background preloader

World

Facebook Twitter

Without access to water, there can be no food security | Lyla Mehta | Global development. Ensuring universal access to water is vital in order to address food security and improve nutrition, yet recognition of the links between water and food are too often missed. A major report on water for food security and nutrition, launched on Friday by the high-level panel of experts on food security and nutrition (HLPE), is the first comprehensive effort to bring together access to water, food security and nutrition. This report goes far beyond the usual focus on water for agriculture. Safe drinking water and sanitation are fundamental to human development and wellbeing. Yet inadequate access to clean water undermines people’s nutrition and health through water-borne diseases and chronic intestinal infections.

The landmark report, commissioned by the committee on world food security (CFS), not only focuses on the need for access, it also makes important links between land, water and productivity. Policies and governance issues on land, water and food are usually developed in isolation. VersoBooks.com. Published in collaboration with WikiLeaks: What Cablegate tells us about US foreign policy WikiLeaks came to prominence in 2010 with the release of 251,287 top-secret State Department cables, which revealed to the world what the US government really thinks about national leaders, friendly dictators, and supposed allies. It brought to the surface the dark truths of crimes committed in our name: human rights violations, covert operations, and cover-ups. The WikiLeaks Files presents expert analysis on the most important cables and outlines their historical importance.

In a series of chapters dedicated to the various regions of the world, the book explores the machinations of the United States as it imposes its agenda on other nations: a new form of imperialism founded on varied tactics from torture to military action, to trade deals and “soft power,” in the perpetual pursuit of expanding influence. 映画『ハーフ』予告編 Hafu: the mixed-race experience in Japan [Official Trailer] Saudi Arabia Weighs Plans to Defend Aden. The prospect of a ground operation in Yemen carried out by the Saudi-led coalition is a distinct possibility, but the window to safely insert forces into the port city of Aden is closing. As long as the threat from al-Houthi fighters and forces allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh persists, all options are on the table.

Based on information from Stratfor sources and open source reporting, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan are considering deploying ground forces to Aden. The city itself has strategic value because of its seaport infrastructure. More important, it is the temporary capital of Yemeni President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi's government. For Saudi Arabia to consider rolling back the gains achieved by al-Houthi and pro-Saleh militants — with the intent to replace them with forces under Hadi's control — maintaining a Hadi-aligned presence inside Yemen is crucial. The importance of securing Aden is not lost on the militants opposing Hadi. The unkicked addiction.

Correction to this article IN JANUARY 2007 Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn—two Republican secretaries of state, a Democratic defence secretary and a Democratic head of the Senate Armed Services Committee—called for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons. The ultimate goal, they wrote in the Wall Street Journal, should be to remove the threat such weapons pose completely. The article generated an astonishing response.

Long seen as drippily Utopian, the idea of getting rid of nuclear weapons was suddenly taken on by think-tankers, academics and all sorts of very serious people in the nuclear-policy business. The next year a pressure group, Global Zero, was set up to campaign for complete nuclear disarmament. In April 2009 Barack Obama, speaking in Prague, promised to put weapons reduction back on the table and, by dealing peacefully but firmly with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, to give new momentum to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Mapping the global battle to protect our planet | Global Development Professionals Network. In 2012 protests erupted in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina over the demolition of a much beloved local park to build a business complex. A movement under the slogan “This Park is Ours” aimed originally at protecting the green space soon broadened into a collective movement aimed against corruption, lack of transparency, economic inequality and dwindling social services.

Hundreds of protesters from all social classes and religions gathered daily in the endangered park, becoming part of a Bosnian spring that came to represent a struggle for human dignity and accountability under most articulated civic movement since the 1992-1995 war. From Banja Luka to Gezi Park, Turkey to Rosia Montana, Romania to the land wars across India, social conflicts are increasingly playing out through battles around environmental resources and in defence of common land.

Home | Virunga. Climate Change Complicates Efforts to End Poverty. The photos we see of crops withering in fields from lack of rain or of homes splintered by a storm provide only a glimpse of the damage climate change can do to the world’s poor. Peel back more layers, and the interplay between poverty and climate change becomes more complex. The herder who loses one or two cows to famine amid a drought may feel he has little choice but to sell other livestock at very low prices – the only prices he can get – to keep his family fed. The family may survive the crisis, but they will have lost the productive economic assets they relied on, assets that had paid for the children to attend school and were helping the family move out of poverty. The children lose the advantage of an education, the herder has lost an economic base to build from, and he becomes less likely to take risks that could increase his income. Escaping the poverty trap becomes more difficult. “Climate change represents a direct and immediate threat to poverty alleviation.

