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ASIA TODAY ARCHIVES



.August 31, 2018



ASIA:



Toward Stability and Security - to Dismiss Incites to Violence



Humanity flourishes in environments of peace and stability. The developmental evolution of the human species is filled with history of the most beneficial advances during periods of stability, peace and cooperation. Conversely, blight and despair always meet the horrid times of war and instability. 







Therefore, if our world is to sustain the advancing continuity of the human species, then peace and stability must reign throughout all the lands - void of destabilization and violence.







Yet, an event this week playing out since last Sunday in the state of Saxony, Germany, where right wing racists resorted to violence and attacks upon non-Germans based upon a flawed police report of the arrest of two immigrants for killing a German-Cuban man, and a revealed private conversation by United States (US) President Donald Trump with evangelical leaders referencing violence should his party lose the midterm elections, are real dangers of what incites to violence could trigger upon peaceful communities.







Protests continued into last night in Chemnitz, Germany, following Sunday's arrest of two migrants on manslaughter charges surrounding the stabbing death of a German-Cuban man, on the sidelines of a street festival, during a brawl between "multiple nationalities". A rumor had circulated that the dead man was slain protecting a woman, but German police have since dismissed the rumor. But the rumor had already spread among those oppose to migrants living in Germany and violence was pointed toward many non-German residents. 







German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to the BBC-News, reminded Germans: "Hate in the streets has nothing to do with our constitutional state." The premiere of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, also implored: "The fact that we have a Syrian and an Iraqi suspect is no reason - no reason at all - for a general suspicion of all foreign residents."







And in the US, Trump's revealed reference of violence should the Democrats win the November 6, midterm elections, also serves as yet another example of how risky statements could envelope into regretted violence today, tomorrow or the next day.







Violence is counterproductive to civility and all development. All incites and irrational references to violence must hereby be dismissed in order to retain peace and stability.







August 30, 2018



ASIA:



A Return to Decency and Opportunity Rests with the Choices of the People



Wherever people may live under a declining culture of isolation, insecurity, indecency, corruption and social agitations, they should be reminded that any and all decisions toward a return to the norms of civility they once joyed that offered hope, optimism and global cooperation, squarely rests with their choices - the people's choice to rational governance.







Ultimately, if enough people demand a better social environment, then together they could affect that change. However, if some people who oppose the rancid atmosphere clouded over them, do fail to demand an amelioration of waning conditions, then the unwanted culture would continue and inevitably fester.







People are the community and the government of their societies and via their amassed numbers of a great majority, they are capable of rejecting indecency, corruption and social agitations, while embracing a return to hope and rational thought which were last present not too long ago.







With decency, opportunity and global integration as good ideals of community necessary for the continuity of the human species, citizens should opt for them over divisive racist rhetoric as a means to sustaining the Republic.







August 29, 2018



ASIA:



The Health of the U.S. Republic Rides on Midterm Elections



The health of the United States (US) Republic hangs upon the results of forthcoming midterm elections for the Congress - House of Representatives and Senate. 







Both the Senate and House of Representatives are now controlled by Republicans. Under Republican control, both chambers of the US national legislature have given a free reign to President Donald Trump. 







White House spars with traditional western allies - Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU) have not been rebuffed in the Congress. A self-harming trade war started by Trump against China has not been pushed back upon in Congress. Trade penalties on NATO ally, Turkey, have not been opposed by the Congress. Backing out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change has not been defeated in the US Congress. And the separation of children from their asylum-seeking parents at the US border has not been legislated as inhumane by the Congress.But, in the meantime, Trump continues on a path of divisiveness within the Republic with no notable real checks upon his decision making.







In short, the Republic is ailing under Trump and the only foreseeable check to nursing the land of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy and Obama, back to its health, is for Democrats to take control of at least one of the chambers of Congress in the midterm elections, November 6, 2018. If Democrats fail to win control of the House or the Senate, then the American Republic that touts democracy as a principle, could decline into dictatorship.







August 28, 2018



ASIA:



A Return to Human Dignity - Ending Conflicts



It is preposterous that armed conflicts are still being executed in the year, 2018. Conflicts rob humanity of life and dignity and to this end, all conflicts should end.







"War is hell and hell is war", is a fitting adage. Yet, instead of ending and eradicating conflict and allotting its vital resources to ending hunger and curing diseases, humanity in 2018 is still confronted by the blight of Syrian atrocities, armed meddling in Ukraine and the gross humanity failing in Yemen.







Armed conflict is an ancient barbaric act that lacks any necessary and complied humanitarian controls to protecting innocents. 







Yet, ideological partners continue to wage war in nations of poor people resulting in millions of innocent deaths and injuries to civilians, including too many children, while also creating millions of refugees, who flee to other nations, where they aggravate already thin and fragile socio-economic and political systems, thus giving a boost to far right agitators from Europe to the Americas.







So, conflicts should end. They should end because they are morally wrong. They should end as a measure to easing migration problems especially in Europe and in the United States (US). And they should end because the executors of such rancid violence are incapable of guaranteeing the safety of innocents.







Therefore, today's earlier reported finding by United Nations (UN) experts, who found that parties to the conflict in Yemen have perpetrated "and continue to perpetrate, possible war crimes under international law", though humanly sickening, should not come as any surprise since that conflict in Yemen has been hot for the past three-years.







All of humanity's alarm bells should be blaring on a conclusion from that UN finding that there is: "little evidence of any attempt by the parties to the conflict to minimize civilian casualties." In addition and demanding immediate condemnation is the further finding that: "individuals in the Government of Yemen, in the coalition, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and the de facto authorities, have committed acts that may amount to international crimes."







While the UN finding calls upon the parties to the conflict in Yemen "to prioritize human dignity", a wider call and a  more concerted global effort are all now fitting in order to return all of humanity's dignity via ending all conflicts.







August 27, 2018



ASIA:



The Self-Reliance Security of the Innocent, the Meek and the Stateless



Continuous failure by the state, by the church and by non-governmental organizations to protect and to safeguard the welfare of the innocent, the meek and the stateless, will force more and more victims into a necessary pact of self-reliance with regards to their own security.







As in the case of Syria and Yemen in the wake of humanity's failure to ameliorate conflict conditions for millions of people, there ought to be a wake up call to all victims to the reality that they must now grab hold of their own destinies and in doing so, they could utilize whatever means necessary to assure their survival, and that of their children.







With respect to the Rohingya people of Myanmar, a just released searing United Nations (UN) report recommending charges of crimes against humanity for the army's top brass responsible for allowing persecutions, is not a sure path to justice for the stateless people. The Rohingya people must find a way to rely upon their own sources and actions to demand and to win a homeland.







Moreover, the failure of the Catholic Church to weed out all elements of past and present abuse by priests of innocent children, will continue to diminish the church's congregation as victims and their families seek spiritual guidance outside of the church in a clear example of self-reliance.







Self-reliance therefore, is set to increase as a major coping mechanism for victims of many circumstances. Inevitably, victims, their families, supporters and sympathizers will form a solid coalition to stand even stronger against the pangs of humankind's evils.







August 26, 2018



ASIA:



An Icon of American Decency Dies - Senator John McCain



The maverick American Senator John McCain, 81, died yesterday after battling brain cancer. He was a six-term Republican Senator representing the people of Arizona. Our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. May he travel well.







Senator McCain, a son, a hero, a gentleman, a leader, a husband and a father, was an icon of decency in American politics. Twice running unsuccessfully for president, he maintained a gentleman's quality of high decency and honor, even in defeat. His insistence that Republic/country be placed first over any man/or party will be part of  his legacy, along with his ability to reach across party lines to encourage consensus for country over party. 







Media reports today and tomorrow will rightfully and in honor speak more and better of his heroism, his service and his statesmanship than I could on this Blog. 







Yet, I humbly submit that his passing, among other many things, represent an end to common decency in the United States (US) Congress. With the prior passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and now of John McCain, the US congress is now virtually void of decorum. Since the advent of the Donald Trump era, decency has taken a beating on Capitol Hill. Country first has taken a back seat to support of a dividing White House and party.







So, Senator John McCain will be deeply missed. Maybe his passing will trigger a return to decency and honor in the halls of American politics. 







That he has asked Presidents Barack Obama, a Democrat and George W. Bush, a Republican, to speak at his funeral service, is fitting of the unity Senator John McCain advocated for the US. He did not invite Donald Trump. 







In honor of America, Senator John McCain will be remembered. We thank him for his service to the Republic. Amen.







August 25, 2018



ASIA:



A Caution to the Makers and Agitators of Division within the Republic



From a reckless assertion to Americans alleging the killing of white farmers in South Africa, to considerations of funding guns in schools in lieu of enhanced educational technology, to a 60-year-old white man in Grand Rapids, Michigan, urinating upon a five-year-old Black girl while calling her the 'n-word', the cruel seed of division has once again been sown within the American Republic.







Donald Trump tweeted the wrongful accusation about South Africa this week, Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos is said to be considering allowing school districts to use Federal Funds to buy guns, and a Michigan man has been arrested for urinating on a Black infant.







But those making and agitating division within the United States (US) must be cautioned as to the real dangerous posed by the ramifications of their actions.







This time, this year, this century - hold not the passivity of a bygone era. No rational live person will permit the past 400-year-old tragedy of racial subjugation and injustice to become today's norm. American protectors of peace, liberty and justice will fight to maintain the ideals of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy and Obama. 







Moreover, I submit that those agitators in the US who are stoking division for political gain, will inevitably lose out. But until their ultimate defeat, these agitators and makers of division do pose a considerable threat to the Republic - a threat of enticing and inflaming violence that could engulf the lives of many innocent people.







With a view to protecting the Republic, it therefore becomes absolutely necessary that agitators and makers of division are made impotent forthwith before an intolerable atmosphere of cruelty and violence could envelope the entire land.  







August 24, 2018



ASIA:



With Regards to Election "Meddling"



Credible reports surfaced this week revealing that Internet companies - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, etal, had stripped from their services, the sites of hundreds of entities believed to be "meddling" into the political, social and economic affairs of the United States (US), including the all important upcoming midterm elections for the US Congress - an election that could decide the fate of Donald Trump's era in Washington, D.C.







Many pundits applauded the action of the strategically important Internet companies for securing the integrity of real news across the world wide web. Russia and Iran were named as alleged state sponsors of the "meddling" sites. And earlier today, similar allegations were made against China and North Korea, as potential purveyors of future "meddling".







With regards to "meddling", perhaps each major election in the West and in the East in the modern era, has been meddled with. From opponent against opponent, to interest groups influencing voters in consideration of a particular candidate and to advocates of a particular agenda seeking to influence others to support their causes, "meddling" has always been a constant of the election process.







Deemed as illegal when conducted by a foreign power within a sovereign nation has not deterred "meddling" from the Americas to Africa to Asia and to Europe, either with direct or indirect sanctioning by foreign governments. There will always be outside "meddling" into elections as long as there are varying agendas and ideologies. However, collusion with a foreign power into influencing a local election, stands as the real and true threat to any election system.







An educated voter is the only real remedy to "meddling". The electorate has the responsibility inherited via citizenship of acquiring the right and fair information on all issues in order to cast a meaningful and informed vote.







August 23, 2018



ASIA:



Remembering the Slave Trade That it Shall Never be Repeated



Today, August 23, has been designated International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition by the Paris, France, based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to memorialize one of humanity's greatest tragedies - the transatlantic slave trade, which destroyed and altered the destiny of millions of Africans.







In remembering that multinational sanctioned tragedy, which brought cheap labor and great economic wealth to colonial powers on backs of the destruction of many souls, it is necessary to look back at, then look forward from the human tragedy, with a clear and an explicit view that that despicable policy be never repeated. 







While the transatlantic slave trade is now history, its horrid effects still remain. Generations of Africans and their descendants still endure its associated stigma and continuing racism. Furthermore, cases of modern slavery remain current.







A fight is needed from today's humanity to eradicate any and all instances of slavery. To only wish present events away, is insufficient. As humanity remembers the horrid transatlantic slave trade, concerted actions must be demanded to prevent any repetition of one of humanity's greatest travesties.







August 22, 2018



ASIA:



Corruption Weakens the Republic



Corruption and those corrupted, who govern, will weaken any Republic, thus exposing the nation's national security to the same dangers posed by direct warfare. Moreover, and even more damning to the Republic, is the utilization of corruption to ascend to power within the sovereignty.







When corruption is used to gain power within the Republic, it maintains a clear and present danger over the Republic until all elements of such corruption are eradicated from governance. 







Corruption and the illegality that it entailed to gain power within a Republic, will inevitable fester under a culture of corruption. Illegality built upon any initial illegalities will always pose a material threat to the honor and sovereignty of the Republic. 







Therefore, corruption before the assumption of power and any subsequent corruption, including any and all efforts to disguise the initial corruption, are impeachable offenses that demand immediate review and actions since such crimes impact the national security and well being of the Republic.







The Republic must be made whole and free of any weaknesses and influences to its sovereign integrity. And since no man nor woman is greater than the Republic, it remains in the best interest and protection of the Republic that any and all traces of corruption of governance, be removed forthwith.







August 21, 2018



ASIA:



On Happiness...



Wherever the human species live on Planet Earth, it could be safely implied that we all have a resolve for happiness. Yet, despite the global resolve to be happy, it is likewise true that far too many people claim to be unhappy. 







While happiness can't be found in hunger, homelessness, statelessness, persecution, conflict and discrimination, some people, who are void of these tribulations, still claim feelings of unhappiness. Why? Simply, it boils down to an individual's definition of happiness. 







Happiness remains as contentment with the accompaniment of good fortune, joy and pleasure. People who are blessed with these virtues, but yet continue to claim unhappiness, have fallibly aspired for greater yearnings that are outside of their own realms of fulfillment. 







So, in order to attain the human resolve to happiness, it therefore becomes necessary for humanity to content with and to accept the basic things needed for happiness and not to covet the lustful things wanted. Happiness and peace to all.







August 20, 2018



ASIA:



Hope Lives



Hope is a beautiful thing. It is the building block that has fueled and inspired the development of the human species for thousands of years. Hope fills and it soothes while holding out the attainable opportunity of an even better and brighter tomorrow.







But as humanity's confidence has waned in recent times, hope also appeared to have taken a beating. The reality of conflict, statelessness, racism and political agitations amid a record 65-million people displaced worldwide, certainly painted a gloomy picture of hope. 







Yet, the truth is that, Hope Lives. Earlier this morning, here in Washington, DC,  I witnessed scores of examples confirming that Hope Lives. 







In the inquiring adorable faces of hundreds of students, including my two Middle Schoolers, returning to classes to start the School Year 2018-19, I saw hope. I saw hope for our Republic, I saw hope for our environment, I saw hope for our Planet, I saw hope for humanity and I saw hope for a cohesive integrated multicultural world living in peace and shared by a vast kaleidoscope of many people of many tones.







In today's youth - the vanguard of all beneficial change in society, there is a resolve to be hopeful. The community of youth, who play, study, laugh and mingle together, is humanity's affirmation to continuity of the human species. 







Wherever youth are assembled today from preschool, to elementary, to middle, to secondary and to the tertiary level, their glorious formations are confirmations that Hope Lives. 







August 19, 2018



ASIA:



Toward a Return to Empathy - World Humanitarian Day 2018



Today, August 19, 2018, is designated World Humanitarian Day by the United Nations (UN) - a day, originally dedicated to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. 







But today, with 65 million people displaced around the world mainly because of conflict, this Humanitarian Day 2018, sadly recognizes the suffering of millions of civilians caught in conflict, especially in Syria, Yemen, Gaza and Myanmar.







Therefore, it is fitting that on this day that all humanity heed the call to a return to empathy to identify with the feelings, thoughts and attitudes of a multitude of other people. 







Action toward kindness becomes necessary amid the present state of humanity. As UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres observed in a statement marking World Humanitarian Day and posted on un.org: "Around the world, conflict is forcing record numbers of people from their homes, with over 65 million people now displaced. Children are recruited by armed groups and used to fight. Women are abused and humiliated. As humanitarian workers deliver aid and medical workers provide for those in need, they are all too often targeted or treated as threats."







Such humanitarian abuses must not stand. Humanity must return to empathy with a view to ending conflict and human divisions. 







August 18, 2018



ASIA:



Toward Peace and Stability - to Love and Happiness



Peace and stability yield love and happiness - and wherever humans live on Planet Earth, these desires are the wishes of all rational people. 







From the Americas to Europe and to Asia, places I've visited in recent years, I've found that all the individuals on the respective continents, are very much alike and wanting similar things - peace, stability, love and happiness - all attainable cravings.







However, humanity continues to fall short of satisfying these living desires because of divisions and wedges they allow to be placed between them by a greedy unhappy minority, who are miserable and dying and wish unkind things to all others. 







But the spirited segment of humanity must stop yielding and falling prey to hate and division - those obstacles to happiness. 







Hate should be replaced by peace, love and happiness. And with the promotion of these wonderful desires, humanity could then maintain and widen greater community appeal toward stronger family commitment and broader international cooperation, along a path to full stability and security. [A wishful hope offered on a Saturday in August, 2018.]







August 17, 2018



ASIA:



The Winds of Change are Coming



Via the cool refreshing winds of Autumn or on the gales of political discontent, the winds of change will come to the United States (US) soon. 



The political, social and economic strains that are bearing down upon the land of perceived liberty, equality and rule of law, cannot be sustained. A healthy environment must return to the traditional stalwart of democracy.



Either by rational negotiations to abate economic uncertainty, or by a new-found reasoning of the importance and the respect needed to be accorded to allies, or by a blue-wave of political assertion in the races for the US Congress, the integrity of the American Republic will return soon.







August 16, 2018



ASIA:



In Full Support of the American Free Press



This Blog stands in solidarity with the Free Press across the United States (US), and in answer to a Boston Globe Newspaper call upon the American Press to re-affirm freedom of the Press. 







Assaults on the Press from US President Donald Trump and from those who speak on his behalf, must not stand. They must be condemned. 







That the Press would not allow its responsibility to independence to be bullied into submission, nor that they would not concur with what is determined to be wrong, are certainly not worthy of the distinction as "enemy of the people", as Donald Trump has grossly claimed of the American Press. 







The Press is the People...The people are the Press - together, they act democratically to impede authoritarianism while promoting freedom, equality and the rule of law - the tenets of democracy and the principles of the Founding Fathers of the Republic.







Therefore, on this 16th Day of August, in the year 2018, in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, I hereby affirm full support of the American Press and I emphatically denounce all attacks upon the Press from the traditionally honorable Oval Office led by Donald Trump.







August 15, 2018



ASIA:



To Mending Strained Alliances



The alliances that have sustained considerable global security, development and economic advances are in dire need of mending. A reboot of relationships is, therefore required to avert any pending world calamities.







First and foremost, the actor responsible for inflicting today's strained alliances, must bear the burden of initiating dialogue toward repairing the relationships gravely needed to sustain further human development and peace.







In lieu of the responsible actor not fulfilling the onus to easing global strife, economic insecurity and environmental protections, then that actor must shoulder full blame for all ramifications caused by his transgressions.







In other words, full support for NATO and the European Union (EU) must be affirmed; the Paris Climate Change Agreement must be honored, respect and recognition of the traditional pact between allies must be confirmed; the Iran Nuclear Agreement should be recognized; unimpeded trade should be allowed to flourish; and the ideals of the American democracy must be practiced as they were intended and exercised for many years.







Should these objectives be concluded, then global economic, political and security health could return to sustainable levels.







August 14, 2018



ASIA:



...Now Turkey - to Lose a NATO Ally, Trump's Tariff Wars



As if Donald Trump's unprecedented tariff spats against traditional allies - the European Union (EU), Canada and Mexico, along with an ongoing feud with trading behemoth - China, are not enough to cast a shadow over world economic outlook, then the United States (US) president's most recent tariff fight with long standing NATO ally, Turkey, affirms even deeper uncertainty over present and future global economic health and security.







Even though the antics and authoritarian style leadership of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have raised numerous human rights questions in the past two years, Turkey still stands as a strategic member of NATO, having the second largest standing army within the organization, outnumbered only by the US. 







Hence, Trump's decision to slap a 50-percent and 25-percent tariff on steel and aluminum from Turkey was shocking. Despite the ongoing diplomatic rift over a jailed American in Turkey, Trump's decision to penalize Turkey was abrupt causing the Turkish Lira to lose 10-percent of its value in one day and declining  against the US dollar by more than 30-percent since January, this year. 







That Erdogan's fiscal management has been iffy and unconventional since he acted against all economic wisdom and failed to raise interest rates in the face of growing inflation, has clearly exposed Turkey to the worse of economic probabilities from the impact of Trump's tariffs. Will Erdogan's retaliation to ban all American imported electronics help mitigate Turkey's economic impact from Trump's tariffs?







Reports suggest that Turkey might be entering a closer relationship with Iran and Russia in order to hedge US penalties. Whatever the result, the US could lose a NATO ally. 







Moreover, Trump's tariff wars against a growing number of allies and non-allies could force all his foes into a new coalition, thus reducing US global influence while quickening US world isolation.









August 13, 2018



ASIA:



Denouncing Hate - Mother Nature, Strong Opposition and Minimal Support End a White Supremacist Event in Washington, D.C.



One-year-ago, their blatant, hateful, violent and racist agitations caused death on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. Given the opportunity yesterday by the United States (US) Park Service, via a permit, to repeat their hateful event, this time, on the streets of Washington, DC, white supremacists were quickly chased out of town by Mother Nature, minimal support and strong opposition.







Mother Nature - acting through the elements of heavy rain, lightning and thunder, and joined by throngs of counter-hate demonstrators, yesterday, proved to be too much to facilitate a rally by a handful of 24 white supremacists, at Lafayette Park, just outside the White House. 







While counter protesters, who outnumbered the white supremacists by more than 25-1,  jeered and booed the racists upon their arrival at a DC Metro Station, a police escort separating the supremacists from the opposition, was not enough to guarantee that any message of hate would circulate on the streets of the nation's Capital. 







The 24 white supremacists were met with heavy rains, rolling thunder and sharp zaps of lightning at Lafayette Park close to their 5:00 p.m. event start. By 5:05 p.m., the handful of hate inciters had abandoned their intent and were escorted back to a metro station and out of the District of Columbia.







In the end, nature and unity proponents had defeated racists rhetoric in a non-violent environment. Hate was denounced in a non-violent setting, thus reaffirming the ideal of the US as a nation, indivisible.







August 12, 2018



ASIA:



On this International Youth Day 2018...



Today, August 12, 2018, is the United Nations (UN) declared: International Youth Day. This year's declaration, interestingly themed "Safe Spaces for Youth", is fitting amid declining places where youth are safe and secure in the exercise of their lives. 







Traditional places of safety, especially in the United States (US) that once included schools, churches and recreation venues, have now become ground zero for deadly gun attacks upon youth and other people. Protest marches and the common streets remain dangerous places for youth accounting for a real decline in safe places for the nation's young people.







Moreover, increase racist rhetoric and agitations which have not been forcefully condemned by the the US executive branch, also translate into a further decline of safe spaces for youth in America.







Across the globe, a seemingly perpetual war in Syria, a continuing conflict in Yemen, the stifling of Palestinian rights in Gaza and denying statehood for the Rohingya people in Myanmar, along with other rights violations and violence, all contribute to the declining safe spaces for the world's youth.







But youth is the vanguard of all change in society and to this end, young people must demand greater governance, accountability and consideration from their aging leaders. 







Youth must maintain constant pressure upon the present caretakers with a view to reminding them that they are charged and responsible with protecting all facets of our Planet, including the environment, to ensure a healthy and safe pass over in the future. In other words, old people must protect all systems our youth will inevitably inherit.







August 11, 2018



ASIA:



...on defining the American Republic



Defining the United States (US) used to be an easy task - a Republic, cemented in the tenets of democracy with a defined character of freedom, opportunity, equality and the rule of law, accorded to all people. 







However, that definition, which was easily construed as reasonable and true during the times of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, Carter, Clinton, Obama and even during the terms of both Bush presidents, remains questionable in 2018.







Bigotry and hate that once consumed the US, are now sadly real again. Racist rhetoric, lewd and irrational actions, threaten to force the US back into the stone ages. Spats and splits with allies and mega trading partners, threaten to segregate the Republic into a declining isolated nation.







But the US must not be allowed to descend into the abyss of national despair and international isolation. The clearly defined character of the US which offers hope, freedom, justice and happiness to all peoples, must be protected by all means from the foes of progress. The definition of American must always include "all" the people.







August 10, 2018



ASIA:



A Shame on Humanity - Existing Conflicts and Statelessness



The Saudi Arabia led coalition waging war in Yemen, bombed a school bus this week, killing many innocent children. Reports of the event numbered the dead as 50, including 29 children, while the number injured is said to be 77, in yet another example of humanity's continuing shame for allowing the execution of violent conflicts and the calamity of innocent death for far too many innocent souls.







For three years, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, etal, have waged war against the local Yemeni Houthi group. The Arab coalition has been attempting to reinstate the internationally recognized government of Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, whose forces and presidency were ousted by Houthi rebels in 2014. Some 10,000 people have died in the three years of war, to which no end is within sight.







That international and regional organizations have been unable or unwilling to end the war in Yemen, speaks heavily of humanity's impotency to ameliorate human tragedy. Another human depleting conflict continues into the eighth year in Syria, and that war also is showing no signs of ending. Other conflicts continue in Gaza and in Ukraine.







Humanity has also been unsuccessful in delivering a home to the Rohingya people of Myanmar. Displaced families have been persecuted, uprooted and forced into neighboring Bangladesh. 







It is clear that conflicts and statelessness are not diminishing. Sadly, new conflicts and other agitations are on the horizon. Remedies for present and developing shames upon humanity are needed in order to sustain humanity's continuity.







August 09, 2018



ASIA:



America's Real Problem - the Emboldened Prevalence of Racist Hate



In spite of some real and concocted distractions dominating the national front in the United States (US) these days, including a trade war with China and the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, there is a true, present and dangerous problem facing the Republic: to wit - the emboldened prevalence of non condemned racist hate.







Almost one-year-ago, manifestations of such racist hate was borne in the tragic events of a white supremacist agitation in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a car was willfully driven into anti-hate marchers - who were countering the racists, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring many others. Many other anti-hate demonstrators were injured that fateful day in skirmishes with hate monger protestors on the streets of a Virginia college-town. Yet, the leadership of the US failed to forcefully condemn the fascist violence of the white supremacist, but instead blame both sides for the stark violence.







Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump's version of America has witnessed alarming events of blatant racist hate perpetrated by hate mongers under the fallible slogan of "Make America Great Again". From a racist calling the police to dismantle a kid's lemonade stand, to calls to police to chase non whites from barbecuing in a park, to continued questionable police killings of minorities, to confessed racists seeking local and national political office, racist groups have become emboldened lured by Trump's non forceful condemnation of hate groups. Adding to the divide has been the Trump administration's racist and rights violating practice of severing children from asylum seeking Latino parents at the US-Mexican border.







On Sunday, the racist elements from the Charlottesville, Virginia tragedy of one-year-ago, will take to the streets again to air their racist holdings, this time, closer to the White House at Lafayette Park, Washington, DC. Counter protests are also planned. Will the White House take the opportunity to finally forcefully denounce racist hate, once and for all?







Until it is obliterated from American society, racist hate - a clear, present and true danger, must be fought on all fronts, including the US Executive Branch. 







August 08, 2018



ASIA:



China Strikes Back to Trump Tariffs - a Chinese Resolve to Continuing Rising



United States (US) President Donald Trump's intent to penalize China with more tariffs on Chinese products has been met by China retaliating with its own tariffs on US$16 billion of American imports.







In pushing back against Trump's continuing efforts to punish China, Beijing has demonstrated a strong resolve to continuing China's developmental rise in spite of new adversity from the controversial US president.







Trump's decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on US$50 billion of Chinese imports on August 23, is the latest from the Washington administration aimed at China, which has experienced globe-leading development in the past 40-years. 







The US, China and the international community once enjoyed unimpeded trade and cooperation prior to Trump taking the White House. However, ever since 2017, Trump has targeted and singled out China for tariff penalties, thus raising the question as to the true intent of Trump's motives.







If he intends to derail China's economic rise, its global appeal and influence, then Trump will fail, and fail miserably. 







China is an enduring great civilization that the likes of Trump would never understand its simple method to success. Having visited China this past summer - four provinces, six cities and two villages, I can now affirm that there's nothing capable of derailing China's rise. China is deserving and fully qualified to sit and to lead any table on international well being.







Moreover, while the impact of some tariff penalties might cause anxiety in some of China's major cities, greater Chinese society, via strong community involvement, sound family values and subsistence farming, are more than sufficient and capable of weathering any Trump action. China appears resolute in its bid for peace and prosperity. 







Therefore, a return to pre-2017 rationality in governance and in trade is needed before another economic calamity befalls many people.







August 07, 2018



ASIA:



The USA Re-Imposition of Sanction on Iran - a Test of Trump's Global Influence



Even though nuclear examiners and European nations found no evidence Iran violated the Nuclear Deal it signed with world powers during the rational years of global governance prior to 2017, United States (US) President Donald Trump bowed out of the international treaty. He has now re-imposed harsh sanctions on Iran.







But will the controversial Trump get international agreement to go along with his unitary decision to penalize Iran? Will the European Union (EU), China and Russia join Trump?







The Trump re-imposition of sanctions on a violation-less Iran per nuclear armaments and programs should be a test of a believed waning global influence of the US president. Against no evidence of any Iranian violation of the Nuclear Deal signed during the Presidency of Barack Obama, Trump's desire to punish Iran appears to be an appeasement of Israel, which offered documents purporting to show Iran's prior nuclear ambition.







Trump's punishment of Iran re-weaponizes a strategic geopolitical region that could witness Tehran go underground to acquire the said technology and goods it is being punished for abiding without.







The EU and China will have to decide whether to side with the erratic Trump or to boldly strike a balance toward global security by promoting an adhesive program of cooperative engagement with Iran in a bid for peace and economic well being.







August 06, 2018



ASIA:



Deadly Temperatures, Wildfires, Floods and Rumblings from Nature - Our Stressed Environment



As if flawed political, social and economic policies are not enough sources of stress in this post November 8, 2016 era, then Mother Nature's recent events of soaring deadly temperatures, wildfires, floods and earthquakes should be more than ample evidence to confirm to humanity that all is not well across the full spectrum of our planetary environment.







Irrational political rhetoric, a human rights violating policy of ripping children away from asylum-seeking parents, the initiating of a trade war and a roll back of environmental protection measures in the United States (US), are being executed amid a rancid political atmosphere, while within the Republic and across the globe, explicit events linked to the debilitating effects of climate change, are wreaking havoc upon the natural environment.







As the Donald Trump administration continues to roll back President Barack Obama era's environment protection measures, deadly wildfires continue in the western part of the US. 







CNN reported: "Drought in Europe has turned verdant land barren, while people in Japan and Korea are dying from record-breaking heat." In addition, flooding has inundated many communities and Indonesia has suffered two major earthquakes in less than a week with more than 80 deaths reported. Wildfires have also scorched Sweden and Greece 







Japan has reported deaths of at least 119 from soaring heat, South Korea reported 29 killed in similar heat. Canada reported 70 deaths from heat, while 92 people were killed in wildfires in Greece and eight so far from continuing wildfires in California. Heat waves this past weekend also killed people in Spain and in Portugal.







Yet, some decision makers continue to deny the reality of Climate Change. CNN's report on its website: cnn.com titled: Our climate plans are in pieces as killer summer shreds records, and written by Angela Dewan, best describes our reality: "Climate change is here and is affecting the entire globe - not just the polar bears or tiny islands vulnerable to rising sea levels - scientists say. It is on the doorsteps of everyday Americans, Europeans and Asians, and the best evidence shows it will get much worse."







Europe, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia are seriously addressing the problem of climate change. China is growing thousands of new trees to fight climate change and I have witnessed this fact with my own eyes. Sadly, the Trump administration continues to roll back protections on the environment. A rational return to good governance is needed to cooperate in the global fight against climate change.







August 05, 2018



ASIA:



A Delay in China Energy Imports from the USA - a Reality of Trade Disruption



Energy is a highly valuable good. It is crucial to the mainstay and well being of all economies, while being the lifeline of many corporations, their stockholders, workers and home states in the United States (US). Disruptions in energy exports from Texas and other states will create an economic difficulty for state as well as the national economies. 



President Donald Trump's initiated trade war with China has exposed both the US economy and that of China to serious adverse consequences. While both nations had been making remarkable economic strides prior to 2016, Trump's insistence on a nationalistic agenda to appease his political base, has created a dangerous avenue of economic certainty that could force world financial markets and economies into a downward spiral. There could be no winners in any trade war between two such large economies as the US and China. However, there will be a number of losers.



And those losers, along with the average consumers both in the East and in the West, could also extend to farmers and to industrial producers, especially amid new reports that China's largest refiner will delay making any new purchases of US oil. The delay comes as Beijing contemplates tariffs on American crude in reaction to Trump's new round of penalties to raise tariffs to 25 percent on Chinese products. The South China Morning Post reported earlier today that Sinopec's purchase delay comes after the largest Chinese oil refiner bought a record volume of energy from the US in June.



China's reported suspension of importing US energy should be a signal to the Trump administration that the economic health of the Republic is on the line and that there is an urgent need to return to rational times of unimpeded international trade. 



If a decline in China energy imports from the US is not sufficient to abate Trump's trade war, then, I fear global economic health will suffer a great tragedy.







August 04, 2018



ASIA:



A Return to Rationality - a Return to Global Cooperation and Unimpeded Trade



That rational governance and global cooperation were able to weather and to overcome the financial crisis of 2007-08, clearly affirms the present-day need for similar leadership in order to stem the rising discord and distrust supplanted since 2016.







It will not be sufficient to await political changes that might, or might not come in 2020. Now is the hour for rational national leaders to adhere to the policies of cooperation, logic and peace that have brought back prosperity to many nations, while pointing others toward similar good tidings.







Systems of international trade that have allowed for the unimpeded easy transfer of good and services between nations, should be fostered and encouraged instead of being used as political fodder to support any flawed nationalistic agenda. 







Peace and economic gains flourish in the absence of political turmoil. Therefore, in order to recapture global economic and social advances, it might become necessary for rational global leaders to isolate bash and destabilizing leaders and all ally-busting measures that have been touted.







August 03, 2018



ASIA:



Safeguard of Community Necessities - a Key to Humanity's Continuity



Humanity's continuity rests with the delivery of safeguards of the basic necessities of community - food, clothing and shelter. And in spite of the dynamism and modern mode of many developed countries and their cities, the fundamentals of securing an enduring society remain firmly fixed to good governance delivering the basics of community.







However, in recent years, delivery of these basic goods to the people have become marred in the race to promote, to use and to utilize technology too broadly for the narrow purpose of entertainment. As a result, human innovation, creativity and production toward bettering the delivery of community's necessities, are lagging way behind personal entertainment. In other words, humankind is serving technology rather than allowing technology to work best toward the benefit of the human species.







Thus, human entertainment is overshadowing agricultural development and diversification as well as climate and environment protections. Not enough innovation is being earmarked to solutions to combat the bad effects of human influences upon the environment. Yet, unprecedented heat continues across Europe and Asia while record setting rains, fires and drought disrupt life in the Americas. These events will all have adverse secondary effects from crop failures to crop rot. What will tomorrow bring?







Human personal entertainment should yield to greater scientific innovation toward tackling humanity's present and forthcoming problems. Technology must be enhanced to ensure the safeguard of delivering community necessities in order to sustain humanity's continuity.







August 02, 2018



ASIA:



An Evolving Thought on Democracy



Ever since the stark results of political events in 2016, inherent flaws within democratic systems have become clearer. 







From the fallacy of majority rule demonstrated by Hillary R. Clinton lost in the United States (US) Presidential Election to Donald J.Trump, even though Clinton received 2,864,903 more votes than Trump; to a misinformed United Kingdom (UK) electorate voting to leave the European Union (EU), even though many voters had no inkling of the ramifications of their exercised Brexit vote, are all exposes of weaknesses within democracies.







Moreover, the behavior of the leader of the world's strongest democracy infects a widespread bad taste, doubt and uncertainty over the once trusted and respected democratic system of government. Thus, existing alternative forms of government that have been successful in delivering services and security to the people, are now more than worthy of respect and of contemplation. 







That any government purported to be democratic could have the audacity to criticize a communist system for human rights abuses while that said democracy detains and separates asylum seekers from their children at its borders, is preposterous.







Parliamentary democracy appears superior to the Republican or Presidential forms because it bears the mechanisms to ousting a corrupt leader more easily than in the form in place in the US. That privileged individuals and groups could continue to tweak and to preserve adulterated forms of democracy in order to retain their longstanding grip on power, remains hypocritical, and even more so as they criticize other better performing types of governance.  







While democracy remains a sound proven platform to liberty and the rule of law, it is safe to assume that democracy, as it is exercised today, is limited in scope to ever becoming universally accepted in the absence of a Utopian society. And imported systems of governments will never supplant the tried and functioning forms of government that deliver peace, prosperity and happiness to the people.  









August 01, 2018



ASIA:



Great Civilizations Will Endure - With or Without Tariff Penalties



A number of global events occurred in the past six-weeks during my self-imposed "time out", which could have forced my return to writing this Blog. However, I remained silent as asylum seekers were ripped of their children at the United States (US) border and as President Donald Trump, again, displayed a disdain for allies in an apparent deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin and initiating a trade war with China.







I remained silent while undergoing a much needed reflection on humanity and of purpose, while attaining a renewed enlightenment I very much sought. These objectives I gained nestled securely within the the provinces, cities and villages of the People's Republic of China (PRC).







As a result, today, I could now firmly submit without recall that Great Civilizations Will Endure - With or Without Tariff Penalties: to wit: continuous attempts to penalize China via trade will not dislodge China's rise. What I discovered during 22-days of living and traveling within China's provinces, cities and villages, is that the strength of family and of community, is too heavily ingrained into the fabric of Chinese society to be altered by any imported entity. China has withstood wars, intervention, occupation and isolation. Yet, from what I have witnessed forehand, China's civilization remains intact to last in excess of another 5,000-years. I thank the people of the PRC for hosting me during my visit.







Some of my intelligence and academic colleagues with whom I've briefed on my travels in China have jokingly claimed that I've returned home a "Marxist", but if having a truer and a clearer understanding of humanity's purpose, of government's best obligation to its people and of community's measure of content, makes me a Marxist, then I must be a "Marxist".







Notwithstanding, China is a Great Civilization and it will not be disrupted by foreign action. Chinese people desire the same things as all other peoples: peace, stability, prosperity and happiness. 







I'm in the process of writing a book on my travels within China and within each of my forthcoming Blogs, including this present one, are remarks that I will include in the future literary work, along with pictures.







I bid all of you peace and prosperity.



July 28, 2018



ASIA:



My August 1st Return



Greetings friends! It's been a while since I've published a Blog, but I shall return to writing a daily Blog starting on August 1, 2018.







The past few weeks have been a very educational and renewal period. And yes, I did have that reflection and I did find that renewed hope in humanity, which I sought per my last Blog, June 06, 2018. 







I found my new enlightenment atop the Great Wall of China just outside of Beijing during my recent visit across many cities, provinces and villages within China. I was emotionally touched by the people of China and by the deep community and family virtues of the people of the Great Chinese Civilization. Thus, I'm in the process of writing a very positive book on my travels within China.







My first few Blogs, on and after August 1st, will offer a few hints as to the glorious travels my family and I enjoyed as guests of the people of China - not by members of the government of China, but by the people who are bonded to that Great Civilization by community, by family and by the land. Anyone expecting to read of any negative views in these Blogs should not read any of my posts, for I assure you, my experiences within China and my new view of China, are all very, very positive. See you on Wednesday.







June 06, 2018



ASIA:



A Timeout for Reflection in the Quest for Affirmation



My dearly beloved fellow humans, I hereby inform that as of today, June 06, 2018, I will take a timeout from writing this daily Blog. I hope to return in mid-August. However, should there be any major world event in the interim, I'll return from wherever I might be.







My much needed break amid a rapidly changing international socio-political and economic environment, hopefully, should accord me the opportunity to reflect on my love and service to humanity as well as to find the much needed affirmation of ideals I seek.







When I started this exhaustive and costly project in 2013 during the second-term of United States (US) President Barack Obama, I was eager, hopeful and very optimistic of spreading democracy, denouncing tyranny, protecting and supporting the rights of humankind, promoting equality, encouraging international peace and cooperation and protecting the environment. 







Five-years later, I stand deeply troubled of many reversals of progress accomplished by the human species and I am especially concerned of a "bad moon" rising over the global horizon. 







The human species has weathered many challenges during our history in order to reach this 2018. The overwhelming theme that has bonded men and women in the East and in the West toward the continuity of life on Planet Earth over the years, has been the development of community - locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Inequality, division, isolation and arrogance are enemies of all communities. Functioning communities hold the key to humankind's existence.







Some French communes, Chinese villages, German towns, African villages and English hamlets are among various places, I believe, where there are yet still some ideal models of functioning communities - places void of divisiveness, strife and selfishness. In one of these places, I hope to find the affirmation I seek. So I will look, I will rest and I shall soon return to my service to humanity.







Be well, be safe and love thy neighbor. Happy Summer!







June 05, 2018



ASIA:



From Hope and Pride to Uncertainty and Frustration - the United States Post Barack Obama



The United States (US), under the rational and international leadership of President Barack Obama, successfully emerged out of the misery and despair of the financial crisis of 2007-08 and its lingering after years effects. 







Critical banking and business industries were supported, streamlined and mended to weather the crisis. As employment gathered steam and profitability returned to US industries, President Obama maintained a healthy, robust, engaging and cooperative allied relationship with all tradition US friends in Canada, Mexico and Europe. Pride, respect and hope glared from Obama's Oval Office to across the US and reaching the international community.







That was then. Today, under Donald Trump, the US has adopted a policy of isolationism with a blatant disregard of any consideration to allies amid a torrid and acid approach to immigration matters and a questionable human rights handling of asylum seekers. Farmers and businesses are uncertain of the results of a Trump first-shot trade war with allies and with China. 







Moreover, rancid attacks on people and the institutions that allow for the faithful execution of the democratic process in the US, affirm the existence of an unprecedented and questionable presidency in the US in 2018.







Yet, academia and intelligence associates with whom I  meet twice-a-week here in Washington, DC, remind me to remain resolute with the knowledge that the Republic will triumph over any individual and that I should not veer from my ideals of democracy, freedom and the rights of humankind. So far, I have kept the faith. 







But soon, I will take a month-long break from writing this Blog. I hope to spend time with family and to visit some of civilizations oldest cultural sites and places, hopefully to serve as a reminder of humankind's achievements and contributions completed in ideal cooperative communities, and not under such divisive conditions hovering over Trump's White House.







June 04, 2018



ASIA:



The Induced Coma of Democracy in America



If Russia, or China, or North Korea, or some other non-western nation deployed the damning humanitarian action of separating asylum seeking parents from their children at their borders, then much of civil society and rights groups would be inflamed in condemning such a practice. Yet the humanitarian-blighting practice is in effect in today's United States (US). 







That the Republic of George Washington, the Land of Abraham Lincoln, the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt, the Beacon of Ronald Reagan and the Hope of Barack Obama, has been reduced to the terms of separating desperate liberty-seeking families at the border, must therefore be a testament of an induced coma of democracy in America.







Moreover, that a sitting US president would seek to start a trade war with traditional allies, must yet be another example of a sleeping democracy. Also, the voiding of international agreements, criticisms and meddling into the operations of justice and investigative agencies, are yet additional examples of the induced coma of democracy in the US.







In most parliamentary democracies, a no confidence vote against the vector of the current government would suffice to reawaken democracy, but under the republican form of government, which Donald Trump heads, it seems as though democracy will have to continue sleeping for far too long of a period. 







Therefore, I can no longer be critical of any other governments because the blemish upon my own is far too shaming. I will ever be reminded of the adage: " You must first clean the cold from your eye before criticizing someone else's."  







June 03, 2018



ASIA:



Socialist Pedro Sanchez Replaces Conservative Mariano Rajoy as PM of Spain



In an unprecedented move in modern Spanish history, conservative Mariano Rajoy, 63, has been ousted as prime minister by a no-confidence and has been replaced by Socialist Pedro Sanchez, 46, an economist, atheist and former footballer.







Sanchez called for the no-confidence vote last Friday after Rajoy refused to resign amid the conviction and jailing of a treasurer of Rajoy's conservative People's Party (PP), for receiving bribes, money laundering and tax crimes, as part of a wider corruption probe, centered on a secret campaign fund the PP ran from 1999 until 2005, the BBC-News reported. The result: Rajoy becomes the first Spanish prime minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in modern times.







Rajoy's popularity had been waning in Spain. He led a vengeful retaliatory campaign against the leaders of Catalonia after they successfully called and held a referendum on independence from Spain. Under Rajoy, Madrid took control of the Barcelona region government. Catalan leaders have been jailed and exiled as a result of Rajoy's heavy-handedness in Catalonia. Some Catalan leaders were also denied bail on their charges under Rajoy's leadership.







Now, Spain under the moderate socialist Sanchez, whose party holds less than 25% of the seats in the Spanish congress, could enter a more cooperative political era as it seeks to maintain political unity in the former colonial power. 







Sanchez could usher in a conciliatory phase by dropping all the politically motivated cases against the leaders of Catalonia's independence movement and move toward establishing a needed commission to look into the concerns of Catalonia with a view to keeping the territorial integrity of Spain in tact.







June 02, 2018



ASIA:



Italy Finally Gets a Government



Three months after inconclusive elections, a new Italian government has finally been named with Eurosceptic and anti-establishment leaders sharing the top positions. Yet, the mere formation of a government should begin to calm some fiscal jitters in Rome.







March 4 Italian elections delivered most seats in the parliament to the Eurosceptic and and anti-establishment Five Star Movement, headed by Luigi Di Maio and the League, headed by Matteo Salvini. Yet, no one party gained a 50% majority. The top vote getters failed at early attempts to form a coalition government, but reached a compromise last week which was vetoed by President Sergio Mattarella, who did not like the nomination of Eurosceptic Paolo Savona to the import post as economy minister.







After a heated call by Di Maio to impeach the president and a call from Salvini for protest, the two political newcomers toned down their tempers and offered up another government formation list to the president, which he has accepted. 







A snapshot of Italy's new government:







Prime Minister: Giuseppe Conte, 53, a lawyer.



Deputy PM and Interior Minister: Matteo Salvini, 45, the League leader.



Deputy PM and Labor Minister: Luigi Di Maio, 31, Five Star Movement leader.



Economy Minister: Giovanni Tria, 69, an economics professor.



Foreign Minister: Enzo Moavero Milanesi, 63, former European Affairs Minister.



European Minister: Paolo Savona, 81, an economist.



Justice Minister: Alfonso Bonafede, 41, a lawyer.



Defense Minister: Elisabetta Trenta, 50, a defense specialist.



(source: France 24).







June 01, 2018



ASIA:



Trump Starts a Trade War - Allies Vow to Fight Back - Putin Gains an Objective



The only winner, who will emerge from Donald Trump's first-shot trade war with United States (US) allies, is Russia's Vladimir Putin. By design alone, a trade war between the US and its long standing allies - Canada, the European Union (EU) and Mexico, will benefit Putin and Russia alone.







US President Trump's allowance of stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum products from Canada, the EU and Mexico, at midnight last night, thereby creates a rift among multi-generational allies. Tariff on steel is set at 25% and 10% on aluminum products. Trump has claimed the tariffs are necessary in the national security interest of the US since the products are threatened by a worldwide global oversupply. 







While Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been quick and forceful in rejecting any claim Canada poses any national security threat to the US, he has set Canada on a path to levy reciprocal tariffs on US goods by July 1. The United Kingdom (UK) International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, according to the BBC-News, has deemed as "patently absurd" Trump's new taxes. French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently buddied-up to Trump, reportedly told the US president in a telephone call that the new tariffs were "illegal" and that the EU would respond in a "firm and proportionate manner". Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission confirmed the bloc would move ahead with tariffs that are expected to affect $7.5 billion worth of US exports. He also noted that the EU would lodge a case against the US before the World Trade Organization (WTO), the BBC-News also reported.







Whatever happens from here in this new Trump-initiated splinter among western allies, one thing remains certain: Vladimir Putin has obtained an objective to splinter, divide and to weaken the western alliance. Trump's trade war has certainly accomodated Putin's achievement of his much desired objective.



May 31, 2018



ASIA:



A Test of China's Maturity as a Global Influencer - the Trump-Jong-un Summit



China's global reach in recent years has extended from its Mainland to transcend the borders of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese partnerships with nations within this sphere, have provided vital investment and infrastructural goods to a wide kaleidoscope of people forgotten and neglected by their former colonial masters.







From roads, railways, seaports and businesses in Africa, to agricultural and other investments in Asia and Latin America, China has been welcomed and accepted by a lengthening list of nations eager to accept Chinese investment infusions into their faltering economies.







With regards to North Korea, China has accounted for some 80% of all trade with its internationally-scorned neighbor. Thus, it is reasonable to opine that without Chinese trade, the economy of North Korea could have collapsed years ago. China is connected to North Korea  - they share an 800-mile (1,420 km) border, separated by the Yalu and Tumen Rivers and the Paektu Mountain.







Against the afore background and the fact that China is the largest foreign owner of United States (US) debt, there has yet been no publicly mentioned inclusion of China as a party to any supposed summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un, slated for Singapore, June 12.







Therefore, any summit between Trump and Jong-un stands to test the maturity of China as a global influencer. Exclusion of China from security talks on any serious matters of nuclear or ballistic concerns within China's backyard, would amount to a western grading of "infancy" to China's global power and influence.







May 30, 2018



ASIA:



A Reminder to Roseanne Barr, et al



The actress Roseanne Barr, whose television show series was cancelled by the admirable ABC Network following her racist Tweet targeting an American woman, is to be reminded that this is the year 2018...







Therefore, I venture to say no more but to again remind Roseanne Barr and any others who share her racist view, that they threaten a very regretful outcome from provoking and invoking hatred into today's United States (US). That's that!







May 29, 2018



ASIA:



Humanity's Needed Goal - Nuclear Armament Reduction



The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks/Treaties (SALT) of the Cold War area were beneficial in that they got nuclear adversaries to consider reduction of nuclear arsenals. The post Cold War: Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), in some ways, also brought a measure of stability to global security.







New START, ratified in February, 2011, also offered benchmarks to reducing arms and nuclear arsenals. Yet, there have been no recent steps to strengthen and to extend global nuclear reduction treaties. Therefore, it is high time that humanity restarts its efforts toward global nuclear armament reduction.







Instead of boasts about the numbers and the sizes of nuclear arsenals, global leaders -  entrusted by the people to bring security cooperation and stability to an often too volatile world, should be working toward nuclear armament reduction. 







Leading from example, nations with the largest nuclear arsenals should not only be working to eliminate the nuclear arsenals of smaller states and the hindrance of other states from attaining the weapons of mass destruction, but large stockpile holders, need to earnestly work to reduce their own arsenals of nuclear arms.







Our world - in the East and in the West, could become a more stable and cooperative environment under agreed and obeyed treaties to reducing nuclear armaments.







May 28, 2018



ASIA:



An Italian Stop-Gap Appointment to Political and Economic Stability



Vetoing the Eurosceptic coalition nominee for finance minister, thus ending a last ditch effort by the coalition to form a new government, Italy's President Sergio Mattarella has appointed former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist Carlo Cottarelli, as Prime Minister to oversee a caretaker government until new elections could be held in the European Union(EU) fourth largest economy.







Italy's March 2018 general elections failed to return a clear majority parliamentary winner from among the parties. Anti-establishment and Eurosceptic parties won most of the seats in the elections. Subsequent attempts by the top vote getters -  the coalition between the Five Star Movement and the League, have failed to materialize a new government. Discord among the coalition finally gave way to a probable new government formation.







However, citing economic concerns raised by Italian and abroad investors, President Mattarella, whose role is mainly ceremony, but has the power to appoint and to dissolve government, vetoed the coalition candidate for finance minister, 81-year-old Eurosceptic Paolo Savona, on fears of any attempts to move Italy away from the Euro Zone.







Ending the Eurosceptic coalition's long futile attempts to form a government, earlier today, Mattarella appointed economist Carlo Cottarelli, a support of the EU, to the post of stop-gap prime minister until new elections could be held. The appointment comes as a measure to stabilize political and economic affairs in Italy amid growing financial concerns. 







According to the BBC-News, Cottarelli plans to introduce a legislative program to parliament including a budget with plans for new elections by early 2019. But his intent and appointment could be railroaded by the Five Star Movement, whose leader, Luigi Di Maio has called on parliament to impeach President Mattarella for rescinding his coalition's pick for finance minister. Also, League leader, Matteo Salvini, in discontent over the president's action, has threatened mass protests, France 24 reports. Moreover, the coalition parties have also threatened not to approve a Cottarelli government.







If Cottarelli's plan is not accepted by parliament, then, as he has declared: "the government would resign immediately...until election are held after the month of August." In the meantime, Italy sits in the balance between the continuity of the stability of the EU and an untested populist agenda.







May 26, 2018



ASIA:



The Path to Stability on the Korean Peninsula - the Unimpeded Development of North-South Relations



The BBC-News reported earlier today that the leaders of North Korea and South Korea have met for a summit at the demilitarized border between the two countries. This second summit between the North's Kim Jong-un and the South's Moon Jae-in, comes on the heels of United States (US) President Donald Trump's cancellation of a summit between himself and the North Korean.







Relations between the Koreas have been rocky. Yet, warming signs have emerged from the thawed relation ever since the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, when the North accepted the South's invitation to the games and where they both paraded together under one flag. After the games, the two Korean leaders met for the first time at the demilitarized zone between the two countries in a powerful example of thawing relations.







However, rather than allowing their relationship to flourish unimpeded by outside influence, a hastily agreed summit was announced between Trump and Jong-un. Insults, boasts and threats were exchanged between the US and North Korea leading up to the planned June 12 summit in Singapore. Trump canceled the summit earlier week in spite of offering a suggestion that it could still take place. 







But the crux to stability on the Korean peninsula is inherent within a developed trusted relationship between North and South. The two nations appear to function well and effectively with regards to developing their relationship minus any outside influence. 







Therefore, instead of pushing and forcing for a summit between North Korea and the US for some form of denuclearization deal that could inevitably be broken by  either side, then, perhaps the best path forward to stability on the Korean peninsula might be allowing the relationship between the North and the South to develop deeper unimpeded by any outside influence. Subsequently, a more lasting and viable agreement could be made toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.







May 25, 2018



ASIA:



Barbados Elections 2018 - Opposition Clean-Sweeps all 30-Seats in Parliament



In a stunning act of disdain and rebuke of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Barbadians delivered a clean-sweep of all 30-seats in their Parliament to the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), in the just concluded General Elections, May 24, 2018.







Therefore, Mia Mottley will now become the first female Prime Minister of the small Caribbean island of Barbados, which gained  independence from Great Britain in 1966. The 166-square-mile island is a Parliamentary Democracy and member of the Commonwealth of nations - former British colonies. The head of State is Governor General, Queen Elizabeth II's representative and the head of government is the Prime Minister. It is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands with a population of some 270,000 and with an economy totally dependent on tourism.







In the unprecedented and historic election result, Barbadians wiped-out the DLP and former prime minister Freundel Stuart from office. Stuart and his party failed to win a single seat for 30- member House of Assemble - the lower chamber of the Barbados Parliament. For the first time ever in Barbados, there will be no Parliamentary opposition members. 







