August 10th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

United States

Sputnik News

US ambassador to the UN (Hayley) made a statement on the role that the government and the rebel groups have played in the escalating humanitarian issue in countries like Yemen.

Shadow Proof

New Democracy is an organization that plans to broaden the reach of the Democratic Party. Going by this article alone, I’m not certain how they plan to achieve that.

National Interest

Fairly surface level article on processes of assimilation in the United States and Europe. Though it does point out an interesting point that has been made over the past 4 years, since the European migrant crisis began (and I do believe it is a crisis).

China

Sputnik News

The Chinese base at Djibouti is to act as a logistics supply facility rather than for military operations. China joins Germany, US and France among others in having a base in the uniquely strategic location. Article also quotes a Chinese rear admiral as saying that they were perfectly within their rights to establish a base in Djibouti and that Indian opposition to it was based on nothing.

China's PLA (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
China’s PLA (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Religion

Christian Today

Practicing Christians have of course been a part of the Trump ship since day one. Here’s evidence that it’s not a monolithic whole. If you follow the link to the tweet at the end of the article, you’ll see some stuff about people of faith calling on congress to prevent nuclear war.

Right Wing

Zero Hedge

Article by Ilana Mercer (a libertarian), on the state of American federalism and the fact that she considers the government to be overstepping its boundaries. I don’t really know the American constitution, so I’m not going to take a shot at this. I’m going ahead and putting it down under right wing because there are lines of thought that are fairly right wing, along with all the libertarian ideas being thrown around.

July 26th – International News Round-Up (Part III)

Right Wing/ Conspiracy Theorist

Stefan Molyneux on Info Wars

Stefan Molyneux and Alex Jones have a talk on what to do about the world. That’s actually the general topic of discussion. It’s actually pretty confusing what they stand for. Molyneux, I remember from a documentary about cults. From what I recall, Free Domain Radio was all for “unshackling” their kids from their parents. In this interview however, Stefan proudly says that he is in fact a father and that he is working with other members of the alternative media to create a better world for his child. It’s difficult to tell where these guys come down on various subjects. They conflate globalization, communism and socialism. There’s a very real fear of the left. I think you would have to be American to understand where they’re coming from here, and I don’t mean to agree with them, I just mean to understand them. Though, in many ways the idea of large scale narratives explaining certain phenomena that we see isn’t new to me. You see the same kind of fear when people talk about Love Jihad and the wiping out of Hindu’s in India. We don’t mind smaller narratives to explain why we scraped our knee or why we fell off the bike, but I think when it comes to explaining larger phenomenon, like why our daughter won’t pray or why half my son’s friends are brown, we might resort to bigger explanations.

United Kingdom

LSE Blog

It’s been such a roller coaster in the UK. From Brexit to the partial rejection of Theresa May. Article explores the political currents that have shaped the fact that conservative party in Scotland has been putting up a solid performance at the ballot box. The author think that this is a combination of the fact that the conservatives were able to market themselves as unionists but also as those who believed in the devolution of powers. While the idea of being Scottish might be different from the idea of being British, they funnily enough are both euro-sceptics.

Media

Ritholtz

Earthquakes are the most covered natural disasters. 33% of the media coverage that natural disasters get in the media are focused on earthquakes. Couple of reasons for this, I think. Earthquakes affect urban centers much worse than they affect rural areas. At least in terms of casualties. Putting aside the idea of it being a “disaster” only if it takes human life. Storms are 14%. I think the American east coast accounts for a huge portion of this. It is also the country that produces the most amount of media. Again, I could be dead wrong. I haven’t bothered to check if I’m right on this one. Let me know.

Mongolia

Mongolia Focus

Article on the state of Mongol-Turkish relations at the moment. Turkey has long considered Mongolia to be a neighbor to him they have deep ethnic linkages. The Turks are seen to have originated in the general region. The author doesn’t really talk about the state of relations as much as mention that Turkey could use a friend right now and that the friend is not coming from the west, which Turkey has pissed off enough this year alone.

AI

Daily Dot

China is using AI to predict and preempt crime. The system works by putting together various points of data that can span days or even weeks. It then creates a pattern out of this, along with the individual and predicts crime. The article also mentions that the United States is attempting to do this in Chicago. It would be very interesting to see how that turns out. How would you predict gang violence?

Cambodia

The Cambodia Daily

The CPP heavy constitutional council passed amendments to the constitution on Tuesday. This will pass on to the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers (who will both approve it) before it will have to be signed by the king. He of course, isn’t home. Funnily enough he left as soon as the opposition kicked up a fuss about the law. According to law, in the absence of the king, the acting head of state (The Senate President) can sign legislation into law.

France

SPERI

Article on the awful performance by the French Socialist party in the recent elections which saw the French public deliver the throne to one Emmanuel Macron.

China

South China Morning Post

The Honk-Kong and Mainland China railroad link throws up some interesting legal questions about whose jurisdiction various parts of the station and train belong to. For example, a baby born on the train counts as a citizen of mainland China and will not be granted residency in Honk Kong.

The high-speed rail link is set to be completed by 2018. It’s been delayed quite a few times, is projected to cost almost twice as much as it was supposed to and resulted in the demolition of 200 homes. That’s the price to pay for high speed connectivity, right?

United States

Breitbart News

Trump is making enemies out of some of his best friends. I’m not sure how this is sustainable. Almost every conservative worth his/her salt has stood behind Sessions. He is seen as a respectable figure who stood behind Trump from the very beginning. Immigration policy and immigration cities are seen as some of his biggest talking points in his job as AG. Does all this come down to the fact that Trump really wants to go behind Clinton? After all this time?

