11.6.2014

Thousands protest missing Mexico students despite mayor arrest

Mass protests engulfed Mexico City on Wednesday, November 5, railing against the federal government’s weak response to the notorious kidnappings of 43 student protesters in Iguala. Despite the arrest of Iguala’s “Imperial Couple” – the mayor and his wife – in connection with the kidnappings and other cartel-related crimes, the people of Mexico express immense discontent with the way that their authorities handle (or are handled by) the organized crime problem.

After long years of criminal violence and intimidation throughout the nation of Mexico, amounting to 22,000 missing since 2006 alone, will it be possible for a popular movement to peacefully upend the powers that be in favor of a fairer and more secure society?

The Lost Children: France Takes Stock of Growing Jihadist Problem

Since the rise of the Islamic State, a surprising number of European citizens – including many young women and girls – have begun filtering toward Syria and the Middle East to join the jihadist cause there. France has seen the most emigration at over 1,000.

Has our socially atomized yet highly interconnected global society led to such a need for belonging that even children of nonreligious families have begun to seek meaning in violent sectarian extremism? If the disenfranchised citizens of the West so badly need a compelling narrative, then what can our liberal democracies and corporate oligarchies do to compete with the passion, sense of history (false or true), and missionary conviction of sectarian zealots?

China Says It Will Build An Ebola Hospital in Liberia

China’s recent contribution to the struggle against Ebola comes just as Liberia sees a drop in cases. The UN fund remains dangerously underfunded, but this new assistance seems to indicated the Asian superpower’s readiness to pitch in.

Recent decades have seen China extending more commercial influence over the Indian Ocean, to the extent that some African states have a significant and growing Chinese minority. Does this medical mission represent a Chinese incursion into the Atlantic seaboard? Would ensuing Chinese commerce and influence see a more highly developed and versatile West Africa? And by that token, could we see China consolidating an Atlantic foothold in the near future, leveraging its economic and cultural power in this vulnerable region not only to offset its inevitable return to normal domestic growth, but to claim a share in the Atlantic sphere? 

Gaza Flotilla Raid: No Israel charges over Mavi Marmara

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has decided not to press charges against Israel for the 2010 raid on Turkish ship Mavi Marmara. The ship, attempting to break an Israeli blockade to get supplies to Gaza, was boarded and suffered nine civilian casualties when Israeli commandos allegedly encountered resistance and opened fire. In her ruling, Bensouda said that “the potential case(s) likely arising from an investigation into this incident would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC.”

In the humanitarian puzzle presented by the perennial Israel-Gaza conflict, would it be more ethical to use lethal force to defend a blockade against civilians, or to attempt to break that blockade in order to deliver precious supplies to those in need?

Vladimir Putin ‘mankini’ bonfire effigy angers Russians

Does it still count as a hate crime if the subject of mockery could quite literally nuke you where you stand?

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11.6.2014

11.4.2014

Rivals Tehran, Riyadh pledge billions to Lebanon’s army

Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia have offered competing military aid packages to Lebanon as it copes with the ongoing conflict in the Fertile Crescent. The population of Lebanon, the most religiously diverse state in the Middle East, has relatively equal shares of Shiites and Sunnis; however, depending on the strategic decisions of the near future, this troubled state may soon see military and cultural advantages slip toward one or the other side of its Shiite and Sunni populations.

Could that diversity cause backlash against the upset of Islamic sectarian balance, with the losing sect potentially aligning its cause with other minorities? Or will the winning sect (and its foreign backers) prove too adept at the management of its new political power? 

Top British Spy Warns of Terrorists’ Use of Social Media

Director of UK electronic intelligence Robert Hannigan has decried US social media companies for the insecure structure of their services and systems, calling them “command and control networks” for skilled dissidents such as lone wolf hackers, paramilitary organizations, and terrorists.

With this issue in mind, is it in the best interest of modern global democracies to sacrifice informational transparency to their governments as a matter of self-protection? Is a single-blind surveillance state truly democratic – and if not, is rule-of-surveillance a perversion, or simply a newer and more reliable approach to stability and security?

The Wealth Gap Preoccupies Wall Street

Wealth inequality at both the global and national levels has increased at alarming rate in recent years, creating a vicious circle in the weak economic environment created by the recent recession. Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s recently released a report that stated, “At extreme levels, income inequality can harm sustained economic growth over long periods. The U.S. is approaching that threshold.”

Beyond the fundamental concern about inequalities, and the questions of how and for how long to address the myriad problems created by said inequalities, there arises the question: who must take the lead in driving of a solution? Will there be resistance from the plutocrats and their sycophants, or will there be sufficient power behind a government plan or popular movement to achieve true breakthrough?

90-year-old charged under Fort Lauderdale’s rules against feeding homeless

Does the City of Fort Lauderdale hate humanity?

11.4.2014