Top Stories Archive

Science Blogging: Networks, Boundaries and Limitations - forthcoming article Hauke Riesch and I have had an article on science blogging accepted for Science as Culture. Abstract and title are below - please post a comment or contact me if you'd like more info. Science Blogging: Networks, Boundaries and Limitations...
by jon_mendel at May 24, 2013 12:11 PM 00:00 GMT


RGS impact statement - Science: So What and the impact of bad research I'm giving a short 'impact statement' tomorrow at the RGS-IBG annual conference session on Social and Cultural Geographies of Impact. It's a Powerpoint-free session, so I thought it would be useful to put some links re the case I'm discussing...
by jon_mendel at July 4, 2012 10:48 PM 00:00 GMT


Times piece: UK Government basing claim about benefit reforms on poor analysis? David McCollum and I had a piece on the Times Science Blog this week, criticising the evidence behind much-publicised claims that moving the UK's benefits system to a Universal Credit will seriously reduce the number of workless households in Britain....
by jon_mendel at September 25, 2011 06:38 PM 00:00 GMT


Unrest, networks and connectivity Last year, I wrote about the role of networks and connectivity in Afghanistan. I argued that such connectivity was key to the unpredictable and dramatic events emerging from the state. I ended the article by arguing (p. 746) that, rather...
by jon_mendel at March 2, 2011 06:40 PM 00:00 GMT


Afghanistan, Networks and Connectivity: journal article I'm pleased that my article on Afghanistan, Networks and Connectivity is now out in Geopolitics: Afghanistan is often thought to be a failed state because it is isolated from the networks of globalisation: for example, Afghanistan is viewed as part...
by jon_mendel at December 14, 2010 06:57 PM 00:00 GMT


Science: So What and DBIS - letter to Lord Drayson Alexander Holmes and I have written to Lord Drayson: to ask him about some issues we found when research the Science: So What? So Everything science communication campaign, which ran while Drayson was science minister. The letter is reproduced below;...
by jon_mendel at October 12, 2010 06:50 PM 00:00 GMT


Individual action Although foreign policy is typically crafted and wielded by states, it has become fashionable in recent years (if not recent decades) to suggest that non-state actors play just as important a role in international relations. The forces of technology and...
by Daniel Widome at October 3, 2010 11:39 PM -08:00 GMT


A vicious circle: Science So What, BIS and the mainstream media Alexander Holmes and I blogged about issues around research, PR, communications and policy on the Guardian Science Blog earlier this week. Here's the longer version of the post (the Guardian cut it down slightly); we have also added a postscript...
by jon_mendel at September 10, 2010 07:23 PM 00:00 GMT


Word games Foreign policy is typically made behind closed doors. Treaties and trade agreements may become public information once they are signed, but the planning, strategizing, and negotiating that creates them is hidden from public debate. Sometimes, however, the process that creates...
by Daniel Widome at August 31, 2010 03:58 PM -08:00 GMT


Housing benefit, statistics, policy-based evidence and an unclear situation There has recently been a lot of discussion about changes to the UK's Local Housing Allowance (LHA): a benefit which pays or contributes to the rent of low-income households. The plan is to, among other changes, reduce the maximum monthly...
by jon_mendel at August 15, 2010 02:01 PM 00:00 GMT


Heffernan on science blogging, culture and deconstruction in NYT In a recent NYT piece, Virginia Heffernan argues that "it’s time to don the old Derridean cloak and re-enter the unwinnable science-culture battle?" I have a number of concerns about Heffernan's piece. I fail to see where it is Derridean...
by jon_mendel at August 2, 2010 07:32 PM 00:00 GMT


Clean start Anyone concerned with the dangers posed by nuclear weapons (which, arguably, should be pretty much everyone) has had a busy and promising year so far. In the past six months, the United States and Russia have negotiated a new arms...
by Daniel Widome at July 26, 2010 12:42 PM -08:00 GMT


Blogging about a blog post about science blogging Hauke Riesch and I have been researching science blogging - looking at some of the networks, boundaries and limitations in play here. We recently presented on the topic at the excellent Science and the Public Conference at Imperial. This led...
by jon_mendel at July 15, 2010 07:23 PM 00:00 GMT


Allied voices The United States has always depended on regional allies around the world to support its foreign policy agenda. But this is especially true today. Experiences with near-unilateralism in Iraq and elsewhere have shown that the United States cannot simply impose...
by Daniel Widome at June 25, 2010 06:54 PM -08:00 GMT


Putting it Together: Pre-Kenya Evan and I are in the final stages of pre-trip organization. In two weeks, we'll be on the ground in Kenya, carrying out our pre-production workshops for community radio stations who have answered our call for participants. Right now, we're...
by CBerman at June 14, 2010 10:49 AM -05:00 GMT


Times blog piece on science and research communication Alexander Holmes and I have a post up on the Times science blog: discussing science/research communication and the importance of effective public engagement with research. We argue that the UK government's Science: So What? science communication initiative has illustrated many...
by jon_mendel at June 3, 2010 05:58 PM 00:00 GMT


Global upstarts Recent months have been busy ones in the world of nuclear diplomacy. Many of the most important events already have been covered in this space. But this month, signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) gathered in New York to...
by Daniel Widome at June 1, 2010 02:08 AM -08:00 GMT


The Conservative Party, research and non-conventional families Research is playing a prominent role in the upcoming UK election - will all the major parties using or abusing it in order to justify their policy proposals. One interesting case study of what can go wrong can be found...
by jon_mendel at May 2, 2010 11:43 PM 00:00 GMT


Nuclear blast Over the span of just a few weeks, Obama has leveraged the issue of nuclear weapons in an unprecedented manner. Partly by design and partly by chance, he has staked a tremendous amount of time and capital on his goal...
by Daniel Widome at April 26, 2010 03:36 PM -08:00 GMT


The Art of Diplomacy A common critique of Barack Obama's foreign policy is that it consistently takes a back seat to domestic affairs. Just this month, Obama canceled a trip to Indonesia and Australia to stay in Washington DC to shepherd health care legislation...
by Daniel Widome at April 21, 2010 01:18 PM -08:00 GMT


Croatia, to Film I’m Steven Ellis, a 10.5’er originally from Washington, D.C. (technically Bethesda, for those of you in the know). I’m passionately ADD, so my interests range from the founding fathers to microfinance, lacrosse, Japanese animation, whiskey distillation, etc etc. My (independent)...
by Steven Ellis at April 14, 2010 03:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Food for Thought & Thoughts for Food Let's talk about permaculture. Permaculture: where permanent agriculture meets and merges with permanent culture. Put simply, an approach to both agriculture systems and human settlements that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies. Seems logical, right? If only it were...
by SCoghlan at April 13, 2010 10:12 PM -05:00 GMT


UK MoD Defence Cultural Specialist Unit to deploy to Helmand I was interested to see Wired reporting that the DCSU deploys this month to southern Afghanistan, where it will serve as a dedicated cultural advisory team for Task Force Helmand. The news item says the unit is charged with “build[ing]...
by jon_mendel at April 6, 2010 07:11 PM 00:00 GMT


Food for Thought & Thoughts for Food I suppose it makes the most sense to begin at the beginning. Perhaps to introduce who I am, where I've come from, and where I'm heading. So by way of introduction, my name is Sarah Coghlan and I am a...
by SCoghlan at April 5, 2010 08:08 AM -05:00 GMT


GCHQ: BBC fails to crack the code Earlier this week, the BBC broadcast a programme on the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ): a UK intelligence agency. Security correspondent Gordon Corera was, very unusually, allowed some access. However, the programme was extremely disappointing: strikingly uncritical and un-probing. A few...
by jon_mendel at April 2, 2010 06:29 PM 00:00 GMT


The Svaneti Recording and Preservation Project Hi folks - I'm Sarah Gibson, and I'll be posting blog entries in the upcoming months about my project as a New Media Fellow, entitled "The Svaneti Recording and Preservation Project". Since I was twelve years old, I have studied,...
by SGibson at March 27, 2010 01:23 PM -05:00 GMT


California (to Rhode Island) to Vietnam Hi there :). I suppose this is my first (in)formal introduction as an AT&T Media Fellow. I'm Quyen Ngo, a sophomore planning to concentrate in Development Studies. Here at Brown, outside of classes and schoolwork, a huge amount of my...
by QNgo at March 25, 2010 12:10 AM -05:00 GMT


From Oregon to Rhode Island to Rwanda Hi, my name is Evan Pulvers. I'm from Portland, Oregon, and I am a senior Development Studies concentrator headed to Rwanda this summer to take part in the global conversation. I'm undertaking a AT&T New Media project with Chantal Berman....
by EPulvers at March 24, 2010 12:03 PM -05:00 GMT


From Boston Basketball to Hurling in Cork Like any Bostonian worthy of the title, I grew up confusing civic pride with a fanatical devotion to local athletics. Every summer (and with luck, every fall) belonged to Red Sox, and each winter was marked off for the Celtics....
by ZMcCune at March 21, 2010 11:59 PM -05:00 GMT


Introduction: Colleen Brogan Hello, everyone! My name is Colleen Brogan, I am a senior at Brown concentrating in Art History and French-Semiotics. I grew up in a small suburb outside of Philadelphia that is obsessed with sports. I ran cross country for a...
by CBrogan at March 21, 2010 11:47 PM -05:00 GMT


Afghan action One of the early ways that the Obama administration set itself apart from its predecessor (and there were many) was in its re-conceptualization of the war in Afghanistan. Recognizing that the challenges presented by that conflict couldn't be neatly confined...
by Daniel Widome at March 12, 2010 06:38 PM -08:00 GMT


Dept. for Business, Innovation and Skills' poor use of research in THES article There is a good article in Times Higher Education Supplement this week: criticising some poor use of research by the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). I'm quoted saying that a report on 'future jobs' promoted by many...
by jon_mendel at February 10, 2010 10:27 PM 00:00 GMT


Peter Taylor's Generation Jihad: are we in a golden period of British security? I've just watched the first episode of Taylor's documentary Generation Jihad. Some interesting discussion of radicalisation, but I almost spilled my coffee when the programme started by stating that a small group of radicalised [Islamist] young men now constitute the...
by jon_mendel at February 9, 2010 10:37 PM 00:00 GMT


Visit to Golan Heights and Haifa A collection of clips from a recent peace-building visit by Pakistani-American professor Saleem H. Ali on prospects fpr using environmental issues and energy connectivity as a means of regional peace-building:...
by Saleem Ali at January 31, 2010 07:53 PM -05:00 GMT


Nonproliferation priorities In the year since Barack Obama's inauguration, observers of all stripes have attempted to measure his progress in office against his promise as a candidate. Invariably, a mixed impression emerges. On several prominent issues, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama...
by Daniel Widome at January 29, 2010 06:15 PM -08:00 GMT


Indian Art, a Global Affair With galleries and museums showcasing the works of India’s brightest young stars and ancient treasures, Indian art is front and centre this month in London. In 2005 Indian art turned heads, as the market began to skyrocket and prices for...
by Clare DeBoer at January 26, 2010 05:10 AM -05:00 GMT


Jordan and Israel Ecological Cooperation A visit to the peace "island" between Jordan and Israel which Friends of the Earth -- Middle East is working on converting into an international peace park. Filmed by Saleem H. Ali (University of Vermont, editor of the MIT Press...
by Saleem Ali at January 13, 2010 10:19 AM -05:00 GMT


Nobel notions The October announcement that Barack Obama would receive the Nobel Peace Prize surprised many. The overwhelming sense was that however promising a figure Obama might be, he hadn't yet accomplished enough to join the ranks of Martin Luther King, Mother...
by Daniel Widome at December 31, 2009 12:24 AM -08:00 GMT


Urdu interview on Madrassa problem in Pakistan
by Saleem Ali at December 20, 2009 06:47 PM -05:00 GMT


The Indian Century? 12/16/09: Radio Open Source host Chris Lydon, who spoke with authors Rana Dasgupta and Suketu Mehta while they were at Brown for the "New Indian Writing" literary festival, has written: Are we missing the point about "India Rising" and "India...
by Year of India at December 16, 2009 01:38 PM -05:00 GMT


New orientation Between the lofty, untested principles of political candidacy and the urgent and unexpected realities of governance lies something of a middle ground, or an overall orientation that can guide a president's foreign policy and serve as a prism through which...
by Daniel Widome at December 5, 2009 01:59 AM -08:00 GMT


25th Anniversary of Bhopal 12/3/09: Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, which Suketu Mehta has described in today's New York Times as an "an epic mess that started one night when a pesticide plant owned by the American chemical giant...
by Year of India at December 3, 2009 09:39 AM -05:00 GMT


26/11 - Salute thee Mumbai 26th November 2008. As one of the most ghastly terror attacks ripped our beloved Mumbai, the country's commercial centre stood the test of time. 10 Pakistani terrorists attacked prominent landmarks in the city killing nearly 200 people and injuring many more. The attackers took hostages and battled Indian security forces continuously for nearly 60 hours. A year has passed since that fateful night, and today, we remember and pay homage to the victims and the martyrs.
by Vasundhara Prasad at November 25, 2009 11:25 PM -05:00 GMT


South Asian Identity Week 2009 Last week marked South Asian Identity Week 2009. As co-director alongside Meara Sharma '10.5, I'm proud to say our week was extremely successful and thought-provoking. Let me share with you the thinking process behind our week of events. As Homi Bhabha mentions in The Location of Culture: “The 'beyond' is neither a new horizon, nor a leaving behind of the past.... Beginnings and endings may be the sustaining myths of the middle years; but in the fin de siècle, we find ourselves in the moment of transit where space and time cross to produce complex figures of difference and identity, past and present, inside and outside, inclusion and exclusion.” This “moment of transit” is what this year’s South Asian Identity Week’s theme, "Earth Unbound," strives to unpack.
by Akshay Rathod at November 25, 2009 01:12 PM -05:00 GMT


The State Dinner Today is the first state dinner of Barack Obama's presidency, and the guest of honor is Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Obama is calling the relationship between the United States and India one of the ''defining partnerships'' in the world....
by Year of India at November 24, 2009 12:48 PM -05:00 GMT


Join the conversation Join the conversation, on the Year of India blog... What would Mahatma Gandhi say to President Obama? His grandson, the public intellectual Rajmohan Gandhi, was on campus this week. And he told Radio Open Source that the conversation would go...
by Watsonblogs at November 17, 2009 01:43 PM -05:00 GMT


Traumatic Experiences I have just come back home from a 4 hour shift working at an Urgent Care Center here in Rhode Island with my Doctoring mentor. I learned a lot today about various conditions ranging from tenia crurus or "crotch rot" to pneumonia to shingles. Today, though I had a slightly traumatic experience with my last patient.
by Reshma Ramachandran at November 16, 2009 11:02 PM -05:00 GMT


Resurrection of the Blog Hey all, I'm sure many of you have been on the edge of your seats waiting for my next entries... To appease that, I have decided to resurrect my blog and actively maintain it by ensuring at least 2 updates...
by Reshma Ramachandran at November 16, 2009 03:47 PM -05:00 GMT


Euro vision The U.S. president frequently finds himself at the center of global attention. This month was no different, as speculation mounted over Barack Obama's new strategy in Afghanistan and surprise erupted over the president's unexpected Nobel Peace Prize. Beneath these stories,...
by Daniel Widome at October 22, 2009 11:44 PM -08:00 GMT


Data trafficking: problematic numbers on sex work and trafficking in Britain Sex work in the UK - in various forms - is big business and is problematic in all kinds of ways. However, the issue of trafficked immigrants being coerced into sex work has played a prominent - even dominating -...
by jon_mendel at October 20, 2009 12:03 PM 00:00 GMT


Missile base Barack Obama staked his campaign for the presidency on the promise of change. The realities of governance are much different than the promises of campaigns, of course, and Obama has disappointed some supporters with the slowness or incompleteness of his...
by Daniel Widome at September 30, 2009 10:26 PM -08:00 GMT


Japan in Pittsburgh When Lehman Brothers collapsed one year ago, Japan entered the worst of the global financial crisis with a unique perspective. It had experienced its own asset bubble in the late 1980s, and the slowness and inadequacy of its response led...
by Daniel Widome at September 24, 2009 01:08 PM -08:00 GMT


June 15 June 15 The humidity that morning was so intense I was awakened by my own sweat before sunrise. My aunt had turned off the air conditioning so all that was left was a fan blasting the hot air into my...
by Cherilyn VyVy Tran at September 14, 2009 11:22 PM -05:00 GMT


June 5 Friday, June 5 I was awoken by the boiling heat that hit particularly early this morning. Josh’s text arrived late, but I had been preparing since last night for the unexpected. After several delays (missing volunteers and my difficulty in...
by Cherilyn VyVy Tran at September 14, 2009 11:08 PM -05:00 GMT


June 4 Thursday, June 4 The taxi pulled up to the curb of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Sai Gon, and I took time to admire the beautiful of the old, but still glamous wing before they close it down. The...
by Cherilyn VyVy Tran at September 14, 2009 10:51 PM -05:00 GMT


Thuy Her name had come up in several previous conversations because they often discussed the most effective form of treatment for her, but I was never attentive enough to place a name to the endless list of symptoms: precious puberty,...
by Cherilyn VyVy Tran at September 8, 2009 11:38 PM -05:00 GMT


Clinic Day at Hoi An Foundation July 2 Today is my first day at Hoi An Foundation clinic. Hoi An Foundation was founded by a pulmonologist from Denver, Colorado who started out providing medical care to some of the poorest children in the Quang Nam province...
by Cherilyn VyVy Tran at September 8, 2009 11:28 PM -05:00 GMT


7. Wrap-Up Part 1: Rice Farmers and the Philippine Economy Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, as it may be! I am now back in the strange land of Minnesota. I haven’t put up a post in forever! Sorry. The events in that last post date way back to about...
by Isaac Jabola-Carolus at September 5, 2009 05:27 PM -05:00 GMT


The End Well, the internship has ended, and all in all, it has been a great experience. As I prepare to leave for the States, The Paraná Biodiversity Project (PBP) has begun to organize its closing ceremony: funding for the project has...
by Megan Whelan at August 29, 2009 12:19 AM -04:00 GMT


Alliance adjustment As Japan nears its August 30 election, a political era may be nearing an end. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), under the leadership of Prime Minister Taro Aso, is deeply unpopular and trails badly in pre-election polls; its nearly...
by Daniel Widome at August 28, 2009 11:01 AM -08:00 GMT


Last Days in Mandalay and Back to Yangon (and then back to the U.S. of A.) Towards the end of my first week at Phaung Daw Oo, Principal U Nayaka asked me to prepare a lecture for a school-wide assembly. He wanted me to talk about my experience of returning to Burma (for the first time...
by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint at August 28, 2009 12:24 AM -08:00 GMT


The Internship Winds Down Fifty plots, one hundred soil samples, and more than a thousand plant specimens, collected and pressed to a crisp, characterize the past five weeks of my internship here in Paraná, Brazil. It has been a busy month!! Like I said...
by Megan Whelan at August 26, 2009 06:57 PM -04:00 GMT


Mandalay and Phaung Daw Oo monastic high school So here was the original plan: I was to stay in Yangon for a few weeks, teaching classes at Ngar Kyan Pyan. Then I was to travel through the Ayeyarwady Division and visit villages that had been devastated by Nargis...
by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint at August 24, 2009 01:51 PM -08:00 GMT


Crossing Continents: Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan Just a quick blog post - but the BBC's Crossing Continents is essential listening for those interested in war and counter/insurgency. It shows how the US military's counterinsurgency doctrine is now being applied to Afghanistan - with this impacting on...
by jon_mendel at August 22, 2009 01:00 PM 00:00 GMT


First days in Yangon It was about 10 ‘o clock at night when I arrived at Ngar Kyan Pyan. The next morning, at 7 ‘o clock, I taught my first class. I guess you can call that “hitting the ground running.” To be fair, my first week of classes were closely supervised by Sayagyi Daw Sadhu, [3] a retired high school teacher who teaches tenth Standard English at Ngar Kyan Pyan.
by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint at August 20, 2009 12:04 AM -08:00 GMT


Reign's end As Japan nears its August 30 election, a mixture of political weariness and anticipation fills the air. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), under the leadership of Prime Minister Taro Aso, is deeply unpopular and trails badly in pre-election polls;...
by Daniel Widome at August 19, 2009 11:42 PM -08:00 GMT


Better Late than Never (optional subtitle: In which the author makes excuses, excuses, excuses) A few days before I was scheduled to leave for Burma (Myanmar) I came across an article online titled “10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger.” [1] Number one was Burma. This is part of the excuse why I am...
by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint at August 17, 2009 02:16 PM -08:00 GMT


6. Subic and Olongapo, Continued On my final day in Zambales, I visited the Yokubari Foundation, Inc., a non-profit NGO based in Olongapo City which works closely with the KPD chapter in Subic. In speaking with its director and some community members involved in its...
by Isaac Jabola-Carolus at July 30, 2009 09:13 AM -05:00 GMT


5. Maybe My Last Blog Post Ever! Or Maybe Not! Greetings, fellow people. After three weeks of bouncing around and a dehydrating, rainy, but well-attended protest during President Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address yesterday, I am now finally able to sit down and write a blog post for...
by Isaac Jabola-Carolus at July 28, 2009 10:16 AM -05:00 GMT


Seeing Moravia as a safe haven In previous blog posts, I have talked about how difficult it is to effect true cultural and behavioral change in poor neighborhoods like Moravia. Indeed, violent crime and general social decay remain huge problems there. Nevertheless, I want to correct myself. Yesterday I visited some middle- and lower middle-class Medellin neighborhoods that were far more hostile and scary than Moravia.
by Pablo Rojas at July 27, 2009 05:10 PM -05:00 GMT


Updates and Health Care for All NOW! A couple of great updates for this week: two amendments presented before the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee were voted on this week: 1. An amendment that would reinstate the ban on federal funding for the syringe exchange, cost-effective and...
by Reshma Ramachandran at July 25, 2009 03:37 PM -05:00 GMT


Copenhagen countdown One of the more popular critiques of the Obama administration suggests that the president is taking on too many challenges at once. If nothing else, it is a reflection of the high level of activity emanating from the new administration....
by Daniel Widome at July 25, 2009 01:36 AM -08:00 GMT


Bogota's Refugee Crisis Now, Bogotá officials are saying they expect another 1,200 displaced families to arrive very soon and the city simply cannot take any more refugees. There are already tens of thousands living in dire conditions in slums, parks, and public spaces around the city. The capital is therefore calling on the national government to finally address the refugee crisis. Too often, they say, refugee tent cities are treated as invasions of public space
by Pablo Rojas at July 24, 2009 06:24 PM -05:00 GMT


The Death of Chicho and a Report on Extortion The police were also present at a cemetery in the town of Copacabana, about fifteen minutes north of Medellin, where Chicho was to be buried. Nevertheless, as the caravan approached, armed men on motorcycles came in and out freely to say their last goodbye to their leader.Chicho was buried amidst applause from dozens of his subordinates, without any interruptions by the police.
by Pablo Rojas at July 23, 2009 03:18 PM -05:00 GMT


How Should We Measure Quality? I received an interesting comment with regards of how we should measure health care quality. What is the proper way to measure health care quality? Is measuring health care outcomes the proper way to gauge it? Should we not be...
by Reshma Ramachandran at July 22, 2009 10:54 PM -05:00 GMT


Informal recyclers murdered in Cali, but celebrated in Moravia Social cleansing became national news again last week after the Cali grenade attack on recyclers and a bloody 72 hours last week during which 17 people were murdered in South Bogota, including several drug addicts. This is a country ravaged by intense and often violent social tensions and inequality. Fortunately, however, at least in Moravia, there is a commitment from above to recognize, celebrate, and take full advantage of largely untapped entrepreneurship and social capital in poor neighborhoods. While recyclers may be under attack in Cali, in Moravia, they are a central part of neighborhood's economic development plan.
by Pablo Rojas at July 21, 2009 12:29 PM -05:00 GMT


Links between Ecuador's President and the FARC In essence, President Correa's campaign was partly funded by the hemisphere's most brutal terrorist organization (second only, perhaps, to Colombian paramilitaries), a guerrilla group that has murdered and kidnapped thousands of Colombians and has a huge role in international drug trafficking. It remains to be seen what political consequences the video will bring, but it comes at a horribly inopportune time for an already scandal-ridden Correa.
by Pablo Rojas at July 21, 2009 11:35 AM -05:00 GMT


My first encounter with paramilitaries in action Informal justice is rampant in Colombia, and there is little evidence that it is going away. Decades of state absence or indifference has created deeply entrenched criminal organizations who enforce justice on their own terms. Many neighborhoods of Medellin are ruled not by the state, but by the law of 'survival of the fittest'. These days, the 'fittest' in some areas are indeed the police. In many other cases, however, they are armed gangs, paramilitary groups and CONVIVIR.
by Pablo Rojas at July 21, 2009 11:31 AM -05:00 GMT


Working In and Out of the Cubicle This summer I'm working at the American Medical Students Association (AMSA), the largest organization of medical students that includes pre-meds and DO students as well. Prior to coming to D.C. on July 4th (FIREWORKS!), I was in Germany at the...
by Reshma Ramachandran at July 20, 2009 11:35 PM -05:00 GMT


Putting Things into Perspective "Historic." "Our generation's revolution." "The biggest movement of our lives." These are phrases that I have heard almost every day I have been working for the American Medical Students Association as a Health Care Quality and Safety Intern (or the...
by Reshma Ramachandran at July 20, 2009 12:47 AM -05:00 GMT


The phonebook you never thought you'd have This week has been, by far, my busiest week in Cairo. I have worked a six day week, with most days lasting from 9:30 in the morning until I get home around midnight. Normally, I'd probably have a few choice...
by Alexander Steven Wamboldt at July 18, 2009 12:26 PM 02:00 GMT


The phonebook you never thought you'd have This week has been, by far, my busiest week in Cairo. I have worked a six day week, with most days lasting from 9:30 in the morning until I get home around midnight. Normally, I'd probably have a few choice...
by Alexander Steven Wamboldt at July 18, 2009 12:26 PM 02:00 GMT


I've been in Brazil for over a month?! Hello! Welcome to my first blog entry of the summer! I cannot believe that more than a month has already gone by since I first arrived in Brazil. Needless to say, I have plenty to write about! I guess I...
by Megan Whelan at July 18, 2009 11:06 AM -04:00 GMT


Displacement and AH1N1 Without proper attention from the state, the Embera refugee population has become the epicenter of Bogota's growing AH1N1 problem. Sadly, before flu fears became a reality, few people in Bogota or Colombia cared or did much about the living conditions of Embera refugees or hundreds of thousands of other displaced people
by Pablo Rojas at July 16, 2009 10:53 AM -05:00 GMT


Column Link #2 Just published another opinion piece about illegal wiretapping, freedom of the press and human rights in Colombia. Check it out here: http://colombiareports.com/opinion/111-colombiamerican/4998-colombias-dirty-war-chuzadas-and-the-future-of-the-das-.html
by Pablo Rojas at July 15, 2009 10:46 AM -05:00 GMT


Thoughts on Koyaanisqatsi and the Fragility of Public Housing Experiments Already, in some housing projects, armed groups, composed in part of demobilized paramilitaries, have begun to demand protection money from the buses that operate in the area. In some cases, they even control who comes in and out of theneighborhood. When the city fails to occupy all the apartments simultaneously , the empty apartments are turned into drug markets and brothels whose criminal bosses are literally the main local authority. In fact, in some areas I visited, there simply is no police presence.
by Pablo Rojas at July 14, 2009 09:47 AM -05:00 GMT


Updates: Emerald Violence and Illegal Wiretapping Colombia is the world's most dangerous country for union leaders and one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. The fact that elements of the government continue to treat opposition leaders as threats to the state, without any real proof of criminal or violent activity, is certainly worrying, especially given the historical context.
by Pablo Rojas at July 13, 2009 10:41 PM -05:00 GMT


Column Link I recently wrote a column for ColombiaReports.com on President Uribe's recent decision to allow opposition Senator Piedad Cordoba to help negotiate the release of hostages held by the FARC. Check it out here:
by Pablo Rojas at July 13, 2009 06:06 PM -05:00 GMT


After a visit to Cali, happy to be in Medellin Despite all the problems I've encountered at my internship , my time in Cali reminded me of how much the past two Medellin mayors have transformed the city. There was a time, in the mid-90s, when my family was considering moving to Cali. Back then, we didn't give Medellin a chance. These days, the exact opposite is true.
by Pablo Rojas at July 13, 2009 05:21 PM -05:00 GMT


Al Jazeera on Iran Protests
by Andy Blackadar at July 10, 2009 07:31 PM -05:00 GMT


updates and the benefits of working for a religious community Since I last posted, I've certainly had a busy work life. But now that July has come, I can officially announce that I have read through all 3,000 or so articles that in any way mention Pope Shenouda III within...
by Alexander Steven Wamboldt at July 9, 2009 06:56 PM 02:00 GMT


A Big Relief and More Paramilitaries For the Moravia project, paramilitarism is just one of the variables that we have to take into account as we move forward with projects. So far, budget issues are stressing us out much more than paramilitaries. For Colombia as a whole, however, paramilitary power is a growing menace that continues to deepen the influence of drugs and crime at all levels of socieety.
by Pablo Rojas at July 9, 2009 06:04 PM -05:00 GMT


News of the World involved in hacking and bugging public figures Nick Davies wrote in Flat Earth News about how the UK media have used ethically and legally dubious techniques in order to break stories. While he was criticised at the time, many of his arguments have been vindicated by a...
by jon_mendel at July 9, 2009 02:14 PM 00:00 GMT


News from Colombia: The Business of Violence During a Recession (also: Corruption and False Positives) This year, private security firms earned about double what hotels earned. This is especially ironic given the fact that Colombia's improving reputation in terms of security has recently contributed to a boom in tourism, both domestic and international. Apparently, however, the number of people who feel the need for armed protection greatly exceeds the number of people who have risked traveling in Colombia. Private security was bigger business than even the traditional banana and flower sectors.
by Pablo Rojas at July 8, 2009 03:17 PM -05:00 GMT


Thoughts on Colombia and Ecuador's Arrest Warrant Dispute Colombia, meanwhile, did little to apologize for the episode and instead launched continuous accusations of sympathy for and even collaboration with the FARC not just at Ecuador, but also at Venezuela. The whole thing became a massive regional political crisis that resulted in some significant troop movements on both sides of the Colombia-Venezuela border.
by Pablo Rojas at July 8, 2009 12:46 PM -05:00 GMT


Conservative Party and gay rights: the slow seeping of spirit? I was pleased to see that - in response to accusations of homophobia - the UK's Conservative Party has responded by emphasising their openness to gay men and women. Whatever one thinks of the Conservative Party, it is interesting that...
by jon_mendel at July 7, 2009 06:12 PM 00:00 GMT


The Eleventh Floor This is a city full of poor people who have endured devastating levels of violence for most of their lives. By some measures, Colombia has been at war for the past 61 years. Drug trafficking has devastated Medellin for much of the past 30 years. Having to go through the 11th floor is a hassle, but it is a nice break from the hours I spend in front of a computer. More importantly, my time on the floor below is a very direct reminder of who I'm working for.
by Pablo Rojas at July 7, 2009 10:00 AM -05:00 GMT


Uribe's Political Capital If he manages to even compete with the Uribistas, that alone will be a significant political achievement. Nevertheless, if anyone is capable of such a miracle, it is Fajardo. The more established left-leaning opposition is in the midst of bitter internal conflict and, even in times of more cohesion and coherence, has only managed to gain the support of about 15% of the Colombian population.
by Pablo Rojas at July 7, 2009 09:38 AM -05:00 GMT


This week at the office Unfortunately, while there are many social workers in Moravia, once people are relocated from Moravia in Pajarito, they are outside of the Moravia project's jurisdiction. In other words, nobody is monitoring the social and economic situation in Pajarito. Crime, conflict between neighbors, vandalism and otehr problems have become rampant. There may be plenty of other problems that we don't know about simply because the city administration does not have a strong presence in the sector.
by Pablo Rojas at July 6, 2009 04:51 PM -05:00 GMT


Colombia's Blood Emeralds The fact that the country's largest emerald trader is quite obviously involved with some mafia groups and paramilitary death squads only confirms the rumors about emeralds that used to circulate around crime scenes in Northern Bogotá.
by Pablo Rojas at July 6, 2009 04:00 PM -05:00 GMT


4. Highlights of the Week(s) II, part 2!! Fearing that you would become too exhausted to finish reading if I just posted one really long entry, I decided it could be beneficial to split it up and post a second: TWO OTHER MAJOR ACTIVITIES! • TindigNation launch: The...
by Isaac Jabola-Carolus at July 5, 2009 10:52 PM -05:00 GMT


3. Highlights of the Week(s) II, part 1!! This post will cover the highlights of the past two weeks at my internship. A few days were set aside for various cross-sector activities, and the next 10 days were devoted to ASSERT. No epic protest march this time, but...
by Isaac Jabola-Carolus at July 5, 2009 10:19 PM -05:00 GMT


MoD confuses mung beans with opium poppy seeds There was recently a big Ministry of Defence press splash about a seizure of so-called poppy seeds in Afghanistan. However, it turns out that the soldiers had captured nothing more than a giant pile of mung beans, a staple pulse...
by jon_mendel at July 2, 2009 12:38 PM 00:00 GMT


Iraqi Sovereignty Day: a poisoned gift? Iraq has declared June 30 - when US troops withdrew from Iraqi cities - to be a national holiday called Sovereignty Day. Looking at the current situation in Iraq, I'm reminded of Hardt and Negri's remarks on sovereignty in Empire...
by jon_mendel at July 1, 2009 12:15 AM 00:00 GMT


Medellin Street Art Medellin has a reputation for great weather, hospitality, beautiful mountains, attractive women, violent crime, etc, but it also deserves a reputation for great public art.
by Pablo Rojas at June 30, 2009 08:36 PM -05:00 GMT


Obama and Uribe Get Together While it is never entirely clear what happened behind closed doors, this meeting was more about continuity than it was about change. A recent Washington Post article argued that the Obama-Uribe meeting would have a markedly different tone from that of the Bush-era Uribe visits. Indeed, Bush and Uribe really disagreed about very little. What is remarkable, however, is how friendly the tone was.
by Pablo Rojas at June 30, 2009 11:41 AM -05:00 GMT


Thoughts on the Political Crisis in Honduras On the other hand, this coup is entirely unlike the coups of the Cold War Era. Every government in Latin America, regardless of ideological inclinations, has condemned the coup. So has much of the West. Despite the fact that ousted Honduran president Zelaya was an ally of Hugo Chavez, even Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, the region's foremost anti-Chavista, did the right thing and expressed opposition to the coup.
by Pablo Rojas at June 29, 2009 12:42 PM -05:00 GMT


More information about RECOM Here is the website for RECOM, by the Humanitarian Law Center..... http://www.hlc-rdc.org/Outreach/Koalicija-za-REKOM/1285.en.html...
by Tessa Lee at June 29, 2009 06:56 AM -05:00 GMT


Half Way and still finding new work I can't believe that I have already been living in Belgrade for nearly 5 weeks! I've really made a lot of friends and settled into life at the office; my colleagues in FRACTAL are all so friendly and welcoming, it...
by Tessa Lee at June 29, 2009 06:26 AM -05:00 GMT


Subtle timing In the past month, a quick succession of events has occurred that could significantly change the U.S. relationship with countries in the Middle East. Notable speeches by U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and important elections...
by Daniel Widome at June 27, 2009 02:40 PM -08:00 GMT


Another Movie Suggestion A warning: La Vendedora de Rosas is a very intense movie, without a traditional happy ending. It is an honest depiction of an unimaginably horrible reality. Nevertheless, if you are capable of digesting human tragedy on film, you will find it to be a movie that says a lot about humanity's ability to survive and find happiness in an environment marked only by death and abandonment.
by Pablo Rojas at June 26, 2009 05:03 PM -05:00 GMT


End of the Week Stress is building in my office because plenty of similar problems are, to varying degrees, plaguing nearly every project. This is by no means unusual in Medellin or, for that matter, any other city with an honest and ambitious administration. Indeed, at the office it is almost normal to be stressed out and angry at another agency for some sort of delay or mistake. Fortunately, however, the weather is quickly improving and, this afternoon, everyone will leave for a third consecutive long weekend.
by Pablo Rojas at June 26, 2009 12:46 PM -05:00 GMT


A Few Interesting Projects In reality, however, the battle for the hearts and minds of Medellin's underprivileged children has not been won. Criminal groups are sitll more powerful than the state in many peripheral areas. There is still a sense, which is probably somewhat accurate, that there are more criminals living in luxury than there are criminals suffering in prison. Finally, marginalization remains a huge social and pyschological problem despite integration projects like MetroCable: the young kids who make a few cents as informal tour guides at the Santo Domingo MetroCable station often ask tourists 'Did you come from Medellin?' as if Santo Domingo was a separate city.
by Pablo Rojas at June 25, 2009 12:45 PM -05:00 GMT


The Past Few Days: Violence in Moravia and The Fragility of Colombian Democracy For now, Uribe has established himself as a macho father figure for the entire country. His aggressive approach to politics and security was, according to most people, necessary to bring Colombia back under the control of the state. Whether the state under Uribe is honest, law-abiding, democratic and respectful of human rights is almost irrelevant.
by Pablo Rojas at June 25, 2009 12:41 PM -05:00 GMT


2. Highlights of the Week!! Highlights of the Week!! • Orientation: Got the lowdown on KPD and the affiliates, the national political spectrum, and the three main campaigns on which all the organizations are collaborating. The campaigns are those against: 1) Charter Change (constitutional amendment);...
by Isaac Jabola-Carolus at June 23, 2009 10:23 AM -05:00 GMT


Relocation Updates and the UN's Take on 'False Positives' Christian Salazar, who has just started as director of the UNHCR in Colombia, said extra judicial execution committed by the army, illegal wire-tappings, forced displacements and paramilitary violence are of primary concern to his office.
by Pablo Rojas at June 22, 2009 01:04 PM -05:00 GMT


1. My First Blog Post Ever: Some Background, before More Interesting Posts I’m now a full week into my internship here in the Philippines. The words which first come to mind: mosquitoes, really really hot, really really sweaty, rice. I suppose, though, that I have to give a better summary to...
by Isaac Jabola-Carolus at June 22, 2009 10:10 AM -05:00 GMT


More Interesting Video from Tehran Two different types of protest in Tehran. 1. A confrontation between police and demonstrators. http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2009/06/090621_ag_street_clashes.shtml 2. Protests shouted from the rooftops at night. http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2009/06/090620_og_nightly_protest.shtml...
by Andy Blackadar at June 22, 2009 08:53 AM -05:00 GMT


Relocation on Saturday What is clear, however, is that the relationship between Moravia residents and the city administration is increasingly fragile and that mysterious groups are emerging to challenge the authority of the city administration and the independent community leaders that have been orienting the project for years. Moravia is one of the oldest Strategic Projects currently underway. It started under the Fajardo administration and has visibly transformed the neighborhood. It would be sad to see the project stagnate or, even worse, to see criminal groups undo much of the progress that has been made.
by Pablo Rojas at June 18, 2009 04:27 PM -05:00 GMT


Red Juvenil de Medellin There are tremendous structural problems that preclude victory in the fight against organized crime: corruption, poverty, inequality, a flawed judicial system and robust demand for cocaine in the U.S., Europe and beyond. Of course, people who talk about structural problems are never popular in the political world. Far more popular are those who declare war and then declare victory. Many in Colombia and abroad have been talking about structural problems for years, but few people in power here and abroad (most importantly in the U.S.) seem to want to listen.
by Pablo Rojas at June 18, 2009 09:54 AM -05:00 GMT


Good News about the Displaced Family From Cali and More Bad News About Colombia The Office is no longer a myth, it is a very real drug trafficking organization with a firm hold on Medellin. Recently, they were found to have links with Hezbollah, with whom they collaborated to ship drugs throughout Asia. They have plenty of contacts throughout Mexico and Central America. While they don't have a single identifiable leader or a clear number of footsoldiers like rival druglords Los Rastrojos, Cuchillo and el Loco Barrerra, they may be the most powerful criminal organization in all of Colombia.
by Pablo Rojas at June 17, 2009 12:27 PM -05:00 GMT


Lost Tupperware As my taxi slowly made its way through a traffic jam, I looked for the displaced man through the afternoon crowds and found that he was already halfway done with the fruit. If he wasn't displaced, he was at least hungry. But I still feel guilty about losing the tupperware and have to find another one by lunchtime tomorrow.
by Pablo Rojas at June 16, 2009 07:26 PM -05:00 GMT


Coca, Corn and MetroCable It was definitely a strange ride full of contradictions: an award-winning high-tech transportation system surrounded by shacks, tourism in what was once (and to some extent still is) an urban warzone. But I guess that's the point of Medellin's past two administrations. The city's crisis of violence and poverty could not be confronted with gradual, cautious policies. Fajardo and Salazar brought the most investment, the prettiest buildings and the best schools to war-torn slums. It remains to be seen how much peace and prosperity their policies manage to achieve.
by Pablo Rojas at June 16, 2009 04:58 PM -05:00 GMT