The nation of my birth has undergone a damaging economic decline in recent years and is some Bds.$14 billion in debt with a declining foreign reserve. Stuart and his government were unable to satisfy the concerns of Barbadians.







Last summer when I took my family back to the island for a vacation after a-33-year absence, it became apparent that most Barbadians were upset, more than that - steaming mad, with Stuart's government. Concerns over irregular water supplies in the north of the island, ravines of potholes, high unemployment among 18-35-year-olds, faltering services at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital and declining social services. Many Barbadians reported of the seeming elitist stance of Stuart and his government and the failure to address their concerns. As a former member of the DLP, and not having lived on the island for 33-years, I willfully stayed out of the debates leading up to the elections. I reckoned Barbadians living daily under Stuart's government, could best make their own decision without my input.







And last night's trouncing of the DLP underscores the anger Barbadians harbored toward Stuart's government. New Prime Minister designate Mia Mottley now has a mandate from the people and an unprecedented non-Parliamentary opposition to execute her style of government to bring relief to Barbadians.







But I must venture to warn Barbadians that after the euphoric victory party on Roebuck Street, Bridgetown, is over, relief will not be immediate. Barbados faces tough negotiations with the World Bank to secure island-saving finances and the stipulations coming with such funding will not be "milk and honey". Strict austerity measures will come to the island, but the resilience and the optimism of the Barbadian character, could weather the coming inevitable changes.







Congratulations to Prime Minister designate Mia Mottley and the Barbados Labour Party - may she govern for the people. And may God Bless Barbados.







May 24, 2018



ASIA:



Trump Withdraws from North Korea Summit - a Re-Balance of Asian Influence to China



Often, people who share a common interest of better relations, are best left mitigating any differences among themselves. Outsiders and observers perform best on the sidelines of such proceedings without any direct or controlled interjections into the negotiations.







So when North Korea accepted South Korea's invitation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the two Koreas, having a mutual interest of better relations, summarily opened a vital channel to better cooperation on their shared peninsula with the possibility of attaining military and nuclear de-escalation, which could transcend to a more secure and stable region and world.







The new unprecedented communication between North and South Korea was underscored when both nations paraded under one flag and banner at the Winter Games. The two Koreas even fielded a mutual one-nation team in ice-hockey. 







The immediate result: an unprecedented meeting at their borders between the leaders - another pathway toward better relations and broader stability on the Korean peninsula.







The historic meeting and thawing of relations between the Koreas came amid months of nuclear threats and boasts exchanged between North Korea's Kim Jong-un and United States (US) president Donald Trump.







Rather than the Koreas being allowed to continue the path to normalization and better relations alone, a short-sighted idea for a summit between Jong-un and Trump was proposed. There was no mention or invitation to China - North Korea's neighbor, biggest trading partner and the rising global power in Southeast Asia. 







For a number of weeks, members of Trump's administration and his nationalistic supporters relished in the thought of Trump bucking decades of White House 'hands-off" approach toward North Korea via a successful unprecedented summit with Kim Jong-un. Some of them, stoking Trump's ego that he himself appeared to relish in at a recent rally, even floated the premature notion of Trump winning a Nobel Peace Prize for the North Korean summit.







In the mean time, Jong-un made his first visit out of North Korea since becoming president and paid a visit to China's Xi Jinping. Xi and Jong-un had a second meeting recently also in China. 







Subsequently, US war games with South Korea and comments construed as threatening by North Korea, referencing a US-Libyan denuclearization plan that eventually witnessed the ouster and death of the Libyan leader, sparked anger from North Korea. 







Finally, today, Trump announced that his June 12 summit with Jong-un was canceled.







Trump's cancellation of the summit thereby confirms China's edge in the sphere of influence over Southeast Asia. 







North Korea's dismantling of a nuclear facility earlier this morning accords Pyongyang the opportunity of protection under China. The nuclear-facility destruction was not meant to appease Trump's fancy. But rather, I venture to opine, it was done as a good faith signal for Beijing's eyes.







Any expected idle nuclear threats from North Korea might not become a foregone conclusion after today's summit cancellation. Instead communication between North Korea and South Korea could be restarted as China plays a bigger role in forging denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. Moreover, China could be expected now to further cement its role as the major player over a larger region of Asian in the face of waning traditional US influence.







May 23, 2018



ASIA:



Mercy for the Women of the IS - the Widows and the Mothers



Since the Islamic State (IS) terror group collapsed in Iraq, the Guardian reports, some 40 foreign women of the group have been sentenced to death in Baghdad and dozens sentenced to life-terms, following mere 10-minute hearings in Iraqi courts.







However, this form of justice, in spite of the vile violence and atrocities committed by the IS, should not stand against the foreign widowed women, even though some of them might have willingly and freely joined the terror group. Conversely, it is very likely that many of these women were forced by their spouses to travel with them to both Iraq and Syria, at the height of the IS terror.







Therefore, justice cannot be effectively served by Iraq's 10-minute adjudication of the guilt or innocence of these women.







Noting that 40 foreign women have already received death sentences and that dozens have been sentenced to life imprisonment for their membership in the IS, the Guardian report, dated May 22, 2018, also cited the mitigating acquittal of at least one-Iraqi woman, whose defense was that she was forced by her brother to join the IS. Yet, Iraq, holding a sour and revengeful attitude toward foreign fighters of the IS, has continued to  mete out extraordinary sentences to foreign widows.







More than 40,000 foreign fighters from 110 countries are estimated to have traveled from Europe and Central Asia to join the IS at the height of its reign of terror in Syria and in Iraq. Of that number, 1,900 were believed to be French citizens and another 800 British citizens. 







As the IS collapsed in Iraq, some 1,000 women, widows of IS militants, were rounded up and jailed in Baghdad. Accompanying the women were 820 infants and unborn children. Foreign governments have failed to intervene on the welfare of many of the women, thus allowing Iraq to carry out a prejudiced judgment upon the lost souls.







But women, who have been misguided and controlled by their dead spouses to join IS, should not have to pay with their lives for any acts directed by their husbands. Therefore, the international community should intervene to mitigate the assurance that justice purportedly served in Iraq,  is tempered with mercy and the rule of law.







May 22, 2018



ASIA:



A Return to Humanity's Development - Rejecting Strife and Conflict



Up until two-years-ago and despite a hot conflict in Syria, a developing one in Yemen, an Ebola outbreak in Africa, continuing troubles in Afghanistan, unsurety in Iraq, a divided Libya and an immigration crisis in Europe, humanity appeared hopeful and optimistic. Progress was teeming toward wider world innovation and greater human development as international diplomats sought resolutions to the existing hiccups.







Up until two-years-ago also, Russia, still behaving mischievously after it had annexed Crimea earlier, and besieged under international sanctions, even appeared rational in its efforts to rejoining the fold of adherence to international law and norms. 







But something happened within the past two years that has placed humanity's development at risk while adding to the likelihood of strife and conflict. What happened? Was it the Donald Trump effect? Was it the aftermath of Brexit? Was it the European refugee crisis? Was it the rise of right wing political parties and populism?







The best answer would probably be made up of a combination of the aforesaid events, with perhaps, one aspect weighing and contributing more to today's current affairs than all the others.







Whatever might be the more accepted answer, one thing remains abundantly clear: humanity cannot retain peace under the current pressures, agitations, disdain and nationalistic rhetoric. 







There must be a return to the work of developing all nationalities. International political, economic and social cooperation must be promoted in order to sustain the peace of the future.







May 21, 2018



ASIA:



Caution Against Undue and Excessive Punishment of Any People



United States (US) re-imposed sanctions on Iran will be the strongest in history forcing that nation to "be battling to keep its economy alive." This is a sharp assessment of what the Trump administration intends to inflict upon the Islamic Republic. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has confirmed the US intent.







But the Trump administration should proceed with great caution in all efforts to inflict undue and excessive punishment on Iran. Instead, the administration should look to the catastrophic lessons of history for the realities of great punishment inflicted upon any people, as its guide to tempering justice with mercy with regards to the Iranian people.







The punishment of Germany after World War I should offer a great lesson for the Trump administration. The millions of deaths suffered in World War II were directly related to German's harsh punishment out of World War I that gave rise to the Nazis and all the ensuing atrocities.







Since the international community has found that Iran has played by the rules established within the perimeters of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, then why seek to exert undue and excessive punishment upon the nation? No peace will come from punishing Iran. 







Yet, peace in the Middle East could be contained if European nations are allowed to engage Iran toward global cooperation in lieu of any US support. Maybe Washington's best course of action toward Iran at this time would be to do nothing: just sit and wait and see what will transpire between Europe, Russia, China and Iran.







May 20, 2018



ASIA:



America's Disease of Gun Violence



Disease - a particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.







It happened again last Friday - a full blown infection of the disease of gun violence at yet another American High School: this time in Sante Fe, Texas, where a student, armed with guns and alleged pipe and pressure-cooker bombs, attacked and killed nine classmates and a teacher and wounded another 10 people. 







This recent bout of gun violence in the United States (US), clearly underscores a seemingly perpetual threat faced by American youths of dying before graduation from high school. And for the sake and safety of the Republic, the infection has to end. 







But apparently, this society-consuming illness will not end until common sense gun control laws are enacted to restrict the ease of access to firearms in the country. And this task is one easier said than accomplished given the strong gun lobby and its resistance to efforts to ensuring the safety of America's youth.







However, lawmakers must be compelled to act to end this disease of gun violence especially now amid a report by Newsweek Magazine, which found that more US children have been killed by gunfire since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Connecticut, than the total number of US soldiers killed in overseas combat since September 11, 2001.







Since that gun massacre in 2012 that killed 20-first-graders and six-adults, Newsweek has counted 7,000 children deaths compared to 6,929 soldiers killed in five military operations since the war on terror began in 2001. Stark and staggering numbers of children killed.







Therefore, toward ending the disease of gun violence in the US, voters this fall, in the mid-term elections for the US Congress, could begin the nation-healing by electing legislators willing to confront present gun laws.







May 19, 2018



ASIA:



The World Welcomes the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Wed



In a stylish and aesthetically pleasing ceremony decked with tradition and accented by the charismatic sermon of a Black Bishop and serenaded by a multi denominational Black Choir, British Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle, were wed today, at Windsor Castle, United Kingdom (UK). The new couple now officially become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.







The noon ceremony at St. George's Chapel was a colorful event attended by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, scores of other royals and celebrities, including the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Elton John, George Clooney and his wife.







While millions across the globe tuned into the ceremony via live-television, hundreds of onlookers lined the long straight entry route to Windsor Castle to glimpse upon the new couple. The Bride wore an exquisite uncomplicated stylish white gown that would still be elegant in 50-years which was complemented with a white veil and a stunning diamond tiara with a flowing white trail (train). The groom wore a dark military uniform and cap accented with red. 







The Royal wedding sermon was delivered by Black Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry of Chicago, Illinois, USA, who passionately orated a theme of "love" and even quoted Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr., in the sermon before some 2,000 guests seated in St. George's Chapel. Queen Elizabeth II and the new couple were also serenaded by the Kingdom Choir, a Black British multi-denominational group from South east England who also sang for the Queen at her Jubilee celebration back in 2002.







Not only did the Royal wedding display an unprecedented fusion of British tradition and Black culture - depicting the bi-racial lineage of the new Duchess, but the ceremony also served as notice to the world that Great Britain's Royal family, has fully entered and embraced the modern era.







The best of fortune to the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex.







May 18, 2018



ASIA:



Meghan and Harry - a Modern Royal Wedding in Great Britain



Any lingering thoughts of British Royals as dull and boring will be put to rest tomorrow, at high noon BST, as American Meghan Markle, 36, marries  Prince Harry, 33, a member of the British Royal family, at St. George's Chapel in Windsor, London, United Kingdom (UK).







Miss Markle, the interracial daughter of black mother, Doria Ragland and white father, Thomas Markle, will certainly add some color and life into the Royal family, which has been somewhat stagnant since the passing of the deeply beloved Princess Diana, Prince Harry's mother. Prince Harry is sixth in line to the British throne.







Miss Markle is a beautiful raven-haired American actress who is marrying a red-haired British Prince and together with their youthfulness and apparent passion for life and for humanity, they both stand to re-interject a modern luster of color and much international interest back into the British Royal family - a luster dimmed since the passing of Princess Diana in 1997.







We wish the new couple the best of love, fortune, family and marriage. May their days be long and fruitful as they serve as a model-couple to a modern world.







May 17, 2018



ASIA:



Humanity's Needed Reconciliation



Humanity's present trajectory, marred by unnecessary conflicts, divisions and agitations, is heading to an era of marked violence and utter chaos. But the present course is not unavoidable. There's is yet time to rectify the current path. A much needed human reconciliation would suffice in promoting international peace and human happiness on planet Earth.







Yesterday, May 16,  was the United Nations (UN) designated International Day of Living Together in Peace. And while many people might have missed yesterday's reminder to humanity, the UN Human Rights Agency, in a 10:00 a.m. Twitter tweet, effectively captured humanity's reality and scope: 







"The task of learning to live together, in equality and justice, is humanity's oldest and most essential challenge. United in differences and diversity, we can build a sustainable world of peace, solidarity and harmony," un.org.







Citing the resolution that created the International Day of Living Together in Peace, the international body outlined the simple path to harmony and cohesiveness: "Living together in peace is all about accepting difference and having the ability to listen to, recognize, respect and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way."







Simple enough? Then, let's give it a go...toward humanity's much needed peace, reconciliation, forgiveness, acceptance and equality of all people.







May 16, 2018



ASIA:



Regarding Ukraine...



The western alliance has missed an opportunity to become more deeply engaged in Ukraine over the past five-years, therefore affording Russia the ease and opportunity to meddle elsewhere. 







When Ukraine's youth gathered at the Maidan in late 2013 and into early 2014 to explicitly expressed their desire to be closer to Europe - hereby dismissing a soviet-era allegiance to Moscow, high aspirations were cast that Ukraine would soon realize its manifested westernization. 







However, today, almost five-years after liberty-loving youths chased the corrupt Kremlin-loving Viktor Yanukovych from power, it appears that those Ukrainian dreams to join Europe, are now deferred.







Western dreams in Ukraine have been deferred not by any desire of the Ukrainian people, but via a failure of the west to engage Vladimir Putin and Russia within and surrounding Ukraine. A bad-tasting reality of years of an ill-conceived war in Iraq, restricted substantive action from the west in Ukraine. 







As a result of inaction by the west, Crimea has been annexed by Putin, who has since built a new bridge linking the Ukrainian territory to Russia. Strong Kremlin influences remain prevalent within Ukraine governance as corruption remains rampant. 







Many of Ukraine's youth who braved the natural elements of the winter of 2013-14 to stand on the Maidan in a cry for help and for westernization, have now lost hope of ever achieving their ambitions to join Europe and to shrug off Russia.







The failure of the west to effectively press Russia on Ukraine has resulted in Vladimir Putin having time and opportunity for excursions into Syria and his trolling of the seas and air spaces in the Nordics, in the Baltics as well as transcending to the English Channel and off the coast of the Americas.







Had Putin been properly engaged in Ukraine, the Syrian war could have ended by now and Ukrainians could have been closer to their manifested destiny to be closer to Europe.







But Putin has successfully distracted the western alliance, thus Ukraine is split and Crimea has been lost as the European-dream of Ukraine, remains a fantasy.







May 15, 2018



ASIA:



Anger over Gaza Deaths



Anger is perhaps the most tepid of feelings any conscionable person could garner from Monday's slaughter of 58 Palestinians and the injury of another 2,700 at the hands of of Israeli forces in Gaza.







And that the Palestinian deaths would come on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state, makes it even more prosperous to comprehend, since some 700,000 Palestinians were displaced during the process of giving Israel statehood, May 14, 1948.







Palestinians with stones and flambeaus have waged a non-winning uprising against a well-equipped and armed Israeli army from the start of my conscious history. And despite the staggering deaths over the years, Palestinians still continue their resistance to Israeli occupation, their quest for independence and their demand for ancestral lands. Thus, the Palestinian claims must hold credence and demand justice.







Israel must not be allowed to murder Palestinians with impunity. Israel's so-called accepted hardline to Palestinian protests must be condemned and the state should be held responsible for the killing of so many Palestinians.







Yet, the powers that be are very unlikely to hold Israel responsible for taking Palestinian lives. So the carnage of violence will therefore continue in the region. Israel's might clearly dominates the Palestinians. But what will happen should the Palestinians become equally equipped? 







A peaceful resolution to the mutual sharing of lands and cohabitation is needed in the old Biblical lands. Israeli celebrations and Palestinian deaths are unacceptable realities to violent radicalization in the Middle East.







May 14, 2018



ASIA:



More Palestinians Killed in Gaza Today - a Prelude to Wider Violence in the Middle East



Thirty-eight Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces at the Gaza border this morning and another 1,500 were injured in demonstrations marking the "Great March of Return", which coincided with today's opening of the United States (US) embassy in Jerusalem - a move that infuriates Palestinians and which stands to prompt more violence in the Middle East.







For six weeks, Palestinians have been demonstrating at the border fence in Gaza in the "Great March of Return" - to demand Palestinian return to ancestral lands lost to Israel at its founding, March 14, 1948. Israel has occupied that land and has shown no signs of ceding it back to the Palestinians. Many Palestinian deaths and injuries have been recorded in the weeks-long protests.







Today's new violence, with  rising death and injury tolls, coincides with the US opening of an embassy in Jerusalem - a move condemned by much of the international community, since both Palestinians and Israelis claim the old Holy City as capital. Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war.



For many years, the international community has not recognized Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. But in December, 2017, US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announced the establishment of an embassy there.







Trump's decision has done nothing to bring peace to an already tense region. But it has certainly sparked violence and opened the likelihood for wider conflict in the Middle East, especially in light of the president's additional action to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran remains a major proxy in the Middle East.







Today's stark violence, deaths and injuries against Palestinians, are indicative of Israel's too often utilized heavy-handedness against the primitively-armed Palestinians, who for decades, have used stones and flambeaus against the modern equipped Israeli army, in their fight to reclaim ancestral lands.







But the violence in Gaza should not continue perpetually. Prospects to peace appear even farther away today that they were a-year-ago. Yet, some common ground to stability, should be agreed upon by all privy parties to allow for the coexistence of all the peoples on the old Biblical lands. Until some realistic peace is forged, sadly, more Palestinians will die.







May 13, 2018



ASIA:



Happy Mother's Day



Happy Mother's Day to everyone across the globe. And a very special recognition to the mothers of regions embroiled in conflict - Syria and Yemen in particular. I wish you a blessed day. May the kindness and mercy of God be you.







May 12, 2018



An European Opportunity Beckons in Lieu of Trump's Walk from the Iran Nuclear Deal



United States (US) President Donald Trump's walk away from the Iran Nuclear Deal sets up an opportunity for Europe to regain some of its lost influence and might, as well as to attain a modern weaning from US defense reliance.







Whether or not Trump thought of any secondary effects in withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal, is unclear; yet his action has clearly provided Europe with a needed headway to re-assume some influence and might yielded under US protection since WWII. 







France and other European nations have condemned the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran as "unacceptable" in light of the signed 2015 international agreement that brought the Iran Nuclear Deal. Much of Europe's concerns over the US withdrawal are centered around the likelihood that European companies could be punished by the US for continuing to honor the Iran Nuclear Deal.







France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Marie, according to the BBC-News, best sums up Europe's justafix position: he said Europe had to defend its "economic sovereignty". He asked: "Do we want to be vassals deferring with a curtsy and a bow to decisions made by the US?" Le Marie called on the European Commission to look into possible retaliatory measures. Both Le Marie and his German counterpart, Olaf Scholz, will be seeking exemptions for European companies.







If granted US exemptions or not to sanctions of the Iran Nuclear Deal, Europe undoubtedly because of Trump's actions, has begun a process to defining itself in the modern era. And militarily, increases in military budgets could be expected across the continent as Europe is forced to wean itself from US reliant defense during the tenure of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C.







May 11, 2018



ASIA:



Human Reconciliation - to Recapturing Humanity's Purpose



Since it's Friday, I'll be brief. 







I submit that it must not ever be accepted that any one life is worthier than another. Neither should it be ever construed that any class, race nor nation is more fitting for survival, peace and happiness, at the expense of another.







Current wars, percolating conflicts, divisions and stark differences demand reconciliation as a requisite to peace, stability and happiness. Recapturing humanity's purpose and responsibility as good neighbors and keepers, must first start in all homes and communities. From every town, city and country, goodness, kindness and mercy could flow to the ends of the earth.







There will be no more big advances toward closer cohabitation and peace on planet Earth until major steps are taken to reconcile humanity's differences. Once these steps are completed, humankind would then enjoy life, liberty and happiness.







May 10, 2018



ASIA:



A Final Thought on the Iran Nuclear Deal



If history is perpetual while time still exists, then some aspects of history might appear as repeating from time to time. 







Therefore, in the wake of President Donald Trump's action to pull the United States (US) out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, a repetition of violence and war could be expected in the Middle East.







Israel's persuasive influence over the Trump decision will not gain the Jewish state any new friends in the region nor any closer to peace with its neighbors. On the other hand, the US withdrawal from the deal increases the likelihood of a wider conflict in Syria which could eventually transcend to other borders.







The scab over old wounds in the Middle East will now fall faster especially now that both Israel and Iran are already exchanging artillery fire with each other in the Syrian war theater. 







Greater conflict in the region could be slowed or delayed should European nations muster a deep cooperative association with Iran. However, such a feat will not be an easy task since European nations and businesses may face US sanctions for dealing with Iran.







Historical threats bearing deep wounds are today more plausible in the Middle East in the aftermath of the US pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. The full effects of Trump's action will become known with the passage of time.







May 09, 2018



ASIA:



Trump's Isolationism Maps a Course to Collision with Traditional Allies



United States (US) President Donald Trump withdrew the Republic from the international pact known as the Iran Nuclear Deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in 2015 to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities.







In pulling the US out of the international pact signed between Iran, the US, the United Kingdom (UK), France, China, Russia and Germany, Trump has underscored an unprecedented US isolationist position. As a result, the president has pointed the US toward a collision course with allies, who have expressed an intent to honor the signed Iran treaty. 







Having the lone support of Israel and Saudi Arabia to reimposing harsh sanctions on Iran, Trump has left open to skepticism any signed US treaty as he prepares to meet with North Korea's leadership, seeking some kind of denuclearization deal. Trump has also expressed an intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement of Climate Change.







But Trump's withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal does not kill the international agreement. Instead, he has confirmed a growing US isolationism, given the fact that the leaders of France, the UK and Germany, have been quick to issue a joint statement affirming their commitment to the international nuclear pact.







"Together we emphasize out continuing commitment to the JCPOA", the European leaders said in a statement released in the UK after telephone consultations between Theresa May of the UK, Emmanuel Macron of France and Angela Merkel of Germany. "This agreement remains important for our shared security," France 24 reported, citing the joint European statement.







"We urge the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPOA can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal," the joint European statement read.







France's President Emmanuel Macron, has said he regretted Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear pact. Macron's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian declared: "There's an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still here." Similarly, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas contends:"We will try to keep alive this important agreement, which ensures the Middle East and the world as a whole are safer". Also, European Union (EU) Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini has declared: "The European Union is determined to preserve it" (the deal) and "Together with the rest of the international community, we will preserve this nuclear deal."







While China expressed regret over Trump's action, Russia said it was deeply disappointed. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to France 24, "There are no - and can be no - grounds for breaking" the deal..."The United States is undermining international trust in the International Atomic Energy Agency."







Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in response to Trump's withdrawal confirmed: "I have ordered the foreign ministry to negotiate with the European countries, China and Russia in the coming weeks. If we achieve the deal's goals in cooperation with other members of the deal, it will remain in place."







Yet, while European nations, Russia and China seek to maintain the Iran Nuclear Deal, it remains highly likely that Trump's isolationism would collide with the policies of traditional allies as they seek to engage a Trump sanctioned Iran.







May 08, 2018



ASIA:



Trump's Decision Day on the Iran Nuclear Deal



United States (US) President Donald Trump has said that he will render his decision as to whether or not the US will honor the Iran Nuclear Deal today at 2:00 p.m. 







The drawn out process to his decision has resembled a made-for-television soap opera, in which Trump has lavished in the suspense as being the sole-controller of the fate of an important swath of global security. He has often criticized the President Barack Obama era Iran Nuclear Deal as insufficient in spite of the fact that it has the global support of the European Union (EU), China and Russia. The accord signed between global leaders and Iran limits the Islamic Republic's capabilities to attaining a nuclear bomb.







That global security is crucial and not a ratings guided made-for-tv production, will therefore soon become a reality following Trump's decision. 







A CNN poll published earlier this morning revealed that a majority Americans support remaining in the Iran Nuclear Deal, but with the same token, a majority of Americans did not vote for Donald Trump to be president.







Based upon Trump's criticism of the deal and the exhibited disdain Israel has shown toward the pact, many political pundits believe Trump will walk away from the international accord. He could. But that would be too easy and non-dramatic for Trump. 







Chances are that he would seek to exact his own version of the international treaty upon Iran as requisite to keeping the deal. However, Iran has proclaimed that the deal either stays as is, or is void. 







Whatever Trump's decision might be, global stability will be affected. Risky predictions that Iran's government could implode in the absence of the Nuclear Deal is a dangerous gamble to make, for in lieu of a somewhat moderate government, Iran could resort into the hands of hardline religious clerics giving rise to even greater instability in the Middle East and elsewhere.







Donald Trump is the antagonist and protagonist of the upcoming drama. He alone, apparently, will decide. We hope and we wish for global stability and cohesion, yet we might be facing turbulent times. Peace and goodwill to all.







May 07, 2018



ASIA:



An Illness in India - the Pervasion of Child Rapes



There is an illness in India that has been festering for sometime that demands a culture reformation in order to stop and to annihilate it. That illness is the deviant rape and murder of children, some as young as barely months-old and spanning to teenage girls and women.







The pervasion of this illness has reached such a fever that India has now made it legal to sentence perverts to death for the execution of such violent sexual crimes against children.







For the second time in as many days, the BBC-News reported earlier today, of yet another Indian girl, who remains in critical condition in a hospital in the eastern state of Jharkhand, with burns over 95% of her body after she was raped and set on fire. The 17-year-old girl reported chided a suitor, who told police he wanted to marry the girl but she wasn't ready - the result, he raped and set her on fire alive, another violent sexual crime against a young woman.







This most recent crime against the teenage girl in the eastern Indian state, comes following the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl on Sunday. She was burned alive.







Back in January, an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kashmir was gang raped, drugged and murdered which caused great outrage and demands for law changes. Even members of India's ruling party have been charged in connection with at least one rape.







Indian Nobel laureate Kaliash Satyarthi has described the number of reported cases of rape and sexual abuse against children in India as a "national emergency". Last month as pressure was placed on the Indian government to toughen the punishment for sexual predators against children, Satyarthi noted that there were some 100,000 cases of child rape and abuse pending before the Indian courts. 







Pointing out the damaging effects of such deviant crimes, he proclaimed: "Each time a daughter is raped and killed, India's soul is raped and killed." And India's soul continues to be raped and killed because its culture has tolerated for far too long such violence and abuse against young girls and older women. 







Sadly, tougher punishment for deviant crimes against children will not suffice India's illness. A cultural reformation would be a good step toward eventually curing India's illness of the pervasion of sexual crimes against children.







May 04, 2018



ASIA:



To the Weekend...



There comes a time when the seriousness of current affairs are best solved by slowing all processes and allowing for longer periods of thought...



Thus, the weekend beckons. To peace, to love and to be, I wish you well...







May 03, 2018



ASIA:



The Deal Sufficies - Resting the Case for the Iran Nuclear Deal



The pact between world powers and Iran that limits Iran's nuclear capabilities is sufficient to ensuring a more stable global environment. 







In lieu of the Iran Nuclear Deal, I submit that our already and growing insecure world, would become even more volatile. To renege upon the declared international pact would be dooming these times and future years to grave instability.







As it stands, the Iran Nuclear Deal offers the hope of being able to be improved upon within the years of the pact. It encourages and engages Iran economically and politically as an invitation to accepting wider international norms and customs. Five or seven or 10-years down the road into the deal, Iran would be able to recognize and to appreciate its international cooperation to a point where it would be willing to extend and amend the pact toward even greater global stability.







Iran, once benefiting from the cohesiveness of global cooperation, would not want to revert back to any economic difficulties of the past. Thus, Iran would then easily enter a Part II of the nuclear deal. But to reach that point, the present Iran Nuclear Deal must stand.







Moreover, those entities inviting nullification of the Iran Nuclear Deal, should answer the single question as to whether or not the world would be more stable without the pact. I submit not. Therefore, the deal should stand or the insecurity price will be paid for killing it. 







May 02, 2018



ASIA:



A Long March Toward the Dimming US Beacon of Opportunity



Asylum seekers are amassing at the United States (US) border with Mexico. They are seeking fulfillment of a democratic promise they have believed for many years that the US stands for all people in spite of color, creed and religion.







Some asylum seekers have traveled in excess of 3,000 miles to get to the promised land of opportunity and of hope. They have traveled, according to CNN, by bus, by train and on foot to flee economic hardship and violence in places like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. 







These are the people of the so called "Caravan" - journeying to the US in search of that beacon of hope which every modern US president, with the exception of Donald Trump, has always kept a glow in honor of democracy and of humanity.







At the US border, however, the people of the "Caravan" are encountering a cold reception of the reality of a changed US policy toward new immigrants.Things are not what they used to be. There is a rising anti-immigrant culture in the US. 







As scores of asylum seekers camp out in tents at the US border at Tijuana, Mexico, only eight were allowed into the US processing center on Tuesday.







More asylum seekers will come soon. They too will become encamped at the US border hoping for faster processing of their asylum claims. Yet, like those already amassing at the border, new arrivals will meet the sad reality that the beacon of hope the US once boasted of offering, has dimmed significantly, thus holding out very little promise that they will ever get to live the American Dream, nor the opportunity to love and to serve the US. 







May 01, 2018



ASIA:



No Iran Nuclear Deal - Higher Instability, Higher



To inflict preventable complexities and their effects upon generations of nations for failing to secure a rational vehicle and route to global stability, would be a failing of these times by our people.







Therefore, in spite of Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu's power point presentation yesterday, offering 55,000 pages and another 55,000 files on 183 CDs of Iran's ambition/allegation to "Project Amad" - to acquire a nuclear bomb; there is only one question the global community needs to answer regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal: Is the world more secure with it, or without the Iran Nuclear Deal?







I argue and I submit that the Iran Nuclear Deal signed by world powers and Iran, represents a better world atmosphere of stability. In lieu of it, there will be a higher level of global insecurity spanning national borders to cities and towns should an excessively punished Iran be forced to illicit and rogue sources to fulfill its needs.







If any disdain a nation holds onto another is such that the disdainer would seek to continue the violence of periods of great instability, then the disdainer is guilty of rendering unsolvable complexities and all the accompanying effects onto future generations.







Explicitly then, the Iran Nuclear Deal represents a working vehicle to better world security and cooperation; therefore it should stand.







April 30, 2018



ASIA:



A Call for Re-Elections in Italy - Eurosceptic Parties Unable to Form Government



The Italian election of March 4, 2018, ended in a hung parliament since the major vote getters - anti-establishment and Eurosceptic parties, failed to win a clear majority of the seats in the Italian Parliament. 







The party of former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was badly beaten winning only 122-seats in the 630-seat parliament.







Today, almost two-months after the election, Eurosceptic and anti-establishment parties that won most of the seats, are unable to form a government hereby creating stalemate in the European Union (EU) nation. 







Therefore, the leader of the  Five-Star Movement whose party emerged as the biggest single seat winner, has called for snap elections in June.







As reported by France 24 earlier this morning, Luigi Di Maio of the 5-Star, who ran an anti migrant and Eurosceptic platform that won his party 227-seats, has called for elections in June. He made the announcement on Facebook: "At this point for me there is no other solution we have but to go back to the polls as soon as possible," France 24 reported.







He also called upon the leader of the anti-migrant center right League, Matteo Salvini, whose coalition of parties won 265 seats in the March 4 election, to join him in supporting a snap election in June. Both Di Maio and Salvini have failed to agree on a composition of a new government in Italy since the Mach 4 vote.









April 29, 2018



ASIA:



The Enduring Tragedy of Gaza and of the Palestinian People



A 15-year-old Palestinian boy, shot as he ran away from Israeli forces on Friday during a "Great March of Return" protest on the border of Gaza and Israel, died on Saturday. The youth's death is indicative of an enduring and seemingly perpetual tragedy of Gaza and of the Palestinian people for survival and for life against the hardline shooting-of-protesters policy of Israel.







Forty-two Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and another 2,000 wounded since March 30, when the "Great March of Return" protests were started by Palestinians along the fence with Israel, to press for a return of lands and homes lost to Israel during the Jewish state's war with Arab neighbors, 1948-9.







According to a Reuters report, United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein called the loss of life deplorable and he confirmed that a "staggering number" of injuries had been caused by live ammunition.







More than two-million Palestinians are cramped onto a narrow slit of coastal land called Gaza Strip, where unemployment and poverty are rampant. Palestinians on the strip are barred from free and ease of travel by Israel. 







With deteriorating conditions in Gaza amid a breakdown of peace talks between the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Israel and the United States (US), Palestinians are becoming increasingly frustrated per any prospect to independence. 







Violence and uprisings could continue leading up to May 15, when the "Great March of Return" protests end on the "Naqba" of "Catastrophe", the day marking the event in the war of 1948-9 when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven off their lands by the Jewish state.







Until some permanent mutually agreed decision is made regarding the independence of Palestine and the rights of its people, tempered along with the security of Israel, the tragedy of Gaza and of the Palestinian people will continue.









April 28, 2018



ASIA:



The Death of British Toddler Alfie Evans and a Gross Overreach of the British Courts



British toddler Alfie Evans, 23-months-old, died at 2:30 British time, earlier this morning. He had been hospitalized much of his short life with a degenerative brain condition. Born in May 2016, he entered the hospital in December 2016. I pray for the comfort of his parents and loved ones. May Alfie travel very well. 







The terminally ill youngster had become the face of an international effort to save his life and to keep him on life-support at a Liverpool, United Kingdom, hospital. He died today after being taken off life-support on Monday - meaning that the toddler endured in a prolonged vegetative state for five-days before succumbing to a fate of death.







But what makes the death of this toddler troublesome and heart wrenching is the legal wrangling his parents and supporters contested with the hospital to keep the boy on life-support and the rulings from British courts against them, including an overreach by judges to prevent the boy from leaving the UK to seek desperate treatment elsewhere.







Doctors determined there was no hope for little Alfie. They sought to remove him from life-support to which his parents objected and petitioned the British courts for relief. The courts ruled against the parents. The parents appealed and lost. The parents, after the father sought counsel with Pope Francis in Rome, again petitioned the courts for relief to remove their child from the UK to Italy for treatment. The courts denied the desperate bid citing the patient's irreversible condition and a claim moving him might cause harm, based upon medical testimony. 







The court, in my unchangeable opinion, overreached its authority in denying the right of Alfie's parents to seek medical attention overseas even though the treatment might not have saved the toddler's life. But who knows? There's only one God and as far as my education goes, and the last time I checked, God didn't wear a robe or scrubs.







Taken off life-support on Monday, Alfie died today, Saturday. Pope Francis Tweeted a couple-hours ago: "I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace."







Explicitly, medical science in Alfie's case suggests Alfie would have died in spite of any medical treatment. Yet, while the British court might have rendered just judgment in ruling with the hospital that he'll be taken off life-support, I argue and hereby submit that the British court overreached its authority in denying the parents of Alfie their right to remove the boy from the UK. 







Parental choices in all efforts to saving and safeguarding children, even if fruitless, must never be surrendered to or taken away by any court. Parents must be given all opportunities to utilizing all means necessary to saving a child's life.







I hate to consider the likelihood, but had Alfie parents been of the nobility or the gentry, would the British courts have ruled in the same manner per travel out of the UK to seek desperate treatment? 







April 27, 2018



ASIA:



"Planting Peace and Prosperity" - the Koreas Meet in a Historic Summit



North Korean President Kim Jong-un crossed the demilitarized zone (DMZ) earlier today and entered South Korea for a summit with President Moon Jae-in. Kim became the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea since the Korean War, 1950-53.







With a jovial step across the demarcation line separating the two Koreas to meet Moon, Kim joined his counterpart of the South in ushering a new era of pledged peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula. 







When Kim entered the South where he was welcomed by Moon, moments later, he cheerfully held Moon's hand and escorted him onto the North side of the demarcation line before the two returned to the South for their historical summit.







Kim and Moon signed the "Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula" and agreed to work to rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons. "The two leaders declare before our people of 80 million and the entire world there will be no more war on the Korean peninsula and a new age of peace has begun," the declaration said.







Furthermore, the two leaders agreed to turn the armistice that ended the Korean war in 1953 into a peace treaty by the end of this year. No peace treaty was signed at the conclusion of the Korean war, thus, technically, today, North and South remain in state of hostility. Kim said he and Moon agreed to work to prevent a repeat of the peninsula's "unfortunate history" in which progress had "fizzled out." Moon concurred he and Kim had "fired a flare at the starting point" of "a new history vis-a-vis peace, prosperity and North-South relations." 







The historic meeting today between the two Koreas was a culmination of a surprising good and mutual relationship the nations struck at this year's Winter Olympics in South Korea. After an invitation from the South, both North and South paraded an a sole nation under a lone flag at the games. They also competed together as one team in ice-hockey.







Today's pledge for peace and prosperity between the nations also called for an end to "hostile activities"; changing the DMZ into a "peace zone" by ending propaganda broadcasts; an arms reduction on the peninsula pending easing of military tension; a push for four-way talks involving the United States (US) and China; organizing a reunion of families left divided by the Korean war; connecting and modernizing railways and roads across the border; and for further joint participation in sporting events including this year's Asian games, the BBC-News reported.







So history duly records that on this April 27, 2018, after 65-years of deep rifts and recent military threats of nuclear war, North and South Korea have come together to pledge peace, prosperity and denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. And as symbolic as the planting of a pine tree with water and soil from both sides, North Korea and South Korea appear united. 







April 26, 2018



ASIA:



In Support of the Iran Nuclear Deal



Years of sensitive negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and World powers -  the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), France, Germany, China and Russia, culminated with a signed agreement between the parties in 2015 that limits Iran's nuclear bomb capabilities.







The agreement has brought a measure of stability to the Middle East and the wider world as Iran's trajectory to acquiring a nuclear bomb, has been curtailed. Moreover, if Iran violates the agreement, the global pact contains the mechanism to reimposing economy-crippling sanctions. European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has confirmed that Iran has not violated the agreement.







Yet, because US President Donald Trump does not like the deal, which he considers too lenient on Iran, he wants to change or scrap it. If the suspicions of French President Emmanuel Macron are true that Trump will ditch the agreement in May of this year, then Trump would in essence be contributing toward Middle East and world instability. 







Any deal is better than no deal. That the Iran Nuclear Deal holds the provision for punishment upon any violation thereof, is more than sufficient reason to support the treaty.







To ditch the deal just because it is not pleasing to one president, is preposterous. If such undertakings had to be taken each time a particular head of a nation does not like something, then our would would be mired in perpetual chaos. 







Therefore, with no violations to the pact, the Iran Nuclear Deal deserves support so that this element of international cooperation could mature toward greater stability in the Middle East and the wider world.







April 25, 2018



ASIA:



The Iran Nuclear Accord - A Done Treaty or Amendable?



Opposition from United States (US) President Donald Trump to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ( the Iran Nuclear Deal), which was signed back on July 14, 2015 and aimed to curb Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, has placed the life of the treaty in peril, thus raising greater tensions in the already volatile Middle East.







The Nuclear Deal was signed by Iran and the P5+1 countries of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The accord limited Iran's  nuclear program and enhanced monitoring of Iranian nuclear actions in exchange for relief from nuclear sanctions, which according to some reports, cost the Iranian people some $160 billion in oil revenue between the years 2012-16 alone.







European Union (EU) policy chief Federica Mogherini observed in October, 2017 that Iran had not violated the pact. She also insisted the deal could not renegotiated even by the US. 







The deal limited the amount of centrifuges needed to enrich uranium at Iran's Natanz site to no more than 5,060 of the oldest and least efficient centrifuges at the site. Back in July 2015, Iran had some 20,000 centrifuges at the site. The deal also called for Iran's uranium stockpile to be reduced by 98 percent and that Iran would retain no more than 660 pounds of uranium for 15-years and keep the level of any enriched uranium at 3.67 percent, and not at the 90 percent enrichment needed to make a bomb.







Iran also agreed that for 15-years it would have 24-days to comply with any International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requests for monitoring. 







An IAEA report found that until 2003, Iran had conducted a "coordinated effort" on a "range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device", but after 2009, there were "no credible indications" of nuclear weapons development in Iran, the IAEA board of governors report stated.







However, during his campaign for president and in his short tenure as president, Trump has criticized the Iran Nuclear Deal as being too lenient. [Keep in mind that History clearly records harsh punishment of a nation and the ensuing calamity of WWII.]  He has threatened to reimpose sanctions on Iran on May 12 unless the US Congress and European powers fix what he has called "disastrous flaws" with the Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran opposes changes to the treaty.







French President Emmanuel Macron, visiting Trump in Washington, DC, this week, also appear to support changes to the Iran Nuclear Deal.







However, greater consideration should be given to the scope of what changing an international agreement would imply. If seven parties have signed an agreement, then, can one or two privy parties legally amend the pact over objection from the subject of the accord? 







I say no. Only if the subject of the pact agrees to any changes, then amendments can be done. However, the pact could be voided. But for now, the Iran Nuclear Deal is legal. And in reality, a voided Iran Nuclear Deal will definitely not ease tensions in the Middle East, or the world in general. 







April 24, 2018



ASIA:



Toward Recapturing Humanity's Sense of Purpose



That apparent loneliness, a disruptive love affair or a non-fitting social predicament could spark the stark barbaric episodes of violence and terror witnessed in recent years, is preposterous, appalling and certainly evidential of a larger lost of purpose and sense of being on the part of some individuals.







Yesterday's crimes against the people of Toronto, Canada, by arrested perpetrator, Alek Minassian, 25, hold all the hallmarks of yet another example of a loner with difficulties forging relationships with others and erupting into a mass killing of innocents not responsible for the perpetrator's personal shortcomings and frustrations. 







Alek Minassian drove a rented van into pedestrians on the streets of Toronto yesterday. When his trail of mayhem had concluded, he had killed 10 people and injured another 15. He appeared in a Canadian court earlier today on 10-charges of premeditated and 13-counts of attempted murder. Toronto authorities have summaily ruled-out religious radicalism as any trigger for the horrific tragedy upon the people of city suggesting that there was no connection to foreign radical groups.







But unconfirmed reports have linked the 25-year-old Minassian as an admirer of socially-challenged mass murderer, Elliot Rodger, 22, who went on a shooting and driving rampage in Isla Vista, California back on May 23, 2014. Rodger killed six people and injured 14 in that attack. He had complained of difficulties forging relationships with girls in spite of driving a luxury car and coming from a family of some wealth and fame.







Canada's CBC has reported Minassian former school classmates describing him as a loner often seen by himself in spite of an alleged brilliance with computers.







But why are socially awkward people resorting to gross crimes against innocents who are not responsible for their failings? 







Obviously, such depraved individuals are void of any life-purpose and are definitely lacking of any sense of being and care of or for humanity. 







Therefore, in going forward, communities should continue to employ all efforts to recapturing humanity's sense of purpose within such exposed individuals. Hence, a little phrase of life-encouragement to strained individuals could add up to a big interaction that averts a future rage of violence from such deeply troubled souls.







April 23, 2018



ASIA:



Emmanuel Macron's Direction - Solidity and Resilience over Sharp Complications



French President Emmanuel Macron will become United States (US) President Donald Trump's first foreign state visitor tomorrow. 







The visit, which upon its face reinforces and affirms more than a-two-century-year-old deep, cooperative and allied kinship between the two Republics, denotes the solidity and resilience of Macron and the French people, yet it could spell sharp political complications for the French leader.







Like the "French Defense" in the game of chess, Macron's play with Trump has hope to solidity and resilience of his new adventurous and early overstretching tenure as French President. However, as the "French Defense" holds a weakness in a cramped pawn blocking the development of a crucial bishop, Macron's affair with Trump could lead to sharp complications.







Setting off to dine with the not too popular Trump as French rail and flight disruptions overlap in his country, could be a costly gambit for Macron. While the French Parliament has taken the first step in approving a railway reform bill, the root of France's present labor issue and the rolling strikes, still continue across the country, France 24 reported earlier today.







Moreover, according to France 24, combined with the rolling rail strikes, a walkout at flag carrier Air France over wages on Monday, are the sternest challenge yet faced by new youthful President Macron. Also a new immigration bill dealing with restrictions and eases for refugees which has generated much debate for and against the measure, remains very fluid in France.







Yet, Macron has acted to show up strong French-US relations instead of being pinned at home amid a continuing labor strike. Attitudes in France appear to be waning per support for the strikers, thus affirming Macron's decision to solidity and resilience over any foreseeable sharp complications.







April 22, 2018



ASIA:



Earth Day 2018 - Toward Ending Plastic Pollution by 2020



Today is Earth Day 2018 - a time normally allocated to celebrating our Planet Earth. 







Yet, given the reality of our times with direct and debilitating pressures place upon the environment, this Earth Day can hardly be taken as a celebration, but rather, as a global call for action toward the protection of our sole inhabitable Planet Earth.







This year's Earth Day theme to ending plastic pollution by 2020 is most fitting amid research that confirms the existence of global plastic pollution across lands and oceans. That of some 300 million tons of plastics sold each year, 90 percent ends up in landfills, in oceans and in our bodies, is more than enough evidence to force the global community into action to reduce plastic pollution.







Researcher Marcus Eriksen of the 5-Gyres Institute has convincingly supplied enough data confirming the widespread of plastic and microplastics in a wide swath of our seas. Marine life remains under threat from consumption of these harming materials. Confirmed in the food chain, human effects thus become inevitable.







Therefore, to save our Planet Earth and  ecosystems for future generations, this Earth Day 2018 is a good start for greater human protection and consciousness of the environment. As a dear environmentalist neighbor, Lilla Schottner has reminded us: "Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! In this order." Happy Earth Day!







April 21, 2018



ASIA:



Toward Full Rectification to Documenting Britain's Windrush Generation



Tempers in the United Kingdom (UK) have flared in recent weeks after threats and attempts were made to deport, to deny benefits to and to not fully recognize a generation of Britons, who immigrated to the shores of their colonial master, from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1971.







British reports have confirmed the denial of residency papers, medical benefits, employment and other services to these Brits - now referred to as the  Windrush Generation. 







This generation of mainly Caribbean-born Brits, mainly hail from the islands of Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. The first documentation of their entry into Britain are aboard the ship Empire Windrush, which sailed into the Tilbury Docks, Essex, England, on June 22, 1948. The passengers were mainly workers welcomed into the UK to fill an acute labor shortage after World War II. The ship, according to British records, carried 492 passengers - many of them children, the BBC-News reported. There are now more than 500,000 people resident in the UK who were born in a Commonwealth country who arrived in Britain before 1971.







Over the decades since, some of those passengers received their British residency papers and many didn't, especially those who were children traveling on the passports of their parents. 







So amid present tightened immigration policies in the UK, some of the Windrush generation and their children have found themselves exposed to deportation and denied resident rights because of a lack of documentation in support of their British citizenship. 







Members of the Caribbean delegation of Commonwealth government leaders meeting in London in the past week have had to insist upon a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the issue of the Windrush Generation. At first May declined, but eventually caved to pressure and held the meeting.







At the conclusion of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting yesterday, Theresa May has since apologized and insisted the government was not "clamping down" on Commonwealth citizens. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has also apologized for the "appalling" way the Windrush Generation had been treated. 







This Windrush Generation of Brits is a strongly patriotic group, who long ago pledged and served the British Crown without any hesitation. They left family, friends and lives behind in the Caribbean to embrace British society. Their exit from the Caribbean also contributed to the "brain-drain" of the developing region. Nurses, teachers, artisans, professions and menial workers were all part of the group that entered England.







Therefore, Theresa May's government must do the utmost to rectify the documenting as British citizens to the Windrush generation.







April 20, 2018



ASIA:



U.S. Students will Protest Gun Violence Again Today on the 19th Anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre



Students in the United States (US) will again today walk out of their classes in protest of gun violence. The action comes on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, Jefferson County, Colorado, April 20, 1999. 







Two student perpetrators opened gunfire upon fellow students at Columbine High School at 11:19 a.m. on that fateful day back in 1999, when the carnage was over, 12 students were killed along with one teacher and 24 other students were injured in the massacre. The perpetrators killed themselves.







In the wake of that 1999 massacre, more shootings have occurred across the US in spite of continuous protest by children to demand political action to curb the prevalence and ease of availability of guns used to perpetrate horrific crimes upon young people. 







In 2007, at Virginia Tech, in the state of Virginia, 33 students died in another massacre that also injured 25; in 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, 28 first graders and people were killed in yet another massacre; in 2015, 10 people died and nine were injured in a massacre at Umpqua Community College, in Oregon; in 2005 at red Lake High School, in Minnesota, 10 people died and seven were injured in another school massacre; and recently, on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 17 people died and 14 were injured in yet another mass shooting at a US school. And yes, there have been other school mass shootings over the years.







But ever since this year's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Florida, a new class of student-activists has emerged bent on keeping pressure upon US lawmakers to tighten gun laws to prevent future gun tragedies.







Today's students walkout to protest gun violence, is an example of the coordinated and effective activism of today's youth in their determined efforts to end gun violence so that all children could be accorded the opportunity to live, learn and graduate without fear of violence from guns. Students who will not walk out of classes are being asked to wear the color orange in solidarity with the student movement.







April 19, 2018



ASIA:



Miguel Diaz-Canel Rises - Cuba's Next Episode Dawns Post-Castro



Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, an electrical engineer, has been elected the new President of Cuba. He becomes the 19th president of the Caribbean nation, thus replacing a two-generational leadership by the Castro brothers, revolutionaries Fidel and Raul, who successfully wrangled the nation away from the dictator Fulgencio Batista back in 1959. 







The silver-haired Diaz-Canel (the shortened surname he will commonly use), has ascended to Cuba's leadership on the eve of his 58th birthday from the position of First Vice President - a post he held since 2012, before he stood as Education Minister since 2009. He was elected President earlier today by Cuba's 605 legislators.







Diaz=Canel's rise to power comes since joining Cuba's Communist Party back in 1997. He has been a long-time friend of Raul Castro, who has relinquished the presidency, but will stay on as First Secretary of the Communist Party until 2012.







So as a Castro-less presidency era beckons in Cuba, Diaz-Canel could be expected to carry on in the tradition of his aging, or dead revolutionary predecessors. However, overtime and following a consolidation of power, Diaz-Canel could point Cuba toward a modern economy encompassing technology and wider trade with more nations. Then, perhaps, he would extend a much needed olive branch to Cuban exiles.







April 18, 2018



ASIA:



The End of an Era in the Americas - A Castro-less Ruled Cuba Emerges



A notable and remarkable political era will come to an end in the Americas this week as Raul Castro, 86, President of Cuba, and brother of Revolutionary Fidel Castro, steps away from the leadership of the country, thus paving the way for a non-Castro to rule the Caribbean nation for the first time since 1959.







Meeting today and tomorrow in Havana, 605 Cuban legislators will select a new president along with 30-members for Cuba's State Council to run the country amid a faltering economy, which appeared robust three- years-ago under a new opening with the Barack Obama administration in Washington, but appears smothered today, under restraints from the Trump White House.







Fidel Castro ruled Cuba until 2008 when he turned the reins of power over to his brother Raul. Fidel died, November 25, 2016, at age 90. Raul will now step down. And by Friday, a new Cuban era will be ushered in, minus a Castro at the helm.







But history must chronicle and give an accurate and fair account of the profound impact the Castros, especially Fidel, have had upon Cuba, Latin America, the Caribbean, the entire Americas and the world in general. Though many in the United States (US), especially Cuban-Americans, and others will continue to harbor ill-opinions of Fidel for they have their individualistic experiences for such, I unapologetically declare that the good derived from Fidel's Cuba, way out-weights the bad.







Castro's exploits in Cuba from the fields of science and medicine to the assumption of social equality, created much pride in the people of the Americas and Africa. Castro's revolution told the region that it was possible to rule their lands without colonial domination and capitalist dictation. 







Yet, while the passage of time has revealed that Castro's great social experiment lacked economic vitality and true political freedom, history must still render accolades to Castro.







Persons born in the Americas in the 1960s and the 1970s will concur with my concluding commentary:







Born in the Caribbean in the 1960s, much of my early political ideology, like that of many other youth of the region in those times, was profoundly shaped and impacted by the likes of Simon Bolivar, Frantz Fanon, Jose Marti, Che Guevara, Yasser Arafat, Nelson Mandela, Mao Zedong, Kim II-sung and Fidel Castro. 







From this list, it is clear that as youths, much of our affection went out to revolutionaries and not individuals who 'toed-the-line'. 







The Haitian Revolution, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Cuban Revolution and other similar profound socio-economic and political movements by people across the world, were symbolic events of monumental glory to all who shared my political-school of thought. 







Cuba's Revolution was special. It was close to home. It showcased a revolutionary taking a stand on behalf of the people, the masses - the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. As youths of the Americas, this represented true grandeur - not Rome, not Greece, but Havana, a place close to home. Such was the impact of Castro upon us in the region at the time. These thoughts I leave for your consideration on this April date, 2018.







April 17, 2018



ASIA:



A French Reminder to Defend Democracy in Europe



Mindful of the existence of right wing, nationalistic and authoritarian elements in Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron has compassionately reminded European Union (EU) nations to defend democracy, in his first ever speech before the European Parliament, at Strasbourg, France, earlier today.







Macron, the youthful 40-year-old leader, urged the EU to renew its commitment to democracy. He observed, as reported by the BBC-News, that because of divisions, "there seems to be a European civil war" between liberal democracy and rising authoritarianism, where "there is an increasing fascination with illiberalism." 







Eurosceptics have risen in Italy. Authoritarianism is getting deeper in Hungary. And in Poland, a right wing government threatens the rule of law.







But the French President declared: " I don't want to belong to a generation of sleepwalkers that has forgotten its own past...democracy is a word with meaning which emerged from the battles of the past", he said referencing the benefits and developments democracy has ushered upon Europe since World War II.







Macron called for 'European sovereignty' to combat authoritarianism. "Faced with authoritarianism, the answer is not democratic authoritarianism but the authority of democracy," the French President affirmed. He urged EU nations to defend the values of liberty, equality and diversity that underpin the European model - one that is "unique in the world", French 24 reported.







The French President's compelling and compassionate defense of democracy before the European Parliament, prompted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to declare: "The true France is back." 







Macron's vision for Europe with support from a more cohesive and integrated EU could be successful in defending and protecting democracy even amid the prevalence of Russian meddling and the likes of Viktor Orban et al.







April 16, 2018



ASIA:



The Lawman and the President - Another Verse in these Unprecedented Times of Trump's Presidency



Former FBI director James Comey, fired by President Donald Trump, May 9, 2017, has been making the media rounds across the United States (US), promoting his new memoir: "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership", Flatiron Books; in which, according to media reports (for I have not read the book), he delivers a scathing moral assessment of Trump. 







"This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values...His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty," the New York Times reviewed Comey's book.