Jeff Sessions being sworn in (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Jeff Sessions being sworn in (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

July 25th – International News Round Up (Part II)

Energy Markets

Zero Hedge

Barclays allegedly unloaded the last bits of its oil contracts to unidentified buyers. This is expected to raise prices of futures and also make oil riskier.

“Perhaps the best news from today’s book sale is that it concluded smoothly and without any major market impact, suggesting it was planned well in advance. The question is what would happen to the oil derivative market if a similarly-sized block hit the tape ad hoc and without prior warning. For the sake of the Fed’s “market stability” mandate, let’s hope we don’t find out.”

Saudi Arabia

Trend via SPA

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain have added 9 new entities and individuals to their Qatar linked blacklist.

“The countries accused some of the individuals named with roles in raising funds to support Nusra Front jihadists and other militia groups in Syria, the SPA reported, while others were said to have contributed to and supported Al Qaeda.”

China

China Digital Times

Bao Tong, former aide to Zhao Ziyang, has come out with a series of tweets in support of Guo Wengui’s allegation fueled scandal.

HNA Group is a Chinese company that has been the subject of Guo’s ire. The allegations tie top Chinese leaders such as Wang Qiashing to the company. Bank of America has since stopped any transactions with the HNA Group. Share prices have since dropped and stayed low.

Follow the link to read the original tweets in Mandarin.

South Sudan

South Sudan Tribune

Article by an independent journalist on the state of the South Sudanese Peace. He accuses the government of the country to be full of sectarian elements and blames corruption for the state of the country.

“In Conclusion, the world must impose sanctions on the government of South Sudan by not giving or donating foreign aids to the Country. All the European Union (EU) funding projects should be put to an end, United States of America (USA) projects should be put to an end. Japanese developmental projects should be put to an end. Peace will ONLY be achieved in South Sudan when world leaders stop sending money to South Sudan. Let all Organizations withdraw their funding’s from South Sudan and within a week, peace will come to the South Sudanese people.”

Religion

Torah Musings

Nachmandies/ Rabbi Moses ben Nahman/ Ramban was a medieval scholar whose commentary on Jewish scripture is considered to be of particular importance to the community. The article mentions particular teachings of Ramban in reference to the scriptures and asks the reader to go beyond simplistic explanations.

The Sefer Torah (Image Source: Wiki Commons - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/09/PikiWiki_Israel_4204_Sefer_Torah_from_Theresienstadt_concentration_camp.jpg/1280px-PikiWiki_Israel_4204_Sefer_Torah_from_Theresienstadt_concentration_camp.jpg)
The Sefer Torah (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

United States

Washington Post

Attacks on opposition leaders keep the voting public focused on individuals and not ideologies. This is a problem that Indian politics is in many ways beholden to. The narrative that you can create as the only hope against your opponent is important. Trump being elected in a lot of ways was a result of the fact that Clinton was a pretty weak opponent. Keeping the narrative anti-Clinton allows Trump to not be bothered by the rest of the problems that are plaguing his administration. It might work for 6 months but I doubt it’s going to work for 4 (let alone 8) years.

July 25th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Yemen

Long War Journal

Yemeni Houthi’s launched a Burkan-2 ballistic missile at an oil refinery in the city of Yanbu, in Saudi Arabia. The Ansar Allah website declared that this was a new phase in the conflict, though details as to what that means are still in the offing.

“The Burkan-2 ballistic missile, which is akin to a Scud, is a relatively new missile design for the Yemeni rebel group. The Burkan-1 was introduced last year with a reported range to hit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, approximately 800km away. Yanbu, however, sits 300km north of Jeddah. This indicates a longer range for the Burkan-2 missile.”

Turkey

Hurriyet Daily News

Turkey’s EU Minister has said that easing tension between the EU and Turkey is of significant importance. His call for a revival of ties comes as Ankara and Berlin have ramped up their offense against the other.

“Turkey will be represented by Çelik and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the political dialogue meeting, which EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn will also attend.”

The elephant in the room will be Turkey’s anti-terror law and its treatment of human rights activists.

Society

Defense One

A former Army Captain on Dunkirk and how watching this particular movie and engaging with more cinema that deals with issues that affect soldiers could be significantly important to a generation that is so far removed from the horrors of war as we knew it. With a possible military surge immanent under Trump, she feels that these are questions we need to ask.

Media

Al- Aqsa Agitation

Video that is allagedly from Al- Aqsa mosque. Shows a Israeli officer kicking a Muslim protestor.

United States

Fox Trot Alpha

A bill that is to be proposed in the United States Congress is all set to sanction Russia for meddling in the 2016 Presidential elections. The article explores what an incredibly difficult position this puts Trump in. What compounds the situation is that he has repeatedly maintained that the meddling did not actually occur. You can’t engage with something that you have maintained does not exist.

Shadowproof

Democrats have consistently let down the people of the United States. I get that they are trying to carve out an economic and social space for themselves and stand for something other than opposing Donald Trump, but general statements will only make things worse. Once again, the Democrats seem like a party without a strong message, and a conflicted leadership that is too far removed from middle America.

Chuck Schumer (Image Source: Wiki Commons - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/df/Charles_Schumer_at_the_Intrepid_Museum.jpg/1166px-Charles_Schumer_at_the_Intrepid_Museum.jpg)
Chuck Schumer (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

China

National Interest

On China and how the Chinese government’s use of soft power could be beneficial in creating an idea of Chinese society in the minds of the world.

“In 2013, Joseph Nye, the originator of the concept of soft power, chastised the Chinese government for relying solely on state-sponsored programs to expand China’s cultural influence. China, Nye wrote, was making “the mistake of thinking that government is the main instrument of soft power,” rather than recognizing that more lasting influence comes from civil society.

On a more irreverent note, the CCTV facebook page is awash with pictures of pandas. They do use the panda well, as something that represents the country. I’m not sure how ethical loaning animals is.