Tehran Demonstrations Will the past be prologue? In the past, demonstrations of this size in Tehran have led to dramatic change followed by a backlash. This video also has historical echoes. A demonstration is set upon by motorized policeman. The crowds knock...
by Andy Blackadar at June 16, 2009 10:47 AM -05:00 GMT


trip to rural egypt Thursday was my first field assignment on the job, which meant going down 100km of industrial cement factories, then the farming villages of the Nile fluvial plain until making it to the two villages of Atfih and Deir al-Maymun in...
by Alexander Steven Wamboldt at June 13, 2009 07:02 PM 02:00 GMT


Community Policy-making in Action and Indirect Contact with Spanish Royalty Pamphlets are an effective way of doing dirty politics in poor neighborhoods. Guerrillas use it to stir up chaos and paramilitaries use it to make public death threats, impose curfews and announce social cleansing. This time, the pamphlet was being used to protest against bureaucratic inefficiency, which had resulted in serious problems for participants in the relocation process.
by Pablo Rojas at June 12, 2009 11:11 AM -05:00 GMT


Homosexuality in Medellin's Underworld He told me that some paramilitaries from his neighborhood immediately kicked out a loyal soldier after they discovered he had a boyfriend. In fact, after their unit had taken control of the neighborhood, this discovery was pretty much their most severe emergency. Pepe himself was the one who alerted the local commander that he had a homosexual in his unit, probably in full knowledge that the information could lead to the man's death.
by Pablo Rojas at June 12, 2009 11:04 AM -05:00 GMT


A Victory for Colombia, Several Losses for Moravia, and Busses Honking in Harmony Every day, I realize more and more that Medellin's highly praised transformation was essentially a series of creative, groundbreaking and inclusive but almost always incomplete projects. These projects, nonetheless, have begun to effect deep and far-reaching changes in the city's social landscape. I guess most cities are consistently behind schedule, cutting projects and rethinking priorities. Nevertheless, as long as the projects have the right fundamental idea - and Medellin projects certainly seem to - something will eventually get done that will positively transform an entire neighborhood.
by Pablo Rojas at June 11, 2009 12:40 PM -05:00 GMT


A Frustrated Fajardo Fights Back Many Colombians are still recovering from the brutal violence of the early 2000's and, while Colombia is by no means a peaceful country today, they simply will not risk electing a president who will mismanage their safety. The past seven years have created a sense here that a hardline security policy is the only security policy. Growing insecurity in major cities and some rural areas, rather than discrediting Uribe's approach, simply confirms that the country is still at war and needs some continuity in its leadership. Therefore, it will be quite difficult for Fajardo to present a politically viable alternative to Uribe´s mano dura.
by Pablo Rojas at June 10, 2009 10:47 AM -05:00 GMT


Bureaucratic Stalling and Soccer Violence It is just one display of Mayor Salazar's influence in the lower classes, as many fan groups are composed mainly of working class supporters, and of his awareness that, just as soccer has a potential for violence, it can be used as a force for peace. Further, it is the kind of initiative that has become common in Medellin, where people and political leaders remain committed to the idea that a crucial element of any successful anti-violence campaign is a plan to directly reform culture and behavior. In this case, the hope is that the display of unity by these mortal enemies will serve as a lesson for the city as a whole.
by Pablo Rojas at June 9, 2009 07:00 PM -05:00 GMT


Thoughts on Fajardo, Salazar and Organized Crime in Medellin As I see it, the city's current security challenges demand that the policies both at the national level and at the local level that were credited with saving Medellin from decades of mafia violence have to be re-evaluated.
by Pablo Rojas at June 9, 2009 03:28 PM -05:00 GMT


My first week with NGO FRACTAL An review of my initial involvement with NGO Fractal- Enclave tensions in Kosovo, decentralization and a conference on a regional truth and reconciliation commission for the Balkans.
by Tessa Lee at June 9, 2009 08:14 AM -05:00 GMT


Mass Cat Poisonings and A Welcome Visit by Llin The second floor, she says, has been inhabited in recent months by a street kid, whom she quickly kicked outt. He managed to enter the locked apartment through a window and unlock the door, which has made it much easier for other illegal inhabitants to move in. A displaced family stayed there for days and she finally had to call the police, who sent two cars and and a motorcycle to help kick them out. Most recently, drug addicts and criminals have used the second floor to use and sell drugs, steal, rape, and conduct express kidnappings. Edith frequently goes down there to kick them out, threaten them, and extinguish their fires and crack pipes with water so that she and her kids don´t inhale the fumes as they sleep. Further, the only thing separating her from the second floor is a loose wooden door. This woman clearly has some authority and plenty of experience in dealing with criminals. As Edith told me these stories, she pointed to a stick and a crowbar, hand weapons that she alternates between when evictions get complicated. I asked her, out of curiosity, how she felt about local security in general, and she rolled her eyes as if to complain and confirmed the rumors about forty police motorcycles.
by Pablo Rojas at June 8, 2009 04:50 PM -05:00 GMT


Golden Cellphones Get Psychoanalyzed by 10 Shaykhs (because Sunday's a Workday) My Pope Shenouda III project is well underway. As in, I have spent the last five days of work (meaning Friday and Saturday are excluded; Sunday is a workday here) going through the entirety of the Report's collection of articles...
by Alexander Steven Wamboldt at June 7, 2009 10:21 PM 02:00 GMT


Pictures of Moravia For photos of my first tour of Moravia, go to: http://picasaweb.google.com/pablorojasmejia/Moravia#
by Pablo Rojas at June 6, 2009 12:57 PM -05:00 GMT


Trouble in Moravia Since then, the area has become a hideout for criminals, an open air drug market and an improvised local trash dump. It is the very sort of urban decay that the Moravia Project seeks to reverse and prevent. When I visited Moravia last week, I saw a neighborhood booming with small-scale entrepreneurship, neighborhood solidarity, and optimism. Freshly painted houses, newly paved streets, a modern cultural center, and a brand new day care center were some of the achievements that greatly impressed some Catalan journalists who came to see Medellin´s transformation.
by Pablo Rojas at June 5, 2009 05:49 PM -05:00 GMT


The Refugee Camp in Front of the Mayor´s Office Displacement definitely puts a lot of pressure on offices like the one where I am currently working. Every day, people here strive to meet the most basic needs of Medellin´s poorest people, but we are all aware that thousands of people with urgent needs migrate to the city every month. While we try to reverse three decades of violence, marginalization and social decay in Moravia, as we look at the mountains that surround the city we know that new Moravias are already forming there, and that perhaps the people who most need our help have not even come to Medellin yet.
by Pablo Rojas at June 5, 2009 05:03 PM -05:00 GMT


The Park of Dreams, 11-year-old assassins and Botero´s Fat Birds Yesterday, just in front of my apartment building, two young hitmen - one of them 11 years old - shot and killed a local lawyer who was 8 months pregnant. They were both caught, and local doctors quickly performed a C section on the victim, saving the baby. The phenomenon of teenage hitmen, known as sicarios, used to be widespread in Medellin and even developed into a local subculture with its own religious mythology and vocabulary. This year´s 66% increase in the local homicide rate has some people nervous that the city may return to its brutal past.
by Pablo Rojas at June 4, 2009 05:17 PM -05:00 GMT


There's that whooshing sound of free-time escaping... My days of having nothing to do (but what a nice four days they were) are very much over. I have started my work for the Arab-West Report, and the last three days have kind of been a blur as a result. Though to be fair, some of that might be the fact that it was 110 today.
by Alexander Steven Wamboldt at June 3, 2009 01:23 PM 02:00 GMT


Moravia´s Transformation Moravia has a long history of marginalization and violence. The city administration kept the municipal trash dump there for ten years despite the growth of an entire community of people, many of them displaced by violence in neighboring regions of Colombia, on the site of the dump. When a terrible fire broke out in the late 1980´s and destroyed thousands of homes there, druglord Pablo Escobar relocated the victims of the fire in a neighborhood he built for them in Medellin, now called Barrio Pablo Escobar. Other drug trafficking organizations and armed actors would come to Moravia throughout the 1990´s to recruit footsoldiers. Further, Moravia´s strategic location near a local bus terminal, downtown Medellin, and several important roads made it a battleground where paramilitary groups, drug gangs and urban militias associated with Colombia´s guerrilla groups battled for control of drug routes and territory.
by Pablo Rojas at June 3, 2009 09:26 AM -05:00 GMT


Orientation I have now been in Cairo for about two days, waiting another two days to begin my internship. My early impressions are pretty much summed up with: "It's hot." To be perfectly fair and honest, that is about what I had expected...
by Alexander Steven Wamboldt at May 29, 2009 11:37 AM 02:00 GMT


Tigers' tail This month, one of the world's longest and bloodiest wars drew to a close. After a massive months-long offensive, the Sri Lankan military cornered the remaining forces of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) into a small patch of...
by Daniel Widome at May 29, 2009 11:15 AM -08:00 GMT


Arrival in Medellín My work here in Medellín will consist of supporting the mayor's office as they develop, monitor and evaluate what are known here as Strategic Projects. Medellín's Strategic Projects are for the most part urban development projects that the current mayor, Alonso Salazar, wants to leave behind as his personal mark on the city.
by Pablo Rojas at May 28, 2009 04:05 PM -05:00 GMT


Tamil Tigers surrender The Tamil Tigers have reportedly stated that we have already announced to the world our position to silence our guns to save our people Many in Sri Lanka are celebrating this victory. This is understandable. However, as Mark Tran argues...
by jon_mendel at May 18, 2009 12:27 AM 00:00 GMT


Tin Eye image search I was interested to see Tin Eye image search used in a blog post on BNP publicity. This search is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how...
by jon_mendel at May 14, 2009 01:41 PM 00:00 GMT


Nadine Dorries MP: "Tridents are not weapons of mass destruction" I was surprised to hear the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries on the BBC's Question time (just before 49 minutes into the show, if you want to listen) arguing that "Tridents are not weapons of mass destruction". The UK's Trident programme...
by jon_mendel at May 11, 2009 02:40 PM 00:00 GMT


Human Rights Documentation Manuals on Burma Released Apologies for the prolonged absence in posting. I've been handling some sensitive information, and at the time, I thought it best to refrain from blogging. For the past year, I've been transitioning from human rights work into more purely environmental...
by social justice at May 6, 2009 11:18 PM 08:00 GMT


Pirates and Piety in Somalia and Pakistan What is remarkable is that the new Somali government has managed to form an alliance between a group of devoutly religious Islamists and a bunch of Western-educated technocrats. There is still a group of even more hardened young jihadists (known as Al Shabab) who continue to call for the retrogressive interpretation of sharia. However, they are being marginalised by the Islamic Courts Union itself and most religious clerics in the country as misguided absolutists. The country seems to finally be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel and got commitments of more than $300 million in development assistance at a donors’ conference in Brussels earlier in the week. These developments augur well for Somalia but also have some important lessons for our own Islamist parties in Pakistan. It is high time that some of the educated Muslim scholars from the Jama’at-e Islaami and other religious institutions as well make it clear that the Taliban brand of Islam is a caricature of this great faith. Just as the Islamic Courts Union has disassociated itself from Al Shabab and Al Qaeda, and formed an alliance for the implementation of a pluralistic vision of Islam, the Pakistani ulema must actively sermonise to reclaim the minds of the youth in the Frontier from the infection of militancy. If such a transformation is possible in Somalia, that has held the epithet of Islamist state failure for so many decades, it can surely be possible in Pakistan too.
by Saleem Ali at April 25, 2009 01:45 AM -05:00 GMT


Zero nukes? Barack Obama's recent trip to Europe and the Middle East was an important moment in his young presidency. Having spent much of his term so far focused on the deteriorating economy and other domestic concerns, Obama's trip to the G-20...
by Daniel Widome at April 23, 2009 11:38 PM -08:00 GMT


The search of Damian Green MP's computer: he was given a list of which words were searched for The police recently, very controversially, arrested opposition MP Damian Green, and searched his home, office etc. and his computer: with the stated purpose of looking for evidence re leaks he had received. They also, rather troublingly, searched for documents relating...
by jon_mendel at April 19, 2009 01:22 PM 00:00 GMT


Poor security trade-off from Alliance and Leicester bank: accounts so secure that customers can't access them UPDATE: Following a discussion with Alliance and Leicester, it looks like this is an issue affecting Firefox but not Internet Explorer. Alliance & Leicester have also informed me that dates do not need to be entered in long format (despite...
by jon_mendel at April 15, 2009 01:30 PM 00:00 GMT


Treating Pakistan's "Cancer" The metaphor of “cancer” is particularly apt for our purposes: highly targeted radiotherapy, analogous to commando-style raids that have yielded important Al Qaeda targets, are essential to kill cancer cells. But excessive radiation (in the form of repeated drone attacks) itself spawns further cancer cells
by Saleem Ali at April 11, 2009 09:58 AM -05:00 GMT


New UK regulations re foreign students and workers New regulations "requiring academics to monitor international students and report absences to immigration authorities" have proved controversial. Universities have tried to implement them in various ways, but I was surprised to hear one academic reporting that they were told that...
by jon_mendel at April 9, 2009 07:12 PM 00:00 GMT


Nuclear empathy In his first months as president, Barack Obama's focus necessarily has been on the rapidly deteriorating economic situation. But while he grapples with unexpected and fast-moving domestic issues, certain timeless international challenges remain, Iran foremost among them. Although the danger...
by Daniel Widome at March 27, 2009 11:40 AM -08:00 GMT


"progress" from NATO in Afghanistan: needs a better password? Interesting story, via Schneier: Wikileaks has cracked the encryption to a key document relating to the war in Afghanistan. The document, titled "NATO in Afghanistan: Master Narrative", details the "story" NATO representatives are to give to, and to avoid giving...
by jon_mendel at March 9, 2009 11:52 PM 00:00 GMT


Thomas Barnett on counterinsurgency: "what we're seeing are non-mainstream media venues increasingly serving as the center of gravity for new thinking and new consensus in all sorts of fields" Fascinating virtual round table on the new media and counterinsurgency at Small Wars Journal [PDF]. Thomas Barnett's contribution is particularly interesting: My sense is that what we're seeing are non-mainstream media venues increasingly serving as the center of gravity for...
by jon_mendel at March 2, 2009 02:39 AM 00:00 GMT


Diplomatic celebrity The first full month of Barack Obama's presidency was dominated by a debate over the economic downturn and by the administration's ultimately successful effort to pass a stimulus bill. But as the new president made his mark on the domestic...
by Daniel Widome at February 26, 2009 04:05 PM -08:00 GMT


"Facts that are Not Facts" in international politics Relating a discussion about international politics, Carlos drops a wonderful quote: "Those are Facts that are Not Facts". For Carlos:international audiences bond on their belief that the media lies/is biased. Then they disagree on what the bias or lie is...
by jon_mendel at February 9, 2009 10:30 PM 00:00 GMT


The News Isn't News ---- Thoughts On Radio Specifically and Journalism Generally in Ghana I recently returned home from a fall spent interning in production and broadcasting for a community radio station in Cape Coast, Ghana. Really poor internet kept me from sorting out my blog in Ghana, but now I’m back! And here...
by Chantal Berman at January 23, 2009 05:07 PM -05:00 GMT


Strip mined This month's fighting in the Gaza Strip has dashed any hopes—never realistic to begin with—that the Israel/Palestine conflict would prove any less vexing for President Obama than it has for previous U.S. presidents. The fighting has earned condemnation all around,...
by Daniel Widome at January 22, 2009 11:04 PM -08:00 GMT


Soft power in Obama's inauguration speech Now that the text of Obama's inauguration speech is now online, it's worth following up Tuesday's look at the role of 'soft power' here. Obama asks listeners to: Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with...
by jon_mendel at January 22, 2009 12:28 PM 00:00 GMT


Obama on power and security Just listened to Obama's inauguration speech: a very well-written speech. What stood out on first listen was the discussion of power and security: Obama emphasised that US power and security will depend in part on the battle of ideas, and...
by jon_mendel at January 20, 2009 05:28 PM 00:00 GMT


Barnett: "we still don't have an agency that concentrates on getting postwars correct?" There's a lot of material on Thomas Barnett's often interesting - and frequently updated - blog. I'm someone who tends to write very long answers to even apparently simple questions - so it's bracing for me to see such sharp,...
by jon_mendel at January 15, 2009 03:33 PM 00:00 GMT


Remarkably ill-advised PR from BAA The Guardian reports a shocking piece of PR from BAA: Politicians are accusing BAA, Britain's largest airport operator, of "bullying" after it sent a warning letter to those due to take part in a mass protest at Heathrow tomorrow. John...
by jon_mendel at January 12, 2009 12:19 AM 00:00 GMT


Mumbai revelations As gruesome as they were, last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai were a bold wake-up call. The ten attackers entered Mumbai by boat, fanned out across the city, and attacked and laid siege to many of its most notable landmarks....
by Daniel Widome at December 29, 2008 09:53 PM -08:00 GMT


Electronic NHS records: security concerns Britain's National Health Service (NHS) is now starting to store our medical records electronically. Clearly, this can have benefits; however, these records can contain very sensitive information, and the security arrangements currently in place seem woefully inadequate. The BBC's All...
by jon_mendel at December 10, 2008 11:35 PM 00:00 GMT


Is violent disruption of medical care pathognomonic of civil war? From the Times today, "Hospitals Now a Theatre in Mexico's Drug War": Hit men pursuing rivals into intensive care units and emergency rooms. Shootouts in lobbies and corridors. Doctors kidnapped and held for ransom, or threatened with death if a...
by Ben Brown at December 5, 2008 08:13 AM -05:00 GMT


Mumbai attacks: "This was not terror...This was war." In an odd accident of timing, I gave a (pre-planned) lecture this week about counter-insurgency, and the blurring of boundaries between insurgency, war and other types of violence. I was talking about a trend towards an increasing escalation of the...
by jon_mendel at December 4, 2008 02:48 PM 00:00 GMT


On language and motherhood A couple weeks ago, I saw an article titled "Motherhood is not a Universal Experience" on the Global Health Policy blog at the Center for Global Development. The author writes, The difficult birth this week of a new baby girl...
by Ben Brown at December 2, 2008 12:00 PM -05:00 GMT


Great expectations The election of Barack Obama this month was a historic moment not just for the United States but for much of the world, as well. Polls taken in other countries prior to the election showed that Obama was an overwhelming...
by Daniel Widome at November 28, 2008 03:03 PM -08:00 GMT


Global health goes local I've been thinking for a while about how to get this blog going. I've had it set up since May but haven't known quite where to start. However, some recent experiences at the Olneyville Health Center, where I work every...
by Ben Brown at November 17, 2008 01:27 PM -05:00 GMT


Teh Internets [heart] The Smith-Mundt Act? There's a prominent upcoming conference on The Smith-Mundt Act - an act which, among other things, means that the US government cannot legally direct propaganda towards the US population. Abu Muqawama argues that the act was also written in the...
by jon_mendel at November 3, 2008 12:24 AM 00:00 GMT


Electoral conclusion Election day is no longer weeks, months, or years away. In a few short days, Americans will elect either Barack Obama or John McCain as president. If the race has seemed interminable, that's because in many respects it has been....
by Daniel Widome at October 24, 2008 12:05 AM -08:00 GMT


Vice and virtues After months of presumption, Barack Obama and John McCain are now the official standard bearers of their respective parties. More newsworthy than the nominating conventions, however, were the relatively late announcements of each candidate’s vice presidential running mate. Obama proved...
by Daniel Widome at September 25, 2008 09:09 PM -08:00 GMT


Palin's Alaskan Approach to Natural Resources Support of mining projects should not singularly discredit a candidate’s environmental credentials. However, the nuance and care with which such decisions are made deserve greater scrutiny by the public as a mark of leadership versus positional entrenchment. In coming months, Alaskan resource management may well become an unlikely touchstone of presidential acumen for voters.
by Saleem Ali at September 17, 2008 11:46 PM -05:00 GMT


The risk of terrorists using contagious psychosomatic illnesses Fascinating post on Wired: courtesy of wikileaks, a government document [PDF] has emerged which discusses how Americans' fear of a terrorism could create a mass outbreak of a psychosomatic illness -- even in absence of any real attack -- --...
by jon_mendel at September 15, 2008 11:42 PM 00:00 GMT


NYT article: Dexter Filkins on Pakistan, the Taliban and the US Quick follow-up to this post: there's an excellent NYT article by Dexter Filkins online now. Very much recommended....
by jon_mendel at September 9, 2008 02:17 PM 00:00 GMT


Dexter Filkins on Pakistan, the Taliban and the US There's a fascinating interview with Dexter Filkins on BBC Radio 4's The World this Weekend today - listen again here, from about 23:30 into the broadcast. Filkins reports that Pakistani forces in the border regions (with Afghanistan) have failed to...
by jon_mendel at September 7, 2008 06:16 PM 00:00 GMT


Abu Muqawama on insurgencies in the Southern Philippines and Southern Thailand I was interested to see the excellent Abu Muqawama blog posting about these insurgencies. Well worth reading the post in full but - maybe because I have just eaten - I was especially taken with the discussion of the utility...
by jon_mendel at September 2, 2008 01:41 AM 00:00 GMT


Application received In a month in which the Beijing Olympics, the impending party conventions, and vice presidential speculation should have been the main political news, an overseas war rudely interrupted. The conflict between Russia and Georgia, ostensibly over the breakaway Georgian regions...
by Daniel Widome at August 29, 2008 02:11 AM -08:00 GMT


Kilcullen's views on the decision to invade Iraq My last post quoted David Kilcullen in the Washington Independent. However, there has been some discussion about the particular quote that jumped out at me (and that I highlighted). Kilcullen has since blogged that: Spencer Ackerman, in yesterday’s Washington Independent,...
by jon_mendel at August 3, 2008 11:55 PM 00:00 GMT


Back and Forth So I totally ended my last post in a cheesy and abrupt way—what a terrible combination. I promise to never again joke about rising fuel prices, or compare networking efforts to wildfires (did I really?). More importantly, I’ll try to...
by Belinda Navi at July 31, 2008 07:00 AM -05:00 GMT


David Kilcullen: the decision to invade Iraq was "f***ing stupid" Via the Small Wars blog, I learned about an interesting Washington Independent article on how After nearly seven years of costly strategic ignorance in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a coming handbook written mostly by a former top...
by jon_mendel at July 28, 2008 12:32 PM 00:00 GMT


Foreign process Although the Iraq war has been a dominant foreign policy issue in the presidential election, it certainly is not the only conflict to demand the candidates' attention. The conflict in Afghanistan has gained increasing prominence in the campaigns of Republican...
by Daniel Widome at July 24, 2008 11:29 PM -08:00 GMT


Research Paper - A Hard Landing for Virtual War: Iraq, Land and Insurgency As I've blogged before, I've recently been doing some research for the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation: analysing the role that Iraqi resources have played in the post-invasion disorder in the state, and opportunities to improve the situation there. I'm pleased to...
by jon_mendel at July 24, 2008 02:20 PM 00:00 GMT


American Dreams: counterinsurgency and American, Iraqi and Afghan cultures As part of their American Dreams radio series, the BBC has ran an excellent programme looking at 'cultural' training for US forces in Fort Riley (listen here, while still available). 'Transition Teams' are trained here before heading out to Iraq...
by jon_mendel at July 20, 2008 02:23 PM 00:00 GMT


Schneier on chinese cyber attacks There's an interesting post on Bruce Schneier's blog, arguing that The popular media conception is that there is a coordinated attempt by the Chinese government to hack into U.S. computers -- military, government corporate -- and steal secrets. The truth...
by jon_mendel at July 14, 2008 04:18 PM 00:00 GMT


The Story and The Plan I took my first warm shower this morning, one week into my stay in the Philippines. I wanted to wait longer—perhaps two, three weeks (for dramatic effect)—but the opportunity presented itself, and I decided to end my winning (?) streak,...
by Belinda Navi at July 8, 2008 05:55 AM -05:00 GMT


i have a great respect for teachers i feel like my short stint as a teacher helps me empathize more w them and solidifies my belief that it is one of the most undeservedly underappreciated jobs there is. sometimes i feel like i'm bipolar b/c i want...
by Eunice Chyung at July 7, 2008 05:21 AM -05:00 GMT


The End of Theory, and the US Army on "the Cusp of Postpositivism"? In an interesting Small Wars Journal article, Christopher R. Paparone (associate professor in the Army Command and General Staff College’s Department of Logistics and Resource Operations) looks at the new Army FM 3-0, Operations - and argues that this shows...
by jon_mendel at July 3, 2008 02:19 PM 00:00 GMT


Glorious arrival I just arrived in the Philippines last night, and what greeted me upon exiting the airport building was nothing less, nothing more than expected: humidity, heat (at 11pm), and the excitement of crowds of families gathered to welcome their loved...
by Belinda Navi at July 2, 2008 07:10 AM -05:00 GMT


the brunonians have arrived all of us are officially in kolkata and volunteering. hooray! if i had my camera cord dealie, this is where i'd stick up a photo of me, ye sul, lisa, and melissa. and i met a traveller from japan who...
by Eunice Chyung at July 1, 2008 08:13 PM -05:00 GMT


Options for Health: Western Cape I know there's been a rather large delay between the first entry and this one which means that I'm not hovering over a computer all the time :). The primary reason I'm in Cape Town in the first place is...
by Reshma Ramachandran at June 30, 2008 06:43 AM -05:00 GMT


Occupation justification The war in Iraq is clearly one of the most important foreign policy issues in this year's presidential campaign. Arguably, it was the issue that single-handedly shaped the parties' nomination battles. The success of Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) rested in...
by Daniel Widome at June 26, 2008 01:22 PM -08:00 GMT


WELCOME TO CAPE TOWN I arrived to Cape Town on Saturday, the 7th of June. The first thing I saw upon landing was green. Not just patches of green among concrete like at home, but green encompassing and surrounding the airport. I had only...
by Reshma Ramachandran at June 17, 2008 11:11 AM -05:00 GMT


most epic journey ever so i use the word "epic" pretty often considering that it is such an extreme adjective, but seriously, this time it is absolutely justified b/c it WAS the most epic journey ever. a few days ago, a few other volunteers...
by Eunice Chyung at June 17, 2008 02:35 AM -05:00 GMT


profiles of different homes now that i've officially seen all of the places where volunteers can work: shanti dan - school for street kids and center for women who have either been abused, in prison, or have disabilities. the womens' building has 2 floors...
by Eunice Chyung at June 12, 2008 12:31 PM -05:00 GMT


Sudder St. Mafia It would be a funny thing if it weren't so serious. Basically, the beggars on Sudder (where most vols stay) are organized and specifically target foreigners for money. For example, just today, I was walking behind a beggar woman who...
by Eunice Chyung at June 10, 2008 04:12 AM -05:00 GMT


I think I can I've been in Kolkata a little over a week, and I think I'm beginning to adjust to life here (knock on wood). The heat isn't so bad if you're smart about it, like not being outside during the middle of...
by Eunice Chyung at June 8, 2008 04:22 PM -05:00 GMT


Appeasement politics Now that the Democratic nomination is all but settled, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) is transitioning from the primary campaign to the general election. His Republican opponent, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), has been waiting for him there. But in recent days,...
by Daniel Widome at May 22, 2008 11:49 AM -08:00 GMT


Durham and Amsterdam's Data Wars project: website launch Just a quick post to say that the Amsterdam and Durham Universitys' Data Wars project (which I'm working on as research associate) has just launched its new website. As the website says, Data Wars is a three-year research project which...
by jon_mendel at May 16, 2008 02:58 PM 00:00 GMT


Distribute Iraq's oil revenues directly to the public? Not many entries lately - I have been finishing up an article on the role of networks in the construction of the Afghan state, and a paper on Iraqi resources for the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. More on the latter paper...
by jon_mendel at May 1, 2008 10:43 PM 00:00 GMT


Bedside manner Despite appearances to the contrary, the recent vitriol between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama masks some genuine differences between the Democratic candidates. One particularly important difference involves health care. The difference, however, is not so much one of policy....
by Daniel Widome at April 30, 2008 12:17 AM -08:00 GMT


Update / Burma's Sham Referendum Many apologies for the prolonged absence in posting. Security concerns. Let me update you since last entry. At the end of last year, I finished my time editing papers for human rights and environmental activists from all around the Mekong...
by social justice at April 28, 2008 06:08 PM 08:00 GMT


Special interests By now, the Democratic primary has stretched on longer than almost anyone could have predicted. Senators Hilary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) are each well-funded and broadly supported candidates. But as the race has dragged on, the sparring between...
by Daniel Widome at April 24, 2008 08:13 PM -08:00 GMT


Encouraging Adoption Pakistan and the Muslim World Thus the history of Islam provides us with adequate encouragement for adoption as a worthy deed and one which families should consider more actively across the Muslim world but particularly in Pakistan. While Senator McCain might not be the most appealing U.S. presidential candidate for many Pakistanis on other accounts, his nobility as an adoptive parent must be admired and emulated.
by Saleem Ali at March 29, 2008 10:06 AM -05:00 GMT


Encouraging Adoption in Pakistan and the Muslim World Thus the history of Islam provides us with adequate encouragement for adoption as a worthy deed and one which families should consider more actively across the Muslim world but particularly in Pakistan. While Senator McCain might not be the most appealing U.S. presidential candidate for many Pakistanis on other accounts, his nobility as an adoptive parent must be admired and emulated.
by Saleem Ali at March 29, 2008 10:06 AM -05:00 GMT


Five years The fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq generated a good deal of reflection on the course of the war so far. Unsurprisingly, much of this commentary emanated from the presidential candidates. Each one underscored the distinctions on Iraq and...
by Daniel Widome at March 27, 2008 06:07 PM -08:00 GMT


RUSI lecture on military robots Prof Sharkey gave what sounds like an interesting lecture at RUSI last month. In particular, I'd draw out Sharkey's emphasis on how 'terrorists' and others might be able to take advantage of this technology - especially as prices fall and...
by jon_mendel at March 8, 2008 10:34 PM 00:00 GMT


The problem with language Partway through Arundhati Roy’s essay, “Power Politics”, she makes a memorable observation about the use of language in the development world: “In March 2000, I lived through a writer’s bad dream [the World Water Forum at the Hague]. I witnessed...
by gowriv at March 5, 2008 09:21 AM 05:30 GMT


Pakistan's political heir The mourning period of Benazir Bhutto’s tragic assassination has passed this week with a surprisingly calm election and Pakistanis will no doubt begin to approach her son and political heir Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in various ways to express their hopes and fears for the country. As one such citizen, I write this article at the eve of the publication of his mother’s notable book and also after a pivotal election victory for her party. You may ask why I write to give advice to a nineteen year old who couldn’t even run in the election? The answer is simple: reform is far easier to advocate to those who are new to the process than to those who are entrenched in entitlements of the old system. Perhaps that is why so many Americans are gravitating towards an inexperienced but youthfully optimistic senator named Barack Obama.
by Saleem Ali at March 1, 2008 08:12 PM -05:00 GMT


All apologies Earlier this month, Australia's parliament passed a resolution formally apologizing for one of the country's most egregious practices of institutionalized mistreatment of indigenous Australians. In issuing this apology, Australia is not alone. Apologies for past, state-sponsored misdeeds have become a...
by Daniel Widome at February 28, 2008 12:30 PM -08:00 GMT


From Alma Ata to the Global Fund From Alma Ata to the Global Fund: The history of International health policy is a report prepared by the Italian Global Health Watch, published in the journal of Social Medicine (Volume 3, Number 1, January, 2008). This paper traces...
by Syamak Moattari at February 14, 2008 07:03 PM -05:00 GMT


Fair and balanced assessment of the risks of modernity Sometimes satire can be the best response to fear-mongering, and eclectech's wonderful response to scare stories about the Internet is a good example. Here in the UK, we're regularly warned about the dangers of the Internet: paedophiles, identity theft, hackers,...
by jon_mendel at February 14, 2008 12:40 AM 00:00 GMT


Health, market or essential human right that is the question Last week in a Medical Care Class at the BU school of public health, we discussed about the health market, professor said that the health market is an imperfect market, because it doesn't have the characteristics and assumptions adhered...
by Syamak Moattari at February 10, 2008 11:56 AM -05:00 GMT


Mistaken identities Identity politics has become a defining force in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. From New Hampshire to Nevada to South Carolina, some uncomfortable questions have been raised: Do whites tell pollsters they support Sen. Barack Obama but privately...
by Daniel Widome at January 31, 2008 07:15 PM -08:00 GMT


Indonesian Islam is "greening" In a remote part of Central Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, there is a rather unusual form of environmentalism taking root. Shadowed by the great Merapi volcano and surrounded by fertile fields of rice and sugarcane, a small school is graduating environmentalists whose commitment to the earth is not based on Western conservation texts but rather predicated in values derived from Islam. The head of the school, Nasruddin Anshari, frequently uses the refrain “one earth, for all”, just as much as he does the usual Islamic invocation of Allah-u Akbar (God is Great).
by Saleem Ali at January 21, 2008 12:14 PM -05:00 GMT


Incident with Iran was almost a horrible accident? There's a fascinating story in today's Guardian - it looks like the "heckling radio ham known as the Filipino Monkey, who has spent years pestering ships in the Persian Gulf" might have been responsible for the recent incident between the...
by jon_mendel at January 14, 2008 03:15 PM 00:00 GMT


Health and Human Right Surprisingly Health and Human Right as a unique field (one concept) is a young, but rapidly growing and dynamic field. When we think about public health, unconsciously we consider it as a human right, these two words had evolved...
by Syamak Moattari at January 9, 2008 11:44 AM -05:00 GMT


Results of the Election 2008 I wrote this note last week before knowing about Iowa caucus's result. Today is the day of New Hampshire primary vote. We are looking forward to learn about the results of "Super Tuesday" and so on. It is too...
by Syamak Moattari at January 8, 2008 11:58 AM -05:00 GMT


Needs Assessment, a weapon for change Needs assessments play a vital role in strategic planning and in program and policy development process. In the needs assessment process, we try to learn about current needs for services and an assessment of effectiveness of past programs to...
by Syamak Moattari at January 7, 2008 12:54 AM -05:00 GMT


Why Public Health? When I was a medical student in 80s a friend of mine who studied Philosophy at that time, always quoted a message from one of the Greek ancient philosophers about “Physicians”, the quote was something like: The “mean Docs” want...
by Syamak Moattari at January 6, 2008 01:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Benazir Bhutto's Tragic Demise Benazir was a charismatic yet polarizing politician who showed remarkable courage in returning to Pakistan earlier this year despite numerous threats to her life. It is a tragedy for the country that those who follow absolutist ideologies are armed to the teeth and can inflict such damage both literally and figuratively to Pakistani society. The only way to address the problem is to have a massive campaign to disarm militants, and also strengthen civil institiutions so that people have a voice and the fanatics lose their recruiting ability. At the same time it is important for Americans to keep things in perspective about Pakistan. While this is a terrible tragedy, America has also shown to the world that strong societies can recover after such dreadful assassinations and the vast majority of Pakistanis have a vibrant national commitment that will allow them to recover as well. The next few weeks will be crucial in terms of how fast this recovery will be -- the international community must remain engaged with Pakistan's transition towards democracy and keep the pressure on President Musharraf to hold free and fair elections in coming months. Linked below is a long audio interview that I gave to our local press about the Bhutto tragedy which they have posted online with a slide show about Bhutto's life and tragic passing which can be heard from the link below: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/legacy/slideshows/122707bhutto/index.html
by Saleem Ali at December 27, 2007 10:38 PM -05:00 GMT


Balancing Islam in Academe Defying the stereotype of many Muslim youth who are often branded as killjoys, Isra also knows the importance of enjoying life. She is an avid fan of American football and plays sports regularly (one of the criteria for evaluation in Cecil Rhodes bequest for the scholarship). The ability to connect with youth through sports and peer-mentoring programs is so essential among social activists and Isra has used these skills in her work with the Inner-city Muslim Action Network in Chicago. Such programs bring positive competition to youth that might otherwise be indoctrinated with radical absolutist ideologies and are gaining momentum in Muslim communities.
by Saleem Ali at December 23, 2007 06:20 PM -05:00 GMT


Home stretch As the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary rapidly approach, the “real” presidential campaign is about to begin. The first actual votes are about to be cast, lending a visceral certainty to a campaign season that has at times...
by Daniel Widome at December 20, 2007 11:54 AM -08:00 GMT


The costs of meeting the global demand for oil I'm doing some research for the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation - looking at the post-invasion ab/use of Iraqi resources. I'm going to be using this blog to write about some of what I find out. A good place to start, I...
by jon_mendel at December 5, 2007 01:40 PM 00:00 GMT


Salvaging Peace with Syria We are once again at the brink of a Middle East peace conference and Syria's attendance remains unlikely. U.S. and Israeli policy makers continue to speculate about the sincerity of Syrian involvement, and consequently the Syrians have dismissed the forthcoming meeting as a "waste of time." The most significant point of contention between Syria and Israel remains the disputed mountainous region of Golan, which Israel has occupied since 1967. In order to have meaningful engagement from Syria, creative solutions to the Golan conflict must be on the agenda of the proposed Annapolis meeting that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is planning.
by Saleem Ali at November 24, 2007 06:09 PM -05:00 GMT


Pakistani perils In recent weeks, Pakistan has been wracked with a level of turmoil and uncertainty unique to that already unsteady state. Given its proximity to Islamic extremists—in Afghanistan, in Kashmir, and possibly within the government itself—as well as its nuclear arsenal,...
by Daniel Widome at November 22, 2007 08:50 PM -08:00 GMT


AVAAZ's call on ASEAN to ACT NOW ***The 19 ONLINE PETITIONS/PLEDGES FOR BURMA HERE.*** __________________________ For those in Asia, please help put the pressure on ASEAN to act now! from AVAAZ: Asia: Act Now for Myanmar's People On November 21, China, India, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia...
by social justice at November 20, 2007 10:47 AM 08:00 GMT


Burma the Most Corrupt and Worst Government in the World ***The 19 ONLINE PETITIONS FOR BURMA HERE.*** __________________________ Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, puts out an "annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), first released in 1995, is the best known of TI’s tools. It has been widely credited with...
by social justice at November 19, 2007 04:02 PM 08:00 GMT


NEED-Burma and the Food Security Crisis in Burma ***The 19 ONLINE PETITIONS/PLEDGES FOR BURMA HERE.*** __________________________ Last week, I began helping out part-time with the Network for Environment and Economic Development (NEED-Burma), an NGO that works on training Burmese on sustainable agriculture methods. Because of poor economic policies,...
by social justice at November 19, 2007 03:54 PM 08:00 GMT


AVAAZ's Boycott on Total Oil, Chevron, and Their Subsidiaries ***The 19 ONLINE PETITIONS/PLEDGES FOR BURMA HERE.*** __________________________ ***The petitions and pledges are now up to 19.*** AVAAZ also is launching a global boycott of Total Oil and Chevron and all their subsidiaries that operate in Burma. You can sign...
by social justice at November 19, 2007 03:50 PM 08:00 GMT


TAKE ACTION! The Petitions for Burma For those who care about human rights, please sign the NINETEEN(19) PETITIONS below if you have not done so already. Please take the 5 minutes to do this. It's easy and CAN and WILL bring concrete results to the suffering...
by social justice at November 17, 2007 11:58 PM 08:00 GMT


US Citizens, Help get the Block Burmese JADE and the Burmese Democracy Promotion Acts Passed ***The 17 ONLINE PETITIONS FOR BURMA HERE.*** __________________________ US Citizens, please help get the Block Burmese JADE (Junta Anti-Democratic Efforts)Act and the Burmese Democracy Promotion Act passed. Put the pressure on your Representatives and Senators for the toughest US Sanctions...
by social justice at November 17, 2007 11:46 PM 08:00 GMT


LA Times: "Airport tests reveal major security flaws" The LA Times reports that Los Angeles International Airport screeners failed to spot simulated bombs in 75% of tests last year...
by jon_mendel at November 16, 2007 06:31 PM 00:00 GMT


Human Terrain System, Memory and "A CORDS for the 21st Century" Being forwarded the American Anthropological Association's statement on the Human Terrain System (HTS) Project, I looked back over some of the materials on this project. One thing that surprised me was a reference [PDF link] to HTS as "A CORDS...
by jon_mendel at November 13, 2007 06:18 PM 00:00 GMT


Pakistan's Lessons from Lebanon Peace is fragile in a fractured world and until institutions of human tolerance and economic and political justice are carefully nurtured at the most fundamental level in societies, there is little chance that either elections or martial law can salvage countries as far afield as Pakistan or Lebanon from such perennial cycles of crises.
by Saleem Ali at November 10, 2007 01:08 PM -05:00 GMT


About Dasara and documentation A few weeks ago, with some excellent company, I had the opportunity to see the Dasara festival in Mysore for the first time. Up until now, my experience of Bangalore only held validity between the months of June and August....
by gowriv at November 7, 2007 12:04 PM 05:30 GMT


Inferiority complex In recent weeks, the House of Representatives has dipped its toe into a pool of international and historical animosity. The partial success of a resolution condemning the 1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire—it passed a...
by Daniel Widome at October 25, 2007 05:17 PM -08:00 GMT


Please Help Stop the Bloodshed in Burma The 12 petitions for Burma HERE....
by social justice at October 23, 2007 10:59 PM 08:00 GMT


Tell the EU: SQUEEZE THE BURMESE JUNTA http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_squeeze_the_junta/tf.php?cl_tf_sign=1 the European Union will decide this Monday, October 15, whether to adopt stronger sanctions and incentives to press the repressive Burmese military junta into dialogue with the opposition. Avaaz.org is mobilizing citizens of every EU country to send messages...
by social justice at October 12, 2007 11:13 PM 08:00 GMT