The BBC-News reporting on Comey's interview with the ABC television network's program 20/20, cites Comey as declaring Trump "morally unfit to be president". Comey told the program:"I don't buy this stuff about him (Trump) being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia." He added: "I don't think he's medically unfit to be president. I think he's morally unfit to be president."







Comey explained: "Our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are the core of this country. The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that."







The former FBI director's description of the president, which by the way, and starkly enough, is shared either verbally or quietly by many people, underscores the current unprecedented climate of the state of affairs surrounding the US presidency under Donald Trump. 







A seemingly unsettled rationale exhibited by this 45th president, barrages of Twitter tweets criticizing opponents - firing people and revealing intended military actions, along with an ongoing anti-immigrant policy, an isolationist stance per environmental agreements, controversy over any possible Russian connection, an ongoing criminal probe into his campaign for president, matters concerning past extramarital affairs and other questions, have remained fluid ever since Trump ascended to the High Office of President of the United States.







While the president rejects the lawman's assessment, it should be duly noted that Comey is no stranger to controversy either. Comey, confirmed by the US Senate on July 29, 2013, to become the 7th director of the FBI, raised eyebrows across the nation back on October 28, 2016, less than two weeks before the US Presidential elections, when he unexpectedly announced that his agency would investigate more emails linked to the private server of Hillary Clinton, who looked well on her way to becoming the first woman president. As history would have it, Clinton faltered at the polls and Trump won the election.







Comey's categorization of Trump and Trump's reaction to him as well as to other ongoing issues pertaining to the legitimacy of his presidency, all speak of an unprecedented time in the current affairs of the US Republic. 







April 15, 2018



ASIA:



A Self-Immolation in New York with a Useful Observation on Humanity



Famous rights attorney and environmentalist, David S. Buckel, 60, doused himself with a fossil fuel and set himself on fire in suicide, early yesterday morning, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York. Before his reported suicide, Buckel set notes to media houses explaining his actions along with observations and warnings to humanity.



The lawyer, who became famous through his championing of LBGT causes, reached a major pinnacle in his career as lead counsel in the case Brandon v. County of Richardson, in which he successfully argued that a Nebraska county sheriff was liable for failing to protect transgender Brandon Teena, who was murder in Fall City, Nebraska. Buckel engulfed himself in environmental causes in recent years.



In the suicide note the learned counsel left, he explained that he immolated himself using fossil fuel to symbolize the damage human beings were doing to the Earth. "Pollution", he said according to the New York Times which confirmed receiving his note at at 5:55 a.m., "ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather."



The note added: "My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves." He encouraged people to lead less selfish lives as a way to protect the planet. 



The New York Times also reported that Buckel's note discussed the difficulty of improving the world even for those who make vigorous efforts to do so. Noting that privilege was derived from the suffering of others, Buckel observed: "...many who drive their own lives to help others often realize that they do not change what causes the need for their help" and he rationalized that donating to organizations was not enough.



Sadly, though, in the self-immolation of a learned conflicted man, lessons for humanity could be had: the urgency to reduce greenhouse gases, the necessity to protect our shared environment, the need for empathy and a call to do more for those less fortunate. 



While suicide must never be condoned, I nevertheless venture to wish that David S. Buckel travels well and to thank him for his services to humanity.







April 14, 2018



ASIA:



Mission Not Accomplished - Syrian Children Will Still Die



The United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and France launched air strikes last night upon Bashar al Assad's Syrian installations in response to the regime's chemical agent attacks upon innocents. 







While the action of western powers must be commended as a means to deter Assad from using chemical weapons on civilians, and as US President Donald Trump hailed the operation as "mission accomplished", I beg to differ. Syrian children and civilians will continue to die at the hands of Assad and his cohorts in crimes against humanity.







Surgical attacks upon chemical weapons installations in Syrian are not sufficient to close the gross tragedy of the Syrian war. Once gain, while western powers must be commended for doing something rather than nothing in the face of an ongoing assault upon humanity in Syria, last night's operation did not go far enough to return civility to Syria and to its people.







If anything else, last night's western operation within Syria proves that it is within the scope of western nations to close the Syrian war and render justice and normalcy back to the Syrian children and people. It is possible to stop the Syrian carnage, but reacting nations must be willing to go farther to bring it to futurity.







Ending the Syrian war would also de-escalate another looming migration crisis for Europe. If chemical installations could be found, then so could Bashar al Assad, who stands as the determinant perpetrator of the Syrian tragedy. 







Syria's mission has not been accomplished. Finir la guerre! End the Syrian war!







April 13, 2018



ASIA:



Veritas Aequitas - Truth and Justice



Humanity's failings and all of its associated pressures, stresses and strains, could all be solved through a concerted effort to return to veritas aequitas - to truth and justice in all matters and issues.







Personal honor and truth in actions and justice, regardless of the circumstances, are requisites to peace, stability and continuity of the human species. In the absence of a broader adoption and pledge to such virtues, humanity will continue to descended into conflict, strife and political corruption that threatens the future of Planet Earth.







Henceforth, to reclaim humanity's responsibility and purpose, all systems of kleptocracy must be rejected and condemned. Truth, justice and honor should become the norm of the day. Veritas aequitas!







April 12, 2018



ASIA:



Toward Unchaining Syria



The proof of multiple usage of chemical agents by the Bashar Assad regime upon Syrians is damning. The suffered carnage of the Syrian people, including children, from eight-years of war, is self evident. The millions of people displaced internally and externally are starked. Yet, the chains of death and of a dying culture remain over Syria.







The proof France's President Emmanuel Macron has declared he has confirming Assad's government use of chemical weapons upon Syrians in the town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Syria, last weekend, ought to be more than sufficient to mount an international action to unchain the ring of death over Syria once and for all.







Actions to unchaining Syria should be decisive in ending the gross humanitarian failing that is the Syrian war, or at very least, to establishing spheres of peace within Syria so that its children and people could return to a life of normalcy free of the deadly interventions by Assad and his co-conspirators. 







More so than any other thing, Syrian must be unchained. Now is a ripe time to return Syria to its people free of Assad and Russian dominance. Unless it is quickly emancipated from the inflicted death grip of Assad, violent extremism will continue to permeate out of the Levant to transcend even wider borders. 







April 11, 2018



ASIA:



Russia Trumps Syrian Chemical Inquiry at the United Nations



Russia yesterday trumped a United Nations (UN) Security Council (SC) resolution that would have established a new investigative mechanism to identify those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria - Russia's twelfth veto of resolutions concerning Syria since the start of the eight-year-old war.







Drafted by the United States (US), the resolution would have filled the vacuum left by the expired mandate of the Organization for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM). That investigative means expired last November, according to the UN website. 







Russia, having super veto power at the UNSC, killed yesterday's draft with a "no" vote.







And in fairness to Russia, it's competing resolution on Syria was also defeated yesterday and so was a third it put forward concerning the work of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM).







Thus, it remains clear that under the present structure of the UN Security Council regarding super veto power, it becomes increasingly difficult to accomplish world peace unless all powers are on the same side. 







Therefore, the hour must be approaching for reforms within the UN to right the impotence of the international body to achieve peace and transparency in conflicts.







April 10, 2018



ASIA:



Urbanization - Our World in 2050



If United Nations (UN) projections hold true, then our world will be transformed into a mostly urban habitation by 2050. As a result, the race is on to establish sustainable cities to cope with human mobility and international migration.







This week's 51st Session of the UN's Commission on Population and Development (CPD), in New York City, New York, has already revealed that projections indicate that two out of every three people on Earth, will live in cities by 2050. Thus, the Session's 2018 theme is appropriately dubbed: Sustainable Cities, Human Mobility and International Migration. The meeting concludes on Friday, April 13.







Current world population counts some 3.4 billion people as living in the country out of a total population of 6.9 billion people worldwide - a roughly even disbursement ration of urban to country dwellers. According to UN figures, back in 1950, 746 million people lived in urban centers. At the end of this year, 2018, that figure will  soar to 4.2 billion people living in urban areas with another 2 billion people being added by 2050, bringing the world's total urban population to 6.3 billion - a lot of people.







Ninety-percent of the increase in urban population is expected to be concentrated in Asia and Africa. 







While the UN has noted that sustainable cities are gateways for people on the move, the international organization holds that well managed urbanization means better housing, productivity, opportunity, education and health care for city dwellers.







But sustaining massive super-populated cities will not be a walk in the park. Urbanization - our World in 2050, will demand precise and careful planning with regards to environmental impacts and increased social and political cohesion along with the greatest consideration of agriculture.







April 09, 2018



ASIA:



Migration - the Curse of Hospitable Governments



Migration has become the hot-button issue of these days. National challenges to migration from Germany, to France, to Greece, to Hungary, to the United Kingdom (UK) to the United States (US), to Italy, to Austria, to the Netherlands, to Belgium and elsewhere, have made deep impacts upon governments. 







To allow migration of stateless and displaced peoples appears to be poisoning progressive governments. And conversely, to prevent migration is fueling rightist leaning governments from of all places, the US, to include Italy, Hungary and Austria. 







Liberal-leaning governments that have dodged the curse for housing the stateless and the displaced, have witnessed their power bases decline as in the case of Angela Merkel's Germany. France continues to seek a balance in tempering hospitality against a national outcry over migration. Italy, Austria and Hungary have taken different positions.







In the  meantime, wars continue in Yemen and Syria and economic hardships and political turmoil continue to ravish northern Africa, as fresh clues to new conflicts emerge in Asia and elsewhere.







Migration is an issue that demands an immediate humanitarian response before the crisis deepens even further. Unless the causes for migration are fixed at their starting points - the home nations, then good governments will continue to be cursed for fulfilling their humanitarian responsibilities, while right wing movements of apathy doom humanity to even greater strife and conflict.







April 08, 2018



ASIA:



Another Chemical Attack Demands an End to the Syrian Tragedy



Another chemical attack has been inflicted upon the people of Syria by the government of Bashar al Assad - at least 70 people have suffocated to death, in this latest crime against humanity, perpetrated in the gross human failing that is the Syrian war.







Medical workers and activists in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Syria - the last rebel holdout of the eight-year war, have confirmed the suffocating deaths on Saturday with victims suffering convulsions and foaming at the mouth, symptoms of the use of a chemical agent. Another 1,000 Syrians have reported been injured in the event. 







Witnesses reported that the chemical attack, believed to be Sarin gas, which has been used before on civilians by the Assad regime, was dropped by barrel-bomb from a helicopter over the area. 







In 2013, rockets carrying Sarin gas were released by the Assad regime also upon Eastern Ghouta, killing hundreds, including many children. In April 2017, according to a BBC-News report, another Sarin attack killed 80 Syrians in the rebel held town of Khan Sheikhoun. The United Nations (UN) has held the Assad government responsible. Also in this year, 2018, reports have indicated the continued use of chemical agents upon civilians in Syria.







While UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres "is deeply concerned about violence in Douma, Syria", expressed via Twitter this morning, he also "calls on all parties to cease fighting" stating that "It is crucial that civilians be protected", but more so than a mere temporary ceasefire, the human cost of innocents in the seemingly perpetual war, clearly demands a full end to the violence.







Now is the hour for the sake of all civilians in Syria to end the tragedy of the war. Now is the time to establish spheres within Syria as a measure to full peace. Now is the necessity to end these mounting crimes against humanity by the Assad regime. 







April 07, 2018



ASIA:



To Re-capture a Faltering Rationality



Human development and cohesive continental-habitation have endured many trials. From the "Dark Ages" to "Enlightenment"; from slavery to emancipation; from the gross suffering of two World Wars to prolonged periods of peace; from colonialism  and imperialism to independence and the birth of republics; from times of blighted non-identity to periods of cultural and social revolutions; and from utter poverty to a time of plenty fueled by international trade and global economics.







Yet, in spite of the human experience and gains accomplished in modern times, even amid two hot wars in Syria and Yemen, today, a faltering rationality appears to have emerged in political leadership that threatens to halt or to reverse great social, economic and development gains made over the years.







More than everything else, including Russian meddling from the East to the West, the Donald Trump administration's insistence on invoking a trade war with China, stands as the biggest obstacle to the continuity of robust international trade and economic well being.







The fair and continuous operation of international trade remains the driving force of all global development. Trade deficits between nations arise out of supply and demand. That a nation runs a trade deficit with another, has never been sufficient evidence to ensue a trade war, so clearly, there must be another underpinning reason for the Trump's administration insistence on fighting with China over trade.







If deep concerns over the theft of intellectual property is the main focus of the Trump administration's fight with China, then that concern should be isolated and negotiated out of the wider spectrum of general trade in order to prevent a global economic meltdown.







However, if Trump's ploy of proposing more and more tariffs on Chinese goods is really meant to force China's hand to react by unloading much of the United States (US) Treasury securities it holds so that he may boast to his political base that he recaptured much of the US dept from Chinese hands, then Trump has opened an even larger risk of the general welfare of Americans and the globe in general. 







Marked abatement in world economic performance could lead to greater strife and a larger resurgence of terror and right wing groups, thus contributing to a broad destabilization of global security. A trade war between the world's two largest economies, is an irrational act to start.







Instead of a war on trade, all efforts to ensure the continued growth of the US and global economies should be set on recapturing a faltering rationality to global leadership and development.







April 05, 2018



ASIA:



On Global Leadership



Global leadership can no longer be defined by the size of a nation's military or upon its military budget. Although these two long-standing aspects have reigned as benchmarks to world leadership in the past, current affairs and conditions demand a new reasoning. 







Therefore, modern global leadership, it would seem, is now more than ever dependent upon the rationalness of a state's leadership, its steadiness, its commitment and adherence to international pacts and treaties, its successes at developing, improving and sustaining higher standards of living for its people and the wider world and its protection of the environment. 







In other words, non-environmentalist nations cannot be world leaders. Declining states cannot be world leaders. Isolationist states cannot be global leaders. States with constricting global investments cannot be world leaders. And states with impulsive reactionary leaders are also doomed from world leadership.







Clearly, the states that have signed onto international agreements to better the human and Planetary conditions and those committed in spearheading such efforts, epitomize world leadership. So are the states leading the efforts to resettle millions of the world's displaced people. 







Global leadership has been transformed from the days of the "Sea Power Theory". Leadership must now be defined by a nation's actions to cohesively  better its people and those of the wider globe along with its protection of the fragile environment on Planet Earth.







April 04, 2018



ASIA:



Fifty-Years Later - Equality and Justice Still Evade Many Blacks in America



Fifty-years-ago today, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His non-violent movement to spur civil and human rights to the American Black, was dealt a blow.







Yet, Dr. King, even in death, triumphed as many civil rights restrictions placed upon Blacks in America were legally removed. The vote was gained, education became wider as inter-state commerce opened up. Blacks gained a few favorable positions in government and industry, thus paving the way for Barack Obama to become the 44th President of the United States.







But today, full justice and equality still elude many Blacks in America. Too many innocent unarmed Black men are shot and killed by police, many of whom are not held responsible for the deaths. Too many Blacks remain incarcerated for crimes that whites are not jailed for. Economic opportunity remains absent in too many Black neighborhoods. Too few Black executives run major companies in America. A token Black, with non-Black views, occupy a Supreme Court seat and a lone cabinet position within the Donald Trump administration.







So fifty-years after Dr. King's death at the age of 39, some said racial practices condoned in the 1960s, remain a reality of today's America. "We shall overcome someday" must be defined as now is the hour. 







Hence, the question posed today in going forward to full justice and equality is: will the final push and movement for justice and equality resemble Dr. King's non-violence or not?







April 03, 2018



ASIA:



A Rising Dawn of an Uncertain Era



I will argue that any pre-2016 confidence, certainty and surety most people felt or appeared to have had, with regards to their own well being and that of the affairs of the wider world, have now declined in 2018 - brought to wrought, by stark political events and actions.







The decline in confidence and certainty as to the best human condition has been fueled by a now larger threat of a nuclear arms race, a United States (US) initiated trade war, Washington's seeming unprecedented retraction from the principles upon which the Republic was founded, a widening isolation, Russian meddling, the continuation of wars in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, the statelessness of Rohingya and Kurdish peoples, Brexit, the rise of the far right in Europe, ripening Asian conflicts and African and Latin American dictatorships.







Above all, I submit that Donald Trump's administration has sparked most of today's uncertainty along with Russian meddling. 







Under past governments in the US, democracy resonated from the halls of the US Capitol to transcend the whole world with hopes of justice, equality, opportunity and freedom. The bright beacon of liberty that shone from the US lighted the political thoughts and aspirations of tens of millions of people across the globe. But that said democracy appears flawed today especially expressed in the treatment and policies pertaining to immigrants.







Isolationist rhetoric and actions along with threats to unhinge signed pacts with other nations and partners from the Trump administration, has hastened a rising dawn of an uncertain era. From trade and environmental agreements to military cooperation with others, uncertainty on the part of the US, is the present climate. The confidence and respect the US received under prior presidents has been eroded. 







Even if all other things considered were waived, then a still deeper uncertainty arises from a brewing trade war with China that Trump has initiated. No one disputes a US trade deficit with China - a simple supply and demand reality. But US concerns per intellectual property matters are maybe best solved through rational negotiations and not via a trade war, which is a bad thing and not a good thing, as Trump has suggested. Consumers will be hurt and the global economy that has been robust could go into a free fall.







Instead of caving to US demands as Trump hoped, China yesterday fired back with tariffs on US products, including precious pork and wine, in response to Trump's imposed tariffs on Chinese products, thus affirming a rising dawn of an uncertain era with no telling of what tomorrow will bring. 







April 02, 2018



ASIA:



Toward the Re-engagement of Humanity



Planet Earth is a vast and expansive ecosystem. Yet, it is fragile - requiring constant care, attention and protection in order to sustain the continuity of the human species as well as the plant and animal kingdoms and the natural environment. 







Therefore, in order to protect the Planet's longevity, which is crucial to continuous habitation here, humankind must re-engage with the affairs associated to the health and the well being of our 'Bright Blue Marble'. 







Now is the hour for a re-engagement of humanity and not just toward protecting the natural environment, but more so, toward protecting the social environment and securing the rights and the freedoms of men and women to live happy and secure.







Humanity could restart its engagement of life on Earth by first adopting a more sincere empathy for those people who are suffering or displaced at this time. Greater consideration should be given to the victims of wars in Yemen and Syria with a view to bringing the two human tragedies to a close. A kinder hospitality could also be offered to the displaced, who have become dispersed across the seas in search of solace from turmoil in their homelands. A permanent state for the Rohingya people and the Kurds would also help in achieving greater stability across the globe.







All these things are possible, yet for them to become a reality, more people are needed to care and to demand an end to perpetual suffering and slaughter. These tasks are way within the scope of the human species. Hence, it should be resolved hereafter, that each member of the human race do a little bit more than yesterday in fulfilling an ultimate responsibility for the care and protection of people, animals, plants and other things, on Planet Earth.







April 01, 2018



ASIA:



On a Sunday...



That the written ultimate sacrifice offered on behalf of humankind, has resulted in what is our today, must also be taken to define the current condition of humanity.







From the United States (US), to the United Kingdom (UK), to Spain, to France, to Germany, to Italy, to Poland, to Austria,  to Russia, to Myanmar, to Gaza, to Syria, to Yemen, to the Americas, to Africa, to Asia and to other places, compelling evidence of the human condition exists.







Therefore, offered for consideration on this Easter Sunday, 2018; the question: is humanity doing all things necessary to fulfill and to honor the lordly sacrifice that was offered to pay for mankind's sins?




March 31, 2018



ASIA:



Blood over Land in Gaza - Palestinians Die at Protest



Palestinians are observing a day of mourning today following yesterday's killing of at least 17 by Israeli forces as Palestinians protested for a return to lands lost to Israel at its founding in 1948.







Another 1,400 Palestinians were injured during the "Great March of Return" near the Gaza border with Israel. The protest is expected to last six-weeks. 







More than 30,000 Palestinians participated in yesterday's march, which according to BBC-News reports, is aimed to assert what Palestinians regard as their right to return to towns and villages from which their families fled, or were driven out, when the state of Israel was founded in 1948.







After an emergency session at the United Nations (UN) Security Council (SC), the council condemned the violence in Gaza and called for an independent inquiry into the killing of the Palestinians - the most witnessed since the Gaza-Israeli war of 2014.







Palestinian-Israeli relations are not good, very much the same they have been for decades. Therefore, more Palestinian casualties could be expected as the "Great March of Return" continues into April and into May amid a tough hardline taken by Israel per any Palestinian approaches to border fences set up by Israel.







Moreover, the Palestinian-Israeli affair epitomizes the existence of non-rectified historical grievances that will continue to yield violence and instability until they are solved to the satisfaction of the involved parties.







March 29, 2018



ASIA:



In Honor of a Fallen French Hero - Full Condemnation and Rejection of Terrorism



As France honors a fallen gendarmerie who sacrificed his life so that hostages may live last Friday during a terror event at a supermarket in the south of France, that nation, the world and especially all immigrants and their sons and daughters, must renew a call for full condemnation and rejection of terrorism.







Terror remains an evil that threatens the sustainment of peace, security, stability and the good-naturedness of humanity's hospitality.







French Gendarmerie Nationale Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, 44, was savagely shot and stabbed by terrorist Radouane Lakdim, 25, after Beltrame gave up himself in exchange for a female hostage, during Lakdim's siege of a supermarket in Trebes, last Friday, March 23. Lakdim went on a rant of terror that day first carjacking a vehicle in Carcassonne, killing a passenger of the car, injuring the driver, shooting at jogging policemen and injuring one before assaulting the supermarket, killing a customer and a worker and taking hostages. Four people fell to Lakdim's terror and 15 were injured.







More innocents could have died last Friday had Beltrame not traded himself into the supermarket. French President Emmanuel Macron said Lt. Col. Beltrame "fell as a hero" showing "exceptional courage and selflessness."







But Beltrame did not have to die. If all people would condemn and reject terror, then cowardly exercises of any fallible ideology posing dangers to innocent people would not ever come to fruition.  







In France, as it is throughout Europe and elsewhere, such senseless self-centered acts of terror by flawed individuals must be denounced especially by immigrants and by their sons and their daughters. The likes of Radouane Lakdim send a horrific message of distrust of immigrants. 







And at a time when needy displaced migrants are seeking refuge in many lands, the likes of Radouane Lakdim, who was born in Morocco, but granted French citizenship in 2004, are poisoning the opportunities to hope for many deserving non radicalized migrants.







Therefore, and more so than before, it becomes explicitly necessary for all immigrants to condemn and to reject terror and to give up to the appropriate authorities, the likes of cowardly selfish individuals like Radouane Lakdim. 







May Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame travel well. 







March 27, 2018



ASIA:



The World Tomorrow



Optimistically, that there is yet life left on Planet Earth clearly offers hope of a world tomorrow - a world populated by young people with limitless dreams, broad ambitions and a ravenous passion for life and for survival on an ailing planet besieged by the negative impacts of man-made systems.







Realistically, angry-aging-dying men, war, suffering, violence, hunger, inequality, political meddling, the existence of nuclear weapons, autocrats, the erosion of human rights, the suppression of manifested destinies and a fragile environment, all warn of a looming doom in the absence of concerted efforts to save humanity.







Humanity's failure to correct, to atone and to make reparations for past wrongs, is contributing to perpetual global hostility in the same manner that generational grudges continue to wreck deep divisions upon social systems.







With regards to the natural environment, the latest World Bank Groundswell report, warns that climate change could force 140 million people to move within their countries' borders by 2050 because of drought, failing crops, rising sea levels and storm surges. 







While the stark World Bank study focused on Latin America, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, it pointed out that the worse case scenario revealed could be reduced by 80 percent if concerted action, including global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and robust development planning at the country-level, were implemented now.  So instead of 140 million people being adversely affected by the debilitating effects of climate change by 2050, the figure could be reduced by 100 million.







Therefore, if concerted action on climate change could ensure a natural environment in the world tomorrow, then necessary social, political and economic actions could also help in securing a peaceful and a more cohesive world tomorrow.







March 26, 2018



ASIA:



A German Arrest with Ramifications upon Present and Future Separatist Actions in Europe



[The following represents my unbiased analysis of events having full knowledge that what is expressed here, will upset some of my European associates. Yet, I write for my pen knows only the allegiances of justice, freedom, equality, humanity and logic.]







Germany authorities on Sunday, acting on a re-issued European warrant by Spain, arrested Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, as he transited through northern Germany from Denmark after he leaving Finland on Friday, where he conferenced and lectured. 







Puigdemont has been self-exiled in Belgium since the Madrid government arrested and jailed Catalan leaders following last October's referendum on Catalonia's independence. Madrid has charged Catalan leaders with sedition, rebellion and embezzlement because the leaders of the wealthy northeast autonomous region, dared execute a democratic referendum on independence against the directive of the Spanish government(or Crown).







No shots were fired in the Catalonia referendum. Catalan leaders never incited or invoked violence in holding the vote - a peaceful tool of any democratic system. Yet, Spain remains intent on punishing the leaders of the region for holding the democratic process, even in the absence of any armed rebellion.







Last Friday, in re-issuing the arrest warrants for Puigdemont and other Catalan leaders who have fled Spain, the Spanish Supreme Court also ruled that it would try 25 Catalan leaders, including Puigdemont, on rebellion and embezzlement charges that could result in lengthy prison-sentences. The court has also detained the Catalan leaders in Spain until their trials. 







Madrid's re-ignition of the Catalonia question that now puts Germany squarely in the middle of it, comes after Madrid wrestled control of the autonomous region away from its local leaders. A December election in the region that Madrid wrongly assumed would result in a rout of independence-seeking candidates and parties at the polls, backfired. Catalonians voted again for the sovereignty-seekers, thus frustrating the Madrid government ever further.







Instead of establishing a commission with Catalan leaders to address the grievances of the region with a view to peacefully and democratically re-affirming Catalonia's inclusion in Spain, Madrid has kept up its flawed intent to punish and to scapegoat Catalan's leaders at all cost. 







Madrid's action, I will continue to argue, sets a dangerous precedent per any present and future separatist movements in Europe because it sends the message that democratic, peaceful and non-violent efforts to any sovereignty will be punished, thus appearing to invite and to leave violent insurrection, as the only mode to any independence trials - an unwarranted likelihood in any jurisdiction.







Madrid is attempting to inflict undue punishment upon Catalan's leaders for their exercise of a democratic process. That Germany would detain Puigdemont and not allow him to continue to Belgium, exposes the Catalan leader of the danger of being extradited to Spain, where he believes he will will not get a fair trial, but would be subjected to cruel and undue punishment, something Germany must know about from the nation's gross punishment post-WWI, which contributed to the rise of the Nazis and WWII.







Spain holds the cards to ensuring that the Catalonia question does not leave Europe exposed to a future of armed insurrections over democratic processes.







March 25, 2018



ASIA:



A Youth Movement has Started to Redirect America's Current Political Trajectory



The March for Our Lives protest rally yesterday for stricter gun control laws that witnessed 800,000 youth and their relatives descend upon Pennsylvania Avenue NW, in Washington, DC,  and tens of thousands of other youth in another 800 locations across the United States (US) and around the globe, including Parkland and Miami; Florida, New York City, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; Boston, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; London, United Kingdom (UK) and Paris, France among other places, has affirmed the establishment of a youth movement in the US that could alter the current  trajectory of the American Republic.







Youth remains the vanguard of all beneficial social and political change in society - a fact overlooked by too many aging and dying lawmakers, who often dismiss the cries and demands of youth, as insignificant.







However, yesterday's showing by the sheer numbers of force of America's youth, joined by their international peers, confirms that our young people are a formidable demographic not to be ever neglected or dismissed as significant.







Yesterday's rallies confronted gun violence, but the passion and alliances of the youth could easily transcend to other issues of concern including the environment, which today's youth will inherit in a sick and feeble state from the seas to the air and the land.







While some social scientists might point out that it would take ten-years to identify whether or not the youth have really established a movement, I venture to differ. I hereby proclaim that that which I have borne witness, clearly affirms the presence of a new youth movement in America. If the movement is sustained, then one of its near impacts will be revealed at the polls this Fall in mid-term elections for the US Congress. 







These children, their parents, their relatives, their friends and their neighbors stand to mandate the adoption of a more favorable political platform and agenda demanded by yesterday's rallies, thus changing the current money-first over lives trajectory of the US political scape.  







March 24, 2018



ASIA:



March for Our Lives



Later this morning, my family and I will join hundreds of thousands of America's school-children, on the National Mall, here in Washington, DC, for the "March for Our Lives" event demanding action on gun control by lawmakers in the wake of far too many school shootings across the nation.







From the state of Colorado to Connecticut and other states in between and recently in the state of Florida, gun violence -  with innocent children as victims, has claimed too many lives in the United States (US). A recent display of 7,000 pairs of shoes on the lawn at the US Capitol building, was starkly indicative of the too large a number of children-victims from gun violence.







Too many lives, hopes, ambitions, passions and talents have been gunned-down as politicians appease the gun lobby instead of protecting the Republic's future - our children. 







Therefore, as a reminder and as a wake-up call to lawmakers and the presidency of the need for stricter gun control laws in the US, we will "March for Our Lives" today with a view that others may keep their lives tomorrow and beyond. 







March 23, 2018



ASIA:



China Strikes Back at Trump's First-Shot Trade War



China has signaled it would impose tariffs on $3billion United States (US) imports should both sides fail to resolve a trade dispute first-fired by Donald Trump's imposition of new tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products, and further compounded yesterday, with Washington's announced intent to impose another $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. 







World financial markets have reacted and are reacting negatively to a likely trade war involving the world's two largest economies: the US Dow and S&P indices dropped three-percent each yesterday, the Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan markets falling two-percent, with Japan's falling five-percent and Shanghai's three-percent also today. In a mean time, all major markets across Europe are also trending down today.







The cost of a trade war is already being reflected in market reactions. There could be no winners in a trade war. There will be many victims including regular citizens



in both countries who will inevitable have to pay more for goods and services. Moreover, the impacts of a trade war could also send global economic health into an illness dooming nation development into a decline.







Yet, per Trump's orders to levy heavy tariffs on China and to limit China's investment in the US technology sector based upon concerns that China has violated US intellectual property rights via restrictive licensing arrangements in China and cyber theft in the US, unless China yields and strikes a new agreement with the US that would appease the Trump administration, a trade war appears imminent. 







While the Trump administration apparently hopes China will eventually give in to its demands to close the trade gap between the two countries, China's reciprocal announcement of tariffs on US products indicate that Beijing might be willing to put a more formidable fight amid a background of its new economic wealth which is 17-times stronger than it was back in the 1990s when it caved in facing a possible trade war back in that time.







"China does not want to fight a trade war," its commerce ministry announced earlier today, "but it is absolutely not afraid of a trade war," it concluded.







March 22, 2018



ASIA:



The Pervasion of Plastics - a Widening Hazard to Marine Environment



A report for the government of the United Kingdom (UK) just identified the pervasion of plastics in the oceans as tripling by 2025 and posing a widening hazard to marine life and the natural environment as whole. 







Titled the "Foresight Future of the Sea", the report by the Office for Science released on Wednesday, declared that the oceans have seen "unprecedented change as a result of direct human activity and climate change".  It identified the rise of plastics in the oceans along with rising temperatures and sea levels and chemical pollution as some of the biggest problems the marine environment faces.







That 70 percent of marine litter as named by the report is now non-degradable plastic, and that these plastics would increase threefold between 2015 and 2025, clearly speaks of the catastrophic environmental hazard humanity faces from dumping plastics in the seas.







Explicit video documentation and scientific research have recently shown alarming amounts of plastics in large swaths of the world's oceans. Plastics within the systems of sea birds and fish-life further compounds the gravity of the impact of pollution on the marine environment. 







Therefore,  in order to do a better job to protecting the environment, it becomes vital for all nations to implement better usage and recycling methods for plastics.







March 20, 2018



ASIA:



The European Union (EU) - a Stabilizing Entity in a Twirling World



In spite of ripples in Hungary, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic and recently Italy, along with the forthcoming exit of the United Kingdom (UK), the 28-member European Union (EU) stands as a solid political and economic entity in a twirling agitated world.







Fortified within the security of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the EU offers western comfort to the continuity of democracy and to the political and economic stability and leadership of the world amid a growing policy of isolation by the Donald Trump administration in the United States (US).







Not perfect by any measure as marked by Eurosceptics in Italy, non-union sentiments in Hungary, Austria and Poland, along with a Vladimir Putin liking leadership in Czech Republic, the EU's political, economic and integration model holds borderless opportunities to the further development and prosperity of its members and as a stabilizing factor to western democracies.







The Maastricht Treaty 1993-establishment of the EU, today witnesses the union firmly anchored under the experienced global leadership of Germany's Angela Merkel and the innovation and youth of France's Emmanuel Macron. Moreover, the EU benefits from having a full contingent of elder statesmen/women from among the member-states, who possess a broad and deep knowledge of European and global affairs, thus enabling the union to maintain and to sustain a strong political, social and economic environment.







With wars in Syria and Yemen, coupled with other Middle East concerns, lurking troubles in Africa, Russian agitations and the growing isolation of the US, the EU appears even more attractive under its current stability and rationale.







As China better positions itself as a global leader, having endorsed Xi Jinping to rule beyond 2023 - affirming its own desire to continuity, then the necessity and the vitality of the EU as a western stabilizing entity, clearly emerges, especially in lieu of any historic US rational commitments to global leadership.







March 19, 2018



ASIA:



A Return to Rational Thought - a Return to Civility



Humanity's beauty, compassion and sense of loving-responsibleness is deteriorating in many places. To recapture humanity's passion, glory, creativity and empathy, there must be a return to rational thought - a return to civility.







War is not a pleasing civil event; neither is the deliberate break up of families through inhumane deportations of loyal immigrants; neither is the blatant disregard of environmental protections; neither is the unwarranted refusal to host refugees; neither is the selfish push back against common sense gun control laws.







Therefore, in order to sustain a peaceful and cohesive global atmosphere, the voices of rational thought and civility must drown out the divisive and polarizing rhetoric of the collaborators against human decency and responsibility. 







Henceforth, let the rational voices rise to the fore from hamlet, to town, to city, to nation, to continent and to the entire Planet. Let's recapture humanity's worth and responsibility. Let's end the wars in Syria and Yemen. Let's see that the Rohingya people have a home. Let's desist from deporting law-abiding immigrants. Let's grant refuge to the displaced. Let's listen to the voices of children and end gun violence. Let's live as members of the same and only race - the human race. [Written for your consideration on a Monday.]







March 18, 2018



ASIA:



In the Absence of a Revolution to Oust Failed Governments, Prolonged Suffering Results



Syria today is a clear example of prolonged suffering of its people in lieu of a revolution back in 2011 to oust the failed tyrannical government of Bashar al Assad.







War deaths from eight-years of conflict in Syria have reached some 500,000; seven-million Syrians remain displaced internally and another five-million have fled the country. Today, in places like Eastern Ghouta, suffering, starvation, flight and death still abound. And to make matters even worse, no immediate plan is afoot toward ending the carnage of Bashar al Assad upon the Syrian people.







That forces in opposition to Assad lacked the military means and were not provided with the necessary capabilities to oust Assad back in 2011, confirms that in absence of any quick decisive action against Assad, the suffering of the Syrian people would continue because of Assad's addiction to power and his unsympathetic concern of the wishes of the Syrian people. 







Sooner or later, the Syrian war will end. But the scars, lessons and impacts of this gross failing of humanity, will linger for a greater period than the execution time of the war. Sadly, many of these said scars, lesson and impacts will not be good per effects upon the wider world or in future events of people faced with failed governments.









March 17, 2018



ASIA:



Born into War - Will Peace Ever Come to Syria's Children?



Imagine being born into a world of perpetual war at your doorstep...imagine living under constant events of air strikes, bombs and chemical gas attacks...imagine being starved of basic food and medical necessities...imagine 500,000 people dying before your eyes...imagine an outside world being aware of your suffering but doing nothing to end it, and with a little empathy, imagine the hopelessness, fear and despair of the witnesses to such atrocities. 







While this might just be an imagination for many of us, it is the stark deadly reality of the Syrian people, especially of the Syrian children. 







Syrian children -  seven-years of age, and those younger, some one-million of them, have known war all of their short tender innocent lives. 







The war, perpetuated upon Syrians by Bashar al Assad, has lasted seven years so far and shows no signs of ending. Today, March 17, 2018, marks the second-day of the eighth-year of the Syrian war, which started on March 15, 2011. World War I lasted four-years; World War II lasted six-years, yet Syrian children continue to die into an eighth-year as an international community is rendered impotent to bring relief and comfort to the Syrian people.







Peace must be demanded in Syria. Russia's support to Assad should be challenged and he and his executioners must be held accountable for crimes against humanity. 







Once concerted and credible justice is served in Syria, only then could Syria begin its long healing process of its people, children and culture.







March 16, 2018



ASIA:



Re-Division of East-West Relations Fueled by Russian Misconduct



The nerve-agent poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter, reportedly by Russia, on the soil of the United Kingdom (UK), confirms a re-division of East-West relations fueled by Russian misconduct that has been in the making for some years now.







The UK government believes Russia used a terrifying nerve-agent, Novichok, to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal, 66 and his daughter, Yulia, 33, on British soil, March 4, 2018, after both victims, who remain hospitalized in critical condition, were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, the BBC-News has reported. Some 131 people in Salisbury have been identified as potentially exposed to the poison and at least 21 have sought treatment following the event that also sicken a police detective, whose health is improving.







British Prime Minister Theresa May believes Moscow is "culpable" for the attack and she has kicked-out 23 Russian diplomats as part of a "full and robust" response to the attack on British soil. Russia has denied the attack. But British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, according to the BBC-News, believes it is "overwhelmingly likely" that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the nerve agent attack. 







While the United States (US), France and Germany have joined the UK to sign a statement condemning Russia's use of the poison, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has affirmed that the "UK is not alone" in the matter. Earlier this morning, he admonished: "It is important that Russia gets a clear signal that it costs to behave the way they behave."







Back in 2006, defected Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 in London, a public inquiry into his death was finally concluded in 2016, which found that his murder was an operation of the Russian spy agency FSB that was probably personally approved by Putin.







Undoubtedly, Russian relations with and inside the West have increasingly soured in recent years. A forged Russian partnership with the West cooperating on terrorist matters in the aftermath of "September 11", quickly diminished as Russia meddled in Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014. Since then, Russian meddling and agitation have witnessed its military capabilities trawl off the seas of the Nordics, the English Channel, the US east coast and South America, to name a few. Also Russian money to far right groups in Europe has been documented along with its influence on the US Presidential Election, in 2016.







Clearly, the recent Salisbury, England, poisoning event confirms the re-divisioning of Western-Russian affairs brought to wrought by Russian misconduct, which will inevitably lead to a farther isolation of Russia in spite of any western leader's resistance and delay to heap more sanctions on Vladimir Putin's Russia.







March 15, 2018



ASIA:



Time's Up for Action on Gun Control - the Children Have Spoken



The lively energetic voices of the children - the Republic's future, rang out yesterday in an explicit message to aging adult lawmakers to enact new controls to combat the prevalence of guns in the United States (US). 







From the east coast to the west coast and from cities to suburban towns, hundreds of thousands of American school children walked out of classes yesterday at 10:00 a.m., in protest of the absence of stricter gun control laws and in memory of 17 people, including 14 children, massacred at a high school in Florida, a month-ago. 







Demanding that their voices be heard and that their futures become more secured from the assault of gun violence, America's children have called upon lawmakers to enact stricter gun control laws. 







Today, as the voices of the children become temporarily muted as their return to classes, the question remains as to whether or not the Republican controlled Congress will act to limit the prevalence  of guns. More than likely, Republicans will not go against the favor of the deep-pocket lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and bestow greater gun controls that would appease the children of America.







Therefore, children of voting age (18), who are demanding a change to gun laws, should ensure that they and all their classmates do register and do vote for a Democrat Congress in the upcoming Fall mid-term elections. Moreover, their classmates, who are not of voting-age, should implore upon their parents and all their relatives to vote-out of office all lawmakers resisting changes to gun laws.







The children have spoken signaling that time's up for gun control action and in lieu of any enactment by the present Republican Congress, the children should exercise their democratic choices and elect a new Congress in November.







March 14, 2018



ASIA:



Children Walkout to De,and Action on Guns in America



Tens of thousands of school children will walkout from their classrooms across the United States (US) today, demanding action on gun control by adult lawmakers. 







The children from elementary to high schools, will stage their walkout at 10:00 a.m. in their respective time zones, in memory of 17 people killed, including 14 students, at a high school in Florida, a month-ago. The walkout will last for 17 minutes in memory of the recent 17 lives lost to gun violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida.







Children will also walkout from their classes amid a grim reminder of 14,000 shoes on display on the grounds of the US Capitol building, representing 7,000 victims of gun violence ever since a deadly mass shooting of 22-first graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.







While the gun lobby continues to stifle any major changes to laws allowing easy and ready access to guns in the US, children, sensing that their futures have become too deeply impacted by violence, have taken the lead over adults in demanding changes to gun laws.







I support my children and all of their colleagues in today's action and I will join my elementary school son at his walkout. And yes, it is true, "a child shall lead them".







March 13, 2018



ASIA:



The Inalienable Right of Children to Protest



All children - society's vanguard of all beneficial change - retain the inalienable right to protest. On entering the doors of institutions of education, children do not forego any of their rights.







That said, in lieu of any decisive action by dying-adult political leaders to protect present and future lives and environment of children, then all youth must retain the right to protest of all matters, including the prevalent easy access and availability of guns in America.







Earlier this morning, I endorsed and supported a permission slip from my son's middle school, here in Washington, DC, hereby giving permission to the school to allow my son to exercise his right, to join his classmates and tens of thousands of other students across America, to walk out of class on Wednesday, March 14, Pi Day,  for 17 minutes, in protest of the continuing danger guns pose to young people and the future of the Republic. 







That children are now forced to pick up the responsibility of adults, clearly speaks of the gravity of societal failings unfolding; and is also indicative of the gross failing by elderly political leaders to protect future generations. 







And whereas adults have failed to prioritize  gun control and protection of the environment, children, therefore, who will inherit the mess created by dying men, fully remain within their rights to protest now, tomorrow, the next day and beyond in order to demand greater protections of their futures.







March 12, 2018



ASIA:



Attainable Peace and Security



If all the world's empathetic people would unite and stand together for all things that are good for humanity and our environment, then would peace and stability would become a reality.







Unfortunately, too many decent people continue to sit on the sidelines while humanity approaches a state of greater agitation as our environment (both social and natural), becomes poisoned via the works of greedy projects by dying men with no consideration to the health and well being of future generations.







More caring people need to stand up for the things that are right and virtuous and to reject all apathetic polarizing schemes. Wars and conflicts could be ended. Dreaded divisive policies could be ended. Progressive social and environmental works could be promoted and sustained.







But first, more kind people need to demand better of current conditions and to raise their voices and actions above the minority of destructive forces, in order to attain a safe cohesive atmosphere on planet Earth. If enough of us stand, then peace, liberty, happiness and stability will rule the world. [A thought offered for consideration on a Monday.]









March 11, 2018



ASIA:



China Approves Continuity



The National People's Congress (NPC), the policy approval branch of the Communist Party of China (CPC), removed a constitutional restriction of a two-term limit on China's presidency earlier today, thus adopting a national policy of continuity under President Xi Jinping, beyond 2023.







China's approval of continuity comes as Europe faces the rise of the far right and populists; the United States (US) becomes more isolated, less influential and polarized under Donald Trump; and as Russia prepares for a prolonged czaristship under Vladimir Putin.







Whereas some western writers and pundits have been fast to dub China's affirmation of continuity as an installation of Xi, as "leader for life", China's choice toward continuity appears to be based upon its success of economic growth, unmatched development and widening influence. Therefore, China's decision is based significantly on its present stability, security and strength, rather than upon any coronation of a new emperor. 







And China has reached its decision in the wake of a growing agitated world. Last week's success of populists and far right parties in Italy's parliamentary elections, setting up a possible collision between Eurosceptic governments - from Italy, to Poland, to the Czech Republic, to Hungary and to Austria with the behemoth European Union (EU), clearly underscores China's reasoning for continuity.







Moreover, as Donald Trump's actions continue to isolate the US on the world's sphere, to spar trade concerns on the global market, and to agitate social and political concerns within the Republic; and as Vladimir Putin nears a longer rule in Russia after upcoming elections there, then, China's decision gains greater credence and demands global acceptance of the China choice with define Chinese characteristics for the Chinese people.







March 10, 2018



ASIA:



As the US Slept over the Developing World -the Affair of the Port of Djibouti Spells a Wider Reality



Concern over a possible full Chinese acquisition of the strategic port of Djibouti, in East Africa, was raised in Washington, DC, this past week, during discussions before the United States (US) House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. One US military general even warned that the US could face "significant" consequences should China gain full ownership of the crucially strategic port on the Horn of Africa.







But why, and why now would the US Congress become concerned over yet another Chinese step to widen its global influence? Consideration of the following is necessary:







Djibouti -  with a population of less than one-million, is a poor East African country of many nomadic pasturers, just shy of 9,000 square miles ( 23,200 square kilometers), sitting at the confluence of East Africa, the Gulf States and beyond, according to the CIA World Factbook. It sits at the junction of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, south of Eritrea, east of Ethiopia and north-northwest of Somalia. Its location makes it a strategic sea-transit hub for commercial, naval and military operations to East Africa and the surrounding Arab states along with providing easy navigation north-northwestward up to the Suez Canal. It is a primary access port for American, French, Italian and Japanese bases in Djibouti, CNN reported earlier today.







China is heavily invested in Djibouti as it is throughout an enlarging swath of the developing world. But before addressing the almost comical concern raised over China's possible pending ownership of the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) - the Port of Djibouti, which lies immediately adjacent to China's sole overseas military base, a brief basic recent history of Djibouti is necessary because it hints at important chances of influence Washington has missed since the end of the Cold War, but upon which China has capitalized.







As is the case in most developing countries, Djibouti too, had a territorial master, France. In 1977, the nation gained independence and an authoritarian one-party state emerged and lasted until 1999, when multi-party elections were held for the first time amid a civil war that ended in 2001. The president of the Republic of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh, was handpicked by his uncle, in 1999, to assume the rule of the country via multi-party elections. He remains president today after changing the constitution so that he could run for a third-term in 2011 and a fourth-term in 2016.







China is Africa's largest trading partner. In 2015, China disclosed that it would spend $60 billion on infrastructure projects on the continent, The Atlantic reported back on July 12, 2017. So when Chinese troops moved onto a new base in Djibouti last year, China did not hide its widening influence whether or not the US slept at the time. China has provided more than $1.4 billion, the equivalent of 75 percent of Djibouti's GDP, to infrastructure funding in the country.







In Late February, CNN reported, the Djibouti government terminated a contract with Dubai-based port operator, DP World, to run the Doraleh Container Terminal on the grounds it was "contrary to the fundamental interests of the nation." The port is 23.5 percent owned by China's state-owned China Merchants Port Holdings. 







Last week's Congressional concern about China gaining full ownership of the container terminal in Djibouti seems comical since the likelihood has been in clear sight. China never hid from view its intended influence over the developing world, which the US has seemingly ignored ever since the end of the cold war. 







Marine General Thomas Waldhauser told lawmakers of  "significant" consequences to US interest should China get full control of the port that could see restrictions on its use and a cut off of access to a key US re-supply route with impacts on naval re-fueling. Lawmakers claimed Djibouti was giving the port to China as a "gift".







Whatever it is, the affair of the port of Djibouti spells a wider reality of the ambition and fruit of China's overt acts to influence developing nations which is unmatched by the US deepening isolation and its neglect of strategically vital areas in recent years.







March 09, 2018



ASIA:



Syria's Seven-Year War - From Peaceful Protest to a Proxy War for International Powers



The war in Syria is in its seventh-year now - a prolonged period of slaughter and suffering of Syria's children and people. The conflict has claimed some 500,000 lives, including 20,000 children. A pre-war Syrian population of 22 million has dwindled as five-million war victims have become displaced externally and another six-million internally. Yet, the gross failing of humanity continues in the Levant.







What started in 2011 as peaceful protest by the people against the tyrant Bashar al Assad, quickly morphed into a civil war as Assad's forces launched brutal attacks upon peaceful civil society. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed and millions have become displaced because of the conflict, which has, in 2018, become a proxy war for international powers, dictated by Russia.







Assad's deadly and often chemical-agent attacks upon the people of Syria, have been executed to keep him in the seat of power in Damascus. His chief ally, Russia, has been adamant in keeping Assad in power in spite of his explicit crimes against humanity. With Assad's reign, Vladimir Putin is assured of keeping Russia's sole naval installation facility on the Mediterranean Sea, at Tartus, Syria. Russian forces have carried out deadly attacks in Syria.







Iran, which also continues to prop up Assad, appears to be embroiled in the Syrian conflict in a determinant of regional influence over Saudi Arabia, which has prolonged another regional conflict, in Yemen, which continues to wrought suffering upon many Yemenis, including thousands of children.







Israel and Turkey have also joined the conflict in Syria, with Israel said to be protecting its interest via bombings in southern Syria, while Turkey battles Kurdish rebels in north Syria.







Syrian Democratic forces, backed by the United States (US), and one of many opposition groups battling Assad's regime, have been largely unsuccessful in all attempts to remove Assad from power. And from the looks of it, removing Assad from power appears to be a forgotten objective in the Syrian conflict. But justice must someday be served for all the innocent lives lost in Syria and Assad must stand trial for crimes against humanity.







Until then, the reality remains: what started as peaceful protest by the Syrian people to remove the hereditary dictator Bashar al Assad from power, has turned into a civil war, which has become a proxy war for international powers, with no end in sight. 







Thus, more doom, death and suffering of the past seven-years could be expected to continue in Syria until this gross failing of humanity, which is the Syrian war, is ended once and for all times. 







March 08, 2018



ASIA:



International Women's Day 2018 - Toward Gender Equality



Today is International Women's Day 2018 - a time to honor, to respect and to appreciate the unmatched and unyielding vital role of women in society. 







As celebrations, demonstrations and tributes are paid to women on this day across the globe, the continued inequality of compensation paid to women per equally qualified men, remains an issue. Equal pay for equal work must become the norm.







Moreover, on this day and beyond, respectful consideration and honor should be given to all women for their ever presence in influencing beneficial social change whether it be the Me Too movement, the women's march to resist polarization or the emerging young women student leaders seeking changes to gun laws in the United States (US).







So while today, March 8, might be designated by the United Nations (UN) as International Women's Day, the truth remains that every day is a woman's day. We love and we honor all women.







March 07, 2018



ASIA:



Toward the Discovery and Return of Empathy



The apathy of many humans remains too vast and wide. This absence of care, interest or the suppression of passion, emotion and excitement for things worthy of deep feelings, is the reason why conflicts breakout in the first place and are waged today in places like Syria and Yemen. 







But humanity cannot sustain such apathy for it would kill the human spirit and spell the end of the human race. 







Therefore, in order to sustain the continuity of the human race, there must be a discovery and/or a return to empathy - an identification with the various feelings, conditions and attitudes of others.







The refugee in an alien land is worthy of empathy. The physically and mentally challenged are worthy of empathy. The employee three-pay grades below you is worthy of empathy. The earthquake-stricken victims are worthy of empathy. The fire victims are worthy of empathy. The victims of crimes are worthy of empathy. The lower caste people are also worthy of empathy. And so are all the peoples suffering under flawed or failing governments.







So, let us be kind, compassionate, tolerant and patient with each other. This is our world and that which befalls one today, could in some form or another, befall another tomorrow. 







For Planet Earth's sake and for the continuance of the human species, we must move toward the discovery and the return of empathy.







March 06, 2018



ASIA:



A Step Toward Stability on the Korean Peninsula - Two Leaders to Hold Summit



The leaders of the Koreas, North and South, have agreed to hold a summit next month hereby casting an optimism of hope to a current and a possible future era of stability on the Korean peninsula.







North and South Korea - blood relatives, split by foreign invaders, war, ideology and heavily fortified militarization zone, have not had a formal meeting between their leaders since 2007. Recent nuclear tests, ambitions and threatening rhetoric by the North Korea's Kim Jong-un heightened the likelihood of war on the peninsula.







However, via the recently completed Winter Olympics, in Pyeonchang, South Korea, an invitation to the games from the South to the North resulted in an acceptance that witnessed both nations marching together under one-flag at the games. Both nations also competed as a single entity in ice-hockey. The games also saw the unprecedented visit to the south by sister of the North's leader, thus opening up a closer realm for diplomacy between the Koreas.







The peaceful spirit of the Olympic games transcended into an invitation from the North to the South to visit Pyongyang, which was accepted, conducted and completed this week by a high delegation, which had a four-hour dinner with the reclusive Jong-un. 







The return of the delegation to Seoul, South Korea, revealed the agreement between both sides to hold a summit between the two leaders, Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, at the border village of Panmunjom, in April, the BBC-News reported, a first for the two nations in more than a decade.







The news of the summit also brought a reported willingness from the North to discuss denuclearization with the United States (US); no more missile tests while diplomacy continued; and the opening of a hot line between the leaders of the North and South.







While the US remains "cautiously optimistic" about improving North-South contacts, a greater aura of calm than at any other time in recent memory, hovers over the Korean peninsula today which could usher in a lasting period of stability to relatives, split for too long.







March 05, 2018



ASIA:



Uncertainty in Italy - Populists, Eurosceptics and the Far Right Gain in Elections



A troublesome scenario toward greater European integration has emerged following yesterday's parliamentary elections in Italy. Eurosceptics, populists and far right parties have gained seats at the expense of Matteo Renzi's strongly supported European Union (EU) Democratic Party (PD).







The vote that saw 73 percent of Italy's electorate going to the polls returned the largest segment of seats to the populist Five Star Movement - 32.5 percent with a projection to win between 216 to 236 of the seats, but yet shy of the 316 required to form a majority government. The far right coalition comprising the League Party, the Go Italy Party of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, 81, and the Brothers of Italy Party, are projected to win between 248 to 268 seats, also shy of the 316 majority needed to form a government. Matteo's democrats won a mere 18.7 percent of the vote to win between just 107 to 127 seats, a clear defeat.







While Luigi Di Maio, 31, leader of the Five Star Movement and the League's Matteo Salvini, both made claims to rights to form a new government earlier today, no single party will be able to rule without a coalition with one or more parties because of the vote spread.







Immigration and economic issues dominated the Italian election. While unemployment sits at 11 percent, many Italians have turned their anger upon immigrants since the nation has witnessed some 600,000 asylum seekers come onto Italian shores ever since 2013.







But as matters stand in Italy today, a troublesome scenario to deeper European integration has become a reality since the larger vote getters, all Eurosceptics, stand to form the next government. The Five Star Movement has advocated an alternative to the continental Euro, protection of "Made in Italy" products and a revision of the Dublin regulation toward a distribution of asylum seekers across the EU. The right wind parties have called for the deportation of illegal migrants, developing a Marshall Plan for Africa, a revision of EU treaties, no more austerity policies from Europe and protection of "Made in Italy" products. The Democratic Party, even in defeat, has always retained a platform for more European political and social integration.







Thus, with Eurosceptics and the far right ascending to Italy's government, uncertainty emerges as to the future of deeper Italian integration within the EU.







March 04, 2018



ASIA:



Germany Keeps Rational Continuity - Angela Merkel to Form Her Fourth Government



Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) has given a vote of approval for the party to enter a new grand coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party, the CSU, thus ending five-months of uncertainty and affirming a pattern of rational continuity under the leadership Merkel.







