December 18, 2014 (The New York Times) — A normal economic relationship between the United States and Cuba has been a long time coming; the strict trade embargo with the island nation has been in place longer than the current president of the United States has been alive.
But if Cuba and the United States are one day to become allies with the deep economic interconnections you might expect of two countries separated by only 90 miles of sea, one of the biggest risks might be moving too fast.
That is a conclusion of some scholars who very much favor economic liberalization of Cuba — but want it done right. Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Barbara Kotschwar, scholars at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, published a book this spring looking at the hard task of reintegrating the two economies as Fidel and Raúl Castro fade from the political scene. Their conclusions suggest it would be foolhardy to imagine a rapid return to the days when American tourists frequented the Tropicana, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta had an office in Havana. Read more…
Denmark pips South Korea for ease of mobile and internet access, while Britain comes fifth in annual ranking
November 26, 2014 (The Telegraph) — Denmark has been named the world’s “most connected” country based on mobile phone and internet use.
Scandinavia dominated this year’s rankings, with Sweden in third place, followed by Iceland in fourth, Norway sixth and Finland eighth. Britain came fifth.
They were compiled as part of a report by the International Telecommunication Union – the Information and Communication Technology Development Index (IDI), which rates 166 countries according to their level of access to, use of and skills in using information and communication technology.
Hong Kong was the ninth most connected country, coming in ahead of Japan in 11th place, while Luxembourg completed the top 10.
November 18, 2014, WASHINGTON, D.C. (Gallup) — Nearly 36 million men, women and children are living in modern slavery worldwide in 2014, according to the second edition of Walk Free’s Global Slavery Index (GSI). This estimate includes 5.4 million people in modern slavery identified through Gallup surveys in seven high-risk countries including Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Russia.
The Walk Free Foundation defines modern slavery as the deprivation of individual liberty for the purpose of exploitation. This broad definition includes many slavery-related practices such as human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced marriage, commercial sexual exploitation and the sale and exploitation of children. Read more…
November 3, 2014 (RT) — China has developed and successfully tested a highly accurate laser defense system against light drones. The homemade machine boasts a two-kilometer range and can down “various small aircraft” within five seconds of locating its target.
Boasting high speed, great precision and low noise, the system is aimed at destroying unmanned, small-scale drones flying under an altitude of 500 meters and at speeds below 50 meters per second, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by one of the developers, the China Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP). Read more…
October 30, 2014, JERUSALEM – Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, and Israel swiftly reacted by withdrawing its ambassador from Stockholm in protest.
Coming during increased tensions between Arabs and Jews over Israel’s plans to build 1,000 housing units in east Jerusalem, the move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said Sweden, fulfilling a promise it had made when the Social Democratic-led government took office earlier this month, believes the Palestinians have met the international law criteria required for such recognition.
“There is a territory, a people and government,” she told reporters in Stockholm, adding that Sweden was the 135th country in the world to recognize a Palestinian state. Read more…
September 16, 2014
I would like to invite you on behalf of Jonas Staal and the entire team of the New World Summit to the 4th New World Summit in the Royal Flemish Theater (KVS) in Brussels, starting Friday evening 19th of September and ending Sunday evening 21st of September 2014. This edition is entitled New World Summit: Stateless State. Because of your affiliation with the issues addressed in the summit, we would hereby like to offer you a free entrance ticket to attend one or several days to the program. Please note that Dr. Shigut Geleta, representing the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), will be speaking already on Friday 19th September. See more in pdf
During these three days, 20 representatives of ‘stateless states’ worldwide will engage in a debate regarding the question to what extent the concept of the state is still capable of representing and protecting a people’s right to self-determination. In five consecutive segments, titled Oppressive State (Friday 19:00 – 22:00), Progressive State (Saturday 13:00 – 16:00), Global State (Saturday 17:00 – 20:00), New State (Sunday 13:00 – 16:00) en Stateless State (Sunday 17:00 – 20:00) representatives of stateless organizations and states will discuss the meaning, potentials and obstacles that the state embodies today. Read more…
By LAURAN NEERGAARD
AP Medical Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) – More of the world’s children are surviving to their fifth birthday, but 6.3 million still died last year, mostly from preventable causes, the U.N. children’s agency said Tuesday.
That’s nearly 17,000 young children dying every day. And while death rates have been cut in half since 1990, the world still is short of meeting a goal of a two-thirds decrease in child mortality by next year, the report by the United Nations Children’s Fund said.
“We’re building momentum in many countries in the poorest parts of the world,” said Dr. Mickey Chopra, UNICEF’s head of global programs. The challenge is to spread what works. Read more…
By Boruu Barraaqaa | September 9, 2014
It is obvious that both supporters and opponents of Oromian independence in Ethiopia are watching carefully what is going on in the UK. Both political entities have their own reasons for their respective wishes. Some Abyssinian elites could ridiculously try to resemble their cause to that of English elites, who were in the forefront of building the great nation, UK. However, there is no factual resemblance between the savage invaders from Abyssinia and the most civilized, prosperous and the leading democratic nation in the world. In spite of the fact that the British were once the brutal colonialist rulers in the world history, I don’t judge them by their history of yesterday in this context, but by who they are and what they are contributing for the betterment of our world today.
