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Friday, October 31, 2014

Pope Francis Has Officially Endorsed Evolution And The Big Bang Theory

Pope Francis Has Officially Endorsed Evolution And The Big Bang Theory

WPR Articles Oct. 27, 2014 - Oct. 31, 2014

WPR Articles Oct. 27, 2014 - Oct. 31, 2014

The International Order Faces a Fateful and Perilous Winter

By: Nikolas Gvosdev | Column
How the major powers navigate the political challenges they will face this winter will have a profound impact in shaping global politics in the years to come. The decisions that are taken, or deferred, will determine whether the international order is solidified or discarded.

In Austerity Showdown, France, Italy and EU Find Face-Saving Compromise

By: Maria Savel | Trend Lines
After several weeks of back-and-forth, France and Italy have submitted revised national budgets for 2015 to the European Commission that meet EU budgetary rules. But the revisions are more fiscal sleight of hand that allows all sides to save face than real economic reform.

Can Afghanistan’s Ghani Avoid the Pitfalls of the Resource Curse?

By: Kari Lipschutz | Briefing
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani faces high expectations to turn his country’s war-torn economy around. But his real challenge will be nurturing Afghanistan’s fragile minerals sector while managing domestic and international expectations of its ability to be an immediate driver of growth.

Shielded by U.S. Alliance, Bahrain Suspends Shiite Opposition

By: Frederick Deknatel | Trend Lines
A court in Bahrain this week suspended the activities of the country’s main Shiite opposition group ahead of elections. The suspension is another move by America’s Gulf allies to drop any pretense of domestic reform as a quid pro quo for joining the U.S. coalition against the Islamic State.

In Power, Tunisia’s Secularists Must Now Tackle Islamic Militancy

By: Francesco F. Milan | Briefing
Tunisia’s parliamentary elections confirm the erosion of trust over the past three years in the Islamist party Ennahda. Two issues played a key role in the party’s slide: the lack of overall economic growth and the party’s hesitancy in tackling growing security problems and Islamic militancy.

India Pursues Scandinavian Partnerships to Join Arctic Race

By: Saurav Jha | Briefing
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Norway in mid-October was a signal of India’s rising profile in the Arctic. After signing 13 agreements with Norway, Mukherjee concluded 19 more deals with Finland—maneuvers designed to gain a foothold in the Arctic through partnerships with Scandinavia.

Iran Keeps Longstanding Ties With Horn of Africa to Outflank Rivals

By: The Editors | Trend Lines
While Iran is normally seen as a regional power, its influence extends beyond the Middle East. In an email interview, Jeffrey Lefebvre, associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, discussed Iran’s relations with countries in the Horn of Africa.

For U.S. and South Korea, Missile Defense Looms as Next Big Challenge

By: Richard Weitz | Column
At a meeting of the U.S. and South Korean foreign and defense ministers last week, the two sides reaffirmed their global partnership and made progress on some issues. However, they have yet to overcome differences on missile defense and how to counter North Korea’s new missile capabilities.

Mexico’s Unfinished Education Reform Key to Pena Nieto’s Economic Agenda

By: Nathaniel Parish Flannery | Briefing
Though President Enrique Pena Nieto has celebrated his reform agenda, teachers in Mexico’s impoverished southern states still oppose changes to the education system. The long-term success of Pena Nieto’s unfinished education reform will define how far his economic agenda goes.

Out of the Shadows: Iran’s Evolving Approach to Drug Addiction

By: Mehrun Etebari | Feature
Iran has long had one of the world’s biggest drug addiction problems, but the government’s attitude toward the drug war remains rife with contradiction. To understand its current approach, one must look at decades of shifting policies, as the battle against drug addiction has seen many phases.

Australia Successfully Balances Strategic Ties With China, U.S.

By: The Editors | Trend Lines
Earlier this month, Australian, U.S. and Chinese troops took part in a survival training exercise in northern Australia. In an email interview, Benjamin Schreer, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, discussed Australia’s military and strategic partnerships.

Frustrations Mount for Both the U.S. and Its Foes at the U.N.

By: Richard Gowan | Column
Criticisms by Vladimir Putin and Samantha Power of the international system last week are illustrations of a well-established paradox: While many countries believe the U.S. wields too much influence, American policymakers are repeatedly frustrated by the system’s failure to deliver in major crises.

As Climate Changes, Central America Lags on Improving Food Security

By: Jan-Albert Hootsen | Briefing
Droughts and torrential rains have ruined the harvests of hundreds of thousands of impoverished farmers in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Ill-prepared governments and climate change have put food security in the region permanently at risk; the next famine may start early next year.

In Tunisia, Arab Spring Can Be Written Without Quotation Marks

By: Frida Ghitis | Column
Years have now passed since one could use the term “Arab Spring” without deliberate irony, or at least quotation marks. And yet there is one country where the hopes of the once-euphoric revolutionaries did not turn out to have been misplaced. Yes, the Arab Spring has bloomed in Tunisia.