Last fall, no party gained a clear majority in the German elections and as a result, Merkel was forced to enter a coalition government or to call new elections. Negotiations with the SPD culminated last night as the postal-mailed ballots to members of the SPD were counted revealing 66 percent of members endorsing the coalition and affording Merkel the opportunity to form her fourth government after 12-years of leadership.







Merkel's tenure in Germany ever since 2005, has brought strong economic gains, rational world leadership and a strong partnership within the European Union (EU). Yet, Merkel, in extending a responsible humanitarian helping hand to hundreds of thousands of refugees between 2015 and 2016, angered some Germans, especially those within the far right, who opposed immigration.







In spite of the anger, Merkel continued to epitomize modern Germany's world responsibility to human rights concerns. Refugees were housed. And though she and her party failed to gain a clear majority of the seats in last year's election, Merkel remained in a position to form a coalition government.







Prior to last night's final approval of the grand coalition government, the possibility that Germany's youth within the SPD would derail the coalition did not materialize as the majority of members voted for and sought a continuity of Merkel's German and world leadership.







Thus, today, a rational continuity to world leadership has been saved in Germany renewing a global hope to level-headed solutions to many world problems including wars in Syria and Yemen, a pending trade war, nuclear threats, Donald Trump's isolationist policies and many destabilizing immigration issues. 









March 03, 2018



ASIA:



Regarding China and Xi Jinping



If the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and its people support a constitutional change to allow President Xi Jinping to extend his rule beyond 2023, then the decision is worthy of international acceptance and not of unwarranted criticisms that have surfaced since the notion was first revealed earlier this week.







Not that China craves international support of its national issues that are designed to enhance and to further develop the thriving nation, but China's recent world involvement, leadership and international partnership, has demonstrated a rational economic and peaceful characteristic, deserving of continuity. China's development projects in third world nations that have been neglected and forgotten by their former colonial powers, are unprecedented. 







Recent infrastructural, trade, cultural and agricultural projects China has partnered with nations from Asia to Africa and Latin America, have clearly identified China's rising global influence, especially in a time of widening United States (US) isolation under President Donald Trump. So why would China not want to continue this rise with the continuity offered under a possible extension of Xi's tenure as president?







Two years ago, I would not have uttered these comments under the Presidency of Barack Obama, but the reality of the times, of maturity, of the truth of the current world order and of a present persistent betrayal of the tenets and promises of democracy to those seeking opportunity through immigration and residency, have accorded me the wisdom to see matters more clearly.







Moreover, I offer these thoughts not because my wife is of Chinese descent, but because of China's peaceful ascent and global partnerships, especially with third world nations that appear to offer greater returns to invested nations that anything left by their former colonial masters.







Therefore, if on Monday, the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), meeting in Beijing, decides to extend the rule of Xi, who turns 65 in June, then it should be accepted because the Chinese people have willed it, which could bring greater development to many more lands in need, but currently neglected.







March 02, 2018



ASIA:



Putin's Star Wars Offensive Imagination - An Ensuing Arms Race



Russian President Vladimir Putin tickled the patriotism of fellow Russians on Thursday in a speech he delivered less than three weeks before his scheduled and expected re-election, claiming "invincible" nuclear missile, drone and submarine capabilities that would thwart western defense systems. 







He later reclaimed the said capabilities in an interview with NBC-News' Megyn Kelly. "As a matter of fact, every single weapons system discussed today easily surpasses and avoids an anti-missile defense system," Putin alleged.







Putin described the nuclear missiles as "invincible" and able to navigate with an "unlimited" range and that some of them are battle-ready after being successfully tested.







While Putin possess a large and far-reaching nuclear missile arsenal and a stealthy submarine program, his claims of invisibility can be construed as a bluff - a bluff borrowed from the play book of President Ronald Reagan's Star Wars program, Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), announced back in 1983 that added financial woes to the USSR in an arms race which contributed to the Soviet Union's eventual break up. 







With the claimed Russian offensive system in contrast to a defensive one, maybe Putin is hoping to inflict woe and disarray in the west as his nation experienced in the aftermath of Reagan's SDI. But the entire strategy could backfire upon Putin bringing greater financial troubles to Russians.







More than likely, Putin's nuclear claims will set off a fresh arms race that will witness even larger military budgets across the globe under a constant threat of nuclear war.







March 01, 2018



ASIA:



Enters March - to March for Life and Renewal



The month of March is dear and eventful to me - not merely for being the birth month of two of my four-sons, and the month of my mother's death, but March epitomizes a season for literally marching-forth to the life and the renewal of Spring and onward toward all the things that are good and worthy of the human spirit.







So as this month enters like a lamb or like a lion, as will be the case weather wise in many jurisdictions this year, 2018, let us welcome March with the optimism to championing the human condition to life, liberty and happiness. 







I wish all of you a safe, liberating and prosperous month of March. And I would like to extend a special welcome into this world to a baby boy, who will be born just after 9:00 a.m. today to my friend Dante Mataac and his wife, Pethalyn. May God Bless this child and provide him with good health to grow up in service to humanity. 




February 27, 2018



ASIA:



Syria's Predicament - Humanity's Failing



Since starting this Blog five-years-ago, I've struggled to understand the rationale behind the world's hesitance and ineffectiveness to stop the slaughter of so many innocents in Syria, especially the deaths of thousands of children. 







During the time, I've written a number of posts begging and praying for the amelioration of the condition of the Syrian people. I've called for the charging of Bashar al Assad for crimes against humanity. I've even written a number of 'Notes to Syria's Children' suggesting they have faith that their deliverance would soon come and urging them to rely upon the development of democracy and its institutions as a means to reclaiming their land, their childhoods and their futures.







But Syria's war continues with renewed violence, death and seeming perpetual suffering. It will enter its seventh-year in March of this year, yet, no relief or any end, appear in sight. 







Dire conditions during the execution of the conflict have forced Syrians to slaughter mules for food and resort to eating grass sprouting between the cracks in concrete sidewalks. Such inhumane conditions have gotten worse. 







Today, some parents in areas under siege by Assad's forces, have been relegated to life in basements without food and medicines, under heavy bombardment by the Russian backed-Syrian army, and with no more hope in humanity - they wait, expecting their starved children to die because "at least in heaven there's food". Other Syrians as reported by CNN, have adopted similar hopeless feelings expressed as: "If you're going to kill us, make it quick - we are sick of waiting on death row."







Such is the gross failing of humanity to render relief to the Syrian people. That in spite of a United Nations (UN) resolution demanding a ceasefire in the conflict and a Russian dictated daily seven-hour lull, supposedly for humanitarian causes, the Syrian people remain under death's hell in the Levant, February 27, 2018. Why?







Is it because most Syrians are of the Muslim faith? Is it because of some conspired population control agenda? Is it because of some geopolitical game orchestrated by powers larger than the Syrian people? Is it because of a desperate failed government mad over its own inevitable death, thus calling upon its authoritarian ally-master to stoke greater destruction upon its opposition before its own time fizzles out?







I have not the answers, but this much I do know for certain: Syria's predicament is humanity's failing. And future peoples, who aspire to change their flawed or failing governments, will take a much less passive approach than Syrians have to gaining their full rights as members of the human race, to liberty, to happiness and to the rule of law.







February 26, 2018



ASIA:



Lacking Enforcement Powers - the UN is Limited to Effecting Peace



On Saturday, the United Nations (UN) Security Council (SC) passed a resolution demanding a 30-day lull  "without delay" in the Syrian conflict. By Sunday, Bashar al Assad's forces had killed another 22 civilians in Eastern Ghouta and another nine by this morning, in spite of the UN resolution.







The Syrian government's blatant disregard, with Russian support, of international law and of UN resolutions, clearly underscores the ineffectiveness of the international body to bring about peace because it lacks enforcement powers. 







While the UN has historically entered conflict zones to maintain and to sustain peace, it unfortunately lacks the enforcement power to establish the peace. And knowing this, Bashar al Assad has continued his assault upon innocents in Eastern Ghouta over the weekend and into early this morning, bringing the total deaths in the besieged enclave of some 400,000 people to 541 in the last eight-days, including a number of children.







However, international pressure placed upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to rein-in his ally Assad, could result in a truce taking hold in Syria, thus allowing for much needed humanitarian and medical aid to reach 5.6 million people across the country who are in acute need of assistance.







The BBC-News just reported that Putin has greenlighted daily breaks in fighting to accommodate humanitarian aid delivery. But daily breaks are not sufficient since the UN resolution calls for a 30-day ceasefire so that aid-workers and aid-needy people could work and be treated in relative safety from air and artillery strikes.







That humanitarian relief to so many suffering people and children has had to wait for Russian approval is preposterous hereby confirming the limits of the UN to effecting peace. 







February 24, 2018



ASIA:



Pass the Resolution - Render a Truce - End the Killing of Syrian Children



The United Nations (UN) Security Council (SC) will attempt, again today, to finally pass a resolution to affect a truce across Syria in order to stop the current carnage around Eastern Ghouta and to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the the 5.6 million people in acute need in 1,244 communities.







Delays to the passing of the Resolution since Thursday have come from Russia, insisting on certain inclusions on the measure, which was put forward by Kuwait and Sweden calling for a 30-day nationwide ceasefire to hostilities, amid a children and civilian death attack by Bashar Assad's forces on the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, home to some 400,000 people, nine-miles east of the capital, Damascus. The death toll in Eastern Ghouta stands at 462 people, including a number of children, in the past week alone from heavy bombardment by Syrian forces.







The draft Resolution calls for a 30-day Syria-wide truce to go into effect 72-hours after passing with medical evacuations and humanitarian aid to start 48-hours at the initial 72-hours. It also calls for parties to avoid establishing military positions in civilian areas including schools and hospitals, the BBC-News reported. It also calls for the lifting of sieges of populated areas.







No Islamic State groups or those of the Nusra Front are covered by the proposed draft, yet Russia has insisted that other groups, it claims are cooperating with he mentioned groups, be also excluded from the truce.







The United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and France have all called for the Resolution be approved without delay. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have also sent a joint letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging him to back the Resolution.







Sweden's UN Ambassador Olof Skoog told the BBC-News that getting aid to Eastern Ghouta, where conditions were described by the UN Secretary General as "hell on earth", was the main objective of the Resolution.







France's Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre said the UN's inability to help Syrian civilians would result in a devastating loss of credibility for the international body. "The Syrian tragedy," he warned, as reported by the BBC-News, "must not also become a graveyard for the United Nations."







France's warning that failure to act to end the humanitarian tragedy in Syria, could spell the end of the UN itself, is very relevant given the fact that the international organization has virtually remained impotent to ending the suffering of Syria's children for seven-long-years. 







However, the UN could begin to make amends today by passing the Resolution rendering a ceasefire across Syria to end the slaughter of innocent children and civilians. It is humanity's responsibility. 





February 23, 2018



ASIA:



Any and All Forms of State-Sponsored Violence on Children are Crimes against Humanity



Today, I had intended to solely address the growing devastating air strikes and barrel bombs by the Bashar al Assad regime upon Eastern Ghouta, Syria, that has killed 400 people, including many children, in the past five-days. But the current affair of the prevalence of guns wrecking destruction and anxiety upon America's young people, commands an immediate thought.







Whereas the President of the United States (US) and others of the gun lobby could have the audacity to consider arming teachers as a means to combating gun violence at schools, clearly underscores the deep problem the Republic faces with regards to the ease and availability of guns, thus more guns to solve too many guns is an utter preposterous idea that any modern democracy would ever want to consider. It is a ludicrous thought. 







And sensing this should be more than sufficient to rally peaceful Americans to the advocacy of the youth survivors of mass gun shootings toward tighter gun controls across the land and not to increase business for the NRA by allowing teachers to be armed at class while being provided with cash incentives to do so. 







In Syria, the suffering of children and other innocents continue as government forces continue the bombardment of Eastern Ghouta killing already hungry children with a high degree of impunity for it appears that under Russian support, Bashar al Assad will never face an international tribunal for crimes against humanity.







The actions of the Syrian government - the bombing of innocent children and civilians to a point where one mother, according to a BBC-News report, awaits the death of her son because "at least in heaven there's food", underscores the starvation and bombing of civilians in Eastern Ghouta - a clear war crime. The Damascus rebel-held enclave has been under siege from the Syrian army since 2013. Very little humanitarian aid has been allowed into the city of about 400,000 people.







But the United Nations (UN) which will vote on some measure of a truce for Syria today at 11:00 a.m., will remain impotent to change the scourge of Syria because Russia holds veto-power at the Security Council (SC) and the chances that Russia would do anything to impede the onslaught of Assad's forces upon innocents, are remote. 







February 21, 2018



ASIA:



Hoping to Return Soon



I had dental surgery yesterday and the resulting pain and impact of drugs on my system, make it difficult to concentrate on writing My Blog. 







Hence, I will take a brief break - hoping to return very soon. Thanks for reading and a good day to all.







February 20, 2018



ASIA:



More Deaths Recorded in the Seemingly Perpetual Suffering of Syria's Children



Syrian government forces of Bashar al Assad continue to bombard the sieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, where yesterday, another 20-children died in a group of 100 people from an escalation of the war. This recent onslaught horrifies the seemingly perpetual suffering of Syria's children as the conflict approaches its seventh-year, next month, with no end in sight.







Hence more children will die and will continue to suffer as the international community remains impotent to ending the ongoing blemish to humanity and modern civility. Some 20,000 children are among the hundred of thousands of people killed thus far in the conflict. An additional five-million people have fled Syria. 







Eastern Ghouta, an agricultural area, located about nine-miles east of the Syrian capital, Damascus, has been under siege since 2013. It is a rebel-held enclave totally surrounded by Syrian government forces and territory. 







Whatever geopolitical game is being played out in Syria is witnessing a fresh assault by Assad's forces as they continue to pound Eastern Ghouta and other Syrian towns this morning. The BBC-News just reported that Assad's forces have now also entered a border Kurdish-held enclave, thus risking a possible showdown with Turkish forces already operating against the Kurds in the said region.







Unfortunately, deaths of children and civilians stand to increase as the perpetual suffering of Syria's children continues in lieu of any real concerted efforts to end the conflict that will enter its seventh-year, next month. 







May God have mercy on all the children. Amen!







February 19, 2018



ASIA:



The Inherent Right of All Children to a Safe Childhood



Whether in Syria, in Yemen, in Palestine, in Central African Republic, or in Newtown, Connecticut or in Parkland, Florida, or in any place where children live, they have an inherent right to a safe childhood.







To safeguard, to protect and to ensure the inherent right of all children to safety, all impediments to achieving this right should be removed. As conflict and war should end to accord childhoods back to the children of Yemen, of Syria and of many other places, in the United States (US), guns - the ease of access and availability thereof, pose the greatest threat to the inherent right of American children to life and liberty. 







Too many young lives are cut short via gun violence in America. Last week's gun-shooting massacre of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, underscore the ongoing attack against the inherent right of children to a childhood. That children can no longer feel safe in their educational institutions, clearly speaks of the gravity of the current attack upon the rights of the American people to life and liberty.







The ease of access and ready availability of guns across America have moved beyond a Second Amendment issue - of the right to bear arms, to become an infringement of the rights to life, liberty and happiness. The said United States Constitution that enabled the Second Amendment first demands as a prerequisite the duty to "insure domestic Tranquility...promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."







While the Second Amendment is honored, it should no longer be abused to legalize the arsenals of assault and automatic weapons. A limit of consideration in scope of types of weapons is reasonable. The continuance of the broad scope of types of arms deemed legal, contradicts the right of children to a childhood and to the general welfare of the Republic to life, liberty and happiness.







Therefore, common sense new gun control laws must be demanded forthwith as a means to securing and sustaining the full rights of America's children and adults and in honoring the Constitution of the Founding Fathers to life, liberty and happiness.









February 18, 2018



ASIA:



A "March for Our Lives" - Survivors of Gun Violence to March for Action on Washington



"...and a child shall lead them." 







That youth is the vanguard of change in society could result in finally getting United States (US) lawmakers and the president to enact demand changes to gun control laws.







The youth survivors of last Wednesday's massacre of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, has announced a "March for Our Lives" event in Washington, DC, for March 24, to demand political action on gun control. The young survivors are adamant in their determination to make last Wednesday's mass shooting of their peers a turning point in the national gun debate.







Since a mass shooting at Columbine, Colorado, in 1999, more than 100 students and teachers have died in shootings at US schools. That demanded legislation to tighten the nation's gun laws have failed to materialize even in the wake of the slaughter of 22-first-graders at Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, is clearly indicative of the influence of the gun lobby upon lawmakers to protect the status-quo of gun ownership.







However, if the survivors of the Parkland massacre could have their way, then action would soon come to combat gun violence. At a rally the survivors held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, yesterday, they shouted "shame on you" to US lawmakers and the president for failing to act on new gun control laws. 







Hence, they have planned "March for Our Lives" - a march on the nation's capital, Washington, DC, for March 24, 2018, to demand that children and their families "become a priority" to lawmakers, the BBC-News reported. 







As one survivor observed: "We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around." Therefore, the youth of America must seize all opportunity to bring about change in lieu of impotence to act by those in positions to get things done. 









February 17, 2018



ASIA:



Rising Gun Violence - Evidence of a Flawed Democracy



The full democracy status that the United States (US) has maintained and advocated for generations is under attack from various sources, including rising gun violence. 







This week's shooting massacre - killing 17,  at a high school in the state of Florida, underscores the descent American democracy is undergoing with no on-the-horizon solution to ending the prevalence of gun violence and associated deaths in the US. In lieu of Congressional action to reign in the easy access and availability to guns, including assault weapons, there's a real fear of the Republic declining even farther.







That three gun involved mass shootings have occurred in the last five-months alone, Las Vegas, Nevada, 59-killed; Sutherland, Texas, 27-killed; and then Parkland, Florida, indicate that democracy and its characteristics of cohesion, stability and peace appear are flawed.







Therefore, it becomes high time for the White House and Congress to regain the fullness of the American democracy. A good place to reboot could be the enactment of common sense gun control laws with a view to removing witnessed stark episodes of violence.









February 16, 2018



ASIA:



Another Mass Shooting Demands Responsible Gun Laws in America



Following Wednesday's mass shooting at a high school in the state of Florida, in the United States (US), Congressional Republicans and the White House should now yield to the demands of grieving parents and peers of the massacred children and enact legislation aimed to reducing the ease of availability of guns.







More responsible gun laws have long been the plea and rallying call of many Americans ever since two two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, gunned down 12 of their classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School, Columbine, Colorado, on April 20, 1999. 







This week's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, reportedly by Nikolas Cruz, 19, in which 17 people, including 14 students, were killed, is yet another violent episode of the use of a gun to wreck destruction upon a community, a state and a nation, hence renewing an urgency for greater action by legislators and the White House to restrict the ease of availability to guns in the US.







Will the government act now on gun control legislation? 







Congress failed to effectively restrict firearms following an earlier massacre of 22-first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2013, by Adam Lanza, who also killed his mother. Other mass shootings in Illinois, Texas, Florida and Nevada also failed to trigger meaningful gun legislation in their wakes. 







The Republican led Congress and the White House should adhere to pressures from concerned Americans, forego strong support for the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its powerful lobby and enact sensible gun laws to save Americans from a rising cult of violence, which is fueled by an easy availability of guns, including assault weapons.







February 15, 2018



ASIA:



A Rising Cult of Violence - Another School Massacre in America



It happened again yesterday in the United States (US) - a massacre of 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Broward County, Florida, the 18th school shooting in the US so far this year, and it is only mid-February. 







My deepest condolences to the families and students.







This latest school shooting is clearly indicative of a rising cult of violence fueled by easy access and availability of guns in America. And according to the New York Times, with this new tragedy, three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history, have now come in the last five months. 







Fifty-nine people including the gunman died in another massacre at a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 01, 2017; another 27 died in a church shooting in Sutherland, Texas, on November 05, 2017. In 2016, 50 people including the gunman died in another massacre at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub.







The Parkland massacre resurrects sad memories of yet another school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, when 20 first-graders and six adults were killed. Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, as reported by the New York Times, there have been 273 school shootings across the US - 439 people have been shot, and a staggering 121 have been killed.







That the Parkland massacre suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, suspended from the school a year earlier, and in spite of warnings of his tendency to violence, was able to legally purchase the AR-15 gun used yesterday, underscores a far too easy access and availability to powerful automatic weapons in the US.







As politicians and policy makers debate mental health issues per gun ownership, the fact remains that too large an arsenal of powerful weapons remains available to the American public which is fueling a cult of violence. Common sense gun control laws must be enacted as a measure to combattling the early demise of so many souls.







February 14, 2018



ASIA:



Happy Valentine's Day World



To all men and women who are in love - giving love, receiving love and seeking love, Happy Valentine's Day 2018.







May your passions and desires yield pleasured satisfaction of lasting warm relations to the end of your years.







Ands on this day of love, I implore all of you to succumb to the peace of love and to forego violence and strife. Happy Valentine's Day.







February 13, 2018



ASIA:



Science Again Confirms Sea Level Rise - Climate Change is Unarguably Real



Science has revealed again that global sea levels are rising affirming that Climate Change is real and pose real threats to global coastal communities.







A study released yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, as reported by CNN, confirmed the rise of the world's oceans brought to wrought by the impact of continuous  emissions of greenhouse gases that are causing ice to melt in Greenland and in Antarctica. 







The scientific study, led by Professor Steve Nerem, University of Colorado-Boulder, was conducted using satellite data dating back to 1993 to measure sea level rise rather than utilizing tide-gauge data because the satellite measurements allow for a more precise estimate of sea level on the open oceans. 







Researchers found that sea level rise is accelerating. The study confirmed the rise of sea level of 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) in 25 years which fits into the range of 0.1 inches (3 millimeters) a year. However, the scientists found that the rise is not constant. Scientists found that continuous emissions of greenhouse gases are warming the Earth's atmosphere and oceans and melting its ice, causing the rate of sea level rise to increase.







"This acceleration," said Professor Nerem, "driven mainly by accelerated melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise by 2100 as compared to projections that assume a constant rate, to more than 60 centimeters ( about 2-feet) instead of about 30 centimeters (one-foot)," CNN reported.







Hence, with no reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases, this recent study affirms the Climate model used in the latest International Panel on Climate Change report which show sea level rise to be between 52 and 98 centimeters (between 20 and 38.6 inches) by 2100 - a troubling forecast for coastal communities across the globe.







Therefore, in order to save communities from becoming inundated with flooding, denying governments must accept the science of Climate Change and double all efforts to reducing greenhouse gases. And in lieu of inaction by the unbelievers, individual citizens should invoke their own means to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.







February 12, 2018



ASIA:



To Reclaiming Humanity's Direction



Conflicts, threats of war, authoritarianism, terror, divisive acts and fake news are contributing to the detour of humanity's responsibility and respect for fellow humankind and the environment.







Left unchecked, these ills will contribute to a wider erosion of the human spirit, well being and needed development. Hence, the question posed for consideration on this Monday, is how will humankind reclaim its direction?







But before any healing can take place, humanity has to accept the existence of the problems of conflict, of threats of war, of authoritarianism, of terror, of divisiveness, of environmental health and fake news. To accept the presence of one problem and not the other, would inevitably delay the reclamation process.







Following admission of prevailing ills, humanity could then identify and prioritize solutions aimed at righting many wrongs. While conflict and terror are easily seen as priorities, humanity might find that these two major problems are non solvable unless the distractions of divisiveness and fake news, are first addressed. 







Divisiveness and fake news appear to be requisites to authoritarianism, terror and conflict. These two unity-defeating faults are not new. They have been known to the human race for many centuries. However, what really appears as new, is the mass dissemination of lies and polarization ideals via mass and social media. 







Therefore, in reclaiming humanity's direction to life, liberty, happiness, equality and the rule of law, irresponsible acts toward division and the spread of fake information, must first be conquered as a means toward achieving a conflict-free world community that respects all souls and protects the single-shared environment, Planet Earth.







February 11, 2018



ASIA:



The Perpetual Plight of Syria - An Escalation of Forces Battling in the War-torn Land



As if Bashar al Assad and his forces have not wrecked enough havoc upon the land and people of Syria, many others have now joined him in damning destruction in the Levant. The list of foreign nations fighting in Syria has increased, thus rendering Syria into a seeming state of perpetual conflict.







Israel has become the latest nation to launch attacks within Syria. The Jewish state joins Russia, an International Coalition force, the Kurds, Iran, Turkey and the Islamic State (IS) as active participants escalating a war that is showing no signs of ending. In addition to foreign nations, the Syrian people also have to contend with scores of Syrian factions contributing to the prolongation of the saga of suffering in an already war-torn country.







While each participating entity would offer some similar and many different reasons for executing war in Syria, the fact remains that the scars of war upon Syria will remain visible for a very long time to come. And what of the secondary effects?







As is the case of many troubled wars, too many victims in the Syrian conflict will not be soldiers, but will be the innocent - the children, the women, the elderly and economically-challenged. 







The continuation and escalation of the Syrian war, just like the conflict in Yemen, are both tragedies of humanity that underscore the failing of international organizations and once influential and respected nations, to halt prolonged suffering. 







February 10, 2018



ASIA:



Unity of the Koreas - a Supportive Action Whether Sincere of a Ploy



I am certainly not Korean, neither is my wife - she is Chinese and both of us have never visited either of the Koreas. Yet, last night, watching the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 2018, from Pyeonchang, South Korea, aired on NBC Network, we were emotionally brought to tears on seeing both Koreas march together under one unified flag - white with an a blue-insignia of the Korean peninsula. 







"In spite of everything, this is good," my wife remarked under a crackling voice as she fought to restrain her tears unaware of my watery eyes sitting next to her in our dimly lit bedroom. The defeat of my chauvinism was revealed as I faced her to concur in a parched-throat tone: "Just beautiful, the people, the brothers, the sisters -  given a chance, they can get along."







We hoped the world witnessed and felt the same emotions as we did because peace and unity appear to beam amongst people given the opportunity to mingle and to communicate. 







And while some people might retain a pessimistic and suspicious intent per North Korea's actions as a mere political ploy, I, nonetheless, venture to say that if a ploy, or indeed sincere, the significance and impact of witnessing the Koreas together, if only for that one moment, affirms the possibility of sustaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. 







Moreover, I offer it as a speculation that given a chance to hash out their differences and issues among themselves, then it is possible that Korean similarities and mutual intent to life and happiness, could defeat all their imported and idealistic differences.







So, today, I am glad that both South Korea and North Korea reunified briefly under the Olympic spirit and I hope that that witnessed togetherness of yesterday would transcend the games -  to provide a cooling of tensions on the Korean peninsula, with a view to providing greater cooperation, communication, respect and stability to starkly different nations that share a common relation of family.







February 09, 2018



ASIA:



Winter Olympics 2018 - Hope to Peace on the Korean Peninsula



History will bear witness as to whether or not it is possible that games - sports, can unite the people of the world. And if there is any present truth to this claim of unity, then this morning's marching of North and South Korea, together - under one-flag, at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 2018, in Pyeonchang, South Korea, does offer hope to the coexistence of humanity in the long run and to an immediate, if only temporary, peace on the Korean peninsula. 







North Korea and South Korea - two brothers, once one-nation, but split by war over 60-years-ago, have diverged into separate paths, ideologies and alliances over the years. The North has retained a brutal and reclusive dictatorship, while the democratic South has flourished economically and politically from its alliance with the west.  







North Korea's recent accelerated ambition for greater nuclear-arms capability has placed it at odds with western nations, including the United States (US), which has responded in kind to threats from the leader of North Korea. Tensions have escalated almost to a point of imminent war. But with the now open 2018 Winter Olympic games, both North and South Korea have found a medium to better relations amongst themselves and overcoming months of silence between two brothers. 







The North's acceptance to join the games, to march with South Korea under one flag at the opening ceremony and to unite as a single team in ice-hockey, are all indicative that the relatives want better relations with each other, especially with a larger view to allowing future much desired family reunions of citizens between the two nations. 







So as the Winter Olympics play on in the frigid venues in Pyeonchang, the games offer much more than just sporting competition, but moreso a chance for peace and for greater family unification between the Koreas that could result in the North not threatening and testing for war, but accepting the norms of civil society and international law.







February 08, 2018



ASIA:



Letter to All Children Victimized and Displaced by Conflicts



Dear Children, 







I offer you my prayers that the Almighty God may show you mercy and grant you relief from your suffering. I offer my sincere apologies for the fact that humanity has remained impotent in allowing these long episodes of violence and atrocities upon you. 







That you have had to endure what no normal seasoned-adult would ever have to endure - far less a child, underscores the damning testament of the severe gravity of the sum of your experiences and your victimizations brought to wrought through conflict and war. 







Specifically, I wish to highlight you, the children of Syria, of Yemen, of Afghanistan and of the Rohingya people. Your plight represents a gross failing of humanity against a backdrop of wealthy and authoritarian leaders perpetrating a larger arms race, bragging about the size of their weapons and ghastly seeking showcases to display more of their arsenals. 







In the meantime, bombs and chlorine gas continue to rain upon many of you, killing and maiming as your displaced and fleeing peers die upon the seas in a fruitless search for solace, while others, who have fled, meet more suffering in refugee camps as nations debate whether or not to extend full hospitality to the hundreds of thousands in need of humanitarian assistance.







I encourage you to keep the faith that these man-made atrocities against you will end one day. Your right to a childhood must be restored. Thus, I implore upon you to insist that your fathers and your uncles fight for freedom, opportunity and the rule of law in your homelands. 







Many things have changed and are rapidly changing in the outside world. Once guaranteed places of sanctuary are now fast becoming no-entry nations. Therefore, your land, being your land, must be claimed by your parents and relatives. Your adult folks must stand up and claim your birthright to freedom, equality, opportunity and the rule of law on your behalf. They must unify to accomplish this feat toward your deliverance from suffering.







I continue to stand with you in your endeavor for comfort and happiness. Amen!







February 07, 2018



ASIA:



Deep Community Engagement - a Requisite to Nation Stability



Floundering, fractured and failed governments exist because they have all neglected to carryout the necessary responsibility of engaging their communities into their governance.







And more governments will continue to struggle and become fractured for failing to perform the basic task of encouraging, promoting and implementing policies toward the full participation of the people into their governance.







The notion that the people in electing their governments give up full control of all management of their lives to a hand full of representative politicians, is a fallacy - an old flaw inherited from the bygone eras of absolute monarchs, when all faith and allegiance to the Crown, was demanded and readily given for lack of alternatives. 







However, in these dynamic days of the twenty-first century, all things have changed. People demand respect, equality and opportunity. Politicians who flirt with the fears of the people to get elected, often run into quick trouble as a result of executing their own agendas ahead of those of the people. Politicians, all too often, have become the enactors of special interests instead of servants of all the people. When consultations with the people fail, then politicians and governments fail, unfortunately after wrecking major havoc that makes repairs difficult, costly and lengthy.







But in order to sustain effective government, elected officials and leaders must continue to engage all their communities into their governance. Constituent offices of elected politicians must function. Town hall meetings must be held prior to major governmental action in order to attain updates from the people. The elderly, the youth and all demographics of society must be given an open ear. 







When deep community engagement occurs, stable, peaceful and wealthy nations blossom.







[NEWS UPDATE]







Germany







Congratulations to Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German people on the reaching of an agreement to form a new government.







Hong Kong







Congratulations to Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, of the 2014 Umbrella Movement, in Hong Kong for having prison sentences against them thrown out.







Taiwan







Thoughts and prayers for the people of Taiwan and the victims of yesterday's 6.4 magnitude earthquake. 







February 06, 2018



ASIA:



Crisis in the Maldives



Autocracy has emerged and the rule of law has been suspended in the vacation hot spot of the Maldives - the 1,192-island and 26-atoll vacation mecca, on the Arabian Sea, in the Indian Ocean, and not in the Pacific Ocean as was cited on this Blog recently.







The Chief Justice of the nation's Supreme Court along with another judge have been detained by the government of President Abdulla Yameen, who has refused an order by the court to release political dissidents from jail. 







President Yameen has been embroiled in corruption and human rights issues. But current matters came to a broil last Friday, when the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the 2015 conviction and 13-year sentence of former President Mohamed Nasheed. In the same ruling, the court ordered the release of opposition members and political dissidents in the Maldives.







Yet, in clear defiance of the court and expressive of his assumed autocratic role, President Yameen, over the weekend, ordered his security forces not to release the prisoners, even though the country's police commissioner attempted to abide by the court order, but he was fired instead. 







Yesterday, President Yameen declared a state of emergency and the army has been ordered to resist any attempt to impeach or to remove the president. Instead, Yameen's forces have detained the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court along with another judge. 







According to the BBC-News, Yameen in a televised address to the island-group nation that lies southwest of both India and Sri Lanka, alleged that judges were plotting a coup against him. "I had to declare a national emergency because there was no other way to investigate these judges," he claimed.







Exiled former president Nasheed, now residing in Sri Lanka, has asked India to help release political prisoners on the Maldives and the United States (US) to curb the nation's leaders' financial transaction.







Maldives, with a 392,709 population, gained independence from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1965. Nasheed resigned the presidency back in 2012 following protest for reforms and following the arrest of a judge. Since Yameen gained power, rights issues and corruption have become major concerns. After the international community sounded the alarm over rights issues, Yameen withdrew the Maldives from the Commonwealth of nations.







Now the constitutional crisis with Yameen acting in a autocratic role threatens the nation's vital tourist industry as assistance is sought from India and the US to return the popular vacation destination to the rule of law.







February 05, 2018



ASIA:



Equality, Opportunity and the Rule of Law - Tenets Toward National Reconciliation



Wherever humans live and share a common land, from the indigenous peoples, to naturalized peoples, to immigrants, to refugees and to the naturally-born peoples of the world, the tenets of equality, of opportunity and of the rule of law, remain requisites to sustaining a peaceful national environment and to all hopes of national reconciliation in polarized, fractured  and failed societies.







All political attempts to restrict the natural rights of men and women and to deny paths to citizenship, liberty, opportunity and happiness, will continue to yield deeper societal divisions, conflicts and the exercises of the cult of violence.







Political turmoil and social strife are detrimental to nation building and development. On the other hand, promoted social cohesion on the premise that all people are equal with unrestricted opportunity to growth and development within a system of the rule of law, is synonymous to peace, stability and the well being of any community.







Therefore, those entrusted by the people to lead should come to the fore to promote social and national togetherness and to condemn past and prevailing policies and tendencies aimed at dividing nations of peoples. With the acceptance of quality, opportunity and rule of law, all communities would benefit and enjoy national reconciliation.







February 04, 2018



ASIA:



Agitations Continue to Grow in 2018 - Maldives, Kenya, Corsica and Greece Join the List



In Greece, thousands of Greeks demonstrated in Athens today in opposition to the government's proposal to resolve a matter over the name of neighboring Macedonia, which shares its name with the northern Greek region of the same name, to which the Greeks object.







The Macedonia naming protest in Greece joins a widening list of social and political agitations and uprisings already seen, occurring or ripe in 2018. Greece has always made claim to the name Macedonia, a northern region and a part of Greek history for thousands of years. 







In 1991, the country of Macedonia, not associated with Greece, gained independence from Yugoslavia and officially became the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) - the name used in international organizations, like the United Nations (UN). 







But many Greeks object to the inclusion of the word Macedonia being used in the name of the country, arguing it implies a territorial claim on Greece's northern Macedonia region. However, since the Greek government has proposed accepting the neighboring country's use of the word Macedonia, on the condition there is a clear differential from the Greek region, many Greeks still object, thus today's demonstrations in Athens.







In Corsica, the French territory island in the Mediterranean Sea, southeast of France and southwest of Italy, protesters turned out in thousands on Saturday in advance of Tuesday's visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, to demand, not independence from France, but a greater financial devolution from France along with recognition for the Corsican language.







While Corsican nationalists have heeded a 2014 ceasefire in their struggles with France, Saturday's protest, according to a BBC-News report, was a warning that Paris would be "playing with fire" if it did not engage with Corsica's issues. 







In Kenya, freedom of speech issues continue to question the stability of the African nation, as President Uhuru Kenyatta, has ordered private television stations closed because they dared attempted to cover an inauguration of the opposition leader there, following a controversial election last November that returned Kenyatta to the presidency, but with dogged issues over the integrity of the election. 







And in Maldives, the pristine-beach tourist-getaway, the embattled government has ordered its security forces to resist any action by the nation's Supreme Court and not to arrest or to impeach President Abdulla Yameen. The Supreme Court on Friday declared as unconstitutional the 2015 conviction and 13-year-jail sentence of former President Mohamed Nasheed on anti-terror charges, a sentence the international community has viewed as political motivated against the first democratically elected leader of the Pacific Ocean paradise. The court also ordered the release from detention of nine-opposition members of parliament, thus giving the opposition a majority in parliament.







However, in an attempt to withstand the actions of the judiciary and to prevent the opposition from probably impeaching him, Yameen has moved to suspend parliament, while his security forces detained at the airport two opposition members of parliament who were returning home from overseas earlier today.







Clearly, a constitutional crisis have emerged in Maldives casting it onto a widening list of nations facing social and political troubles in 2018.







February 03, 2018



ASIA:



In Matters of Sovereignty and National Security Investigating Evidence Trumps Evidence Used to Start a Probe



In the Republic, matters of sovereignty and national security have a special classification - they are placed as top priorities because any infractions or threats against them would affect the well being of the Republic.







Therefore, matters involving sovereignty and national security should be held as special concerns. They have to be treated specially, as merited and within reason, as being different than other matters of criminal procedure.







Hence, while it might remain a general precedent during the course of normal criminal procedure to judge that if the warrant is bad, then the discovered evidence is bad, this procedure could not be reasonably allowed in matters involving sovereignty and national security.







In matters of sovereignty and national security, discovery evidence during an investigation must outweigh any evidence submitted to launch such a probe or to obtain a warrant. The gravity and likelihood of harm to the Republic in such matters mandate special treatment.







Moreover, if investigative involving matters of sovereignty and national security were not granted special classification and broadness of scope, then, intelligence agencies would be rendered impotent in all efforts to gathering evidence and prosecuting perpetrators toward the full protection of the Republic. 







Furthermore, any efforts to hinder investigations into the well being of the Republic must be construed as obstruction of justice.







February 02, 2018



ASIA:



Scope of Evidence Needed to Investigate Matters of National Security



Explicitly, the safeguards of sovereignty, national security and the integrity of democracy within the Republic supersede all matters. Therefore, all matters that pose threats to the safety as well as to the untainted and independent functioning of the Republic, whether present or pending, demand full scrutiny by the appropriate security agency.







Moreover, in functioning to safeguard the Republic from any influence that could hinder the Republic's independence and integrity, a mere rumor ought to be sufficient to merit an investigation by the charged security agency. An Online Blog, a Facebook post, a Twitter tweet, a dossier or any other source of evidence, are more than sufficient to trigger an investigation by a security agency with a view to protecting the integrity of the Republic.







Hence, with regards to the much talked about "Nunes Memo" that purportedly argues that evidence used by the FBI to launch an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election, was not corroborated or supported, thus alleging that the investigation is biased, must therefore, be flawed.







It is flawed because the scope of evidence needed to launch an investigation into matters of national security, sovereignty and the integrity of the United States (US), should never be narrow. The scope must be broad. It must be wide because such broadness of scope of evidence continues to allow security agencies to monitor threats and to successfully foul threats. Threats to the national security of the US have been fouled before after investigations were initiated by broad uncorroborated evidence.







February 01, 2018



ASIA:



Irreconcilability - Chances to a New Genesis



An all too common cause given for many divorces between couples, along with the usual infidelity, money issues and lack of intimacy, is irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilability is the totaling of non compromising standings against the backdrop of a non communicative environment.







In the larger schemes of society, irreconcilability has fueled civil wars, wider conflicts and world wars. Yet, though upon its face, irreconcilability might appear as a bad thing, it still harbors an opportunity of hope to a new genesis in lieu of a total collapse for governments.







All great revolutions from the French, to the American, and many others in between, have been forged out of irreconcilability. 







While I will not expand upon any possible hopes for failed marriages brought to wrought through irreconcilability because it is not my specialty, nor my forte to damper into the affairs of the heart, nonetheless, today's fractured and fracturing governments could all benefit from their states of irreconcilability. The existence of a chance to a new genesis is more than sufficient reason to raise the hope of diverging peoples.







Like many things political, social or economic, the ways and means to affecting a new genesis is never cut and dry, or by any means an easy feat. However, a prerequisite to any new genesis is the clearly defined identity of the point of irreconcilability within a nation state. 







Has Syria reached this point? Yes, for many years now. Has Yemen reached this point? Yes, for many months now. Have some western democracies reached this point? No, but some, following their present trajectories, could arrive at their points of irreconcilability way sooner than later.







But there should be no great fear nor alarm that some nations could reach their points of irreconcilability soon, for such might be a part of the natural evolution and development of the human species. [A consideration offered for discussion on this, the first day of February, 2018.]






January 31, 2018



ASIA:



Hidden Heroes to the Endurance of the Republic



Outside of the Legislative, Judicial and Executive arms of government and the normal business world, there exist a hidden army of unsung heroes who tirelessly contribute everyday to the endurance of the American Republic.







These heroes, though wide and varied, include the many charities and community groups that provide a vital safety net to America's poor, those in need of a leg-up and to those families experiencing economic transition. I speak specifically of Martha's Table, So Others Might Eat (SOME) and Bread for the City, among others here in Washington, DC., and countless others across the United States (US).







These groups through various funding sources have been able to extend to many families a safety net not protected by government. 







While the stellar work of Martha's Table and SOME are known, Bread for the City, which up until earlier today, was unknown to me, represents the non rewarded heroes, who every week, contribute to the stabilization of many families.







At a weekly breakfast which I attend with a number of academics and intelligence folks here in Washington, DC, I had the pleasure this morning of reacquainting myself with a former school-parent associate, Paul R. Taskier, who is now President and Chairman of the Board at Bread for the City. We have had casual conversations before, but to underscore the humility of such unsung heroes, he never mentioned his community work of providing a safety net to thousands of families each week.







Bread for the City provides food, clothing, counseling, medical and dental care along with a long list of other services to needy families in the Nation's Capital. I was moved by Paul Taskier's contributions to our society enough to write about his organization, with the renewed realization that it is not all that is done within government that protects the Republic, but it is the contribution of the people - the other centered people, which goes farthest in ensuring the endurance of the American Republic.









January 30, 2018



ASIA:



The Rape of a Baby in India - Decadence of a Fractured Society



The BBC-News reports this morning that there is an outcry in India after an-eight-month-old baby was raped by her 28-year-old cousin. 







An outcry is too soft a reaction to such a barbaric inhumane offense. The women and girls of India should be up in arms and fuming mad to demand an immediate change to a culture, which has somehow allowed too many women and girls to be raped by sex-deprived degenerates who often are not prosecuted or too leniently punished for such heinous acts against civility.







The rape of this innocent baby - too young to walk or to talk or to defend herself, happened in the Indian capital, of Delhi, on Sunday, but only came to light on Monday, after local media reported the gross sin against humanity, the BBC-News reported. Authorities have since arrested her cousin for the offense, but one wonders of other unreported crimes against girls and women in India, which continues to debate the prevalence of sexual violence in a caste system that pits Indians to a particular class from birth to death.







The Delhi Commissioner for Women, Swati Maliwal, said the innocent victim had to undergo a three-hour operation and that her cries could be heard throughout the hospital. The Commission for Women chief described the baby's injuries as "horrific". 







Rapes occur too often in India, highlighted by the 2012 fatal gang rape of a female student on a bus. Girls have been snatched from bed and raped by depraved men. An 11-month old baby was once kidnapped by a neighbor while she slept next to her mother and then raped for two-hours. In 2015, according to the BBC-News, a three-month-old was kidnapped and assaulted in a southern Indian city.







Some 19,765 cases of child rape were registered in India in 2016, a stark increase over the already alarming 10,854 cases registered in 2015.







Clearly, there is a decadence of Indian society that contributes to these sickening crimes against babies, girls and women. The fractured system in India has witnessed 240 million girls marrying before age-18, while 53 percent of children participating in a government study, have reported some form of sexual abuse and that 50 percent of abusers are known to the child or are persons in trust and caregivers.







India's granting of full equality and of full respect to all women remains a starting point to mending that fractured society. We pray for the good welfare and rehabilitation of all innocent victims.







January 29, 2018



ASIA:



Influenza Outbreak in the United States 2018



The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported a marked increase in the number of Americans visiting doctors with flu-like symptoms - the highest level of activity for the flu since the 'swine flu" - H1N1, pandemic of 2009, which killed 203,000 people worldwide. 







Hospitalizations in a one-week-period soared to 12,000, surpassing a previous week total by 3, ooo and the numbers appear to be surpassing the 2014-15 flu season, when 34 million Americans got the flu, 710,000 were hospitalized and 56,000 died, including 148 pediatric deaths. 







Outbreaks of this years influenza have been reported all over the United States (US), except in the state of Hawaii. This year's flu strain - H3N2, or the "Hong Kong flu", first emerged in 1968. Thirty-seven pediatric deaths have been attributed to the virus so far this year and the season is far from being over. 







Schools have been closed in some states due to the flu and some hospitals are dissuading casual visitations of the hospitalized for fear of wider contamination. Children, mothers and young adults have died in this flu outbreak. While the elderly, those over 65, remain most susceptible to the flu, infants, who normally would make-up the next more affected group, have been replaced by "Baby Boomers", those 50-64, as the second most affected group of this year's flu.







More alarming, however, is that medical authorities are beginning to recognize a second strain of the flu in this current season.







A flu shot, an inoculation, offers some protection from the illness, yet the rudiments of washing hands and other basic hygiene procedures, do offer additional protections from contracting the current virus.







January 28, 2018



ASIA:



In the Future...



In the future, children should not be laden with the debt of stop-gap fiscal policies of present lawmakers, neither should future generations be forced to inherit the fractured social and political systems that are being broken and marred today.







In the future, a more realistic and immediate solution should be accorded to the people toward the removal of divisive leaders. Also, in the future, all allegations of sexual harassment against any candidate for public office should be settled before a candidate could seek a role to lead the people. 







In the future, full protection of the environment must become a prerequisite of all candidates for public office.







In the future, all persons born on Planet Earth must be granted citizenship of their birth lands and those who immigrate to new lands should be given full protection and opportunity as all the people of that land.







And in the the future, freedom, equality and the pursuit of happiness should reign from pole to pole in serenity, free of conflict, war and famine. [A Sunday's Hope.]







January 27, 2018



ASIA:



Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility



That history may never repeat itself nor the horrors suffered, humanity should remember and educate toward our shared responsibility for a life void of evil.







The following is a republication, with some edits, of My Blog from a year-ago, done purposely for it remains relevant now, tomorrow, next year and in all the coming years:







Today is the International Day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. This year's theme: Educating for a Better Future, is apt to ensuring that the atrocities of the past not happen again.







Yet, as cited in a statement marking today's remembrance by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp survivor, Primo Levi has warned: "It happened, therefore it can happen again." 







Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in observing the memory of the Holocaust said: " This painful day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust forces us to contemplate the horrors to which bigotry, racism and discrimination ultimately lead."







He added:"...we must recognize that only if we regard each other as fully equal in dignity and rights will we be able to come together to overcome the many challenges facing humanity."







Seventy-two-years-ago, the dreaded Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated. Since then, the world has stood up to prevent similar horrors and the international community must continue to resist the ambitions of a few men to plunge 2018 and the coming years back into the dark ages of human rights abuses and atrocities.







Remembrance, education and responsibility must continue to figure highly in order to impede any recurrence of past abuses toward humanity.









January 26, 2018



ASIA:



"Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World"



This year's theme at the ongoing World Economic Forum, at Davos, Switzerland, is: "Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World". 







If something is shared, then it can never be unilateral, thus a multilateral approach to solving problems must be utilized in order to reach a common future. Therefore, unilateralism and isolationism cannot be utilized by any partner working to ensure a shared future. Globalization is paramount.







In a stoic and seemingly somber address at Davos, today, United States (US) President Donald Trump, while continuing to plug his "America First" motto, appeared briefly to admit the necessity of multilateralism to solve the world's problems. He admitted that "America First" does not mean America "alone".







Yet, instead of emphasizing the need for continued world cooperation to solving humanity's problems, Trump, touting the record-breaking climb of the American stock market, suggested: "...when America grows, so does the world".







Really? Should the world await the economic rise of the rural coal miner or gun seller before it gains its prosperity? Should the world await the better treatment of the poor, minorities, refugees and immigrants in America, before they ameliorate the conditions of their people? Is American prosperity a prerequisite to the rise of China or to the leaps of the European Union (EU)? 







Modern human development, the use of technology and the exploration of new innovations in all sectors of society to enhance the life of humanity, have become reality via the cooperative multilateral efforts of nations and their people.







Thus, ensuring a secure and prosperous shared future could only come through multilateral efforts as humanity seek life, liberty and happiness in a protected environment.







January 25, 2018



ASIA:



Isolationism or Multilateralism - Trump's Way Versus the European Commitment



European Union (EU) leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, have affirmed their commitment to multilateralism and not to  isolationism as a means to greater world prosperity and to solving the problems of the world. 







Unlike Donald Trump's evolving isolationist policies, France's Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Angela Merkel and Italy's Paolo Gentiloni, who addressed the Davos meeting, yesterday, all affirmed Europe's commitment to deeper European integration and to multilateralism through global commerce and not unilateralism,  as an approach to prosperity and as the solution to widening economic inequality, terrorism and the impacts of Climate Change.







French President Macron declared: "If we want to avoid this fragmentation of the world, we need a stronger Europe, it's absolutely key..." He placed France at the center of a mission to revamp global capitalism while spreading the benefits more equitably, forcing a mode of commerce centered on innovation, but having protections for workers set back by change, the New York Times reported.







German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that multilateralism was under threat and that protectionism was the answer to the world's problems. She affirmed:        "Germany wishes to be a country that lends its contribution in the future to solve the problems of the world together, we think that shutting ourselves off and isolating ourselves will not lead us into a good future," CNBC reported.







The leaders of France, Germany and Italy reiterated to the world's wealthy and powerful gathered in the Swiss Alps of a commitment to European integration and to defend international cooperation. Clearly, their views conflict with the isolationist stance of United States (US) President Donald Trump, whose policies follow a unilateral path. He will address the gathering tomorrow.







January 24, 2018



ASIA:



...after the Shutdown of the United States Government



The United States (US) Federal Government reopened on Tuesday after a brief shutdown from the lack of funding brought to wrought by a budget impasse between Congressional Republicans and Democrats.







While the White House, Republicans and Democrats have blamed each other for the shutdown, it remains a fact that a deeply partisan divide hovers over Washington, DC, which, if left unchecked, will continue to plague the traditional daily operations of the Federal government and contribute to the general insecurity of the Republic.







Though the parties to the negotiations to fund the government have pledged to work together to produce a long term budget for the nation by February 8, the reliance on continued resolutions to keep the government funded, is certainly not a good fiscal tool. A long term spending bill has to be adopted that among other things would deliver a long term budget to the Department of Defense in order to insure the preservation of national security and good morale among troops who work tirelessly to protect the security of the Republic.







With regards to the brief shutdown, Democrats erred on insisting that a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deal be included in the budget negotiations. Republicans and the White House also erred in adopting the staunch right wing attitude that the status and the protection of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are not important enough to merit immediate action.







Thus, after the shut down, Congress should keep the pledge to work together across party lines to expedite the status and protection of Dreamers. Congress should also formulate a long term spending bill instead of relying on stop-gap funding deals for the operations of the US government.







January 23, 2018



ASIA:



High Time to Form a "New Grand Coalition" Government in Germany



Amid the expressed isolationist policy and world-upsetting rantings of United States (US) President Donald Trump, the global community has been missing a sound German input ever since an inclusive election, last September, prevented Chancellor Angela Merkel from forming a new government and to assuming her position as a global leader as she has clearly demonstrated in recent years.







Although Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union (CSU), won the most positions, 246, in the 709-seat Bundestag (German Parliament), they failed to gain a majority. Martin Schulz's Social Democratic Party (SPD) - Merkel's coalition partner in the previous government, won 153 seats, the far right party, Alternative for Germany (AfG) won 94 seats, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) won 80 and the Greens won 67 seats.







Coalition talks between the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens failed to form a new government, but the SPD, which had ruled out forming another government with Merkel, had a change of heart. And on Sunday, the SPD met and voted to enter coalition negotiations with the CDU/CSU after they both agreed on a blueprint for formal talks earlier this month, the BBC-News reported.







Chancellor Merkel's leadership in Germany has been rational and steady but wrought by an unprecedented immigration crisis in 2015 that witnessed more than 600,000 asylum seekers entering Germany after fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. 







As Merkel offered German humanitarian kindness to hundreds of thousands of refugees, far right parties within Germany, egged on by other anti-immigration folks in Europe, like Viktor Orban, of Hungary, criticized the responsibility Europe was obliged to show the displaced people. Thus, Merkel's CDU/CSU lost 65 seats in the September vote and the SPD lost 40 seats, while the far right AfG gained 94 seats.







However, the nation destabilizing 600,000 asylum seekers who entered Germany in 2015, decreased to 280,000 in 2016. The CDU/CSU-SPD likely coalition has agreed to limit asylum seekers to 200,000 annually and to possibly cap at 1,000-a-month the number of migrants allowed to join relatives living in Germany.







Both Merkel and Schulz after Sunday's agreement expressed optimism to a new "Grand Coalition" and of a "fresh start" for Germany as they stressed the need to ensure the nation's "social cohesion" amid tensions brought on by the 2015 immigration crisis. 







Therefore, a new government will form in Germany soon that offers the potential to returning Angela Merkel to the post of providing rational woman world leadership.







January 22, 2018



ASIA:



Honduras and the Democratic Republic of Congo - Joining the List of 2018 Uprisings



First Iran, then Tunisia, now Honduras, Central America and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, have joined the expanding list of nations facing social upheaval and political instability in 2018.







The continuing protests in Honduras that flared again last weekend, stemmed from a disputed presidential election there last November, when incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez, was declared winner in a vote opposition leader Salvador Nasralla, and his supporters, have decried as tainted. 







Nasralla was leading in the vote count until his lead was suddenly surpassed by Hernandez. The vote was supervised and counted by an election tribunal, appointed by the Honduras congress, which in controlled by the president's National Party. 







A 60-year-old man was killed on Saturday when police fired into a road block of protesters, bringing the number of deaths to 14 that have been killed since protests started, Amnesty International recorded and as reported by the BBC-News. Hernandez, who has ruled the volatile and crime-ridden Honduras since 2013, ran for a second-term in November after his supreme court lifted a ban on re-election for presidents.







Across the Atlantic Ocean to Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Catholic Church there has called for large, but peaceful demonstrations to protest the extended stay in office of President Joseph Kabila, who has ran DRC since 2001. He was to leave office in 2016. He did not. His authorities extended his rule to the end of 2017, claiming they were not in a position to hold new elections, yet 2017 has passed and still remains in office. Kabila's authorities have again claimed they wouldn't be in a position to hold elections until December, 2018.







Thus, the Catholic Church has encouraged  peaceful protests urging a return to the democratic process, but Kabila's government have denied permits for marches. Yet, yesterday, after Sunday Mass, thousands of believers marched in the streets, where they were met by heavy security forces. A number of people were injured and deaths have reached some seven since protests started in December against Kabila and his cling to power. United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers have been deployed to the capital, Kinshasa, to monitor developments.







From the Americas to the Middle East and to Africa, many people have entered 2018 with a resolve to march, to protest and to demand better governance and for the rule of law. And it is still only January.