The Nobel Prize and Gore Climate change continues to be a pervasive source of dissent and discord within the scientific community as well as among policy-makers. However, such dissent should not be an excuse for inaction, specially in these heady days of preventative warfare. Comparative security analysts might also argue that since the United States is willing to incur over $500 billion dollars in preventative wars in the Middle East over a five-year timeframe, some measure of serious consideration to preventative strategies on climate change is also in order. Towards this larger goal of prioritizing policy, Al Gore must be commended for drawing our attention to issues of global salience beyond our all-consuming fear of terrorism.
by Saleem Ali at October 12, 2007 01:44 PM -05:00 GMT


Blog post taken down by homeopathic complaint: a chill wind is blowing I've previously blogged about attempts to censor a UK blogger, and the problems that this caused to the would-be censor. It seems like chill winds are blowing, again: the Quackometer blog has just been forced to take down a post,...
by jon_mendel at October 11, 2007 12:41 PM 00:00 GMT


Update http://freeburmaactioncenter.blogspot.com/...
by social justice at October 9, 2007 12:22 PM 08:00 GMT


Bush administration lobbying to use pesticides to eradicate Afghan opium poppies - what are they smoking? Reported in today's NYT: After the biggest opium harvest in Afghanistan’s history, American officials have renewed efforts to persuade the government here to begin spraying herbicide on opium poppies, and they have found some supporters within President Hamid Karzai’s administration,...
by jon_mendel at October 8, 2007 03:48 PM 00:00 GMT


About bubbles and numbers Maybe it’s a good sign, but I’ve stopped pausing every few days to remark to myself about how long I’ve been in Bangalore, how long I’ve been at Akshara, and what on earth I’ve been doing. A cause (or maybe...
by gowriv at October 8, 2007 12:12 PM 05:30 GMT


The Oil and Gas Industry is the Junta's Lifeline *****Again, the NINE (9) online PETITIONS HERE, including a new petition against the Shwe Gas Project, and one calling for Chevron to divest.***** _____________________________________________________________________________________________ American company Chevron, France's Total SA, South Korea's Daewoo, and the Gas Authority of India are...
by social justice at October 7, 2007 12:09 PM 08:00 GMT


The First Blow and The "Revolution of the Spirit" **As of now, there are a total of 9 ONLINE PETITIONS calling for collective action on the parts of the UN Security Council, the UN General Body, China, and Myanmar. Please consider signing HERE. (This entry's going to be a...
by social justice at October 6, 2007 11:03 PM 08:00 GMT


Myanmar sets conditions for meeting Suu Kyi / Sanctions Analysis / Lack of Human Rights Discourse in China from AP Hoping to deflect outrage over images of soldiers gunning down protesters, Myanmar's hard-line leader announced Thursday he is willing to talk with detained democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi -- but only if she stops calling for international...
by social justice at October 5, 2007 10:37 AM 08:00 GMT


For Burma: National Campus Day of Action Oct 5 /Global Day of Action Oct 6 !!!!!!!!!!A Global Day of Action is currently being organized. Get involved. Show that you care.!!!!!!!!!! _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Chinese Support for Myanmar's Junta Sparks Olympics Boycott Epoch Times Article - from the US Campaign for Burma We are writing this urgent...
by social justice at October 5, 2007 01:31 AM 08:00 GMT


Burma in Crisis: 1988 Part 2 Download file">Download an article I just wrote for newspapers entitled Burma in Crisis: 1988 Part 2. If you can, please forward it to your school and city newspaper editors, and tell them to edit and publish it, to use it...
by social justice at October 4, 2007 09:21 PM 08:00 GMT


Military Accidents Interesting RAF story in the news yesterday - they accidentally dropped a 14kg bomb from a plane during an exercise. Luckily, it was a practice bomb (with a fuse, not live) and didn't hit anybody but, still, it's quite a...
by jon_mendel at October 4, 2007 07:55 PM 00:00 GMT


Patriot Act surveillance provisions ruled against by US courts Sorry for the lack of blog entries - just got my PhD submitted :) which has been keeping me fairly busy lately - but in terms of getting back into the swing of things, here's a link to an interesting...
by jon_mendel at October 3, 2007 04:09 PM 00:00 GMT


Indigenous Rights and the Quartet After two decades of deliberations, the United Nations General Assembly finally adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples on September 13. The voting demographics were most interesting: 143 nations in favour, 11 abstaining and 4 against. Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States were the quartet that voted to deprive indigenous people of a largely ceremonial endorsement of their fundamental rights. Pakistan happily voted in favour of this resolution, though I wonder how much our government really appreciates the status of our tribal populations.
by Saleem Ali at September 28, 2007 07:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Hyperbolic insight As the first primaries of the 2008 presidential election rapidly approach, the campaign rhetoric has heated up. Desperate to consolidate their leads or topple the front-runners, the presidential candidates have become increasingly comfortable with hyperbole, exaggeration, and obfuscation. Although these...
by Daniel Widome at September 28, 2007 11:11 AM -08:00 GMT


Israel and Pakistan: comparative perspectives on the judiciary At the end of the day, Israelis, Palestinians and Pakistanis alike seek justice just as much as any other human community. The perception of how justice is configured and dispensed on either side of an issue is just as significant for conflict resolution as the substance of the cases themselves. It is high time that the West and the East become more discerning about giving credit and censure where it is due, regardless of our own political proclivity.
by Saleem Ali at September 16, 2007 04:42 PM -05:00 GMT


TOTAL DENIAL SCREENING @ BROWN 9/16 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL is having a screening of the film TOTAL DENIAL this Sunday (9/16) from 6-8 pm in Salomon 001. Total Denial- a film by Milena Kaneva - and winner of the 2006 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Award is a...
by social justice at September 14, 2007 11:09 AM 08:00 GMT


China's Support of Burma's Oppressive Military Junta This is not an ad, this is a plea for humanity. Ever since I saw Burmese migrant worker shantytowns in Thailand and the grinding poverty in Burma 2 years ago, the situation in Burma is currently deteriorating. I have...
by social justice at September 14, 2007 10:55 AM 08:00 GMT


R-E-F-O-C-U-S As my time in China draws to an end, I have decided to shift my focus and transform this blog mainly into an advocacy mouthpiece for social change, democracy, and human rights in Burma. The issue is multilayered and complex....
by social justice at September 13, 2007 03:01 PM 08:00 GMT


Climate Change and the Way of the Peaceful Warrior Recently, I have been reevaluating my values and how they influence my environmental impact. I've just come back from a trip to both Inner Mongolia and Mongolia, where the Chinese and Mongolian officials are using seabuckthorn as their main weapon...
by social justice at September 12, 2007 03:10 PM 08:00 GMT


Goodbye Dar-es-Salaam Hello Blog Readers, Much time has passed since my last substantial blog entry and I have returned to the States just a few days ago. My last weeks in Dar were bittersweet. Saying good bye to my friends and leaving...
by Julia Hazen at September 5, 2007 09:51 PM -05:00 GMT


Greening Pakistan's Cities With growing urbanisation rates, Pakistan will have to contend with the challenge faced by our cities immediately. The solutions are not as far-fetched as we may initially consider. The amount of money needed for green planning is usually no more than what is invested in many other misguided infrastructure projects
by Saleem Ali at September 5, 2007 08:10 PM -05:00 GMT


Bleak comparison Parallels between the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam practically draw themselves. Many have long since noted the most obvious similarities: In each conflict, the United States struggled to defeat an unconventional enemy, using unorthodox tactics, in an...
by Daniel Widome at September 3, 2007 11:43 PM -08:00 GMT


Back in the U.S.A. The one thing I appreciate after being in the land of green and yellow is the proliferation of the stars and stripes in Washington, D.C. Here Connecticut Avenue expresses its patriotism with its multiple "flagation." (Maybe I'll start a...
by Hazen Kazaks at September 1, 2007 07:55 PM -05:00 GMT


Petits Plaisirs “This is the best kind of voyeurism; hearing joy from your neighbors.” - Chuck Sigars (August 12th) Nyamirambo is the Muslim neighborhood of Kigali. There are two mosques, lit up with white and green fluorescents so they look somewhat like...
by Caitlin Lee Cohen at August 31, 2007 04:06 PM -05:00 GMT


What, exactly, is Caitlin doing in Rwanda? I work for WE-ACT, a group that does HIV-related care for women who are positive as a result of rape during the genocide. They also have a family program, income generation, peer education, and numerous other related programs.
by Caitlin Lee Cohen at August 31, 2007 04:02 PM -05:00 GMT


Betwixt the tealeaves and gorillas, Rwanda has a macabre industry: genocide tourism. (July 26th) At Ntarama I found a pass card. It had holes in it, the photo was torn off, but the boxes next to Hutu and Twa were empty, and there was a small innocuous looking X next to Tutsi....
by Caitlin Lee Cohen at August 31, 2007 03:56 PM -05:00 GMT


Smoke and Mirrors What does this title mean? In the development sector, It alludes to the phenomenon called "selective targeting." When NGOs, governmental bodies, and other relief agencies identify "favorable" groups to help, in essence, choose areas where it is relatively easier to...
by social justice at August 24, 2007 03:59 PM 08:00 GMT


Open policy Over the past few weeks, amid of the summer's political doldrums, the 2008 presidential campaign has heated up. On the Democratic side, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has found his foreign policy views placed under increasing scrutiny by his competitors and...
by Daniel Widome at August 24, 2007 02:25 PM -08:00 GMT


To quantify justice. One can define justice broadly, but IJM’s definition has a clear, straightforward component, and that is the abuse of power used to take from another human what is rightfully theirs—life, dignity, or the fruits of their love and labor. Such...
by Carrie Lutjens at August 20, 2007 08:15 PM -05:00 GMT


Approaching "the end", but really "just the beginning"... My time in Uganda is rapidly coming to an end. To my sadness I will shortly be departing. To my joy, I will leave with a large collection of things that one can’t put their hands around, so called “intangibles”: diverse experiences, accomplishments, challenges, frustrations, friendships, lifelong friendships that border...
by Vijay Narayan at August 20, 2007 11:44 AM 02:00 GMT


Data in the classroom? After almost two months at Akshara I can finally claim to have interacted with at least a few people at almost all levels of the system; the core of KLP, teachers, the most recent addition to my list of people...
by gowriv at August 17, 2007 12:11 PM 05:30 GMT


Images of Poverty ..one... As he reaches down into the trash can, I think about telling him that there's nothing to be had. Two or three other scavengers have already picked the trashcan clean of any and all valuable refuse able to be...
by social justice at August 15, 2007 05:23 PM 08:00 GMT


Work and Play A child outside a Christian church in Umpium Camp. A playground in Tham Hin. Waiting for the volleyball game to begin. A cow herder and his cattle in Nupo Camp. Playing under a house. Launching a kite in Umpium....
by Bremen Donovan at August 15, 2007 09:34 AM -05:00 GMT


Names People in the camps have occasional access to television, where Western cultural norms are learned through the filter of popular media interpretations of those norms. One of the quirky results of this particular situation is the late profusion of Western...
by Bremen Donovan at August 15, 2007 08:51 AM -05:00 GMT


David Shayler is the reincarnation of a BCE Jewish revolutionary. Apparently. I've previously blogged about the MI5 whistleblower, and prominent 9/11 'truth' movement member, David Shayler: he allegedly advocated a lot of David Icke-style beliefs around aliens etc (although, when Schnews reported this, he denied much of it). However, things get...
by jon_mendel at August 10, 2007 12:16 AM 00:00 GMT


Suggested Reading about Dar es Salaam and microfinance Hello Watsonblog readers! Work is pretty hectic right now but I thought I should suggest some resources for those who might be interested in learning more about microfinance, Dar es Salaam or microfinance market research. For a very thorough introduction,...
by Julia Hazen at August 9, 2007 05:50 AM -05:00 GMT


Election Images 2 MHP banners in Eyup, Istanbul...
by Jill Luxenberg at August 8, 2007 04:16 AM -05:00 GMT


Election Images I meant to post these during the campaigns, but they got lost in the excitement. I wish I had pictures for all of the parties, but I only managed to snap a few. Here is an image of CHP banners...
by Jill Luxenberg at August 8, 2007 04:08 AM -05:00 GMT


Privacy and Harassment on the Internet - Kassiane Sibley Privacy on the Internet is clearly a concern - pictures, e-mails, blog entries etc. that one would not want the world to see can now circulate incredibly easily. Online harassment can also be a concern (for example, the problems faced...
by jon_mendel at August 8, 2007 12:37 AM 00:00 GMT


Moving ahead with the actual "adolescent transition clinic and peer support program" The research study assessing the needs of adolescents has been a core part of my work this summer, laying the groundwork for creation of the adolescent transition clinic and peer support program by ascertaining whether it is even needed, why it is needed, and in what ways such a program...
by Vijay Narayan at August 7, 2007 11:56 PM 02:00 GMT


The Pope's Woods, my cool buildings, and an UFO? After going to the Oscar Niemeyer museum (also called the "Eye" museum because that's what it resembles), I got this shot from an adjacent park. A wooded area dedicated to John Paul II is also nearby. Can you spot...
by Hazen Kazaks at August 7, 2007 09:41 PM -05:00 GMT


Vibrant Mural Downtown Curitiba This mural is located near where I work, and on the way to a good vegetarian restaurant. The Governor's Palace is right next door....
by Hazen Kazaks at August 7, 2007 09:35 PM -05:00 GMT


T minus Two Days Well, well, well, My 9 weeks in Brazil are almost up. In 48 hours, I hope to be in some stratosphere-plying vehicle headed for North America. However, in the meantime, I am in the process of organizing my data, acting...
by Hazen Kazaks at August 7, 2007 01:44 PM -05:00 GMT


On foreign policy: Obama's choice After months of enduring repeated accusations that he lacked policy substance, Barack Obama now faces the opposite problem. In recent weeks, as the Illinois senator has fleshed out his foreign policy agenda, he has encountered increasing criticism from across the...
by Daniel Widome at August 7, 2007 04:01 AM -08:00 GMT


Camp Conditions 1: Housing and Life at Home Building a new house in Umpium Camp. A house in Tham Hin Camp. Children playing in the street between their houses, Nupo Camp. A child waiting on his porch. A grandmother and her grandchild in the living room of...
by Bremen Donovan at August 6, 2007 06:59 AM -05:00 GMT


The Campaign Continues The goal of our information campaign, a collaborative effort between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Rescue Committee’s Overseas Processing Entity (IRC-OPE) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is to ensure that...
by Bremen Donovan at August 6, 2007 03:02 AM -05:00 GMT


About data and how to use it It’s amazing that after over a month at Akshara I continue to learn more about how the organization works. In the past two weeks, I’ve met more cluster volunteers, two BEOs, some BRPs and CRPs, P, the academic who designed...
by gowriv at August 4, 2007 12:09 PM 05:30 GMT


Not as Easy as I Thought As an outsider coming in to do development work, it's very easy to see the flaws in the clogs of the system. However, it's also very easy to assume and misunderstand why the situation is so. Take the following for...
by social justice at August 1, 2007 04:27 PM 08:00 GMT


Finding out the needs: the research study (Part 2) Continuing with describing the study tools: after finalizing the needs assessment questionnaire, we formulated focus-group discussion guides---to guide the moderators in facilitating the discussions. The questions and probes were most carefully conceived to find very specific data just as the quantitative questionnaires were. Yet as I mentioned, FGDs (focus-group discussions)...
by Vijay Narayan at July 31, 2007 04:05 AM 02:00 GMT


Wanderings in the Haven of Peace Sorry for the inexcusably long blog silence. Things here are at FINCA Tanzania have been really hectic. I am working with the newly formed Marketing Office. We have been undertaking a market survey of Dar-es-Salaam. To situate our research within...
by Julia Hazen at July 30, 2007 04:42 AM -05:00 GMT


Somehow it's been a month... Sorry for the delay—I have to make sure to only post State-approved information, so there can be a bit of a delay sometimes! The past week has probably been my busiest and most exciting so far. I went on a...
by Jill Luxenberg at July 30, 2007 01:51 AM -05:00 GMT


Terror questions As Congress engaged in another round of contentious debate over the Iraq war—this time, complete with a successful overnight filibuster by Republicans—the country was reminded of the nagging, perpetual fear of terrorism. A spate of attempted and botched terrorist attacks...
by Daniel Widome at July 28, 2007 11:05 AM -08:00 GMT


Falls, Fog, and Frontiers I traveled out to the city of Foz do Iguaçu to kick off another round of interviews with sugarcane growers. This time, we talked to farmers who grew sugarcane not for fuel ethanol, but for the potable type of...
by Hazen Kazaks at July 28, 2007 12:56 AM -05:00 GMT


Iguaçu (Iguassu) Falls Here we are at the falls....
by Hazen Kazaks at July 28, 2007 12:53 AM -05:00 GMT


Water, Water, Everywhere Here is another closer, view. With this volume of water, it’s no wonder how the nearby Itaipu (Itaipú) Dam can claim to be the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world. We also got a lot of spray being...
by Hazen Kazaks at July 28, 2007 12:46 AM -05:00 GMT


Paraguay! With Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil forming a triple border near Foz do Iguaçu, we took advantage of their proximity and visited all three nations. While in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, I took the obligatory shot of some Paraguayan flags...
by Hazen Kazaks at July 28, 2007 12:43 AM -05:00 GMT


The ethics of translation in Iraq I have just found a fascinating BBC piece on the use of translators in Iraq by US-led forces. Given the unfortunately limited language skills of many UK troops in Iraq, the translators used clearly play a significant role. They can...
by jon_mendel at July 28, 2007 12:09 AM 00:00 GMT


Local Geopolitics While in the southwest corner of the state of Paraná, my translator André and I entered into Argentina (we also visited Paraguay-see other entry.) As you can see, the Argentine-U.K. dispute over the Falklands-Las Malvinas still nurses unsettled feelings....
by Hazen Kazaks at July 27, 2007 11:40 PM -05:00 GMT


Finding out the needs: the research study (part 1) The study we are in the process of conducting seeks to determine the needs of HIV-infected adolescents at the IDI, and what specialized care they may require. There is a dearth of literature and knowledge on transitional care of adolescent/young adult patients in general. In the initial literature review I...
by Vijay Narayan at July 23, 2007 02:43 AM 02:00 GMT


My tongue, the spoiled hedonist I guess I should be writing on how my thesis research is going, how I have been having outstanding meetings with Brazilian sugarcane experts, and how even with serious linguistic barriers, I have managed to have productive, informative, and...
by Hazen Kazaks at July 21, 2007 10:05 PM -05:00 GMT


The occupation in Iraq and international law Earlier this week, there was a very interesting BBC radio programme on the occupation in Iraq: listen again here. The programme discusses how the occupation was viewed in international law, and how this relates to issues of sovereignty. There's also...
by jon_mendel at July 21, 2007 03:47 PM 00:00 GMT


Election correction: Turkey and the EU On Sunday, Turks will go to the polls to elect a new parliament. This earlier-than-expected election will be the latest chapter in the decades-long debate over secularism and democracy that has defined modern Turkey, as well as the culmination of...
by Daniel Widome at July 19, 2007 09:22 PM -08:00 GMT


Getting Things Moving For the past couple of weeks, I've had a bit of displeasure at the slow pace of work. Sometimes I'd have nothing to do, so I would read books or websites on development (sand filters, microfinance), or worse, get sucked...
by social justice at July 19, 2007 04:57 PM 08:00 GMT


The Why After all we are talking about love, passion, happiness, beauty and popularity, not something practical or definable.
by Leona Rosenblum at July 19, 2007 02:01 PM -05:00 GMT


Bearings and Famous 'Abolitionists' An entire month into my internship, I've found my bearings at IJM, started my own assignments, and gained a sense of how much I can share without jeopardizing the efforts of the organization's field offices around the world. So welcome...
by Carrie Lutjens at July 18, 2007 03:37 PM -05:00 GMT


Conceptualizing the model for the "Adolescent Transition Clinic and Peer Support Program" I left off in the last entry giving the background of my project to create a specialized support and clinical care model for HIV-infected adolescents. The idea for this project—way back when— came from the observations and testimonies of a number of people involved in the care of IDI adolescent...
by Vijay Narayan at July 16, 2007 02:19 PM 02:00 GMT


About fractals and mountain-climbing It’s now the beginning of my fourth week at Akshara. It seemed impossible at first, but I feel I’m starting to find a place for myself here. Reviewing literature on libraries worldwide gave me a chance to do what I...
by gowriv at July 16, 2007 12:07 PM 05:30 GMT


A Day in the Life... Reading over my last entries, I realized that I haven’t given a very good picture of what I actually do on a daily basis. Every day is different here, but I’ll try to give a sense of my work life....
by Jill Luxenberg at July 16, 2007 04:25 AM -05:00 GMT


Field Work I briefly mentioned in an earlier entry that I am in Brazil to research the social and environmental dimensions of sugarcane production in Brazil (particularly for ethanol). Well, as my absence from the blog scene for about a week and...
by Hazen Kazaks at July 15, 2007 11:39 PM -05:00 GMT


Tropical Scene While north of the Tropic of Capricorn and south of the Tropic of Cancer, I took this picture along the banks of the Paranapanema River, which divides the states of Paraná and São Pauo. I was also far enough...
by Hazen Kazaks at July 15, 2007 11:18 PM -05:00 GMT


Mmm...Sugarcane...Yum! Here I am in one of the sugarcane fields, doing research, and...chewing on a piece of sugarcane and enjoying it. If you never have tried it, the consistency and after-taste of the stuff hints at watermelon, besides being watery...
by Hazen Kazaks at July 15, 2007 10:57 PM -05:00 GMT


Northern Paraná landscape Here's what the landscape of the sugarcane growing area of Paraná, a southern state of Brazil, looks like. My guide and I were on our way to getting lost when this picture was taken. Haha....
by Hazen Kazaks at July 15, 2007 10:54 PM -05:00 GMT


Peril in Pakistan The challenge of preventing cooptation of Islamic institutions by external interests for political conflict, while preserving their independence and social service is reaching a critical juncture in Pakistan and across the Muslim world.
by Saleem Ali at July 15, 2007 05:23 PM -05:00 GMT


The Bureaucracy and Politics of Working in a Large INGO The Bureaucracy of working in a large INGO can be suffocating...endless and somewhat pointless meetings, paperwork, and more paperwork...It's difficult to accept that this is how things work in NGO circles. More frustrating is the fact that a leading way...
by social justice at July 12, 2007 12:14 PM 08:00 GMT


Update on the project! I’ve now been in Kampala, Uganda for over a month, and it’s more than about a time I provide some updates on my work here! To start it has been wonderful to back in Uganda. I was here for four weeks over winter break, working with a rural development NGO...
by Vijay Narayan at July 10, 2007 04:34 PM 02:00 GMT


Sleek High Rise
by Hazen Kazaks at July 9, 2007 08:53 PM -05:00 GMT


My Place of Work
by Hazen Kazaks at July 9, 2007 08:38 PM -05:00 GMT


sin bandas, drogas, y Colombianos I guess political freedoms and rights don’t always seem like the most important things. And dictatorship has always been attractive for the vast scale and efficiency of what can be accomplished when no one has a chance to disagree, (under Mussolini, the trains ran on time).
by Leona Rosenblum at July 8, 2007 07:50 PM -05:00 GMT


Look Both Ways I’m never quite sure what wakes me up. Sometimes it’s the traffic, other times it’s the welder across the street. There are even times where going to bed at 10 pm has paid off, and I wake up naturally....
by Guy Bloembergen at July 8, 2007 09:57 AM -05:00 GMT


Solutions to Rural Energy Demands and Global Waste Disposal Dilemmas For those interested...here is my research paper from Viet Nam on the promises of nutrient recycling and how it can solve much of today's waste disposal and environmental problems, both in the context of rural third world development and...
by social justice at July 6, 2007 10:52 AM 08:00 GMT


Cool Buildings Well, here are the photos of the cool looking buildings. Don't they resemble what you might find inside an iphone or other high-tech gadget? Anyway, these high rises are near where I work (the blue and black one with the...
by Hazen Kazaks at July 5, 2007 09:53 PM -05:00 GMT


Kiziba The Kiziba camp is nestled onto one of the hilltops just under the highest mountain in the region, a 45-minute wash-board drive with some incredible views of the lake. When you round the corner to the road that continues to the camp, you can see the white tarpaulin cover from afar. The camp looks almost organic, like a fungal growth on a log. Even when you draw close it is hard to imagine that it is home to 18,000 people. You can see the schoolhouses first, long and rectangular, and the sprinkling of students dressed in strikingly sharp blue-colored uniforms wandering in and out for their morning break. Some of the students had wandered a little far on their recess; on the road to the camp we passed several youth dancing a little jig of freedom, the dance of “youth-cutting-class”. We pulled the car over to scold them in several languages for their lack of attendance.
by Caitlin Lee Cohen at July 5, 2007 10:37 AM -05:00 GMT


Resettlement and Refugee Camps along the Thai/Burma Border A small child is standing before me, with a haphazardly shaven head and two quarter-sized gold hoop earrings. His wobbly legs indicate that he has only recently learned how to walk. The child’s sweater has the look of a tenth...
by Bremen Donovan at July 4, 2007 08:32 AM -05:00 GMT


O livro está na mesa In Brazil, if someone does not know English very well, their fall back phrase is "the book is on the table." Because não falo o português muito bem, I use a parallel phrase. If I can't quickly respond to something...
by Hazen Kazaks at July 4, 2007 12:01 AM -05:00 GMT


Elections Background As promised, this entry will deal with the hottest topic in Turkish politics right now, the July 22nd parliamentary elections. These elections were originally supposed to be held in the fall, but because the Grand National Assembly (GNA) failed to...
by Jill Luxenberg at July 3, 2007 01:49 AM -05:00 GMT


First Visit to the Chinese Countryside One of my co-workers convinced me to go with him hiking on a mountain range southwest of Xian, and of course, wanting to get out of the city, I agreed. Our plans weren't really set, and, to be honest, we...
by social justice at July 1, 2007 02:23 PM 08:00 GMT


Slip Sliding... Today, I played soccer with my Brazilian neighbors. The only *ahem* interesting aspect of the game was it was not on grass, but on sand, which apparently is routine down here, but I was not used to it. I guess...
by Hazen Kazaks at June 30, 2007 03:04 PM -05:00 GMT


Freedom of speech for academic bloggers - a good result I've previously blogged about Prof. David Colquhoun at UCL being forced to remove his blog from UCL's servers. However, UCL has relented: the blog will be restored, when Prof. Colquhoun has time to move it back. Clearly, this is something...
by jon_mendel at June 30, 2007 12:37 PM 00:00 GMT


Potholes Maybe this desire to travel back in time is why seeing Blockbusters, Dominos, McDonald’s, and Office Depots everywhere you go is so frustrating for the tourist.
by Leona Rosenblum at June 29, 2007 08:42 PM -05:00 GMT


Immigration compromise Of all the praise and criticism he has received over the past seven years, one thing can be said with certainty about President Bush. He has painted his presidency in big, bold strokes, displaying a remarkable degree of political stubbornness...
by Daniel Widome at June 29, 2007 07:05 AM -08:00 GMT


From the macro to the micro In a few hours I’ll have spent a week at the Akshara Foundation, or almost a week, excluding this weekend’s somewhat undeserved vacation. Looking back on it, the week went by quickly. When I left Harvard, I had the impression...
by gowriv at June 27, 2007 12:05 PM 05:30 GMT


Introductions and Arrival This is my first official blog, so bear with me while I try to figure things out. I’m a rising senior and I’m concentrating in modern European and Middle Eastern history. I’m keeping a Watsonblog because I was given the...
by Jill Luxenberg at June 26, 2007 01:54 AM -05:00 GMT


Gesundheit! Brazil has a similar overarching history to the United States. Both countries have had their own experience with European colonialism beginning in the early modern era, and the subsequent exploitation of continent-sized swaths of land, where the ocean-crossers found plenty...
by Hazen Kazaks at June 24, 2007 10:44 PM -05:00 GMT


Mwenge English class and Microfinance Market Research So the big news around here is that the Tanzanian National Football team (the Taifa Stars) beat Burkina Faso (1-0) in Ougadougou this weekend. If they beat Mozambique in September, they will proceed to the African Cup of Nations in...
by Julia Hazen at June 23, 2007 11:41 AM -05:00 GMT


pizza and pizza As part of being abroad in a foreign land, in my case Brazil, I have attempted to experience many interesting sights and sounds. However, there is something to be said about revisiting one place over time to get a good...
by Hazen Kazaks at June 21, 2007 03:23 PM -05:00 GMT


first entry Well, I arrived here in Brazil two weeks ago and only now getting around to blogging. (There have been some hiccups getting online, plus I only recently ridded myself of an unwanted Brazilian virus.) fast 1.45 AM impressions? Brazil is...
by Hazen Kazaks at June 20, 2007 12:38 AM -05:00 GMT


Ntarama altar- sight of the massacre of 5000 The Ntarama church, sight of the massacre of an estimated 5000 people. It has been left essentially as found: there are bibles, clothing, and bones between the pews. Photo courtesy of Kresa King Cutcher (camera_rwanda@yahoo.com), with permission....
by Caitlin Lee Cohen at June 19, 2007 05:21 AM -05:00 GMT


Mail me the carbon... The road by my house is undergoing construction. This morning, when digging the sewer, three men uncovered several bones from a human’s remains. There was little ceremony. They dusted them off with a rag, purchased a plastic hallmark-style gift bag covered in hearts, and placed the bones inside delicately, though they had been driven on top of for years. I didn’t see what they did with the bag, but I imagined them leaving the cheesy valentines present on the doorstep of some neighbor. I imagined little kids ringing the doorbell and running away, and the horror on the face of the recipient. Is there any good way to receive half a dead body? Can the kitchy hearts, an expensive gesture in such a poor country, cushion the blow?
by Caitlin Lee Cohen at June 19, 2007 04:53 AM -05:00 GMT


They really do sell Panama hats here, just so you know... After a week of being lost in a new country, of the solitude of living alone for the first time, of trying to translate for people from dozens of countries in a language I’m not sure of myself, of immersion in the corporate culture of the UN, of struggling to make sense of a thousand acronyms, we ended with a few brief moments of actual human interaction with a bunch of little boys who would really like to play soccer. It all suddenly makes slightly more sense.
by Leona Rosenblum at June 18, 2007 06:47 PM -05:00 GMT


The seed of wisdom The seed of wisdom did I sow, And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow, And this was all the harvest that I reap'd, I came like water, and like wind I go -- Omar Khayyam Source :...
by Syamak Moattari at June 15, 2007 10:07 PM -05:00 GMT


A sign in Seoul's city plaza on June 5, 2007 -- South Korea has the highest per capita emissions in all of Asia
by Saleem Ali at June 12, 2007 09:35 AM -05:00 GMT


RIP Richard Rorty Sad to hear, but the philosopher Richard Rorty died on June 8th. I remember struggling to get to grips with his writing for years - his work on human rights (especially a lecture delivered as a fundraiser for Amnesty) was...
by jon_mendel at June 11, 2007 12:58 PM 00:00 GMT


Karibu Dar es Salaam Hello blog readers, This summer I am working for a microfinance organization called FINCA Tanzania. FINCA Tanzania is affiliated with the American organization FINCA International, based in Washington DC. FINCA Tanzania has been operating since 1998 and has over 37,000...
by Julia Hazen at June 11, 2007 06:42 AM -05:00 GMT


Freedom of speech for academic bloggers - UCL forces Prof Colquhoun to remove his blog David Colquhoun's a chemistry professor at UCL, and also runs an Improbable Science blog - criticising dodgy 'scientific' claims. Sadly, Colquhoun has been forced to remove his blog from UCL's servers: Colquhoun reports that an item about claims made for...
by jon_mendel at June 10, 2007 04:38 PM 00:00 GMT


Kacyiru: Can a sewer be beautiful? I have moved from the downtown neighborhood to a place called Kacyiru, a mixed-class neighborhood tucked on the side of the hill under many of the government ministries. The road is soon to be paved, and thus the roads have been torn up and rained on. The mud forms thick cakes on the bottom of my flipflops, making them snap heavily against my heels and spray me with dirt. Rwanda’s compulsory community service program is funding the materials for a sewer system, and everyone comes out on the weekend to make solid and surprisingly beautiful stone-walled sewers. The sassiest women take part, wearing green caps and pants, straddling the edge of the sewer with their masonry tools. They shout “Muzungu! Witwande?” (Hey Whitey, what is your name?), and are surprised when I respond “Nitwan Caitlin” (I am called Caitlin).
by Caitlin Lee Cohen at June 10, 2007 05:03 AM -05:00 GMT


Mr. Ahmadinejad, please turn your volume down What is your definition of National Interests? Each time you address something in your verbose talks, we start mourning in this country. Every time you start showing a hostile picture of our nation, I have to show hundreds of slides...
by Syamak Moattari at June 8, 2007 03:40 PM -05:00 GMT


The Moroccan-American Dialogue Comes to a Close...For Now And just a soon as it had begun, it was over. The two-day Rabat, Morocco, conference was a great success, drawing inquisitive, engaged young people from the US and Morocco to discuss two big issues: democracy and security. While...
by Laurel Rapp at June 6, 2007 01:37 PM -05:00 GMT


Settling In It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve arrived in Cambodia. My time has flown here – on the one hand I feel like I touched down in Phnom Penh yesterday, but on the other hand I feel like I’ve...
by Guy Bloembergen at June 6, 2007 04:45 AM -05:00 GMT


The Moroccan Democracy Conference Begins The first day of the Rabat, Morocco, conference has just come to a close! We’re all exhausted, but very pleased with the way it turned out! Al Jazeera (Qatar-based pan-Arab TV station) was there broadcasting introductions and two of...
by Laurel Rapp at June 2, 2007 08:15 PM -05:00 GMT


Dispatches from North Africa My name is Laurel Rapp and I’m a recent Brown grad (’06) and Watson Associate currently on a Rotary fellowship in Rabat, Morocco, for the year. I’m conducting research on female veiling practices, but I’m also planning a conference series...
by Laurel Rapp at June 1, 2007 12:47 PM -05:00 GMT


Watson as a international community After spending four monthes of happy time at Watson Institute, I am excited to come back Beijing to join my family and old friends to resume my normal life. However, I become to miss Watson Institute and the WISE guys...
by Shenghe Liu at May 30, 2007 08:14 PM -05:00 GMT


View from WE-ACT office, R. Noelle Bates
by Caitlin Lee Cohen at May 30, 2007 01:34 PM -05:00 GMT


Delphine, Perfectionism, and Recovery. The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, runs a tight ship. The streets are named and numbered, there are public trashcans, the public parks have manicured lawns, there are no street markets, and moto taxi drivers are required not only to wear helmets but to bring them for their passengers as well. When I arrived in Kigali my plastic bags were confiscated at the airport, because they have been make illegal to cut down on trash. Kagame has been accused of micromanagement, and yet this country was in need of considerable structure, even if structure is manifest in neurotic details.
by Caitlin Lee Cohen at May 30, 2007 11:56 AM -05:00 GMT


Development Studies honors thesis Shortly, I will post something here outlining my idea for this blog. Until then, I've decided to use this as a portal to make my thesis available. It is entitled: "Dynamics of Transnational Advocacy: The Case of the Free Trade...
by Nick Renzler at May 29, 2007 05:23 PM -05:00 GMT


Critical Education The use of educational institutions for political ends is a well-established tradition across cultures and societies. Exemplified recently by anti-war activism at universities in the West as well as the rise of Marxist movements in schools in South America or the Ayatollah ascendancy at Tehran University, institutions of learning are often places of revolution. Ideas invigorate young minds to action but Alexander Pope’s prescient observation of “a little learning being a dangerous thing” is just as true today. While the independence of educational institutions must be maintained, some level of quality assurance and critical reasoning is also essential to ensure that captive audiences of students are not manipulated.
by Saleem Ali at May 28, 2007 01:37 PM -05:00 GMT


Climate change With each new scientific study and extreme weather event, the consensus that climate change is a real and man-made challenge grows stronger. Although a few politicians continue to be skeptical of the severity of the problem, their numbers are dwindling,...
by Daniel Widome at May 25, 2007 09:09 PM -08:00 GMT


Cyberattacks on Estonia - a move to netwar? Some interesting arguments around cyberattacks on Estonia: The computer attacks, apparently originating in Russia, first hit the Web site of Estonia's prime minister on April 27, the day the country was mired in protest and violence. The president's site went...
by jon_mendel at May 21, 2007 02:14 PM 00:00 GMT


Arrival Sometimes you can't help but laugh. As a child, I had a sort of surrogate grandmother who used to cycle to our house to see us all the time. When it rained, she wore this ridiculous clear vinyl raincoat that,...
by Guy Bloembergen at May 20, 2007 03:50 AM -05:00 GMT


Blair, Brown and ongoing foreign policy failures If you haven't been living under a stone lately, you probably know that Tony Blair has announced that he will soon be going as UK Prime Minister; Gordon Brown is as near as possible to a sure thing for the...
by jon_mendel at May 14, 2007 01:26 PM 00:00 GMT


Degrees of Fortune American academia was shocked by the resignation of MIT’s dean of admissions Marilee Jones on April 26 for pretending to have degrees which she did not actually receive. As an alumnus of MIT, I feel obliged to consider this incident further since it raises fundamental questions about contemporary meritocracy.
by Saleem Ali at May 11, 2007 08:34 PM -05:00 GMT


Grief, anxiety, and the politics of remembering the 7/7 attacks With new information emerging about the 7/7 London bombings, there have been new calls for an independent inquiry. I'm particularly interested in what Blair had to say about this in the UK Parliament: "We have to be clear about the...
by jon_mendel at May 5, 2007 10:19 PM 00:00 GMT


New website launched as Social Network for HIV/AIDS Community Launched on March 1st, HIVConnect.net is a unique site that connects all sectors of the HIV/AIDS community. This new social network is a place of free dialogue for people with HIV/AIDS, Community Based Organizations, AIDS Service Organizations, and the family...
by Syamak Moattari at April 30, 2007 10:30 PM -05:00 GMT


Demography of Terror Former secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld, in a recently released confidential memorandum, posed the central question about the American war on terror: “Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassahs and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?” Starting with Rumsfeld’s question, journalist, Mark Danner has commendably approached this issue in detail and his answer is a resolute “no”.
by Saleem Ali at April 28, 2007 11:56 AM -05:00 GMT


Iraq pushback In the past few months, the Congressional debate over the Iraq war has come into much greater focus. In January, Democrats in the House and Senate—freshly installed as the majority party in each chamber—generated a raft of proposals to rein...
by Daniel Widome at April 26, 2007 11:44 AM -08:00 GMT


US Corporations and Chinese Labor Standards During my second year in China, while working for Yale Law School's China Law Center, I was intensively researching labor issues in China. The National People's Congress is currently in the process of revamping the legal structure of the labor...
by Aaron Halegua at April 18, 2007 08:55 AM -05:00 GMT


Hilary Benn "In the UK, we do not use the phrase 'war on terror'" UK International Development Secretary Hilary Benn has recently been in the news - arguing that In the UK, we do not use the phrase 'war on terror' because we can't win by military means alone, and because this isn't us...
by jon_mendel at April 17, 2007 01:17 AM 00:00 GMT


Downing Street petition about Navy prisoners selling stories The Prime Minister's Downing Street website now allows member of the public to post online petitions. One petition - about the recent decision to allow those Navy personnel held prisoners by Iran - has recently been getting media attention. The...
by jon_mendel at April 13, 2007 05:18 PM 00:00 GMT


Mapping the killing in Darfur with Google Earth The US Holocaust Museum has now released Google Earth layers, mapping out the crisis in Darfur. This looks like an interesting political use of the sparial and visual aspects of mapping - and apparently something that the Holocaust Museum plans...
by jon_mendel at April 10, 2007 05:44 PM 00:00 GMT


Max Clifford on propaganda and Iran With controversy building about the decision to allow the British Navy Personnel captured by Iran to sell their stories, the BBC has an interesting interview with the PR specialist Max Clifford - listen again here (about 10mins in). Clifford argues...
by jon_mendel at April 9, 2007 08:09 PM 00:00 GMT


A Success Story, Population Policy in Iran As health professionals interested in International health a lot can be learned from the Iran population policy story. The process of implementing the policy shows the importance of census data in developing countries, and also the value of a powerful...
by Syamak Moattari at April 8, 2007 09:41 AM -05:00 GMT


The joys of serious organised crime Just been trying to get on with my PhD work at the same time as laughing (harder than you'd think - my Dragon software doesn't know what to make of laughter). I've been listening to a Mark Thomas show -...
by jon_mendel at April 5, 2007 01:49 PM 00:00 GMT


Drugs, again - discussion of legalising Afghan opium production Interesting story in last Independent on Sunday: The 'IoS' can reveal Tony Blair is considering calls to legalise poppy production in the Taliban's backyard. The plan could cut medical shortages of opiates worldwide, curb smuggling - and hit the insurgents...
by jon_mendel at April 2, 2007 07:08 PM 00:00 GMT


Drug-taking troops provoke UK army crisis Lorna Martin in Sunday's Observer reports that: Fifteen British soldiers a week are being thrown out of the army for taking drugs, including heroin, ecstasy, cannabis and cocaine...Almost 800 troops were discharged last year after failing random drug tests. But,...
by jon_mendel at March 26, 2007 05:00 PM 00:00 GMT