Therefore, our comparison should not be based on the past history, but on what is going on today. I am happy to see a historical test that is happening in a leading democratic nation, UK, but I will not have a cause to rejoice if I see the Scottish independence or to be sad by their possible defeat simply because of I am from a fellow suppressed nation in Africa. The encouraging event for the colonized peoples like the Oromo is just to witness such kind of referendums around the world and grabbing some experiences for their own future. Feelings that could spark from any result of the referendum should be left for the stakeholders. Read more…
Campaigners in the battle for Scotland’s future say the referendum result is too close to call with less than two weeks until the vote.
The Yes camp claims to have the “big momentum” behind it, while opponents of independence insist they will win.
It comes as one poll put Yes Scotland narrowly ahead for the first time.
Responding to the poll, UK Chancellor George Osborne pledged that in the next few days there would be a plan for more powers for the Scottish Parliament.
With just 11 days of campaigning left, both sides are stepping up their bids for the wavering voters who could yet sway the result.
On 18 September voters will be asked the Yes/No question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
The final push for votes comes as a a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times suggested that, of those who have made up their mind, 51% planned to back independence, while 49% intended to vote no.
The poll of 1,084 people, carried out between 2 and 5 September, is the first and only serious study to put the Yes campaign ahead. Read more…
September 5, 2014, KIEV, Ukraine (The New York Times) — Government forces and the Russian-backed separatist rebels fighting in southeastern Ukraine will observe a cease-fire starting Friday, negotiators from all sides announced at a news conference in Minsk, Belarus.
Speaking from Minsk, negotiators representing the Ukrainian government, the separatists, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said that the cease-fire would come into force at 6 p.m. local time, or 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
As the truce went into effect, fighting that had raged throughout the day around the strategic port city of Mariupol tapered off, and Ukrainian soldiers could be seen pulling back to their bases. But in interviews, the troops said they had not yet received orders to stand down. Read more…
July 24, 2014 (RT) — A security researcher considered to be among the foremost experts in his field says that more than a half-billion mobile devices running Apple’s latest iOS operating system contain secret backdoors.
By Mehdi Hasan
The assault on Gaza has been a humanitarian disaster, yet the west’s staunch support for Israel continues.
July 16, 2014 (Huffington Post) — Seventeen members of a single family wiped out in a missile strike. A centre for disabled people bombed. Schools and mosques attacked. Operation Protective Edge has been a humanitarian disaster for the residents of Gaza. This, apparently, is how Israel defines “self-defence”.
The experts disagree. The UN’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, has said the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza raises “serious doubt… whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law”. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have gone further, urging the hapless president, Mahmoud Abbas, to make the Palestinian Authority join the International Criminal Court and bring war crimes charges against Israel. Read more…
Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and beyond – everywhere you look you see mass slaughter and devastation caused by the US-led illegal wars of aggression, says Noam Chomsky.
July 8, 2014 (Stop The War Coalition) — The front page of The New York Times on June 26 featured a photo of women mourning a murdered Iraqi.
He is one of the innumerable victims of the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) campaign in which the Iraqi army, armed and trained by the U.S. for many years, quickly melted away, abandoning much of Iraq to a few thousand militants, hardly a new experience in imperial history. Read more…
June 11, 2014, IRBIL, Iraq (Washington Post) — Insurgents inspired by al-Qaeda rapidly pressed towards Baghdad on Wednesday, confronting little resistance from Iraq’s collapsing security forces and expanding an arc of control that now includes a wide swath of the country.
By nightfall, the militants had reached the flashpoint city of Samarra, just 70 miles outside Baghdad, after having first seized Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, and other cities while pressing southward from Mosul.
The stunning speed with which the rout has unfolded in northern Iraq has raised deep doubts about the capacity of U.S. -trained Iraqi security forces, and it has also kindled fears about the government’s grip on the capital itself. Read more…
April 21, 2014 (RT) — Every year the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) releases a study on military spending around the world. This year’s report contains many interesting details. Read more…
April 13, 2014, Australia (Victoria Police News) — Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate a missing North Brighton mother and her two children.
Kiya Worku was last seen at a residential house in Willlansby Street about 5pm yesterday afternoon.
Police have been told the 33-year-old was planning to travel by train from North Brighton to Elsternswick with her one-year-old son Yorisun and her four-year-old daughter Justine.
They have not been seen since.
Police are concerned for the welfare of Kiya and that of her young children
Kiya is approximately 170cm tall, thin build with short black curly hair.
It is not known what she is wearing but police believe she is in possession of a pram.
Images of Kiya and her two children are below. Read more…