FEBRUARY 2011 WORLD AFFAIRS
Child Brides: For poorer, most of the time
The Economist online (28 February 2011)
In some parts of the world marrying young is a social norm.
UN chief encourages philanthropists to invest more in education
UN News Service (28 February 2011)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today lauded the role philanthropists play in facilitating access to education and encouraged them to commit more resources to improve quality and ensure that even the most marginalized children have opportunities to acquire education.
Developed and developing economies: The balance
Buttonwood’s Notebook, The Economist online (28 February 2011)
JUST back from chairing a session at a London School of Economics (LSE) conference on the relationship between developed and developing countries, arguably the crucial issue for today's global economy.
Pewee Flomoku saw Liberia's child soldiers through a camera lens. Now he promotes peace
Sarah Birke, Christian Science Monitor (28 February 2011)
Photojournalist Pewee Flomoku captured images of child soldiers and the other horrors of war in Liberia. Now he's working on free and fair elections.
Kosovo Organ Trafficking Scandal: Is the mud sticking?
T.J. (TIRANA), ECONOMIST (24 February 2011)
KOSOVO marked the third anniversary of its independence on February 17th in sombre mood.
UN Women Celebrates Launch as Leading Player in Gender Equality
Kanya D'Almeida, Inter-Press Service (24 February 2011)
UNITED NATIONS, 24 February 2011 (IPS) - After years of planning, fundraising and consultations, U.N. Women was officially launched Thursday evening to much celebration.
Cyprus: Six Steps toward a Settlement
European Brief No. 61, International Crisis Group (22 February 2011)
With stalemate looming in the UN-sponsored Cyprus reunification negotiations, parties to the dispute need to take dramatic, unilateral steps to break the decades-long distrust that is suffocating them.
Christchurch wakes to quake carnage
The Press, The Dominion Post and NZPA (23 February 2011)
Christchurch has woken to a scene of absolute carnage. Police say there are bodies throughout the central business district while the living, trapped in many buildings, are fighting for their lives after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck at a shallow depth 10km southeast of the city at 1pm yesterday.
New Zealand earthquake: Rescuers work through night
BBC News Asia-Pacific (22 February 2011)
Rescuers are toiling overnight in New Zealand to reach scores of trapped people after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake which has claimed at least 65 lives.
2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal
by Lev Grossman, TIME (10 February 2011)
On Feb. 15, 1965, a diffident but self-possessed high school student named Raymond Kurzweil appeared as a guest on a game show called I've Got a Secret. He was introduced by the host, Steve Allen, then he played a short musical composition on a piano.
From Libya to Bahrain, Mideast autocracy under fire
Dan Murphy, Christian Science Monitor (18 February 2011)
After Egypt set Arab imaginations alight, autocrats from Qaddafi to the Khalifa dynasty face an assault unparalleled since the post-World War II revolutions that brought independence.
Food prices at dangerous levels, says World Bank
BBC Business News (15 February 2011)
The World Bank says food prices are at "dangerous levels" and have pushed 44 million more people into poverty since last June.
Prince William and Kate Middleton royal wedding: Do monarchies still matter?
Bill Glauber, Christian Science Monitor (16 February 2011)
Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding may have tinges of the turreted-castle fairy tale. But from romantic to ruthless, more than 40 modern monarchies, including Prince William's family, still influence global realities for better or worse.
Remaining (Regnant) Monarchies around the World
Christian Science Monitor (16 February 2011)
View the chart
Egypt: 1989 and all that
Charlemagne’s Notebook, The Economist, (11 February 2011)
Watching the jubilation in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, I am mulling over a question I was asked at a seminar a few weeks back: why did Europe embrace the democratic revolutions in eastern Europe in 1989 yet supported dictatorships in the Arab world? Was it, my questioner asked, because Europeans considered Arabs to be unworthy or incapable of democracy?
How Foodies Can Eclipse - and Save - the Green Movement
Bryan Walsh, TIME (15 February 2011)
As traditional environmentalism struggles, another movement is rising in its place, aligning consumers, producers, the media and even politicians. It's the food movement, and if it continues to grow it may be able to create just the sort of political and social transformation that environmentalists have failed to achieve in recent years. That would mean not only changing the way Americans eat and the way they farm - away from industrialized, cheap calories and toward more organic, small-scale production, with plenty of fruits and vegetables - but also altering the way we work and relate to one another. To its most ardent adherents, the food movement isn't just about reform - it's about revolution.