U.S. Support for Syrian Rebels Serves Political, not Military, Purposes

By: Steven Metz | Column
Supporting the Syrian rebels is a key component of President Barack Obama’s strategy against the so-called Islamic State, but it entails many tradeoffs. Backing the rebels makes little sense from a purely military standpoint, but it does make sense from a broader policy perspective.

Eating This Food Can Cause Both Instant and Long-Term Memory Loss


Eating This Food Can Cause Both Instant and Long-Term Memory Loss

Here's today's recommended reading:

Sugar and Your Brain

Eating This Food Causes Instant and Long-Term Memory Loss

10 Warning Signs of Blood Sugar Trouble You Should Never Ignore

How Elevated Blood Sugar May Cause Alzheimer’s Disease

Sugar and Your Heart

Sugar Found to Double Mortality, Even in “Safe” Doses

The Not-So-Sweet Truth About What Sugar is Really Doing to Your Heart

Research Confirms Sugar is a Leading Cause of Heart Disease

Sugar and Your Health

Men, Are You at Risk for Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

3 Sugary Drinks a Week Linked to Higher Breast Cancer Risk

Quiz: What Type of Sugar Addict Are You?

Afghan Retreat Echoes of Vietnam Defeat By Finian Cunningham

Afghan Retreat Echoes of Vietnam Defeat

By Finian Cunningham

The "exceptional" Americans in Washington like to refer to their foreign interventions as "nation building."

This Nation of Cowards By William Rivers Pitt

This Nation of Cowards

By William Rivers Pitt

This is what happens to an ill-informed populace which is not taught to be strong, and fair, and true to the ideals of their founding.

Corporations Act To Make Congress A Wholly Owned Subsidiary

Corporations Act To Make Congress A Wholly Owned Subsidiary

By Richard Eskow

If we don't get money out of politics, we'll lose our democracy altogether.

The Chicken*hit Lobby Is Mad As Hell By Justin Raimondo

The Chicken*hit Lobby Is Mad As Hell

By Justin Raimondo

Those whose job it is to protect the President need to take this potential threat seriously.

Political Scene: Understanding Contagion


Political Scene: Understanding Contagion

Brittany Maynard’s Choice

Brittany Maynard’s Choice

Democrats Lose Their Grip on Voters With Keys to the House


Democrats Lose Their Grip on Voters With Keys to the House

White, Working-Class Voters Give Republicans an Edge in Contested Congressional Elections

The Week with IPS 10/31

Click here for the online version of this IPS newsletter   

Crisis Fuelled Resurgence of Horse-Drawn Carriages in Cuba
Ivet González
Up and down the streets of towns and cities in Cuba go horse-drawn carriages with black leather tops and large back wheels, alongside more simple carts, operating as public transportation. This ancient means of transportation can be seen throughout this country, in urban, suburban and rural ... MORE > >

Fossil Fuels Won’t Benefit Africa in Absence of Sound Environmental Policies
Miriam Gathigah
Recent discoveries of sizeable natural gas reserves and barrels of oil in a number of African countries — including Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya — have economists hopeful that the continent can boost and diversify its largely agriculture-based economy. But environmentalists and climate change ... MORE > >

St. Vincent Takes to Heart Hard Lessons on Climate Change
Desmond Brown
Glenda Williams has lived in the Pastures community in eastern St. Vincent all her life. She's seen the area flooded by storms on multiple occasions. But the last two times, it was more “severe and frightening” than anything she had witnessed before. “The last time the river came down it ... MORE > >

Bangladeshi ‘Char Dwellers’ in Search of Higher Ground
Naimul Haq
Jahanara Begum, a 35-year-old housewife, is surrounded by thatched-roof homes, all of which are partially submerged by floodwater. Heavy rains throughout the monsoon months, beginning in August, left thousands of people in northern Bangladesh homeless or in dire straits as the mighty ... MORE > >

OPINION: Keeping All Girls in School is One Way to Curb Child Marriage in Tanzania
Agnes Odhiambo
“You cannot continue with your education. You have to get married because this man has already paid dowry for you,” Matilda H’s father told her. Matilda, from Tanzania, was 14 and had just passed her primary school exams and had been admitted to secondary school. She pleaded with her father to ... MORE > >

Democracy is “Radical” in Northern Syria
Karlos Zurutuza
There was never anything particularly remarkable about this northern town of 25,000. However, today it has become the lab for one the most pioneering political experiments ever conducted in the entire Middle East region. Located 700 kilometres northeast of Damascus, Amuda hosts the headquarters ... MORE > >

The Invisible Reality of Spain’s Homeless
Inés Benítez
“It’s easy to end up on the street. It’s not because you led a bad life; you lose your job and you can’t afford to pay rent,” says David Cerezo while he waits for lunch to be served by a humanitarian organisation in this city in southern Spain. Cerezo, 39, lives in a filthy wreck of a house in ... MORE > >

Resolving Key Nuclear Issue Turns on Iran-Russia Deal
Gareth Porter
U.S. and Iranian negotiators are working on a compromise approach to the issue of Iran’s uranium enrichment capabilities, which the Barack Obama administration has said in the past Iran was refusing to make concessions on. The compromise now being seriously discussed would meet the Obama ... MORE > >