January 21, 2018



ASIA:



Resistance to Trump Continues - the Women's March 2018



Tens of thousands of women, men and children rallied and marched yesterday in Washington, DC, in New York City, New York, in Los Angeles, California and in other cities across the United States (US), in the 2018 Women's March, on the one-year-anniversary of Donald Trump's presidency, in demonstration of a very broad resistance to Trump's polarizing policies.







Thousands of marchers, my family included, turned out at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, on the National Mall in Washington, DC, as we also did last year, to reaffirm resistance to Trump's divisive policies, to highlight the significance of women in society, to decry sexual harassment and to highlight the need for greater voter registration and involvement in 2018.







Similar marches were held in other cities including, Palm Beach, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Richmond, Virginia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Denver, Colorado; Raleigh, North Carolina; Providence, Rhode Island; Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, with a large rally planned for today in Las Vegas, Nevada.







Yesterday's Women's March was the second annual event. The first event taking place last January on the day after Donald Trump's inauguration. As was the case in 2017, the 2018 march also spanned the globe with women rallies reported in Ottawa, Canada and in Rome, Italy, with planned events today in Paris, France and in London, United Kingdom. 







Explicitly, women across the globe have joined in unison to denounce divisiveness and to end the practice of gender inequality and sexual harassment. 







January 20, 2018



ASIA:



Federal Government Shuts Down in Washington, DC - One year of Trump



The United States (US) Senate failed to reach an agreement on funding the government at midnight last night, thus the closure of non essential arms of the Federal Government. 







But the impasse resulting in the failure to fund the government was not just borne overnight, it is a culmination of a year of an unyielding president, whose actions and rantings continue to split the nation creating a divisive atmosphere from halls of government to small town USA.







While some Republicans have attempted to place the blame for the closure of the government upon Democrats, the reality remains that all blame and responsibility for the closure must rest with the president. Donald Trump owns this latest shut down of the Federal Government. Short three or four-week extensions of funding for the Federal Government are antiquated. There must be a long-term address to funding the government and not short gap fixes.







Democratic insistence that immediate action be paid to the Deferred Action for Childhood  Arrivals (DACA) program is a necessary humanitarian policy that stands at the heart of the American Republic and therefore it requires immediate action as part of the functioning of the US government.







Now, the US Congress, both Republicans and Democrats must wrestle to fix a broken system outside of any distractions from the White House. The American people deserve a long-term fix to government funding like hundreds of thousands of deserve access to the American Dream.







January 19, 2018



ASIA:



The First Water War - a Real Threat



According to Wikipedia, per water conflicts, the United Nations (UN) recognizes that water disputes result from opposing interests of water users, public or private, but the international body admits that a "wide range of water conflicts appear throughout history, though rarely are traditional wars waged over water alone."







However, this long held supposition could change very soon barring any diplomatic agreement or compromise between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over water rights on the Horn of Africa. Therefore, a real threat of a hot war over water looms between these North African states.







Some 11 states are watered by the world's longest river, the Nile. Ethiopia has completed 60 percent of construction of Africa's largest dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, spanning the Nile's biggest tributary, the Blue Nile. The $5 billion hydro-electric project is set to propel Ethiopia as a major supplier of power in the region on completion of the 6,000 megawatts system. 







But Egypt, which historically has made a major claim to the waters  of the Nile, has not been happy with the project fearing it would reduce water supplies to Cairo. Rumors that Egypt would bomb the project by aircraft have swirled for a couple of years. Though Egypt has signed onto a feasibility study to look into any disruption or reduction of its precious water supply from the Nile, its objection to the project remains very high. Most of Egypt's water from the Nile originates in Ethiopia on the Blue Nile.







Ethiopia has vowed to complete the project at all costs. Yet, like Egypt, Sudan has also claims exclusive rights to the use of Nile water, thus broadening the likelihood of a water conflict. The Nile basin covers 11 countries, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.







January 18, 2018



ASIA:



Spain's Continuing Bad Precedence to European Stability



With regards to each action it has taken against the expressed sovereignty of Catalonia, Spain's bad precedent casts a shadow of uncertainty over the future general stability of Europe.







Beginning with its opposition to the democratic process of a referendum by the autonomous Catalonia that realized into the beatings of Catalans attempting to exercise their democratic rights to vote in the last Autumn referendum, Spain has, in essence, condemned a non-violent democratic process.







As if the beatings of Catalans were not enough, Spain then moved to strip the region of its autonomy, to arrest and to charge Catalan leaders, with among other things, sedition, thus forcing Catalan's President Carles Puigdemont and four other leaders into exile in Belgium, over fears they would not receive a fair trial before a Madrid court. While some Catalan leaders have been released on bail, others still remain jailed in Madrid for their roles in conducting a democratic referendum.







Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy thought that Catalonia would purge itself of any sovereign ambitions via new elections he called for the region. Pro-Independence candidates won big in the vote in a total rebuff of Rajoy's desires.







Then earlier this week, the new Catalan Parliament elected pro-independence member Roger Torrent as its new Speaker, paving the way for pro-independence parties to control the legislature of the autonomous region.







Yet, in setting another bad precedent, as reported by the BBC-News, Rajoy has declared that Catalonia's autonomous powers will not be restored if the regional parliament permits Puigdemont to lead the government from exile. 







Rajoy has clearly sent a message to any future sovereign movements in Europe that any democratic processes to establishing the will of the people will not be accepted and that any such democratic processes would be a crime. Thus, Rajoy appears to leave open violent rebellion as the only means to gaining the expressed wants of the people. A very bad precedent to set that puts the future stability of Europe at risk.







However, Spain could easily correct its wrongs by rescinding all charges of Catalonia's leaders and by setting up a commission to look into the conditions of the region that forced Catalans to sovereignty. In good faith, Rajoy should pledge to work with Catalans in order to ameliorate their grievances with a view to sustaining Spanish unity as a whole.







January 17, 2018



ASIA:



An Immigration Tragedy - the Separation of Jorge Garcia's Family



Immigration authorities in the United States (US), on Monday, coincidentally, on the Birthday of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., deported to Mexico, Jorge Garcia, 39, a landscaper from Lincoln Park, Michigan.







I never met nor knew Jorge Garcia. Press reports confirmed he was married to his wife of 15-years, Cindy and that they have two children, ages 15 and 12 - both born in the US. Apparently, Jorge entered the US at age 10 with an undocumented family member. For three-decades he made the US his home, worked, raised children and stayed out of trouble. 







However, circumstances offered up Jorge to immigration officials as he tried to legalized his immigration status back in 2005, but was denied legalization and placed on a deportation list. The Barack Obama Presidency offered some hope to Jorge and his family as his deportation was stayed, while the family sought grounds and assistance to gain him legal status in the US.







Too old to qualify for an exemption to deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), created to shield from deportation hundreds of thousands of undocumented children brought into the US by relatives, since qualification mandates an individual be 31-years or younger by June 15, 2012, Jorge hoped for relief under another program - Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, but that program has been blocked by the Federal Courts.







As expected and as required as he sought a solution to his undocumented status, Jorge continued to report to immigration officials. In the meantime, Donald Trump became president. As reported by the Washington Post, in the first seven-months of Trump, immigration officials arrested 28,000 non criminal immigration violators.







Last November when Jorge reported to immigration officials, he was informed he would have to leave the US by January 15, 2018. Hopes that Congress would find a fix to conditions such as Jorge's have not materialized. 







Thus, on Monday, on the Birthday of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jorge hugged his sobbing family for a final time and boarded a plane from the airport in Detroit, Michigan, bound for Mexico, a place he has not lived for 30-years.







A wife is now husbandless, and two children fatherless because of warped immigration policies that are creating family tragedies in this the land of opportunity, liberty and hope. Will America ever regain its humanitarian heart?







January 16, 2018



ASIA:



Rights, Race and Gender Equality - Chapters to be Completed toward Unity



Fifty-years after the death of civil rights champion, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., considerable gaps still remain in the struggle to attain and to establish full human and civil rights, race and gender equality in the United States (US).







Still too many Black men are being killed, arrested and incarcerated by a system that targets the demographic group. They are being joined by young Latino men, who are being rounded-up for deportation based upon mere assumptions that they are in the US illegally.







Women still continue to earn less than their equated educated male counterparts. Adding to the unfinished chapter of gender equality is a new push by many conservatives to wrestle control of women's reproductive rights away from individual women through manipulation of birth control services and healthcare services.







Therefore, in order for the final chapters to be completed toward achieving full civil and human rights, race and gender equality in the US, the people must reject divisive and nationalistic rhetoric that threaten the security of the America Republic and its founding principles. Instead, progressive policies should be advanced to heal and to promote equality, fairness and justice for all.







January 15, 2018



ASIA:



Continuing Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Chapters to Realize the Dream Remain



Today, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black civil rights leader of the 1960s, whose nonviolent campaign to better conditions for all people, has come to epitomize the mode of peaceful protests.







Yet, as we honor a man's whose humility and character embodied and defined peace toward social change, we must wonder of the future face social protests will take as needed in order to protect and to advance those civil and human rights Dr. King and others paid for in blood, and in life.







Violent responses and actions to social protests from Ferguson, Missouri to Charlottesville, Virginia, question whether or not nonviolence would withstand the resurgence of armed far right agitations stoked by executive rhetoric and rantings.







Attacks on civil and human rights remain too prevalent decades after Dr. King. Voting rights remain under attack. Hostile white supremacy groups feel re-energized since the ascension of Donald Trump to the Oval Office. Equality remains theory. Women's rights and the environment remain threatened. 







There will be future protests because many chapters to the full realization of Dr. King's dream remain unfulfilled. So as we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. on this day, January 15, 2018, we should continue to promote nonviolence and wish for peace while writing the final chapters toward equality, justice and liberty for all.











January 14, 2018



ASIA:



Tunisia Moves to the Uprisings Column in 2018



Notifications from the people to governments of their intolerance to their living conditions will continue to figure highly in 2018. Iranians started the year in wide protests against the Islamic government there demanding changes amid soaring consumer prices.







Today, Tunisians have joined the lengthening column of social uprisings for 2018, as Tunisians demonstrate and protest against austerity measures and rising consumer prices. More than 800 demonstrators have been arrested since January 7, when protests broke out over a raised value-added tax and social social contributions along with increases in food prices, proposed in the Tunisian 2018 budget, the BBC-News reported.







Demonstrations continue today in Tunis and in 10 other towns and cities across the nation. Incidentally, today also marks the seventh anniversary of the Arab Spring that ushered in a new government after Tunisians deposed long-time leader, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, in 2011. Tunisia had been touted as a model country for post Arab Spring nations. Yet, the government of President Beji Caid Essebsi has been unable to contain the discontent of Tunisians or to make the necessary reforms needed, included those relating to women, in order to preserve serenity.







Tunisia remains heavily indebted to the World Bank, which warned the nation last month that it needed to take "urgent action" and "decisive measures" to reduce its deficit. According to the BBC-News, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan Tunisia $2.9 billion back in 2015.







Thrown into emergency meetings to cope with the uprisings, the government is now submitting a plan to parliament to reform medicare, housing and increase aid to the poor. The BBC-News reported that Social Affairs Minister Mohammed Trabelsi confirmed that the government was proposing increases in welfare payments. "This will affect about 250,000 families. It will help the poor and middle class," the BBC-News cited the Tunisian official. 







Tunisians, like Iranians, have now served notice of public discontent with governments. The people will continue to demand reforms, redress, life, liberty and happiness in 2018. Though it is only January, two nations have already served their notices. Who will follow? 







January 13, 2018



ASIA:



The Republic will Endure



In spite of vulgar profane rantings from the Oval Office, rhetoric of nationalism and populism, and of international isolation, fighting words tweeted on social media, policies that threaten the environment and the established Spirit of America, along with divisive actions and agitations, the Republic of the United States of America, will endure.







It will endure because of its people - the educated and non-localists, who see the 'forests' clearly and not that lone backyard tree. It will endure because of its tenets of democracy, liberty, opportunity and the rule of law. 







Though a regression of America's founding principles is occurring, it will only be temporary. The resolve of the American people to live up to the historic respected standing of the Republic will endure and it will continue following the current brief spells of chaos and uncertainty.







January 12, 2018



ASIA:



A Vulgar Reference of Black Nations from the US Oval Office - a Wake-up Call to Action



United States (US) President Donald Trump referred to Black nations - Haiti and African states,  as "shithole countries" yesterday in a meeting with lawmakers on immigration in the Oval Office, at the White House, Washington, DC. His reported derogatory comment has ignited a firestorm of criticism. Trump denied the comment in a Tweet earlier this morning.







Trump must be condemned for his blatant comment and it should be made clear that Trump's view does not echo the character of the American Republic and most of its people. Trump has lived void of the reality of normalcy and his lack of tack or respect of others underscores his disconnect of any empathy.







However, his vulgar reference of Black nations as "shithole countries" should serve as a wake-up call to Black nations - their governments and more specifically and explicitly, their people, that the historical relationship, trust and respect they once shared with the US, has now been voided by Trump.







Therefore, these nations must now better relations with each other and with others, who accord them due respect and understanding. The people must now take control of their destinies and in particular, control of their natural resources with a view to using them to better themselves and not for the enrichment of any corrupt leaders and foreign corporations. Imagine an Africa in total control of its resources - the diamonds, the gold, the copper, the oil and the much sought after rare and other minerals.







Trump's vulgarity is a wake-up call to the people - a call to unity, and a call to better use of their resources for themselves and not for the micro enrichment of companies so as to ensure their coming off the dole of alms from other nations and to avoid being placed in positions to be so rudely disrespected by Donald Trump.







January 11, 2018



ASIA:



The Resurgence of Political Revolutions - a Fallout of Restricted Immigration



It would be a fallacy to assume that the security of the world would be any calmer had hundreds of thousands of displaced peoples not sought refuge outside of their home nations. I offer it as a speculation that had these masses remained at home, more political upheavals would be percolating today.







Moreover, I venture to predict that in the coming years of restricted immigration, the globe will witness a resurgence in political revolutions and rebellions not seen in recent years.







Therefore, as nations from the United States (US) to the European Union (EU) contemplate enactment of immigration restrictions, careful consideration should be given to the likely demise in world stability once voluminous hoards of people become trapped within their nations having no other means to redress of their conditions, but via revolution and rebellion, which would inevitably impact global investments within the home nations, along with the associated unsure political atmosphere brought to wrought by violence.







Immigration has always been a vehicle to achieving political, economic and social stability worldwide. But if it is severely restricted and prohibited, then its affects could be devastating and not limited to the homes of the displaced, but transcending across walls, mountains, seas and oceans.







January 10, 2018



ASIA:



Diminished Hopes, Quashed Opportunities - America's New Offering to Immigrants



The once promise of life, liberty and opportunity by the United States(US) to persecuted and displaced peoples, is diminishing steadily under the Donald Trump administration. 







If not for judicial intervention toward the assurance of due process, as in the case of Dreamers (children brought to the US by undocumented parents), some 800,000 in number,  then these immigrants of hope would have had their beacons of opportunity extinguished forthwith under the Trump administration.







A recent ruling by US Judge William Alsup, sitting on the Federal Court in San Francisco, California, accords due process to these believers in the American Dream. The judge ruled that the President Barack Obama's era program, DACA), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protects against the deportation of Dreamers, must stay in place while litigation continues against the Trump decision to remove them. In September, Trump rescinded DACA.







But the court's decision is not a permanent fix for these young people who have adopted the US as home. Their anxieties as to a now uncertain future will continue until, perhaps the month of March, when the US Congress could enact legislation allowing permanent residency for many of them.







That the administration in Washington, DC, would also seek to expel some 200,000 El Salvadorans, granted protection in the US since 2001, following deadly earthquakes in the Central American nation, underscores the diminishing hopes and quashed opportunities for far too many people.







Therefore, it becomes high time for the US Congress to act quickly to relight the beacon of the spirit of America, and in doing so, allow hundreds of thousands of immigrants to have a pathway to realizing the hope and the opportunity  established by the founding Fathers of this American Republic.







January 09, 2018



ASIA:



Olympic Diplomacy - a Path to Ease Tensions on the Korean Peninsula



North and South Korea have met in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), on the border between the two nations, and via Olympic diplomacy, the reclusive North has agreed to send a delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in the South.







That meeting and the decision, earlier today, between five high-level senior officials from both Koreas, have also produced an agreement between the nations to hold military talks to defuse border tensions, thereby ushering in a relative calm that has not been felt on the peninsula in recent months.







Nuclear threats, tests and ambitions by North Korea, have soured relations with South Korea in recent years. A war of childish rhetoric between the North's President Kim Jong-un and United States(US) President Donald Trump, has also fueled and ratcheted up tensions on the peninsula.







However, an overture by Jong-un to sending a Pyongyang delegation to the February Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea, opened the door to today's Olympic diplomacy, which has now yielded the North participation in the Winter Olympics and the reopening of a military hotline between the two nations - the best diplomatic progress toward calm that has been made on the peninsula in recent years.







Moreover, as reported by the BBC-News, while the North's leader and the South's President Moon Jae-in, monitored the meeting via live television feed, the South proposed that both Koreas march together at the opening ceremony at the Winter Games. Also, the South proposed a renewal for the reunion of family members separated by the Korean to restart during the coming Lunar New Year celebrations, in February. 







Family reunions between Korean relatives split by the DMZ remain a much desired and sensitive issue on the Korean peninsula. That these reunifications could now possibly take place again, clearly denote a major chilling of tensions between the Koreas brought about through Olympic diplomacy and not rhetoric and not bombs. 







January 08, 2018



ASIA:



Time is Up! The Dawn of the Rise of Women



When the likes of widely acclaimed women - Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Streisand, could soundly affirm that the "time is up" to end years of sexual harassment upon women and the inequality women face in the movies and in work places across the globe, then it must be taken as  actual that a  "new day is on the horizon" in respect to ending the pervasive culture that has hindered women for far too long.







Oprah and a full cast of women of the entertainment industry premiered the new dawn of the rise of women last night in Hollywood, California, at the 75th Golden Globe Awards. Most of the women, and many men, at the red carpet gala, worn black in solidarity with the Me Too movement, which has brought sexual harassment to the fore from the movie industry to the seat of political power and the media. Many actors presenting or accepting awards at the ceremony denounced sexual harassment.







Accepting the prestigious Cecil B. Demille Honorary Award at the event, the unmatched influential Oprah said:"For far too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared speak the truth to the power of these men. But their time is up. Their time is up!" The media Queen, who addressed the predatory behavior of sexual harassment, reaffirmed that "anew day is on the horizon."







Legendary entertainer Barbara Streisand, the only woman to win the best director award at the Golden Globes back in 1984, affirmed Oprah's declaration: "Folks, time's up...We need more women directors and more women to be nominated for best director."







A new mandate to change the culture that has hindered and scarred women for far too long was explicitly displayed at last night's Golden Globe Awards. That mandate has been set and etched into motion to transcend all sectors and nations since being dispatched by the Me Too movement and the famous women of entertainment.







January 07, 2018



ASIA:



The Rohingya Strikes Back in Myanmar



Rendered stateless, denied freedom of movement and access to social and political  services for too long in Myanmar, the Rohingya people struck back against Myanmar's security forces on Friday, thus signaling that they have no other option but to fight against what they deemed as Myanmar state-sponsored terrorism.







Reuters has reported that the Rohingya group, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army(ARSA), has determined it has no other option but to fight in order to defend the Rohingya community and they have demanded the Rohingya be consulted on all decisions affecting their future.







The small ARSA insurgent group on Friday ambushed a Myanmar military truck and wounded several members of Myanmar's security forces, Reuters reported. Last August 25, ARSA launched raids on Myanmar security forces that led to the current violent and ethnic-cleansing crisis by the Myanmar army that has caused over 650,000 Rohingya people, to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist. The Rohingya are a minority Muslim sect that the state has denied to recognize going as far as prohibiting the use of the name Rohingya in the country.







According to the leader of the insurgent group, Ata Ullah, in a statement posted on Twitter, "ARSA has...no other option but to combat 'Burmese state-sponsored terrorism' against the Rohingya population for the purpose of defending, salvaging and protecting the Rohingya community, " Reuters reported. 







The statement added: "Rohingya people must be consulted in all decision-making that affects their humanitarian needs and political future." Myanmar has claimed it will not accept terrorism and will fight against the Rohingya "until the end".







As Myanmar and Bangladesh ready a plan to return Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, refugees complain that they have not been consulted on the proposals. In the meantime, Myanmar authorities continue to place, Rakhine state -  the home of the majority of Myanmar's Rohingya people, off limits to Press and humanitarian groups.







Friday's action by ARSA, the first since last August, underscores the frustration the Rohingya feel and experience toward their goal to achieving basic human rights in Myanmar. They have opted to strike back and to rise-up against oppression in 2018.







January 06, 2018



ASIA:



It is Freezing!



At the time of this writing, it is 15 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9.4 degrees Celsius) in Washington, DC. In New York City, New York, it is 7 degree F (minus 13.9 degrees C). In Boston, Massachusetts, it is 10 degrees F (minus 12 degrees C). In Toronto, Canada, it is minus 2 degrees F (minus 19 degrees C). On Mount Washington, New Hampshire, it is minus 34 degrees F (minus 36.7 degrees C).







And so are the events of freezing temperatures upon the East Coast of the North American continent on this Sixth Day of January 2018.







It is freezing. It is cold. Car batteries are dying. The homeless are being forced into warm shelters, water pipes are bursting and heating systems are cranked up. Unfortunately, some deaths have been attributed to the bone chilling temperatures. 







Thus, history will now record that a weather phenomenon called Bombogenesis -  when the barometric pressure, within a low pressure system experiences a drop of 24 or more points within a 24-hour-period. Meteorologist have confirmed the pressured dropped by 48 points spreading snow and low temperatures from sunny Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Florida, all the way to Canada with snow falls ranging from dusting to two-feet.







Next week should bring a more moderation of temperatures along the East Coast of the North America continent. Stay warm everybody.







January 05, 2018



ASIA:



Diminishing Aid to Nations - a Prelude to Wider Extremism and Conflict



The Trump administration in Washington, DC, has decided to cut almost all security aid to Pakistan in retaliation for Pakistan's failure to deal with terror networks in that country. 







The Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network are believed to be destabilizing the region and targeting American personnel.







While on its face the withholding of aid appears appropriate to remedy a problem that has and presents a danger to American security, the new directive from the Trump administration could backfire creating a more lucrative haven for terrorists, while stoking wider extremism and conflict that could transcend the borders of the Asian nation.







Without adequate security and funding, Pakistan would descend further into lawlessness rife for the harboring, training and exercising of extremists. However, continued United States(US) aid could prolong a cooperative security relationship Washington has had with Islamabad for decades, though not ideal, but better that nothing at all. 







If Pakistan's actions  have been far from expected during many years with the infusion of US aid money, then consider the possible demise of conditions minus the financial aid. 







The Trump administration directive against Pakistan affirms a flawed foreign policy toted by the White House to use aid to sway needy nations to accept and to go along with Trump's policies over all other considerations, as was threatened over the US unitary declaration on Jerusalem and the subsequent United Nations(UN) vote.







However, that diminishing aid to nations could threaten wider extremism and conflict, the Trump administration should become aware that the McKinley era has long gone and that modern nations are dynamic and complex societies that cannot be ruled from Washington and that they have access to other 'big pocket' donors as China has heavily invested in Pakistan.







January 04, 2018



ASIA:



A Reminder to those who Govern - Serve the People or Else...



Amid prevalent divisiveness, stoked agitations and widening social and economic inequalities, elected officials should be reminded to serve all the people and not themselves nor special interest groups.







Gross failings of elected officials to serve and to act on behalf of all the people will continue to lead to uprisings and wider conflicts. 







This week's uprisings in Iran against a strict Islamic government ought to place all governments on notice of the bold defiance people could exhibit once they have been denied the basics of life, liberty and opportunity.







That leaders could do as they wish with no regard of the negative consequences and impacts of such actions upon the people, has to be a misnomer. The old notion that clubs, tear gas, water canons, bullets and arrests would suffice suppressing an oppressed people, is a gross error.







However, good governance, effective service to the people and a system to redress, remain the safest and most secure mechanisms to peace and stability in all societies. Therefore, to hedge against social unrest and perpetual demonstrations and protests, leaders must serve the people instead of demanding of expecting that the people serve them. Government rests with the people at all times.







January 03, 2018



ASIA:



A Thawing Line to Communications Opens on the Korean Peninsula



In spite of childish rhetorical exchanges between United States(US) President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un about the placement, size and operation status of nuclear launch buttons, North Korean has reopened a hotline to communications with South Korea after shuttering the line for two years, thus holding hope to a thawing of relations on the Korean peninsula.







The South Korean government has confirmed reports that the Pyongyang regime called earlier, this morning, holding out hopes to better relations between the Korean brothers, amid threats of nuclear launches from the North and social media(Twitter) taunts by Donald Trump to having a bigger functioning nuclear launch button than Jong-un.







North Korea and South Korea will apparently use the re-opened hotline between the two to establish a dialogue over the likelihood of Pyongyang sending a team to next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea.







South Korea's President Moon Jae-in reportedly described the opening of the hotline as "very significant" and that it  "...creates an environment where communication will be possible at all times." 







Maybe, just maybe, both Koreas could now utilize the hotline to diffuse a highly tense atmosphere on the peninsula brought to wrought by North Korea's nuclear ambitions, testing and threats and Donald Trump's stark social media provocations.







January 02, 2018



ASIA:



The Root of Social Uprisings in 2018



The civil protests, demonstrations and social uprisings of 2018, already being played out in Iran that are also likely in many other countries, are rooted not in overnight circumstances, but in deep social divisions enraged through divisiveness, in the erosion of human rights and in bad governance and economic policies that threatened to widen the divide between the 'haves and the have nots'.







Moreover, the youth of the world who feel shutout from the means to social mobility and economic prosperity whether or not because of conflict or restricted governance lacking a mode to redress of grievances, will continue to strike out at their governments with a view to changing the present affairs of their respective states for more inclusiveness.







That so many youthful Iranians would risk death, injury and possible imprisonment to protest against policies by a strict Islamic government in their country, clearly underscores the acuteness of the problems many youth find with their governance. Thus, civil disobedience could become wide spread as 2018 progresses.







However, governments have an opportunity to advert such possible uprisings by redeveloping economic and social policies to benefit the people - the youth, the young and the old, and not just the rich via trickle down economics. Such fiscal polices characteristic of a bygone era, are not fitting to modern times and new attempts to reinstall them, which would shoulder the world's youth with the debt of such policies in the long run, will continue to be met by protests, demonstrations and uprisings.







January 01, 2018



ASIA:



The Uprisings of 2018



The uprisings, demonstrations and protests by the people against conditions impacting their rights, lives, survival and future, have already started in 2018.







In Iran, protests and demonstrations across that Islamic Republic continue today since starting last Thursday in opposition to tight economic and political conditions. Impromptu protests, according to the BBC-News, have been witnessed in the large cities of Tehran and Mashhad to included other Iranian cities and towns like Zanjan, Abhar, Tonekabon, Karaj, Arak, Shahrekord, Izeh, Bandar Abbas, Khorramabad and Kermanshah.







Reports indicate that some 12 people have died and upward of 400 have been arrested as Iranian authorities close down sections of social media in an attempt to quell the protests. 







Describing the protests and criticisms as an opportunity and not a threat, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, has said that his people are free to protest, but not violently. Yet, a crackdown by the strict Iranian forces continue against the mainly male youthful demonstrators.







This 2018 uprising is the largest anti-government demonstration seen in Iran since the Green Movement rallies of 2009 when 30 people were killed and thousands arrested to suppress dissent of the government.







Iran has suffered under a strict Theocratic government and a faltering economy brought to wrought by years of international economic sanctions as punishment for its nuclear ambitions. Its outlooked appeared high with the signing of a nuclear agreement between the country and the international community in 2016. However, conditions have not gotten better fast enough for many Iranians, thus the present protests.







The social protests playing out in Iran are not restricted to that nation. Conditions in a number of jurisdictions deteriorated enough in 2017 to raise the likelihood of mass uprisings in 2018. Spain, the United States(US), the United Kingdom(UK), Myanmar, Venezuela, Russia, Hong Kong, Peru and Poland, among others, are not immune to social unrest in 2018.




December 31, 2017



ASIA:



Toward the Rise of the People in 2018 - to Safeguard Human Rights



The persecution of humans, civil displacement, minority statelessness and the number of victims of conflicts along with the erosion of basic human rights accompanied with stoked divisiveness, were all prevalent and on the increase in 2017, as the stage became set for a larger divide between the 'haves and the have-nots'. These agitations have been set against a backdrop of a pressured environment strained by the effects of mankind.







Therefore, in 2018, the peoples of Planet Earth must rise up to end all practices that threaten the serenity and peace of humankind's continuity on Earth. 







Change rests with all the people and unless we stand-up for life, liberty, equality and the rule of law, our Planet run a great risk of descending into an unhealthy environ consumed by violence, divisiveness and conflict.







So as the New Year dawns, we toast and urge all peoples to rise in order to safeguard all human rights and the protection of our sole-shared environment.







Happy New Year!







December 30, 2017



ASIA:



The World in 2018 - the United States of America(USA)



The diminishing international sphere of influence of the United States(US) that started with the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency, will continue in 2018.







Our beloved Republic that has long stood on the principles of democracy, life, liberty, equality and the rule of law from the times of the Pilgrims, to Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Obama, will descend further into isolation under Donald Trump in 2018.







That glowing beacon of hope that once shone brightly over the US toward religious and civil freedoms, will be dimmed in 2018 as Trump continues to close the door to opportunity to many people, who once looked to this Republic, as an assured pillar of hope and of comfort.







The expressed intent of the Trump administration not to endorse the Paris Agreement on Climate Change underscores the isolationist path the current White House will direct the US in 2018. The stated objection to the Iran Nuclear deal affirms America's isolation well into 2018. Also the unitary declaration by Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, thus bucking international consensus on a two-state solution to peace with Palestine, further affirms the isolationist road Trump has adopted for the Republic. 







Domestically, a new tax code signed into law by Trump will increase the wealth gap between 'the haves the have-nots' in 2018 and beyond. Wall Street's record breaking gains, borne out of rational fiscal policy during the Obama Presidency, will begin to wane in 2018. Divisive rhetoric stoked by the new administration will incite civil demonstrations and protests in 2018. The health and economic condition of America's poor will also become more acute in 2018.







However, that the Republic stands loftier than any individual or administration, the American people will seek to curb the policies of Trump by backing many Democratic Party candidates for Congress in 2018. 







While the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election might not yield an impeachment of Trump in 2018, the resolve of the American people to a stable and cohesive community, could result in major restraints being placed on Trump in 2018.







Therefore, in 2018, the US Republic and its people will find the ways and means to reset a path toward global respect and international cooperation, even if it takes until 2020.







December 29, 2017



ASIA:



The World in 2018 - Europe



Europe will enter and continue into 2018 enjoying economic gains under the umbrella of the powerhouse European Union(EU) and moderate stability under the security of NATO. Economic achievements, the driving force of Europe's recent resurgence, will continue across the continent.







Meddling from Russia into European affairs will continue from Estonia to Lithuania to Latvia and all the way to the English Channel. Ukraine will bear the brunt of Russian meddling in an attempt to derail the aspirations of Ukrainians to more European values. Norway, Sweden and Finland could also fall victim to Russian meddling in 2018.







In spite of strong economic gains and social stability in 2018, some European inherent flaws that have evolved in at least one past colonial nation, Spain, which emerged in 2017, will resurface in 2018. 







The expressed democratic aspiration of the people of Catalonia to sovereignty, only to have their non-violent declaration whisked away by former colonial power flexing its power over one of its autonomous regions, is an omen of things to come in Europe. That Spain elected to jail and to prosecute the leaders of Catalonia for conducting a democratic process: to wit - a referendum, remains counter productive to democracy in some European states and a bad example by an alleged democratic nation penalizing the people for adhering to a non-violent democratic political process. Spain's action within Catalonia has set the tone for future movements for sovereignty among the independence seeking people of Europe.







The United Kingdom(UK) will continue its process to exiting the EU in 2018 but with much reservation from many Brits hoping for a re-do of the referendum that sent the UK down the path to leaving the powerful union.







France will continue to prosper in 2018 as it remains a beacon to many of world's down trodden and to refugees. Yet, France will face some extremist actions as it has over recent years. However, the French in 2018, will reaffirm their resolve to peace and stability and will be rewarded by defeating terror and extremism.







Immigration issues will figure highly in 2018 from Germany, to the Netherlands, to Greece, to Italy, to Hungary and throughout the continent. Germany's lead, acceptance, management and moderation of immigration should serve as a model to other nations. Chancellor Angela Merkel's efforts to extend German humanitarian help to thousands of refugees, despite right-wing opposition, will continue to be exemplary in 2018. But Hungary's stance on immigration will continue run counter to the spirit of the EU in 2018.







Italy will share a large burden of refugee hosting in 2018 and that could impact its forthcoming elections. Economic gains will continue to bless the shores of Ireland in 2018 as financial wealth and benefits flow into Luxembourg. 







Political developments in Poland that continue to undermine the judiciary there hold serious implications per Poland's membership within the EU in 2018. 







Brussels, Belgium, headquarters for the EU, will have some tough decisions to make in 2018 per some members involving Poland and Hungary in 2018.







December 28, 2017



ASIA:



The World in 2018 - Asia



Asia will become even more synonymous with China in 2018. China has driven much of all development in Asia over the past decade and the land of Chairman Mao Zedong, is poised to continue this course into 2018 as it expands its global sphere of influence from Asia, to Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas. China's accumulated economic power coupled with a modernizing and large army, puts it at the center of all things Asian and global in 2018.







Moreover, China's continuing rise in 2018 will be facilitated via the faltering isolation of the United States(US) under Donald Trump. Trump's divisive and isolating policies could push more Asian states under the protection of the umbrella of China's economic wealth, as the Communists expand trade with other Asian nations from Laos, to Cambodia, to Vietnam, to the Philippines, to Thailand, to Indonesia and throughout the region. China's expansion into the waters of the South China Sea has gone unchecked, thus expanding the reach of its influence even farther onto the waters and shoals of Asia. China's influence over ASEAN nations will rise in 2018.







China's expanding sphere of influence in 2018 matched against Trump's isolationist practice, surprisingly affirms the progress of communism versus the diminishing returns of democracy -  a sad predicament, but an emerging reality based upon China's gains. Unlike the former USSR or any other communist state since or before, China's model is a success story that is still flourishing and showing no signs of waning.







However, China's continuing rise in 2018, could become complicated by the actions and the affairs brought to wrought by the nuclear ambitions, threats and testing of North Korea. In 2018, North Korea will either demonstrate its alleged nuclear capability or bow before diplomatic negotiations toward better relations with South Korea and the rest of the world.







Russia in 2018 will continue its agitations into other countries via electronic means on the Internet, support to rebels in places like the Ukraine, regimes like Syria's and by submarine crawls threatening international communications under the Oceans. Vladimir Putin has succeeded in barring his main opposition candidate from running in the election for president, thus assuring himself a prolonged rule. Therefore, any threats to his rule in 2018, could only come from Russian oligarchs, frustrated by the economic impact of international sanctions upon their wealth.







Turkey, NATO's second-largest standing army member, will remain in a quagmire in 2018. As it stands on two continents - Asia and Europe, Turkey remains straddle as whether or not to stand with western themes or to set its own self-aligned path to development. Whatever path President Recap Tayyip Erdogan charts for Turkey will be heavily influenced in 2018, by the aspirations of the Kurds for greater recognition and by opposition in Turkey to his 'leader-for-life' ambitions. But the crafty Erdogan recognizes Turkey's influence over many factions in the Muslim world, so his position on matters especially regarding Israel, could enhance his standing and continued power in Turkey.







Myanmar has a human rights problem that will not go away in 2018. Myanmar's human rights abuses of the Rohingya people will weigh down its development in 2018. Moreover, its detainment of journalists will block its global standing even more in 2018.







Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will both seek to better their economic and global standings in 2018.







India, on the other hand, the world's largest democracy, will continue to have its total development hindered by faction differences, a caste society and its failure to capitalize on a bogged down technology sector that has focused more on delivering services rather than delivering innovation. Also, India's ongoing squabbles with Pakistan will also weigh heavily in 2018 as Pakistan continues its struggles with corruption, terrorism and extremism.







Any and all hopes to independence for Hong Kong or Taiwan will remain at zero in 2018 as Chinese power and influence rise high enough to cool and to counter any and all sovereign aspirations by the youth of Hong Kong and by the people of Taiwan, especially under the back drop of an isolated US policy.







December 27, 2017



ASIA:



The World in 2018 - the Middle East



To end conflicts in Yemen and Syria, to abolish slavery in Libya, to diffuse an agitation based upon the Trump administration's unitary declaration on Jerusalem, to complete the two-state solution to peace over Israel and Palestine, to promote region cohesiveness and to counter terrorism and extremism, will be the major themes in the Middle East in 2018.







Unlike previous years when rumors, threats and outbreaks of war figured highly, 2018 could see a defensive Middle East in spite of current Saudi and coalition operations in Yemen, the need-to-end conflict in Syria and the agitation stirred-up by Donald Trump's unitary declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, hereby undermining an established international community process to peace and stability in the region.







All efforts in 2018 in the Middle East should focus on ending Yemen's conflict. Too many children have died and too many have been maimed. Too many children also continue to face starvation and death from hunger. Moreover, support should be given to the delivery of humanitarian aid to both the people of Yemen and of Syria in 2018. Russia's beginning draw-down of its forces in Syria should usher in better humanitarian conditions for the children of Syria.







The enslavement of African refugees in Libya will be quelled in 2018 as better governance and cooperation between factions become more responsive.







The willingness of Iran and of Saudi Arabia to better and for greater influence in the region could also augur well toward region peace, security and stability of the Middle East in 2018. But the two regional powerhouses must first recognize that their own peace and security are intertwined with the wider security of the region.







Better governance from Lebanon to Iraq with the accepted involvement of more factions into the operations of government could result in greater stability in the Middle East in 2018.







The end of the feud Qatar has with its Arab brothers would also bring greater security to the Middle East in 2018. 







Morocco and Algeria, like many of the other states in the region will have to continue guard against terrorism and extremism in 2018.







Apart from Yemen and Syria with open conflicts, Egypt stands perhaps more vulnerable of Middle East nations to acts of violence associated with terrorism and extremism in 2018.







The terrorist group, Islamic States(IS), which has reported been routed from both Syria and Iraq, could continue to have a dispersal negative impact upon the Middle East in 2018.







Yet, if not for the present conflicts in Yemen and Syria and the recent agitation stirred up by Trump's declaration on Israel, then the Middle East in 2018 could have been on a path to a rear peace. But open wounds remain which have just been salted via a unitary declaration, thus, unfortunately, the likelihood for new and prolonged conflict remains ripe in the Middle East in 2018.







December 26, 2017



ASIA:



The World in 2018 - Central and South America



Central and South America will enter 2018 on a peaceful path primarily, but with some potential to conflict and political dissent across many borders. Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Costa Rica hold the best likelihood to peace and stability, while Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Venezuela could descend into political upheaval.







Colombia:







Colombia will enter 2018 at peace with FARC and other rebel groups in the South American nation of lush vegetation and beautiful people which should auger well as a model for stability, security and progress to other states in Latin America. 







However, while most of Colombia's actions to peace are complete, the nation will seek, in 2018, to sustain its peace process and serenity against a backdrop of some discord from national naysayers to its peace efforts.







Peru:







Political dissent will figure high in Peru in 2018 triggered by the recent apparent 'tit-for-tat' deal involving President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and former president Alberto Fujimori's supporters in the Peruvian congress. Kuczynski, who faces corruption allegations, survived impeachment in the congress because of support from Fujimori's party. After weathering the political crisis, Kuczynski provided a pardon to the twice convicted former president Fujimori, who was serving a 25-year-old prison sentence for human rights abuses related to his rule from 1990 to 2000. Peruvian opposition parties have vowed protests over the construed 'tit-for-tat' support and pardon.







Venezuela:







Venezuela has been declining farther and father into political turmoil in recent years. Dictatorship jailing of political opposition and dissenters has been rampant, raw violence has gripped the nation consuming scores of lives of protesters as food shortages and consumer prices increase. Thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country to other lands because of the political turmoil, which could get worse in 2018.







President Nicolas Maduro has undermined the parliament with the establishment of a constituent assembly which he controls. That assembly recently expelled a Canadian diplomat to which Canada reacted by expelling two Venezuelan diplomats out of Ottawa. Food and basic supply shortages continue, while opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, remains under house arrest in Caracas.







Maduro has gambled that an oil deal the nation recently inked with Russia and his Christmas goodwill to free 36 political prisoners, will provide him with some degree of cushion to his rule in 2018, when he will seek another term as president. Yet, Venezuela's troubles remain as some 150 political prisoners remain in detention as the economy continues a downward spiral.







Guatemala and Honduras:







Both of these nations that sided with Israel and the United States(US) in voting against a United Nations(UN) resolution last week repudiating the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, will continue to witness stark violence wrought by the illegal drug trade in 2018. Political dissent within both nations will also become current in 2018.







Brazil:







Micro and Macro corruption problems will continue in Brazil in 2018. But no major social unrests and associated security problems should figure too highly in 2018.







Chile:







Chile's recent election of former president Sebastian Pinera to become its new president epitomizes much of the confusion Latin America has had in determining its future -  bringing back the past in an attempt to better the present. But such actions are not immune to troubles as Chile could very well find out in 2018.







Argentina:







Some closure must come in 2018 to the loved ones of 44-submariners lost to the South Atlantic via a submarine accident in 2017. Legal  troubles could mount for a former president of the country as economic troubles come to the fore in Argentina in 2018.







Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua:







Leftist-leaning regimes in these countries could continue to cling to power in 2018 amid suppressed dissent and corruption among members of the nations' executive branches.







December 25, 2017



ASIA:



Wishes of Peace



Merry Christmas to all!







At this time each and every year, men speak of peace and goodwill to all - often assumed beautiful sentiments, which are nonetheless, easily retracted to the apathy of selfishness and greed by the New Year, if not sooner. 







Thus, under such conditions, war, conflict and suffering are prolonged and carried on from one year, unto another year and then into yet another year, hereby establishing perpetual strife among the human race. 







But I must have the audacity to wish and to hope that it is within the scope of humankind to love, to care and to respect each other and our environment. Peace must become attainable. The spirit of comfort, liberty and happiness could transcend all borders if wished and wanted.







However, the reality of current affairs suggests that actions by those entrusted by the peoples to govern their affairs, are individualistic, isolationist, nationalistic and invoking of conflict and divisiveness.







Yet, I must continue to wish for peace, for liberty, for happiness, for goodwill and for a better environment. Maybe, if all of humanity would hope and wish a bit louder and play our parts to accomplish the role of civil-caring humans, then, just maybe, wishes of peace could become the enjoyment of true peace over the lands of our Planet Earth. 







December 24, 2017



ASIA:



A Prayer for the Children of Conflicts, the Homeless, the Displaced, the Stateless



Almighty God, I acknowledge that through you, all things are possible. In my humble acceptance of your power and your will, I bow before you on this day, Christmas Eve, 2017, to ask forgiveness for all humanity's transgressions.







Holy Father, I beg for your deliverance from war, conflict and suffering of all children. Among these children, most Holy Father, are the children of Syria and of Yemen.







I beg for the comfort of the Rohingya people and all refugees rendered stateless and displaced via conflict or persecution. I beseech thee, Dear God, to end the suffering of all victims of circumstance. Of these things I pray, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen!







December 23, 2017



ASIA:



The World in 2018 - the Caribbean



The offering of luxurious, serene, and hibiscus-flowered resorts complemented by pristine white-sand beaches, calm turquoise waters and friendly people, has always been the lure of the Caribbean to visitors, whose dollars and euros are greatly depended-upon to support the economic health of the region. Such offerings and demands will continue in 2018.







Yet, local economic pressures will figure highly in the region of my birth in 2018. High debts compounded by the wrecking high economic costs and social toll of natural disasters - Hurricanes Irma and Maria, will present financial troubles to some of the islands in the Caribbean. 







The $2billion pledged for relief efforts, half of which are loans and debt relief, will not be sufficient to ward off fiscal pressures in the Caribbean in 2018. Such funding amid a shortfall to fund climate resiliency, will not come close to reaching the needs of Caribbean islands. The impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria upon the Commonwealth of Dominica, Antigua-Barbuda, St. Kitts-Nevis, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos islands, has been catastrophic.







Monies given to relief efforts include: The Netherlands, $702 million; the European Union(EU), $352 million; the World Bank, $140 million; Canada, $78 million; China, $30 million; Mexico, $27 million; Italy, $12 million; the United States, a meager $4.3 million; Japan, $4 million; Kuwait, $1 million; India, $2 million; Venezuela, $1 million; Belgium, $1.2 million; Chile, $1 million; Denmark $500,000; Colombia, $300,000; Haiti, $250,000; New Zealand, $250,000; Brazil, $200,000; Kazakhstan, $150,000; Romania, $100,000; Portugal, $100,000 and Serbia, $20,000.







Entire islands remain in need of rebuilding. Though rebuilding will be slow, optimism swirls over efforts to rebuild as climate-resilient communities, as is the case in the Commonwealth of Dominica. 







The Caribbean Community(CARICOM), the 15-member regional integration group, will remain at the forefront of directing development goals in the Caribbean in 2018. CARICOM's Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency(CDEMA) proved very efficient during the great storms of 2017. Also, CARICOM's July, 2017 creation of the Caribbean Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency(CCREE) stands as a beacon to achieving a 47 percent renewable energy goal by 2027 in the region.







Parliamentary elections on my birth island of Barbados, constitutionally due by February 2018, will serve as a litmus test on whether or not the electorate of Caribbean would punish incumbents in 2018 for soaring food and commodity prices as well as increases in unemployment.







Overall, the stability and security of the Caribbean should remain constant in 2018 with minimal interruptions due to a surge in gun-crimes and an existing element of extremism in Trinidad and Tobago.







December 22, 2017



ASIA:



The World in 2018 - Canada and Mexico



Canada and Mexico - the two countries, one to the north, the other to the south that sandwich the United States(US), will both enter 2018 in a special position as likely sanctuary locations to any Americans disheartened by the Trump administration in Washington, DC. 







Canada will remain the first-nation of choice for many people in 2018 and it has already accepted and will continue to accept refugees who believe their claims for domicile would be rejected under new policies of the Trump administration. Mexico, will witness increased repatriation of Mexicans expelled under new guidelines of the Trump era. 







Canada:







In 2018, Canada will retain its respected title as a peaceful, rational and safe nation. The aura of serenity from Toronto to Vancouver to Halifax to Ottawa and beyond will remain in 2018. The calm and sensible disposition of Canadians will attract many people to the high esteem character that is Canada.







That Canada would be void of any troubles in 2018 would be an error in any assessment of the Maple Leaf nation. Any disturbances to the peace, security and stability of Canada will be minimal in 2018. However, the nation should continue to pay careful attention to some house-keeping matters, including monitoring and dismantling any right-wing or extremist agitations.







The unfolding ethics concerns over the Aga Khan's gifts to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should not pose any governing snags in 2018, but should serve as a reminder to public servants that full disclosure is always necessary of all dealings between the government and those having and wanting business with the government.







In 2018, Canada will develop a method to track and to report the now non-recording of missing Indigenous women. Moreover, Canada could be expected to improve upon its environmental protections in 2018.







The greatest threat facing Canada in 2018 could come in the area of trade as the new administration in Washington, DC, has sought to place close to a-330 percent duty on some Bombardier products imported into the US.







Yet, Canada in 2018 will continue to be a pristine humanitarian nation that offers one of the world's best environments to maintain and to sustain life, liberty and happiness.







Mexico:







If not for the ongoing drug wars, trafficking and the associated stark violence, then Mexico would be an ideal place to live in 2018. But the reality and the widening violence brought to wrought by drug trafficking will continue to affect Mexico's well being.







Earlier this week, the bodies of six-men were discovered hanging from three separate bridges over highways in the highly tourist-attracted place of Los Cabos, Baja California Sur state, in Mexico. The violence of the drug wars in Mexico had previously not extended to the tourist areas. However, the recent discovery of the six-bodies, underscores a stark fact of the seriousness and the danger that illegal drugs, drug trafficking and violence, pose to Mexico in 2018.







Such blatant acts of violence and the insensible way such violence is publicly displayed are direct threats to Mexico's economic and social well being. Any reduction in tourism will have a negative impact upon Mexico's economy. But Mexico's drug problem is not its sole creation. A demand for illegal drugs in the US fuels Mexico's drug wars and the violence. 







Just as an erection of a border-wall between the US and Mexico will not end illegal immigration, such a wall will also not end drug trafficking, nor a demand for illegal drugs. But continued friendly and cooperative relations between Mexico and the US could alleviate many of the problems caused by narcotics trade.







With regards to natural disasters, Mexico, in 2018, could seek to modernize its building codes in order to shore-up much of its urban infrastructure to withstand stronger earthquakes.







December 21, 2017



ASIA:



The World in 2018 - Africa



Africa in 2018 will continue upon its impediment laden road to an identity with a a view to modernization, stability and security. However, in as much as it has been in 2017, in 2000, in 1990 and in prior years, the impact of colonialism, dictatorship, dynasty, tribalism and corruption, will continue to hinder Africa's full potential.







Today's Africa remains very much a product of its colonial masters. Much of its resources are still controlled by the former colonial rulers blocking full benefits to the African people. Yet, the former colonial powers cannot shoulder all the blame for the ills of Africa. 







Wide sovereignty that came to Africa in the 1960s and 1970s through revolutions and popular movements offered much hope to the continent,  but apartheid  in South Africa and the continued control of most wealth in the hands of former colonial masters, quickly doused many dreams that Africa would emerge from the Third World. 







Tribal war, dictatorship, dynasty and corruption have come to consume Africa from Central African Republic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Rwanda, to Sudan, to South Sudan, to Togo, to Liberia, to the Ivory Coast and elsewhere. Epidemics, including outbreaks of Ebola, have also plagued Africa.







More than any other thing else, dictatorship and dynasty - the cling to power and control and wealth by African leaders, along with blatant corruption, have and will continue to contribute to African underdevelopment in 2018. 







New and developing economic relations between the continent and China appear to offer some measurable hope to progress. Shared African-Chinese ownership on investment seems to offer better returns to Africans than the old relationship involving the former colonial masters. Yet, Africans remain suspect of China's participation in their nation-building as was witnessed earlier this week, when Chinese police officers were commissioned in Zambia, but were quickly removed after a torrent of public outcry. 







Below are brief assessments of a few African nations for 2018...







South Africa:







The ruling African National Congress(ANC) - the party of the late great civil rights leader Nelson Mandela, will remove corruption-scandal and legal-troubled President Jacob Zuma in 2018. Newly appointed leader of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, stands to ascend to the presidency. However, the transitional period from Zuma to Ramaphosa might not be easy. Concerns over the prevalence of white dominance over business and industry could prove problematic in 2018.







Nigeria:







Corruption, political violence and counterfeit prescription drugs will plague Nigeria in 2018. Its oil wealth remains marred in corruption and the spoils have failed to trickle down to most Nigerians. Political violence with a religious overtone could continue to plague the north of the country. A national health crisis in Nigeria could emerge out of the prevalence of counterfeit prescription drugs in the country. The World Health Organization(WHO) estimates that some 30 percent of prescription drugs across Africa are counterfeit, thus posing a major health crisis.







Uganda:







After a melee on the floor of its Parliament in opposition to a Constitutional change that would allow its President Yoweri Museveni to run for a sixth-term in 2021, Uganda approved the strife-causing measure yesterday. As a result, Uganda is ripe for unrest in 2018.







Zimbabwe:







With the ouster and resignation of long standing dictator President Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe from 1980 until November 21, 2017, economic progress could begin to flow into the impoverished nation in 2018. As new President Emmerson Mnangagwa vows to bring Zimbabwe in from "the cold", he will face hot dissatisfaction over a number of issues in 2018 including soaring food prices and a high unemployment rate.







Kenya:







Questions will remain over the electoral process that retained the current Kenyan president. Also, extremist actions spilling over from Somalia could cause some problems in 2018.







Somalia and Mali:







Extremism and pirates will continue to wreck havoc upon Somalia in 2018.







South Sudan:







Some degree of stability could return to South Sudan in 2018 as tens of thousands of once refugees flock back to their homes from United Nations(UN) camps where they had sought solace from civil strife.







Ghana:







The most alarming thing Ghana will face in 2018 is the presence of mercenaries and private groups that number some 450,000 per the nation's 33,000 police force. Even more alarming for Ghana in 2018 is the end point of some 1.3 million illegal weapons smuggled into the country in 2017.







Togo:







Perhaps Africa's ripest place for insurrection in 2018 will be Togo, where a dynasty has ruled since 1967. Since August, thousands of Togolese have been protesting against corruption in the streets.







Gabon:







Another dynasty has ruled Gabon for some 50 years and corruption remains prevalent in the country. A French court, investigating corruption in Gabon, has seized 39 properties in France alone connected to the ruling family along with a number of luxury vehicles. Gabon remains ripe for social and political turmoil in 2018.







Equatorial Guinea:







Yet another African dynasty in Equatorial Guinea creates a heavy atmosphere for political turmoil in 2018. The son of President Theodoro Obiang Nguema, a deputy to his father and next in line to the seat of power in the country, has been convicted in absentia of embezzlement by a French court, which has seized property and vehicles, connected to the ruling family.







Democratic Republic of the Congo:







Constitutional questions challenging the extension of term limits to the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will figure highly in 2018.







Central African Republic:







Repatriations will remain key to security and stability in Central African Republic in 2018.







Ethiopia: 







Human rights issues and political concerns will be hot button topic in Ethiopia in 2018.







December 20, 2017



ASIA:



The World in 2018



This week's revelation and confirmation that the United States(US) military spent $22 million investigating unidentified flying objects(UFOs) in the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, in a way, fittingly sets up an eerie, weird and bizarre 2018.







The World in 2018 will be anything but normal. As is strange as evident-film of UFOs in the sky; to a trickled-down-economics tax overhaul in the US; to a determination of a soft or hard Brexit, if there will be an exit, in the United Kingdom(UK); to the rise and complexity of the European Union(EU); to the aspirations of Ukraine and of Catalonia and of other peoples; to the continued meddling of Russia; to the nuclear threat of North Korea; to the widening international scope of China; to the determinant identity of Africa; to the new alliances of Latin America; to the recovery and simplicity of the Caribbean; to conflicts in the Middle East; to the struggles of refugees; to the pangs of the displaced and of the poor; and to the humanity-failed children of conflicts in Yemen and in Syria and elsewhere, 2018 will be unprecedented. 







American isolation, nationalism, war, rumors of war, conflicts, widening inequality, environmental issues and human rights concerns will be major affairs in 2018. To this end, I will attempt my yearly assessment of the year to come continuing tomorrow:



December 21, The World in 2018 - Africa.



December 22, The World in 2018 - Canada and Mexico.



December 23, The World in 2018 - Caribbean.



December 26, The World in 2018 - Central and South America.



December 27, The World in 2018 - Middle East.



December 28, The World in 2018 - Asia.



December 29, The World in 2018 - Europe.



December 30, The World in 2018 - United States.







December 19, 2017



ASIA:



The Undermining of American Democracy - the Deprivation of Voting Rights



"...people living in poverty, minorities and other disfavored groups are being systematically deprived of their voting rights." 







This long suspected fact about the waning of democracy in the United States(US) has been confirmed in a report by the United Nations(UN) Special Rapporteur on Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston.