Yemen Joins List of Collapsed Mideast States. PJmedia, 23/1 This week in Yemen, an Iran-backed Shia militia captured the presidential palace. The president has since resigned. It was the latest stage in the slow advance of the Houthis, who entered the capital Sana’a in September of last year. The latest Houthi victories do not bring the Shia rebels undisputed control of the country. They do, however, ensure the undisputed presence of the Iranian clients in the central government. The situation in Yemen exemplifies in acute form most of the phenomena which are currently tearing much of the Middle East apart: the fragmentation and weakness of central governments; growing sectarian divisions; the presence and power of a strong, Iranian backed political-military force; the importance of local and tribal power structures; Saudi support for the Sunnis; and the existence of a powerful Sunni Jihadi organization, committed both to local struggle and to terrorism against the West.

The uprising of the Houthis was launched in 2004. Part two: Foreign policy | Barack Obama: The Vox Conversation. Years before he was a national figure, Barack Obama delivered a speech at a rally against the proposed invasion of Iraq that became integral to his underdog primary campaign in 2008. "I don't oppose all wars," he said. "What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. " And yet an actual presidential foreign policy is far more complex than a single speech. The world is vast, and modern technology has rendered war less a binary choice than a broad spectrum of possible uses of force. When Obama sat down with Vox in late January, we asked him not about the crises of the day but about the big ideas that shape his thinking on America's relationship to the world outside our borders.

Matthew Yglesias This is a really sort of big-picture question, but over the years, I've heard a number of different members of your team refer to your kind of philosophy in foreign affairs as "realism. " 1 Is that a term you would use? Barack Obama And then the Arab Spring happened. Absolutely. It’s On: Asia’s New Space Race. For more than five years, U.S. intelligence agencies, counterterrorism operators, and the military have been intensely focused on trying to stop al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemen branch of the global terrorist network, from sneaking hard-to-detect bombs onto airplanes and slaughtering hundreds of people.

What they got last week was Paris—a completely different kind of attack. In claiming credit for last week’s decidedly lower-tech shooting spree at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, AQAP seems to have flipped its playbook, leading to inevitable questions about whether U.S. officials misjudged the terror group’s capabilities or were too focused on the wrong threat: bombs instead of bullets. All this, despite a slick AQAP magazine that called specifically for shooters—and for Charlie Hebdo to be put in the crosshairs. “Analysts expected that AQAP would launch an attack against aviation, rather than this kind of tactic. The terror group didn’t relent. “It is always on us. Greece's new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is Valve's former Steam Market economist. The fate of the Eurozone economy could well be in the hands of a man who once monitored the sales of virtual goods via micro-transactions in video games Dota 2 and Counter-Strike.

Yanis Varoufakis was hired by Valve three years ago to oversee the Steam Market and its fledging economy, and now, as confirmed by Sky News political editor Faisal Islam on 27 January, he is Greece's new finance minister. This past weekend Greece voted in left wing anti-austerity party Syriza, who campaigned on a platform of hope for the troubled country and plans to end government cuts. They are seeking to renegotiate Greece's €240bn (£179bn) bailout by international lenders. In a letter to the economist, Valve boss Gabe Newell likened creating a shared currency between real money and the Steam wallet to the problems faced with Greece with the Euro.

Conspiracies to make sense of the world

Former CIA acting director offers chilling world view. It doesn’t take a CIA officer to figure out that the world is a rather dangerous and complex place. But it’s pretty fascinating to listen to the agency’s former acting director talk about just how dangerous and complex it is. Bottom line up front after listening to Mike Morell talk for more than an hour? Pakistan, with a plethora of people, poverty, militants and nukes, is the world’s most dangerous nation. Syria is a “mess” with a five-sided war and the most complex policy situation he has faced in his 30 years as a spook. Al-Qaida has a good chance of reconstituting its abilities to launch another attack on the U.S. from Afghanistan within three years after we finally pull out. And the Supreme Leader of Iran — which uses “terrorism as a tool of statecraft” and funds the insurgency in Yemen and other places — has his heart set on developing nuclear weapons no matter what happens with the current negotiations.

It’s a battle with lasting implications, he said. And back to the bad news. Why? Internet at heart of new tactics for Mediterranean people smugglers. BRUSSELS – Migrants dreaming of Europe have their pick of social media sites that work like an online travel agent, advertising fares and offering tips on secure payments. Meanwhile, the traffickers who send them floating across the Mediterranean are buying scrap-yard cargo ships over the Internet. That’s the picture of an increasingly sophisticated business in migrant smuggling painted by European officials and an EU document seen by The Associated Press. Information gathered from migrants rescued at sea “confirms that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are widely used to share information on how to enter the EU illegally,” says the analysis compiled by security experts for EU policy makers.