Baghdad - Mapping the Violence Last week, I was talking with some of the people studying the 'war on terror' at Durham. One response to reports of sectarian violence in Iraq was to note how maps of the country would soon be coloured in with...
by jon_mendel at March 23, 2007 01:45 AM 00:00 GMT


Balance of power When Democrats won control of Congress last year, many speculated about how the Bush administration would respond. Without a supportive Republican-controlled Congress, would the administration become more conciliatory in its expansive interpretation of executive prerogative? Or would it become even...
by Daniel Widome at March 23, 2007 01:00 AM -08:00 GMT


How serious is Iran nuclear program Maybe you are overwhelmed with the news about our nuclear program, I don’t know much about this issue, and I have absolutely no idea about the standards of the nuclear scientists. Recently president Ahamdinejad gave a talk and he mentioned...
by Syamak Moattari at March 18, 2007 06:22 PM -05:00 GMT


Gen. Pace - homosexual acts are immoral Anyway, as far as international politics goes, the latest thing to catch my attention has been Gen. Pace's claim that "homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts". On the one hand, this...
by jon_mendel at March 16, 2007 01:50 PM 00:00 GMT


Pricing Nature and Harmonizing Economics Economists have successfully branded themselves as scientists with mathematical exactitude that allows them to artfully negotiate the vagaries of human consumption patterns through pricing mechanisms. Yet the life support systems that sustain the planet have eluded their grasp and have often been relegated to the residual category of externalities.
by Saleem Ali at March 14, 2007 11:21 PM -05:00 GMT


Is really Iran President is an Israeli secret agent? I am not a politician, and I do not know a lot about politics, but I found a note in an Isreali website by Guy Bechor, who writes periodically at Ynetnews, the leading source for Israel news, on his article...
by Syamak Moattari at March 13, 2007 10:33 AM -05:00 GMT


The Power of Hollywood for making Good and Bad Nations Despite the fact that 300 is not a historical film, and it is just a fiction, but Iranian community takes position against it, because of the fact that this film tries to show our ancestor like uncivilized, gory, bloody and...
by Syamak Moattari at March 12, 2007 12:23 PM -05:00 GMT


RIP Baudrillard Working late and listening to the radio, I've just heard that Jean Baudrillard has died, aged 77. At a time when Baudrillard's analyses of how "Virtuality retranscribes everything in its space [and] human ends vanish into thin air in virtuality"...
by jon_mendel at March 7, 2007 12:50 AM 00:00 GMT


No War With Iran Forget the NEWS and Propaganda against Iran, people in Iran like the other Nations are full of love and life. please check this out...
by Syamak Moattari at March 5, 2007 02:51 PM -05:00 GMT


Budget brawl Earlier this month, President Bush sent his proposed budget for FY 2008 to Congress. At this point, the “proposed” aspect of the $2.9 trillion, 2500 page document should be emphasized. By the time Congress gets done with it, the federal...
by Daniel Widome at February 25, 2007 11:20 AM -08:00 GMT


Ministry of Defence psychic research - remote viewing has "little value" There's echoes of Ronson's The Men Who Stare at Goats in recently revealed UK MoD research into the use of psychic phenomena. In these experiments: The previously secret tests - conducted in 2002 - involved blind-folding volunteers and asking them...
by jon_mendel at February 23, 2007 04:55 PM 00:00 GMT


UK Iraq troop withdrawal - now is not the time to 'move on' It was announced today that the UK is withdrawing about 16,00 troops from Iraq, and hopes to withdraw more over time. Surprisingly, I find myself with mixed feelings about this. The partial withdrawal may be a sign that, having dug...
by jon_mendel at February 21, 2007 11:54 PM 00:00 GMT


Demographic Transition, Population Policy and Fertility Change in Iran Since the adoption of a new population policy in 1988, Iran’s population growth rate dropped dramatically from 3.2 percent in 1986 to1.2 percent in 2001 and 1.1 percent in 2006.This reduction in an Islamic developing country in the Middle...
by Syamak Moattari at February 18, 2007 06:30 PM -05:00 GMT


Today is the constitutional referendum in Egypt. N... Today is the constitutional referendum in Egypt. Not a whole lot is being reported yet, though I am reading that very few Egyptians have decided to go to the polls.Abu Aardvark: Al-Jazeera is reporting "very low" turnout in the referendum...
by Watsonblogs at February 18, 2007 02:05 PM -05:00 GMT


bird flu update - problems with hygiene at Bernard Matthews The DEFRA report on the birdflu outbreak at Bernard Matthews points out that the firm had been warned several times before about hygiene lapses. There were several possible avenues for bird flu to move from imported turkey meat to its...
by jon_mendel at February 17, 2007 12:26 AM 00:00 GMT


Ex-BNP man with large arms stockpile - update I wrote a few months back about a large cache of arms found by UK police, with a man with links to the BNP. This has now gone to trial in Manchester, and is getting a bit of media coverage....
by jon_mendel at February 16, 2007 12:17 AM 00:00 GMT


Global Warming and Population Robert Hardaway and Judy Swearingen As the global warming debate degenerates into a proxy fight between competing political ideologies which have little to do with global warming itself, it becomes clear that both sides to the debate have lost sight of the underlying issues. Those who claim that global warming caused by human activity will be the cause of an imminent environmental catastrophe are essentially beating a dead horse—namely that the planet is being environmentally degraded by modern civilization and the inevitable consequences of the industrial revolution. True enough, although the experts continue to debate both the percentage of global warming due to human activity and the significance of recent warming when measured on a scale of billions of years and countless cycles of global cooling and warming. Not to be forgotten is that some of the same “experts” who are now predicting catastrophic global warming, twenty five years ago were predicting a catastrophic ice age.
by Saleem Ali at February 15, 2007 05:47 PM -05:00 GMT


When the BBC hits the blogosphere (or should that be the other way round?) The BBC's Profile programme recently ran a show about the political blogger 'Guido Fawkes'. The show was broadly positive, but the BBC's Nick Robinson was critical about the style and accuracy of the blog. This appears to have caused something...
by jon_mendel at February 15, 2007 12:29 AM 00:00 GMT


Google Earth in Iraq again - survival by satellite? According to a BBC story, the Iraqi League has included Google Earth in its advice to Iraqis on how to survive the ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq. Iraqis are advised to "draw up maps of their local area using Google...
by jon_mendel at February 13, 2007 09:48 PM 00:00 GMT


Arming the Iraqi insurgency - who's responsible? The Bush administration is currently emphasising that weapons are coming from Iran to Iraqi insurgents, and arguing that this is happening directly with Iranian government approval. In itself, this is pretty feasible, although it may be hard to establish any...
by jon_mendel at February 12, 2007 11:55 PM 00:00 GMT


Obama and Islam Obama’s connections with Islam could be a means of improving America’s strained relations with the Muslim world through empathy and erudition. Sadly the American political landscape is still not ready to break the glass ceiling for a truly multicultural candidate.
by Saleem Ali at February 10, 2007 06:40 PM -05:00 GMT


bird flu and globalisation I'm sitting here shivering with a big box of tissues, so issues around (bird) flu are looming larger in my mind at the moment. Bird flu (the H5N1 strain) has been found in turkeys in Suffolk in the UK, and...
by jon_mendel at February 9, 2007 05:14 PM 00:00 GMT


Independent Jewish Voices on Israel Interesting move towards more critical British Jewish stances on Israel. It looks like the debate on this will run - both on how open UK Jewish communities are to critical positions on Israel, and on what type of stances towards...
by jon_mendel at February 8, 2007 10:36 PM 00:00 GMT


Fukuyama "could not understand why everyone was applauding" An interesting interview with Francis Fukuyam was published weekend. He's talking about his turn against neoconservatism (the subject of his After the Neocons book). It starts by describing a dinner attended by rightwing thinkers at the Hilton hotel in Washington....
by jon_mendel at February 6, 2007 03:46 PM 00:00 GMT


Obama's challenge As events of recent weeks have only reiterated, Barack Obama is the early superstar of the 2008 presidential race. The charismatic Illinois senator draws massive and enthusiastic crowds wherever he speaks, and the media seems to hang on his every...
by Daniel Widome at February 6, 2007 09:50 AM -08:00 GMT


International Mother Language Day International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by UNESCO in November 1999, and observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Today, about half of the 6,000 or so languages spoken in the world are...
by Syamak Moattari at February 5, 2007 12:12 AM -05:00 GMT


"Operation Persian Freedom is drawing ever closer"?
by jon_mendel at February 4, 2007 06:23 PM 00:00 GMT


Tony Blair's law Just been listening to this fascinating radio programme - with a panel of legal experts discussing the changes that Tony Blair has made to UK law (and the international impacts of this). Well worth a listen, both for a good...
by jon_mendel at January 30, 2007 04:28 PM 00:00 GMT


Missing the point Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is a smart guy, and it was totally in character for him to hold these hearings today on the extent of Congress' war powers. It appears he's planning to follow-up on them: Tomorrow, I will introduce...
by Daniel Widome at January 30, 2007 02:40 PM -08:00 GMT


Tony Blair, Iraq and responsibility I've just watched Tony Blair give a fairly extensive interview to The Politics Show. Ugh - 'toe-curling' is the first word that springs to mind. There's no sense of regret, no sense that things could have been done better or...
by jon_mendel at January 28, 2007 12:31 PM 00:00 GMT


Irish State TV decides not to show Loose Change Just a quick update after this post. Apparently, after receiving a lot of complaints, the RTE TV station decided (correctly, to my mind) that Loose Change isn't suitable for broadcast. Yay :D From what I can tell, lots of the...
by jon_mendel at January 26, 2007 01:28 PM 00:00 GMT


Surge protection On January 10, President Bush announced plans to send a “surge” of 21,500 additional troops to Iraq. By most accounts, this was a bold move on his part. In November, the Democrats won control of Congress due largely to the...
by Daniel Widome at January 25, 2007 10:30 PM -08:00 GMT


Exploding pigs force far-right party out of Second Life The virtual world of Second Life became a better place last week: Jean Marie Le Pen's far-right Front National tried to establish an HQ there, but were forced to leave. When the Front National arrived, they drew protestors and (virtual)...
by jon_mendel at January 25, 2007 05:41 PM 00:00 GMT


Loose Change 9/11 Conspiracy movie to air on Irish RTE TV Oddly, it seems that the Irish public TV station RTE TV has decided to show the Loose Change documentary next month. Loose Change is a movie which argues and implies that the 'official' story that Al Qaeda were behind the...
by jon_mendel at January 24, 2007 05:37 PM 00:00 GMT


Tribal Targets For much of the Pakistan’s history the federally administered tribal areas (FATA) have been off limits to the central government both in terms of governance systems as well as social services. Governing the tribal belt was a tabooed topic that no one dared to advance in Islamabad’s halls of power. There was a stale sense of sanctity ascribed to this terrain that most were too afraid to tread upon. With scant investment in educational infrastructure and social development the tribal areas became a twilight zone for those who wished to cling to a bygone warrior era.
by Saleem Ali at January 22, 2007 09:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Police "colluded" with Loyalist murders in Northern Ireland While the bloodshed in Iraq continues, UK news has provided a reminder of a more 'old fashioned' type of terrorism. Nuala O'Loan - Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland - has reported that: Special Branch officers gave [Ulster Volunteer Force] killers...
by jon_mendel at January 22, 2007 07:11 PM 00:00 GMT


The Independent: How the West will make a killing on Iraqi oil riches Writing in the Independent, Andrew Murray-Watson and Tim Webb report that: Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected...
by jon_mendel at January 20, 2007 09:43 PM 00:00 GMT


Google Earth used to target British bases in Basra It was reported last week (I've only just been forwarded the story) that "Terrorists attacking British bases in Basra are using aerial footage displayed by the Google Earth internet tool to pinpoint their attacks" This is a surprising (and creative)...
by jon_mendel at January 19, 2007 05:00 PM 00:00 GMT


Bush in a hole in Iraq, digging As I'm sure you've heard, the US is increasing troop numbers in Iraq; the hope is improve 'security' for Iraqis (in Baghdad in particular), to take military action against anti-occupation insurgent groups, and to take military action against Iranian and...
by jon_mendel at January 12, 2007 05:01 PM 00:00 GMT


Civil disobedience Fifty years ago, an African-American woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man. Her act of civil disobedience and subsequent arrest and trial triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott,...
by Syamak Moattari at January 11, 2007 04:31 PM -05:00 GMT


Respect to Communities Thanks God to give me the chance to visit almost every single point of my country .I had this chance to see all of Iran’s borders with our neighbors including all of provinces. And also as a development activist and...
by Syamak Moattari at January 10, 2007 05:19 PM -05:00 GMT


Africa Command After years of general speculation and months of more specific rumors, I see that the Pentagon will officially create an Africa Command. This will replace the current arrangement, whereby military responsibility for the continent is divvied up among Central Command...
by Daniel Widome at January 4, 2007 10:38 AM -08:00 GMT


Saddam Hussein and European Responsibility The former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, has been hanged in northern Baghdad for crimes against humanity. I believe Saddam was executed when American soldiers captured him in a whole near Tikrit in March 2003. We saw a mountain man...
by Syamak Moattari at December 30, 2006 11:20 AM -05:00 GMT


Salvaging Islam in Sudan The perpetuation of the Darfur crisis has thus led to some soul-searching on the part of ideologues such as Turabi who now conclude that a culture of violence in many Muslim states is to blame for such conflicts. Inequality of resource distribution and competing land use policies, sparked by a cultural acceptance of weapons to resolve disputes are the key ingredients of Sudan’s predicament. If there is a silver lining to this tragic tale, it would be that extreme elements such as Turabi have been forced out of their martyring determinism. The dogmatic chapters, which such clerics still hold from their defunct political ideology, are maintained merely to calm the remnants of religious militias that have not yet been demobilised. Whether the peace agreement in Darfur holds or not, the West should pay close attention to the way this conflict is transforming the vanguards of Islam in Sudan.
by Saleem Ali at December 24, 2006 04:33 PM -05:00 GMT


At the Annual Earth Dialogues event in Brisbane, Australia with Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and colleagues...
by Saleem Ali at December 23, 2006 10:13 PM -05:00 GMT


Curing the Resource Curse We need an integrated natural resource management strategy that considers energy and material sources for our modern lifestyles across the supply chain. While society must be better prepared for depletion of non-renewable resources such as oil, we should not be constrained from harnessing resources to benefit communities that have limited alternatives.
by Saleem Ali at December 22, 2006 02:10 PM -05:00 GMT


Trading places Although the Iraq war was the main driver behind the Democrats’ victory in the mid-term elections, it was not the only issue that fueled the change of power in Congress. Democrats also relied on the issue of international trade, linking...
by Daniel Widome at December 22, 2006 12:28 AM -08:00 GMT


Holocaust Conference, a Conference of Hate As an Iranian Citizen, I ask for forgiveness from all of Holocaust Victims and all of women and men who fight against discrimination in the world, who try to reduce hate between Whites and Blacks, among followers of different religions...
by Syamak Moattari at December 16, 2006 06:11 PM -05:00 GMT


Re-elected Chavez stronger than ever As expected, Hugo Chavez handily won re-election as Venezuela’s president on Sunday. Beyond demonstrating Chavez’s widespread popularity across certain segments of Venezuelan society—he won about 60 percent of the vote—the election provided a more general reminder of Chavez’s greatest attribute:...
by Daniel Widome at December 12, 2006 10:22 PM -08:00 GMT


Frontiers of Development Economics -- The Future in Perspective With contributions from 35 leading economists, this book (Frontiers of Development Economics) explores the future of development economics against the background of the past half-century of development thought and practice. The volume offers an analysis of the broad range of...
by Syamak Moattari at December 11, 2006 06:57 AM -05:00 GMT


Iraq Study Group report More news on Iraq, of course - anyone whose been living under a stone recently might not have heard that the Iraq Study Group Report has just been released. I won't say much on this - partly because there's been...
by jon_mendel at December 7, 2006 05:13 PM 00:00 GMT


HIV/AIDS in Iran While Iran enjoys a low prevalence of HIV/AIDS, it does not mean that the risk is not high. Timing is critical in working on HIV/AIDS and nations have to work on it without any delay. In this report we try...
by Syamak Moattari at December 2, 2006 12:32 AM -05:00 GMT


Fresh start In the midterm elections on November 7, Democrats secured majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. These majorities in the legislature, however, will be balanced for the next two years (at least) by continued Republican control of...
by Daniel Widome at November 24, 2006 10:27 PM -08:00 GMT


British Troops in Iraq - withdrawal? Listening to the PM news on BBC Radio 4, it seems that government minister Margaret Beckett has been dropping hints about a British withdrawal next year (at least, suggesting a 'handover' of Basra to the Iraqis in spring). This is...
by jon_mendel at November 22, 2006 05:19 PM 00:00 GMT


Why HIV/AIDS is so important in the Middle East? Over the past two decades, HIV/AIDS shows its power to destroy most of economies in sub Saharan Africa. The epidemic is now threatening to spread with equal force in Russian Federation, India, China, and many other transition economies including the...
by Syamak Moattari at November 19, 2006 10:44 PM -05:00 GMT


Long time, no see I am back again, it was a long time of absence, since I started my new post graduate program at Boston University in International Health, I was overwhelmed with my course works and not able to write here, but I...
by Syamak Moattari at November 17, 2006 11:57 AM -05:00 GMT


The Addiction of our Time: Orhan Pamuk and the Nobel Prize By Marinos Pourgouris Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature Brown University On October 12, I woke up to the news that a Turkish novelist, Orhan Pamuk, had been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. Later that day, I spoke to...
by Marinos Pourgouris at November 3, 2006 02:15 PM -05:00 GMT


more on the Lancet study Since my last post, the BBC website has given the Lancet study authors an opportunity to defend their views. Medialens has also released a very critical account of the (lack of) media coverage given to this article. One other interesting...
by jon_mendel at October 31, 2006 07:52 PM 00:00 GMT


Proliferation legislation North Korea's recent nuclear test only confirmed what had long been suspected: the global non-proliferation regime has failed spectacularly. Although the powers of East Asia, the United States, and the United Nations have each issued stinging condemnations of the test...
by Daniel Widome at October 26, 2006 06:33 PM -08:00 GMT


Counting the Dead in Iraq The media response to the recent Lancet article on ‘excess’ deaths in Iraq is interesting*. After a couple of days, it appears to have largely vanished from the news bulletins (here in the UK, at least). The US and UK...
by jon_mendel at October 24, 2006 07:31 PM 00:00 GMT


Media coverage of Islamist and neo-Nazi terrorism Have just had an interesting e-mail from the Red Pepper discussion list. Pendle's local newspaper has reported that two men with links to the far right political party the BNP have been found with a large cache of weapons -...
by jon_mendel at October 9, 2006 11:28 AM 00:00 GMT


Schnews on lizard aliens Right. I really shouldn't write any more about lizards, but there's something oddly compelling about this stuff. To give me an excuse to post more, the wonderful Schnews (e)newsletter has e-mailed me some more detail on their story on Shayler...
by jon_mendel at October 5, 2006 05:42 PM 00:00 GMT


There to stay As the midterm elections rapidly approach, the calls for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq have grown louder and more consistent. In some cases, they have even come in a bipartisan flavor. Such sentiment is only natural. The bloodshed in Iraq...
by Daniel Widome at September 29, 2006 08:45 AM -08:00 GMT


Multidimensional lizard aliens and David Shayler I'm feeling a bit bad about my last post. This raised David Shayler's alleged belief in multidimensional lizard aliens. However, what he did or didn't say is disputed, and I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions (the guy did blow...
by jon_mendel at September 29, 2006 01:35 AM 00:00 GMT


Congressional rush As the November mid-term elections rapidly approach, Congress finds itself rushing against the clock. Out of concern for the campaigning requirements of its members, it has set October 6 as its target adjournment date for the year. This means that...
by Daniel Widome at September 28, 2006 11:06 AM -08:00 GMT


Alex Jones' Terrorstorm - more details and more errors I've been going through Terrorstorm a bit more closely, to pick out some more of the problems with its account of the LOndon bombings. Here's the details from the first 28mins of the film (will add more later on, but...
by jon_mendel at September 17, 2006 02:04 PM 00:00 GMT


Small diameter solutions The latest conflict between Israel and Hezbollah has elicited plenty of comparisons with the U.S. war in Iraq. In each case, a technologically superior foreign state fought a less-advanced, indigenous, non-state foe. And in each case, the latter appeared to...
by Daniel Widome at September 12, 2006 11:23 AM -08:00 GMT


Let me see! I'm blind! 1701 UN resolution! Take off arms from (Hezbollah)! Keep Israel 's army intact! A lesson of Democracy! 2 soldiers captured by a "terrorist" organization (Hezbollah!) and all Libanon pays! It recalls me "Le loup et l'agneau" (the wolf and the...
by Mohamed Kchouk at September 4, 2006 06:18 PM 01:00 GMT


Past imperfect As expected, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the controversial Yasukuni war shrine this month. It was Koizumi's sixth visit to the shrine and most likely his last, as he is due to step down as prime minister in September....
by Daniel Widome at August 30, 2006 01:20 AM -08:00 GMT


Outcomes of the Toronto AIDS Conference Organizers of the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto chose the theme "Time to deliver" to urge the international community to act. The scientific community delivered rich data and directions to one day find a vaccine against HIV. With...
by Syamak Moattari at August 28, 2006 03:28 PM -05:00 GMT


Limited powers Although the culmination of this election year will not arrive until November, political battles are already being won and lost. In Connecticut, challenger Ned Lamont defeated incumbent Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Many suspect that Lieberman's...
by Daniel Widome at August 25, 2006 09:26 AM -08:00 GMT


Alex Jones - Terrorstorm Have been watching this film bit by bit - and the really striking thing about this documentary is that they don't seem to have bothered to 'fact check' the film with any particular rigour. To be blunt, I find this...
by jon_mendel at August 22, 2006 11:57 PM 00:00 GMT


Conspiracy Theories, again Firstly, the Glenn and Helen Show podcast's latest episode has David Dunbar and Brad Reagan - editors of Popular Mechanics - debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories. They say some of what I was trying to say in my last post about...
by jon_mendel at August 21, 2006 12:17 AM 00:00 GMT


The value of human life Was almost stopped dead in the gym today, listening to Radio Open Source's wonderful episode on the value of human life. Aside from being horribly inappropriate listening when you're on a cross-trainer, this episode featured Feinberg, Singer and Hirschfield discussing...
by jon_mendel at August 18, 2006 12:10 AM 00:00 GMT


I love my students. I am teaching two classes but I am an especially close to my main class, class 2. I became very close to them even just in the first week of classes. They are smart, kind and...
by Jessica Gordon at August 16, 2006 06:52 PM 08:00 GMT


Conspiracy Theories and 10 August Attempted Bombings There seems to have been something of a merging between US and UK conspiracy theories: using the Internet to respond to the recent reports of a foiled plot to bomb UK planes, the British 9/11 Truth Campaign began arguing that...
by jon_mendel at August 15, 2006 06:15 PM 00:00 GMT


Terrorist attack on UK planes disrupted At the time of writing, it looks like the security services in the UK (working with those from other countries as well) have prevented a planned terrorist attack on flights from the UK. Though this may change as more information...
by jon_mendel at August 10, 2006 12:19 PM 00:00 GMT


The students have no idea what the United States or the rest of the world is really like. They have never heard any languages other than their local dialect, Mandarin and English. Their ideas of the world are based solely...
by Jessica Gordon at August 7, 2006 06:58 PM 08:00 GMT


After a week of travelling I am very happy to be back home in Cape Coast. It scares me how much this does feel like home now- how many friends I had to visit and say I was home, how...
by Anne Friedman at August 4, 2006 09:56 AM -05:00 GMT


Balanie and Bolle After weeks of work and teaching, the pilot of the Here Bolo project culminated in the Balanie de L’Espoir, which took place in downtown Sikoro. Each peer educator brought something unique and different to the celebration as they talked about...
by Madeline DiLorenzo at August 3, 2006 11:00 AM -05:00 GMT


So much has happened since I last wrote. My other class has finished and English camp has begun. English camp is organized for the incoming students to get them started on their English before the school year begins and...
by Jessica Gordon at August 2, 2006 05:56 PM 08:00 GMT


Conflicts at the Clinic I guess one thing that I have discovered from spending time in Mali is that development really cannot happen overnight. No matter how much you plan, or how much money you have, something is bound to go wrong, and you...
by Madeline DiLorenzo at July 28, 2006 09:48 PM -05:00 GMT


Unwarranted powers There can be no question that President Bush has expanded the national security prerogatives of the executive branch. Events in recent years have made a persuasive case that the executive alone possesses the necessary tools for expedient and confidential action...
by Daniel Widome at July 28, 2006 01:06 AM -08:00 GMT


Followup 1) The primary reason Foriegn Service Officers are forced to switch posts every 3-4 years is so they don´t go "native," that is, become too connected to the local people and get roped in by the foreign governments. It makes...
by Brett Heeger at July 26, 2006 06:36 PM -05:00 GMT


No One To The Father Except Through Mehavioralism Is God a Behavioralist?for the last few weeks my work has mostly consisted of reviewing current literature and research on youth mentoring for the disadvantaged that has come out of the US and Europe over the last few decades, and...
by Johnny po Lin at July 26, 2006 10:34 AM -05:00 GMT


Interesting Travel Experiences: -In Kaneshi station in Accra, I saw a trotro that had so much stuff piled on top that it was stuck under the tree where it was parked. Each time it tried to go forward, the stuff...
by Anne Friedman at July 25, 2006 08:23 AM -05:00 GMT


Side Projects I have been working on a side project for a few weeks now, which I realized I have not yet mentioned. While it sounds slightly boring, it has been a nice to have an emotionally neutral alternative to the bulk...
by CJ Adams at July 24, 2006 02:19 PM -05:00 GMT


liberalism at age 20 If you aint a liberal at age 20 you gots no heart, says Winston Churchill, allegedly. well to be a young liberal in Argentina is a different story all together from what we Americans have in mind when we think...
by Johnny po Lin at July 24, 2006 12:15 PM -05:00 GMT


How to Create International Development and Real Social Change I've recently attended a wonderful conference in San Fran (yes, still my dream area) put on by an org called Grantmakers without Borders (GWOB). GWOB is a wonderful organization that brings grassroots grantmakers (and others) that focus on int'l development...
by Katy Love at July 23, 2006 08:25 PM -05:00 GMT


Complaints I need to do some complaining. Not just to make myself feel better (I admit it does) but also to complain for all the people around me who live like this all the time. 1. I am living at the...
by Jessica Gordon at July 23, 2006 04:53 PM 08:00 GMT


Women in Progress is opening a new office in Krobo-Odumasi, about 2 hours north of Accra. Krobo is the area where most of the beads in Ghana are made, and WIP is starting a bead and jewelry cooperative much like...
by Anne Friedman at July 21, 2006 10:18 AM -05:00 GMT


Strained alliance By all outward appearances, the recent summit between President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was a tremendous success. It certainly seemed that way as Koizumi—an avid Elvis fan—beamed from behind his gold-rimmed sunglasses during a visit to Graceland...
by Daniel Widome at July 20, 2006 11:48 PM -08:00 GMT


I have been incredibly busy with La Main de l’Espoir since my last post. Last week, we finished training the peer educators, and now we are preparing for the Balanie de l’Espoir, which will take place on July 29. The...
by Madeline DiLorenzo at July 20, 2006 09:47 PM -05:00 GMT


Hometowns I have been teaching 7 students daily. They are some of the best English students in the school that have been chosen and have agreed to continue classes although the school year is over. Although this is a middle school,...
by Jessica Gordon at July 20, 2006 04:50 PM 08:00 GMT


Training/Skiing One of the biggest perks about working for the government overseas appears to be the extensive training that is available. My new boss has taken classes 3-7 month long courses in Spanish, German, and Cambodian all while getting paid as...
by Brett Heeger at July 17, 2006 06:09 PM -05:00 GMT


This weekend was really wonderful. Our travel posse left the house at 3:30 am on Friday morning in order to catch the 4 am bus to Accra. The timing of this was necessitated by the fact that none of the...
by Anne Friedman at July 17, 2006 07:44 AM -05:00 GMT


Yay! I'm back...with more thoughts, ideas and resources! Well there's nothing like procrastinating while packing. And of course I found lots of resouces that Kath Connolly and the Careers in the Common Good program bequeathed to me. And now, having conducted about 20 informational interviewers (and now, with...
by Katy Love at July 15, 2006 12:20 PM -05:00 GMT


July Briefing: Here are some things that I wanted to catch everyone up on: Congressional Hearing on Trafficking: I was able to go to a hearing that was addressing the spike in demand for commercial sex that was created by the world...
by CJ Adams at July 15, 2006 12:40 AM -05:00 GMT


Security Clearance Granted Ok.. Here we go. I was able to clear up what parts of my work are confidencial, and so now i will be posting regularly and catching everyone up on what i have been doing this past week. First i...
by CJ Adams at July 14, 2006 11:44 PM -05:00 GMT


John McDonnell MP: Another World Is Possible John McDonnell has just announced that he'll stand as a candidate for Labour Party leadership (and therefore as a candidate for UK Prime Minister) when Blair resigns. The idea is to offer a left-wing candidate for leadership, to try to...
by jon_mendel at July 14, 2006 07:56 PM 00:00 GMT


Rest and Relaxation For a foreign service officer (FSO) in the US Department of State, much of one´s career is spent in some of the more exotic and hard to reach places of the world. To allow FSOs the freedom to see friends...
by Brett Heeger at July 14, 2006 07:04 PM -05:00 GMT


For the past few days I have been working on synthesizing much of the data about each woman involved in Global Mamas, for many of them are repeatedly interviewed for information that has already been recorded. However, this has made...
by Anne Friedman at July 13, 2006 11:28 AM -05:00 GMT


Orwell for the U.S. today Things are seeming a little "Orwellian" these days, no? On a re-reading of a few Orwell essays, especially "The Lion and the Unicorn" it occurred to me that Orwell's take on pre/early-WWII England -- a great power beyond its peak,...
by Sam Hodges at July 11, 2006 10:10 PM -05:00 GMT


Le Premier Jour de Formation Today was a truly wonderful day. After many months of planning, we finally kicked off the first day of Here Bolo (the Bambera translation of La Main de l’Espoir) and began training 20 peer educators – 10 men and 10...
by Madeline DiLorenzo at July 11, 2006 08:27 PM -05:00 GMT


Context I am spending the summer teaching at The Dandelion Middle School or Pugongying Zhongxue in suburbs of Beijing, China. The school was opened last fall to provide affordable and quality education for migrant children. These migrants though are not from...
by Jessica Gordon at July 10, 2006 06:52 PM 08:00 GMT


The UN Security Council So I realize that in addition to not being particularly good about blogging lately, I have also neglected to talk about one of the most pressing issues in Chilean politics these days: the UN Security Council. The UNSC has 15...
by Brett Heeger at July 10, 2006 06:08 PM -05:00 GMT


"Taleban 'energised' by UK troops": back to the future in Afghanistan? UK troops deployed to assist with 'development' in the South of Afghanistan are currently encountering much more violence than expected. The UK Defense Secretary Des Browne has acknowledged that their presence has "energised" the Taliban resistance. I've been reading and...
by jon_mendel at July 10, 2006 11:37 AM 00:00 GMT


This weekend we were meant to go to the stilt village, but decided against it on Friday morning when the weather didn’t look optimal for taking a canoe trip. Saturday was the big festival, and it seems more apparent that...
by Anne Friedman at July 10, 2006 06:51 AM -05:00 GMT


The Non-State Blog: Introduction As suggested in the title, this weblog focuses on the non-state actors (NSAs) – the tran-national and sub-national players that crucially shape global affairs yet also complicate the often state-centered discourse of international relations and international law. This project is...
by Kate C. Roll at July 6, 2006 08:11 PM -05:00 GMT


Round III - Chez Clinique I haven’t posted for a long time as it has been a very busy week. La Main de l’Espoir has been coming together really nicely. I spent most of this week revising the curriculum and identifying our first ten peer...
by Madeline DiLorenzo at July 6, 2006 07:00 PM -05:00 GMT


Yesterday morning was pretty typical; here’s the picture: I need to interview a woman named Mansa about her business in the last 6 mos. Lizzy, Renae’s second hand, also needs to visit Mansa to yell at her about her sewing....
by Anne Friedman at July 6, 2006 08:39 AM -05:00 GMT


36 Goals Comment First, I had a comment that someone was looking for a copy of Bachelet´s 36 goals (see earlier entry on 100 days). I couldn´t find a non Sate Department version in English but for a spanish version I would recommend...
by Brett Heeger at July 5, 2006 08:31 PM -05:00 GMT


on conspiracy theories and the defiant south on the way down here i bought a copy of the Economic Hitman by John Perkins, which I have been reading during busrides around Buenos Aires. Few books have been so mindblowing, i think. Perkins talks about a grand conspiracy...
by Johnny po Lin at July 5, 2006 06:36 PM -05:00 GMT


getting to buenos aires arrived at Ezeiza International Airport on June 25, after a horrendous 3 day delay stretched out across three different airports on both sides of the equator. but alas, now settling into my room in the neighborhood of Palermo, the barrio...
by Johnny po Lin at July 4, 2006 06:30 PM -05:00 GMT


Teamwork So lately I´ve been working on a cable about Chilean President Bachelet´s proposal to create a new Ministry of Public Security. Crime is growing problem in Chile and a recent wave of more violent crimes (including attacks on some prominent...
by Brett Heeger at July 3, 2006 06:42 PM -05:00 GMT


We volunteers had a very quiet and lazy weekend. On Saturday, Carolyn, Jenny and I walked into Elmina proper and visited the old slave fort. The whole experience was very…eerie. First, it’s a total tourist destination so we were mobbed...
by Anne Friedman at July 3, 2006 07:37 AM -05:00 GMT


this picture was taken after the Ghana-US match. I love that the one girl is still carrying her tomatoes....
by Anne Friedman at July 3, 2006 07:33 AM -05:00 GMT


where do government websites go when they die... Have just been reading around the Coalition Provisional Authority administration in Iraq again - and remembered that their website was due to be taken offline a couple of days ago. There's a huge amount of information online here (more than...
by jon_mendel at July 2, 2006 10:49 PM 00:00 GMT


La Deuxieme Partie I have made a lot of progress on my project during the past few days. I’m really excited because I am working with an amazing Malian woman named Ramatoullaye who is the director of HIV Education at the Point G...
by Madeline DiLorenzo at June 30, 2006 07:46 PM -05:00 GMT


Office Confidential I am so sorry that I have not been posting on the website yet. I am writing blogs, but I am required to send them through my superiors before I can publish them, and not a single one has...
by CJ Adams at June 30, 2006 04:29 PM -05:00 GMT


The other day Lorna, Sue and I went to visit a batiker named Gifty. There is another woman named Marian who is also working out of Gifty’s “workshop” right now, as her store was robbed last year and all of...
by Anne Friedman at June 30, 2006 10:25 AM -05:00 GMT


Cultural Experiences and Other Blogs Well it´s been over a week since my last post. Sorry. I´m sure there are hundreds of people waiting anxiously for my next post. With that in mind I have entitled this entry "Cultural Experiences and Other Blogs." First, I...
by Brett Heeger at June 29, 2006 08:52 PM -05:00 GMT


Work’s going really well these days- I’m getting over my lack of confidence about interviewing women. I think this can largely be attributed to the girls with whom I’m conducting the interviews- Lorna from Ireland and Sue from D.C. They’re...
by Anne Friedman at June 28, 2006 11:32 AM -05:00 GMT


Mali - Les Premiers Jours I finally arrived in Mali to start my internship with the Global Alliance to Immunize against AIDS (GAIA) on Saturday at 4 am after a very long flight. Anyone who is ever planning on flying to Africa, should fly Royal...
by Madeline DiLorenzo at June 27, 2006 07:10 PM -05:00 GMT


Entry from June 26th... The internet has been really shaky today which is a bit frustrating... Our work week ended a bit early last week because the Ghana game on Thursday was so crazy. After the big win, we went out to the street...
by Anne Friedman at June 27, 2006 07:58 AM -05:00 GMT


Prisons and policy The vast network of overseas U.S. military bases has long been a source of international discontent. Most bases generate this ill will by taking up valuable local real estate, through the misbehavior of U.S. servicemen based abroad, or by use...
by Daniel Widome at June 26, 2006 01:26 AM -08:00 GMT


Whew, it's hot today!! Everyone is really excited for the big match today against the US, but we volunteers are slightly nervous and are watching the game right next to the office so we can retreat and hide if the...
by Anne Friedman at June 22, 2006 06:36 AM -05:00 GMT


Akwaaba to Cape Coast Hello! Yesterday we came to Cape Coast on a bus ride that took about three hours. A lot of it was really bumpy but it was interesting seeing how the different sorts of communities changed as we left the city....
by Anne Friedman at June 21, 2006 06:05 AM -05:00 GMT


Reflections of an Ambassador The chief of the Economic/Political Section is leaving on Thursday to become the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in the embassy in Uganda. DCM is the highest position in an embassy directly under the Ambassador. Anyway, last night I went...
by Brett Heeger at June 20, 2006 06:58 PM -05:00 GMT


Southeast Asian Security Article Updated Dr. Amitav Acharya's article "Constructing Security and Identity in Southeast Asia." from XII.2 has been updated. The most current version can be downloaded. Download file...
by BJWA at June 20, 2006 04:42 PM -05:00 GMT


I'm here I'm here!!! (And very excited!!!) I arrived last night after a very long day of travel. Some short observations from the journey: 1. only Americans fly in pajamas 2. people with broken legs on long flights are even more uncomfortable than people with long legs...
by Anne Friedman at June 19, 2006 08:51 AM -05:00 GMT


Kristin (who runs Women in Progress on the US side) told me that she had just shipped a big order of clothing to the zoo here in Pittsburgh. It was really exciting to see all of the neat batiked...
by Anne Friedman at June 16, 2006 09:23 PM -05:00 GMT


40 lbs of t-shirts ready to go!...
by Anne Friedman at June 16, 2006 07:17 PM -05:00 GMT


100 Days of Domestic Policy In her inaguration speech, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced a series of 36 domestic policy initiatives for her administration to complete in her first 100 days in office. These initives include: a variety of subsidies, grants and scholarships for...
by Brett Heeger at June 15, 2006 06:02 PM -05:00 GMT


Zizek in London/Police Shooting I’ve just been down in London while the stories about police shooting a unarmed man have been unfolding (this is being typed on the train back home). The Slovenian social theorist Slavoj Zizek is giving some lectures at Birkbeck College,...
by jon_mendel at June 14, 2006 10:59 AM 00:00 GMT


It is not really fare Iranian women held a protest on Hate Tir Squar in Tehran on June 12th against the gender discrimination under current Iran’s laws. Unfortunately police violently attacked a small group of women who were peacefully started to demonstrate their idea. Today...
by Syamak Moattari at June 13, 2006 03:29 PM -05:00 GMT


Chilean President in U.S./Crime Scene Investigation Chilean President Michelle Bachelet visited the United States for the first time last Thursday. The official press release can be found on the embassy's website here: http://www.usembassy.cl/OpenNews/asp/pagDefault.asp?argInstanciaId=2&argNoticiaId=2764. President Bachelet met with President Bush for a press conference and a working...
by Brett Heeger at June 12, 2006 08:27 PM -05:00 GMT


Orientation Hello Everyone! This summer the Watson Institute is sponsoring me to work for the Polaris Project in Washington DC through the Marla Ruzicka Human Rights Fellowship. Polaris is a Non-Profit organization which was created to combat all forms of human...
by CJ Adams at June 12, 2006 12:14 PM -05:00 GMT


Audio Meeting - Governance Systems and Political Effectiveness In the past, when African countries attempted to increase accountability and decrease corruption in their governments, they were often advised to reform politically. But do accountability institutions actually lead to stronger governance? In this B-Span report Robert Bates, professor at...
by Syamak Moattari at June 12, 2006 12:03 PM -05:00 GMT


Peace I'm wondering if peace is not the beginning of the end of Israel! If this si true, I understand why we can't install peace in Middle-East! Imagine a democratic country where you have a quarter of the population made of...
by Mohamed Kchouk at June 11, 2006 12:26 PM 01:00 GMT


The New Store Once we had the "Iron Store", one old way to separate convictions. The Iron Store fall down. The new store is not visible. It has yet to be defined clearly. Although it entered into force by 'force'. What's that? It's...
by Mohamed Kchouk at June 10, 2006 01:56 PM 01:00 GMT


A Roller Coaster Well, the last week has certainly been a roller coaster. I was supposed to depart yesterday, June 7th, but surprise! I'm still in the US. I was excitedly awaiting my visa in the mail, and when it had not arrived...
by Anne Friedman at June 8, 2006 08:50 PM -05:00 GMT


First week So my first three days have been filled with courtesy calls to all of the different departments and agencies that work in the embassy. I have spoken with everyone from DEA and FBI to the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce...
by Brett Heeger at June 8, 2006 08:15 PM -05:00 GMT


First Entry: Long and maybe not interesting yet... Alright; so I´ve never done a blog before so it might take a while before I catch on to how everything works. Please bear with me if things aren´t that interesting at first--I´m sure I´ll get better. I was...
by Brett Heeger at June 6, 2006 07:32 PM -05:00 GMT