In the summary report on poverty and human rights released last Friday, after a 10-day tour of American States and cities, the UN expert outlined how basic rights are being denied in a nation that was once touted as the greatest democracy in the world.







Alston reported: "In the US there is overt disenfranchisement of vast numbers of felons, a rule which predominantly affects Black citizens since they are the ones whose conduct is often specifically targeted for criminalization...there are often requirement that persons who have paid their debt to society still cannot regain their right to vote until they paid off all outstanding fines and fees."







As if that practice was not enough, Alston also found: "Then there is covert disenfranchisement, which includes the dramatic gerrymandering of elected districts to privilege particular groups of voters, the imposition of artificial and unnecessary voter ID requirements, the blatant manipulation of polling station locations, the relocating of DMVs to make it more difficult for certain groups to obtain IDs and the general ramping up of obstacles to voting especially by those without resources."







The UN report concluded: "The net result is that people living in poverty, minorities, and other disfavored groups are being systematically deprived of their voting rights."







December 18, 2017



ASIA:



The Prevalence of Poverty - from the American Dream to the American Illusion



That 40 million people - 12.7 percent of the population in the United States(US) - the richest nation on the planet, live in poverty, is preposterous. And that almost half of the poor, 18.5 million, live in deep poverty with reported income below one-half of the poverty threshold, is even more absurd and unacceptable for a First World nation.







In the just concluded summary report on poverty and human rights in the US by the United Nations(UN) Special Rapporteur on Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, it concluded: "Automation and robotization are already throwing many middle-aged workers out of jobs in which they once believed themselves to be secure..." 







As a result, the UN report added: "The American Dream is rapidly becoming the American Illusion in the US since the US now has the lowest rate of social mobility of any of the rich countries."







But who are America's poor? Included in the data of the US Census Bureau that counts the poor, Alston found that the poor are "...overwhelmingly either persons who had been born into poverty, or those who had been thrust there by circumstances largely beyond their control such as physical or mental disabilities, divorce, family breakdown, illness, old age, unlivable wages, or discrimination in the job market."







The UN report cited that there are eight million more poor Whites than Blacks in America. "The face of poverty in America is not only Black, or Hispanic", the report confirmed, "but also White, Asian and many other colors. Nor is it confined to a particular age group."







Addressing the connection between human rights and poverty, the UN report castigated the US hypocritical stance on rights: "In practice", the report noted, "the United States is alone among developed countries in insisting that while human rights are of fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable health care, or growing up in a context of total deprivation."







But recognition and protection of all human rights are fundamental to sustaining peace, security, liberty and happiness. If the present administration in Washington, DC, fails to admit and to protect the rights for all Americans, then the American Dream would become the American Illusion for quite some time. 







December 17, 2017



ASIA:



America's Looming Wider Inequality - Not to be a Serene Event



The United Nations(UN) summary report on poverty in the United States(US) confirms the undermining of human rights and democracy. 







Therefore, the findings should amount to more than a wake-up call to authorities to re-establish the fulfillment of the tenets upon which the Republic of freedom and of opportunity was founded.







Clearly established in the report presented in Washington, DC, last Friday, by the UN's Special Rapporteur on Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, was the caution that prevalent poverty and implemented and coming policies by the Trump administration, will lead to wider inequality facilitating the undermining of human rights and democracy. 







Cuts to social programs and safety nets to America's 40-million poor compounded by a proposed new tax policy that will benefit the super rich, will not alleviate the conditions of Americans living in poverty.







Any comfort and greater wealth extended to the wealthy in this new era would be hard to enjoy in an atmosphere non serenity. The passive plantation-poor that once stood impotent as the plantocracy enjoyed great privilege at their expense, is dead. New generations cannot be expected to yield submission to a new gentry of corporate raiders and wealthy individuals. 







In other words, passivity is dead. Active protesting generations live. That the poor would continue to go hungry and to die aimlessly on skid row awaiting trickle down handouts from the wealthy living in luxury, is preposterous. 







So, why some of the wealthy celebrate their coming expanding riches, keeping their spoils will not be a serene feat. The poor's demand to eat will also not be serene. 







But government has an opportunity now to retain serenity and to re-establish the promises and opportunities of America - life, liberty and property to all. Safety nets to the poor must not be diminished over advances to the super rich. 







December 16, 2017



ASIA:



A Scathing Report on Poverty and its Ramifications in the United States



"The proposed tax reform package stakes out America's bid to become the most unequal society in the world, and will greatly increase the already high levels of wealth and income inequality between the richest 1-percent and the poorest 50-percent of Americans."







This is the conclusion of United Nations(UN) Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, in a summary report on poverty in America and whether or not it undermines the human rights of Americans, released yesterday in Washington, DC. The full report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council at Geneva, Switzerland, in June 2018.







After encountering people barely surviving on Skid Row, in Los Angeles, California; police herding the homeless to pasture less places in San Francisco, California; sewage-filled yards in States where governments do not consider sanitation facilities their responsibility; toothless adults shut out of dental access to care; soaring death rates and family and community destruction wrought by opioids; and people living next to a mountain of completely unprotected coal ash which rains down upon them bringing illness, disability and death, Alston concluded that: "The dramatic cuts in welfare...already beginning to be implemented by the (Trump) administration, will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes."







Alston toured California, Alabama, Georgia, Puerto Rico, West Virginia and Washington, DC. He spoke with senior State and Federal officials along with experts, civil society groups, the homeless and people living in deep poverty.







"The United States," the Alston wrote: "is one of the world's richest and most powerful and technologically innovative countries, but neither its wealth nor its power nor its technology is being harnessed to address the situation in which 40 million people continue to live in poverty."







The UN expert observed: "American exceptionalism was a constant theme in my conversations. But instead of realizing its founders' admirable commitments, today's United States has proved itself to be exceptional in far more problematic ways that are shockingly at odds with its immense wealth and its founding commitment to human rights. As a result, contrasts between private wealth and public squalor abound."







He concluded: "The foundation stone of American society is democracy, but it is being steadily undermined. The principle of one person one vote applies in theory, but it is far from the reality."







[The summary report has been posted @www.ohchr.org]







December 15, 2017



ASIA:



41-Million Living in Poverty in the US - a Failing of Civil and Political Rights



The United States(US) Census Bureau caps the poverty total population at 41 million people. However, this number, present in the First World and in the richest nation on the planet, signifies a civil and political failing to deliver full rights to all Americans.







To this end, at some point today, here in Washington, DC, United Nations(UN) Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, will offer up a preliminary report on the state of poverty in the US to mark the conclusion of his research and tour of poverty-stricken areas in America, including Puerto Rico. He will present a full report of his findings before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, in June 2018.







Charged by the international body to conduct research and analysis, Alston has been shocked by the deprivation of social means to food and shelter across the US. In Butler County, Alabama, where "raw sewage flows from houses through exposed PVC pipes and into open trenches and pits", Alston has declared: "I think it's very uncommon in the First World...this is not a sight that one normally sees. I'd have to say that I haven't seen this..."







Poverty and hunger insecurity are permanently linked to human rights. Victims often fall short of full access to the social and political systems - voting and civic participation are hindered, thus  prolonging the terrible sufferings. Therefore, all failings on poverty and hunger are human rights issues.







December 14, 2017



ASIA:



A Gross Failing of Humanity - Thousands of Rohingya Killed in Myanmar



The highly respected aid-group Medecins Sans Frontieres(MSF), Doctors Without Borders, estimates that some 6, 700 Rohingya people died at the hands of the Myanmar army, between August 25 and September 24, this year, a clear indication of a gross failing of humanity that allowed so many stateless people to be killed before an impotent global community.







It was toward the end of August following attacks by militants upon police bases that the Myanmar army started a violent campaign upon the Rohingya people. MSF counts that 647, 000 Rohingya people have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August 25. 







While Myanmar authorities have claimed that just 400 of the minority Muslim sect, whom they deemed terrorists, were killed during the operation and that they have since exonerated themselves  of any crimes against the Rohingya via a self-investigation, the stark numbers of killed Rohingya people found by MSF through surveys of refugees in camps in Bangladesh, are "the clearest indication yet of the widespread violence" perpetrated by Myanmar authorities upon the Rohingya people.







As reported by the BBC-News earlier today, MSF said its surveys found that most of the Rohingya deaths were caused by violence which also claimed the lives of 730 Rohingya children under the age-of-five.  " In the most conservative estimates", of the 6, 700 people killed in the month; 69.4 percent were shot, 8.8 percent were burned in their homes, 5 percent beaten to death and 2.6 percent were killed following sexual assaults.







More grim, of the killed children under the age-of-five, 59 percent were shot, 15 percent burned to death, 7 percent beaten to death and 2 percent died from landmine blasts.







MSF Medical Director Sidney Wong revealed what the surveys of the Rohingya found: "What we uncovered was staggering, both in terms of the numbers of people who reported a family member died as a result of violence, and the horrific ways in which they said they were killed or severely injured."







More sad, the aid-group Medical Director added: " The numbers of deaths are likely to be an underestimation as we have not yet surveyed all the refugee settlements in Bangladesh and because the surveys don't account for families who never made it out of Myanmar," the BBC-News reported.







Noting that Rohingya "are still fleeing" Myanmar, MSF described as "premature" a deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar for the return of refugees to Myanmar. The group also cautioned that there was limited access for aid groups into Rakhine state, where most Rohingya live, in Myanmar.







The brutal ethnic-cleansing killing of so many Rohingya people, including hundreds of children by the Myanmar army, explicitly represents a crime against humanity. Therefore, all measures and steps should be taken to bring Myanmar officials before the International Criminal Court(ICC) for crimes against humanity.







December 13, 2017



ASIA:



A Passing on Informedness and Soundness - Democrats Win Alabama Senate Seat



The people of the State of Alabama who turned out yesterday to vote for Democrat Doug Jones, in a special election for the United States(US) Senate, to fill the vacated seat left by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, delivered a much needed passing grade on voter informedness and soundness.







Alabamians elected Democrat Doug Jones to the US Senate and scorned into defeat his Republican opponent, Roy Moore, endorsed by President Donald Trump, even amid credible accusations of sexual misconduct. 







In electing Jones, the first Democrat to win in the very red-Republican State since 1992, the people of Alabama denounced the idea of having a senator scarred with numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, including pedophilia, as their representative in the very powerful US Senate. 







Moreover, Alabamians rejected the Trump endorsement of Moore who  campaigned via robo-calls for the defeated Moore. Six women have accused Moore of sexual improprieties, including during the teenage-years of at least one of the accusers. Another 16 women have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct.







Alabamians affirmed via their votes that although democracy, informedness and the soundness of voters might be bruised, they are all yet mendable by the people of the Republic. 







Black voters turned out in droves in historically scarred places like Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, to cast their votes exceeding 90 percent for Democrat Doug Jones. Jones won with  671, 151 votes - 49.92 percent of the total, to Moore's 650, 436 votes - 48.38 percent. Write-Ins - the protest vote, which allowed constituents to write in the name of some person other than those listed on their ballots, garnished 22, 780 votes.







December 12, 2017



ASIA:



A Test of the Informedness and Soundness of Voters - the Alabama US Senate Vote



The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom(UK) followed by the United States(US) Presidential vote in 2016, which returned shocking results, remain two events that have called into question the informedness of voters and the future face of democracy.







That some UK residents who greatly benefited from their membership within the European Union(EU) voted with the majority to leave the union, was indeed shocking. Even, more stark was the after-decision revelation that many were not informed of the consequences of their votes. 







In the 2016 US Presidential Election, Donald Trump poked fun of the physically impaired and has been accused of sexual misconduct by 16 women, among other things. Yet, he remains President of the most powerful nation on the planet, an appalling statement of the state of present American democracy.







Today, in the deep south of the US - a region still holding many scars of historic divisions and social inequalities, a Republican, Roy Moore, accused by six women of sexual misconduct, is running to win a seat in the powerful US Senate. Moore remains tipped to win the race in spite of the overwhelming revelations of his sexual misconduct toward women, including at least one allegation of pedophilia.







Moore has brushed aside calls from both Republicans and Democrats that he drop out of the race. Democrat Doug Jones is running against him in a district that is heavily Republican, which helped Donald Trump win Alabama by 20 percent in 2016. Trump has endorsed Moore and has campaigned via robo-calls for the alleged pedophile Moore.







Alabama's decision today will answer whether or not the informedness of voters is sound. The people of Alabama will decide if or not American democracy is healthy.







Any seating of Roy Moore in the US Senate here in Washington, DC, would affirm an illness of the democratic process that demands healing forthwith.







December 10, 2017



ASIA:



Human Rights Day 2017



"All mankind...being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions." British Philosopher, John Locke.







Today is the celebrated United Nations(UN) Human Rights Day to commemorate the 1948 adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And to this end, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, has issued a call to defend human rights and to uphold justice.







Yet current affairs, from Syria, to Palestine, to Yemen, to Central African Republic, to Libya, to Myanmar, to Venezuela and across all the continents, reveal that the rights of humankind are under pressure - a pressure that must not be sustained if there is to be any hope or pragmatism to achieving international peace and security.







Protection of the inherent dignity and of the equal and alienable rights of all human beings is therefore required.







While life and liberty have become the established two highest priorities to human rights, safeguards of all human rights should never be compromised.







In order to assure the protection of all human rights, a wider definition of natural rights might have to be adopted. The universal and inalienable rights bestowed upon humankind that are non dependent upon law or customs or upon any particular culture or government, are fundamental to the functioning and operating of good and peaceful governance.







In too many jurisdictions, legal rights - those rights bestowed by a given legal system, are often used to restrict and to subtract from the natural rights of individuals. 







Therefore, to retain all human rights, some legal rights that governments could readily suspended, modified, repealed and restricted via human law, might offer better protection under the designation as being inalienable. 







In other words, humanity's continued survival could depend on an acceptance of a wider field of alienable rights over legal rights: a smaller social contract yielding to more rights of the individual.







December 09, 2017



ASIA:



Toward Justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta



Last Wednesday, Maltese police arrested 10 people in connection with the slaying of famed respected journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53. Three of the detained suspects have been charged with her murder on October 16.







Daphne Caruana Galizia was a dedicated journalist and mother who exposed and reported on Maltese and European corruption. She was killed by a bomb planted in her car that exploded soon after she left her home in Bidnija, near Mosta, Malta on October 16, 2017.







As reported by the BBC-News, brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, 55 and 53 as well as Vincent Muscat, 55, have been charged with killing Daphne Caruana Galizia. The other suspects have been charged with possession of bomb-making materials and weapons.







So here's to justice for a fallen journalist, mother and social advocate whose work epitomized the necessity of a free press. 







December 08, 2017



ASIA:



Toward the Diffusion of Upheavals and Conflicts



Now that many political and social angers remain inflamed atop new agitations, the task facing humanity on this December day, should be finding the operable mechanisms to diffusing new stirred-up upheavals and ongoing conflicts.



From Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank to Yemen, to Syria, to Venezuela to North Korea, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Egypt, to Spain, to Central Africa Republic as well as to many other lands, the aura to new conflicts or to the prolongation of ongoing conflicts, remains very high.



Humanity cannot attain nor sustain any international peace and security  under the pressures of so many ripe conditions for conflicts.



Therefore, a time out, a ceasefire or a silence of inflaming unitary declarations could all be said to be critically needed toward the diffusion of stirred-up upheavals and conflicts.







December 07, 2017



ASIA:



Stoking Upheaval - a Unitary Presidential Declaration on Jerusalem



As if there are not enough ripe or looming hot button issues already before the global community, United States(US) President Donald Trump stoked even more upheaval yesterday with his unitary declaration naming Jerusalem as Israel's capital.



Immediate trouble has broken out in the West Bank as demonstrators gather in rage to denounce the broken long-standing US policy that had kept Tel Aviv as the the capital of the Jewish State. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza have gone on strike and are taking to the streets in more protests. Additional protests transcends to outside the US consulates in Istanbul, Turkey as well as in Amman, Jordan. 



Saudi Arabia has deemed Trump's declaration as "unjustified and irresponsible", while both France and the United Kingdom(UK) do not the support the US action, the BBC-News reported. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had warned that any recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital by Trump, would be a "red line", has responded by determining that Trump is "throwing the region into a ring of fire". French President Emmanuel Macron said Trump's action contravened international law and UN Security Council resolutions.



Jerusalem is home to many sacred sites idolized by Christianity, Islam and Judaism. East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967 and it has not been internationally recognized as a part of Israel.



Gaza's Hamas has called for "a day of rage" on Friday in condemnation of the new declaration. Hamas has said that Friday should "be the first day of the intifada against the occupier." 



The Palestinian Fatah Movement is filing a complaint with the United Nations(UN) Security Council against Trumps unitary move and it is also calling for a strong stand by the Arab League. " Dr. Nasser al-Kidwa, the group's spokesman, according to the BBC-News, has promised: "We are going to declare the United States disqualified as co-sponsor of any peace process or political process."



UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who has often spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians, has affirmed: "...there is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B. It is only by realizing the vision of two states(Israel and Palestine) living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine...that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved."



The stoked upheaval created by Donald Trump must be rescinded. The two-state solution to peace for Israel and Palestine should be continued through the rational and diplomatic means accorded within the United Nations.







December 06, 2017



ASIA:



Remembering Argentina's 44 - a Watery Fate



Crew members numbering 44 are believed to have perished on  the disappeared Argentinian navy submarine ARA San Juan, which went missing, November 15, 2017.



Today, close to a month after the sub disappeared off the Argentine coast, the true fate of the 44-crew and their vessel, remain a mystery. Yet, Argentina's Defense Minister Oscar Aguad, according to a CNN report, believes that the crew did perish in a detected explosion somewhere in the South Atlantic Ocean.



In an interview on Argentine television on Monday, the Defense Minister  said the extreme conditions and passage of time likely means the sub's crew did not survive.



While unmanned ships continue to search for signs of the ill-fated sub in depths of up to some 20,000 feet, we take a minute to pause in honor of the lost Argentine Navy crew, who died in service to their country. May time, hope and love provide some measure of comfort to their loved ones.







December 05, 2017



ASIA:



Spain Withdraws European Arrest Warrants for Catalan Leaders Exiled in Belgium



The Spanish Supreme Court earlier this morning, rescinded the European arrests warrants that were issued for Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont and five other Catalan leaders, who have been self-exiled in Belgium, following Spain's move in October, to retake the northeast region's autonomy after its declaration of independence.



The ruling by Justice Pablo Llareno of the Madrid court, represents a sensible first logical democratic decision Spain has made per the Catalonia crisis ever since the region held a democratic referendum on sovereignty, back in in October. 



The ruling withdraws the Madrid issued European warrants for Puigdemont and five other Catalan leaders in Belgium citing the willingness the leasers have shown to return to Catalonia ahead of new regional elections slated for December 21. Judge Llareno determined the European-wide warrants would complicate the Spanish legal probe and that its removal allows Spain to gain full control over the investigation, the BBC-News reported.



Yet, Puigdemont and the other Catalan leaders still face the likelihood of prosecution on sedition and rebellion charges in Madrid, Spain, where the group fear gaining a fair trial. Puigdemont has said he would return if Spain guaranteed a fair trial. 



On the other hand, on Monday in Madrid, a court released another six-Catalan leaders on bail who had been jailed after surrendering to authorities following the Catalonia independence declaration. Another two leaders remain in custody even though the court found that they were not a flight risk, but a risk of criminal reiteration.



Spain's withdrawal of the European warrants for the Catalan leaders is logical and democratic, however, the Spaniards should go further to release all the regional leaders and even reach further to dropping all the charges against Catalonia's leaders. In lieu of charges, Spain should establish a commission to look into the deep concerns of the Catalan region.



Sedition and rebellion are serious charges. Rebellion carries a maximum sentence of 30-years-in-jail in Spain. 



While it is easy for government to blame unease on individuals rather than itself, any state seeking to prosecute any individual for a democratic exercise void of violence within a democratic system, is a state in need of repair. Sedition and rebellion are impossible via a democratic process. Catalonia's referendum was a democratic process. 



If Spain continues to press for punishments for exercising a democratic process, then that nation appears to be encouraging future non-democratic means by any people seeking sovereignty. 







December 04, 2017



ASIA:



Yemen's Continuing Woe



The future of Yemen just gotten murkier with the killing earlier this morning of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former ally of the Houthi rebels fighting the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. 



With Saleh's death, the future of millions of Yemeni children in need of humanitarian assistance, remains in a balance with 400,000 of them facing death from starvation. 



Up until recently, Saleh had been an ally of Houthi rebels. Last week a rift deepened between Saleh and the Houthi group as he made overtures to peace with the Saudi coalition fighting on the side of President Hadi in the worsening conflict. In fighting between Saleh forces and Houthi rebels escalated last Wednesday and more than 125 people have been killed since then and some 238 wounded in the conflict within the larger conflict that has killed close to 9,000 people.



Saleh was killed by Houthi rebels whose leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, described the death as foiling a "conspiracy" by a Saudi-led coalition backing the government, the BBC-News reported. Until recently, forces loyal to Saleh had fought alongside Houthi rebels against the Saudi-led coalition fighting to retain the government of President Hadi.



With the support of Saleh's forces, Houthi rebels have been able to retain Yemen's capital, Sanaa, throughout the conflict thus far.



Now, Saleh's forces could seek revenge for his killing thus prolonging and complicating the wretched conflict even longer. The Saudi coalition could also make larger advances on Sanaa in the wake of Saleh's death.



Whatever happens, Yemen, described as the worse place on Earth to be as a child, will continue to live up to that determination. Recent fighting and bombardments have kept aid workers under shelter, thus exacerbating the already  impoverished conditions of Yemeni children and deepening a humanitarian crisis that threatens too many children.







December 03, 2017



ASIA:



On Sexual Harassment



The present spate of sexual harassment revelations rocking the United States(US) and other places might appear as a new phenomenon , but it is not. For many years it has flourished under closed lips and shuttered mouths in a white-male dominated business world. 



The uniqueness of these revelations however, is borne in the new welcomed audacity many victims have finally mustered in order to come forward with their complaints. It is remarkable that victims now feel empowered to seek justice and an end to the power-exacting traits of many perpetrators. 



From the glitter of Hollywood, to the opinion forming newsrooms of the media, to the cubicles of industry, and even to the presidency of the US, claims of impropriety against girls, women, boys and some men, hold many truths indicative of the exercise of power upon the vulnerable. All claims must be given fair and just consideration. 



However, it is worth noting that some alleged adult victims, who for a number of years remained silent on sexual harassment, just like their harassers, should shoulder some blame for allowing the awful practice to continue, thus facilitating the sexual harassment of other victims after their own incidents. 



While some adult victims might allude to career-harm as a reason for the long period of silence, no career is worthy enough to suffice sustaining a predatory practice to claim more victims. Moreover, no man could ever be excused of submitting victims to sexual harassment.



Explicitly though, the man's world, culture and continued dominance of work places, are guilty of harboring the degenerative practice of sexual harassment. Reforms are necessary. 



To all the victims, I am deeply sorry that you've suffered and I stand by you in your endeavors for justice and to put an end to the sick practice of sexual harassment that has no place in any society.









December 02, 2017



ASIA:



Pope Francis and the Rohingya People



Pope Francis has finally used the term "Rohingya" for the first time during his ending Asian trip. 



That the Pontiff himself could now recognize his and other people's shortcomings to ameliorate the condition of the Myanmar Muslim sect, has therefore, become starkly clear. 



During his three-day visit to Myanmar earlier this week, Pope Francis fittingly opted not to stir-up any trouble for the one-percent-population Catholics as he heeded the urgings of the local Cardinal not to use the word Rohingya, which is prohibited by Myanmar authorities in preference for the term "Bengalis".  



The Pope's refrain affirmed the uphill battle the Rohingya people face toward an identity, a recognition and a nationality since the internationally respected leader of the Catholic Church himself could not even refer to the Muslim minority by name in their own land. 



Pope Francis should be accorded credit because he did refer to the Rohingya people by name prior to his Myanmar trip. He again referenced the group at an Interfaith meeting in mostly-Muslim Bangladesh, yesterday. Not in his speech, but in an improvised statement, the BBC-News reported, the Pontiff proclaimed: "The presence of God today is called Rohingya."



Addressing an Interfaith meeting that had in attendance 16-Rohingya refugees, in Bangladesh, where some 620,000 Rohingya have sought refuge since August feeing persecution by the Myanmar army, Pope Francis told the Rohingya people: "In the name of all those who have persecuted you, hurt you, I ask forgiveness...I appeal to your large hearts to give us the forgiveness that we are asking," the BBC-News reported.



Thus, a tall call for forgiveness of the Rohingya people as they remain displaced, stateless and persecuted. 







December 01, 2017



ASIA:



December Enters



A neighbor, now age-94, has often invited me to gaze to the sky: "Beautiful isn't it?", she would observe. "Look at those clouds," she would proclaim looking to the heavens over Washington, DC. For many years, out of respect for her, I would cordially obliged by responding with a haphazard "Yes". 



Recently, as I too have gotten on in age, I now more than ever before do recognize the admiration and the appreciation of my neighbor with the heavens. We are all a blessed people. 



However, often in too many places and among too many people, distractions via conflict, business, schedule, economic and environmental concerns, do force individuals to miss the things that have been granted to us that are present every day for our sustenance and enjoyment.



Thus, on the premise that change is perpetual and always possible, December enters offering hope, happiness and merriment and a revealed conclusion about possible things to come, while denoting an end to a year, which could signify the end of the troubles of many people.



December offers the opportunity for the children of Syria and of Yemen to reclaim their conflict-stolen childhoods. December holds out hope to all the displaced people including the slaves of Libya and the Rohingya people of Myanmar, to ameliorate their conditions. December offers hope to an end to divisive polarizing actions that could brew even more conflicts. 



Yet, December also offers a likelihood of true peace, goodwill and prosperity to all humanity. Here's to December's happiness, liberty and countless possibilities.




November 30, 2017

ASIA:

That it be Done...

To protect the Republic, its people and the principles upon which it stands, it is becoming increasingly necessary that a course of action not taken before be completed in order to reverse the impending isolation of the United States(US) and a looming decay of its traditions of liberty, democracy and world leadership.

The influence of Republic-busting localists upon the Federal government, which has a far reaching international sphere, will inevitably degrade the prestige and global respect of the US.

Shunning international agreements on climate change and nuclear deals will isolate America. Promoting far-right videos of hate on Twitter will not gain America any friends. Similar rants counterproductive to civil protest and to the respect of women, will quickly rot democratic principles.

Therefore, that it done soon - reclamation of the Republic upon its strong principles, all efforts must be to restore sanity to the high office of President of the United States of America.



November 29, 2017

ASIA:

Conflict-torn Yemen - the Worse Place on Earth to be a Child

War is hell. It is a discriminatory act of violence perpetrated supposedly against an enemy, but often, its victims are meek innocents - many children, caught up in an egotistic battle between opposing sides for influence over the people.

Since 2015, the children of Yemen have become such targets. A conflict complicated by the involvement of a Saudi coalition against Houthi rebels, has decimated normalcy of life for the people of Yemen. The suffering effects of conflict have killed some 8, 000 people. And sadly, today, 11 million Yemeni children are in dire need of help with 400,000 of them facing death from malnutrition.

The state of affairs in Yemen has fallen farther into to despair since the Saudi coalition placed an embargo on the poor nation of 28 million. 

The welfare of children in Yemen has reached such a critical mass that UNICEF's Middle East director, Geert Cappelaere, has deemed Yemen as the worse place on Earth to be a child. 

Speaking to journalists in Amman, Jordan, last Sunday, Cappelaere confirmed: "More than 11 million children are today in acute need of humanitarian assistance. That's almost every single Yemeni boy and girl." He pleaded: "To all parties and all those with a heart for children, please take your responsibility now."

Cappelaere was not only calling for an end to the conflict, he also hoped for greater access of humanitarian assistance to the children and people of Yemen. Negotiations with the Saudi coalition has allowed for close to two million doses of vaccines to enter into Yemen along with some critical aid workers. Yet, Cappelaere has sought for the continuous effort to allow for the entry of food, chlorine tablets for drinking water and treatments for diarrhea and cholera to be allowed into Yemen.

Therefore, for the sake of millions of children cut off from their childhoods and in need of humanitarian care, all parties to the conflict in Yemen should lower their guns and swords and do whatever is necessary to ameliorate the lives of all Yemenis.



November 28, 2017

ASIA:

A Papal Refrain on Rohingya - An Urge for Respect and Dignity of all Ethnic Groups

In defense of ethnic rights, Pope Francis in a keynote address in Myanmar, has demanded "respect for each ethnic group". Yet, he refrained from identifying the Rohingya people, thus bowing to the wishes of the local Cardinal, who had urged restraint on naming the persecuted group because Myanmar authorities reject the name Rohingya opting to use the term "Bengalis".

While Pope Francis made no direct reference to the Rohingya people, the BBC-News editorialized that "the Pope's speech was a strong defense of ethnic rights."

The head of the Catholic Church proclaimed: "The future of Myanmar must be peace, a peace based on respect for the dignity and rights of each member of society, respect for each ethnic group and its identity, respect for the rule of law, and respect for a democratic order that enables each individual and every group - none excluded - to offer its legitimate contribution to the common good," the BBC-News reported.

Pope Francis, who is in Myanmar until he travels to Bangladesh on Thursday as the first Pope to visit the mostly Muslim nation since 1986, has used the term Rohingya before, but Myanmar's Catholic Church had asked him not to repeat the term during his visit to avoid any difficulties for local Catholics in the mostly Buddhist Myanmar.

"Religious differences, " Pope Francis said, "need not be a source of division and distrust, but rather a force for unity, forgiveness, tolerance and wise nation-building, " the BBC-News reported.

However, Pope Francis's refrain from using the name Rohingya in his speech, clearly underscores the uphill battle the persecuted Rohingya people face toward social and national recognition within Myanmar. 

Moreover, the Pope's refrain from directly naming the Rohingya people, is an indication and a demonstration of the limited actions that others could do to help the meek and weak. 

Therefore, those meek, weak, persecuted and excluded, ought now to grab their own destinies into their hands and drag them into reality because leaning on others could prolong the victimization process for justice, thus signifying a deferment of rights to an identity, rights to a nationality and the rights to basis human principles.



November 27, 2017

ASIA:

Standing with Pope Francis for Justice in Myanmar

Whether or not the rulers like it, Pope Francis now visiting predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, should refer to the persecuted and displaced Rohingya people by their name in a clear papal stance for justice. The Pope should not accept any intimidation from Myanmar's army to reference the Rohingya people as Bengalis - for to do so, would be turning an impotent eye to violence and ethnic cleansing - sins and crimes, the Pope has often spoke out against.

The Pontiff arrived in the former Burma earlier today for a three-day visit to be climaxed by a Mass in Yangon on Wednesday, after meetings today with the powerful army chief, General Min Aung Hlaing - the man in charge of driving the Rohingya people out of Rakhine province, and the associated crimes committed against the Muslim sect in the mainly Buddhist country. Pope Francis will also meet with Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been disappointingly silent on the crisis of the Rohingya people.

Some 600,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since August because of persecution involving heinous crimes committed by the Myanmar army after a deadly attack by alleged Rohingya militants upon police posts.

The United Nations(UN) has determined that the violence committed against the Rohingya people amounts to ethnic cleansing. In denouncing the violence, Pope Francis, according to the BBC-News, referenced the persecuted people as "our Rohingya brothers and sisters". 

However, fearing that the Pontiff might use the name Rohingya while on his visit and since the Myanmar army has refused to recognize the Rohingya, electing to reference them as Bengalis, Myanmar's sole Catholic cardinal has asked the Pope to avoid using the name Rohingya to avoid inflaming local feelings.

But  injustice is injustice and recognition and the naming of the victims of persecution and violence are paramount to ending the crimes. Thus, the world should stand with Pope Francis to ensure an end to the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.



November 26, 2017

ASIA:

Finally Humanitarian Aid Arrives in Yemen

Desperately needed humanitarian aid has over the weekend, finally reached Yemen, where 20-million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and where 400,000 children are at risk of dying from severe malnutrition.

According to reports by the BBC-News, which cited a tweet from UNICEF's representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relano; a United Nations(UN) flight carrying some 1.9 doses of vaccines, has touched down at Sanaa's airport after a three-week blockade of rebel-held areas by a Saudi coalition following a missile attack upon the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, on November 6.

Yemen has been decimated by war since 2015, when Saudi Arabia entered a conflict in Yemen on behalf of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, against Houthi rebels. Yemen has since descended into a proxy struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Saudi blockade of rebel-held areas in Yemen has exacerbated humanitarian conditions for millions of suffering Yemenis, including 400,000 starving innocent children - too young to understand or to fend for themselves in a fight for control of Yemen. Yemen is the poorest nation in the Middle East.

Humanitarian negotiations with the Saudi led coalition, which inflicted the recent blockade two days after Houthi rebels allegedly fired a missile that was intercepted, toward the Saudi capital, have resulted in the reopening of the Red Sea port of Hudaydah for urgent humanitarian aid and Sanaa's airport for UN relief flights, the BBC-News reported.

Though no ships have yet docked at Hudaydah, the UN flight of medicines has been joined by three other flights carrying vital UN aid-workers and relief staff of the International Red Cross.

Some 8,670 people have died since the conflict began in Yemen in 2015. Hopefully, with this recent humanitarian relief effort, more lives of Yemen's children could be saved. Eventually, the conflict must end to return Yemen to some degree of normalcy.



November 25, 2017

ASIA:

Terror Shocks - A Massacre in the Egyptian Sinai, November 24, 2017

News reports on this November 25, 2017, confirm a shocking terror event, in the town of Bir al-Abed, on the Sinai peninsula, Egypt, on Friday, November 24. 

During Friday prayers at the Al-Rawda Mosque, explosions, supposedly within a building adjacent to the mosque, were set off sending fleeing worshippers out of the doors where they were machine-gunned massacred by some 30-plus assailants laying in waiting, who blocked access to the mosque by setting parked cars on fire. Thus far, 305 people, including 30 children, have been reportedly killed. Another 100 have been wounded. 

A shocking, barbaric and utterly violent crime against humanity. That this crime was executed with such precision and with such cold apathy, therefore begs any reasoning as to how any branch of humankind could conduct inflict such a deadly act upon non-suspecting innocents in a place of worship.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the terror. Media reports indicate some attackers had the flag of the Islamic State(IS) terror group. Whomever is guilty, this Sinai attack represents a high-crime against humanity. 

We mourn with the Egyptian people. And it becomes even more sufficient now that an examination of the root causes of terror are explored and that all efforts be made toward the eradication of terror.



November 24, 2017

ASIA:

...after Thanksgiving Day

This Blog fell silent yesterday, November 23, 2017, Thanksgiving Day in the United States(US), in empathy with those unfortunate lacking an occasion of comfort: the war-scarred children of Syria, the displaced and persecuted Rohingya people of Myanmar, the slaves of Libya, the separated people of Gaza and Palestine and all present and future victims of conflict and economic hardship.

After Thanksgiving and our own celebrations of plenty in secure settings, we must continue all work and efforts toward the alleviation and the closure of human suffering across all borders. Here's to peace, comfort, liberty and happiness of all peoples and to the restoration of childhoods lost.



November 22, 2017

ASIA:

Robert Gabriel Mugabe Resigns - Now What Zimbabwe?

Nonagenarian Robert Gabriel Mugabe has resigned his presidency of Zimbabwe. 

Sworn-in as Prime Minister on April 17, 1980, of the new and independent nation of Zimbabwe, Mugabe's long tenure as head of the African nation since his ascension to the presidency in 1987, ended yesterday, November 21, 2017, at the age of 93.

Media reports have described jubilant celebrations marking the end of the era of Mugabe in Harare and across Zimbabwe. His vice-president he fired over a week-ago, Emmerson 'the Crocodile' Mnangagawa, will become the new President.

In wishing the people of Zimbabwe happiness, security and prosperity, I cannot withhold asking the question: now what Zimbabweans? Will one dictator simply yield to another? Have the democratic system and processes matured enough within the Republic of Zimbabwe to allow for needed social growth? What about checks and balances on the reign of power? Is there a plan for economic recovery?

The people of Zimbabwe hold the answers. Yet, I caution the people that transition of power is not always easy and smooth. Revenge, old wounds and vengeance could readily spoil any celebration. However, Zimbabweans are placed in a unique position today to develop a modern Republic which could serve as a model to Africa and to most of the developing world. 

My more than usual attention and editorial-pages dedicated to the events in Zimbabwe in the past week, have been deliberate. My full intentions have been to highlight and to bring to consideration a far too often repeated scenario that remains chronic and crippling to developing nations: to wit - how vision, revolution and hope, are easily transformed into despair and corruption via dictatorship.

I affirm that democratic systems with efficient, fair and uncorrupted processes, are keys to beneficial social and economic development. And if the systems or the processes become corrupted anywhere along the line after a glorious revolution, then political turmoil, social upheaval and economic stagnation, will ensue, thus yielding predicaments such as the one playing out in Zimbabwe. Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa and other nations need to take notice. 

The vision to national growth and development could only be achieved through non corrupt processes. The protection and happiness of the people must always supersede the wealth accumulation of trusted leaders. So here's to Zimbabwe's new found freedom. May the people ride the steed of freedom to full prosperity.



November 21, 2017

ASIA:

The Epitome of African Underdevelopment - Corruption, Dictatorships and Dynasties

As a clearer understanding of the reality of African underdevelopment emerges out of the dire attempts by Nonagenarian Robert Mugabe to cling to power, Zimbabwe's circumstance and its economic challenges are indicative of the epitome of a wider failing that is suppressing social and economic growth across the continent - corruption, dictatorships and dynasties.

Zimbabwe's current predicament tells the story of very much of Africa - hopes and development deferred via corruption, dictatorships and dynasties.

While too many people live without, and die without access to clean drinking water, many leaders and their families, live lavishly owning multiple homes and businesses within their said lands and overseas as their children toy with numerous luxury cars and other goods. 

Yet, the majority of the populace live in dire poverty forcing many women to hawk 'bush-meats' and meager goods in futile attempts to feed their families.

Africa's failings are not limited to Zimbabwe. In Togo, the former French colony, Africa's longest dynasty still remains in power after 50-years of rule by the Eyadema family. According to reports by the BBC-News, crowds numbering close to one-million have been demonstrating against the Togo dynasty ever since August, thus ripening the possibly of turmoil in that underdeveloped land. 

In Gabon, also a former French colony, a dynasty, the Bongo family, has ruled there for some 50-plus- years. A French corruption investigation into the ruling family in 2015 found that the family assets included some 39 properties in France alone, including on the posh French Riviera as well as some nine luxury cars including Ferraris and Mercedes worth $1.6 million, while the poor forge for food in the oil-rich nation.

Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, is home to Africa's longest-serving ruler, Theodoro Obiang Nguema, who seized power after overthrowing his own uncle back in 1979. His 48-year-old son, Teodorin Obiang, is his deputy, the BBC-News reported, thus putting him in the wing to inherit his father's power. Teodorin is a fugitive from justice since October when a French court convicted him in absentia of embezzlement. The court order the seizure of his assets in France, which included a $29 million mansion, the BBC-News reported. He had also some 18 luxury cars in France. Yet, his father's subjects at home could barely make ends meet.

In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni is still leader since seizing power back in 1986. Now 76, he wants to redraw the constitution to remove the 75-year-old-age limit on presidential candidates, obviously to allow himself to run and win again in the dictatorship.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one dictator, who ruled for 32-years, Mobutu Sese Seko, was replaced by a dynasty in 1997, when Laurent Kabila seized control of the African nation. Kabila was assassinated by his bodyguards in 2001 and replaced by his son Joseph, who after serving two-terms as president, was supposed to step down in 2016 since the constitution bars the president from running for a third-term. However, manipulation of the political process has kept Joseph in power until at least 2018. He could be replaced by either his sister or brother, who are both members of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The family has amassed large business assets from banking to airlines.

In South Africa, the hope and dreams of Nelson Mandela continue to crumble under President Jacob Zuma, a polygamist, who appears to be grooming an ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as his successor in 2019.

Zimbabwean Mugabe's reported assets are said to be around $1 billion, including many off-shore holdings. So his last ditch efforts to retain power and his defiance to resigning the presidency, clearly epitomizes an African trait that stands in the way of progress that contributes to the mass exodus of African economic refugees to the shores of Europe. 

The Zimbabwe parliament has started impeachment proceedings against Robert Mugabe, 93.



November 20, 2017

ASIA:

Accorded Respect to a Dignified Exit, Robert Mugabe Elects Defiance

He who wields almost absolute power never readily yields that strength. Therefore, for the good of any nation or any people, such power, must then be wrestled away by the people in order to sustain the welfare and the future of the community.

Robert Mugabe, 93, the deposed Zimbabwe President, has ruled the economically-challenged African nation for more than 37 years. During his tenure, there have been some brief spells of prosperity, but severe economic and harsh social conditions, have now engulfed the state of current affairs in Zimbabwe.

The Nonagenarian in recent months has made attempts to rid Zimbabwe's executive leadership of loyal revolutionaries, who fought with him to secure the nation's independence from Great Britain in 1980, in preference for his South African-born wife, Grace, a woman almost half his age.

After firing his vice-president, Emmerson 'the Crocodile' Mnangagwa, over a week ago over allegations of treachery, Mugabe and his wife appeared to brand also as treacherous the army chief, General Constantino Chiwenga, after he publicly warned that the armed forces would not sit idly and allow Mugabe and his wife to expel loyal revolutionaries. 

Last Wednesday, the armed forces seized power in Zimbabwe placing Mugabe and his wife under house arrest. The Zimbabwe Defense Force(ZDF) accorded the aged-revolutionary the respect to conduct a graduation ceremony last Friday. As negotiations proceeded to accommodate the exit of Mugabe, he became defiant. His ruling Zanu-PF party essentially removed him from office by vote on Saturday and named sacked vice-president Mnangagwa, as head. 

Mugabe was given the respect to peacefully resign his office by earlier this morning. He did not. As he had abused another accorded respect to address the nation on Sunday and failed to announce his resignation, he instead dreamed of leading his party's conference in December of this year. 

His party's ultimatum to resign or face impeachment has been met by stubborn defiance from Mugabe. 

Therefore, until the ZDF severs Mugabe's respect and the dignity accorded him, Zimbabweans demanding change in the streets of Harare, might have to contend with the elderly statesman for sometime longer. Parliament is expected to convene on Tuesday and a two-thirds majority is constitutionally required in both chambers to affirm the non-coup d'etat ousting of Mugabe.

Power is intoxicating and addictive. At 93, Mugabe still craves more of the limelight. But accused by his own party of causing Zimbabwe an "unprecedented economic tailspin", Robert Mugabe's era must be just hours away from its closure.



November 19, 2017

ASIA:

The Dawn of a New Era in Zimbabwe

In yet another show or respect to an aged-revolutionary, Zimbabwe's ruling party, Zanu-PF, while firing Nonagenarian President Robert Mugabe from the presidency earlier today, has still accorded him until 5:00 a.m.(EST) tomorrow to resign the office, or face impeachment. Former Vice-President, Emmerson 'the Crocodile' Mnangagwa, has been appointed President. Grace Mugabe has been expelled from the ruling party.

Today's action by Mugabe's political party, essential ushers in a new era in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe, 93, has ruled since 1980. He is a veteran of the African nation's 1970s revolutionary war that gained independence from Great Britain in 1980. Some members of Zimbabwe's government, including some senior members of the Zimbabwe Defense Force(ZDF), its chief, General Constantino Chiwenga along Mnangagwa, are also revolutionaries of the war of independence.

Mugabe dismissed Mnangagwa, 71,  from the vice-presidency over a week ago, which prompted a warning from General Chiwenga that the armed forces would not sit idly and allow criminal accusations against revolutionaries of the nation's independence. It was believed Mugabe was purging Zimbabwean revolutionaries from close to the presidency in preference for his wife, Grace, 52. 

Mugabe's final straw which 'broke the camel's back' came when General Chiwenga warning was construed as being treacherous. The next day, Wednesday, the army seized power placing Mugabe and his wife under house arrest.

The Zanu-PF party sacked Mugabe today according him the respect of resigning by tomorrow morning, thus paving the way for the ascension of Mnangagwa as the next President of the economically-challenged African nation tomorrow. Said one senior Zanu-PF official as quoted by the BBC-News: "It's the dawn of a new era. Mugabe can go farming."



November 18, 2017

ASIA:

Crowds Amass in Zimbabwe to Signal the End of the Era of Robert Mugabe

Zimbabweans have assembled in the streets of the capital, Harare, this  morning, to affirm the end of the era of Robert Mugabe in the African nation.

In an way, it's a sad ending to a strongman, who once earned the respect of hoards of people in Zimbabwe, the wider Africa and the broader world, for his early visions of independence, social justice, national development, African unity as well as for his exploits toward the decolonization of Africa.

A hero, a revolutionary and a Pan-Africanist, Robert Mugabe was idolized for his opposition and fight against white-minority rule in the former Rhodesia. But by 1996 when he married a woman, Grace Mugabe, who was almost half his age, support for Mugabe began to dwindle. 

At the over-the-hill age of 93, up until Wednesday, Mugabe still continued to cling to power in Zimbabwe. His firing of his vice-president a week earlier, and the allegations of treason against the army chief, who warned the elderly president, the armed forces would not stand idly, as Mugabe, via Grace Mugabe, dismantled the former revolutionaries, who stood in-waiting to the leadership, while the Nonagenarian appeared to pave the way to anoint Grace Mugabe to the presidency.

On Wednesday, the Zimbabwe Defense Force(ZDF) seized power placing Mugabe and his wife under house arrest. Yesterday, the army allowed Mugabe the respectful opportunity to confer degrees upon graduates at Zimbabwe Open University, where he stands as chancellor. In a way, Mugabe was honored to conduct one-last official rite so that he could be perceived as leaving the presidency with some dignity.

Yet, in spite of talks to facilitate his resignation, the Nonagenarian has continued to resist his peaceful passing from power. 

Today's gathering of protesting Zimbabweans in the streets to insist upon Mugabe's departure, is yet another mode of respect given to permit the elderly statesman to leave office with a better than diminished legacy still in tact.



November 17, 2017

ASIA:

A Final Show of Respect to a Deposed Revolutionary - Robert Mugabe Appears

In a final show of respect to ousted Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe, the African nation's army has allowed the aged-revolutionary to leave house-arrest in order to complete a ceremonial rite he has done for many years, to confer degrees upon graduates at Zimbabwe Open University, where he stands as chancellor.

Ousted by the army on Wednesday after his actions to replace standing-in-waiting revolutionaries, to pave the way to the presidency for his wife Grace, 52, Mugabe has been under arrest and involved in talks toward his respectable resignation of the leadership of the nation.

However, Mugabe, 93, according to media reports, has been defiant per his immediate departure. That he has not been harmed or jailed is a testament of the respect he still has among members of the military and civil population for his past revolutionary years and for leading the nation to independence out of colonial era and white-minority rule.

Mugabe has clearly overstayed his time as the head of Zimbabwe at age-93. Two years-ago, five-years-ago, 10-years-ago, he could have given up the presidency and leadership and walked off into history with a solid legacy in tact. But his desire to keep power and to install his wife, some 40-years his junior, into the leadership of the economically-challenged African nation, was obviously something those who fought alongside Mugabe, were not going to accept without defiance.

Today's university graduation ceremony was perhaps the army's way of allowing Mugabe to end his tenure with some dignity and respect. As reported by the BBC-News, one of those graduates he conferred a degree upon, was the wife of the General Chiwenga, the army chief who took Mugabe under house-arrest on Wednesday.

And so in essence, Zimbabwe's Defense Force(ZDF) has allowed an old revolutionary to bid goodbye and farewell to his nation and to Africa - both places where, he has certainly made a mark in the past 37-years. 

If the streets of Harare become swollen with Zimbabweans in a call for change on Saturday, then it would mark the end of Robert Mugabe, an old revolutionary who has certainly done his time in service to the people.



November 16, 2017

ASIA:

Lost Idealism and Drunkenness of Power - the Downfall of once Promising Revolutionaries

The events, still unfolding in the African nation of Zimbabwe signaling the end of 37-years of rule by Robert Mugabe, are not new. 

Over and over again, such events have played out on the global arena as once trusted revolutionaries from Cuba to Libya to Iraq to Zambia to Egypt and other places, become intoxicated with the strength of power that the vision they once had toward social cohesiveness and nation-building and development, become marred in corruption, social decay and economic ruin.

From Africa to the Americas to Asia and to Europe, the people of many lands desiring better lives and greater freedoms, have often placed much trust in the hands of idealists hoping that their preachings would materialize into actual stability, security, comfort and happiness in their communities.

Many times the ideals are successful in the short run. However, as former revolutionaries and visionaries become more intoxicated with the wielding and the holding of power, such drunkenness leads to authoritarianism. Then, most of any advances achieved, are quickly reversed.

Such has been the predicament of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. A revolutionary and a war hero, Mugabe secured his nation's independence from Great Britain in 1980, ending a long and volatile history of white-minority rule in the former Rhodesia. Mugabe's tenure as Prime Minister lasted from 1980 to 1987, when he became President, a position he held up until Wednesday at the over-the-hill age, of 93. 

His quips and his symbolisms for a strong Africa for Africans free of colonial control will outlive his body and his fall from power. "Africa must revert to what it was before the imperialists divided it..." Mugabe has said, "The struggle hasn't ended. It's only just begun in our view..." he added: "The only white man you can trust is a dead white man." And there are many more he has coined that will always remain popular in and out of Africa.

Yet, Mugabe's sad stagnation and his ouster from power were brought on by a number of factors including his desire to retain power at a very old-age and his attempt to pass power to his former typist South African-born wife,  thus attempting to bypass those revolutionaries, who fought alongside him for many years.

Therefore, it could easily be deducted that Mugabe's lost idealism and his drunkenness for continued power, have contributed to his downfall in the same way they contributed to the fall and demise of many other former revolutionaries and actors, supposedly in service to the people.




November 15, 2017

ASIA:

Re-Emergence of the Coup d'etat - Mugabe is Ousted in Zimbabwe

The military has wrestled control of the faltering nation of Zimbabwe from longtime leader, Robert Mugabe, 93, who appeared to be grooming his 52-year-old South African born wife, Grace Mugabe, toward the leadership of the African country.

Last night's action by the military in Zimbabwe ushers in a renewed era of the coup d'etat as some democratic processes become tainted and seemingly impotent to effect changes desired by the people of some lands.

Mugabe's downfall is indicative of the decay of once prominent social ideals held by leaders that have become corroded by their authoritarian grasps for continued power amid changing societies.

Mugabe's final downfall was triggered by his dismissal last week of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the apparent revolutionary in waiting to the presidency, over accusations, some lodged by Grace Mugabe, of the vice-president's attempts to oust Mugabe. With Mnangagwa out of the way, it appeared that Grace Mugabe, a former typist in a governmental office, would be an easy shoe-in to replace the aged Mugabe.

However, earlier this week, army chief General Constantino Chiwenga, warned that it was criminal to rid the country of its revolutionary fathers who had gained Zimbabwe's independence from Great Britain in 1980. Vice President Mnangagwa, along with Robert Mugabe and the army chief, are among those revolutionaries. 

After the warning from the army chief, accusations of treason were made against him, just as they were made against the vice president. Allegations of treason lodged first against the vice president and then against General Chiwenga, were all representative of a growing split within Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, which appeared to be favoring the wife of Mugabe as his successor.

But last night the army seized power in Zimbabwe announcing that Mugabe and his family were safe and under house arrest. The army took control of the state broadcaster, ZBC and this morning, tanks and armored vehicles patrolled the streets of the capital, Harare.

Thus, an end to a long chapter of Mugabe rule has come to an end in Zimbabwe, hereby affirming the re-emergence of the coup d'etat as a recourse to political change, as it had been popularly used in the 1970s. Moreover, Zimbabwe's predicament underscores the result of failed and impotent democratic processes to adapt to the ambitions of people desiring change and more functional governments.



November 14, 2017

ASIA:

The Wrath of Nature Must be Equated by Humanity's Resolve to Continuity

The wrath of nature and its untamable power were witnessed in Sunday's night deadly 7.3 magnitude-earthquake along Iran's western border with Iraq.

That 540 people have been killed, 8,000 injured and that 12,000 homes have collapsed sending thousands of people out into freezing temperatures, affirms the magnitude of the Iranian catastrophe.

Yet, as Iran mourns its dead and tends its injured as surviving victims yearn for faster relief, it is the resolve for continuity that will champion the Iranian people over this natural disaster - the said resolve that has enabled the sustaination of life on Planet Earth from prior disasters and conflicts.

The human resolve for continuity has been tested and fractured often. But possessing a strong inclination to live, humankind will continue to rise out of the rubble of buildings fell in earthquakes, over the ashes of conflicts, onto the dry ground away from floods and alee of the gales of hurricanes. Humanity will often find a way to adapt and to cope with tragedies. The wrath of nature must always be equated by humanity's resolve to continuity.

So as our prayers continue for the people of Iran and Iraq that they find relief and comfort from the devastating earthquake, humanity is hereby reminded that all inhabitants, on Planet Earth, are susceptible today or tomorrow to the wrath of nature with the understanding that that which has effected a distant people yesterday, could very likely affect a close friend today, or oneself tomorrow. 



November 13, 2017

ASIA:

Iran Mourns Victims of Last Night's Powerful Earthquake

Three-days of mourning have been declared across Iran for the 395 dead victims of last night's powerful 7.3 earthquake that struck about 9:19 p.m. Iranian time, around the western border and the northeastern border of Iraq. Another 6,650 people, thus far, have been counted as being injured in the natural disaster.

Most of the Iranian deaths and injuries were reported in the western province of Kermanshah close to the Iraq border, where another seven people were killed and many others injured in the Kurdish region of Iraq, along the Iranian border. 

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has sent condolences to the victims and he has called upon the military and civilians to assist victims, CNN reported.

Last night's earthquake, with an epicenter along the Iran-Iraq border at a depth of some 14-miles underground, according to the United States(US) Geological Survey, has surpassed Mexico City's earthquake in September to become the most deadly seismic event thus far in 2017. Deaths in the Mexico City quake numbered 369 compared to last night's toll, so far, of 402 in Iran and in Iraq.

Iran is prone to earthquakes since it lies atop a major fault line of the Arabian(Persian) and Eurasian tectonic plates. The former plate is overriding the lower plate that gives Iran its mountainous geological character. 

Recent major earthquakes in Iran include a 6.4 event in February 2005 in Kerman province that killed some 400; a December 2003 tragedy that killed 26,000 people and destroyed the historic city of Bam in the south; and the June 1990 disaster that killed 40,000 people in the northern province Gilan, the BBC-News reported.

Our condolences and prayers go out to the people of Iran and Iraq as we call upon international relief agencies and kind governments to render all services needed to the Iranian people.



November 12, 2017

ASIA:

In Remembrance of the Fallen and of the Heroes - Lessons Left Unheeded

This Blog fell silent yesterday in honor of Armistice Day, Remembrance Day and Veterans Day.

At the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, 99-years-ago, humankind entered into an agreement to end World War I on the Western Front. The Armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiegne, France, was a major milestone toward global peace and security. 

Thus, every year since then, nations have marked November 11 as Veterans Day, Remembrance Day and Armistice Day to remember and to honor the brave souls who fought for freedoms as well as to recognize those who continue to serve in the protection liberties worldwide.

But what lessons have humanity learned from the events of World War I, a tragedy that took too many lives and divided copious amounts of homes, villages, towns, cities and countries? Apparently, not enough, for less than 25 years after the events of World War I, World War II dealt humanity an even more destructive blow. 

