progress.

Samantha Koldenhoven

"German Pro-Refugee Candidate Stabbed, Wins Election"

Ben Brumfield's article on “ German Pro-Refugee Candidate Stabbed, Wins Election.” The article is about Henriete Reker who won the mayoral election in the western city Cologne, Germany. Reker actively favors accepting Syrian refugees in Germany. For this reason, a man stabbed Reker on Saturday, October 17. Although a vast number of German citizens are in favor of helping and welcoming Syria’s immigrants, there is a group of radicals who are against Syrian immigrating to Germany. Nevertheless, this incident did not prevent the Reker’s success. While Reker was recovering from the attack, German voters supported her campaign and elected Reker mayor. Xenophobia crimes are completely unacceptable as the world need leaders such as Reker who embrace human equality.

 Yiby Person

  Click Here

Donald Trump: I would have prevented 9/11

In a recent appearance on Fox News Sunday, Donald Trump claimed that if he were President, the 9/11 attacks would not have happened. According to Trump, the main reason he could have prevented it from happening was that he is strict on immigration. He goes on to state, "So there's a good chance that those people would not have been in our country." Though he did not want to blame George Bush for the attacks, Trump questioned Jeb Bush on the intentions on his brothers actions in the Middle East. Jeb Bush responded by stating Trump is not someone who is serious about foreign relations. If elected President, Trump's views on immigration could possibly cause friction when it comes to foreign policies.

Ben Reynold

Veteran al Qaeda leader killed in U.S. airstrike over Syria

Sanafi al-Nasr, a Saudi citizen and highest-ranking member of the Khorasan Group, has reportedly been killed in a U.S. airstrike this past Thursday, as reported by the Pentagon. The Khorasan Group is a group of long-standing, veteran al Qaeda members who recently moved into Syria; it encompasses many of al Qaeda's top leaders, including those involved in the 9/11 attacks. Nasr himself was at one point al Qaeda's main financial officer and was a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist," as labeled by the U.S. government. Nasr is the fifth Khorasan Group leader killed within the last four months.

Analysts say that Nasr's death is a "significant blow" to al Qaeda given that he was responsible for much of the group's activities in Syria. I think this news really ties in to the things we've been talking about in class, especially about terrorism and the rules of war (ie. the use of tactics such as drone airstrikes).

Nasr's death is unsurprisingly being mourned as martyrdom by jihadists.

Samantha Johnson

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Anger Spreads With 5 Attacks on Israelis

hacker releasing us citizens' addresses arrested

Oh technology, so useful...and deadly when in the wrong hands. A Kosovo citizen, living in Malaysia at the time of this inevitable arrest, used his hacking skills and I guess you could call them Twitter skills to singlehandedly put more than 1000 American soldiers into life threatening danger. He did this, to the benefit of ISIS. Addresses and names of these American citizens were passed along to ISIS (through regular twitter interactions), who then compiled the information to create the ultimate Kill List. Having this information about those on the Kill List could provide the opportunity for ISIS members either across the Atlantic Ocean or even here on American soil to carry out these so-called hits. The crime committed by Ardit Ferizi, is considered the combination of cybercrime and terrorism. This calls for a tightening of cyber security by the United States. Easy access to personal information about American citizens is appalling and unacceptable. Something needs to be done to protect this country from not only cyber attacks but  increase our general national security!

Ellen Kent

Putin, Champion of the Shias

Iraq has wanted help with their battle against the jihadists of the Islamic State and were hoping to get help from the United States and their coalition of nations, but that didn`t happen.  They had to resort to talking to Russia and gaining help from them.  The Iraqi security forces are happy that Russia is helping them because they now have a chance to beat IS.

The article also talks about how last month, Iraq had signed an intilligence-sharing agreement with Russia and how it infuriated the Americans.  Another point that is talked about is how Iraq is willing to let Russia do what is necessary, including about how they want to give Russia an airbase, so that they, Iraq, can have a full blown military alliance.

Not many of Iraq`s citizens are okay with the Russians coming in and taking over their nation.  Those loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, a powerful Shia cleric stated that "They have stated that they will fight against Russia like they have done to the United States."

Ashley Karling

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Barack Obama delays withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan

President Obama has recently decided to leave 5,500 troops in Afghanistan into 2017, despite promising to end the war over there under his watch. He explains the it is practically necessary to keep troops there because there continues to be a real problem with the Taliban continuing to gain territory and that can't be overlooked. The Afghan force isn't up to par and as the Taliban keep gaining ground the situation has the potential to spiral out of control. Obama explicitly states that he does not want endless war but states that we have firm international coalitions in which we must support. As Obama's presidency comes to an end in 2017 it will be interesting to see what he does if his goals aren't accomplished. The ultimate goal that I got from this article is that keeping the troops in Afghanistan for an extra year will slow the pace of the Taliban, in which makes sense to keep the troops there.

Hayden Witt

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Taliban Waged a Calculated Campaign Against Women in Kunduz

The effects of the Taliban's efforts to completely eliminate Afghan women's rights may prove to be long-term. The Taliban looted and destroyed schools and organization that were in support of women's rights in Kunduz, Afghanistan. They targeted women with any sort of public profile. Women fled from the city in order to avoid being killed. These were women who were school administrators, teachers, and peace activists. The Taliban also continued the attacks verbally, sending threatening text messages and making phone calls to leaders of women organizations - letting them know that although they escaped, the next time they wouldn't be as lucky.

Allegations against the Taliban include the rape of women at a radio station and also at Kunduz University, although this has yet to be verified. The Taliban commanders referred to the TV stations that released these allegations as "satanic media."

The damage that the Taliban has caused for the women of not only Kunduz, but its surrounding cities, will have a lasting psychological effect. Women are unlikely to return to Kunduz and even if they do, they are unlikely to choose jobs where they will be easily tracked and targeted. This means less women - or no women at all - in leadership roles.

Upasna Barath