Terror and Policing There have recently been a couple of issues around terrorism and policing come to light in the UK. Most recently, Scotland Yard has been criticised for an armed raid -- against suspected terrorists -- which led to an unarmed man...
by jon_mendel at June 6, 2006 05:23 PM 00:00 GMT


In response to the killing of civilians in Haditha, by US troops, there are to be additional ethics lessons for US Iraq troops. They appear to hope that an emphasis on "core warrior values" will help avoid similar incidents in...
by jon_mendel at June 1, 2006 04:31 PM 00:00 GMT


Riots in Kabul I've been revising my PhD thesis over the past couple of days. Not long ago, I took a pessimistic view and wrote that one of the failures of Operation Enduring Freedom was that Karzai's government had little control outside of...
by jon_mendel at May 29, 2006 10:29 PM 00:00 GMT


Blair acknowledges that Iraqi government is not in control of Iraq Blair has welcomed the new Iraqi government with a statement that "The question now is can they...make their writ run throughout the country and get to the point where Iraq can take control of its own destiny". This looks like...
by jon_mendel at May 25, 2006 07:14 PM 00:00 GMT


Here we go What bodes well is the fact that the server can't find the Official Website of the Republic of Ghana....a "dot gov" address. Ha!...
by Anne Friedman at May 23, 2006 01:08 AM -05:00 GMT


Eek? Ok- Just trying this new blog out! I've never done this before so we'll see how it goes......
by Anne Friedman at May 23, 2006 01:00 AM -05:00 GMT


Information Age serves Terror Age Why do terrorists make video from execution of their victims? And why do they try to show these awful videos on Satellite or websites? Terror means the ability to instill intense fear or one that instills intense fear and terrorists...
by Syamak Moattari at May 20, 2006 11:18 AM -05:00 GMT


Rising prices In recent weeks, the nation has been wracked with rising gasoline prices and the ensuing consternation. For Congress and the president, the politics of high gasoline prices are relatively straightforward: high prices are bad, lower prices are better. But sometimes,...
by Daniel Widome at May 18, 2006 07:52 PM -08:00 GMT


Important bases The U.S. military is cleaning house. Existing bases are being retooled or eliminated, and new ones are popping up in some unexpected places. These are the overseas bases that are now vital to the U.S. military—and the new ones that...
by Daniel Widome at May 18, 2006 07:43 PM -08:00 GMT


Little Green Data Book 2006 This annual World Bank publication, which monitors global pollution and climate change issues, was launched at UN headquarters on the occasion of the Fourteenth Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. This year's edition says carbon dioxide emissions...
by Syamak Moattari at May 16, 2006 10:19 AM -05:00 GMT


Hi-Jacking, Asylum and Afghanistan Immigration seems to be in the news a lot lately - both in the US and the UK. In 2000, nine Afghans hijacked a plane and flew it into Stanstead Airport, London - in order to claim asylum from the...
by jon_mendel at May 11, 2006 11:19 AM 00:00 GMT


Chilean immigrant faces deportation to Jamaica Among the problems being faced by the UK government at the moment, the current mess surrounding the failure to deport convicted non-British criminals is making it horribly clear how arbitrary immigration policies are. The same government that persecutes those who...
by jon_mendel at May 2, 2006 05:31 PM 00:00 GMT


On the revolt of the ex-generals The latest wave of criticism to target Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has come from a cadre of distinguished, retired generals. It differs significantly, however, from previous attacks on the secretary of defense. More than simply calling for Rumsfeld's resignation, it...
by Daniel Widome at May 2, 2006 09:40 AM -08:00 GMT


World No Tobacco Day 2006 The purpose of World No Tobacco Day is to encourage countries and governments to work towards strict regulation of tobacco products. It does this by raising awareness about the existence of the wide variety of deadly tobacco products. Tobacco...
by Syamak Moattari at May 1, 2006 08:24 AM -05:00 GMT


Covering Nepal I have to remind myself five times a day that what I'm doing at Open Source, and here at Thayer and Charlesfield, is not reporting, but collecting commentary and testimony that reflect diverse stories. I am supposed to act as...
by Henry Shepherd at April 29, 2006 03:51 PM -05:00 GMT


Beneficial inaction As events this year have already demonstrated, Congress has a great capacity to shape U.S. foreign and national security policy. Certain institutional realities, however, limit its abilities in these policy realms. Perhaps foremost among these limitations is Congress' deliberative nature....
by Daniel Widome at April 28, 2006 10:05 AM -08:00 GMT


Global Monitoring Report Sees Progress on MDGs Evidence of reduced child deaths in nine out of 10 developing countries surveyed, gains in primary school enrolment, and reduced HIV/AIDS infection rates suggest that strong economic growth, improved policies in developing countries and increased aid, is delivering results. The...
by Syamak Moattari at April 24, 2006 06:30 PM -05:00 GMT


The definition of "spin" After reading the below article in the New York Times about how Hu Jintao was shafted by Bush who didn't give him a State Dinner, I was surprised to see how the China Daily -- the state-run English-language paper --...
by Aaron Halegua at April 23, 2006 11:06 PM -05:00 GMT


U.S. Vaccine Diplomacy Article Updated Updates have been made to Dr. Peter Hotez's article "The 'Biblical Diseases' and U.S. Vaccine Diplomacy." The most current version can be downloaded here....
by BJWA at April 22, 2006 01:51 PM -05:00 GMT


Reading the Iraqi Insurgency Just a quick post - having been distracted into spending most of my Friday night reading a report on the insurgency in Iraq, thought I may as well share this with anyone who's interested before heading out. The International Crisis...
by jon_mendel at April 21, 2006 11:04 PM 00:00 GMT


Le CPE: France, 2006 The 'Death of Milosevic' story gave me the kind of charge that frequently reminds me that I love communicating. At the suggestion of the Open Source staff, I switched from looking for web content that relates to the radio shows...
by Henry Shepherd at April 21, 2006 09:56 PM -05:00 GMT


Sustainable development grants The Nordic Council of Ministers is inviting applications for sustainable development grants.The deadline is 1 May and the applications will be processed by the Nordic Committee for Co-operation on 13 June. The strategy 'Sustainable development - A New Course...
by Syamak Moattari at April 19, 2006 09:51 AM -05:00 GMT


Issue XII.2 of the Journal Released Cutting-edge analysis of Iran, global health, oil, China, and more. Check your local newsstand for updates....
by BJWA at April 17, 2006 05:08 PM -05:00 GMT


World Ethics Forum Ends at Oxford University The first "World Ethics Forum" on leadership, ethics, integrity in public life ended at Oxford University. Participants concluded that corruption and poor governance around the world would only be overcome through much greater emphasis on ethics and integrity in leadership....
by Syamak Moattari at April 17, 2006 09:16 AM -05:00 GMT


Big Business Remittances Henry and I are working toward producing a show from Watson on May 12. We're hoping to get Chris and the gang in for that Friday to tape a show to be aired sometime this summer. At this point, we'd...
by Greta Pemberton at April 13, 2006 10:09 AM -05:00 GMT


nuclear strike on Iran "completely nuts" Governments can often rather fudge what they say. However, responding to New Yorker reports of a possible US nuclear attack on Iran's weapons bunkers , UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that this suggestion was "completely nuts". I can only...
by jon_mendel at April 10, 2006 08:02 PM 00:00 GMT


World Ethics Forum Opens at Oxford University Strong leadership and ethics are the missing link in governance reform, according to the organizers of the first World Ethics Forum, which opened at Oxford University. The forum focused on leadership, ethics and integrity in public life by bringing together...
by Syamak Moattari at April 9, 2006 08:25 PM -05:00 GMT


More Aid for Countries Fighting Avian Flu More than 20 countries are expected to receive assistance this year under the World Bank's global program for avian flu. The funding program, approved by the Bank's Board of Directors, allows for up to US $500 million to help...
by Syamak Moattari at April 6, 2006 11:18 AM -05:00 GMT


Dubious dialogue On March 18, the foreign ministers of Australia, Japan, and the United States met in Sydney for a "Trilateral Strategic Dialogue." As usual, the United States was the primary driver of the agenda, and, invariably, the focus was on China....
by Daniel Widome at April 4, 2006 10:51 PM -08:00 GMT


Fire Thunder Challenges South Dakota Abortion Ban “I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.” Cecilia Fire Thunder, Giago: Oglala Sioux president on...
by Greta Pemberton at April 3, 2006 11:54 PM -05:00 GMT


Blair's Leadership Mistake As the proverbial brown stuff continues hitting the fan around the Blair government, Blair has now acknowledged the he may have made a "mistake" in acknowledging that he would not seek a fourth term of Prime Minister. The first response...
by jon_mendel at March 27, 2006 02:19 PM 00:00 GMT


Port passions Politicians love nothing more than to be on the popular side of a contentious debate. In recent weeks, they had the quintessential chance to do just that. The revelation that an Arab company, Dubai Ports World (DP World), would soon...
by Daniel Widome at March 23, 2006 10:17 PM -08:00 GMT


Hubris and Nemesis Strike a pose [fuego81/flickr] Last night, Open Source recorded Neo-Conservatism: The Last Throes? with Niall Ferguson and Francis Fukuyama. The show gave these two prominent public intellectuals a chance to reflect in the state of American foreign policy ideology on...
by Henry Shepherd at March 21, 2006 12:19 PM -05:00 GMT


Happy Norous Today is the first official day of spring and the first day of Iranian New Year, Iranian calendar is a solar calendar and has 4 seasons and 365 days. On Norouz, everyone should wear new clothes, and should have...
by Syamak Moattari at March 20, 2006 04:38 PM -05:00 GMT


Avian Flu Would Have Short-Lived Global Impact A severe avian flu pandemic would trigger a "sharp but short-lived impact" on the global economy, according to the International Monetary Fund. In an assessment of the global economic and financial impact of an avian flu pandemic, the IMF recommends...
by Syamak Moattari at March 20, 2006 04:18 PM -05:00 GMT


Government-Opposition Coalition Unusually (for us in the UK) the Labour Government here has had to rely on votes from the official opposition party to get through education reforms that are an important part of its policy programme - enough Labour MPs voted...
by jon_mendel at March 19, 2006 10:30 PM 00:00 GMT


Mitt? Short for Mitten? The BBC's From Our Own Correspondent allows seasoned journalists to share the stories behind their stories. The result is often as insightful as it is pithy. They read like charming letters to a friend back home, telling the tales of...
by Henry Shepherd at March 19, 2006 11:08 AM -05:00 GMT


Saturday afternoon reflection Listening to Open Source's show on Convergences, I was moved to add a note before digging into my work. This blog is the realization of my passion for seeing the connections between the seemingly disparate aspects of my life, work...
by Henry Shepherd at March 18, 2006 03:58 PM -05:00 GMT


Aleksandar Macasev, Belgrade Milosevic is dead, long live Milosevic spectre over Serbia (again) The problem with Slobodan Milosevic's death is that he is still alive. Milosevic, like every other leader, does not appear on the scene by incidental strike of faith. Every leader...
by Henry Shepherd at March 15, 2006 09:14 AM -05:00 GMT


"Seesaw," Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina ["Seesaw" blogs at Balkan-Scissors]As for the reactions in Bosnia, they are devided as you can guess (and read), most Serbs in Republic Srpska think Milosevic was a hero, and behave according to that, Bosniaks (Moslems) and Croats in Federation BiH...
by Henry Shepherd at March 14, 2006 06:34 PM -05:00 GMT


Ed Alexander; Zagreb, Croatia [Note: Ed Alexander made this post to his blog, Balkan Baby.]With regards to Milosevic, the scene has been very reserved. No street celebrations, but a quiet pleasure that he has finally died. Here in zagreb, not as many people were...
by Henry Shepherd at March 14, 2006 01:10 PM -05:00 GMT


Zeljka Grzinic; Rijeka, Croatia [Zeljka blogs at green-mind.com.]When the war started, I was 12. From the very beginning I was very aware of the things that were happening - but after some years you get numb - the pictures of rotting children corpses on...
by Henry Shepherd at March 14, 2006 01:00 PM -05:00 GMT


Economists for Sweatshops Henry and I are reading Jeff Sachs’ The End of Poverty this week. The gist of his argument is that it’s unjustifiable to have a sixth of the global population in such desperate poverty that they must struggle for day...
by Greta Pemberton at March 14, 2006 12:43 PM -05:00 GMT


Sasa Nikolovski, Bečej, Serbia [Sasa Nikolovski blogs at Bečej - Óbecse: My town, my river, my people.]I was on job today (I'm working at a school) and nobody was talking about him. Only comment was about his funeral (where he will be buried). I...
by Henry Shepherd at March 14, 2006 12:43 PM -05:00 GMT


Blog Search by Location Often for ROS web features we try to find bloggers who can speak authoritatively about the place where they live (or hail from originally). Unfortunately, none of the blog searches I know of allow you to restrict your search by...
by Greta Pemberton at March 14, 2006 12:40 PM -05:00 GMT


Rachel Long, Belgrade [Rachel Long blogs at Pustolovina: adventure in Serbian.]I heard about the death when someone rushed into a seminar on the future of Kosovo to proclaim "Milosevic died in The Hague." My first thought (and the first though of everyone else)...
by Henry Shepherd at March 14, 2006 12:40 PM -05:00 GMT


Dubai? If Congress’ reaction to the ports mess was any indication, we were blind-sided by Dubai. But while Congress was tearing their hair out over national security and xenophobia, the real story takes place on their shores, not ours. Dubai is...
by Greta Pemberton at March 14, 2006 12:33 PM -05:00 GMT


Milosevic story for Open Source I'm working on a story about Milosevic's death for Radio Open Source. If you have any comments, please make them on this post.If you are in South/Eastern Europe or have a connection to the region: what did you and the...
by Henry Shepherd at March 14, 2006 12:18 AM -05:00 GMT


Scare tactics Well, when those missiles slam into the Iranian nuclear facilities, don't say I didn't warn you. Niall Ferguson's Telegraph Op-Ed, Watch out, this lame duck president has nothing to lose, is the most recent in a series of articles that...
by Henry Shepherd at March 13, 2006 11:12 AM -05:00 GMT


Habermas on intellectuals and new media Jürgen Habermas [minmax/flickr] Der Standard is running the transcript of Jürgen Habermas' Bruno Kreisky Prize acceptance speech to the Karl Renner Institute. Unfortunately, only a short segment is available in English (I've contacted the Institute for a full English version):...
by Henry Shepherd at March 12, 2006 01:49 PM -05:00 GMT


Under construction: Dubai, Shanghai, and this blog Sometimes, when I am exposed to a cluster of related ideas or topics, I fall between the cracks and end up in a new world, in which I am held captive by my own obsessive curiosity. True to form, in...
by Henry Shepherd at March 11, 2006 06:27 PM -05:00 GMT


The impact of war on women and children source of picture As an Iranian witness and civilian victim of the bloody war between Iran and Iraq in 80s and as a Peace advocator, during these days of Iranian nuclear spotlight and a possibility of another war in...
by Syamak Moattari at March 11, 2006 10:58 AM -05:00 GMT


La subida del resto del mundo del béisbol Qué lástima que no haya más personas que sean aficionados del béisbol en los EE.UU. que estén siguiendo El Clásico Mundial de Béisbol en el castellano (en ESPN en Español u otro canal). Uno realmente se da cuenta de que...
by Geoffrey Kirkman at March 9, 2006 11:28 PM -05:00 GMT


Christianity and Politics The role of Christianity in UK politics has been in the news a lot lately. This is partly because of Blair's acknowledgement that he prayed to God when deciding whether to send UK troops to war in Iraq, and expects...
by jon_mendel at March 9, 2006 05:22 PM 00:00 GMT


Sovereignty at the WBC How strangely inconsistent the question of sovereignty is dealt with at the World Baseball Classic and other international sporting events. While the American announcers in the first round of the WBC made such a point of never saying that Taiwan...
by Geoffrey Kirkman at March 8, 2006 10:55 PM -05:00 GMT


The World Baseball Classic - A Must Watch I just cannot understand why there seem to be so many naysayers about the just-begun World Baseball Classic. Since the first pitch last Saturday night, I have caught bits and pieces of about five or six games, and I find...
by Geoffrey Kirkman at March 8, 2006 10:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Heifer Project and heartache I spent the first month of my year off between high school and college at Overlook Farm in Rutland, Mass. The farm is run by Heifer Project as a demostration of the sustainable agriculture and livestock breeding that it puts...
by Henry Shepherd at March 8, 2006 12:55 AM -05:00 GMT


Housing is the most critical need...right up there with levees Six months on: steps that used to lead to part of Physicians' Hospital, New Orleans, now lead to rubble. [Bart Everson/Flickr] I spoke with Bart Everson a few weeks ago about his experience returning to New Orleans after Katrina...
by Henry Shepherd at March 6, 2006 06:17 PM -05:00 GMT


For these I set no limits, world or time,/ But make the gift of empire without end. Nilotic pool at Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli, outside Rome [Benjamin Stevens/Rome 2005] So Jupiter promised Venus as her favorites, the Trojans, were scattered and barred from entering Latium. We are reading Virgil's Aeneid in "Odysseus Across the Ages," and I...
by Henry Shepherd at March 6, 2006 11:13 AM -05:00 GMT


International Women's Day March 8 - Global -- In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on 8 March. The day is now celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women...
by Syamak Moattari at March 6, 2006 10:03 AM -05:00 GMT


Ashgabat hosts regional forum on sustainable development The forum was organized by the Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan within the framework of the Interstate Commission on the Sustainable Development of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. Representatives of state institutions on nature management and...
by Syamak Moattari at February 28, 2006 11:53 PM -05:00 GMT


Marvel for the ages I had a bit of a triumph today when I realized that I am working on similar issues in all of my courses. Comparative Literature Professor Marinos Pourgouris humbled me when he asked me to present my interpretation of Book...
by Henry Shepherd at February 27, 2006 07:39 PM -05:00 GMT


Blair: "this is not an issue of liberty but of modernity" I'm trying to put together a broadly poststructuralist account of the 'war on terror' at the moment - thinking through what 'modern' war might be. Unfortunately, it seems that Prime Minister Blair is well ahead of me on this -...
by jon_mendel at February 27, 2006 03:35 PM 00:00 GMT


An "American" City in Africa I have been doing a lot of reading recently on Johannesburg, and a friend recommended that I check out the Fall 2004 issue of Public Culture, which focuses on Johannesburg in particular. One article by AbdouMaliq Simone is especially interesting....
by Cindy Wise at February 25, 2006 09:56 PM 02:00 GMT


Brunelleschi be damned? Is the epoch of the solitary master craftsman over? [sco/Flickr] The Cathedral and the Bazaar, by Eric S. Raymond We're trying to understand the cultural and technological roots of the internet, and we've been reading testimony from people who...
by Henry Shepherd at February 25, 2006 11:08 AM -05:00 GMT


Re-energizing the debate In terms of ceremony, a president's state of the union address can serve as a compelling vehicle to launch the political year. In policy terms, however, the constitutionally mandated address often has been rich in rhetoric but weak in substance....
by Daniel Widome at February 23, 2006 06:53 PM -08:00 GMT


Guantanamo Bay - A Savage Anomaly? The US prison at Guantanamo Bay is not popular here in the UK, or within the Labour Party. However, due to Tony Blair's close relationship to the Bush Administration, he has not been willing to condemn it - instead taking...
by jon_mendel at February 23, 2006 01:04 AM 00:00 GMT


Commander-in-Mischief Executive power seems to be the hot political topic these days, and with good reason. The NSA’s unwarranted domestic surveillance and last year’s fight over Senator John McCain’s anti-torture amendment demonstrate the Bush administration’s desire for ever-greater executive prerogatives. On...
by Daniel Widome at February 20, 2006 01:21 PM -08:00 GMT


Yasukuni, Yomiuri, & Asahi Fine summary of all things Yasukuni in the latest issue of the Economist. Nothing new or groundbraking, but this bit caught my attention: ... [O]pposition to a rising mood of nationalism is coming from an unlikely source from within the...
by Daniel Widome at February 17, 2006 01:12 AM -08:00 GMT


Accra to Ulaanbaatar From Ghana... [Stig Nygaard/Flickr] Fifty years ago, communication between Ghana and Mongolia would have taken months and transpired via postal mail. Ten years ago, it would have required international phone calls costing several US dollars a minute and required...
by Henry Shepherd at February 15, 2006 06:05 PM -05:00 GMT


Our friend from China There are some people you meet who you will never forget and may never see again. Until this week, I couldn't help but feel Krace Zhou was one of those people for me. She came to Brown in November...
by Henry Shepherd at February 15, 2006 05:15 PM -05:00 GMT


World Information and Communication for Development Report 2006 Information and communication technologies are rapidly evolving, changing rich and poor societies alike. They have become a powerful tool for participating in the global economy and offering new opportunities for development efforts. This report examines the ICT-related roles of the...
by Syamak Moattari at February 14, 2006 08:45 PM -05:00 GMT


ID cards, Rock and Regime Change Have just got back from a nice night watching Dawn of the Replicants play, to find out that the UK Government has successfully got a bill on ID cards through our lower house of parliament - meaning that they will...
by jon_mendel at February 14, 2006 12:15 AM 00:00 GMT


Senate considers repealing normal trade relations with China: not quite deja vu all over again I was actually quite struck by the reasons offered by the Senators proposing to repeal PNTR (see news links below). I remember watching the MFN debates in the mid-1990s, and much fo the rhetoric of opponents of normalizing trade was...
by Aaron Halegua at February 10, 2006 11:12 PM -05:00 GMT


Ronald Reagan and a Week in Review Open Source producers are working on a wide range of shows today. An example of how diverse the show topics are here: Greta is researching online dating for a Valentine's Day show; I'm researching Richard Reeves' book about Ronald Reagan....
by Henry Shepherd at February 10, 2006 02:21 PM -05:00 GMT


GLOBAL WARMING A HEALTH RISK Global warming is already causing death and disease across the world through flooding, environmental destruction, heat-waves and other extreme events according to Australian scientists. And the scientists say it’s likely to get worse. In a review published in The Lancet...
by Syamak Moattari at February 9, 2006 09:33 PM -05:00 GMT


Mohammed, Cartoons, and "the Brutal Enlightenment" I put my blogtrolling for the ROS post on hold for a few hours to go to class on Tuesday. The class is Gordon Wood's senior historiography seminar, The Practice of History. Great class. At one point in the discussion,...
by Greta Pemberton at February 9, 2006 01:39 PM -05:00 GMT


Islam, Cartoons ...and New Zealand? Muslims all around the world are pissed. Pissed at those people who are publishing irrelevent pictures of our prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). These people, who are ignorant and pathetic include Kiwis here as well....NZ is the latest country...
by Greta Pemberton at February 9, 2006 01:20 PM -05:00 GMT


Religious Hatred and Censorship? C***s, Cartoons and Clerics When I wrote about religious hatred and censorship last week, I thought this was a pretty parochial UK issue. However, the argument about the printing of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad -- which many have viewed as offensive and/or blasphemous...
by jon_mendel at February 7, 2006 03:23 PM 00:00 GMT


Globalization for Development This book identifies ways in which globalization can either overcome poverty or make it worse. It defines historical trends, identifies principal global flows such as trade, finance, aid, migration and ideas, and examines how each can contribute to undermining economic...
by Syamak Moattari at February 6, 2006 11:24 AM -05:00 GMT


Chipping away The view of downtown Providence from the Rock is a worthy background for a Sunday spent immersed in great questions. From Jared Diamond: why did some people shift, albeit slowly and unknowingly, from hunting and gathering to domestication (including herding)...
by Henry Shepherd at February 5, 2006 06:50 PM -05:00 GMT


Zheng He Revisited China's space program boosts national pride. But it also produces high-tech spinoffs that improve Chinese bargaining power in securing access to natural resources. Frank Braun interviews Fernando Henrique Cardoso about the role of China's space program and whether Brazil is...
by BJWA at February 5, 2006 03:00 PM -05:00 GMT


A down day One of the most captivating stories of the past few days involves a neo-nazi hate crime that ended in a killing spree a thousand miles away. I'll get into the details at some point; this is a story that, like...
by Henry Shepherd at February 4, 2006 11:11 PM -05:00 GMT


Cumulative Risk Assessment The public is exposed to multiple contaminants fiom a variety of sources, and tools are needed to understand the resulting combined risks. The Framework for Cumulative Risk Assessment represents an important milestone for EPA in expanding our focus from...
by Syamak Moattari at February 3, 2006 04:51 PM -05:00 GMT


From the Open Source Office We find ourselves on this eerily warm, rainy day in the Radio Open Source studio, 15 Mt. Auburn, Cambridge. It is a pretty typical Friday here at Open Source; the show is only Monday-Thursday, so Friday is dedicated to long-term...
by Henry Shepherd at February 3, 2006 03:11 PM -05:00 GMT


Blair loses vote on incitement to religious hatred bill The Government lost another vote in the House of Commons yesterday - MPs voted to retain an amendment that the House of Lords (our second chamber in the UK) made to the Government's Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. This means...
by jon_mendel at February 2, 2006 10:53 PM 00:00 GMT


Syllabus approved We were informed this morning that our syllabus for this independent study was approved by the department head. That means I'm headed to the bookstore for International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction. I started The Language of New Media, by...
by Henry Shepherd at February 2, 2006 04:12 PM -05:00 GMT


The US renews push for AIDS research and care The US health policy has a direct effect of the International Health Policy and each new statement especially on the International Health issue by US government can affect on the Global movement on Health Issues. One of the most important...
by Syamak Moattari at February 1, 2006 09:14 AM -05:00 GMT


Reforms in Developing Countries Can Boost Exports, Study Says A study from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, entitled "Trading on Time," says that delaying exports hurts developing countries' economies. In some countries, an export container requires 116 days to move from the factory or farm to...
by Syamak Moattari at January 30, 2006 09:41 AM -05:00 GMT


A Dream My Mother in Low loves this poem, you can see the clip of this song in Persian with English subtitle here Imagine " Even if it is hard " the world in which each person is so blest . the...
by Syamak Moattari at January 27, 2006 11:13 PM -05:00 GMT


Whale dies; UK Education Bill in death throes? Firstly, I am sad to say that the whale in the Thames has died -- apparently, after getting lost it suffered from "dehydration, muscle damage and failing kidneys". A less cute casualty may well be our Government's Education Bill --...
by jon_mendel at January 25, 2006 11:33 PM 00:00 GMT


Avian Flu Pledging Conference Beats Target Global efforts to fight avian flu were given a boost in Beijing when donors surpassed initial targets and raised $1.9 billion for developing countries at a funding conference co-sponsored by the World Bank. Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, in a videotaped...
by Syamak Moattari at January 25, 2006 03:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Whose turn? Iran Iran is going to experience the very hard days in near future, there is no hope for avoiding of a worse situation, I really scared and I don't know what we can do. I wish some of policy makers in...
by Syamak Moattari at January 23, 2006 09:09 PM -05:00 GMT


A whale heads for Downing Street For a while now, I've been wanting to start a blog -- to track what is very likely to be the final period of Tony Blair's time as Prime Minister of Britain. This government has been responsible for some radical...
by jon_mendel at January 20, 2006 05:34 PM 00:00 GMT


Congressional winter In the final weeks of 2005, the battle lines were drawn for a political struggle that may define 2006. This struggle was about more than just policy or ideology. It concerned the very role that Congress should play in the...
by Daniel Widome at January 20, 2006 01:12 AM -08:00 GMT


Insurgent insurgents Interesting piece in the NYTimes today about divisions among the collective Iraqi insurgency: In October, the two insurgents said in interviews, a group of local fighters from the Islamic Army gathered for an open-air meeting on a street corner in...
by Daniel Widome at January 12, 2006 12:33 AM -08:00 GMT


Health and sanitation: a crucial determinant? The goal of water and sanitation intrinsically links up with many other MDGs and particularly has strong links with poverty, hunger, health, and environmental sustainability. 1.1 billion people worldwide currently lack access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion do...
by Syamak Moattari at January 11, 2006 10:30 AM -05:00 GMT


Health, Nutrition, and Population Services for the Poor A World's Bank study titled "Reaching the Poor with Health, Nutrition, and Population Services" concludes that delivering health services coverage can be difficult, and that the rich are often better able to take advantage of these services although their...
by Syamak Moattari at January 9, 2006 06:16 PM -05:00 GMT


The World Development Corporation (WDC) At the today's publication of theYale Global Online a publication of Yale center for study Globalization, you may find an article with the title" Multinational Corporations: A Key to Global Poverty Reduction " by George C. Lodge and Craig Wilson....
by Syamak Moattari at January 5, 2006 01:25 PM -05:00 GMT


Asian mice From the good folks at Kyodo, here's a nice round-up of Koizumi's latest news conference: ''China and South Korea should not close the doors for talks due to this one issue [visits to Yasukuni],'' Koizumi said when asked how he...
by Daniel Widome at January 5, 2006 12:45 AM -08:00 GMT


Peaceful development A new white paper from the Chinese government represents its latest attempt to downplay fears of its rapid growth: "To stick to the road of peaceful development is the inevitable way for China to attain national prosperity and strength and...
by Daniel Widome at December 23, 2005 04:45 PM -08:00 GMT


Global Integration and Technology Transfer Developing countries have long sought to use both national policies and international agreements to stimulate international technology diffusion. Now, new technologies may be embodied in goods and transferred through imports of new varieties of differentiated products or capital goods and...
by Syamak Moattari at December 19, 2005 11:30 PM -05:00 GMT


Off to the land of palm trees, samba, passionfruit... oh, and extreme poverty, inequality, racism, and unequal access to resources and education ....but nonetheless I am still extremely excited to go to BRAZIL on Friday! Though it's been absolutely incredibly difficult to get there, I could not believe my...
by Katy Love at December 14, 2005 09:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Trade Reforms Would Reduce Poverty More Quickly A World Bank study shows that an agreement in the WTO's Doha Development Round of trade talks would reduce poverty more quickly in some countries than others. The study, entitled "Poverty and the WTO -- Impacts of the Doha...
by Syamak Moattari at December 13, 2005 04:01 PM -05:00 GMT


Bad NEWS from Tehran, According to the Sever Air Inversion in Tehran, all schools would be closed in 4 coming days. It seems nobody in Iran can solve this problem; the point is that the new administration under President Ahmadi Nejad claimed last week...
by Syamak Moattari at December 6, 2005 04:41 PM -05:00 GMT


We’re in it ‘til “Victory” President Bush has out and said it, and his message was clear and quickly repeated: the United States will stay the course to “victory” in Iraq. Given the recent widespread calls for a scale-down if not full withdrawal of the...
by Sam Hodges at December 5, 2005 11:02 PM -05:00 GMT


Enjoying the mandate Koizumi has obviously been enjoying his recently renewed electoral mandate. A couple weeks ago, he announced proposed revisions to the Japanese constitution: [Koizumi] urged Japan to match its weight as the world's second biggest economy by cooperating more with the...
by Daniel Widome at December 5, 2005 08:51 PM -08:00 GMT


More interesting resources Of course there are tons of resources out there for young people, but I like the ones that the Washington Post has to offer: * "New Advice: First Jobs and Internships" * From there you can read "The Complete Guide...
by Katy Love at December 5, 2005 07:19 PM -05:00 GMT


HIV/AIDS Global Plan Launched The World Bank's global plan to fight HIV/AIDS, launched on the eve of World AIDS Day, aims to strengthen its response to the epidemic at country, regional and global levels, through no-interest lending, grants, analysis, technical support and policy dialogues.آ...
by Syamak Moattari at December 5, 2005 12:26 PM -05:00 GMT


Commendation and caution long overdue A Nobel for an Influential Scholar and a Word of Caution for Today Earlier this year the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Thomas Schelling, in recognition of his work in the area of applied game theory...
by Sam Hodges at December 4, 2005 08:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Conference of the Parties Canada is currently hosting the first Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in North America. Combining the Eleventh Conference of the Parties and the first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, the Montreal 2005: United Nations...
by Syamak Moattari at December 2, 2005 10:46 PM -05:00 GMT


I will never waste my food This was found in Kevi's diary Dear God, I promise I will never waste my food no matter how bad it can taste and how full I may be. I pray that He will protect this little boy, guide...
by Syamak Moattari at December 1, 2005 11:13 AM -05:00 GMT


Finding a Way to Continue International Travel If you're like me, you're shocked about how you've survived thus far without the 4 months of school vacation. Instead, you've got two weeks. Or three if you're lucky. Or four if you work at Human Rights Watch. Or five...
by Katy Love at November 29, 2005 10:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Repositioning Nutrition as Central to Development "Repositioning Nutrition as Central to Development : A Strategy for Large Scale Action" is a report that recently has published by World Bank,this report makes the case for development partners and developing countries to focus on nutrition, and to fund...
by Syamak Moattari at November 28, 2005 03:02 PM -05:00 GMT


Trimming the Fat A major challenge of editing academic prose is "trimming the fat." Despite word limits of 10,000-12,000 words, some authors will weigh in with 15,000. Richard Lanham's Revising Prose, for example, offers some effective ways to reduce what he calls the...
by Fred Fullerton at November 23, 2005 10:45 AM -05:00 GMT


Medical Ecology Medical Ecology is an emerging science that defines those aspects of the environment that have a direct bearing on human health. The concept of ecosystem functions and services helps to describe global processes that contribute to our well-being, helping to...
by Syamak Moattari at November 21, 2005 12:26 PM -05:00 GMT


Articles on US/Chinese mediation... For anybody interested, below are the weblinks to the three articles that I wrote for a Chinese newspaper comparing mediation in the US and China. After realizing that I was only 19-years old when I started doing mediations, they asked...
by Aaron Halegua at November 20, 2005 10:59 AM -05:00 GMT


Update... Hello everyone. I had an alumni interview for Brown today and my interviewee, who had viewed my Watson Blog, reminded me that it exists. Figured I would at least send out a quick update to the Watson community. I finished...
by Aaron Halegua at November 20, 2005 10:53 AM -05:00 GMT


Cautious approach In advance of Bush's visit to China, the Christian Science Monitor has run a great little series on China's military modernization and the threat it represents. The first article looks at China's emerging "army within an army," a modern nub...
by Daniel Widome at November 18, 2005 10:43 AM -08:00 GMT


Disease, death loom in Pakistan quake zone One month after Pakistan's devastating earthquake aid agencies are facing a cash crisis as the threat of disease and death looms over vast numbers of homeless survivors and a bitter winter closes in. The United Nations is struggling to raise...
by Syamak Moattari at November 18, 2005 09:22 AM -05:00 GMT


How to use your network: Be strong, be persistant! Over the past few weeks I've met with many recent grads and even a few students. I always feel a few similar emotion with everyone I meet: I'm a bit excited for them to undertake this job search and to...
by Katy Love at November 17, 2005 05:19 PM -05:00 GMT


Iran Major Cities Air Polution Increasing population density in urban areas and expanding industry in the oil and gas sectors are putting pressure on Iran’s environment. Air pollution in major cities such as Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Tabriz and Ahwaz pose a serious environmental problem, exceeding...
by Syamak Moattari at November 16, 2005 11:43 AM -05:00 GMT


Intellectual Property Law: Theory Versus Implementation BJWA Online: Edgardo Buscaglia examines the gap between the letter of international IP law and the facts on the ground. (Click here to download)...
by BJWA at November 14, 2005 02:07 PM -05:00 GMT


New Guide on Sport, Environment and Sustainable Development At the VI World Conference on Sport and Environment in Nairobi, co-hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IOC presented its new Guide on Sport, Environment and Sustainable Development. The Guide was created...
by Syamak Moattari at November 13, 2005 08:54 PM -05:00 GMT


Article about Generation Y at the workplace We're obviously the youngest, hippest generation of workers out there...and why does no one else get that?! ;) Check out this USA Today article: Generation Y: They've arrived at work with a new attitude "They're young, smart, brash. They may...
by Katy Love at November 13, 2005 10:10 AM -05:00 GMT


Tehran Environmental Problems Recently one of my friends asked me “what has caused heavy urban migration and why did the government not plan accordingly in the past? Was it due to corruption, or lack of understanding, or a general disinterest, or what? "...
by Syamak Moattari at November 10, 2005 05:02 PM -05:00 GMT


Interceptions The pace of aerial training in East Asia has evidently picked up in recent months: Japanese fighter jets have been scrambled 30 times to turn away Chinese planes approaching Japan's airspace in the last seven months, more than twice the...
by Daniel Widome at November 9, 2005 08:43 PM -08:00 GMT


Elements of Successful Poverty Reduction Reducing poverty on a global scale depends on several factors including leadership and commitment, institutional innovation, learning and experimentation, external catalysts such as donor assistance and sometimes even economic shocks, according to a World Bank report. "Reducing Poverty on...
by Syamak Moattari at November 8, 2005 10:19 AM -05:00 GMT


Headhunters First, I apologize for "taking a break." I've been pestering lots and lots of other people to write about their experiences for me. Let's see if anything happens here. Eh hem. Anyway, I realy want to write about headhunters, something...
by Katy Love at November 6, 2005 09:08 PM -05:00 GMT


Sustainable Development a Responsibility, Says Vatican The Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, made these comment Thursday in an address to the U.N. General Assembly's Commission on Sustainable Development. "My delegation believes that development plans and poverty reduction strategies must...
by Syamak Moattari at November 6, 2005 01:02 PM -05:00 GMT


Trading planes Hugo Chavez, weapons proliferator: If they don't comply with the contract ... we can do whatever we want with these aircraft, whatever the hell we want. Maybe we'll give 10 [U.S.-built, Venezuelan-operated F-16s] to Cuba or to China so they...
by Daniel Widome at November 3, 2005 02:12 AM -08:00 GMT


Brain Drain from Poor Countries Grows A World Bank publication shows that remittances from migrants contribute to poverty alleviation and help raise levels of child health, school attendance and investment in their home countries. However, the report also shows that some of the world's most...
by Syamak Moattari at October 31, 2005 09:09 PM -05:00 GMT


HMS center honors Al Gore for environmental work Former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore was recently chosen as the recipient of the 2005 Global Environmental Citizen Award by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School (HMS). He worked with President...
by Syamak Moattari at October 28, 2005 02:04 PM -05:00 GMT


Rich world 'failing' on quake aid Many of the world's richest countries have so far failed to support a UN appeal for victims of the South Asian quake, a top UK-based charity has said. The charity, Oxfam, said less than 30% of the $312m (£175m)...
by Syamak Moattari at October 26, 2005 09:11 AM -05:00 GMT


Reaching Rural Areas via Radio A program to support local government capacity-building and community empowerment through radio is making a difference in the lives of the people of Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.Africa Good Governance on the Radio Wavesâ€‌ is a joint program of...
by Syamak Moattari at October 24, 2005 10:41 AM -05:00 GMT


Global estimate of burden disease caused by the environmental and occupational factors WHO has coordinated the development of global estimates of burden of disease caused by 26 risk factors, published in the World Health Report 2002 in cooperation with numerous experts around the world. Five of these risk factors are environmental and...
by Syamak Moattari at October 20, 2005 07:15 PM -05:00 GMT


Richard Epstein Article Updated Download Richard Epstein's updated "Untying the Grokster Knot" from the Patents & Piracy section of the Summer / Fall 2005 Journal....
by BJWA at October 18, 2005 03:41 PM -05:00 GMT


Serious condemnation Predictable feedback from the neighbors over Koizumi's recent trip to Yasukuni. First, from China: The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Monday to condemn Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, a place where World War...
by Daniel Widome at October 18, 2005 12:22 AM -08:00 GMT


Water, Electricity and the Poor Consumer utility subsidies are widespread in both the water and electricity sectors, but their effectiveness in reaching and distributing resources to the poor is the subject of much debate. A World bank's report brings together empirical evidence on subsidy performance...
by Syamak Moattari at October 17, 2005 09:52 AM -05:00 GMT


Electoral license I suppose when you gamble in calling a snap election, win that election, and then push through a rather bold reform of the postal system, a prime minister is entitled to a little mischief. Nothing too unexpected in Koizumi's latest...
by Daniel Widome at October 17, 2005 12:32 AM -08:00 GMT


Northern dimension I've been meaning to link to a great piece the NY Times ran earlier this week (conveniently permalinked at the IHT) that describes a budding "great game" over the Arctic Ocean and its defrosting attributes: ... [T]he Arctic is undergoing...
by Daniel Widome at October 12, 2005 07:11 PM -08:00 GMT


Environmental Degradation Increases Death and Disease Some 1.7 million premature deaths each year are caused by unsafe water, poor sanitation and poor hygiene, and about 800,000 more deaths are the result of urban air pollution, according to the World Bank's annual publication, "Environment Matters." An...
by Syamak Moattari at October 12, 2005 09:23 AM -05:00 GMT


Economics Nobel prize for game theory An American and an Israeli won the 2005 Nobel prize for economics today for their work on "game theory," which can help resolve trade and business conflicts, and even play a role in avoiding war. "Game theory" is the science...
by Syamak Moattari at October 10, 2005 11:02 AM -05:00 GMT


Tehran is the best city to live in the 10-bottom list The EIU ranked 127 cities in terms of personal risk, infrastructure and the availability of goods and services. All the cities that fell into the top "live ability" bracket were based in Canada, Australia and Western Europe. According to...
by Syamak Moattari at October 8, 2005 10:19 AM -05:00 GMT