Since World War II, humanity has tried to avert another global catastrophe, yet, while not on a global scale, conflict has still managed to ravage parts of Europe, of Asia, of Africa and of the Americas. Why?

Lessons to encourage the respect of peoples to freely government themselves in non-authoritarian forms have not been heeded. Respect of the rights of all peoples to a homeland, to an education, to a safe environment, to food and to happiness have not been achieved. Complications to democracy continue in Spain, Poland, and Hungary as well as in other places across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Therefore, that those who gave their lives in the name of freedom may not have died in vain, now is the hour to heed all lessons from history so as not to repeat the transgressions of the past.



November 10, 2017

ASIA:

In Honor of Veterans

To all those men and women who now serve and those who have served in the armed forces in the protection of liberty, justice and the rule of law, Happy Veterans Day!

Our Republic honor you on this special day to thank you for your service to upholding the principles of democracy.

May each and everyone of you have a peaceful and happy day. Democracy thanks you.



November 09, 2017

ASIA:

One year after a Sad Result

On this day one-year-ago today, Donald Trump became the President-elect of the United States(US).  It was a very sad day for many Americans as he gained a majority of the electoral vote, but not the popular vote, to win the presidency, thus denying another milestone to Hilary Clinton, who was on the verge of becoming the first woman President of the US. 

I'm still sad that meddling and the electoral process denied Secretary Clinton a victory. Yet, even more sadness was felt that Trump with his divisive rhetoric and isolationist actions was still able to win the White House.

The 2016 US Presidential Election will always sit with me as one of the few times in the past 30-years that I've ever questioned the fairness of the processes of democracy along with the 'sanity' of some voters. 

Though still sad, I am forced to accept the vote even within the parameters of the reality of the divisiveness that has gripped America in this Trump era. 

I continue to pray for our Republic and to beg God to Bless America as I hope that more voters become educated as to the exercise of their far-reaching votes.



November 08, 2017

ASIA:

Hope Strikes Back in America - Democrats Win in the Era of Trump

It was on this fateful day, one-year-ago, November 08, 2016, that the spirit and the hope of many Americans to a better Republic, were drowned by the election of Donald Trump over Hilary Clinton as President of the United States(US).

The election in which Russia meddled, saddened and angered many Americans, including myself. Many of us believed Trump to be a divisive isolationist figure, thus unfit for the high office of President. We cried and we counseled our children that sometimes the way of the people is deferred for a particular purpose, which eventually and inevitably, will make a Republic stronger.

In less than a year since Trump took the oath of office, politics have become more split between political divides, stark differences have emerged per the attitudes of rural and urban Americans, bigotry has soared, hatred has deepened, associates of the president have been charged with crimes - and at least one, has pleaded guilty as  a Russia-connection investigation continues amid a more isolated US as Trump has proposed removing the US from Paris Climate Change Agreement, the sole country now not to green-light the planet-saving accord.

But yesterday, some measure of hope returned to America as voters in two-key states, Virginia and New Jersey, voted overwhelmingly for two Democratic Governors in a rebuke to Trump's antics.

In Virginia, in what some were forecasting as a close race for Governor between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie, voters easily sent Northam to the chief executive position in Richmond, thereby handing Trump's Republican candidate, a decisive defeat. Northam gained 53.9 percent of the votes to Gillespie's 45 percent.

Virginia voters also gave victories to Democrat Justin Fairfax for Lieutenant Governor and to Democrat Mark Herring for Attorney General. All three top political spots in the Commonwealth of Virginia, were taken by democrats in a clean sweep.

Farther north in the State of New Jersey, Democrat Philip Murphy easily defeated his Republican opponent Kim Guadagno to become the next Governor, successfully changing the top State-position from Chris Christie's Republican party. Christie campaigned for Trump and has since become much disliked in New Jersey. He was barred from running due to term-limits and he perhaps, if he could, would have done worse than Guadagno.

The democratic victories in the states of Virginia and New Jersey amount to a litmus test of  Donald Trump. Therefore, as if to provide some comfort and some hope from the sadness of last November, this November 2017, appears to usher in a season and a time of hope and a recovery of the American spirit - lost last November, but now pointing to the upcoming mid-term elections for Congress in 2018.

The 73rd Governor-elect of Virginia, Ralph Northam, 58, best summed up yesterday's indications: "Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry - and to end the politics that have torn this country apart."



November 07, 2017

ASIA:

Upholding a Principle of Democracy - Belgium Releases Catalonia's Leaders

In a manner in line with modern principles of democracy, Belgium has released from detention five Catalan ministers, who turned themselves into the custody of the Brussels prosecutor in regards to a European warrant from Spain, which wants to punish the leaders, along with others detained in Madrid, for leading a democratic referendum towards Catalonia's independence.

Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont; Meritxell Serret, Minister of Agriculture; Antonio Comin, Minister of Health; Lluis Puig, Minister of Culture; and Clara Ponsati, Minister of Education; all voluntarily surrendered themselves on Sunday in Brussels on the Spanish warrant issued for their arrest alleging rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds regarding the October 1 referendum that approved Catalonia's independence. 

Catalonia's Parliament declared a Republic on Friday, October 27 after tabling the declaration for close to four-weeks in hopes of a settled agreement with Spain's central government, in Madrid, concerning the status of the autonomous Barcelona area. The Spanish High Court ruled the democratic referendum as unconstitutional and the central government on October 27, following Catalonia's declaration, fired the government of Catalonia, thus suspending the autonomy of the wealthy northeastern region.

As if the suspension of Catalonia's autonomy was not enough, the Madrid government summoned Catalan's leaders to court in Madrid. Nine ministers appeared - eight were jailed and a ninth, who had quit the local government before the declaration of independence, was granted bail.

Without guarantees of their safety or of a fair trial back in Madrid, Puigdemont and four other ministers did not answer the Madrid summons. Spain then issued warrants of arrest for the five in Belgium.

An investigative Judge in Brussels at the request of the Brussels' Prosecutor's Office, released the Catalans provisionally after some 10-hours of interrogations. They are not to leave Belgium, are to give disclosures as to their accommodations and are to return to court in Brussels within 14-days. 

Brussels has 60-days to either comply with or to deny the Spanish warrant. However, if the Catalans mount any legal objections to being returned to Spain, they would be allowed due process in the Brussels Courts. 

Yet, the eight ministers, who answered the Madrid summons, remain in detention in Spain which is indicative of  the former empire's intent to sternly punish anyone who dares to question Madrid's authority in a similar that it punished tribes, natives and abolitionists who resisted Spanish rule in the colonial era. Not enough rights activists are denouncing Spain's detainment of the ministers of Catalonia.

In contrast, rights activists have vehemently criticized China for arresting, putting on trial, convicting and jailing the youthful leaders of the 2014 "Umbrella Movement" for democracy in Hong Kong. Starkly enough, the three Hong Kong democracy advocates who China had jailed, are now free on bailing pending a January 16, 2018, hearing of their appeals of their sentences of six, seven and eight-months. Also, the three: Joshua Wong, 21, Alex Chow, 27, and Nathan Law, 24, were originally sentenced to community service, but a senior judge in Hong Kong reopened their cases because of the supposed light punishment, which led to their months-long jail sentences being imposed in August 2017, until they were freed on bail earlier today by the Hong Kong court.

In the mean time, Catalonia's leaders who used a democratic process, to wit: the referendum, could face 30-years in jail on the Spanish allegations and eight of them are still in jail as too many human rights stalwarts remain silent per Spain's actions to a democratic process.



November 06, 2017

ASIA:

Another Senseless Gun Tragedy - the Texas Church Massacre 2017

The quaint Texas town of Sutherland Springs was rocked by the largest mass killing in that State's history yesterday, when a gunman identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, shot and killed 26 parishioners at the First Baptist Church.

Those killed in the town of less than 400-people, ranged in age from five to 72, with another 20 people injured in the senseless gun tragedy on a Sunday morning in Texas.

From the state of Connecticut, to the state of California, to the state of Florida, to the state of Nevada and now to the state of Texas, gun tragedies involving powerful weapons and the mass killings of people, continue to victimize the United States(US) in the absence of meaningful gun control laws, in a country addicted to guns.

As our thoughts and condolences go out to the victims and to the families effected by these heinous crimes, we pray that maybe, just maybe,  the US Congress could now find the will to craft needed gun control legislation. 




November 05, 2017

ASIA:

Belgian Execution of Spanish Arrest Warrants for Catalan Leaders would Drive a Deeper Nail into the Coffin of Democracy

Complying with a procedural demand in reaction to European arrest warrants Spain has issued for Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont and four other Catalan ministers, who are in Belgium, the Catalans turned themselves into the custody of Belgian authorities, earlier today.

Now, their fate, the fate of democracy and the fate and the form of future democratic actions to sovereignty, hang on the decision of a Belgian investigative judge, who could rule by Monday, whether to return the Catalans to Spain to face a more than likely an unfair trial or to allow the democracy believers to stay in Belgium pending further hearings per guarantees of their human rights.

Without any frills, Belgian should allow the Catalans asylum status. The entire tone of Madrid's central government toward the Catalan leaders, has been prejudicial before and after Catalonia's October 1 referendum on independence and even more prejudicial following Catalonia's declaration of a Republic on October 27.

Madrid quickly removed Catalonia's leaders and without establishing a commission to looking into the grievances and concerns of the Catalonia region, Madrid's prosecutor voiced that charges of rebellion, sedition and the misuse of government funds, should be brought against the leaders for holding a democratic process to wit: a referendum. Moreover, Madrid's government quickly arrested and detained eight Catalan leaders, who willingly trusted the democratic system and showed up at a Madrid court, to answer a summons. Now they are in jail and Madrid wants to jail another five for daring to hold a democratic referendum.

At no time during Catalonia's recent aspiration to sovereignty did its leadership use or incite violence as a means to their ambition. Therefore, it remains very undemocratic that under the circumstance that the leaders of Catalonia and their people, utilizing a democratic process, should be punished.

Emphatically, Belgium now has the reasonable opportunity to re-insert democratic principle into a current affair that if left alone to Madrid's ruling, could re-emerge under an ugly violent-form to transcend the lines of Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and the globe in general.

A possible solution: Belgium should grant protected status to Catalonia's leaders; Spain should release Catalonia's detained ministers; Spain should terminate criminal prosecution of Catalans in connection with a democratic process on the part of the people; Spain should establish a fair and transparent commission to look into the grievances of Catalonia, and upon findings; Spain should invite other European Union(EU) partners in executing recommendations that will better the unity, the operation, the mechanism and the communication between regions of nations, which will inevitably, all lead to a closer and stronger EU.



November 04, 2017

ASIA:

From a Fractured Democratic Process - a Call for a United Independence Front in Catalonia

That the people and the government of Catalonia utilized the democratic process of the referendum to seek independence from Spain, is clearly indicative of their belief and trust in a system that has now failed them via the jailing of eight Catalan leaders and the rendering as fugitives from justice of Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont and another four ministers.

Catalonia declared a Republic on October 27, 2017, following a referendum among Catalans on October 1. Spain's central government denounced the referendum and its High Court has ruled the Catalan democratic process as unconstitutional. 

Spain fired Catalonia's government, thus ripping autonomous status from the prosperous northeastern region in the Barcelona area. The Madrid government invoked emergence powers it interpreted it possessed based upon Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, thus allowing the central government to force any of Spain's 17-autonomous regions to comply with the directions of Madrid's conservative government.

However, the said Spanish Constitution states that a region's autonomy could never be taken away. Madrid has called for new elections in Catalonia by December 21. Madrid has also jailed eight Catalan ministers, who answered a summons to appear before a Madrid Court last Thursday. President Puigdemont and four other ministers, who feared the likelihood of a fair trial in Spain, are abroad and a judge has issued arrest warrants for the Catalan leaders.

Catalonia's leaders never resorted to violence to gain independence. They utilized the now fractured process of the referendum to again the approval of 90 percent of the 43 percent of voters who voted in the democratic process. 

Yet, Spain, in its olden ways of inflicting undue punishment as it did so successfully to bloody dissent of native peoples and others during its days as an empire, is now hell-bent on punishing Catalonia's leaders for daring to hold a democratic vote in an attempt to leave the fold of Madrid.

As protests continued yesterday in Barcelona in support of their jailed leaders, President Puigdemont issued a call for a united independence front from his location in Belgium. According to the BBC-News, he said he would not return to Spain unless he receives guarantees of a fair trial.

He called upon Catalan separatists parties to unite in the upcoming regional elections to continue a push for Catalonia's independence. He noted that it was time "for all democrats to unite" for "Catalonia, for the freedom of political prisoners and for the republic, " the BBC-News reported citing a tweet from Puigdemont.

If Spain continues its pursuit to punish politicians who used the democratic process to effect change, then what other processes are left to the people in future actions? Rebellion? Violence? Insurrection? Blood? Death? Suffering? Revolution? Madrid holds the answers.



November 03, 2017

ASIA:

Stirring-up the Mound - Spain Jails Catalonia Leaders

In another action reminiscent of its heavy-exercise of power in its times as a colonial empire, Spain yesterday jailed eight Catalonia leaders who dared answered a summons to appear before the High Court in Madrid, to face allegations of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds in connection with the democratic process that sought and briefly achieved Catalonia independence.

Spain's central government has taken over the autonomous Barcelona area of Catalonia to block the ambition of Catalans to independence from Spain. On October 1, this year, Catalonia held a referendum in which 90 percent of the 43 percent of voters participating in the democratic process, supported independence. Catalonia's parliament delayed any independence declaration hoping for fruitful negotiations with Madrid. 

However, the Spanish Constitutional court ruled the referendum unconstitutional and the Madrid government has now invoked Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which has been interpreted to empower the Madrid government to fire Catalonia's government, thus suspending Catalonia's autonomy, which the said Constitution has referenced that such autonomy could never be taken away. On October 27, 2017, the Catalonia Parliament declared independence from Spain hours before Madrid stripped the autonomous region of its government.

In a stern sequence of events by the Madrid government hell-bent on doling-out punishment to those who appear to dare challenge the authority of Madrid, the central government's prosecutors has called for charges and prosecutions of Catalan leaders even though there was no armed insurrection nor any violent struggle mounted in Catalonia; just a democratic referendum by the people.

Of 14 Catalan ministers summoned to appear in court, nine appeared. Of the nine, eight were detained by High Court judge Carmen Lamela because of a supposed flight-risk and the destruction of evidence. One was granted bail because he quit the Catalan Parliament before the declaration of independence.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is in Belgium and four other Catalan ministers did not answer the Madrid summons fearing guarantees as to their safety and a fair trial. Now Spanish prosecutors are seeking European warrants for the no-show Catalans. But any European Union(EU) member could deny an arrest warrant from another member if its fears the subject of the warrant could have his human rights violated, or be discriminated against based on politics, religion or race or fear of getting a fair trial.

While Catalans marched in Barcelona yesterday to protest the arrest of their leaders, Puigdemont called the detentions: "an act that breaks with the basic principles of democracy" and he called for the release of the detained ministers.

Puigdemont's sentiments are appropriate. Isn't it contrary to democratic principles to punish those who used non-violence and the democratic process of a referendum in lieu of armed insurrection, in order to facilitate change in their homeland?

Spain's arrest and detention of Catalan leaders go against the grain of the spirit of democracy. Spain has stirred up a mound of dissent within its borders that could transcend all boundaries to mutate into a changed attitude per democratic principles and practices.



November 02, 2017

ASIA:

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2017

The United Nations(UN) has designated this day, November 2, as an International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The designation is fitting to sound the alarm over the number of journalists killed - 930 in the past 11 years, and those censored for reporting the news.

If the number of murdered journalists is not sickening enough, then, more appalling are the statistics released by UNESCO that show a journalist dies every four-days and the stark reality that in nine-out-of-10 cases, the killers of the journalists go unpunished because of impunity.

UNESCO points to the fact that impunity "leads to more killings and is often a symptom of worsening conflict and the breakdown of law and judicial systems." In a released statement on its website commemorating today's designation as International Day to End Impunity against Journalists, UNESCO observed that "impunity damages whole societies by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption and crime"

Today's designation was approved by the UN General Assembly at its 68th Session in 2013 to call upon UN Member States to implement definite measures to counter the present culture of impunity. November 2 was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of French journalists - Ghislaine Dupont, 57 and Claude Verlon, 55, who were kidnapped and murdered in the northern town of Kidal, Mali, on November 2, 2013.

Yet, in spite of the designation and the sounding of the alarm, as recent as October 16, this year, Maltese journalist - Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was assassinated via a car bomb close to her home in Malta. She had fearlessly pursued corruption within her Malta. Will anyone ever be brought to justice for her killing?

If UNESCO's figures of impunity and of the failings of prosecutions of journalists' killers stand, then it appears likely that another journalist death will go unprosecuted. 

However, this International Day to End the Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2017, must stand for and demand prosecutions for the death and censorships of all journalists and of all those who work to inform the public of vile undertakings across the globe.



November 01, 2017

ASIA:

The Resilience of New York City

Bad men and bad groups have tried in the past to break the spirit and the liberty that is distinctly New York City - a melting pot of immigrants, yet all the bad people have failed because of the strong resilience and the strong character of the people of New York City, New York.

Yesterday's sad terror event in lower Manhattan that the took the lives of eight innocents - five of whom were visiting from Argentina, one from Belgium and two others, is hereby condemned. Condolences to the families and the loved ones of those killed. 

New Yorkers will become more resilient, more vigilant and more outgoing in the wake of yesterday's event as they take an unified stance that affirms that terror has no place in free societies. New Yorkers will continue to demonstrate through New York characteristics the unblemished spirit of humanity, peace, love, democracy and liberty. That is the New York City that was the home of my mother for over forty-years, the New York City that was the home of my family and the New York City that is home to my eldest son.

Terror will never take a bite out of the Big Apple. Thus, vigilance remains key to averting any such terror incidents by desperate loners, who have given up on life. New York is about life and the fulfillment of dreams not the end point of a failed soul. So today, we all stand with New York City against all forms of hate, bigotry and terror. Long live the Big Apple.



October 31, 2017

ASIA:

In Support of Catalonia's Leaders - Carles Puigdemont, etal

If Catalonia was Hong Kong, then those standing in support of Spain would not have stood with the People's Republic of China(PRC). They would have supported the separatists with a view to seeing a new Republic established.

Since Catalonia is not Hong Kong, those supporting Spain's bid to retain the autonomous region under Madrid rule, in my opinion, are guilty of harboring a double-standard pertaining to who people could and those who should not aspire to self-rule.

The call by the chief prosecutor in Madrid for charges, including rebellion, be brought against Catalan's leaders for expressing the voted-will of Catalans, remains ludicrous. 

Had Catalonia's scenario been played out in Hong Kong, western nations, human rights groups and others would have been fuming today in condemnation of China's human rights stance for wanting to charge peaceful separatists with rebellion under a threat of a 30-year prison sentence.

Catalonia is not Hong Kong, so many of the so-called stalwarts of liberty, democracy and rule of law, are silent - another example of the accused double standard per human rights by western governments.

But I refuse to remain silent. As I criticized China for a crackdown on the youthful independence seekers in Hong Kong, a couple of years-ago, today, I hereby denounce and condemn the Spanish government over any attempts to jail any of the leaders of Catalonia. Supports of the rights of men and of women and of liberty and of justice, should now stand in support of Carles Puigdemont, etal, who are now in Belgium for security reasons.

The Catalan leaders did not invoke nor did they resort to violence in their bid for sovereignty, even though few Republics are ever born bloodless. Catalonia's leaders used a long accepted democratic process - the referendum, to declare Catalonia's Republic. Any violence perpetrated during the process came via the bashing of heads by the Spanish security forces upon Catalans as they attempted to exercise their democratic right to vote.

Therefore, if Spain continues any efforts to persecute Catalonia's leaders, then there should be no more criticisms of China from the supporters of Madrid, as China continues to retain, by Chinese characteristics, full control of its "one-nation two-systems" policy. 



October 30, 2017

ASIA:

A Caution to Spain: Don't Stir-up the Ants' Nest more than Necessary

That Spain's chief prosecutor, Jose Manuel Maza, has called for rebellion charges against the ousted Catalan leaders, is simply ludicrous.

Spain should be cautioned that any unnecessary and excessive punishment of deposed Catalan leaders could have damning effects to the continuity of the unity of Spain. And if the hardline-conservatives in Madrid would believe for one second that any harsh punishment of those Catalans, who sought independence, would send any deterrent message to any future ambitions to sovereignty, then Spain has not heeded vital lessons from history nor does it comprehend the thirst of people to be free to government themselves. 

The BBC-News reported earlier today that Spain's chief prosecutor has called for the prosecution of Cares Puigdemont and other Catalan leaders - some of whom are now in Brussels, Belgium, on charges including rebellion. Nonsense! Puigdemont and his Catalan cabinet led a peaceful democratic movement to sovereignty. At no time did they incite or use violence to achieve the goal. The prosecutor also alleges that Catalan's leaders misused public funds by holding the October 1 referendum. 

So in other words, as it punished native peoples and tribes who resisted its expansion to empire and those who resisted it dominance into the West Indies, Latin America and elsewhere, Spain, today,  is attempting a modern-day punishment for dissent.

As Germany was harshly punished at the end of World War I that led to the rise of the Nazis and a subsequent World War II, Spain should take caution as to its proposed punishment of the leaders of Catalonia. 

In lieu of punishment, Spain should establish a commission to look into the long-standing grievances of Catalonia. Grievances can only be sworded away temporarily. Eventually, any smothered flame that receives a vane of fresh air in due course, will re-ignite. And Spain needs to heed this caution.



October 29, 2017

ASIA:

...and so another Independence Ambition Dies - Catalonia's Short-lived Republic

First Scotland, then Kurdistan, now Catalonia - recent independence ambitions by peoples within larger nation States have either died or have been deferred. Aspirations deterred are essentially dead. 

That Spain's central government in Madrid now controls the former autonomous Catalonia - perhaps the shortest ever lived declared Republic in modern history, confirms the death of Catalonia's independence. On Friday, just after Catalonia declared independence from Spain, the Madrid government fired Catalan's government and seized control of the Barcelona region.

Today, according to BBC-News reports, hundreds of thousands of Spaniards marched for Spanish unity through the streets of Barcelona, the seat of massive pro-independence rallies throughout October. 

Now, Catalonia joins Scotland and Kurdistan in seeing their independence dreams quelled. However, unlike Scotland and Kurdistan, which could easily resurrect their deferred sovereignty bids, Catalonia's appear dead. Catalans could argue that they did briefly achieved independence, thus recording into history, the short-lived Republic of Catalonia.

Yet, in spite of Spain's actions to kill Catalonia's ambition to independence; the failed Scottish referendum at the polls; and the Kurds tabling of their independence bid, the dissent harbored by all of these peoples and others with regards to their existence within larger States, will continue to be a source of disunity and agitation until long-held grievances and concerns are addressed and settled.



October 28, 2017

ASIA:

A Vow to Resist Spanish Rule in Catalonia

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has vowed to resist Spain's takeover of Catalonia and he has called for "democratic opposition" to direct rule by the Madrid central government over the Barcelona region.

Puigdemont's comments in a pre-taped televised message to Catalans, the BBC-News reported, came after Madrid fired Catalonia's government and suspended its autonomy on Friday to disallow the autonomous region's desire to independence from Spain.

Thousands of pro-independence supporters took to the streets of Barcelona earlier today and yesterday in support of their independence aspirations and to defy the actions of the Madrid government. Other pro-unity supporters both in Barcelona and in Madrid also marched in support of Catalonia staying within Spain.

Puigdemont promised to continue to "work to build a free country" (the republic of Catalonia), the BBC-News reported. He added that Catalonia's independence declaration had been "a day with democratic and civic sensibility". He reiterated that the actions of the Madrid government to Catalonia were "contrary to the expressed will of the citizens of our country, who know perfectly well that in a democracy it is parliament that choose, or remove, presidents".

And so the saga of Catalonia continues under Spain. The European Union(EU), the United States(US) and the United Kingdom(UK) have all supported the Madrid government's attempt to retain unity of Spain. Empires have risen and have fallen. Nations have split. States have been created. No matter how small or what number of States are created, are the rights of sovereignty non-inalienable to some people?

Like a  doomed marriage void of the necessary communication to succeed that expects to lasts through mere counseling, would inevitably end in divorce, then any forced-government of Catalonia lacking redress of the long-held concerns and unhappiness of Catalans, would in the long run, eventually end in a split.



October 27, 2017

ASIA:

In a deepening constitutional and sovereignty crisis in Spain, Catalonia today declared independence from Spain, then the Spanish central government in Madrid, via its Senate, voted to impose direct rule over the northeastern region that encompasses Barcelona.

Such are the developing constitutional and sovereign crises on the Iberian peninsula. 

On October 1, this year, Catalonia, one of the 17 autonomous regions of Spain, its wealthiest, approved an independence referendum by a whopping 90 percent of the 43 percent of registered voters who took part in the vote. The Catalan parliament later tabled the independence declaration pending negotiations with the central government in Madrid. Any held negotiations appeared fruitless as the Spanish Supreme Court ruled the independence referendum unconstitutional.

Madrid threatened the Barcelona region with direct rule per Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which appears to give absolute power to the Madrid government to direct rule over any of the 17 autonomous regions. 

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last week proposed per Article 155, the suspension of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, his Vice-President and other ministers of the Catalan government. The invocation of Article 155 required a majority vote of the Senate in Madrid. Catalan vowed not to bow to Madrid's repression.

Today, the Catalan Parliament by a vote in the 135-member chamber, finally declared independence with 70-members supporting the declaration, 10-voting against it and with two-abstentions, the BBC-News reported. Catalan's opposition boycotted the independence declaration.

After the Catalan declaration, Rajoy called for calm as he promised to "restore legality" to Catalonia. Madrid's Senate then approved the invocation of Article 155 giving the Spanish central government sweeping emergency powers for direct rule over Catalonia.

Therefore, constitutional and sovereign crises have happened upon the plains of Spain and Catalonia. That Catalonia declared independence before the invoking of Article 155 now amount to Spain invading a sovereign Republic? How could Catalans secure any likelihood to sovereignty when they could not protect their own people from the clubs of the central police at the October 1 vote?

If Catalans could safely secure their governmental institutions from Madrid, then they have a chance to sovereignty. However, the strength and might of Madrid that once created a deadly empire across the globe, could easily crush Catalonia back into the fold of Madrid's central government.

Good luck to all Catalans -  your desires have been witnessed worldwide. Your will is now known. May you now find the way to protecting your persons and your desires.



October 26, 2017

ASIA:

The Turkish Suspense - Eight Human Rights Activists Await a Verdict

Turkey continues to skirt with authoritarian rule as many rights activists, jurists, civil servants, educators, military personnel and journalists, have been dismissed, accused, charged, tried and jailed in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ambition to full control of a non-dissent Turkey.

Erdogan has embarked upon a dissent-clearing policy in Turkey to consolidate his power as the "state" ever since becoming president in 2014, after serving as prime minister from 2003 to 2014. Erdogan proposed and gained approved changes to the Turkish Constitution to clearly solidify his strength in the presidency.

Moreover, ever since a 2016 failed coup attempt against him, Erdogan has increasingly closed newspapers and magazines, censored the Internet, dismissed tens of thousands of civil servants, jurists and educators as well as detained rights activists and journalists on allegations of terrorism.

Eight such accused rights activists were ordered released from custody yesterday by an Istanbul court pending a verdict in their trials on terrorism charges, Reuters News Agency reported earlier today. Included in the released group was the Istanbul director of the local branch of Amnesty International.

However, another Turkish court remanded into custody the local Chairman of Amnesty International, Taner Kilic. He has been in prison since June in Izmir on terrorism allegations. Reuters reported that Erdogan's prosecutors have accused him of downloading ByLock, a messaging App used by supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the United States(US)-based cleric, whom Erdogan has accused as the mastermind of last year's failed coup attempt. 

So while the temporary release of eight rights activists offers some hope to freedom of speech and of expression in Turkey, suspense remains as to the final verdict in their trials, along with the disposition of Taner Kilic's charge, and the outcome of many other allegations and accusations of many others awaiting or on trial in Turkey, who have been swept up in Erdogan's ploy to authoritarianism over the sons and daughters of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.



October 25, 2017

ASIA:

China's New Era

China has entered a new era. If any doubts had existed as to this fact, then those suppositions were quickly dispelled by President Xi Jinping, whose vision for China has now been officially cemented into  the social and cultural fabric of the communist nation, right alongside those of the much revered Chairman Mao, founder of the Peoples Republic of China.

At the just completed bi-decade-meeting of the Communist Party Congress in Beijing, which is held to name new leaders to the Politburo, China's political powerhouse, and to put forward new policy for the communists for next five-years, President Xi announced that China has entered a new era of innovation that would "oppose and resist the whole range of erroneous viewpoints," signifying a clear affirmation of continued censorship of the internet and other forms of speech and of expression in China.

Officially called: "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characters for a New Era", the president's vision will be implemented and studied across China as political theory and practice.

 Along with innovation, Xi's theory calls for "complete and deep reform"; "new developing ideas"; "harmonious living between man and nature"; "absolute authority of the (communist) party over the people's army"; and "one-country-two systems" among other things.

Xi's thought is geared to China leading the international community "towards a more just and rational new world order". As the BBC-News reported, China could very well be on the way to achieving this goal citing a Pew opinion survey across 37 countries that found more people now trust the Chinese leader to do the right thing, rathan than the present American President.

China's vision is bold. Could censorship and  rights restrictions deprive the communists of success? Only time and fate will tell.



October 24, 2017

ASIA:

In Honor of the United Nations 72nd. Birthday

Today, October 24, is United Nations(UN) Day, hereby marking the 72nd birthday of the intergovernmental organization, credited with averting a third world war, thus far.

In spite of many criticisms, the UN still stands as a body of peace in service to humanity. 

Since the UN Charter was signed in June 1945 and entered into force on October 24, 1945, the worldwide body has continued to conduct extraordinary services through its many agencies toward the continuity of the human race.

I will have no criticisms of the UN today. Rather, I wish to highlight some of the work being done by the devoted workers at the international agency: It provides food and assistance to 80 million people in 80 countries; supplies vaccines to 45 percent of the world's children; assists and protects more than 65 million people fleeing war, famine and persecution; works with 195 nations to hold the rise in global temperature below 3.6 F;  keeps peace with 117,000 peacekeepers in 15 operations on four continents; combats extreme poverty to improving the lives of one billion people; protects and promotes human rights worldwide; coordinates a $23.5 billion appeal for humanitarian needs of more than 101 million people; assists 67 countries-a-year with their elections and supports maternal heal aiding more than one million women a month overcome pregnancy risks. Source (www.un.org).

So today, we tip our hats to the United Nations and we should continue to support this great intergovernmental institution in its service to all of humanity especial toward the protection of human rights in a growing time of fear, hatred and the erosion of human rights and restraints upon freedom of speech and expression. Happy Birthday UN!



October 23, 2017

ASIA:

...on Catalonia and Spain

Wherever people live, they should possess an inalienable right to sovereignty. The freedom of people to form their own nation-state ought to be a right that could never be abridged. 

However, when a people have already entered into a union with other peoples to form an indivisible federal power, then the conduct of all the peoples within the union, are subject to the Constitution or the Articles of Confederation that created their central government. Therefore, the actions of all the people within the union become limited in scope per any desires to exit such a union.

Yet, if no system to redress of grievances by any of the peoples within any union remains absent, then the constructed union could be construed as flawed upon its face. Therefore, the communicative civility of bonded people could be expected to render due process through talks and agreements to settle expressed concerns and differences.

The independence aspirations of Catalonia from Spain is not a new issue. It has flared up and drowned as a Spanish question for many years. On December 29, 2013, December 28, 2014 and on December 29, 2015, writing on this Blog, I cited the aspirations of Catalans as an issue Spain would have to tend with. To be fair, I also mentioned the aspirations of Scotland, Flanders, Wallonia, Venice and Sardinia as European places where the zeal to independence could run high.

With regards to the passed Catalonia referendum on independence, which the Spanish Supreme Court has since ruled unconstitutional, Catalans are hereby forced to answer two questions as to the legality of their desires within Spain: Does the Spanish Constitution, which they have adopted, allows for them to secede? If not, then is the law of the land flawed in depriving them of life, liberty and happiness?

Clearly, constitutional issues will figure high if or when Madrid takes over the Barcelona government as it has proposed.

Whereas Spain is concerned, the actions in the Catalonia region must be explicitly indicative of a lengthy period of unhappiness of Catalans. And that the concerns of the people of the region have not been addressed or settled over the past many years, affirms today's anger of Catalans and of the deepening autonomy and constitutional crisis in Spain.

Since the Catalonia government was impotent in preventing security forces from the central government to enter the region and to beat up Catalans during the October 1, referendum, then it would appear that once Madrid wants to crush the Catalan government, it would do so at will and whim since Catalonia is not an independent state.

Yet, the future of Catalonia rests squarely upon its people and how much they are willing to sacrifice in achieving their manifested destiny to independence.



October 22, 2017

ASIA:

The Plot Thickens in Spain

President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont yesterday affirmed to 450,000 marchers in Barcelona that their autonomous region would not bow to the actions of Madrid taking over the Catalan government.

Marchers took to the streets of Barcelona to affirm their aspirations for independence after the Madrid government, Spain's Central administration, proposed the suspension of the President, Vice-President and Ministers of the northeastern region in an effort to force Catalonia back into the fold of the Spanish government under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. 

The move announced by Madrid comes as a measure to the central government invoking Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to force Catalonia to abide by Madrid's directive: to wit, annulling aspirations to independence.

Puigdemont's affirmation to the people of Catalonia thickens the plot in the deepening autonomy and independence crisis in Spain as many Catalans continue to call for a divorce from Spain.

This coming week may be filled with Madrid measures to recapture Catalonia as Catalans seek to protect their autonomy and desires toward independence, which was approved by referendum on October 1, but has since been ruled unconstitutional by the Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid.



October 21, 2017

ASIA:

An Autonomy Crisis Deepens in Spain

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, earlier today, followed up on plans for invoking Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution that allows the Madrid government to take control of any of the nation's 17- autonomous regions: to wit Catalonia. 

Madrid's proposed measures toward the Article 155 invocation, call for the suspension of the Catalan President, Catalan's Vice-President and Catalan's government ministers, all of whom would be replaced by the Madrid administration, until a time of new new elections in Catalonia within six-months, but hopefully sooner, as Rajoy wished, in an announcement earlier today and reported by CNN.

On October 1, 2017, the people of the wealthy northeastern region of Spain, Catalonia, approved an independence referendum with 90-percent of 43-percent-voter-turn-out of its electorate, voting for independence. Madrid exercised a baton-beating attack on more than 900 Catalans in a move to prevent the vote of which it disapproved. The Spanish Supreme Court has since ruled the referendum unconstitutional. The Catalan government has voted an independence declaration that President Carles Puigdemont has suspended formally declaring, hoping for agreed upon talks with Madrid, aimed at diffusing the autonomy crisis. 

On Thursday Madrid said that today it would invoke Article 155 on the autonomous Catalonia region seeking to retain it under the Spanish Crown, so to speak. Thus, today's announcement of actions to suspend the Catalonia government and to call new elections in the region.

Prime Minister Rajoy  claimed: "The autonomy is not suspended, nor the government..."People are removed who put the government outside the law, outside the Constitution and outside statutes." Removals could start as soon as next week once the Spanish Senate, as expected, approves the measures as part of the invocation of Article 155.

Catalans are expected to march in support of independence in Barcelona later today.

It is apparent that the autonomy crisis has deepened in Spain. Constitutional scope and limitation could figure high as the unprecedented action to prevent an autonomous region from becoming independent continues in Spain.

The Spanish Constitution  states that a region's autonomy cannot be repealed. Does the suspension of a region's government members conclude the lost of its autonomy? The people in Madrid and in Barcelona will have to decide.



October 20, 2017

ASIA:

Rejection of Actions Divisive to the Republic

A house, a nation, a country or a Republic divided, can never stand. Therefore, as United States(US) Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush call for an end to any divisions detrimental to the US Republic, Donald Trump could heed their words and rejection all actions and comments deemed divisive in order to preserve and to protect the American democracy.

In an unprecedented occurrence at two separate locations yesterday, former Presidents Obama and Bush, not naming Trump, both expressed concern as to the direction of the US today.

Speaking at a Democratic campaign event in Newark, New Jersey, President Obama urged Americans to reject the politics of  "division" and "fear", the BBC-News confirmed in a report. In New York City, New York, at a separate event, President Bush, who spoke some two-hours before President Obama did across the Hudson River, criticized "bullying" and "prejudice" in public life.

Obama observed that Americans should "send a message to the world that we are rejecting a politics of division, we are rejecting a politics of fear." He added: "What we can't have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before that dates back centuries...some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That's folks looking 50-years back. It's the 21st Century, not the 19th Century..." the BBC-News reported.

Bush said in New York: "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication...There are signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned." The former President observed that Americans have "seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty" and  "At times it can seem like the forces pilling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together...We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism forgetting the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America."

The remarks by the Presidents are clear: divisive actions within the Republic are bad. Will Trump learn from the observations of those who occupied the Oval Office before him? How many more divisions could this Republic withstand? The health of the Republic now rests with Trump and his administration. May God have mercy upon us and may he Bless the United States of America.




October 19, 2017

ASIA:

The Predicament of Catalonia

The Spanish government has announced plans to suspend the autonomy of Catalonia on Saturday. If Madrid follows through with its stated action, then what recourse would be left to the independence-seeking people of Catalonia? 

Madrid has threatened to invoke Article 155(the nuclear option) of the country's 1978 Constitution, allowing the central government to take over the running of a region, thus suspending Catalonia's autonomy. However, Catalonia's leaders have said the region's parliament would vote on independence if Spain continued its "repression", the BBC-News reported.

But Madrid's aim to take over the Barcelona region is not a cut and dry circumstance. Article 155 has never been invoked before. It allows for Madrid to take over a region if it believes that region is acting against Spanish interest so to speak, and if that region fails to correct the action. It requires an absolute majority(more than 50 percent) of votes in the Madrid senate. Then, before Madrid could take over Barcelona, mechanisms for the effective running of Catalonia would have to be approved and put in place before any takeover takes place. How would Catalans react during such a time?

On October 1, 2017, the people of Catalonia overwhelmingly approved a referendum on independence. The Spanish Supreme Court later judged the referendum unconstitutional. Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, delayed an explicit declaration of independence for the region pending negotiations with Prime Minister Marino Rajoy's Madrid government. Apparently, no terms have been reached to diffuse the impending divide.

The Spanish Constitution protects that the Catalan statute of autonomy cannot be repealed. Therefore, any actions by Madrid against Barcelona could raise broader constitutional questions and complications for sometime to come. 

Moreover, while Article 2 of the Spanish Law states that: "The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible country of all Spaniards;" the document explicitly "recognizes and guarantees the right to autonomy of the nationalities and regions".

Left to broad interpretation and without the presence of a foreign enemy, the people of Catalonia possess a bona fide constitutional argument as to their aspirations. However, if Madrid's Senate takes an Article 155-vote before Catalonia makes a formal declaration of independence, then the balance of scales would appear to benefit Madrid. Such is the predicament of Catalonia.

Whatever happens on Saturday, the destiny of Catalonia must rest solely in the hands of its people.



October 18, 2017

ASIA:

Toward the Preservation of the Republic - No One Man is the State

Ultimately, it is the protection, the preservation and the strengthening of the Republic of the United States of America(USA) that matters most and not the term of any president. 

Therefore, as investigations continue into the election that brought Donald Trump to the White House and as further revelations become known as to the true character and actions of the White House resident, from allegations of sexual harassment, to insensitive remarks about those fallen in service to the nation, to deliberate action to kill affordable health care, to the isolated policies of the administration in respect to traditional allies in Europe and elsewhere, to the outing of the traditional beacon of hope and of opportunity to peoples and a host of other infractions, non-executive branch decision makers must ensure the continuity of the Republic instead of propping up an administration that will inevitably fail.

The Republic has and must continue to stand larger than any man. Here's to the American way to democracy, to liberty, to equality and to the rule of law.



October 17, 2017

ASIA:

In Honor and in Memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia - a Maltese Investigative Journalist Assassinated Yesterday

Prominent Maltese investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was assassinated yesterday in a violent car-bombing, close to her home in Bidnija, near Mosta, Malta. 

Her investigative writings were critical of both government and opposition politicians and business people in her native Malta, where she linked Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to the Panama Papers, a series of leaked documents outlining the often secret corrupt offshore deals of some prominent politicians and business people around the world. Muscat and his wife denied the allegations. Her writings prompted a snap general election that Muscat, in spite of the controversy, won earlier this year.

I never met Daphne Caruana Galizia, neither were I familiar with her work until reports surfaced yesterday detailing her death. Yet, due to the raw violence associated with her assassination, I feel compel today, as an advocate for the rule of law, equality and freedom, to honor and to memorialize this hero, mother, wife and journalist.

According to the BBC-News, Daphne Caruana Galizia had just left her home by car when the vehicle blew up spewing fiery debris across the roadway and into a nearby field. The charred remnants of the tattered burned-out vehicle came to rest in a field. One of her sons, Matthew, also a journalist, tried in vain to rescue his dear mother from an inevitable fate in the fiery explosion. He later wrote: "My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it."

Her son also accused the Maltese police of incompetence, according to the BBC-News, and the Maltese government of "impunity". He further declared: "When the institutions of the state are incapacitated, the last person left standing is often a journalist."

In a final post before her death, Daphne Caruana Galizia described the political situation in Malta as "desperate". There has been a string of killings, corruption and car bombings across the Mediterranean island and smallest European Union(EU) member state. 

A placard at one of the many vigils across Malta for Daphne Caruana Galizia aptly reminded the world: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

The government of Malta has sought international assistance into the murder, including help from the United States(US) Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI),. 

While Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, an often subject of Daphne Caruana Galizia's investigative reports, has called her assassination an attack "on the freedom of expression in our country", as reported by the BBC-News, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which won this year's Pulitzer Prize for its work on the Panama Papers, has said it was shocked by her death and "deeply concerned about freedom of the Press in Malta."

May the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia not have been in vain. The rule of law, true democracy and freedom should reign in Malta and worldwide. I extend my deepest condolences to her family, friends, colleagues and supporters on Malta.



October 16, 2017

ASIA:

Another Splinter in Iraq - Government Forces Seize Kurdish Kirkuk

Divided factions within Iraq's government have been bad in recent years to allow the Islamic State(IS) to overrun large sections of the country. Thanks to heroic actions by the Kurds, including occasions when the Iraqi army appeared in total disarray, and via western support, the IS has been driven out of Iraq, to a large extent.

However, Iraq's troubles are far from being over and could even get worse since its central government forces have moved against the Kurds in the Kurdish-majority province of Kirkuk; seizing the K1 military base, the Baba Gurgur oil and gas field, the headquarters of the North Oil company and other key sey installations. Kurdistan is oil and gas rich. Peshmerga fighters forced the IS from Kirkuk and kept the province since 2014.

Government forces actions against the Kurds come against a background of the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters having saved much of Iraq from the onslaught and terror of the IS. Also, the central government aggression comes less than a month after an overwhelming referendum for independence in the Kurdish region. 

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has denounced the referendum by the Kurdistan Regional Government(KRG) as illegal and he has called for it to be annulled. The KRG has insisted on its legitimacy. 

The action against the KRG by the central government has been described by the Iraqi prime minister as necessary to "protect the unity of the country, which was in danger of partition" because of the referendum. However, the KRG has accused Baghdad of an "unprovoked attack", and it has declared that Peshmerga would "continue to defend Kurdistan, its peoples and interests", the BBC-News reported this morning.

Iraq's government has been pressured by factions for a long time. This latest rift against the Kurds and their aspirations to independence will not go away overnight. This latest conflict stands to engulf Iraq in greater security concerns and consequences well into 2018.



October 15, 2017

ASIA:

California's Fiery Disaster - Another Event in a Spate of Recent Deadly Phenomena

The death toll has now reached 40 with hundreds of people still unaccounted for as wild fires continue to ravage northern California on the west coast of the United States(US). 

The fires that started about a week-ago have been re-flared by strong winds spewing embers across an already arid region of more than 220,000 acres, some 50-miles north of San Francisco. Acrid smoke has choked the Bay area from the flames around Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, which have charred more than 5,700 homes and businesses including wineries, a major economic provider to the Californian economy. 

More than 10,000 firefighters are battling the numerous blazes that are aggravated by wind gusts in excess of 70-miles-per-hour. The number of residents displaced by the fires are more than 100,000. Hopes are that the winds will abate soon allowing firefighters an upper hand in fighting the fires, thus bringing them under control and ending the disaster.

The northern California fires have joined a lengthening list of deadly unprecedented natural disasters, including three-category 5 storms that have plagued the western hemisphere this past summer and now into Autumn. Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma devastated islands of the Caribbean including Barbuda, Dominica, Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands, as well as St. Martin, Martinique and Guadeloupe. Deaths and devastation also reached the US mainland in Florida and in Texas. Mexico suffered two deadly earthquakes also this summer. 

Britain, North Ireland and Ireland are under a storm threat today of a possible landfall from unique Hurricane Ophelia, which has impacted the Iberian peninsula(Portugal and Spain) on its northern path in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Should this storm make landfall in the United Kingdom tomorrow, it would do so, according to the BBC-News, exactly 30-years since the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18.

Global warming and climate change are obvious contributors to these strange natural disasters. And as the 2017 hurricane season comes to a close soon at the end of November, 'old man winter' remains capable of delivering its own types of disasters. Safety and peace to all.



October 14, 2017

ASIA:

Diminishing Hope, Unsound Security, Rising Resistance - the Trump Era

The hopes, both national and international that flourished under the United States(US) Presidency of Barack Obama, have all been doused by the Trump administration. 

From climate change actions to protect the environment for future generations, to cooperative security agreements to affect world peace and to the easing of the burden of health care cost to Americans, the Trump administration has now essentially ripped the gullet of hope and security from many people.

The new White House spiked another nail into the coffin of hope yesterday, as yet another executive order was signed, this time, to curtail paying health care subsidies to the states which had allowed the poor to afford health insurance.

Yet, most of Trump's rural supporters, who have been large benefactors of the Obama era health care subsidies, appear oblivion to the reality of what their future health care coverages will become. Yet, again, their support remains with Trump.

In the mean time, rising resistance to Trump's unprecedented exercise of the office of President of the United States, will continue. What other redress is left the people? Investigations continue into Russian influence into the last election that placed Trump in the White House as rumors circulate as to the fitness of Trump. Ultimately, the mid-term elections for the US Congress in 2018, do offer a measure of recourse to the Trump era in Washington, DC. 



October 13, 2017

ASIA:

Risk of Creating a Rogue Bloc of Nations

Undue and excessive penalties inflicted upon some nations by well-to-do nation states are requisites to war and suffering in the long run. Germany's penalties after WWI accommodated the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis by the end of the 1930s. That history now speaks for itself.

Today, undue penalties levied upon multiple actors on the world stage, could lead to the creation of a rogue bloc of nations which could inevitably wreck havoc upon the fragile peace and security enjoyed in these modern times.

While North Korea remains a ripe question, the continued insistence by the Trump administration to scrutinize and to punish Iran more than that accorded under the Nuclear Agreement with the P5 plus 1(United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany), leaves the establishing of a rogue bloc of nations more likely today than at any other time in recent years.

If the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), the United States Congress and the other signatories to the Iran Nuclear Agreement, all agree that Iran is complying with the terms of the deal, then why enrage an obeying actor with additional penalties and risk awakening a dormant dragon that has existed for many thousands of years?

Iran, in spite of its wrath to Israel and vice-versa, remains a major actor in the Middle East. It will continue to have influence over regional states with or without imposed sanctions. Therefore, instead of spurring the Iranian people away from greater cooperation with the west, more diplomatic efforts should be mounted to keep Iran as a partner in the race for international peace and security.

Yet, any actions by Iran to skirt human rights laws and international norms must be condemned along with any hidden agendas to nuclear armament.

So that no new fire is given toward the establishment of a bloc of rogue nations, the Iran Nuclear Agreement should stand with its checks and balances in tact in order to ensure compliance by Iran.



October 12, 2017

ASIA:

The Reputation and Respect of a Nation Stand upon its Honored Agreements

In 2016, United States(US) President Barack Obama and leaders of the United Kingdom(UK), France, China, Russia and Germany, implemented with Iran, a Nuclear Agreement that would prevent that country from attaining nuclear weapons.

The world leaders entered the agreement after the nuclear watch-dog, the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), certified that it had restricted Iran's sensitive nuclear activities. 

Along with severely restricting Iran's stockpile of uranium, the deal specified Iran's 24-day compliance to any requests for access by the IAEA. Should Iran not comply, an eight-member Joint Commission would be empaneled to decide punitive punishment upon Iran, including the reimposition of economy-crippling sanctions. 

Thus far, the IAEA has not complained of Iran's cooperation within the scope of the Nuclear Agreement. 

However, facing a failing agenda and a non-idyllic domestic policy for the US, Donald Trump, like he has done with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, has signaled a backing out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.  

While the reputation and respect of a nation stand upon its honored agreements, Trump's actions since taking office less than a-year-ago, all seem to display a total disregard for international norms, and diplomatic and political decorum. Thus, the reputation and respect of the American Republic, stand to be tarnished once again in less than a year. 

The Iran Nuclear Agreement should stand and the checks and balances contained within it be allowed to function as the world agreed in 2016.



October 11, 2017

ASIA:

The Birth of New Nations

Wherever people live, they reserve the right to self-rule. That a people should aspire to sovereignty from an aging parent-government is clearly indicative of a collapse of mutual respect, trust and unity between the people and the old government. Such are the annuals of time and of nation-building.

Therefore, when a collective community decides to declare independence,  the will of the people must be protected. Throughout history, new nations have come into existence out of the desires of communities to break away from colonial masters, empires and parent-governments that have underperformed for the sovereignty-seeking people.

When attempts to redress have failed and the old-government has physically tried to prevent the exercise of the rights of the complaining people, then a struggle will ensue. What will be the final face of Catalonia's declaration of independence from Spain? Will it be Barcelona against Madrid? Catalan versus Spaniard? Or will the aspirations to independence by Catalans by respected by Madrid? Probably not. 

If a people desire and demand sovereignty, history has shown, that they must be willing to fight and to die to attain and to maintain such freedom. New nations will continue to be born. We wish the people of Catalonia happiness, freedom and peace.




October 10, 2017

ASIA:

Rejection of Plans to Roll Back Environmental Protections

The alarming and planet-harming announcement over the weekend that the Trump administration would seek to kill President Barack Obama's era protections of the environment, must be rejected.

While there need to be more protections of the environment, the Trump administration, via this disheartening announcement, other actions and rhetoric against environmental protections, is placing the United States(US) and Planet Earth in graved danger of that irreversible point, where the environment would not be able to be saved at all.

It is high time that the selfish man-led march by the Trump administration to abolish environmental protections for the sake of a few jobs in the coal-belt states, be put to an end. All actions to dismantle any environmental protections must be construed as an attack upon future generations of people and therefore, they must be disallowed.

American and world youths must stand in unity against roll backs of environmental protections. They stand to inherit Planet Earth and they must insist that their necessities to live are protected.



October 09, 2017

ASIA:

Losing Turkey - Erdogan's Continuing Rift with the West

Turkey's status and development on the international scene is in decline. The occurrence is not the fault of the artistic and young Turks, but via the explicit actions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his burning ambition to authoritarian control of the land of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - the true father of modern Turkey.

Leaps and accomplishments toward development by the Turks since the time of Ataturk have been unprecedented. By 2000, Turkey had solidified its place as a major world partner also becoming the second largest standing army within NATO. 

But the ambitions of Erdogan to autocratic rule have impeded the democratic continuity of Turkey after shedding years of military rule. His crafted motives from prime minister to president and to rewrite the constitution in his favor along the way, have created rifts within Turkey including the autonomy of the minority Kurds, restrictions of freedom of the Press and a political judiciary. 

A failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, gave Erdogan the opportunity to attain greater powers and journalists, jurists, educators, civil servants and members of the military have been fired and jailed in tens of thousands under Erdogan's sweeping powers.

The European Union(EU) has quarreled with Erdogan over rights issues even as Erdogan sought EU-visa-free travel for Turks in a deal to close the flood-gates of immigrants fleeing to the EU via Turkey. He has since criticized the EU and he has also sought prosecution of EU based writers critical to his policies.

On Sunday, following a second arrest in less than a year of an employee of the United States(US) embassy, the US made the decision to stop issuing new non-immigrant visas across Turkey, thus denying thousands of Turks from visiting the US. According to a report in the Financial Times, some 113,240 of such visas were issued last year. 

The US Embassy confirmed in statement: "Recent events have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of the government of Turkey to the security of US missions, facilities and personnel...effective immediately we have suspended all non immigrant visa services at all US diplomatic facilities in Turkey," the Financial Times reported.

Not only are US associated people victimized by Erdogan's actions in Turkey. Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yucel was arrested last February by Erdogan's security people after leaving the safety of the German consulate to answers from a Turkish prosecutor. 

Like another dozen Americans in detention in Turkey, the German "hostage" has also become a bargaining chips for Erdogan to attain set goals including the extradition from the US of Islamic Cleric, Fethullah Gulen and the extradition from Germany of Turkish military officers granted asylum following the 2016 coup attempt.

Whatever happens next in the widening rift that is isolating Erdogan's Turkey from western values, it remains true that Turkey today, is not the Turkey of five-years-ago and the country of artistic excellence and great youthful contributions could descend further into a cultural and political decline - no fault of the average vibrant Turks.



October 08, 2017

ASIA:

The Children of Yemen - Another Pressured Humanitarian Group

All children - those fortunate enough to stay alive, will grow up one day. With aging, childhood memories will stay. Like so many other children of conflicts in Nigeria, in Myanmar, in South Sudan, in Syria, in Ukraine, in Democratic Republic of Congo, in Mali, in Central Africa Republic, in Iraq and in other lands, what memories will the children of Yemen hold?

As of today - the same tragedy it has been for the past few years, the memories of Yemen's children are filled with despair, suffering, death and conflict. No end to the tragedy appears in sight, thus Yemen's children will continue to sadly suffer whereby extending the list of political and war failures that have victimized far too many of the world's most vulnerable people.

Last Friday, a Facebook post by the United Nations Children Agency, UNICEF, confirmed that Yemen's tragedy is: "The world's largest humanitarian crisis. The world's largest food security emergency. The world's worst cholera outbreak."

Yet, while some leaders of nations traditionally respected and looked upon as the the guardians of liberty, democracy, the pursuit of happiness and the rule of law, continue to gaffe on social media, instead of mounting the needed concerted efforts to sustain peace and stability, millions of the world's children continue to suffer.

The children of Yemen and of other lands are pressured humanitarians who will continue to suffer because of the gross failure of the stalwarts of humanity to put an end to conflicts. 

Therefore, the people of Yemen and of all the lands where children are suffering, must now grab hold of their own destinies; and by any means necessary, they should ensure that all children have an opportunity to a brighter future than that which is presented and tolerated today. 



October 07, 2017

ASIA:

The Right to Self-Government must never be Abridged

Ultimately, the manifest destiny of any people to sovereignty must never be abridged. If a clear majority of any people, who share a common homeland and a culture have expressed a desire for autonomy, then their wishes should be respected.

The desire for sovereignty by any people is never born overnight, but it is stewed from years and generations of fractures, differences and unattended concerns of the local people.

