International news and events

    Orlando's picture

    Witch Hunts in Papua New Guinea: The Dark Side of Human Nature

    Before last week, all I knew about Papua New Guinea was that its capital was Port Moresby and that it was that island on top of Australia. But while I was searching the internet for examples of the country’s musical offerings, I was fascinated to learn that over 700 languages are spoken there, that most of the island doesn’t have access to television and can only be reached by airplanes, and that there is an incredible diversity of flora and fauna in the mountains and rainforests.

    acanuck's picture

    A one-, two- or three-state solution?

    Near the start of the military offensive against Hamas, Orlando sparked a spirited but civil debate with the question, "What is Israel thinking?" I argued one strategic goal was to drive a deeper wedge between the West Bank and Gaza, by forcing Egypt to open its Rafah crossing to refugees and wounded and take on the task of supplying food, fuel and medicine. If all Gaza's lifelines ran through Egypt, Israel could make the claim it is no longer the occupying power.

    Orlando's picture

    What is Israel Doing?

    I used to watch The West Wing. In one of the very first episodes, the fictional president gets a briefing from the fictional Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in which the term “proportional response” is explained. The president is angry because terrorists shot down a military transport plane carrying someone with whom he had a personal relationship and he is ready to unleash the power of the United States military in retribution. The Chairman patiently explains that when they shoot down one of our planes, we take out a target that would be considered equitable.


    Greek Riots

    Police CarsLast Saturday I got a call from my parents in Athens.  It was around seven o'clock here in Pittsburgh, so it must have been around two in the morning for them.  They were calling on their cell-phone.  They were trapped by riots in a tavern in downtown Athens.  But they were not frightened.  In fact, they sounded excited, and they held the cell-phone up for me, so that I could hear the chanting of protesters and the

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Korea, Madagascar, and Nouveau Colonialism

    Dagster Donal recently posted the news that a South Korea company is pursuing a deal with Madagascar to lease arable land equivalent to almost half of its currently farmed land for 99 years in order to grow crops for feed and biofuel. Chinese companies have been doing similar deals with a number of African countries but at much smaller scales.

    Orlando's picture

    Pirates? Are you kidding me?

    There are still pirates? I mean, I figured there must still be a few if them around because every so often there would be a really stupid movie about modern-day psychos terrorizing some perfectly nice couple on their private yacht. But the news this month has brought attention to the fact that there’s a whole culture of piracy alive and well, centered in Somalia.

    Deadman's picture

    Terror speaks up ... and again shows its true colors

    So Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader (or maybe its no. 1, if rumors of Osama's demise have any credence) released a taped message today, redeclaring war on America and calling its new President-elect a 'house negro.'

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Japan: Recessive Again

    Japan's economy is now officially in recession, according to those in charge of labeling such things, which means that they beat us again. While most believe that the U.S. has already entered a recession, it's not official until we have two consecutive quarters of negative growth, so we're just going to have to wait until January.


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