My daughter presidency campaign Recently my daughter told me she wants to be the president of the United States, I told her you can't be, because you are not a US citizen and also you didn't born in the US ,so if you are...
by Syamak Moattari at October 7, 2005 10:12 AM -05:00 GMT


Helping marketers to benefit from sustainable development How can marketing strategies be shaped to build trust, develop new business opportunities and create competitive advantage? The World Business Council for Sustainable Development releases the second in a series of functional briefings aimed at helping marketing managers understand how...
by Syamak Moattari at October 6, 2005 02:36 PM -05:00 GMT


The Decision to Go Abroad I’ve been bugging my friends lately who have worked abroad to give me their pieces so I can post to have more diverse perspectives (!!!!!send me them!!!!), but in the mean time, I’ll have to do with my own ideas...
by Katy Love at October 5, 2005 07:43 AM -05:00 GMT


Close call It appears that the EU and Turkey have stopped just short of the precipice: After two days of dramatic negotiations, European foreign ministers agreed on terms for talks to start, overcoming Austria's insistence that the EU offer Turkey the possibility...
by Daniel Widome at October 4, 2005 03:07 AM -08:00 GMT


Not a privilege It looks like Turkey's EU accession odyssey has reached an impasse, courtesy of Austria: European Union foreign ministers have failed to end the stalemate over Turkey's bid to join the bloc. Late-night talks in Luxembourg ended without agreement on a...
by Daniel Widome at October 2, 2005 11:14 PM -08:00 GMT


Rusty tools Looks like Canada's military is stretched too thin: The military budget should double and the Canadian Forces should sign up thousands of new recruits, a Senate committee said Thursday. The budget should be $25-billion to $35-billion a year instead of...
by Daniel Widome at September 29, 2005 08:21 PM -08:00 GMT


Vietnam sets up agency for sustainable development Prime Minister Phan Van Khai signed Tuesday a decision to establish a state-funded national council for sustainable development. The council is authorized to help the Prime Minister draw up strategies for the country's sustainable development, and will coordinate action among...
by Syamak Moattari at September 29, 2005 04:34 PM -05:00 GMT


Report Says Equity Reduces Poverty The 2006 edition of the World Bank's annual World Development Reportfinds that equality of opportunities among people should be an integral part of a successful poverty reduction strategy anywhere in the developing world. Titled "Equity and Development," it states that...
by Syamak Moattari at September 26, 2005 09:20 PM -05:00 GMT


Solutions to Burnout in the Job Search: Travel Internationally! If you do have time off while job searching, or post-college, let me say this once and I hope you all accept my advice: TAKE TIME OFF and get out there!!!! Go on travels. Vacation around—tour Costa Rica! Or plan...
by Katy Love at September 21, 2005 10:35 PM -05:00 GMT


Stating the obvious A bit late, perhaps, but accurate nonetheless: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has acknowledged that the EU will not have a constitution for "at least two or three years". He said that the text was unlikely to be ratified...
by Daniel Widome at September 21, 2005 04:31 PM -08:00 GMT


I HAVE A DREAM: Keeping It Alive & Vocalizing it Sometimes, I have to admit, I can't remember what it was I left college wanting to do. So I've found a pretty easy way of remembering it--I write down my dream jobs or at least just some things I like...
by Katy Love at September 19, 2005 10:19 PM -05:00 GMT


Interviewing Part II Body language: Yes it's stupid, but it matters. Remember to be perky, assertive, smile a lot but not act demure or coy (hard for girls to hit right balance). Show your enthusiasm. Make sure you keep eye contact. Dressing Up:...
by Katy Love at September 15, 2005 11:02 PM -05:00 GMT


BJWA Unveils Updated Website The new website, www.bjwa.org, offers improved subscriber service, increased accessibility, archive searching, user registry, and a host of other features to better bring cutting-edge analysis of international affairs to your fingertips....
by BJWA at September 15, 2005 01:36 PM -05:00 GMT


Koizumi konquers Haven't written nearly as much as I would've liked on Sunday's election in Japan, but I'm not sure there's much I would add to the already abundant coverage. While I disagree with Koizumi's dispatch of SDF troops to Iraq and...
by Daniel Widome at September 14, 2005 10:36 PM -08:00 GMT


No more secrets Is the veil lifting over Communist China? China said on Monday that it would no longer treat the death toll in natural disasters as a state secret, a step that could lead to greater transparency in a country that has...
by Daniel Widome at September 14, 2005 10:27 PM -08:00 GMT


Making a Good Impression: Interviews (How's that for a cheesey title) PART 1 One of my good friends is going into an interview at a company she very much wants to work for. I wrote her back with some ideas & suggestions, and have copied it below (so you can get a real...
by Katy Love at September 13, 2005 10:48 PM -05:00 GMT


The secrets of successes in American Universities The Economist did a survey about HIGHER EDUCATION by Adrian Wooldridge, this survey discuses about American Educational Model ,at one of the parts of the survey you can find the secrets of successes of this model. Let see what the...
by Syamak Moattari at September 13, 2005 11:05 AM -05:00 GMT


Mexican assistance It's not exactly fresh news, but I wanted to make reference to the arrival of Mexican military personnel in the United States before it became too stale. Traveling north to assist with Katrina relief operations, the Mexican troops were the...
by Daniel Widome at September 12, 2005 04:10 PM -08:00 GMT


Trying to Make a Difference, One Email at a Time Back to the thoughts of how to get the most out of your early post college years. Any thoughts, anyone? I certainly don't know the answer. The truth of the matter is that most people who are recent college grads...
by Katy Love at September 11, 2005 05:13 PM -05:00 GMT


A Human and Environmental Disaster In addition to being a human and economic tragedy, Hurricane Katrina is an environmental disaster of unprecedented proportions. Although the extent of the environmental devastation remains unknown, it is clear that Katrina is a wake-up call and a warning not...
by Syamak Moattari at September 9, 2005 08:51 AM -05:00 GMT


The Communities You Need Ok, ok, I've been slacking so much in updating this blog and I apologize. I am, however, still thinking about all of the things I've written before, and said before, and they all still hold and overwhelm me. the Brown...
by Katy Love at September 8, 2005 12:24 AM -05:00 GMT


Katrina thoughts Couple thoughts about Katrina. First, I was initially turned off by comparisons of the hurricane with last December's tsunami in the Indian Ocean or even with Hiroshima. It seemed that the comparison -- of an event that killed tens to...
by Daniel Widome at September 4, 2005 11:15 PM -08:00 GMT


Pause--The Importance of a Break This entry is just to let anyone/everyone know that I am enjoying Labor Day weekend in Western North Carolina. It is beautiful and amazing. It feels good to get out of humid DC. I have always recognized the importance of...
by Katy Love at September 3, 2005 07:59 PM -05:00 GMT


A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals in 2005 The UN Millennium Project, an independent advisory body to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Anna, led by Jeffrey Sachs, presented its report Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals in 2005. It reflects the status, achievements...
by Syamak Moattari at August 31, 2005 06:22 PM -05:00 GMT


Patriot's game Concerned about graphic violence and historical inaccuracy in your video games? Fear not: PowerNet Technology, a Chinese online gaming firm, has developed a new online game in cooperation with the China Communist Youth League (CCYL) named "Anti-Japan War Online," which...
by Daniel Widome at August 31, 2005 04:41 PM -08:00 GMT


Dispute resolution From time to time in this space, we've taken a look at the passions that small, uninhabited islands can evoke in otherwise mature, reasonable states. One of the first cases we examined at was that of Takeshima/Tokto, which has tormented...
by Daniel Widome at August 28, 2005 03:29 PM -08:00 GMT


Established Personal Website Xu Wenli's personal website...
by Xu Wenli at August 24, 2005 04:37 PM -05:00 GMT


Fatwa justification Citgo may soon become the gas station of choice: "We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States," [Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez] said at the end of a visit to Cuba. Chavez did...
by Daniel Widome at August 24, 2005 11:37 AM -08:00 GMT


Intercultural Understanding The resulting aggression and conflict causes significant human tragedies, overwhelms health systems, destroys homes, schools and often whole communities, and has led to increasing numbers of displaced people and refugees. Intercultural Understanding is the ability and willingness to see things...
by Syamak Moattari at August 24, 2005 10:55 AM -05:00 GMT


"The Chinese" I have never blogged before in my life; that's right, not once. While I respect the blog's un-edited, free-flowing, un-cut characteristics, I simultaneously fear the way it tempts one to ramble without end as well as its lack of spellcheck...
by Aaron Halegua at August 24, 2005 01:27 AM -05:00 GMT


Chavez's game I had meant to bring this up a while back: Chavez said late Monday that the U.S. government, which "won't stop caressing the idea of invading Cuba or invading Venezuela," should be warned of the consequences. "If someday they get...
by Daniel Widome at August 23, 2005 10:13 PM -08:00 GMT


One of the things I’ve been doing lately is looking at DC grass-roots effort community NGOs. And there are thousands of them. So many absolutely amazing sounding ones, and of course. Check some of these sites out of funders to...
by Katy Love at August 21, 2005 08:33 PM -05:00 GMT


A Master’s Degree: The Next Union Card? That’s what I have been told. There’s no way to get a good job without a Master’s Degree. And I’m here to tell you I think that is absolutely a load of hooey. I have a great job, and I...
by Katy Love at August 18, 2005 08:53 PM -05:00 GMT


Sound Familiar? I was running a focus group the other day which was designed to center mostly around leisure activities - what learners like to do in their free time; what they would like to do but can't; what barriers they face...
by Beth Adler at August 18, 2005 04:29 AM -05:00 GMT


CVs and Cover Letters--How To Make the Best One! Ahhh…the joyous moment you find a job you think you are perfectly qualified for. And (it gets better), the job sounds amazing! Since it’s very hard to give examples of what to do and what not to do in a...
by Katy Love at August 17, 2005 07:51 AM -05:00 GMT


Remembrance addendum More on Japan's 60th anniversary observances yesterday from the New York Times: In the first apology delivered on Aug. 15 by a prime minister since the 50th anniversary of the war's end, Mr. Koizumi said: "Our country has caused tremendous...
by Daniel Widome at August 16, 2005 12:59 AM -08:00 GMT


Limiting offense Koizumi marked the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender today with predictably remorseful words: "We will do our utmost to further develop friendly relations with the rest of the world and gain more trust from the world as a nation that...
by Daniel Widome at August 15, 2005 04:25 PM -08:00 GMT


These last few days have carried the heaviness of knowing, or rather realizing, that I will be leaving Cape Town in less than two weeks. My silence on this blog has been due to the immense amount of work I...
by Beth Adler at August 15, 2005 07:01 AM -05:00 GMT


Goodbye I left the orphanage this morning. Last night we had a farewell ice cream party. Each kid gave me a present to take back home - lots of stuffed animals. There were so many I didn't have any place to...
by Thuy_Nguyen at August 14, 2005 11:14 PM -05:00 GMT


Community defense This is interesting: The leaders of four of Iraq's Sunni tribes had rallied their fighters in response to warnings posted in mosques by followers of Zarqawi. The postings ordered Ramadi's roughly 3,000 Shiites to leave the city of more than...
by Daniel Widome at August 14, 2005 01:58 PM -08:00 GMT


Hans Island To file in the "Dispute Over Barren Rocks" Folder (which, incidentally, is not as sparse as one might think): Hans Island is a tiny,barren spot between Greenland and Canada's far north-east, lying about 1,100km from the North Pole. Like others...
by Daniel Widome at August 13, 2005 11:44 PM -08:00 GMT


Why Don't You Have It All Figured Out? The Dilemma of All the Choices. Ben’s mom came to visit after I left my first post-college job. She was in the area for a conference, and came to hang out with me during the day since I wasn’t working. I guess her conference was somewhat...
by Katy Love at August 12, 2005 09:33 PM -05:00 GMT


Historical issues In this season of disquieting anniversaries and rocky politics (more on that later), the Japanese Foreign Ministry is doing its part to smooth the waters: The Foreign Ministry on Friday posted on its website information about Japan's positions on history...
by Daniel Widome at August 12, 2005 05:35 PM -08:00 GMT



by cmaillou at August 12, 2005 06:21 AM -05:00 GMT


Council membership Jai may think it's lame to cite a piece from Foreign Policy's website, but thankfully I face no such constraints: But these same qualifications [for a Japanese seat on the UN Security Council] raise an important question: Has Japan truly...
by Daniel Widome at August 11, 2005 01:17 AM -08:00 GMT


Diamond's view Larry Diamond -- Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, former CPA advisor, and friend of the Watson Institute -- drops some wisdom (via Kevin Drum): One of the issues that most baffles me in a way is the question of...
by Daniel Widome at August 9, 2005 08:39 PM -08:00 GMT


World Water Week 2005 August 21-27, Stockholm -- Experts from 100 countries will present innovative water sanitation and development solutions in advance of the United Nations' five-year review of progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Delegates will present examples of how problems...
by Syamak Moattari at August 9, 2005 07:38 AM -05:00 GMT


Anniversary celebrations This weekend marked the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. As if to remind us how far Japan has come since then, and to highlight the uncertainties of its future, the past week has brought a bevy of important developments....
by Daniel Widome at August 7, 2005 05:03 PM -08:00 GMT


Guest This week there is another volunteer from the States that will be staying at Thien Binh orphanage. She is a kindergarten teacher and a grad student at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is interested in making contact with...
by Thuy_Nguyen at August 6, 2005 07:08 AM -05:00 GMT


Lady Selborne Article An article from earlier this year about Lady Selborne. http://iafrica.com/news/sa/481898.htm...
by Cindy Wise at August 5, 2005 01:04 PM 02:00 GMT


Land, Strikes and Batho Pele in the bathroom I've been working on other projects as comments regarding the pilot for the land restitution assessment study have been coming in from the RLCC (Regional Land Claims Commission). There were some delays given the South African Airlines strike (on that...
by Cindy Wise at August 4, 2005 01:17 PM 02:00 GMT


UN Reform: A Conversation with Kofi Annan's Special Assistant, Edward Mortimer An interview with Hannah Schiff, Suzanne Smith and Barron YoungSmith 25 April 2005 The Journal sat down with Edward Mortimer, Special Assistant and speechwriter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for a candid discussion of the rationale behind Annan's proposed...
by BJWA at August 3, 2005 11:09 AM -05:00 GMT


Dealing with Rejection: Keeping a Thick Skin You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and dog gonnit, you got rejected from your dream job. Yes, this has happened to me. Thrice. (And that figure doesn't take into account the numerous places that never wrote back to me). I...
by Katy Love at August 1, 2005 05:25 PM -05:00 GMT


Possible solution For some reason, I find this extremely amusing: Asked whether he would send a blessing to Chavez, [Rosalio Castillo, Venezuela's only cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church] said: "More than a blessing, I'd give him an exorcism." I wonder if...
by Daniel Widome at August 1, 2005 12:28 PM -08:00 GMT


Online ICT Regulation Toolkit A multi-donor program focusing on information and communication technologies for development, and the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications, launched an online Regulation Toolkit designed to address the complex regulatory challenges emerging from a rapidly evolving...
by Syamak Moattari at August 1, 2005 10:17 AM -05:00 GMT


Overview of Meeting in Achuar Territory From July 26-29, Pachamama organized and facilitated a significant conference in Achuar territory between NGOs interested in conservation, development, poverty alleviation, and indigenous issues. The meetings took place at the Kapawi Ecological Reserve and in the Achuar community of Sharametsa...
by Lee Gilman at July 31, 2005 11:46 AM -06:00 GMT


The Quarter-Life Crisis Support Group What about these feelings of sadness, apathy, etc that so many people out of college feel? Well--it has a name, and it's called "The quarter life crisis!!" This website is AMAZING!!! Also check out the Venture Consortium!! Very cool. Particularly...
by Katy Love at July 31, 2005 11:19 AM -05:00 GMT


Settling in A few weeks ago, I went to Plaza Santo Domingo with a tape recorder, my camera, and some oranges and peanuts. I sat down on a bench, and it was only a few minutes before a boy approached me, asking...
by Julia McDowell at July 30, 2005 04:20 PM -05:00 GMT


An Afghan Kite* The kite floated overhead, wild and beautiful in stripes of green, black and red. Amidst the stripes it carried a spot of yellow, meant to tie it to the sun. Loosed from its tether by the gritty string of a...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at July 30, 2005 11:56 AM -05:00 GMT


Rhetorical shift There's been a lot of reporting recently on the Bush administration's recent shift from referring to a "global war on terror" to a more amorphous "global struggle against violent extremism." There's good reason to be skeptical of this shift; it...
by Daniel Widome at July 28, 2005 08:49 PM -08:00 GMT


World Rural Women's Day During a decade working with the rural communities in my homeland, I realiesd that the women have a key role in well-being of the families. In Lorestan Kinships men are responsible for family security in the mountains and most of...
by Syamak Moattari at July 28, 2005 03:50 PM -05:00 GMT


Good on ya In somewhat of a surprising move (to me, at least), Australia has decided to sign ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Co-operation. As such, the Aussies will be invited to the inaugural East Asian Summit in Malaysia this December: Alexander Downer,...
by Daniel Widome at July 27, 2005 09:46 PM -08:00 GMT


Perhaps not quite a thousand words These pictures below were taken last week during our site visit to Lady Selborne and Rama. We used a disposable camera, so the quality is admittedly lacking, but you get the idea. You can see the (blurry) outline of the...
by Cindy Wise at July 26, 2005 01:38 PM 02:00 GMT



by Cindy Wise at July 26, 2005 01:28 PM 02:00 GMT



by Cindy Wise at July 26, 2005 01:26 PM 02:00 GMT


A Mentor and a Whole Lotta Mentors: Building an Alumni Network. I dedicate this post to my mentor, Anne. I know Anne because she is Ben’s mom’s cousin. And not even first cousin, I think. Ben’s mom Mimi put me in touch with her when she (Mimi) found out I was...
by Katy Love at July 26, 2005 09:04 AM -05:00 GMT


Safety in Quito On Saturday Afternoon, I was robbed for the first time ever on the street in Quito near Parque El Ejido, a beautiful park that is filed with pedestrians sitting or playing Ecua-volley or futbol on weekends. I guess I had...
by Lee Gilman at July 25, 2005 12:57 PM -06:00 GMT


You're Not Alone, Do Not Despair, and Other Cheesy but True Reflections After spending the last two nights talking extensively to recent grads about post-college life, I've come under the impression that we are not alone, and in fact, we need to make better use of each other. Each of us struggles...
by Katy Love at July 24, 2005 06:14 PM -05:00 GMT


Relevant question There is another piece in the NYT today about the increasing effectiveness and continuing mystery that is the Iraqi insurgency. Looking at the recent trend of attacks against Arab diplomats and Iraqi Shia, the piece shrewdly identifies a new insurgent...
by Daniel Widome at July 24, 2005 11:54 AM -08:00 GMT


Obligatory boilerplate Some obligatory boilerplate reaction to the Pentagon's report on China's military capabilities: China yesterday expressed "strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition" to a Pentagon report on its military power, describing the dossier as an attempt to spread "the China threat" theory....
by Daniel Widome at July 21, 2005 03:07 PM -08:00 GMT


And we're off... The assessment project of land restitution projects has officially started. We are in the process of piloting the instruments (interviews) with projects in Gauteng. My project is a former township in Tshwane (formerly Pretoria until a few months ago) called...
by Cindy Wise at July 21, 2005 09:06 AM 02:00 GMT


The Unpaid Internship Dilemma Personally, I made it a point to avoid the unpaid internship thing. I honestly felt that being an unpaid intern, or an intern at all, would just be degrading. How wrong I realize I was! I could have learned something...
by Katy Love at July 20, 2005 05:43 PM -05:00 GMT


Collage Thirteen days and counting before I say “Khuda hafez, Afghanistan; feker mekunam ke pas berawam” (goodbye, Afghanistan; I think I’ll be back) and head out for some new adventures elsewhere in the world. My experience here has fluctuated from the...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at July 20, 2005 03:42 PM -05:00 GMT


PRC power The Pentagon has issued its long-awaited report on China's military capabilities. Its conclusion: China is building up its military. No surprise there. I haven't looked at the report too closely yet, but I'm sure there is much in it that...
by Daniel Widome at July 20, 2005 03:23 PM -08:00 GMT


CNOOC'd out I haven't said much about CNOOC's bid for Unocal so far, in part due to my intense frustration over the bipartisan irrationality exhibited around it on cable news, in congressional hearings, and among the pop punditry. Indeed, it's a sad...
by Daniel Widome at July 20, 2005 01:55 PM -08:00 GMT


From Unemployed to Self Employed--My Life as a Pajama Consultant But Katy, you ask…what did you do to make ends meet?? Surely you were not just sitting around and playing "Taco Joe" all day long. Well, errrr, um...yes, I did do a little of that. And a little bit of...
by Katy Love at July 19, 2005 06:42 PM -05:00 GMT


A Wonderful Weekend I had one of the most incredible weekends of my entire Ecuadorian life these past few days. I managed to make it to Laguna Quilotoa after attempting every weekend for the last month. I went with Bryant from my SIT...
by Lee Gilman at July 19, 2005 05:08 PM -06:00 GMT


Fame on SIT Website I studied abroad with SIT in Fall 2004, and I received an email about two weeks ago from a man who works at World Learning, SIT’s parent organization. He is in charge of writing news articles for the website. I’m...
by Lee Gilman at July 19, 2005 04:10 PM -06:00 GMT


More fun with state media When you see a piece entitled "Chinese military gets transparent shopping list" on Xinhua's website, it's natural to be somewhat confounded. Chinese state media, the PLA, and transparency are not three things commonly associated with one another. But who knows,...
by Daniel Widome at July 19, 2005 11:47 AM -08:00 GMT


Bangkok, Thailand So, I have been in Bangkok for the last few days. I came here with Sister Malee, another nun, and two of the older girls living at Thien Binh. The purpose of the trip is to bring the two girls...
by Thuy_Nguyen at July 19, 2005 08:04 AM -05:00 GMT


Let’s talk strategy—looking at my own post-job pre-job experience Rewind a bit (or just read some of the earlier posts). I graduated from Brown in May 04 and moved to DC. I took a job before I got here, and left it in February of 05 (the job was...
by Katy Love at July 18, 2005 11:27 PM -05:00 GMT


Radicalization Interesting piece in the Boston Globe this weekend, highlighting two separate studies that each found that most of the "foreign fighters" in Iraq are not longstanding terrorists but rather were radicalized by the U.S. occupation: [I]nterrogations of nearly 300 Saudis...
by Daniel Widome at July 18, 2005 06:01 PM -08:00 GMT


Great Offer for Insomniacs In This Post! I have spent the last three weeks working on the quantitative component of my research. With the help of my US supervisor (via email) I have been teaching myself SPSS, a stats program. I think I am getting the hang...
by Beth Adler at July 18, 2005 07:07 AM -05:00 GMT


For Linda I sat down last night with my photographs and tried to organize them into some semblance of a slide show. I’ll be leaving soon, and I find myself already reminiscing about an experience that is not yet over. As I...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at July 18, 2005 06:27 AM -05:00 GMT


It's been too long (or as we say here, ages!) Dear Faithful Blog Readers, It has been ages since my last post, for which I apologize. I can only hope that you enjoyed (choose one) a) surfing the internet for that recent DVD/perfect pair of shoes/today's news b) building a...
by Beth Adler at July 18, 2005 05:46 AM -05:00 GMT


MDG Toolkit A UNDG Training Toolkit for MDGs, developed in close collaboration with the World Bank and the Millennium Project, is now available . I believe that you will find this package especially useful in the run-up to the September 2005 World...
by Syamak Moattari at July 17, 2005 05:47 PM -05:00 GMT


My Biographical Outline July 9, 1943: Born in Jiangxi Province to a family from Anqing in Anhui Province. 1978-1981: Participant and founder of the Democracy Wall movement. November 26, 1978: Founded the April 5th Forum and served as its director until 1980. June...
by Xu Wenli at July 15, 2005 03:39 PM -05:00 GMT


Trash talking Some Chinese sword-rattling to take us into the weekend: "If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons," the official, Major General...
by Daniel Widome at July 15, 2005 03:11 PM -08:00 GMT


Indigenous Demonstration for a Moratorium on Extractive Practices in their Territories On Tuesday I went to a march in downtown Quito. It was not organized by Pachamama, but was supported financially in terms of transporting indigenous peoples to Quito and aiding in the planning of logistics. It was a combined march...
by Lee Gilman at July 15, 2005 01:28 PM -06:00 GMT


New Moon Update: Transnational Communication I took on the task of writing this month’s New Moon Update, an email newsletter sent from the SF Pachamama office to all of Pachamama’s donors, telling them about successful developments of our work in Ecuador. It was quite fun...
by Lee Gilman at July 15, 2005 12:51 PM -06:00 GMT


Indigenous University? I was in Puyo in the Amazon from Wed to Friday last week, learning about and supporting various processes for UNIDAE, The University Of Indigenous Nationalities of The Ecuadorian Amazon, which is the only indigenous-run university in the region. It...
by Lee Gilman at July 15, 2005 12:33 PM -06:00 GMT


ROBBERY!!!, or my love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with Ecuadorian bureaucracy On a somber note, my apartment was robbed two weeks ago, which really scared me because it was the first night I had my laptop in my apartment. Luckily it was in my room. The robbers came in through the...
by Lee Gilman at July 14, 2005 05:53 PM -06:00 GMT


Radical Change In Iran's Response to Heroin Use Fearing an AIDS epidemic, Iran's theocratic government has dropped a zero-tolerance policy against increasingly common heroin use and now offers addicts low-cost needles, methadone and a measure of social acceptance. For two decades, Iran largely avoided the global AIDS crisis....
by Syamak Moattari at July 14, 2005 05:36 PM -05:00 GMT


A Visionary Achuar, and my Laptop A week ago Thursday, I got my laptop! Haha, no more fighting over computer time in the office among the part time consultants and the intern! My mom brought it to Pachamama's office in San Francisco and Pachamama is currently...
by Lee Gilman at July 14, 2005 05:34 PM -06:00 GMT


Two Paradigms for Development On Wednesday, June 29 (I really haven’t written in a while), I went to a great meeting at the Center for Economic and Social Development of Ecuador (CDES), where two panelists spoke about different paradigms for alternative development in the...
by Lee Gilman at July 14, 2005 05:03 PM -06:00 GMT


Pro-China Interesting update on the Yasukuni front: Dozens of pro-China lawmakers in the governing Liberal Democratic Party launched a study group Tuesday out of concern over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's controversial visits to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine. [emphasis mine] I like...
by Daniel Widome at July 12, 2005 11:40 PM -08:00 GMT


exciting thrilling and fascinating websites blogs jobsites listservs ETC That may be a bit of an overstatement, but definitely check these out: an absolutely fantastic list of websites/clearinghouses for jobs that you & I would be interested in from the amazing Chronicle of Philanthropy (started & run by a...
by Katy Love at July 12, 2005 06:32 PM -05:00 GMT


The Secret World of Networking, Part Deux Now…what are you trying to get out of this? Honestly, at first, I was pretty much only interested in getting to know WHO they knew. (And make sure you ask everyone for a few more names. People in DC are...
by Katy Love at July 11, 2005 05:48 PM -05:00 GMT


G-8 Summit At the conclusion of the G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, World's Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said the meeting of leaders from the richest industrialized nations was "a success because a partnership was forged between African leaders and leaders of the...
by Syamak Moattari at July 11, 2005 04:55 PM -05:00 GMT


Is the G8 all that great? It's been a bit hectic around here, and I forgot to mention that the weekend before last, I took my first mini-bus taxi ride and wandered around Newtown, visiting the Museum Africa and eating samoosas at the Oriental Plaza. It...
by Cindy Wise at July 11, 2005 09:24 AM 02:00 GMT


Why they hate us I was listening to an interview with Benjamin Netanyahu this afternoon on WBUR (sorry, can't find a link to the interview itself). Apparently, he was in London on Thursday. The timing -- horrific terrorist bombings and a hard-line Likudnik, in...
by Daniel Widome at July 10, 2005 09:45 PM -08:00 GMT


Friends in High Places--The Secret World of Networking, Part Un Networking: that dirty little word.... Say it: NETWORKING! Isn’t the ring of it terrible sounding? I know that there are a bazillion pieces of literature out there on the joys and beauty of networking (as well as the importance). So...
by Katy Love at July 7, 2005 11:46 PM -05:00 GMT


Textbook troubles Looks like East Asia's not alone in its textbook troubles" Angered by what it described as the "serious issue" of the existence of schoolbooks in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) which contain material implying claims on Greek territory,...
by Daniel Widome at July 7, 2005 05:47 PM -08:00 GMT


Separate issues It looks like the Aussies are being called back to another front in the "war on terror:" The Afghan government had asked Australia, a close US ally, to send troops and the cabinet would most likely make a decision next...
by Daniel Widome at July 7, 2005 05:16 PM -08:00 GMT


A new day, a new era Today marks the beginning of a new life for me. Not to get all dramatic or nuthin’, but I completed my first day of work (after what you can see was a long and tedious job search). I am excited...
by Katy Love at July 7, 2005 12:24 AM -05:00 GMT


I left my heart in San Francisco.... After extolling the many virtues of living in DC, I have just spent the last week in San Francisco, and may need to rescind my advice. Well, not really, but let me just although throw in my 2 cents about...
by Katy Love at July 6, 2005 06:13 PM -05:00 GMT


In the meantime, the in-between time Work on the land restitution project has paused for the moment as we are waiting to hear back from the Department of Land Affairs as to the sites. We are going to be piloting the study in Gauteng (which is...
by Cindy Wise at July 6, 2005 04:29 PM 02:00 GMT


Muslim Nations Face AIDS Reality Check During the regional preparation for WSSD in Asia and the Pacific region in Cambodia Conference in October 2001 I met a Thailand Health Policy maker, he told me we did a lot to control the AIDS in our country and...
by Syamak Moattari at July 6, 2005 10:18 AM -05:00 GMT


Agenda for Gleneagles G8 summit Details of agenda to be discussed by leaders of the Group of Eight nations when they gather in Scotland from July 6-8. Declarations are expected on Africa, climate change, tsunami aid, economics/oil prices and world trade talks, Middle East...
by Syamak Moattari at July 5, 2005 01:47 PM -05:00 GMT


Red Hot Rhythm As luck would have it, my boss Cristina decided to give me her tickets to a CD Release and indigenous music performance to which Pachamama was specially invited. It was the first CD produced in a music workshop started a...
by Lee Gilman at July 4, 2005 03:47 PM -06:00 GMT


Live 8 This past weekend was Live 8 (a benefit to raise awareness to the G8 leaders concerning Africa). If you missed any or all of the shows, you can see it streaming continously on AOL. Click here to view....
by Sean Benham at July 4, 2005 02:44 PM -06:00 GMT


The Gleneagles Summit and Development A series of high-profile international reports and meetings this year has focused attention on development issues and the need to accelerate global efforts to reduce poverty. Civil society has also mobilized around these issues in a worldwide campaign called the...
by Syamak Moattari at July 4, 2005 07:54 AM -05:00 GMT


A step to ending poverty Twenty years after Bob Geldof first demonstrated his gift for lofty dreams and grandiose statements, hundreds of the world's top performers and more than 1 million fans united for 10 free concerts across the globe aimed at addressing African...
by Syamak Moattari at July 3, 2005 12:14 PM -05:00 GMT


sonofabitchasshole As if kidnap scares and bomb threats weren’t enough, I now have to worry about ride-by-gropings when walking on the streets. The hypocracy of it all astounds me. My sandals broke last night, so after we went out to lunch...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at July 2, 2005 07:33 AM -05:00 GMT


“Embrace the Entry Level Job” & keeping it all in check Take the one piece of advice I got from "The Don’t Sweat Guide for Graduates:" embrace the entry level job. Let’s be realistic: if you’re in the USA and you’re interested in international stuff, obviously, the chances of you doing...
by Katy Love at July 2, 2005 02:16 AM -05:00 GMT


field trip Yesterday I went on a field trip with the kids to the amusement park (suoi tien)...we had to take two full buses to get there. There was a small delay in the morning because one of the buses broke down...
by Thuy_Nguyen at July 1, 2005 09:41 PM -05:00 GMT


Communication and Information at UNESCO I have just finished week three of my internship. I love it. Essentially, our job here at UNESCO is to give away money to people and organizations that need it. Well, perhaps it is a bit more complicated than...
by Julia McDowell at July 1, 2005 06:54 PM -05:00 GMT


CAFTA to the House As Senator Dorgan (Dem-ND) put it on CAFTA's passing the Senate: “CAFTA simply continues the failed trade policies of the past which have produced the biggest trade deficits in the history of the world and exported American jobs by the...
by James Fichter at July 1, 2005 12:05 PM -05:00 GMT


Giving to the TAC President Bush has redoubled American efforts to confront and roll back AIDS in Africa. It is a start. Sometimes the issue is not condoms vs. abstinence or even the simple distribution of medicine. Sometimes the issue is getting people to...
by James Fichter at July 1, 2005 11:24 AM -05:00 GMT


Biltong Having mentioned biltong in my last post without explaining what it was, I feel it necessary to post again. Notice, please, that biltong in fact deserves its own post for reasons only South Africans (or previous visitors to South Africa)...
by Beth Adler at July 1, 2005 06:38 AM -05:00 GMT


Rambles Most of my posts are on a certain topic—some particular issue of interest that I felt inspired to write about. But random topics at random intervals on a random blog don’t do this country or this experience justice. I’m seeing...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at July 1, 2005 06:31 AM -05:00 GMT


Survival Skills - There are no parasites in my swimming pool In fourth grade in Johannesburg we learned about science and about health. We read books and completed worksheets about Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norkey and their expedition to climb Mt. Everest. All in all, my fourth grade year, and...
by Beth Adler at July 1, 2005 06:11 AM -05:00 GMT


A Voice from a Closet The other two American interns are "working from home" today, which means I get the office all to myself! This is a special treat when one shares a closet-sized space (for those Brownies, think about the size of a Grad...
by Beth Adler at July 1, 2005 05:24 AM -05:00 GMT


Getting to know real people with real jobs... Check out this idealist.org site with lots of questions on different kinds of work. They feature lots of people and ask them a billion questions to give you a sense of job things. Ok, this post doesn't really say much...
by Katy Love at June 30, 2005 08:30 PM -05:00 GMT


SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS IN YOUR POCKET 2005 A free pocket-sized booklet, presenting a new set of sustainable development indicators is published today. Indicators in the booklet were outlined within the UK Government's Sustainable Development Strategy Securing the future, published in March 2005. The booklet provides a statistical...
by Syamak Moattari at June 30, 2005 06:44 PM -05:00 GMT


Journeys and destinations More details come to light regarding Turkey's pending EU accession talks: Turkey will face the toughest test ever presented to a candidate for entry to the European Union and might have to settle for less than full membership, the European...
by Daniel Widome at June 29, 2005 11:50 PM -08:00 GMT


Mangrove Story In October 2000, according to an invitation from WWF Pakistan, a couple of my colleagues and I went to Pakistan for visiting the current projects of WWF.This trip was very important to my organization, Green Front of Iran, established...
by Syamak Moattari at June 29, 2005 09:21 PM -05:00 GMT


The Wrath of Rath Mathias Rath, vitamin entrepeneur and AIDS-treatment opponent is on the march. Rath is preying upon Africa's poor and weak by selling them sham vitamins to "cure" AIDS and telling them not to take antiretrovrial drugs. Worse, he has the backing...
by James Fichter at June 29, 2005 10:30 AM -05:00 GMT


Nothing new I wasn't going to touch Bush's speech tonight, largely because it's being blogged ably, abundantly, and probably more originally elsewhere. But I just can't let this slide: The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on...
by Daniel Widome at June 28, 2005 09:06 PM -08:00 GMT


Chinese economic project wins UN-linked award for sustainable development A Chinese city’s project for economic development that draws inspiration from traditional medical practices to tackle ‘imbalances’ degrading the environment has been selected by a United Nations-linked panel as the year’s best cultural practice contributing to sustainable development. Guiyang, in...
by Syamak Moattari at June 28, 2005 03:45 PM -05:00 GMT


Interview with Ambassador Barbara Bodine about her time as governor of Baghdad Ambassador Barbara Bodine was interim governor of Baghdad following the occupation of the capital. She was also U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Governance Initiative in the Middle East at the...
by BJWA at June 28, 2005 01:46 PM -05:00 GMT


To you graduating 05-ers Having just attended my friend Ellen's graduation party in the wonderful city of LA, I have to put a note of encouragement out to you all who just graduated. Don't worry about everyone asking you "so what are you doing...
by Katy Love at June 28, 2005 01:25 PM -05:00 GMT


Podcasting Apple brings podcasts into iTunes In Pod We Trust I write this in reference to the Lydon Taps into Watson Institute for “Open Source Radio” Show article....
by Sean Benham at June 28, 2005 12:15 PM -06:00 GMT


Fighting AIDS in South Africa Fighting AIDS is a noble goal. President Bush has made it a crucial part of his African policy, but he doesn't go far enough. Democrats can and should go further. Donate here. Let's start in South Africa, which has more...
by James Fichter at June 28, 2005 11:12 AM -05:00 GMT


Eye Contact Despite the vast improvements that have happened in the last four years, an oppressive air lingers over this country. And when I say this, I am speaking not as an aid worker or an intellectual or a tourist; I am...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at June 28, 2005 08:29 AM -05:00 GMT


Contradiction corrected This seems to represent an interesting bit of progress: Israel and the US have reportedly agreed to defuse a row over Israel's arms sales to countries such as China. The two are to sign a deal promising each will take...
by Daniel Widome at June 27, 2005 10:08 PM -08:00 GMT


My 4 Cents Today I bought 3 pieces of bread for 21 cents and I gave the shopkeeper 25 cents. He didn’t have change, and I said, "It's ok," He said, "No, I'll get change, but please wait a few minutes." “No it's...
by Lee Gilman at June 27, 2005 05:27 PM -06:00 GMT


Qualifications & Salary: A frank look at what you’re worth with a BA First: How do I know if I’m qualified? Kath Connolly told me: “No one will advertise with the words—NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.” You have to find ways to make sure your experience (though most of it is from college & summer...
by Katy Love at June 27, 2005 03:15 PM -05:00 GMT


Extravagances(?) It’s Monday morning and no one is in my office, save the administrative assistant. A few people are in Zambia, and everyone else has taken the day off as they attended a weekend conference (and I suppose were somewhat exhausted)....
by Beth Adler at June 27, 2005 05:48 AM -05:00 GMT


Known knowns There was a time when the U.S. Defense Secretary was praised for his refreshing forthrightness. That time has long since passed, but even still, Donald Rumsfeld came through today with a somewhat surprising display of honesty: Rumsfeld, addressing a question...
by Daniel Widome at June 26, 2005 10:36 PM -08:00 GMT


Iran election Tehran's ultra-conservative mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scored a landslide win in Iran's 9th presidential election Saturday. The Election Headquarters of Interior Ministry said on Saturday that out of total 27,959,253 votes counted, 17,248,782 (61.95 percent) went for Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad's veteran heavyweight...
by Syamak Moattari at June 26, 2005 02:19 PM -05:00 GMT


can't sleep I have become particularly close with one of the girls. Her name is Sang and she is 17. She has lived at Thien Binh for 4 years and has not been home to visit her family during that time. Her...
by Thuy_Nguyen at June 26, 2005 03:19 AM -05:00 GMT


Prophesying China, in print Allow me to humbly point to my latest piece in the Providence Journal. For regular readers of Natural Selection, there's not much new here -- it's based in large part on ideas and language hashed out here. Regardless, check it...
by Daniel Widome at June 25, 2005 01:25 AM -08:00 GMT


A city by any other name would... Johannesburg is a bit strange but always interesting and exciting. It isn't a particularly pleasant place, but people don’t seem to come here for the scenery. As the economic hub of much of Southern Africa, Jo’burg draws millions for one...
by Cindy Wise at June 24, 2005 12:38 PM 02:00 GMT


CAFTA for dummies The problem with too many free trade advocates is their "the adults are in the room attitude." (It doesn't help any that so many anti-globalization folks are decidedly unadult-like) Fee traders assume that since free trade is a self-evident good,...
by James Fichter at June 24, 2005 12:16 PM -05:00 GMT


Environmentalism in the Muslim World Yesterday I received a new book by Richard Foltz; Environmentalism in the Muslim World is the first book to provide an overview of how Muslim activists are responding on the ground to the global environmental crisis. The detrimental effects of...
by Syamak Moattari at June 23, 2005 10:22 PM -05:00 GMT


What should I be looking for? The low down on types of jobs & their titles I’ve now posted a list of organizations that do international work. They are of varying size, creed, and mission. What kind of role can you play in these organizations? What kinds of titles do the jobs have? When you do...
by Katy Love at June 23, 2005 11:15 AM -05:00 GMT


Progress, and Some Drama My project supervisor and I have decided that rather than running focus groups in the four schools running the HealthWise lifeskills curriculum, that I will run the groups in two of the four schools. This is simply to make the...
by Beth Adler at June 23, 2005 09:55 AM -05:00 GMT


The Source of the Problem ... Is your gas tank full on Saudi oil? Nobody knows. And the root of the problem is the Department of Energy, which hasn't had an energy policy since Bill Clinton left office. If they required oil refineries to account for...
by James Fichter at June 23, 2005 04:43 AM -05:00 GMT