The document underscores the ingenuity and flexibility of human traffickers, as Libya’s mounting chaos forces them to turn away from the country as the preferred departure point. While the smugglers share information online, there is little evidence they work as one gang. China denies building empire in Africa | Global development. China has adamantly denied the oft-repeated charge that it is building an empire in Africa just as the European powers did in the late 19th century. Beijing is Africa’s biggest trade partner and has frequently been accused of an ethically deaf “resource colonialism” – extracting the continent’s mineral wealth at knockdown prices to propel its economic growth.

But foreign minister Wang Yi, on a five-nation tour of Africa, insisted: “Politically, we always speak up for African countries and uphold justice. Economically, we help African countries to enhance development to achieve prosperity. “In China’s exchanges and cooperation with Africa, we want to see mutual benefit and win-win results. I want to make clear one point, that is, China will never follow the track of western colonists and all cooperation with Africa will never come at the expense of the ecology, environment or long-term interests of Africa.” U.S. opening of oil export tap widens battle for global market.

GcFzost.jpg (JPEG Image, 3686 × 2957 pixels) - Scaled (27%) Will Fracking, Climate Change, Solar Reshape US Security? Energy sources and related commodities have driven national security issues ever since the modern nation-state was born with the Peace of Westphalia. Oak made Spain and England’s stout sailing ships. Water energy and wind drove mills and moved water. Wood and coal moved steamships. Then came the almost magical commodity of oil, packed with energy. World War II brought us the wonder and terror of nuclear energy. The global oil market is going through an upheaval, with non-OPEC production led by North American producers surging while OPEC’s traditional price-setting role changes. Second, if you look at the world’s largest oil reserve holders and countries that have reserve-to-production ratios in excess of 100 years, they are almost exclusively OPEC members.

The Saudis will remain the de facto leaders of OPEC until another country can build comparable spare production capacity, which in the Saudis case is currently around 2 mmb/d. And Then, Climate Change. Shrinking rivers reshape rituals in Bangladesh. An entire way of life in riverine Bangladesh is changing with communities adapting their lives and religious rituals due to irregular water flow and drying rivers Many families have been forced to conduct religious rituals in canals and ponds as rivers dry up (Image by Greenpeace) Once a common sight on the now-shrinking riverine stretches of Bangladesh, the gouna nouka, or goods-carrying boats, have become relics of a pastoral age with urbanisation and development fast replacing a river-centric, agro-based economy.

Like the gouna nouka, a number of other kinds of boats have been developed in the region. But few exist now as a riverine civilisation fades, and with it the many beliefs and rituals that developed around the rivers and boats. “Those days are gone when we eagerly waited for the festive time of nouka puja (boat worship) that was held just ahead of the monsoon. Changing lives Many families, in fact, have been forced to conduct rituals at canals and ponds. Ground realities. India considers carbon peak for “2035-2050″ Putin's Thesis (Raw Text) In Pursuit of Prosperity: US Foreign Policy in an Era of Resource Scarcity - World Affairs Council.

The UnAtomic Age | A\J – Canada's Environmental Voice. TtxuIwf. Tracks Large-Scale Russian Air Activity in Europe. Chinese mining transparency announcement sends a clear signal to US regulators. Tougher Greenhouse Goals Could Cut EU’s Gas Imports in Half. Asian Highway Network. World GDP should double by 2030 and World Trade, Shipping, Ports and Supply Chain will match.

Whatever Happened to the End of History? Asymmetric Escalation of Conflict in South Asia | Kamaldeep Sandhu. N. Korea No. 2 visits South for rare talks. Dalai Lama marks Nobel anniversary as Western support wanes. Coal India solar. World’s largest coal miner to invest $1.2 billion in solar power. The US is now involved in 134 wars or none, depending on your definition of 'war' Ralph Straumann sur Twitter : "President of Switzerland, Didier Burkhalter, waiting for train among commuters. No, no bodyguards. RT @magaliphilip. BRICS countries are building about 75% of the worlds new nuclear reactors and are forming a new BRICS energy association. 'State Of The Climate' Report: Continued Disruption. For most of us, global warming has become 'normal' climate. DFu4ever comments on Russia effectively at war with Europe: Lithuanian president. Burning Donetsk. World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict - World Politics.

How much of Iraq does ISIS control? | The International Security Program. Chinese Special Envoy Meets with Iraqi PM, Vows 'Steadfast' Support against ISIS. Un universitaire égyptien prédit l’effondrement du monde musulman. Twenty-first-century energy wars. Has globalization peaked? The best of capitalism is over for rich countries – and for the poor ones it will be over by 2060 | Paul Mason.

Migration crisis

Africa. Russia crisis. China. Asian Tensions. Conflicts. Jihad. The 4 Seas great geostrategic game. Seven Conflicts of Concern for the U.S. Military. Dystopia. Water wars. The dark side of Switzerland. NK What's next. Pirates, Drugs, Russian Nukes? The Great Digital Divide. The condition of Women. Celebrity humanitarian. Wikileaks.