Bougainville Voices Say ‘No’ to Mining
Catherine Wilson
The viability of reopening the controversial Panguna copper mine in the remote mountains of Central Bougainville, an autonomous region in the east of Papua New Guinea, has been the focus of discussions led by local political leaders and foreign mining interests over the past four years. But a ... MORE > >

A Jungle Shrine Awaits its Blessed Moment
Amantha Perera
Rising out of a thick forest about 17 km from the nearest main road, the Madhu Church is a symbol of spiritual harmony and tranquility. When the wind blows you hear the leaves rustle. Other times a solemn silence hangs in the air. Old-timers say that once, almost an entire generation ago, the grass ... MORE > >

“Yeil” – The New Energy Buzzword in Argentina
Fabiana Frayssinet
In Argentina they call it “yeil”, the hispanicised version of “shale”. But while these unconventional gas and oil reserves are seen by many as offering a means to development and a route towards energy self-sufficiency, others believe the term should fall into disuse because the global trend is ... MORE > >

Zimbabwe’s Rich Fuel Inequality Through Illicit Financial Flows
Tonderayi Mukeredzi
Zimbabwe has lost 12 billion dollars in illicit financial flows over the last three decades and experts say this illegal practice is perpetuating social inequalities and poverty in this southern African nation. A September report by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) ... MORE > >

Put People Not ‘Empire of Capital’ at Heart of Development
Ravi Kanth Devarakonda
President Rafael Correa Delgado of Ecuador does not mince words when it comes to development. ”Neoliberal policies based on so-called competitiveness, efficiency and the labour flexibility framework have helped the empire of capital to prosper at the cost of human labour,” he told a crowded ... MORE > >

OPINION: The Front Line of Climate Change is Here and Now
Kaio Tiira Taulu
The fate of my country rests in your hands: that was the message which Ian Fry, representing Tuvalu gave at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen five years ago. This is also the message that the Pacific Climate Warriors have come to Australia to bring. We have come here, ... MORE > >

OPINION: Renewable Energies – a Double-Edged Sword
Bradnee Chambers
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has set a target of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2. One way countries can meet their obligations is to switch energy production from the burning of fossil fuels to “renewables”, generally understood to include wind, wave, ... MORE > >

Guest Post by Uri Avnery: "Chickenship"

Global Health Update 10/31 Ebola


Sierra Leone’s Battle
While this week saw the first glimmers of hope that Ebola may have crested in Liberia, this Guardian story from Sierra Leone shows the fight is far from over. “Every ambulance is now an Ebola ambulance in Sierra Leone’s capital,” writes Lisa O’Carroll, who notes that the military has now taken over the national response to the epidemic.

In brutal detail, the article examines the on the ground realities of the still-raging epidemic—including 1,300 ambulance calls per day—and the follow-on consequences: the country’s first oncology unit has been put on hold, general health care is suffering, malaria cases are going unreported, and women are no longer giving birth in clinics and hospitals.

“The world has never seen this before. The tool kit to fix it doesn’t exist. It’s very hard to see the solutions without a really large injection of resources from the rest of the world,” said Sinead Walsh, the Irish ambassador and a senior development expert.
** The Guardian (

Related: World Bank pledges $100m to send health workers to Ebola-hit countries  – ** The Guardian (

Related: Keeping skin out of the game: A weekend programming project aims to save lives half a world away – ** The Economist (

Related: China is at serious risk of Ebola because of large numbers of travelers from Africa and poor hospital standards, warns Peter Piot – ** Daily Mail (

Related: China to send elite army unit to help fight Ebola in Liberia – ** Reuters (

Related: U.S. quarantines 'chilling' Ebola fight in West Africa (MSF) – ** Thomson Reuters (

Related: From Governors, a Mix of Hard-Line Acts and Conciliation Over Ebola – ** The New York Times (

Related: Why Kaci Hickox might lose a legal battle against Ebola quarantine – ** The Washington Post (

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Whose side is Turkey on? Patrick Cockburn

Whose side is Turkey on?

Patrick Cockburn

Afghanistan Going off the Rails as U.S. Withdrawal Speeds Up

Afghanistan Going off the Rails as U.S. Withdrawal Speeds Up

Insurgent attacks rise as poppy cultivation reaches a post-Taliban high in Afghanistan.*Editors%20Picks&utm_campaign=2014_EditorsPicks30%2F10RS

Germany Turning Sour on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Germany Turning Sour on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

FBI demands new powers to hack into computers and carry out surveillance

FBI demands new powers to hack into computers and carry out surveillance:  Agency requests rule change but civil liberties groups say 'extremely invasive' technique amounts to unconstitutional power grab.

Government Authority Intended for Terrorism is Used for Other Purposes:  What the reports reveal? Two things: 1) there has been an enormous increase in the use of sneak and peek warrants and 2) they are rarely used for terrorism cases.

Make America Safer: Shut Down the Department of Homeland Security: Analysis:  DHS, a massive department that wastes taxpayer dollars and abuses civil liberties, should be replaced