Winter Wonderful I have been in Jo'burg for almost a week. It's winter here, so I went from trekking about in flips flops and t-shirts in hot 'n humid New York to shivering in the early morning chill, armed with my wool...
by Cindy Wise at June 22, 2005 04:55 PM 02:00 GMT


Brothers again Interesting little twist, following up from yesterday's post: China called on Japan yesterday to respect the rights of Chinese fishermen, including those from Taiwan. "The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with Japan's forcible expulsion of Taiwan fishermen from Chinese territory...
by Daniel Widome at June 22, 2005 04:47 PM -08:00 GMT


a great resource I want to share a huge resource. You may be familiar with idealist.org's job postings, but what about their "career center" and their commiseration/question/advice board? Check out "Ask Cathy"--a columnist who answers all the career questions you have and lays...
by Katy Love at June 22, 2005 03:09 PM -05:00 GMT


But I thought I was special! The emotional stress of a job search In the past few weeks in DC I’ve met several young Brown grads looking for internationally focused work. It takes me back to my own frustrations about the job search. Why does no one see your potential and immediately pluck...
by Katy Love at June 22, 2005 11:09 AM -05:00 GMT


Sticking it to #4 The Department of Energy has released the April 2005 figures for U.S. petroleum imports. If ever there were a more compelling case for oil labeling, this is it. In April we imported most of our oil from nice, safe, non-terrorist...
by James Fichter at June 22, 2005 09:29 AM -05:00 GMT


Youth Day Celebrations Last Thursday, June 16th, was Youth Day in South Africa. Although I am sure there were a fair number of family barbecues (braais, as they are called here; and I think it’s a bit cold) or fun gatherings, for many...
by Beth Adler at June 22, 2005 07:42 AM -05:00 GMT


Tea, Anyone? I had forgotten about the pace of this place. It was a refreshing change from the hustle of the academic year to arrive at work at 9:15 AM last Wednesday, still recovering from jetlag, and be there before all of...
by Beth Adler at June 22, 2005 07:30 AM -05:00 GMT


family Thien Binh is set apart from other orphanages I have visited by the familial relationships found between the caretakers and the kids. There are two head nuns in charge of the place- Mother Superior and Soeur Malee. The kids call...
by Thuy_Nguyen at June 22, 2005 01:33 AM -05:00 GMT


Indigenous Federations and their Conflicts over Representation and Petroleum Development I traveled to the Amazonian rainforest to a city called Puyo with my work on Tues-Thurs of last week. It was my second journey to the rainforest in a week. Pachamama was an NGO observer at a meeting of the...
by Lee Gilman at June 21, 2005 05:39 PM -06:00 GMT


Right idea, wrong location So a Chinese naval ship entered the waters around a group of disputed islands, thus upsetting Japan: "This area belongs to us historically, geographically and legally," [a leader on the ship] told reporters before boarding along with a cross-party group...
by Daniel Widome at June 21, 2005 03:15 PM -08:00 GMT


So what is out there anyway? If you take my advice and come to DC to look for a job, below are the kinds of international work I am most familiar with many organizations that do work in DC. With this list, I suggest you begin...
by Katy Love at June 21, 2005 12:35 PM -05:00 GMT


Indigenous Medicine in Ruku Llakta I didn't really realize how much I'm not a city person till a week ago, on my first bus trip out of Quito after 2.5 weeks straight there and seeing the beauty of Ecuador’s different ecosystems pass by. These included...
by Lee Gilman at June 21, 2005 11:47 AM -06:00 GMT


except for ... Condoleeza Rice is correct, for the past 60 years, the United States has pursued stability instead of democracy in the Middle East and ended up with neither. Except for Israel: The most stable democracy in the Middle East for almost...
by James Fichter at June 21, 2005 11:29 AM -05:00 GMT


Brown Encounter About a week and a half ago, I was walking down the street 6 de Diciembre, which I walk along everyday to and from work. Who did I run into? Jon Witman, professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown....
by Lee Gilman at June 21, 2005 11:19 AM -06:00 GMT


(Tardy) First Observations Arriving in the Quito airport exhausted (a four hour connection wait in the horrendous Miami airport) in the evening of May 25th, grabbed my bags, and walked out into the mostly empty international terminal waiting area. Although I would not...
by Julia McDowell at June 21, 2005 10:30 AM -05:00 GMT


Saddam's favorites This just makes too much sense: Saddam Hussein likes Doritos, washes his hands compulsively and thinks fondly of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, according to American soldiers who guarded him and tell their story in the July issue of...
by Daniel Widome at June 20, 2005 10:16 PM -08:00 GMT


Church vs. State The archbishops and bishops who head the Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe have come our forcefully against Mugabe's crackdown. They have issued a declaration--tacked on church message boards around the country and excerpted in the foreign press--that Mugabe's demolition of...
by James Fichter at June 20, 2005 10:56 AM -05:00 GMT


AIDS "tsunami" threatens Africa children-Red Cross The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimates 12.3 million African children have lost one or both parents to AIDS and the figure could double by 2010. Others are left caring for sick parents no longer able...
by Syamak Moattari at June 20, 2005 09:37 AM -05:00 GMT


Move here first! Then figure it out. When I started applying to jobs, I was applying all over the place. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but soon I found myself questioning: would I really move back to rural Illinois? I was coordinating the...
by Katy Love at June 19, 2005 02:01 PM -05:00 GMT


Reporting from the past The Mainichi Shimbun has gotten its hands on dispatches from George Weller, an American journalist who was among the first to enter Nagasaki during the U.S. occupation. The dispatches were filed but never published -- U.S. occupation censors blocked them...
by Daniel Widome at June 18, 2005 11:40 PM -08:00 GMT


Change to Win Five of the most por-growth unions within the AFL-CIO have "rebelled" and decided to represent their own core principles. The Change to Win coalition has taken note of the threat that globalization poses to American workers, as long as unions...
by James Fichter at June 18, 2005 11:41 AM -05:00 GMT


attack of the killer ants Last night it poured which resulted in an infestation of ants in my room. There were literally thousands of ants everywhere- floor, bed, desk, cupboard. In case anyone ever experiences this problem the solution is to light a piece of...
by Thuy_Nguyen at June 17, 2005 10:22 PM -05:00 GMT


When and How to Start Although I can no longer pin down the exact time I started looking for my first job, I’m sure it was sometime early in the fall of senior year. And while I had about 8429 projects, classes and extracurriculars all...
by Katy Love at June 17, 2005 03:25 PM -05:00 GMT


Set America Free What are these guys huffing? Set America Free is a republican website "dedicated" to ending American dependence on Mideast oil. Tom Friedman calls them "bipartisan" but that, of course, is the Republican codeword for "we have Joe Lieberman on our...
by James Fichter at June 17, 2005 12:17 PM -05:00 GMT


Membership card Talk about looking out for your friends: The US on Thursday declared its position in the debate over expansion of the United Nations Security Council by backing Japan and one or two other states for permanent membership, while effectively excluding...
by Daniel Widome at June 17, 2005 12:25 AM -08:00 GMT


Turkey and the constitution While ostensibly separate issues, the EU constitution and Turkish accession to the EU have always been inextricably linked. In the recent French referendum, many in the non camp made no secret of their opposition to Turkish membership in the EU,...
by Daniel Widome at June 16, 2005 09:44 PM -08:00 GMT


Futility So I see that a bipartisan group of congressmen is pushing the administration for a plan to withdraw U.S. trrops from Iraq by October 2006. While noble, I wonder if the congressmen realize how truly futile their efforts are. Aside...
by Daniel Widome at June 16, 2005 08:27 PM -08:00 GMT


Imbalanced scale Remember that sale of F-16s to Pakistan a couple months ago? U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca sure does: Rocca has said that Washington’s decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Islamabad sends a clear signal...
by Daniel Widome at June 16, 2005 04:20 PM -08:00 GMT


Enough is enough ... which in Ndebele is "Sokwanele." Sokwanele is a non-violent, pro-democracy, and, it goes without saying, highly illegal group operating in Zimbabwe. Their blog is a good place to read about the daily lives and sufferings of ordinary Zimbabweans under...
by James Fichter at June 16, 2005 12:11 PM -05:00 GMT


Gap Zadan When I was 17 I set a goal for myself. By the age of 30 I was going to be fluent in four foreign languages. I had just started my second, French, and was high on the sense of power...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at June 16, 2005 09:08 AM -05:00 GMT


Prophesying China I think I used to like Robert Kaplan. Or rather, I see value in some of his earlier work. But the more I learn about him and some of his other work, the more my impression fades. Especially since 11...
by Daniel Widome at June 15, 2005 09:07 PM -08:00 GMT


That Flat, Trippy World Tom Friedman gives a prime specimen of the fantasyland proposals that so many columnists and bloggers make about Iraq. Double the number of troops, he says. But where are they going to come from? There aren't any soldiers left to...
by James Fichter at June 15, 2005 10:52 AM -05:00 GMT


Looking back...and Starting over. I chose to go to Brown because of its strong focus on international-ism, particularly on Brazil. Brown offered classes in Portuguese language, Brazilian history, and even Brazilian literature and anthropology. I loved Brown. I did lots of international work and...
by Katy Love at June 15, 2005 08:47 AM -05:00 GMT


Same old story More trouble at Yasukuni, again centered around the Chinese. This time, however, the ruckus concerns Chinese of the island variety: A group of indigenous Taiwanese gave up an attempt Tuesday to stage a rally at Yasukuni Shrine because they didn't...
by Daniel Widome at June 14, 2005 10:31 PM -08:00 GMT


Sticking it to the (black) man Zimbabwe sinks ever lower. Yes, it can be done. Makhokhoba was the center of resistance to colonial rule in Zimbabwe. Now President Mugabe is bulldozing it. Striking in the current crisis in Zimbabwe is the silence, even complicity (if you're...
by James Fichter at June 14, 2005 12:21 PM -05:00 GMT


A Picnic I didn’t know how much I needed to get out of Kabul until I did. The dusty air, the walled enclosures, the endless beige, the divided existence – they were all starting to wear on me. But then I went...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at June 14, 2005 06:41 AM -05:00 GMT


Victory for a Nation! The office was so excited and emotional on Friday. After such a protracted struggle, the Achuar finally are signing papers with the government granting them legal recognition as a separate and independent indigenous nation! Their legal separation and distinction from...
by Lee Gilman at June 13, 2005 08:17 PM -06:00 GMT


The Power of Maps, or how I learned to love geography and community empowerment Work last week seemed especially slow with the exception of a truly stimulating meeting on Thursday. My coworker David Elliot, the only other American in the office, had been gone in the field since I arrived. This meeting was a...
by Lee Gilman at June 13, 2005 07:55 PM -06:00 GMT


Petrol Bombs and Resistance As a small office of six permanent staff members, one would not suspect that Fundacion Pachamama would be the victim of serious threats on their lives. But my coworkers recounted for me the events of two years ago, when in...
by Lee Gilman at June 13, 2005 07:52 PM -06:00 GMT


ACTION! "Could globalization become a tool for workers to win higher living standards? A new, concerted effort by low-wage janitors, security officers, and unions around the world is seeking to turn globalization on its head." .. so begins the website of...
by James Fichter at June 13, 2005 12:12 PM -05:00 GMT


Wetlands and culture The convention of Wetlands (Ramsar, 1971) recognizes the cultural values outlined below: •Pale ontological and archaeological records in wetlands sediment, especially peat bogs. •Cultural landscape and ecosystems given over to agriculture or other kinds of output in so far as...
by Syamak Moattari at June 12, 2005 03:41 PM -05:00 GMT


The historical lake of Hamoon When I was in the last year of high school in 1986, I was invited to participate at the Mathematics Olympiad as a representative of my province, Lorestan, in the west of Iran. The Olympiad venue was in Zahedan, the...
by Syamak Moattari at June 11, 2005 08:34 PM -05:00 GMT


Preparing I am in New York for a bit and am set to leave for Johannesburg on Monday. I have been trying to prepare for the past few weeks, but exactly what to expect or how to even go about preparing...
by Cindy Wise at June 11, 2005 12:59 PM 02:00 GMT


Organic Oil Think of it like Fair Trade coffee. Organic oil would come from oil fields where the workers were paid a fair wage, where the oil drilling was not used to prop up an abusive, dictatorial regime, and where the oil...
by James Fichter at June 11, 2005 10:22 AM -05:00 GMT


Wetlands and Cultural Heritage In the Middle East, because of the water shortage situation, water resources play a determining role in forming settlements and core civilizations. In Iran most of the ancient civilizations were formed around the wetlands and water resources. In Persian language...
by Syamak Moattari at June 10, 2005 06:39 PM -05:00 GMT


Futbol Nationalism I know that this is less work-related, but I have to give an account of my experience at the World Cup Qualifier match between Argentina and Ecuador in Quito last Saturday. I walk by the stadium to work everyday, and...
by Lee Gilman at June 10, 2005 05:30 PM -06:00 GMT


Better A couple days ago, the Greeks were on guard for Turkish military mischief in the wake of the French and Dutch referendums. Now, this: Greece committed itself yesterday to helping Turkey fulfill one of the criteria it must meet before...
by Daniel Widome at June 10, 2005 11:51 AM -08:00 GMT


Free I’m drunk. No dinner, 4 beers, 1 gin and tonic, 1 shot of whiskey and a glass of champagne later there’s no other way to describe it. I am drunk, I am elated, and I have learned something. I have...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at June 9, 2005 04:29 PM -05:00 GMT


Non and Nee I am profoundly disappointed by votes of France and the Netherlands against the European constitution. Doubly disappointed: They may well end the slow advance toward European political unification, and they make it nearly impossible to include Turkey and the...
by Dietrich Rueschemeyer at June 9, 2005 12:02 PM -05:00 GMT


We Want You There have been repeated calls from democrats and republicans alike to increase the size of the regular U.S. Army and Marine Corps. It seems only too obvious that we don't have enough men and women on the ground in Iraq....
by James Fichter at June 9, 2005 11:24 AM -05:00 GMT


Generalist Me I’ve gotten many requests in recent days to describe what I do here, what my days are like, and how I’m liking it. Since my job is the best part of this experience, I think those requests warrant a response....
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at June 9, 2005 12:31 AM -05:00 GMT


Two Revolutions There are two revolutions going on right now in two very different countries. In Bolivia, weeks of street protests have finally brought the resignation of the Bolivian president. The protestors demand the nationalization of the country's gas industry in order,...
by James Fichter at June 8, 2005 10:26 AM -05:00 GMT


Bait and Switch Republicans in Congress, according to Reuters, are planning an empty protest of China's pegged currency. Buried at the end of the story is the implication that in exchange for this gesture, they can peel off enough votes from the opposition...
by James Fichter at June 7, 2005 11:16 AM -05:00 GMT


Welcome to L.A. Welcome to the Los Angeles, a collection of shacks outside Khayelitsha, one of the largest slums in the new South Africa. Life here hasn't gotten much better in the 11 years since apartheid ended and the ANC promised to make...
by James Fichter at June 7, 2005 10:41 AM -05:00 GMT


Fun with headlines From CNN: "OAS members balk at U.S. intervention plan." From the Washington Post: "Bush Calls for Democracy in Western World." I'm pretty sure both pieces are referring to the same event. In this particular case, I think it's safe to...
by Daniel Widome at June 7, 2005 01:32 AM -08:00 GMT


Excuse for trouble Ok, so first the French and then the Dutch reject the EU constitution. This has shaken things up in Europe, of course, and no one's really sure what will happen next. But where the hell does this come from? Greece’s...
by Daniel Widome at June 7, 2005 12:30 AM -08:00 GMT


Tanking CAFTA In the Democratic Party's weekly radio address Senator Bryan Dorgan took aim at CAFTA. As he put it: "How many more American workers will lose their jobs to cheap foreign labor before we understand our current trade policy puts our...
by James Fichter at June 6, 2005 11:50 AM -05:00 GMT


Power, Rights, and Poverty While the terms “power” and “rights” are increasingly incorporated into the language of development agencies they have yet to fully permeate the practice of poverty reduction. Acknowledging that this partly results from a lack of clarity over the concepts of...
by Syamak Moattari at June 6, 2005 11:45 AM -05:00 GMT


Tiananmen Every June 4th thousands of protestors gather in Hong Kong to remember the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The United States, as Rumsfeld did yesterday, does its part by criticizing the lack of political and religious freedom in China. But there's another...
by James Fichter at June 5, 2005 06:59 AM -05:00 GMT


Imagine Imagine a three year old kneeling quietly in church for over an hour. Imagine going to mass at 5 every morning and praying twice a day for an hour and a half each. Imagine leaving the gates of your home...
by Thuy_Nguyen at June 5, 2005 06:01 AM -05:00 GMT


One Planet Many People One Planet Many People is an atlas of our Changing Environment compares and contrasts spectacular satellite images of the past few decades with contemporary ones, some of which have never been seen before. The huge growth of greenhouses in southern...
by Syamak Moattari at June 4, 2005 10:58 AM -05:00 GMT


Support Our Troops Back in the good old days I visited snowy New Hampshire to hold up signs for Wes Clark. I still think he could of whupped W., but that's another post. (His screed on Fox News was enough to make any...
by James Fichter at June 4, 2005 06:30 AM -05:00 GMT


"Bloodthirsty Games" and Second Audiences One nice thing about Stalinist regimes (and there are few nice things about Stalinist regimes) is that you always know who their press releases are aimed at. When the stand-up guys at the Korean Central News Agency decided to go...
by James Fichter at June 3, 2005 12:31 PM -05:00 GMT


Quarantine This But the United States needs some actions--short of war--to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea with--either in the case that it pulls out of the six-nation talks or that it tests a nuke. That's where the quarantine comes in....
by James Fichter at June 3, 2005 12:15 PM -05:00 GMT


Introducing Fundacion Pachamama Work has been good and so far really interesting. I’m interning at Fundación Pachamama, an NGO that is the Ecuadorian counterpart to The Pachamama Alliance, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, CA. It’s located in the center of the...
by Lee Gilman at June 3, 2005 12:05 PM -06:00 GMT


Street Talk I started talking to 3 Ecuadorian men on the street on Sunday, and then walked with them for about five blocks. They were interested in talking to me but the conversation was quite tense at times. They were unemployed and...
by Lee Gilman at June 3, 2005 11:55 AM -06:00 GMT


... sometimes you don't So let's say Kim Jong Il just fakes his kooky side to get a rise out of us and maybe another chip at the bargaining table. What's the right policy? The one we're on. Work within the six-nation framework. Be...
by James Fichter at June 3, 2005 11:52 AM -05:00 GMT


Sometimes you feel like a nut ... Asia wonks have been wondering for years: Is North Korea's leader nuts? Some people think his foreign policy is so reckless it can only mean he's come unhinged. Some think that he fakes being irrational just to frighten South Korea,...
by James Fichter at June 3, 2005 11:32 AM -05:00 GMT


Rentier states It isn't good feeling to live in a rentier state. Rentier states have a long distance from the sustainable development paradigm. The modern Rentier State derives all or a substantial portion of its revenue from natural resources (e.g., petroleum) or...
by Syamak Moattari at June 2, 2005 06:23 PM -05:00 GMT


The North Korean Candidate Our government's intelligence failure in Iraq and out president's deliberate and ill-advised manipulation of intel to start a war are having some nasty after-effects. Now it seems like every time we claim a country is developing nuclear weapons, everyone else...
by James Fichter at June 2, 2005 11:56 AM -05:00 GMT


Taxi Confessions It’s so wonderful to be back in Ecuador. After months away from this diverse country (diverse biologically and culturally) following a semester studying here in Fall 2004, and after much determination and hard work to obtain an internship, I’ve finally...
by Lee Gilman at June 1, 2005 09:20 PM -06:00 GMT


A Gilded Cage I live in a gilded cage--one of many willing, if irritated, prisoners to pass my evenings and weekends in this guesthouse. It’s an international crowd, though heavy on the Anglophones. There’s another American, two Brits, an Aussie, a Scotsman, an...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at June 1, 2005 02:28 PM -05:00 GMT


Rent-seeking economy against Sustainable Development The phenomenon of rent-seeking was first identified in connection with monopolies by Gordon Tullock, in a paper in 1967. It takes place when an entity seeks to extract uncompensated value from others by manipulation of the economic environment -- often...
by Syamak Moattari at June 1, 2005 10:14 AM -05:00 GMT


First Thoughts Upon arriving in Saigon the first thing i noticed was the unbearable heat. Saigon is a crowded, lively city. The roads are filled with bicycles, thousands of mopeds, and a few cars. The streets are lined with vendors selling food...
by Thuy_Nguyen at June 1, 2005 05:16 AM -05:00 GMT


The Trade, Aid and Security Trade and aid are two of the principal ways the developed world interacts with the developing world. The direction and priorities of trade and aid policies, largely decided in the North, have profound impacts on the societies, economies and stability...
by Syamak Moattari at May 31, 2005 12:27 PM -05:00 GMT


Winners and losers While he may call for "reflection", there can be no doubt that Tony Blair is thrilled by the results of this weekend's French referendum. In their infinite wisdom or lack thereof (depending on your perspective) and with very high turnout,...
by Daniel Widome at May 30, 2005 09:09 PM -08:00 GMT


War Main Reason for World Hunger Armed conflicts and economic crises are the chief reasons for mounting world hunger, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said, while offering a grim outlook on plans to cut the number of those going hungry worldwide in half by...
by Syamak Moattari at May 30, 2005 11:27 AM -05:00 GMT


Non to Nee Contratulations to the people of France. Yesterday you saved Europe. For many the French vote against the EU constitution seems a snub to progress and to Europe's ever-closer union. But I see as a declaration of independence from Brussels, one...
by James Fichter at May 30, 2005 05:31 AM -05:00 GMT


Cambodia's Ex-King Delights in Blogging "I thank you for insulting me." Thus blogged former King Norodom Sihanouk to a critic of his support of gay marriage. He didn't share any of the insulting e-mails with his readers, but noted: "My country, Cambodia, has chosen...
by Sean Benham at May 29, 2005 12:06 PM -06:00 GMT


Helping out As he did before, Schroeder is trying to help his European brethren in Paris. This weekend is the big test -- it'll be interesting to see who claims victory on Monday....
by Daniel Widome at May 27, 2005 05:32 PM -08:00 GMT


Ineffectual ringmaster The Bush administration offers its comments on Japan's recent rough stretch: A senior U.S. State Department official on Thursday expressed concern about recent conflicts between Japan and China and South Korea and encouraged them to resolve their differences, saying their...
by Daniel Widome at May 26, 2005 10:39 PM -08:00 GMT


new steps towards gaining sustainable development in Iran President Mohammad Khatami said on Sunday that Iran was taking new steps towards gaining sustainable development by adopting new productivity programs. Making the remarks at the 6th national congress on productivity, he referred to increasing productivity as the most important...
by Syamak Moattari at May 26, 2005 11:47 AM -05:00 GMT


Open for business As previously discussed here, the BTC pipeline has finally opened for business, to great fanfare: The presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey pulled orange levers Wednesday to send the first flow of Caspian Sea crude into a $3.2 billion pipeline...
by Daniel Widome at May 25, 2005 06:41 PM -08:00 GMT


Still no Clementina Ten days since Clementina was abducted, and still no word. People are in touch with the kidnappers, certainly, but the end is not yet in sight, and it’s getting depressing. I stopped by CARE’s office today in order to hitch...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 25, 2005 01:29 PM -05:00 GMT


Pemex Petroleos Mexicanos is a mess. The Mexican state oil monopoly lacks the money to invest in new fields because its revenues (which would normally pay for such things) finance the Mexican budget instead. As a result, Pemex cannot tap enough...
by James Fichter at May 25, 2005 11:21 AM -05:00 GMT


CAFTA The Central American Free Trade Agreement (the next step between NAFTA and the FTAA) is a terrible idea. It could have been a good one, but it's been botched. Let's not support it. CAFTA is supposed to open up trade...
by James Fichter at May 25, 2005 10:41 AM -05:00 GMT


Absolved I found him! My Afghan heartbreaker! (see entry May 14th) Or more precisely, he found me! I saw him coming from a long way off before I knew it was him. He was a tiny form, not yet 3ft tall,...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 24, 2005 11:54 PM -05:00 GMT


Food Crisis in North Korean Due to the lack of large donations since October, the WFP has been forced to halt various food supplies to large numbers of the 6.5 million beneficiaries in North Korea classed as most vulnerable. ...Because its stocks are exhausted, the...
by Syamak Moattari at May 24, 2005 02:53 PM -05:00 GMT


Moving Walmex As I wrote before, a good way to improve conditions at the Mexican-American border and for the millions of Mexicans living on both sides of it is to raise Mexican per capita income. And a good way to do that...
by James Fichter at May 24, 2005 12:32 PM -05:00 GMT


Here's Hoping In Kabul, more than elsewhere, there are multiple sides to every story, and I’m coming to learn that all of them are true. Forgive me and my post-modern self, for this is neither a remarkably unique nor a terribly helpful...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 24, 2005 12:14 PM -05:00 GMT


Connecting the dots Our old friend Kong Quan at the PRC Foreign Ministry had something to say about Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi's slap in the face: On the evening of May 23, in response to questions from the press, Spokesperson Kong Quan...
by Daniel Widome at May 24, 2005 11:43 AM -08:00 GMT


Sudden duty This is pretty cold: Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi abruptly canceled a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Monday and returned to China a day ahead of her original schedule, prompting a sharp rebuke from top Japanese officials....
by Daniel Widome at May 23, 2005 04:20 PM -08:00 GMT


World AIDS Vaccine Day The search for an HIV/AIDS vaccine has been "much more difficult than anyone expected", the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) admitted on Thursday, World AIDS Vaccine Day. Despite recent progress, "major challenges remain", IAVI said in a statement. These challenges...
by Syamak Moattari at May 23, 2005 12:56 PM -05:00 GMT


"Nice" Iranian Election Iran’s main reformist party threatened to boycott the June 17 presidential election after the country’s constitutional watchdog disqualified its candidates. All reformists who registered to participate in the upcoming election were rejected by the Guardian Council, which accepted only six...
by Syamak Moattari at May 23, 2005 09:52 AM -05:00 GMT


One week left Pretty good overview piece in the Washington Post on next weekend's constitutional referendum in France....
by Daniel Widome at May 22, 2005 10:58 PM -08:00 GMT


More Yasukuni Returning to a favorite topic here at Natural Selection, Koizumi clarified the distinction between his professional responsibilities and his personal interests: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Friday that when he visits the notorious Yasukuni Shrine he does so as...
by Daniel Widome at May 21, 2005 11:44 PM -08:00 GMT


Tashakor Nasirrilah is my favorite driver. Part of it, I must admit, is that his English is better than that of our other 7 drivers and so communication is easier, but more than anything I just think he’s a nice guy....
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 21, 2005 01:02 PM -05:00 GMT


Big talk, foregone conclusion So this is interesting: European leaders raised the stakes in the battle for the new constitution on Friday when Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg and the current European Union president, said the EU would not proceed with the...
by Daniel Widome at May 20, 2005 11:43 PM -08:00 GMT


Mexico Our relations with Mexico are currently centered on illegal immigration, the ways to stop it, and what to do with the illegal immigrants who are already here. But behind this is the more fundamental problem: low Mexican wages and the...
by James Fichter at May 20, 2005 12:22 PM -05:00 GMT


The Twin Deficits The twin deficits—the trade deficit and the federal government’s—are major problems for the U.S. economy that require a foreign-affairs approach to fix them. We have had some good news on the trade deficit lately—it was than expected this March—but it’s...
by James Fichter at May 20, 2005 12:13 PM -05:00 GMT


Live and let live I've long been confounded by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. He elicits unusually intense, polarized feelings among supporters and detractors alike, and these feelings are shared by many of the media outlets covering Venezuela. As a result it's tough to find sober,...
by Daniel Widome at May 19, 2005 10:10 PM -08:00 GMT


Access to information a key to “freedom from want” In September 2005, leaders will gather together at a summit in New York to review the progress since millennium declaration, adopted by a member states in 2000. In Larger Freedom is the title of a report of Secretary general of...
by Syamak Moattari at May 19, 2005 03:28 PM -05:00 GMT


Iranians for peace Iranians for peace is the name of a weblog that is dedicated to the Iranian people who are against a military attack on Iran. Iranians for peace...
by Syamak Moattari at May 18, 2005 04:33 PM -05:00 GMT


On screen and in space Well, this is certainly a good idea: The Air Force, saying it must secure space to protect the nation from attack, is seeking President Bush's approval of a national-security directive that could move the United States closer to fielding offensive...
by Daniel Widome at May 18, 2005 01:17 PM -08:00 GMT


Coddling Dictators As an older President Bush was told by a bolder democratic candidate thirteen years ago: Stop coddling dictators! Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan. How many more Muslim countries will blackmail us this way before we get it? The dictatorship-or-terrorist-haven choice is...
by James Fichter at May 18, 2005 11:54 AM -05:00 GMT


Uzbekistan To state the obvious: Uzbekistan has an awful government. And it looks like they're trying the old tried-and-true way of hoodwinking us Yanks into believing what they want us to: "No, no, those dead people weren't protesters. They were terrorists."...
by James Fichter at May 18, 2005 11:16 AM -05:00 GMT


I’m really scared I feel cold, when I think about the possible war against my homeland, I remember when I was a second grade high school student, at a very cold night in the winter, I experienced for the first time in my...
by Syamak Moattari at May 18, 2005 09:34 AM -05:00 GMT


Muddled righteousness It seems that Christopher Hitchens and I have different takes on James Bennet's Iraq piece from this weekend's New York Times: A doozy classic led the "Week in Review" section on Sunday. Portentously headed "The Mystery of the Insurgency," the...
by Daniel Widome at May 17, 2005 06:02 PM -08:00 GMT


“Ecosystems “the silence victims of the wars Whenever we think of war, we usually think on the tragic loss of human life, but wars have another victim and it is the nature. Ecosystems are the silence victims of the wars. The environmental impacts of modern war can...
by Syamak Moattari at May 17, 2005 09:46 AM -05:00 GMT


Missed points, and opportunities For all its royal wit, the Economist can sure be daft: Should either or both of these events [Iran and/or North Korea going nuclear] come to pass, note please that it is the world and not just America that will...
by Daniel Widome at May 16, 2005 10:18 PM -08:00 GMT


Clementina I want a cigarette but my vodka tonic will do. This is not what I signed up for, or rather, this is exactly what I signed up for, just not what I had expected. Kabul is declared White City again,...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 16, 2005 02:14 PM -05:00 GMT


A dangerous world could be made less dangerous if , In 2000, the United States and 189 other nations signed on to U.N objectives known as the "Millennium Development Goals" to halve extreme poverty, end hunger, reduce child and maternal mortality and reverse the spread of such diseases as malaria...
by Syamak Moattari at May 16, 2005 10:55 AM -05:00 GMT


Boarding by row There's been much talk recently in D.C. circles about "UN reform" and the personalities required to make such reform a reality. But do you ever wonder what the Bush administration actually thinks about UN reform, confirmation politics aside? The United...
by Daniel Widome at May 15, 2005 10:58 PM -08:00 GMT


UN expert stresses education in sustainable development The UN definition of sustainable development has extended from environmental protection to various aspects of human life, and education should play a larger role in achieving sustainable development. Experts made the remarks at the UN Symposium on Integrated Implementation of...
by Syamak Moattari at May 15, 2005 10:18 PM -05:00 GMT


No precedent Fine piece in today's New York Times about the Iraqi insurgency: The insurgents in Iraq are showing little interest in winning hearts and minds among the majority of Iraqis, in building international legitimacy, or in articulating a governing program or...
by Daniel Widome at May 15, 2005 12:16 AM -08:00 GMT


China's charm The IHT ran a piece today entitled, "Beijing charms its neighbors." Given China's recent behavior to the contrary, I wondered what this could possibly be referring to. Turns out, it's this: China's increased economic power and these changing perceptions have...
by Daniel Widome at May 14, 2005 10:42 PM -08:00 GMT


Bombs? Tonight the city noises keep me awake. Except they're not normal city noises. They are bombs. Or at least, that's what they sound like. There have been two, possibly three, explosions in the last hour. The night sky to the...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 14, 2005 03:34 PM -05:00 GMT


An Afghan Child Yesterday an Afghan boy broke my heart, and I’m not sure I’ll ever recover. Because of him--for him--I’ve decided that from now on I will carry several 1-dollar bills in an easily accessible pocket whenever I go out walking. The...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 14, 2005 03:54 AM -05:00 GMT


Howard's way Last week's Economist had a good (if amazingly positive) survey of Australia. If you skipped over it, I recommend you go back and check it out. Of particular note was the rather glowing piece on John Howard's foreign policy: On...
by Daniel Widome at May 13, 2005 11:31 PM -08:00 GMT


Are you a Terrorist? All of societies have stereotypes comments. We have heard, for example, Americans stereotyping Iranians women as “uneducated home makers” or Iranians stereotyping Americans as “ no family values” Stereotypes are generalizations based on limited knowledge and/or hearsay and very common...
by Syamak Moattari at May 13, 2005 03:35 PM -05:00 GMT


Worthy adversary I've been meaning to refer to this very good piece in the Washington Post from earlier this week: According to Hurley and others who recounted the fighting that followed, Lima Company's Marines searched each house they passed. They turned up...
by Daniel Widome at May 12, 2005 10:44 PM -08:00 GMT


Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Development projects are designed to confer benefits on a community, including improved standards of living and health. Sometimes, however, there are unintended and indirect negative effects. These may affect the environment, the socio-economic condition or the health status of some...
by Syamak Moattari at May 12, 2005 10:02 AM -05:00 GMT


a Certain Sense of Timing “Paul called last night to say we shouldn’t go into the office this morning until we hear otherwise,” Lucy told me when she woke up. “Cool,” I said, and went about my business. Now it’s 7:30am and we sit around...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 11, 2005 11:48 PM -05:00 GMT


Political alerts I was convinced a while ago that changing the terror alert level was tied to presidential politics. Now, via Kevin Drum and Eschaton, I see that former DHS chief Tom Ridge concurs: Ridge, who resigned Feb. 1, said Tuesday that...
by Daniel Widome at May 11, 2005 11:52 AM -08:00 GMT


UN sustainable development symposium opens in Nanchang The United Nations (UN) Symposium on Integrated Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals opened Tuesday in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province. At the three-day meeting, participants will discuss ways to "advance integrated implementation" and identify the weaknesses of current...
by Syamak Moattari at May 11, 2005 09:43 AM -05:00 GMT


Fighter femmes I see that the Pakistani Air Force will soon have some female pilots in its ranks. This has to be seen as a positive, if tentative, step. The real question is whether they'll be allowed to fly any of the...
by Daniel Widome at May 10, 2005 11:07 PM -08:00 GMT


The Shield of Anonymity The day that I departed for Afghanistan, the security situation in Kabul unraveled. Targeted attacks had been an infrequent, if not completely uncommon, occurrence, but on May 8th a couple of things changed. To begin with, there was an attempted...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 10, 2005 10:54 PM -05:00 GMT


First impressions written before going to sleep last night....: Some first day impressions: 1. Whenever before in my life I’ve been high enough on a clear enough day to see the curve of the earth, it has always been some combination of...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 10, 2005 12:48 PM -05:00 GMT


Show off It's really remarkable how many foreign leaders Putin was able to gather in Moscow for the VE commemorations yesterday. It was a rather bizarre scene. The image of troops and tanks parading through Red Square is just straight out of...
by Daniel Widome at May 9, 2005 11:03 PM -08:00 GMT


World Development Indicators 2005 This online version of the World Bank's premier annual compilation of data about development draws from data on 152 economies with populations of more than a million, and 14 country groups. Indicators are presented as tables and sections -- World...
by Syamak Moattari at May 9, 2005 09:51 AM -05:00 GMT


Ready or Not Another layover, another airport, and still I’m not there. This time, at least, an end is in sight. And this time, at least, things have been a little more interesting. It’s still interminable waiting and faceless people, but the boredom...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 9, 2005 02:52 AM -05:00 GMT


Transit I’d had high hopes of doing a whirlwind tour of Moscow during my 7 hour layover here before hop-skipping to my next stop in this 30-hour trip (a five hour layover in Dubai), but apparently they don’t let you leave...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at May 9, 2005 02:50 AM -05:00 GMT


ISLAM'S GOLDEN AGE During Islam’s Golden age (750-1258) Arab scientists pioneered integral calculus, spherical trigonometry, astronomy, al-kemia (chemistry), al-jabr (algebra) and numerous other fields. Abu Ali ibn Sina, an 11th century Persian scholar known in the West as Avicenna, wrote The Canon of...
by Syamak Moattari at May 8, 2005 07:53 PM -05:00 GMT


Unnecessary bluntness It looks like Bush is really living on the edge with his visit to Riga, and it's probably not an edge that Vladimir Putin much cares for: Asked if Russia poses a threat to its smaller neighbors, Bush said, ''I...
by Daniel Widome at May 8, 2005 12:25 AM -08:00 GMT


Neverending war As the 60th anniversary of V-E Day approaches, we're reminded that the haunting ghosts of World Wars II are not confined to East Asia. Steve Gilliard points out that Bush's stopover in the Baltics prior to attending the V-E commemorations...
by Daniel Widome at May 7, 2005 04:38 PM -08:00 GMT


Ayaan Hirsi Ali Writes for the Journal Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be writing an essay for the EU Identity section of the Summer/Fall 2005 issue of the Brown Journal of World Affairs. Ms. Hirsi Ali is known as a vocal critic of Islam in the...
by BJWA at May 7, 2005 12:40 PM -05:00 GMT


Real exit strategy Like many other countries before it (but very much unlike the United States in the future), it seems that Japan plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq. I can't say I'm terribly surprised by this. Koizumi already demonstrated his loyalty...
by Daniel Widome at May 6, 2005 05:25 PM -08:00 GMT


Take a Stand on Iraq; Label Its Oil Iraq is another reason why we need oil labeling. We’ve invaded the country, we’ve blown it up, and we still have hundreds of thousands of soldiers over there right now. Iraqis need peace and stability. And their oil revenues will...
by James Fichter at May 6, 2005 10:26 AM -05:00 GMT


Saudi Arabia Today, we remain dependent on oil from Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia remains an “ally” of ours in the war on terror. But the Saudi government continues to push it’s own sectarian, fundamentalist, and Whabbist interpretation of Islam upon its...
by James Fichter at May 6, 2005 09:57 AM -05:00 GMT


Chalabi the cat Good Lord, it's amazing how Ahmad Chalabi always manages to land on his feet. First he helped bamboozle the gullible into invading Iraq. When the country wasn't delivered to him on a silver platter, he got uppity and started passing...
by Daniel Widome at May 5, 2005 01:09 PM -08:00 GMT


Oil Have you ever wondered where that gas money of yours goes? It’s a lot of money these days, and it’d be nice if the money you put in your tank wasn’t bankrolling terrorist regimes. Unfortunately, it probably is. You’ve probably...
by James Fichter at May 5, 2005 12:34 PM -05:00 GMT


Game Theory" and Sustainable Development Paradigm Social movements are networks of individuals and groups, often connected by shared ideologies and identities, who aim either to bring about or to resist changes in the societies to which they belong. Sociologists have always attributed importance to these movements,...
by Syamak Moattari at May 5, 2005 09:28 AM -05:00 GMT


Hands tied I saw this story yesterday, about a leaked Joint Chiefs report that notes that ongoing U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan is having a detrimental effect on the military's capacity to respond to threats elsewhere. This seems to me...
by Daniel Widome at May 4, 2005 11:35 PM -08:00 GMT


Ideology Selector During the last year I heard more than previous years the Neocon term, so I tried to learn more about American Ideologies, so during my search, I found a tool as an Ideology Selector. This selector tests for a number...
by Syamak Moattari at May 4, 2005 12:44 PM -05:00 GMT


Leading The main thrust behind the two principles is to blur the line between private actions and government policy. And this has a crucial implication for Democrats who, being out of power right now, can't make foreign policy anyway. We may...
by James Fichter at May 4, 2005 07:01 AM -05:00 GMT


Two Principles Simplicity may not always be elegance, but at least it's easier to read. So let's keep it simple. Good foreign policy can be encapsulated in two principles (of course, I reserve the right to change my mind later, but I'm...
by James Fichter at May 4, 2005 06:31 AM -05:00 GMT


Blue Sheet Lots of bloggers and writers coming from the left side of the political spectrum have mentioned the need for a specifically Democratic foreign policy vision. That is, they think the Democratic Party needs better national security and foreign policy credentials....
by James Fichter at May 4, 2005 06:19 AM -05:00 GMT


Protester profile There's a very good piece in the IHT about the kinds of Chinese who formed the backbone of the recent anti-Japan protests. Working class types, you would suppose? Nope -- middle class, urban professionals predominantly: [Li Bin, the chief executive...
by Daniel Widome at May 3, 2005 11:43 PM -08:00 GMT


EU financial perspectives must reflect goal of sustainable development The principle of sustainable development must be reflected in the financial perspective 2007-2013. This is the main request of the EESC’s draft exploratory opinion, drawn up at the request of the Luxembourg Presidency. The priority areas of the sustainable development...
by Syamak Moattari at May 3, 2005 01:04 PM -05:00 GMT