To Fight Poverty, Invest in Girls
Nancy Gibbs, TIME (14 February 2011)
We know what the birth of a revolution looks like: A student stands before a tank. A fruit seller sets himself on fire. A line of monks link arms in a human chain. Crowds surge, soldiers fire, gusts of rage pull down the monuments of tyrants, and maybe, sometimes, justice rises from the flames.
But sometimes freedom and opportunity slip in through the back door, when a quieter subversion of the status quo unleashes change that is just as revolutionary. This is the tantalizing idea for activists concerned with poverty, with disease, with the rise of violent extremism: if you want to change the world, invest in girls.
US Envoy hits back at home critics of UN
AFP, UNITED NATIONS (12 February 2011)
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Susan Rice, has condemned US critics of the world body who have called for US funds to be held back, while also attacking the UN for picking up "bad habits" including mismanagement and corruption.
Hopeful signs for UN Action plans on Child Soldiers
IRIN GLOBAL (10 February 2011)
The recent UN-negotiated action plan with the Afghanistan government - signed on 30 January and outlawing the use of child soldiers in armed forces - has not yet resulted in demobilization, but it has shifted the focus to the role state actors play in recruiting children.
The Difference Engine: The Sunbeam Solution
The Economist (11 February 2011)
FOR decades, this correspondent has watched, with more than casual interest, every new twist and turn in the quest for an “artificial leaf”. His hope has been that industry might one day replicate the photosynthetic process used by plants, and thus create forests of artificial trees for making hydrocarbon fuel direct from sunlight. Apart from helping offset the emission of carbon dioxide caused by burning fossil fuels, such man-made leaves could provide an endlessly supply of energy for transport. Finally, it seems, something is stirring in the forest.
Armenia and Azerbaijan: Preventing War
International Crisis Group, (European Briefing No.60, 8 February 2011)
An arms race, escalating front-line clashes, vitriolic war rhetoric and a virtual breakdown in peace talks are increasing the chance Armenia and Azerbaijan will go back to war over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Egypt Women Clash Over Sharia Law After Tahrir Shows Equality
Caroline Alexander and Mariam Fam, Bloomberg (16 February 2011)
Women in Egypt are at odds with each other over the look of a potentially democratic country, with some activists pushing for an entirely secular legal code, and others seeking to maintain elements of Shariah, or Islamic-based, laws. "The revolution is not only taking place in Tahrir, it is taking place in every Egyptian house. It is the revolution of fighting the patriarch," says one woman.
West Africa Rising: Could rising food prices spark Egypt-style revolt in Africa?
Drew Hinshaw, Christian Science Monitor (15 February 2011)
Soaring food prices – such as wheat, which has hit a 2-1/2-year high – could feed political tumult in Africa, despite earlier proclamations that an Egypt-style revolt would not spread to sub-Saharan Africa.
In Lebanon, the Hariri tribunal finds itself on trial
Robert Marquand and Nicholas Blanford, Christian Science Monitor (14 February 2011)
A UN-backed international tribunal examining the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri threatens a fragile stability in Lebanon, where the government of Hariri's son recently fell over disputes about the tribunal's role.
Arrests and deaths as Egypt protest spreads across Middle East
Ian Black, guardian.co.uk (14 February 2011)
Iranians defy government ban to join rally in Tehran, with demonstrations and street clashes in Bahrain and Yemen.
India and Pakistan say they're ready to talk. How's the timing?
Ben Arnoldy, Christian Science Monitor (10 February 2011)
Neither India nor Pakistan has much leverage, and both are at 'wobbly' political points at home. But small agreements could be possible.
How Democracy Can Work in the Middle East
Fared Zakaria, TIME (3 February 2011)
When Frank Wisner, the seasoned U.S. diplomat and envoy of President Obama, met with Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday, Feb. 1, the scene must have been familiar to both men.
We Are On Every Street: What the Future May Hold for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood
Daniel Steinvorth, Cairo, SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL (2 February 2011)
The Muslim Brotherhood has been Egypt's largest opposition group for years. Now, with the regime of President Hosni Mubarak wobbling, the organization could find its way into power -- and is doing its best to look legitimate.
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