Look who found our decoder ring! As though doubts in the strategic value of the U.S.'s current forays in the middle east aren't enough, two recent bumbles seem sure to impress upon the world the coordinating effectiveness and sheer prowess of the U.S. military and intelligence...
by Sam Hodges at May 2, 2005 10:17 PM -05:00 GMT


Koizumi in Europe Good account of Koizumi's meetings in Luxembourg with EU leaders, including interesting bits about the jockeying over the EU arms embargo on China as well as on the EU's apparent support for Japan's Security Council bid....
by Daniel Widome at May 2, 2005 07:19 PM -08:00 GMT


AIR QUALITY HEADLINE INDICATOR FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT The indictor is one of the Government's 15 former headline indicators of sustainable development and remains an indicator in the new UK Government Sustainable Development Strategy. It measures the average number of days on which levels of any one of...
by Syamak Moattari at May 2, 2005 10:05 AM -05:00 GMT


French stakes In last week's Economist (which I've just gotten around to reading), Charlemagne explores the hypothetical futures following an increasingly likely French rejection of the EU constitution: In Brussels, the gloomy talk is of a “period of stagnation”, after a French...
by Daniel Widome at May 1, 2005 10:56 PM -08:00 GMT


True Islam Ran into this interesting bit from the ANZAC Day observances earlier this week: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a correction to the expression "moderate Islam" of his Australian counterpart John Howard whom he met on Tuesday, April 26....
by Daniel Widome at April 30, 2005 11:32 PM -08:00 GMT


Homecoming This is curious: China's Communist Party chief and Taiwan's opposition Nationalist leader have agreed at historic talks to work to reduce cross-strait tension. They made a commitment to "promote the reaching of an agreement to end the hostile situation", a...
by Daniel Widome at April 29, 2005 11:52 PM -08:00 GMT


Sustainable Development Commission Fails to Sustain Enthusiasm The IUCN-World Conservation Union said the Commission on Sustainable Development "failed to make significant progress on the targets and policy options for water and sanitation as agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg three years ago." Held...
by Syamak Moattari at April 29, 2005 01:56 PM -05:00 GMT


Joining the club Koizumi's in India to advance the two countries' joint goal of joining the UN Security Council. Together with Brazil and Germany, Japan and India have formed a quartet that has been actively lobbying for each member's admission to the Security...
by Daniel Widome at April 28, 2005 11:23 PM -08:00 GMT


Is President Bush message a new energy policy? Yesterday President George W Bush unveiled a five-part energy plan designed to reduce the US's dependence on fossil fuels, such as oil. Although Mr. Bush mentioned that his plans would benefit the environment, he seemed motivated by a desire to...
by Syamak Moattari at April 28, 2005 09:47 AM -05:00 GMT


Fun with state media Think Chinese state media can't get any more heavy-handed than Xinhua? Think again: Germany's correct attitude toward history has won it respect from various European countries and made it an important member of the European Union (EU). Japan, on its...
by Daniel Widome at April 27, 2005 07:37 PM -08:00 GMT


Little Green Book 2005 Launched Poor countries faced high health risks caused by environmental factors such as use of biomass fuels and lack of access to clean water and sanitation, in addition to increased population pressures in urban areas, according to data from the 2005...
by Syamak Moattari at April 27, 2005 11:07 AM -05:00 GMT


Lending a hand The Germans are joining their fellow Euro-brethren in their nervousness: "To vote Yes is to make a choice for a more socially-oriented, more independent, more powerful Europe, in which the weight of France will be significantly increased," Mr Chirac said...
by Daniel Widome at April 26, 2005 06:16 PM -08:00 GMT


Writers' Tools I'm not a scholar or pundit, so I'll let those who are comment on world affairs. What I can do is offer occasional editorial advice and tips on how streamline the writing process and some tips on how to prepare...
by Fred Fullerton at April 26, 2005 09:09 AM -05:00 GMT


Postmodern Wetlands, Culture, History, Ecology "Postmodern Wetlands, Culture,History,Ecology", a book by Rod Giblett , explores the representation of wetlands (swamps,marshes,etc.) in western culture. For many, wetlands are a place of disease and horror often associated with the melancholy and the monstrous; in short, they are...
by Syamak Moattari at April 26, 2005 08:32 AM -05:00 GMT


ANZAC Day Today was ANZAC Day, which commemorates an event that inextricably linked two countries a world apart -- Australia and Turkey (and New Zealand, as well). It marks the date in 1915 when British, French, and ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand...
by Daniel Widome at April 25, 2005 11:28 PM -08:00 GMT


Read Mary Robinson's Article in the Journal The Honorable Mary Robinson's recent address on Contemporary Anti-Semitism can be found in the current print edition of the Brown Journal of World Affairs. She has recently been selected one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People of 2005."...
by BJWA at April 25, 2005 07:49 PM -05:00 GMT


Putting people back at the center of the development process I think human development paradigm, is one of the most impressive models in response to human needs with full respect to humanity. Human development is about much more than the rise or fall of national incomes. It is about creating...
by Syamak Moattari at April 25, 2005 09:20 AM -05:00 GMT


China's turn Xinhua has said its piece on the Koizumi-Hu summit. I quote extensively, because it's hard to beat Xinhua in its original: Hu initiated five proposals on developing the Sino-Japanese relations. First, the Japanese government should strictly abide by the Sino-Japanese...
by Daniel Widome at April 24, 2005 03:38 PM -08:00 GMT


Water is a human right "Water is a human right", was the opening line of the statement issued by the NGO Major Group on the opening of CSD-13.A right to water means: • A right for women to participate in decision making • A right...
by Syamak Moattari at April 24, 2005 01:11 PM -05:00 GMT


New Pope and the environment White smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel chimney gave the first indication that the cardinals had chosen a pope. Wearing traditional papal robes and a large smile, Joseph Ratzinger of Germany appeared Tuesday on a Vatican balcony as the 265th...
by Syamak Moattari at April 23, 2005 05:22 PM -05:00 GMT


Who's Koizumi and Koizumi's Hu Good background piece in the Washington Post today on how Koizumi's particularly assertive policies have fueled uncertainty in East Asia and the current tensions with China. Koizumi has always been seen a prime minister of a different cut, with his...
by Daniel Widome at April 23, 2005 02:59 PM -08:00 GMT


Spirits of humility and otherwise If not a "concrete action", Koizumi's latest speech is certainly a big deal. From Xinhua's remarkably straight reporting: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Friday that with feelings of "deep remorse" and "heartfelt apology" over its wartime atrocities engraved in...
by Daniel Widome at April 22, 2005 04:32 PM -08:00 GMT


Human Health and Climate Change Climate change has multiple direct and indirect consequences for human health, The 2003 summer heat wave in Europe, with 35,000 excess deaths in five nations. Deep Ocean warming is accelerating the hydrological cycle and the associated extreme weather events (EWEs)...
by Syamak Moattari at April 22, 2005 10:23 AM -05:00 GMT


Greek ratification Greece has overwhelmingly ratified the EU constitution, opting for the easier legislative route over the less predictable referendum one. This ratification wasn't a surprise, however. It just raises the stakes for the constitution's first big test in a few weeks....
by Daniel Widome at April 21, 2005 04:06 PM -08:00 GMT


Clean Air day, Earth day, Iran –USA In 1995, Green Front of Iran, an Iranian environmental NGO established in 1989, started a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the Air Pollution in Large cities of Iran and invited everyone to participate. GFI asked people to don’t use...
by Syamak Moattari at April 21, 2005 01:00 PM -05:00 GMT


Hopeful signs Have the Chinese had enough of the protests? The party's Central Propaganda Department held a rare emergency meeting on China-Japan relations at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. There, the Chinese Communist Party urged 3,500 senior...
by Daniel Widome at April 21, 2005 03:14 AM -08:00 GMT


U.S.-Israel-China and arms I humbly point to my latest Providence Journal piece, which I also include -- in its unedited, pre-publication, no-registration-required format -- in the extended copy of this post. It expands upon the U.S.-Israel-China arms triangle I first mentioned here....
by Daniel Widome at April 21, 2005 02:59 AM -08:00 GMT


Baby steps Now how can Japan turn down China's demand for "concrete actions" to resolve the current tensions when they themselves are so graciously bending over backwards? To be sure, the Chinese offer represents the bare minimum of what's appropriate, and they'll...
by Daniel Widome at April 20, 2005 02:07 PM -08:00 GMT


Friends when you need them Some tentative chit-chat over an Australia-Japan free trade deal during Australian PM John Howard's visit to Tokyo. From the Sydney Morning Herald: Before the talks with Mr Koizumi, John Howard played down the significance of securing a free trade agreement...
by Daniel Widome at April 20, 2005 12:57 PM -08:00 GMT


Fast Facts: The Faces of Poverty More than one billion people in the world live on less than one dollar a day. Another 2.7 billion struggle to survive on less than two dollars per day. Poverty in the developing world, however, goes far beyond income poverty....
by Syamak Moattari at April 20, 2005 10:37 AM -05:00 GMT


Pipeline extension It seems that the BTC pipeline (previously discussed here) will grow a tad longer, across the Caspian to the shores of Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, the United States has generously offered to assist Azerbaijan with Caspian security: The so-called Caspian Guard will...
by Daniel Widome at April 19, 2005 10:49 PM -08:00 GMT


A spot saved at the table for the pope The puffs proved white earlier today, as the Cardinals brought in Benedict XVI -- previously Joseph Ratzinger -- as the new Pope. At the time, I was in a meeting in Tennessee, at which a client foretellingly told attendees to...
by Sam Hodges at April 19, 2005 07:37 PM -05:00 GMT


The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time Extreme poverty can be ended, not in the time of our grandchildren, but our time." Thus forecasts Jeffrey D. Sachs, whose twenty-five years of experience observing the world from many vantage points has helped him shed light on the most...
by Syamak Moattari at April 19, 2005 09:42 AM -05:00 GMT


Concrete mirrors The visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura to China this weekend does not appear to have been fruitful: China refused to apologise for anti-Japanese protests yesterday, its foreign minister Li Zhaoxing telling his Japanese counterpart: "The Chinese government has...
by Daniel Widome at April 18, 2005 07:45 PM -08:00 GMT


The thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13) In 1992, more than 100 heads of state met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The Earth Summit, as UNCED was also known, was convened to address urgent problems of...
by Syamak Moattari at April 18, 2005 10:30 AM -05:00 GMT


Party investment The Economist notes a key point in the China-Japan situation that I had overlooked: The protests first turned violent in the south-western city of Chengdu on April 2nd, and erupted with particular fury in Beijing a week later. They were...
by Daniel Widome at April 17, 2005 07:39 PM -08:00 GMT


Global warming or catastrophe climate change Don't Think of an Elephant! is the definitive handbook for understanding and communicating effectively about key public policy issues in 2004 and beyond. George Lakoff the author of Don’t Think of an Elephant says: It's important to use basic terms....
by Syamak Moattari at April 17, 2005 11:23 AM -05:00 GMT


The Yasukuni Conundrum More protests in China today, over the same contentious historical memory/textbook/UN Security Council/drilling issues with Japan. This is becoming an unnervingly common phenomenon in China, but this weekend's protests seem to have taken on a somewhat uglier flair: Protesters vandalized...
by Daniel Widome at April 16, 2005 04:28 PM -08:00 GMT


Sustainable Development and Happiness, Dictionaries define happiness as 1.Characterized by good luck; fortunate. 2.Enjoying, showing, or marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy. 3.Being especially well-adapted; felicitous: a happy turn of phrase. 4.Cheerful; willing: happy to help. Human well being is the center of development,...
by Syamak Moattari at April 16, 2005 03:15 PM -05:00 GMT


Xinhua wakes up Well, it looks like Chinese state media has finally taken notice of the recent nationwide protests against Japan. But this is just too cute: Dear Chinese Friends: I agree that Japan should come to terms with its past history. I...
by Daniel Widome at April 16, 2005 12:34 AM -08:00 GMT


Constitutional changes This is probably a good idea: A key legislative panel suggested today that Japan change its constitution to recognise that it has a military for self-defence after 60 years of official pacifism and to let a woman take the throne....
by Daniel Widome at April 15, 2005 11:13 PM -08:00 GMT


Threat of Climate Change is greater than Terrorism Most of us spend a lot of time to discuss about terrorist attack on 9/11,but a few of us think about the climate change catastrophe, Like the terrorists, though, climate change may hit home sooner and harder than we ever...
by Syamak Moattari at April 15, 2005 05:08 PM -05:00 GMT


Oil price against democracy Crude oil prices rose above $55 a barrel last month, today US crude oil futures slid 54 cents to US$51.32 a barrel, deepening Tuesday's 3% decline and hitting the lowest level since March 1. London Brent was down 79 cents...
by Syamak Moattari at April 14, 2005 07:30 PM -05:00 GMT


Predictive pronouncement In an update to the inspiring yet ultimately buried nugget I used here, Hamid Karzai has come out for a "strategic security relationship" with the United States. He never quite uttered the words "permanent bases," but that's all right --...
by Daniel Widome at April 14, 2005 06:17 PM -08:00 GMT


Headline placement I'm sorry, but Xinhua is just sometimes too good to be true. On Thursday afternoon, the prominent headline in the upper right corner of their page reads, "China supports Germany to play greater role in UN." Score one jab against...
by Daniel Widome at April 14, 2005 03:15 PM -08:00 GMT


Protesting protests, and drilling The Japanese Foreign Ministry doesn't much like its Chinese counterpart's "blame Japan" strategy: The Chinese government is obliged under international law to take responsibility to ensure the life and safety of foreigners, guarantee the legal activities of foreign enterprises and...
by Daniel Widome at April 14, 2005 02:22 PM -08:00 GMT


Euro-Sino update I'm glad to see that the Europeans are starting to take my advice. While the IHT piece suggests that the EU arms embargo on China will eventually be lifted, it won't come cost-free for the Chinese: Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for...
by Daniel Widome at April 13, 2005 11:13 PM -08:00 GMT


We the Peoples 2005 The UN Millennium Declaration and Beyond Mobilizing for Change: Message from Civil Society produced by the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) and the North-South Institute (NSI) is available at www.wfuna.org. The report highlights the results of a global...
by Syamak Moattari at April 13, 2005 09:36 AM -05:00 GMT


WMD.gov/conclusion Consider this (also reprinted in extended copy) the conclusion of my "WMD.gov" series. Unless I choose to add more later, that is....
by Daniel Widome at April 12, 2005 10:27 PM -08:00 GMT


The First Step Many of the most important policy challenges facing the planet require a central focus on sustainability and development, I would like to learn about the nations efforts for the development with a sustainable paradigm, so I try to write my...
by Syamak Moattari at April 12, 2005 03:03 PM -05:00 GMT


Post-protest No new anti-Japan protests in China today, but I've come across a couple of interesting tidbits. First, a Chinese blog with what appears to be photos of the protests. I can't read the Chinese, but there's some colorful English on...
by Daniel Widome at April 11, 2005 10:55 AM -08:00 GMT


Friend to foe Laura Rozen (via Matt Yglesias) points out a Boston Globe piece on an upcoming report that highlights the Israeli transfer of arms technology to China and its role in China's ongoing military modernization. Laura and Matt, quite wisely, further explore...
by Daniel Widome at April 10, 2005 08:55 PM -08:00 GMT


Silly timeframes More talk of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, in this case within a two year timeframe. How naive....
by Daniel Widome at April 10, 2005 07:19 PM -08:00 GMT


Perfect protest Important news from Iraq today is the large protest held against the U.S. occupation: Chanting "No, no to the occupiers," men loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr streamed from the poor Shi'ite district of Sadr City to Firdos Square in central...
by Daniel Widome at April 9, 2005 07:56 PM -08:00 GMT


"If you are a patriot then you must oppose Japan" More honest outpouring of Chinese public opinion: Thousands of Chinese smashed windows and threw rocks at the Japanese embassy and ambassador's residence in Beijing on Saturday in protest against Japan's wartime past and its bid for a U.N. Security Council...
by Daniel Widome at April 9, 2005 02:56 PM -08:00 GMT


Buses to boats The Christian Science Monitor makes an interesting connection between the newly inaugurated bus service in Kashmir and naval geopolitics. Jim Bencivenga of the Monitor notes that any hint of reduced tensions on India's northwestern land border with Pakistan will direct...
by Daniel Widome at April 8, 2005 03:43 PM -08:00 GMT


Italian approval The Italian parliament ratified the EU constitution today, which is noteworthy for two reasons. First, and most obviously, the Italians chose the simpler legislative method of ratification over the messier popular method. Second, Italy's ratification marks the first from among...
by Daniel Widome at April 7, 2005 06:09 PM -08:00 GMT


Neighborly relations, Round 2 There's been some conflicting reports about Malaysian PM Abdullah Badawi's recent visit to Canberra. The IHT casts a rather positive light on things: A decade ago, a prominent Malaysian politician had sharp words about Australia's relationship with East Asia: "If...
by Daniel Widome at April 7, 2005 01:44 PM -08:00 GMT


Too much of a good thing Despite its authoritarian nature and otherwise stringent antipathy toward anything resembling free assembly, the Chinese government has been known to harness popular opinion when it was deemed to suit the national(ist) interest. It should be no surprise, then, that in...
by Daniel Widome at April 6, 2005 06:03 PM -08:00 GMT


Contradictory? I've seen two accounts of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Pakistan, one unambigiously positive, the other less so. First, from BBC: "China will never seek hegemony," said Mr Wen, who is on his first South Asian tour since taking...
by Daniel Widome at April 6, 2005 05:02 PM -08:00 GMT


Contested texts In what has become almost an annual ritual, the Japanese Education Ministry's recent approval of textbooks for the 2006 school year has been met with regional outrage. What will be some of the changes for the coming academic year? Of...
by Daniel Widome at April 5, 2005 04:36 PM -08:00 GMT


Not so funny Proof that Robert Mugabe is a funny man: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe emerged strengthened and typically combative at the weekend after the overwhelming, but disputed, victory of his Zanu-PF party in parliamentary elections. Mr Mugabe, 81, and in power for...
by Daniel Widome at April 5, 2005 10:22 AM -08:00 GMT


Neighborly relations Opponents of Australian PM John Howard's foreign policy like to point out what they see as his overemphasis on relations with the United States to the detriment of those with Australia's Asian neighbors. This criticism has been several years in...
by Daniel Widome at April 4, 2005 04:15 PM -08:00 GMT


Top Stories Archive I've added a link at the bottom of the Watsonblogs page called Top Stories Archive. In this archive you will find every recent post posted on the site. Please note that older posts will not link correctly to blogger pages...
by Sean Benham at April 4, 2005 11:06 AM -06:00 GMT


Permalinks Want to direct readers directly to your post? An easy way to do this is to click on the time stamp, which takes you directly to the archived post. To find out more information on permalinks, read this....
by Sean Benham at April 4, 2005 11:03 AM -06:00 GMT


The strange case of the W-76s In strange juxtaposition, today's Sunday NYTimes carried (a)an article in its magazine by Tom Friedman deploring the state of American secondary education, and the U.S.'s ability to compete in innovative, technologically sophisticated, and increasingly Chinese and Indian-dominated fields requiring enormous...
by Sam Hodges at April 3, 2005 06:19 PM -05:00 GMT


Tit-for-tat, plane-for-plane In a nice example of dishing out what you've been dealt, the Russian ambassdor to India has criticized the U.S. decision to sell F-16s to Pakistan: These aircrafts (F-16s) are used for surveillance over a large area. [The] United States...
by Daniel Widome at April 3, 2005 03:10 PM -08:00 GMT


WMD.gov/Curveball In the story of pre-war Iraq intelligence, two things are clear -- the intelligence community erred, and the Bush administration erred in creating conditions in which such errors were possible, acceptable, and expected. But if the Bush administration was only...
by Daniel Widome at April 3, 2005 03:31 AM -08:00 GMT


Pearly Pakistani port Returning briefly to the topic of China's geopolitical coming-of-age, I noticed this interesting piece that I had missed when originally published a month ago. It highlights Chinese assistance in developing a deepwater port at Gwadar, in Pakistan. The Chinese and...
by Daniel Widome at April 2, 2005 06:30 PM -08:00 GMT


WMD.gov/INR In the years since the Iraq invasion and in the resulting epiphanies of intelligence failure, I've been struck by a recurring footnote. While most U.S. intelligence agencies stuck to the same line prior to the war -- that Iraq was...
by Daniel Widome at April 2, 2005 04:53 PM -08:00 GMT


WMD.gov/politicization On Page 27, under the heading "Transforming Analysis:" We urge that policymakers actively probe and question analysts. In our view, such interaction is not "politicization." Analysts should expect such demanding and aggressive testing without -- as a matter of principle...
by Daniel Widome at April 2, 2005 12:44 AM -08:00 GMT


Citizen Reporting "Our slogan is 'every citizen is a reporter.' We've created a new kind of journalism. We call it 21st-century journalism, two-way journalism. So the readers are no longer passive. They are very active and participate to say what they want...
by Sean Benham at April 1, 2005 03:06 PM -06:00 GMT


WMD.gov/Open Source Directorate On Pages 22-23: We are convinced that analysts who use open source information can be more effective than those who don’t. Regrettably, however, the Intelligence Community does not have an entity that collects, processes, and makes available to analysts the...
by Daniel Widome at April 1, 2005 02:46 PM -08:00 GMT


WMD.gov/"mystique of intelligence" On Page 10: Throughout the 1990s, therefore, the Intelligence Community assumed that Saddam’s Iraq was up to no good -- that Baghdad had maintained its nuclear, biological, and chemical technical expertise, had kept its biological and chem­ical weapons production capabilities,...
by Daniel Widome at April 1, 2005 11:14 AM -08:00 GMT


Culture Smart Card Around the Institute, James Der Derian has been showing off a neat, laminated "Iraq Culture Smart Card" that he picked up while out with the Marines in California a few weeks ago. It's an interesting little device, packed quite densely...
by Daniel Widome at April 1, 2005 12:01 AM -08:00 GMT


Baku-ed up First, the Commander of the Turkish Navy visits Azerbaijan and pledges assistance to ensure the security of its Caspian oil fields. Then, we learn that the Turkish Land Forces Commander will visit Baku in April to discuss joint Turkish-Azeri military...
by Daniel Widome at March 31, 2005 11:18 AM -08:00 GMT


WMD.gov In what (hopefully) will be the big news of the day, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction has released its final report, and it has reserved a killer URL, to boot....
by Daniel Widome at March 31, 2005 10:17 AM -08:00 GMT


Just another week This week, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez bought military equipment from Spain ... In Spain's biggest arms deal for many years, its arms factories will supply 10 C-295 transport planes, four coastal patrol corvettes and four smaller coastguard patrol boats to Mr...
by Daniel Widome at March 30, 2005 11:02 PM -08:00 GMT


Chinese trailblazing On the topic of China's expanding influence in the developing world, the Economist recently ran a piece (locked, unfortunately, behind a subscription firewall) about Brazilian-Peruvian cooperation on completing a paved road link between Brazil's agricultural heartland and Peru's Pacific ports....
by Daniel Widome at March 30, 2005 10:11 PM -08:00 GMT


"Look East," stay stable What's one of the surest signs that China is aspiring for greater status and power? Meddling in African politics, of course: China is increasingly making its presence felt on the continent - from building roads in Kenya and Rwanda to...
by Daniel Widome at March 30, 2005 03:23 PM -08:00 GMT


Site Meter Need to check who is visiting your site or how many hits on your blog? There's a free option that I recommend called Site Meter. All you need to do is sign up, and copy and paste the code they...
by Sean Benham at March 30, 2005 12:01 PM -06:00 GMT


Hamas/PLO Is this for real? Resistance group Hamas has reiterated its readiness to join the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which groups together all the major Palestinian factions. Mahmud Zahar, one of the main leaders of the resistance group, said on Monday that...
by Daniel Widome at March 29, 2005 06:38 PM -08:00 GMT


Official reconstruction The FT reports that the National Intelligence Council is whipping up a secret list of 25 countries in which instability may lead to U.S. intervention. Carlos Pascual, the head of the recently formed Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and...
by Daniel Widome at March 29, 2005 12:02 PM -08:00 GMT


Aussie attitudes The Lowy Institute in Australia has a new poll out -- "the most comprehensive single survey ever taken of Australian public opinion on international policy" -- that yields some interesting results. Some highlights, with my thoughts embedded: - 57% of...
by Daniel Widome at March 28, 2005 10:45 PM -08:00 GMT


The New Meaning of Treason 1966 "Many wild things have been said about the effects of McCarthyism on American life, but two things are undoubtedly true. First, the chief victim of McCarthyism tends to be the official government service rather than the Communist espionage system. Where...
by Keith Brown at March 28, 2005 03:36 PM -05:00 GMT


Not again... At approximately 11am EST today, a magnitude 8.7 aftershock struck along the same fault as the December 26 earthquake that killed as many as a quarter of a million people in Indonesia, as well as tens of thousands more in...
by Jeff Albert at March 28, 2005 03:32 PM -05:00 GMT


Running guns (and planes) The U.S. decision to supply F-16s to Pakistan was rightly big news late last week. U.S. policy toward that country is rife with contradictions. Pakistan is a "major non-NATO ally," yet much of its population is radically Muslim and militantly...
by Daniel Widome at March 27, 2005 06:20 PM -08:00 GMT


Rising sun Rhetoric in East Asia has been heating up in recent days. As previously noted, Japan and South Korea have been engaged in a bit of a spat over some uninhabited islands (Takeshima to the Japanese, Tokto to the Koreans). A...
by Daniel Widome at March 26, 2005 11:40 PM -08:00 GMT


Ironic invitation Narendra Modi, the controversial BJP chief minister of Gujarat, made headlines several weeks ago when the United States denied him a visa to attend a hotel owners convention in Florida. Through the wonders of technology, Modi was able to address...
by Daniel Widome at March 26, 2005 02:51 PM -08:00 GMT


French fried? In ominous news for Eurofederalists, it seems the French are increasingly wary about the proposed EU constitution. Chirac, in somewhat of a bold move, has scheduled a referendum on the document for May 29. Each EU member must ratify the...
by Daniel Widome at March 25, 2005 06:11 PM -08:00 GMT


Happy Easter While a tad off-topic for Natural Selection, I couldn't help but note this story from the Philippines [emphasis mine throughout]: Seventeen people were nailed to the cross in a macabre re-enactment of Jesus Christ's suffering and death on Good Friday...
by Daniel Widome at March 25, 2005 05:25 PM -08:00 GMT


WatsonMobileBlogging! I've just installed a plugin that will allow all Watsonbloggers to post via their WAP enabled mobile phone. The best way to test it out is just give it a try. To post via your mobile phone, go to: http://watsonblogs.org/mobileblog/...
by Sean Benham at March 25, 2005 11:58 AM -06:00 GMT


Real test » remote entry created using mobileMT. This counts as the first real test of watsonmobileblogging - ignore earlier gibberish....
by Daniel Widome at March 25, 2005 11:56 AM -08:00 GMT


Art, Shuffle, and Blog After hearing good reviews from both James Der Derian and Daniel Widome, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and purchase an iPod Shuffle. This little device is fantastic. Not only does it weigh basically nothing, but it can be...
by Sean Benham at March 25, 2005 09:58 AM -06:00 GMT


Rifles and words Rumsfeld on Chavez (yesterday): "I can't imagine why Venezuela needs 100,000 AK-47s, I can't imagine what is going to happen to 100,000 AK-47s," Mr Rumsfeld said before meeting Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. "I personally hope the [delivery]...
by Daniel Widome at March 24, 2005 10:39 PM -08:00 GMT


Downer, up from down under In an update to the earlier noted deployment of additional Australian soliders to Iraq to defend Japanese troops, it seems that Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer paid a visit to Tokyo earlier this week: In a wide-ranging speech to the...
by Daniel Widome at March 23, 2005 11:16 PM -08:00 GMT


UN Reform Kofi’s report on reforms was released on Sunday. It’s a real kick in the groin for the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) now underway in Geneva. Kofi notes that some of the naughtier members (which have included Sudan, Indonesia,...
by Toru at March 23, 2005 03:26 AM -05:00 GMT


Wise wavering I saw in the FT and the Washington Post today that the EU appears to be wavering in its earlier consensus to lift its arms embargo on China. This is a welcome development on several levels. First, just on the...
by Daniel Widome at March 22, 2005 11:48 PM -08:00 GMT


American Jaz' In a very promising follow-up to my earlier posts on media reliability, Al-Jazeera seems to be working on an English-language channel to be broadcast in the United States. If this comes to pass, you can bet that many Americans will...
by Daniel Widome at March 22, 2005 11:50 AM -08:00 GMT


Concurrent basing I'm glad to see that Kevin, Chris, and Matt are in agreement with me on the issue of permanent U.S. basing in Iraq. It would be hard to be in better company than that....
by Daniel Widome at March 21, 2005 05:44 PM -08:00 GMT


Talking Turkey On the topic of ticking off U.S. allies, Don Rumsfeld lamented Turkish democracy over the weekend. In response to a question about whether he had any regrets about his execution of the Iraq war, Rumsfeld notes: Well, given the level...
by Daniel Widome at March 21, 2005 10:41 AM -08:00 GMT


Surprising (mis)trust The Washington Post (via Kevin Drum) reports on some Bush administration fibbing: In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to...
by Daniel Widome at March 20, 2005 07:06 PM -08:00 GMT


Post No. 1 Welcome! The Watson Institute has been kind enough to offer me a piece of the blogosphere, and I intend to sully it with my opinions as soon as possible. The thematic focus of this blog will be the intersection of...
by Tarek Masoud at March 19, 2005 06:32 PM -05:00 GMT


Road warrior Time magazine (via Dan Drezner) pieces together Condi's recent globetrotting and notes that there may be something more there than meets the eye. While Colin Powell was seen as the one of the more moderate and worldly members of the...
by Daniel Widome at March 19, 2005 05:00 PM -08:00 GMT


"He is completely inept" My friend Jai's been all over the recent Wolfowitz news, which only makes sense -- the two go way back. I share Jai's view that Wolfowitz does not represent the pure evil that many would like to ascribe to him....
by Daniel Widome at March 19, 2005 12:27 AM -08:00 GMT


Nordic chills In Norway -- that odd Scandinavian country left unshaded in maps of the EU -- there seems to be some political stirrings over another potential referendum on EU membership. In contrast to non-EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe,...
by Daniel Widome at March 18, 2005 08:13 AM -08:00 GMT


The Most Nested Doll As I hinted a few weeks ago, I feel the need to dredge up an old and possibly dead issue: the real motivation for the invasion of Iraq. In the eerie, slow-motion car crash that was the year leading up...
by Daniel Widome at March 17, 2005 06:16 PM -08:00 GMT


Global Security Manifesto I have posted our Global Security Manifesto and Matrix (created with the research assistance of Jesse Finkelstein and Masha Kirasirova) on our new GlobalSecurityBlog in the hope that together they will open a dialogue that might exhume, exhort, and hopefully...
by Global Security at March 17, 2005 03:24 PM -05:00 GMT


Historical ironies Courtesy of Der Spiegel, we have a very nice run-down of recent news on the Japan-China front, which regular readers will know as an early interest here on Natural Selection. Along with much else of note, the piece reminds me...
by Daniel Widome at March 17, 2005 02:19 PM -08:00 GMT


Deadly scenarios, perhaps The New York Times picked up on a Department of Homeland Security report today that wasn't intended to be picked up. It turns out to be a rather sobering description of potential terrorist attacks and their possible costs, in both...
by Daniel Widome at March 16, 2005 11:25 PM -08:00 GMT


Simulated Negotiation: Daniel Levy on the 2003 Geneva Accords 16 February, 2005: Daniel Levy, a lead drafter of the (2003) Geneva Accords developed by a freelance team of Israeli opposition leaders and a team of Palestinians led by Yassir Abd-Rabbo, spoke at Brown University about the effects of the...
by BJWA at March 15, 2005 09:41 PM -05:00 GMT


Diplomatic color Sometimes, out of the staid, cautious morass that is diplomatic rhetoric, a golden nugget of honesty, humor, and outright ridiculousness surfaces. The FT noted over the weekend that the United States is developing a strategy to "contain" Hugo Chavez's Venezuela....
by Daniel Widome at March 15, 2005 04:37 PM -08:00 GMT


BugMeNot "You're browsing the web and you click a link to an article on a site (let's say nytimes.com) but instead of getting the article you get a screen asking you to login or register. Infuriated at the idea of pointlessly...
by Sean Benham at March 15, 2005 02:20 PM -06:00 GMT


Dan Drezner, Public Diplomacy, & Academic Blogging Dan Drezner is on a roll. First, he notes an op-ed in the Boston Globe that ties in very closely with Lloyd Axworthy's "information-based public diplomacy," discussed here previously. In it, Hampton Stephens notes the importance of public diplomacy, broadly...
by Daniel Widome at March 14, 2005 10:19 PM -08:00 GMT


Foreign Affairs 1928 "American Responsibilities for Peace" by Viscount Cecil. Foreign Affairs 6/3:April 1928: p.366 Only one policy has been framed which gives hope of any practical result. War between individual States must be banished from the world, as America is foremost in...
by Keith Brown at March 14, 2005 12:25 PM -05:00 GMT


Propaganda, sanctioned and otherwise This weekend, the national newspaper of record inadvertently reminded readers why it is impossible to limit the "record" to a single source. In a major front page piece, the New York Times alerts readers to a wave of government-produced television...
by Daniel Widome at March 13, 2005 11:47 PM -08:00 GMT


How to shake a Bush If you're the leader of a Latin American country these days, it's not hard to get on the United States' bad side. First, it's helpful to have a history of working against the grain of U.S.-Latin American relations. Second, welcome...
by Daniel Widome at March 12, 2005 11:33 AM -08:00 GMT


Condi's Viennese Waltz Just when you thought that the second Bush administration would come to its internationalist senses after a Rambo-esque first term (oh wait, you didn't really think that, did you?), Condi Rice confirms that the United States will withdraw from the...
by Daniel Widome at March 11, 2005 11:01 AM -08:00 GMT


Information-based public diplomacy As was previously noted in this space, our Canadian neighbors to the north have opted out of the U.S. missile defense shield. Given the history of U.S.-Canadian cooperation in North American defense (most concretely through NORAD), this decision was by...
by Daniel Widome at March 10, 2005 05:46 PM -08:00 GMT


The Levant Shuffle For anyone trying to get their bearings on the recent goings-on in the Levant, TNR provides a nice who's-who in Lebanese politics, and the BBC does the same for Syria. While such information may already be somewhat out-of-date -- the...
by Daniel Widome at March 9, 2005 05:18 PM -08:00 GMT


Trackbacking You've all seen and heard about Trackbacking, but what is it? In short, it's a way to crosspost your blog with someone else's blog via Trackback. In other words, if you come across a blog that has information that you...
by Sean Benham at March 8, 2005 03:14 PM -06:00 GMT


Blogospheric writing Brad DeLong (via Kevin Drum) provides the top two writing mistakes he sees from his students. Kevin expands upon those compositional faux pas and relates them to the blogosphere, which could prove to be very helpful to incoming and current...
by Daniel Widome at March 8, 2005 02:43 PM -08:00 GMT


Separatist foxes Ever wonder what happens when Kemalism meets zoology? If so, you're in luck. Under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (with its convenient and somewhat uncommon parliamentary majority), Turkey has made great strides in its...
by Daniel Widome at March 7, 2005 11:47 PM -08:00 GMT


Smarts stay in the lab no more: Brazil's 2004 'Innovation Law' It shouldn't take more than two glances for any Brunonian to understand the powerful economic rationale for Brown's new Life Sciences Building.. Along with additional biosciences professors, this $94 million dollar investment will almost certainly keep Brown at the forefront...
by Sam Hodges at March 7, 2005 10:53 PM -05:00 GMT


Counter-hegemonic The other night I saw "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," provided to me by a source that will go unnamed. This Irish-produced documentary was originally conceived as a full-access, behind-the-scenes look at the Venezuela of President Hugo Chavez. Conveniently,...
by Daniel Widome at March 6, 2005 12:48 AM -08:00 GMT


Sharon Stone, Mosquito Nets and the Global Fund In one of the most bizarrely fascinating scenes from a conference I can remember having seen, I started watching this clip from January's World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos initially to see if the top-heavy, allstar lineup (which included Bill...
by Geoffrey Kirkman at March 4, 2005 02:48 PM -05:00 GMT


Color A nice tool for changing the colors of your website. [link] Speaking of color, rare color photos taken by the French Army during WWI. Apparently, and I haven't researched this, the French were the only country to take color photos...
by Sean Benham at March 4, 2005 10:36 AM -06:00 GMT


Arbitrary benchmarks The U.S. occupation in Iraq reached an unpleasant milestone on 2 March, when the 1500th, 1501st, and 1502nd American soldiers to die since the invasion of Iraq were killed in separate IED attacks. This has drawn some media attention --...
by Daniel Widome at March 3, 2005 08:23 PM -08:00 GMT


Blogging Resources A TV reporter-turned-blogger has a nice list of blogging resources. For those wanting to expand on their Web skillz: Webmonkey's HTML Cheat Sheet W3Schools World Wide Web Consortium Podcast test 1...
by Sean Benham at March 3, 2005 03:24 PM -06:00 GMT


Who will be the next World Bank president? It has been interesting to see press speculation about who the next president of the World Bank will be, after James Wolfensohn steps down in May. Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that US deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz was...
by Geoffrey Kirkman at March 2, 2005 10:14 AM -05:00 GMT


Burundi votes In the 1990s, nothing symbolized the plight of Africa in the western media more than the horrific Rwandan genocide. But Rwanda was not alone in experiencing violent ethnic strife, for when the plane carrying Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana was shot...
by Daniel Widome at February 28, 2005 11:25 PM -08:00 GMT


Aid to Afghanistan Under the weight of today's ritalin craze, it is becoming more and more apparent that individuals are not the only ones afflicted with attention deficit disorder. Governments, too, can be erratic and fickle. I don't suppose that's real news to...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at February 28, 2005 10:47 AM -05:00 GMT


Passion, Fondue, and Pharma Cufflinks clinked down, my manager gave me a few sentences of advice the day before I took my first of many SwissAir flights: "Take your best suits and ties. If you set a deadline with our clients you'll be expected...
by Sam Hodges at February 26, 2005 06:51 PM -05:00 GMT


A first entry A test and a quickie. Very excited about this...a way to non-numb from work. And a reason to put my economist reading to work. Actual thoughts to come soon....
by Sam Hodges at February 25, 2005 06:16 PM -05:00 GMT


Posting your email address (anti-spam measures) I highly recommend anyone posting their email address on Watsonblogs, to make sure you encrypt it. Here are two suggestions: 1) Ascii encoder 2) Javascript scrambler I prefer the first choice, and it's very easy to use....
by Watsonblogs at February 25, 2005 03:54 PM -06:00 GMT


Near-miss up north Canada, seemingly struck with a bout of sovereignty, has decided to opt out of the U.S. missile defense shield. In another day, faced with another foe, the geographical implications of such a decision could be problematic. Today, however, the geographical...
by Daniel Widome at February 24, 2005 10:54 PM -08:00 GMT


Blogging and International Affairs I heard recently that there are over 9 million blogs worldwide. Of those, many touch on or directly deal with issues of international affairs. There was even a piece recently in Foreign Policy by Daniel Drezner and Henry Farrell that...
by Geoffrey Kirkman at February 24, 2005 04:36 PM -05:00 GMT


Pacific politics, Iraqi desert When faced with charges of "unilateralism," supporters of the war in Iraq often counter with the fact that many countries comprise the "coalition of the willing," with forces currently serving in-country. While certainly true, the forces offered by many states...
by Daniel Widome at February 22, 2005 11:29 PM -08:00 GMT


Wearing a Burqa I'd thought upon graduation that my destination would be the great unknown of Afghanistan. As a student of post-conflict justice, it seemed the locale that made the most sense in my desire to learn more about the "post-conflict" environment. However,...
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at February 22, 2005 04:33 PM -05:00 GMT


Insurgent "siege" of Baghdad While yesterday we heard that Iraqi insurgent groups might be reaching new levels of collaboraton at the bargaining table, we learn today that at least some of those groups haven't gotten rusty on the battlefield. With the good, the bad...
by Daniel Widome at February 22, 2005 12:10 PM -08:00 GMT


"Back-channels" with Iraqi insurgents In what appears to be a very hopeful revelation, tentative back-channel negotiations have taken place between Iraqi insurgents and the U.S. military, according to Michael Ware, Time magazine's exceptionally well-connected man in Baghdad. The Iraqi insurgency has long been an...
by Daniel Widome at February 21, 2005 12:57 AM -08:00 GMT


Shadow boxing in East Asia Perhaps understandably, the main story resulting from this weekend's meetings between U.S. and Japanese security officials was not the reclassification of Taiwan as an explicit point of concern for the two allies. Rather, North Korea took up much of the...
by Daniel Widome at February 20, 2005 10:04 PM -08:00 GMT


The China Syndrome: A Contagious Bug? This weekend will mark a turning point in the U.S.-Japan security relationship that has been the bedrock of East Asian geopolitics for over a half-century. Or will it?
by Daniel Widome at February 18, 2005 05:50 PM -08:00 GMT


Election Reflections It seems best to get this blog up and running as soon as possible, and so I thought I'd start by posting an email I sent around to most of friends in the wake of the 2004 US Presidential elections....
by Elizabeth Goodfriend at February 18, 2005 04:12 PM -05:00 GMT