Therefore, Catalonia's pursuit of independence from Spain remains a Catalan decision and not a Spanish determination. If the vast majority of Catalans demand independence, then Spain must bow to their wishes or risk years of unrest and unhappiness from Catalonians. 

That the Spanish Empire which once ruled many lands of the world will continue to contract, is a natural result of changed times. The glory that was once an empire, is now no more. Thus, Madrid must come to grips with the reality of today, tomorrow and next year.

Nine-hundred people injured trying to express their desires to self-rule are not small numbers that could be easily forgotten. How could there be any  genuine reconciliation following the actions of the Spanish police upon Catalans last week at the polls? Unity is wished. However, have differences and divides grown too deep? Only Catalans could decide. The choice is their's and no one else's. 



October 06, 2017

ASIA:

Humanity's Pressures Continue Amid a Preference for Solace

[First, I must inform that major technical difficulties beyond the scope of my limited abilities and yet, still baffling to the technical professions entrusted to manage My Blog, have hindered my posting of any Blogs for a couple of weeks. While these computer hazards continue, a skillful female technical has enabled me to circumvent a major glitch in order to post new writings. So in the event My Blog disappears again, be informed that I should always return when possible.

Second, I today extend a special Birthday greeting to my third son with a global reminder to him that he, his brothers and humanity are the reasons I rise everyday. May God continue to Bless him as he continues his path through life while gaining a formal education. Happy Birthday Son!]

With the afore stated, I hereby now acknowledge that humanity remains under heavy pressure even well into this month of October. From Puerto Rico, to the Commonwealth of Dominica, to Barbuda, to the United States and British Virgin Islands, to the French possessions of Martinique and Guadeloupe, to Dutch St. Martin, to Mexico and to other places wrecked by recent natural disasters, humanity struggles to find relief and comfort from events beyond the control of all the people. 

Relief efforts in some places have been hampered by poor coordination of resources, the apathy of some leaders and in some jurisdictions, the lack of assistance to those without a "big brother". Yet, good people have a profound resolve to survive and with the help of many humanitarians, the people will rebuild and relive again.

However, such is not the case for the unfortunate innocent people cut down too early in their lives by domestic terror in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, last week. That 58 people died and some 500-plus were injured in hails of bullets from one assailant, in the worse case of domestic terror in the United States(US) in recent history, clearly speaks of the flawed gun laws in the nation. Words alone can no longer console the survivors nor the loved ones of those killed. Concerted action to rein in the addiction to guns must now be demanded by the Republic.

Across the world, the Rohingya people of Myanmar and refugees of the Syrian war, all continue under great pressure this October. Expressions to self autonomy by the Kurds and by Catalonians are being rebuffed by some actors, thus dealing more pressures to humanity. And in Africa, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo appear to be joining an already long list of places causing undue hardships to the people.

But humanity must win out. Good must champion despair and evil, so we hope and we continue to work for a better tomorrow, an improving next week, a greater next month and a splendid next year. Peace, comfort and happiness to all. 




September 20, 2017

ASIA:

The 72nd UNGA Debate 2017 - Talks and Speeches, Any Solutions?

Thirty-two years-ago,  as a young journalist, I went to the 40th Session of the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) in New York City, New York, with great expectations that this international body I had long admired, would fix all of the world's problems - inequality, hunger, war and the environment, while establishing and sustaining world peace. 

My coverage of the event for a small Caribbean Weekly newspaper in New York City were exerts of speeches by the likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other state-leaders of the world. The debates and speeches I witnessed at the time, did not solve the world's problems. As a matter of fact, more conflicts and crises ensued in the following years.

Later, as I left journalism to pursue higher education, the book, The UN: A Dangerous Place, by Abraham Yeselson, made even more sense to me. That the dimension of polarization within the said body for peace inevitably leads to more conflicts, became an understandable argument and truth of fact.

Therefore, as debate at the 72nd UNGA starts tomorrow with slated speeches by Donald Trump and other world leaders, I am forced now to sadly accept that there there will no world peace next week or the following week, or the following month or year. 

What is real is the fact that tens of millions of the world's people are displaced. Human rights are being violated on every continent. Conflicts abound in the East and are re-threatening again in Africa and in many other places. Moreover, a strong likelihood remains of a major conflict involving North Korea, which could involve the use of nuclear arms. The Rohingya people and many other communities remain stateless. Young able-bodied men continue to flee Africa as well as Syria, Libya and other states.

However, instead of debate, the UNGA could start a new path to peace and stability by establishing the ways and immediate means to end present conflicts and to prevent others from starting.

This year's UNGA theme: "Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet" must not just be recorded as a debate, but as a call and a concerted effort to effect beneficial change. The good people of Planet Earth have high expectations, but dwindling hopes, thus it is up our elected leaders to deliver upon the tenets of liberty, peace and happiness.



September 18, 2017

ASIA:

The 72nd UNGA Session

Thirty-two years-ago,  as a young journalist, I went to the 40th Session of the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) in New York City, New York, with great expectations that this international body I had long admired, would fix all of the world's problems - inequality, hunger, war and the environment, while establishing and sustaining world peace. 

My coverage of the event for a small Caribbean Weekly newspaper in New York City were exerts of speeches by the likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other state-leaders of the world. The debates and speeches I witnessed at the time, did not solve the world's problems. As a matter of fact, more conflicts and crises ensued in the following years.

Later, as I left journalism to pursue higher education, the book, The UN: A Dangerous Place, by Abraham Yeselson, made even more sense to me. That the dimension of polarization within the said body for peace inevitably leads to more conflicts, became an understandable argument and truth of fact.

Therefore, as debate at the 72nd UNGA starts tomorrow with slated speeches by Donald Trump and other world leaders, I am forced now to sadly accept that there there will no world peace next week or the following week, or the following month or year. 

What is real is the fact that tens of millions of the world's people are displaced. Human rights are being violated on every continent. Conflicts abound in the East and are re-threatening again in Africa and in many other places. Moreover, a strong likelihood remains of a major conflict involving North Korea, which could involve the use of nuclear arms. The Rohingya people and many other communities remain stateless. Young able-bodied men continue to flee Africa as well as Syria, Libya and other states.

However, instead of debate, the UNGA could start a new path to peace and stability by establishing the ways and immediate means to end present conflicts and to prevent others from starting.

This year's UNGA theme: "Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet" must not just be recorded as a debate, but as a call and a concerted effort to effect beneficial change. The good people of Planet Earth have high expectations, but dwindling hopes, thus it is up our elected leaders to deliver upon the tenets of liberty, peace and happiness.



September 17, 2017

ASIA:

Death along the Road - Rohingyas Die in a Scramble for Aid

A Rohingya woman and two children died Friday in a stampede for aid along a road in Bangladesh close to a refugee camp where the persecuted people have been amassing in unprecedented numbers fleeing the Myanmar army.

These new deaths and continued suffering of the Rohingya people, are indicative of the desperation they face, after being rooted from their homes by Myanmar's army, which has carried out ethnic cleansing atrocities against the Muslim sect.

As reported by CNN earlier today, the dead woman and two children met their demise as many refugees rushed for aid, including clothing, tossed from trucks along a road by humanitarian agencies near the Kutupalong refugee camp. 

Some 409,000 Rohingyas have now sought refuge in Bangladesh since August 25 when the Burmese army launched new attacks upon the group. Poor Bangladesh is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis as vast numbers of Rohingyas amass there. Bangladesh's feeble infrastructure will soon become strained with the influx of growing numbers of refugees.

However, to combat such forthcoming pressures and strains, the international community must insist that the Rohingya people be protected and that Myanmar respects the existence of these people and their rights to survive within their ancestral homes and communities.



September 16, 2017

ASIA:

Toward the Continued Protection of the Ozone Layer

Today has been designated by the United Nations(UN) as International Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer to commemorate the signing of the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Thanks to global efforts to reduce the use of many of the chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons, the closure of the hole in the ozone layer has been observed 30-years-after the protocol was signed. 

The ozone layer is that thin layer of atmosphere that protects Earth from the harmful rays of the sun. Before a concerted effort was taken to right the widening condition caused by a hole in the ozone layer, Planet Earth was exposed to a dangerous condition with potential catastrophes of vast increases in skin cancers.

However, a cooperative world community acted to phase out and to ban the use of those chemicals that were damaging the ozone layer. Today, the hole has closed, yet the chemical effects from the harmful substances used, are expected to continue for some 50 to 100 years.

In addition, some effects of the past use of the said chemicals have contributed to climate change. Therefore, this International Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, should serve as a reminder to continue all protections of the environment and to showcase how global-cooperation to solve a world-problem, could produce a successful result. Here's to continued protection of the entire environment.



September 15, 2017

ASIA:

Another North Korean Provocation - Firing a Second Missile over Japan

In a display of utter disregard to international law and to additional United Nations(UN) Security Council(SC) sanctions unanimously voted to restrict oil imports and to ban textile exports, North Korea fired a second missile in less than a three-week span, over Japan yesterday.

While text messages and alarms sent much of northern Japan scampering for cover, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to the BBC-News, vowed that his country would "never tolerate" such "dangerous provocative action"

Yet, this has been the second missile fired by North Korea over Japan in less than three-weeks. Another missile was fired on August 29. However, the second missile fired, according to military observers in both Japan and in South Korea, flew higher and longer than the August launch.

The latest missile firing has come after North Korea made fresh threats to attack its neighbors and to reduce the United States(US) to ashes. Of special note about this latest missile launch, is the location of the staging area - north of the capital, Pyongyang, and close to its the international airport, indicating that the regime has multiple launching sites, including some close to and within major civilian districts.

At the request of the US and Japan, the UNSC will meet later today in New York City, New York, to take up this latest North Korean provocation. It is unlikely that the SC would approve any military action against North Korea because its two largest trading partners, China and Russia, have veto power at the SC.

Yet, the North Korean question begs to be answered in kind of the actions of the Pyongyang regime. But any true and meaningful efforts to neutralize North Korea's nuclear ambitions and its provocation of neighbors, might have to come from outside of the meeting rooms at the UN. 



September 14, 2017

ASIA:

Humanitarian Crisis Deepens as the Rohingya Run out of Myanmar in Masses

Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar have now top 400,000 in Bangladesh -  a clear indication of the impotence of the sect to protect themselves from the atrocities of the Myanmar army. Thus, another humanitarian crisis deepens with no end in sight to the exodus of unprotected people fleeing from a state government.

The Associated Press(AP), citing UNICEF data, reported earlier today that the number of Rohingya people has now reached 400,000 in Bangladesh as they flee an onslaught of atrocities by the Myanmar armed forces. Yet, as the United Nations(UN) and others complain of the worsening humanitarian crisis, no sanctions have been placed upon Myanmar for the humanitarian crimes committed against the Rohingya people.

As Bangladesh wrestles with ways to accommodate an influx of close to half-a-million Rohingya refugees, the Myanmar government continues to deny its ethnic-cleansing crimes against the Muslim sect.

Therefore, it is high time that the world's remaining stalwarts of liberty and of democracy and of the rule of law, do provide the Rohingya people with the implements and assistance needed to protect themselves from genocide. Moreover, the Rohingya people should be willing to utilize such assistance and implements to retain their national land within Myanmar.



September 13, 2017

ASIA:

To Flee or to Fight - Hard Choices for the Persecuted and Oppressed

There was a time when expanding nations gladly welcomed people persecuted and oppressed in their native lands. From famines, economic hardships and religious persecution, masses of people were accepted into lands of opportunity and of liberty.

However, today, given the declining number of doors left opened abroad to those persecuted and oppressed, the election to flee might have to yield to the fight option in order to ensure the non-extinction of these people.

To fight and not to flee is a hard choice for those experiencing near annihilation of their culture and communities. Having young and dependent family members, to flee has often been the most logical option to those facing persecution and oppression.

Yet, in these times of harsher political and social attitudes toward new immigrants in the traditional places of refuge and of comfort, more would-be immigrants might be forced to elect to fight for their homes and for their beneficial rights within their nations instead of fleeing. But how and with what could they fight?

That unity and numbers represent strength should be more than sufficient for these people to organize themselves into political action units so as to demand more from their local governments. Moreover, further means of financial help and the other implements needed to fight, could be furnished by friendly nations abroad that have expressed indignation toward accepting more immigrants upon their political landscapes. 

It is perhaps more cost effective to supply financial and other assistance to possible immigrants to ensure that they do not become immigrants rather than to wrestle with political, social, financial and right-wing fall-outs brought to wrought by floods of people at a nation's border. 

All assistance should go to the persecuted and oppressed people and not to their governments, which would use the said assistance to exacerbate the conditions of the persecuted and of the oppressed, thus creating a more acute immigration crisis in the long run.

To fight is an option before the persecuted and the oppressed that could alleviate many immigration pressures upon a multitude of nations. while ameliorating the conditions of those persecuted and oppressed.



September 12, 2017

ASIA:

To Resist, to Fight Back, to Champion against the Foes of Liberty

From the East to the West and even in the traditional seat of freedom - the United States(US), forces of the foes of liberty, civility, equality and the continued advancement of the human race, are rattling the successes of modern human freedom and unity.

In Syria, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Myanmar, China, Cambodia, North Korea, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Turkey, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, the US and in other places, democracy, national and regional integration, unity and the respect of individual rights, are under attack from a variety of sources.

While the centuries-long acceptance of the US as a haven to those persecuted and to those in search of liberty and opportunity, is now in question due to the non humanitarian policies of the Trump administration, across the globe, attacks against freedom and opportunity are being experienced by the Rohingya people in Myanmar, the Uyghurs in China, the Kurds in the Middle East and by other ethnic minorities in too many regions.

In Ukraine, a wishful destiny to full sovereignty from Russian influence and to a bid for European Union(EU) integration, remains under pressure. The manifest destiny to democracy by the Venezuelan people is being stunted.  In the UK, a vote to leave the EU has left many Brits feeling betrayed of their desires for unity on the continent. In Poland, Turkey and in Hungary, movements are a stir to weaken the will of the people.

Therefore, the liberty-loving people of the world must to continue to resist, to fight back and to champion against the foes of freedom, democracy, equality, unity and rule of law, by any means necessary.



September 11, 2017

ASIA:

Sixteen-Years-Later, Never to be Forgotten - the Tragedies of 9/11

That we may never forget the victims of the September, 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York City, New York; in Arlington, Virginia; and in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania; on this the 16 anniversary of the tragedies, we rededicate our resolve to punish and to eradicate terror.

That the tragedies have plunged these United States into a generational-long war against terror, clearly define the resolve of our people, of the victims and of the survivors, to fight terror. Moreover the resolve of this nation - the United States of America, and of our people, mandate that other such tragedies not ever happen here again.

To the victims of the 911 tragedy, your deaths were not in vain. To the loved ones of those victims, the resolve for justice and for sustained solace will never waver. May God continue to Bless the United States of America.



September 10, 2017

ASIA:

Hurricane Irma Arrives in the United States

Hurricane Irma - the powerful shifting tropical storm that has forced more than 76,000 residents in Florida into emergency shelters, has arrived on the United States(US) mainland.

The storm came ashore in the Florida Keys earlier this morning packing winds in excess of 130-miles-an-hour. Though a weakened system, the storm still remains very dangerous causing major flooding, storm surges and power outages to more than 300,000 residences.

Crossing the Florida keys and tracking just west of the Florida peninsula, Irma will continue to impact the state when it re-traverses the state around St. Petersburg with high winds, a high storm surge and flooding on both west and east coasts.

As the system weakens as it continues to head inland, the aftermath of the natural event will be felt for a very long time with flooded streets, down power lines and trees. Clean up will not be an easy process as those of us who experienced Hurricane Andrew 25-years-ago, well know.

We continue to urge the greatest caution for all residents.



September 09, 2017

ASIA:

Hurricane Irma Nears the United States - Safeguard Your Persons

Massive Hurricane Irma packing winds of over 150-miles-per-hour is nearing the United States(US) mainland. Safeguard your persons and loved ones. Property is replaceable, life is not.

From the Florida Keys, to Miami, to Fort Myers, to Naples, to Punta Gorda, to Tampa, to Orlando and beyond, Floridians need to take shelter forthwith. Be safe.



September 08, 2017

ASIA:

Toward the Protection of the Rohingya People

That 270,000 Rohingya people fleeing persecution in Myanmar, have now crossed into Bangladesh seeking protection, ought to now signal a greater global effort to ameliorate the dire conditions of these innocent people and to protect them. Their sufferings have been for far too long and unwarranted since colonial times in their struggles for a nationality and to exist as a community and as dignified members of the human race.

The explanation from Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi that her 18-month-old government apparently has not had enough time to deal with the Rohingya question is ludicrous and even more preposterous that issues of terrorism have led to the displacement of these people. As reported by the Guardian, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a friend of Aung San Suu Kyi, has written a letter to her criticizing her silence on the treatment of the Rohingya.

Yet, inaction on the ethnic cleansing by Myanmar continues upon the Rohingya. The United Nations(UN) refugee agency confirmed earlier this morning the numbers seeking safety in Bangladesh have risen 270,000 - a lot of people fleeing persecution from an army that is steep in its brutality of children, of women and of men alike.

The Rohingya people, a Muslim group, has occupied and lived in Rakhine state in Myanmar since the Seventh century. During WWII, they assisted the British with information on the movement of Japanese troops in the region and many of them were massacred for their service to freedom. After the war, they were never assisted in gaining any independence nor helped in attaining a nationality. A subsequent government in Myanmar, then Burma, continued the persecution of the Rohingya people. Now, Aung San Suu Kyi's supported government continues the generations-old persecution of the Rohingya.

Therefore, the Rohingya people, in their quest for survival, are now forced to assume their own path to ensure their survival by any means necessary. They have been betrayed and slaughtered; and in spite of some discussion by humanitarian groups for assistance in protecting the group, the Rohingya are now more than justified in fighting back against extinction in order to get their full rights to liberty, fraternity, nationality and a home. All efforts should be employed to support them.



September 07, 2017

ASIA:

Prayers for Barbuda and Others in the Path of Hurricane Irma

May Almighty God grant relief and comfort to the victims of Hurricane Irma, especially to those on Barbuda and on other islands swept by this weather phenomenon packing winds in excess of 180-miles per hour. 

May the survivors find solace in the light of the sun in the aftermath of this act of nature that would allow for a quick recovery and rebuilding efforts.

May those who died travel well knowing that their deaths may not be in vain, but serve as living-guides toward better building codes and greater pre-storm considerations. Amen.  



September 06, 2017

ASIA:

Dreams Deferred - Trump Ends Protection of Young Immigrants

That glittering beacon of democracy, of liberty, of opportunity and of the spirit of America, which has shone over the United States(US) for more than two centuries as a standard for hope to all the world's peoples, was dimmed yesterday for some 800,000 young immigrants, when the Trump administration announced the discontinuance of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA), a Barack Obama humanitarian program that shielded from deportation the children of undocumented immigrants brought to the US by their parents.

DACA has embodied the same spirit and the same hope of America that the nation offered to those who arrived on the Mayflower, to those fleeing other religious persecutions, wars, famines and economic deprivations in their countries of birth.

DACA was decent. It was humanitarian. It was sensible. It was kind. It was a good cause. Yet, the Trump administration, which is made up of the sons and the daughters of former immigrants, has now turned its back upon a new generation of "Dreamers". 

Trump's action to end DACA subtracts from the ethos of America. It cheapens the US and it further isolates the Trump administration from the humanitarian hospitality of Canada and the European Union(EU). 

Although the US Congress has a chance to remedy the immigration status of "Dreamers", the Trump administration has clearly faltered in the humanitarian arena. Thus, until a change comes to the White House, the US will continue to lose its elite status on the international stage as well as to lose influence over the determination and outcome of global affairs.



September 05, 2017

ASIA:

The North Korea Question will not Disappear without an Action

As the South Korean media report on the stealthy night-time movement of a North Korean Intercontinental Ballistic Missile(ICBM) toward the rogue nation's west coast in preparation for yet another nuclear test, perhaps on the country's founding day, September 9, the international community remains impotent regarding what to do to deter the oppressive Pyongyang regime from pursuing greater nuclear capabilities.

For many years, sanctions and United Nations(UN) Resolutions have done little to deter the reclusive North Korean regime from pursuing full nuclear war making capabilities. Food programs and other humanitarian considerations delivered to the North Korean government have not impacted the dangerous intent of the regime. Diplomatic channels and solutions have not worked. Punishing companies for doing business to enhance North Korea's ambition have failed to derail the end point desired by North Korea.

In light of Sunday's sixth nuclear test by North Korea in clear violation of UN Resolutions, again the world body sat in New York City yesterday debating and discussing further sanctions against the menacing regime. Yet, North Korea continues its path to rattle and to frighten the international community with its actions of nuclear testing and its capabilities to mount them onto a war head for delivery to Guam, to South Korea, to Japan or to the US mainland.

Sanctions and talks have not deterred Kin Jong Un. The North Korea question will not melt away overnight. Overtures toward a diplomatic solution from the regime's few friends will temporarily qualm the established threat. But it could be ascertained that North Korea will continue its nuclear ambitions and threats to allies and to the US and to the wider world.

The North Korea question will not disappear. Therefore, in lieu of diplomatic and sanctions produced effects to rein in North Korea, a neutralizing of its war making capabilities and threats, stand as the only option and solution.



September 04, 2017

ASIA:

Action from a Rogue Regime, Talk from an Ally - North Korea Readies an ICBM

South Korea disclosed this morning that it was talking to the United States(US) about deploying carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula amid signs that the rogue regime in North Korea, was preparing to launch more missiles on the heel of its sixth and largest nuclear test over the weekend.

While the United Nations(UN) Security Council(SC) is scheduled to meet later today to discuss new sanctions against North Korea, signs of activity on the Korea peninsula point to the oppressive regime's readying of more missile tests including the launching of an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile(ICBM).

As South Korea's armed forces in defense of the threat posed by North Korea carried out long-range air-to-surface and ballistic missiles exercises earlier today, according to Reuters, nothing has hindered North Korea's persistent actions to mount and deliver a nuclear war head to its neighbor, to Japan, to Guam or to the US mainland.

Sadly, the time has come for the forces of democracy, liberty, peace and the rule of law to act against the continuing danger created by North Korea. Therefore, in lieu of more idle talk concerning North Korea, reality demands decisive action against the rogue regime in order to neutralize the explicit danger to millions of people.



September 03, 2017

ASIA:

Regarding North Korea

As reported by Reuters this morning, North Korea has carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, which it has admitted, was an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile. 

That said, and that many people prefer peace over war, North Korea's actions however, along with its intents and threats, are more than sufficient to merit preemptive action against the rogue regime before it wrecks havoc upon a peaceful United States(US) territory or upon an ally of the US.

Therefore, it is sad and very difficult to accept, but the time has long past for a diplomatic solution to the North Korea threats and agitations. 

Pyongyang has explicitly threatened a US territory and the US mainland. It has repeated carried out nuclear test including firing a projectile over Japan and many others off the the South Korea coast in clear violation of United Nations Resolutions. What else needs to happen before a decisive response in kind is rendered upon the oppressive regime? Should Guam fall before there is a decisive response?

Nobody wants war, but North Korea demands a military response forthwith. Years of appeasing North Korea with supplies of grains and foods for its people while the regime has spent billions in the development of nuclear weapons, must now come to a close.

The hour has come to answer the North Korea question that has been kicked down the road for far too long, thus allowing the regime to be able to hold the world for ransom. North Korea's threats must be obliterated.



September 02, 2017

ASIA:

Unwavering Support for American "Dreamers"

That children should never be held liable for the transgressions of their parents, remains an important premise of the life experience of modern civil societies. Any attempt to punish children for the acts of their parents must be disavowed. 

Therefore, the Trump administration should not remove the protections placed on "Dreamers" by the Barack Obama Administration. All attempts by Trump to remove from the United States(US) the children of undocumented immigrants must be disavowed. "Dreamers" are an integral and important demographic group of the US. They should be accorded full citizenship and be allowed to enjoy all the rights and privileges as all other Americans.

No real justification exists for the hunting down, rounding up and deporting of "Dreamers". They represent no danger to their communities. They are a community of Americans who share the ideal of democracy, liberty, equality and the rule of law. Any attempts to displace them from their accepted and defined homeland are rooted in racism and a fear of multiculturalism which goes against the grain of the American spirit.

Humanity demands protection of "Dreamers". Any success to remove this integrated group of Americans from their homeland will represent a clear betray of the humanitarian code that American has stood for centuries and also amount to an explicit denial of the rights and the privileges that America has accorded to its white immigrants over the years.

The Trump administration should note that in attempting to punish "Dreamers" for the transgressions of their parents, it opens itself up to the liability of the atrocities, sins and civil rights violations carried out by the fore parents of Trump, his supporters, etal, upon Native Americans and upon African Americans.

The unwavering support of "Dreamers" must come from Capitol Hill to Knob Hill to Bunker Hill. The protection of thousands of youthful Americans must stand.



September 01, 2017

ASIA:

Hope for Humanity - September Beckons from Amid the Roars of August

August - a month usually filled with frolic and fun of Summer, has now drawn to a close after a stunning turbulent time of right wing and racist agitations in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States(US); after terror events in Barcelona, Alcanar, Cambrils, Subirats and Catalonia, Spain; after more terror incidents in Colombia, Indian, Iraq, Afghanistan, France, the United Kingdom(UK), Belgium, Turkey, Syria, Russia and elsewhere; after menacing and dangerous rocket launches and continued anti-world rhetoric by North Korea; and after life-taking natural disasters from flood waters in Sierre Leone, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Houston, Texas. 

August 2017 is over. The cools winds over Washington, DC, this first day of September,  appear indicative of a cooling of tempers and of the ushering in of a rational approach to solve problems and of the needed application of relief efforts to assist victims of natural disasters; we hope. The winds of change of September signal of hope for humanity.

Yet, September - the month that claims to be the one to "remember", unfolds some bad memories including those of 16-years-ago when the US witnessed it worse terrorist event. 

But all in all, humankind - the fearless and heroic people of peace, liberty, equality and rule of law, has amid all the negative agitations, exhibited am unyielding resolve to ensure the continuity of the human race and the protection of the environment. 

So in spite of whatever events September yields, the advocates for peace, justice and the protection of Planet Earth, will continue with tireless efforts to promote tranquility and civility. Here's to the humanitarians and the protectors of the environment.



July 21, 2017

ASIA:

Returning Soon

I have not abandoned my service to humanity. I'm just taking a much deserved break to spend summer with my family who are the dearest thing to me. I shall resume my writings by the third week in August.

In a mean time, I continue to wish all you readers peace, love and happiness. Walk with God!



June 23, 2017

ASIA:

A World Wish List

...that it should come to past that peace comes to Syria, thereby restoring the childhoods of millions of children and providing the much needed and desired stability and security that families and communities need to preserve a dying culture.

...that radicals and extremists forego all and any actions of violence against the French state and its people and that they would integrate into the decision making process so that forthcoming reforms could be enacted with consideration of their input in order to forge a more open, tolerant and integrated Republic.

...that Donald Trump would recognize the importance of protecting and maintaining the sovereignty of the United States(US) Republic and that he would act accordingly to preserve the respect of the high office of President and that my fellow Americans find a speedy and peaceful resolution per Russia's meddling within the Republic and that justice be served with regards to police killings of too many Black men.

...that the United Kingdom(UK) finds an agreed solution with the European Union(EU) per their differences relating to Brexit.

...that the arms race developing in the Gulf region (Persian and Arabian) does not lead to more conflicts and violence.

...that the Palestinian people will gain their respected independence in an era of peace with Israel.

...that Venezuelans would gain control of their state of affairs and that Cuba would gain full friendship relations in the entire region.

...that the youth of Hong Kong will realize their aspirations to democracy and that the Rohingya people of Myanmar would gain full citizenship and rights.

...that peace will be retained in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, that enough food reaches those hungry and that there will be global affirmation toward protection of Planet Earth from all the effects of environmental destruction.

These are but a few of the things out of many I wish for humanity. To attain them, natural and man-made challenges will continue to pose threats that will threaten to wreck havoc upon the comfort and security of humankind. Yet, I hope, you hope and the world hopes for a brighter and safer future. Happy Summer!



June 22, 2017

ASIA:

Fatigue Sets in - Vacation Nears

The past year -  from the British vote to leave the European Union(EU), to the stunning presidential election in the United States(US), to violent events on the continents, to the effects of nature upon the natural environment -  has been unprecedented. It has been tiring, scary, unpredictable and disappointing. Violent conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Ukraine, Central Africa Republic, Yemen, Venezuela and elsewhere remain. An arms race widens.

Yet, hope remains with the ascension of Emmanuel Macron in France, a general beat-back of right wing agitations cross Europe and with the reaffirmation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by those learned world leaders.

To this end, I've grown tired of sleepless nights and days of analyzing and providing any logic to the world's dynamic events. Thus, tomorrow I will publish my last Blog until mid-August. With my wife and sons, I will take a vacation. If, as God forbids, there should be some major event, I might write-in, otherwise, I will be silent for four-weeks. 

I wish all of you good health, fun and prosperity. Tomorrow, in conclusion,  I'll simply chime in on what I would like to see occur from France to Syria to America.



June 21, 2017

ASIA:

65 Million People Displaced - an Appalling Reality of Humanity

That a Global Trends report admits 65 million people as being displaced, clearly underscores an appalling and failing reality of humanity. More stark is the realization that that number could increase by 10 percent this year, if current trends and conflicts do not end.

The United Nations Refugee Agency(UNHCR) included this dismal fact of humanity in a report on Global Trends to mark Wold Refugee Day, 2016. The 65.3 million people displaced represented the first time ever since WWII that the 60 million mark has been crossed in terms on human displacement. Now into 2017, the number has climbed to 65.6 million.

As reported by the Associated Press(AP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has reasoned: "I hope that the message carried by those forcibly displaced reaches the leaderships: We need action, political action, to stop conflicts." The refugee head factually inferred: "If you don't solve problems, problems will come to you."

His assessment is true given the current state of the migrant crisis in Europe. Wars in Syria and Afghanistan combine with harsh economic conditions and the impact of extremism in Somalia, have combined to drive hundreds of thousands of migrants to the shores of Europe. With Bashar al Assad still sitting in Syria, the number of displaced people worldwide could climb to greater record numbers by the end of 2017. 

In 2015, according to the data, 24 people were displaced every minute totaling 34,000 per day compared with six people every minute in 2005. The Syrian displaced number 11.5 million - with 6.6 million within Syria and 4.9 million abroad. Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia account for the largest numbers of displaced people. 

Therefore, if the appalling trends of 2015 and 2016 and the first half of 2017 should continue and conflicts are not ended, humanity could witness an even greater number of displaced people by the end of 2017.

[Today's Blog was edited and republished from June 21, 2016.]



June 20, 2017

ASIA:

World Refugee Day 2017 - Tens of Millions Displaced

"I've met so many who have lost so much. But they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world. They ask for little in return - only our support in their time of greatest need." United Nations(UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres  remarks on World Refugee Day, June 20.

That half of the world's 22.5 million refugees today are children, is preposterous and a damning reality of humanity's failing to provide peace and comfort to too many of Planet Earth's inhabitants.

Moreover, that the number of displaced people stands at 65.6 million as compared to 32.9 million in 2006, represents yet another failing of humankind to provide fair and equal safety and sovereignty to tens of millions of the world's people.

So, on this World Refugee Day, the global tone cannot be celebratory of the moment, but it must be solemn of the reality of suffering of so many people. Thus, on this day and hence forward, humanity should commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees, per UN guidelines. Humanity from Europe to the Americas and everywhere should show support to families forced to flee the security of their lands. 

Furthermore, greater efforts should come from the stalwarts of democracy and of freedom toward ending major conflicts in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Yemen, in Ukraine, in South Sudan and in other places. Similar strides should also be taken to avert additional conflicts from breaking out.



June 19, 2017

ASIA:

Completion of a Political Revolution - Macron, Women and Freshmen take France's Parliament

The French political revolution 2017 that started with a newcomer, age 39, taking the presidency in May, was completed yesterday, when Emmanuel Macron's new La Republique En Marche (LREM) party, took a clear majority of the seats in the National Assembly, thus handing the new president a clear mandate to social and economic reforms.

Without doubt France has undergone a revolution under Emmanuel Macron, whose political party was virtually unheard of a-year-ago. Not the case today. Riding a wave of change across France that began with Macron's presidency, the LREM have captured 308 of the 577 seats in parliament. Moreover, LREM and its allies, MoDem, now control a mandate-demanding 350-seats in the National Assembly. 

In addition to Macron's sweep of the legislature, three-quarters of the seats in the National Assembly were won by new members, hereby affirming the political revolution that has swept across the cities, towns, farms, communes and hills of France. Also, for the first time ever in France's history, 223-seats in the legislature will now be filled by women - an affirmation of the change voted in by the French people.

While the Center-right Republicans managed 137 seats, the Socialists 44 and the Far Right eight seats, LREM has established a clear governing mandate.

However, although the French people have endorsed a desired need for change, Macron's success will be challenged by how much he tempers much needed economic activity against the sensitivity of social programs and labor unions. The right blend of activity between labor and economic stimuli to off set harsh austerity measures, could catapult France to many years of economic and social prosperity. Vive la France!



June 18, 2017

ASIA:

Memoirs of a Fatherless Boy

...a long anticipated inquiry of my absentee mother, whom I had not seen in over nine-years, as to "what did my father look like?" was answered by a hopeful self-pleasing and daunting, "look into the mirror and you would see."

I could never accept this explanation from my mother because everything from her to me appeared questionable that summer in New York City, New York, where I was seeing her for the first time since she left me at the age of seven on the Caribbean island, of Barbados. 

It was now nine-years later and I had quickly and resolutely developed a characteristic to question all things rendered as reasons and explanations to all events, for in the time my mother had left me, a brother and a half-sister, I had seen and witnessed many evils of humankind, committed with some absurd explanation that such deeds should never be questioned, but be accepted just because a child was instructed to do so. I rejected all such reasoning. I demanded truth, honest and moral standing.

Before my mother had left Barbados seeking refuge in the United States(US) back in 1970, she and other relatives had informed me that my father, a Grenadian national, residing in Barbados, had died when I was two-years-old. I am yet to see a photograph of any scientific image of my father.

My mother's rendition that I resembled my father was preposterous to me. They all had told me that he was bald - receded from the forehead. Then, I had a full head of hair. Today, I am bald, not by nature, but by my own self-affliction. Thus I could never fathom any truth that I could resemble my father on my mother's claim that I "look into the mirror and you would see." 

Not one adult, including uncles and aunts, of my mother's relations, who have known me from birth, have ever said to me that I look like my father. 

Yet, I wish I resemble my father so that at least, I could have some closure per my mere existence, my ancestry and my history.



June 17, 2017

ASIA:

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day! 

Though the actual celebration is tomorrow, June 18, 2017, I would like to take this early opportunity to wish all the fathers -  who parent, male relatives, friends and associates, who have all taken time to assist in raising a child, a very Happy Father's Day.

I wish also to extend a very special happiness to those mothers who double-duty as fathers in the absence of a male significant other in the lives of their children. May the Blessings of God and of prosperity shine upon you today, tomorrow and for time indefinite.

[Coming tomorrow, the first ever excerpt from "Memoirs of a Fatherless Boy".]



June 16, 2017

ASIA:

A Lament of the London Fire

Being a benefactor of government housing should not preclude anyone from the full rights and protections of safe housing. This should be a rallying cry of those living in said dwellings across Great Britain and everywhere else people benefit from government assisted housing. Therefore, all banned materials and building methods and techniques not employed in private housing, should never be used in public housing.

It is with the deepest sorrow that we must mourn the dead ill-advised residents of the Grenfell Tower in north Kensington, London, who stayed in their 24-story high rise inferno on Wednesday, instead of evacuating. That people were given advise leading to their deaths is preposterous, unacceptable and criminal. 

The death toll which has now reached 30, with some 76 victims still unaccounted for, according to the Guardian, represents a blight upon modern building codes and safety standards. The concerns expressed by surviving victims should be given an unabridged ear.

While the public inquiry ordered by British Prime Minister Theresa May into London's fire is commendable, that the dead victims may not have died in vain, wouldn't a public inquest be more appropriate given the reports by victims and revelations by the re-furbisher of the Grenfell Tower? 

Whatever becomes of the investigation, the future safety of people living in government housing must be re-prioritized. Closure, answers and justice must be given to the Grenfell victims. Queen Elizabeth II has graciously started this process with a visit along with Prince William to the victims of the fire. 



June 15, 2017

ASIA:

The London Fire - a Tragedy Rife with Safety Lessons

The death toll, as sadly expected, has now risen to 17, and could go higher, from Thursday's tragic fire over London at a high rise apartment tower. 

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry into the fire that raged at Grenfell Tower, a 24-story, 20-floor residential high rise in west London, north Kensington. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the site of the tragedy and spoke with firefighters and community organizers, the BBC-News reported. London-born pop queen, Adele, also visited the scene of the tragedy and comforted victims.

That a tragedy of such magnitude could occur and spread so quickly throughout a residential building, is sure to provide an education to investigators and to safety authorities and give new lessons toward modern fire safety requirements and regulations. 

[Starting on Father's Day, Sunday, June 18, 2017, exerts from "Memoirs of a Fatherless Boy", will have a first publishing here on My Blog.]



June 14, 2017

ASIA:

A Fiery Tragedy Unfolds in London - a Residential High Rise Inferno

In the first hour of the day, today, in London, England, fire erupted and quickly consumed a 24-story residential high rise apartment building in West London. Thus far, 45 engines and 200-plus fireman have battled the blaze. The death toll stands at six, but is expected to increase. There have been 70 injuries, 20 of which are reported as critical, the BBC-News reported.

The tragic spectacular fiery flames engulfed the Grenfell Tower from about 12:54 a.m.(00:54 BST). The 24-story tower that has 20-residential floors, has 120 living units. It is a social housing high rise, built in 1974 and refurbished in 2016, the BBC-News reported. No cause of the fire has been determined. The site remains under active investigation.

Yet, the blaze at the Latimer Road tower, in north Kensington, west London, stands as a tragic reality of some risks of high-rise living. Some community activists raised an alarm about accessibility to emergency crews to the tower during its most recent refurbishment. These concerns had come after another residential tower fire at the Lankanal House, in London, in July 2009, killed six people and injured 20. Fire safety concerns were also echoed at that 14-story tower fire.



June 13, 2017

ASIA:

Russians Protested and Arrested on Russia Day

In some 169 locations across Russia yesterday, on Russia Day, thousands of protesters took to the streets to decry corruption and many of them were arrested along with opposition leader, Alex Navalny, taken into custody at his home before he could even take one-step in any of the rallies he had called. 

Despite Navalny's arrest, many young Russians took to the streets of the realm of Vladimir Putin in the largest political protests seen in Russia since 2012, the BBC-News reported. While news crews witnessed the random arrest of protesters, the civil action continued across Russia to the abhorrence of the Kremlin resulting in 825 arrests in Moscow and another 500 in St. Petersburg, the BBC-News reported.

Navalny, 41, who intends to run for the presidency of Russia in 2018, was sentenced to 30-days administrative arrest by a judge later in the afternoon for violating protests laws. Apparently, authorities had granted him permission to protest on a certain street, but he opted for the civil action on another street. 

Navalny has been wagering a campaign against corruption in Russia and he has called and singled out Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of accumulating a vast fortune. 

Of Putin's Russia, the opposition leader Navalny has said: "I want changes. I want to live in a modern democratic state and I want our taxes to be converted into roads, schools and hospitals, not into yachts, palaces and vineyards."



June 12, 2017

ASIA:

A New French Revolution - Major Political Changes Seen Coming

If Emmanuel Macron's victory at the polls, his ascension to the presidency of France at the age of 39 and his representation of a political party less than one-year-old, were not enough to usher in a new era of change in France, then the looming possibility that his young political party could attain a landslide victory in elections for the National Assembly, would clearly affirm a new French political revolution of 2017.

Macron, who defeated all the candidates of traditional parties at last month's presidential elections, on his way to becoming the youngest leader of the Fifth Republic of France, accomplished the feat under the umbrella of a political party he had formed just a year earlier. His presidency as the candidate for La Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move) party, has already changed the political landscape in France since the traditional conservative, socialist, left wing and right wing parties, have failed to win the top executive spot.

Yesterday, French voters, in a low-48.7 percent turn-out, compared to 57.2 percent in 2012, went to the polls to vote in parliamentary elections for the National Assembly. According to the BBC-News, projections in the first round of voting show that Macron's party and its ally, MoDem, are set to win up to 445 seats in the 577-seat parliament. If this projection holds true through to the final round of voting next Sunday, June 18, a political revolution would have been affirmed in France.

While the traditional political parties in France are now asking voters to support rivals of Macron's party in order to avoid Macron attaining a monopoly on power, the French electorate appear willing to try new faces and policies that seem able to address the issues of today's France including a 10 percent unemployment, low economic growth, extremism and an ailing labor market.



June 11, 2017

ASIA:

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain - Qatar, Iran and Turkey

While Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates(UAE), Egypt and Bahrain continue their diplomatic punishment of fellow brother Qatar, Iran and Turkey have bolstered relations with the isolated gulf state in order to avert security concerns and food shortages.

After Saudi Arabia initiated the action against Qatar accusing it of state terrorism sponsorship -  an accusation, which has also been leveled against Saudi Arabia ever since the disclosure that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers in the United States(US), were Saudi citizens,  the Kingdom has closed its land border with Qatar that funneled 40 percent of Qatar's food. 

However, in light of food shortages suffered in Qatar as a direct result of the Saudi action, Iran has already sent five plane-loads of perishable food items such as fruits and vegetables to Qatar, the BBC-News reported this morning. Another plane carrying food supplies is also to be sent today, Iran Air's spokesman, Shahrokh Noushabado, told the BBC. He reported that deliveries would continue "as long as there is demand". 

Iran has also opened its airspace to flights from Qatar ever since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE closed their areas to Qatari flights last week. In the mean time, Turkey has also announced that it was increasing troop numbers in Qatar since the diplomatic split ensued.

In an encouraging sign to ending the diplomatic dispute, the BBC-News has reported that Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator between the nations, has announced that Qatar was ready "to understand the reality of the qualms and concerns of their brothers and to heed the noble endeavors to enhance security and stability." 

Yet, could the gulf region suffer another split: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain on one side and Qatar, Iran and Turkey on the other?




June 10, 2019

ASIA:

Agitation, Change, Conflict, Famine and Survival - the Struggle for Life and Liberty

Agitated states of being that lead to, or follow change - either involving conflict, or famine, appear to be requisites of the survival of modern peoples. In the struggle for life and liberty, limits, extremes and authoritarianism, present perpetual hindrances to attaining peace and happiness.

In the last week alone, from a senseless too often repeated act of terror, to the isolation of a brother nation by its siblings, to statements of lies uttered by a commander-in-chief, to the failed poll tool of a prime minister and to the vote by the people, to reserve and to decide their destiny, were all are significant examples of the occurrences of the  affairs of humans.

In a mean time, the ability to adapt and to possess a strong coping mechanism appear to be ideal characteristics to cultivate during these times; being comforted in the hope that the shown light at the end of the tunnel, is real, and is simply separated from full possession, by the dimension of time. 



June 09, 2017

ASIA:

Brexit Weakens - UK Voters Deliver a Hung Parliament in Elections

British Prime Minister Theresa May called snap elections in the United Kingdom(UK) expecting a strong mandate for her forthcoming Brexit negotiations with the European Union(EU). Some 400 seats of the 650-member Westminster Parliament appeared plausible for May's Conservative Party. But the UK electorate, voting at the polls yesterday,  has failed to endorse May's ambition.

Not only did May and her party fail to gain a needed 326-majority of the Member of Parliament seats, the Tories lost 12 seats from their 2015 tally, thus giving rise to a hung parliament, when no party has gained more than 50 percent of the 650-seats. 

Thus, May, in an attempt to retain her leadership, has now informed Queen Elizabeth that she intends to form a minority government, utilizing support from the Euro-skeptic, Democratic Unionist Party(DUP), of Northern Ireland.

May's failure to gain enough seats in order to unitary form a conservative government, has obviously weakened her hands in negotiating Brexit with the EU, since she did not gather a clear mandate from voters. Her Conservative Party is expected to win 319 seats; Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, 261, a gain of 29; the Scottish National Party 35 seats, 21 less than last election; Liberal Democrats 12, a gain of 4; DUP 10, a gain of 2 and other parties 13 seats, 2 less than last election.

The conservative seats of 319 plus the DUP 10 seats would allow May to form a coalition  minority government, which could be finalized by June 13. However, Labour and other parties could also seek to form a government should May fail to attain the backing of the DUP.

Yesterday's UK election results again affirm the unpredictability of UK voters, who shocked the world last year in narrowly voting to leave the EU. May's gross failing to attain at least 326 seats, clearly calls into question the logic behind her reasoning for calling the non necessary election. Now that her party has fewer seats than before the election, will she still be able to retain her job as leader of the Conservative Party and as Prime Minister? The Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have called for her to step down.



June 08, 2017

ASIA:

The United Kingdom Votes Today

The people of the United Kingdom(UK) are voting at the polls today, June 08, to elect a new government in a snap election called by prime Minister Theresa May. All 650 seats at Westminster are being contested for positions as Member of Parliament and 326 seats are need for a party to form a government.

The last UK vote was in 2015, when the Conservatives won 331 seats, but since then, the people of the Kingdom, surprisingly voted to leave the European Union(EU) in 2016, which prompted then Prime Minister, David Cameron to resign, thus paving the way for Theresa May's present leadership. 

May's snap election is seen as a sought endorsement of her Brexit policy. However, recent terror events in London and in Manchester, have added crucial security concerns to the importance of the vote. May, a conservative, has said that human rights laws could be changed in order to fight terrorism. 

The main opposition party, Labour, led by Jeremy Corbyn, seeks expansion of the National Health Service in the UK. 

Other political parties contesting today's vote that could impact the election include: the Liberal Democrats, led by Tim Farron; the Scottish National Party(SNP), led by Nicola Sturgeon; the UK Independence Party(UKP), led Paul Nuttall; the Green Party, co-headed by Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley; Plaid Cymru - Party of Wales, led by Leanne Wood; Sinn Fein, led by Jerry Adams and the Ulster Unionist Party, led by Robin Swann. There are a number of other smaller parties also seeking seats in the British Parliament.

Polls opened at 7:00 BST and will close at 22:00 BST. Election winners could be declared by tomorrow morning.



June 07, 2017

ASIA:

Terror in Tehran - a Tragedy that Surprises the Intelligence Community

Terrorists attacked two locations in Iran's capital, Tehran, earlier this morning and in the aftermath, at least 12 people have been killed and some 40 have been injured at Iran's Parliament building and at the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic's founder in south Tehran. The BBC-News reports that Iranian authorities might have thwarted a third attack.

These unfortunate terror events come as a surprise to the world's intelligence community, which has often accused Iran of being a state sponsor of said terror and therefore, was somewhat immune to such violence. But recently, the Islamic State(IS) terror group, has increased its criticism of the Iranian government as it sought to incite attacks within the Islamic Republic. 

The IS has quickly claimed responsibility for the attacks in Iran and it has provided video of the attack said to be filmed from inside parliament. 

Four attackers, according to reports, disguised as women, entered parliament, where they opened fire with Kalashnikov rifles. The said attackers were killed by security forces, the BBC-News reported. At about 10:30 a.m. Tehran time, attackers opened fire at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini is south Tehran. An alleged woman suicide bomber, blew herself up and a second assailant was killed by security forces, the BBC-News reported.

From France, to England, to Belgium, to Germany, to Iraq, to many other places and now Iran, terror's violent reality remains too vivid and true. There should be full condemnation of the assault upon the Iranian people and global solidarity should convene in the complex fight against extremism, terror and violence.




June 06, 2017

ASIA:

A Split in the Arab World that Threatens a Bigger Divide in the Region

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates(UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with gas-rich Qatar yesterday, accusing the Arabian Peninsula nation of state sponsorship of terrorism. The Maldives, Yemen and Libya's eastern-based government, have also followed in the action against Qatar. 

Yesterday's action came as a surprise even though allegations have swirled for some years that Qatar, is a sponsor of Islamist groups, including the Islamic State(IS), claims the nation have deemed unjustified. 

Saudi Arabia, whose citizens made up 15 of the 19  September 11 attackers in the United States(US), has also been accused of state sponsorship of terrorism, which it has denied, yet no such action has ever been taken against the oil-rich Kingdom. Incidentally, two of yesterday's nations bringing the action against Qatar, the UAE and Egypt, also had citizens among the September 11 attackers in America. 

Qatar is an absolute monarchy ruled by House of Thani, located on a peninsula in Western Asia abutting the northeast Arabian Peninsula in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. Qatar's population exploded with work migrants in the past 14 years raising the total from 770,000 back in 2003 to 2.6 million people in 2017, of which 88.4 percent are non-Qatari, but include many Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Nepalese. Shockingly, only about 700,000 of Qatar's population are women. It shares a land border with Saudi Arabia from which it imports about 40 percent of its food.

Qatari diplomats were given 48-hours to leave the nations severing relations with it, while Qataris citizens have been given two-weeks to leave the effected countries. The action nations have also banned their citizens from Qatar. Also air spaces over the action nations have been closed to Qatar airlines that use Doha, the Qatari capital, as  as a hub. 

The action against Qatar, led by Saudi Arabia, along with accusations of state terrorism sponsorship, also involves alleged Qatar ties to Saudi Arabia's arch enemy, Iran. 

However, if the diplomatic punishment should be prolonged against Qatar, which has the highest income per capita in the world at $129,000 from its vast gas-wealth and oil reserves, it could certainly push Qatar closer to Iran, thus creating a bigger divide in the Arab world. Kuwait, which has stayed neutral in the present feud, has been tapped to act as mediator between the nations in an attempt to end the dispute. 



June 05, 2017

ASIA:

World Environment Day 2017 - to Reconnect with Nature

Today, Monday, June 5, 2017, is World Environment Day - a day and a time to reconnect with nature and to celebrate the places that matter most - all the places under the heavens. Connecting people to nature from a backyard to a national park, is this year's World Environment Day theme.

People are urged to discover amazing species in their everyday world, assist in a clean-up of the environment whether it be a stream, river, lake, sea, ocean, trail, urban lot or the foothill of a mountain.

As people reconnect with nature, is is hoped that a better respect and compassion for the environment would ring true and greater efforts would be put forward toward protecting and enjoying the environment, especially in these times of a government inaction to the responsibility of preserving Mother Earth. Here's to the environment for today, tomorrow and beyond.



June 04, 2017

ASIA:

High Time to Sever Extremism from among the Free

It is now abundantly apparent that any and all forms of extremism must be severed from free societies. The number of terror events and the mounting deaths from extremists actions must not be tolerated any longer. Open democratic societies must end any further assimilation of hatred through fallible ideology by the right or by extremists to be circulated among the free anymore.

Yesterday's dreaded terror attacks in London that killed seven and injured 48, must be the final event before a necessary outage of extremism among free people occurs. All efforts must now be taken to assure that those perpetrators seeking to lay waste to western nations as their peers have done to places in the East, are sent to jail or exiled to those waste lands they seem to admire.

Therefore, hate speech circulating among communities and hidden as religious doctrine, must come to an end forthwith. Also, nationals trained in terror and having returned home, have obviously not returned home to become good patriots, but to create mayhem and havoc among the free, thus they must not be allowed to walk free. 

The time of the abuse of fundamental rights as a smoke screen to prep for terror is hereby ended. There are responsibilities that come with each right demanded and at the fore of all rights is the protection of the serenity, liberty and life of all communities. Therefore, all those having trained for terror in Syria, in Libya or anywhere else, must be deemed immediate enemies of the state and hence, they should be treated accordingly.

Yesterday's terror attack upon innocent people on London Bridge by assailants using a motor van, the stabbings at Borough Market, the suicide bombing at Manchester, England on May 22 that killed 22 and wounded 59, the bombing of an ice cream shop on Baghdad, Iraq, and the killing 10 children and mothers and the injuring of 40 others; along with all the other terror acts upon innocent people must now be condemned. 

All perpetrators of terror must be eradicated. The free must be allowed to be free without fear. Extremism must be severed.



June 03, 2017

ASIA:

To Honor and to Protect Mother Earth

It is an obligation of the human race to protect Mother Earth. Political and business leaders -  placed in positions to carry out this onus, but fail to do so because of their pompous attitudes and their lack of acceptance of the non-fallible science of global warming, risk dooming their people to certain peril.

Since the honor and the protection of Mother Earth is necessary for the continuity of civilization on Earth, any leader failing to perform his/her duty to protect Planet Earth, should be removed by the people. 

The native peoples of the world have had a sound understanding of the need to protect the planet. They have shared this information and the dangers of inaction with modern people. Scientists have confirmed that Mother Earth is not well. She cannot sustain life forever under present levels of poisonous gases and stresses. Yet, she offers a glimmer of hope if only humankind could clean up the air, seas, lakes and rivers.

The Paris Agreement of Climate Change committed the United States(US) and 194 other countries to a policy of reducing poisonous greenhouse emissions as a measure to resurrecting the health of Mother Earth.

Sensible signatories of the Paris accord have reaffirmed their commitment to saving Planet Earth, but Donald Trump of the US, has declined. Now the people of the US must find a way to circumvent Trump's gross negligence toward the environment and find a way to continue a global partnership with the people of Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, to protect and to honor Mother Earth.



June 02, 2017

ASIA:

May Acts of Nature have Mercy upon the Republic

That the American President, who, in the past, has sought bankruptcy protection for his business gambles; and having been placed at the helm of the welfare of the Republic by the people, has failed to act with his international partners toward the preservation of Planet Earth, clearly demonstrates another risk - this time upon the health of the nation and upon the demise of the environment of the land, that the businessman, turned president, has cast upon the United States of America.

When Donald Trump confirmed yesterday that he would act to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change -  an accord , which went into effect last November to reduce poisonous greenhouse emissions across the globe, he in essence took a gamble upon the welfare and future health of America's people, especially its young people and babies. 

His non action to join the rest of the world in saving the planet infers that Trump does not feel the adults and the children of the US, are in no need of protection from global warming, thus signifying that all is well in respect to the dangers raised by global warming, but that, scientifically, is not the case. The whole planet is in need of protection.

Therefore, it has come to past that as the European Union(EU), China, India, African nations and the other countries of the world, reaffirm their commitments to protect nature, Trump has sided the US along with Nicaragua and Syria, as a naysayer to protecting Planet Earth. 

Hence, the people of the Republic could only wish that future acts of nature have mercy upon the United States of America.



June 01, 2017

ASIA:

An Imperative More Important Than Ever - Paris Climate Agreement

The "highest political commitment" is being stressed to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that seeks to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases poisoning Planet Earth. 

And while Donald Trump delays and appears to be willing to pull the Republic of the United States(US) out of the global accord, the BBC-News affirmed in a report earlier today that Chinese and European Union(EU) leaders are set to agree on a joint statement on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change categorizing it as: "an imperative more important than ever."

A joint statement by EU nations, China and other industrialized nations that are all concerned about the health of the planet, minus the US under Trump, is expected to be published tomorrow to highlight the importance of protecting the environment via the Paris Climate agreement. The joint statement should rebuff any and all actions by the Trump administration to pull out of or to detract from the importance of the environmental accord toward the health of the planet.

As reported by the BBC-News, the joint statement by the emerging stalwarts of the environment, will highlight the dangers posed by rising temperatures "as a national security issue and multiplying factor of social and political fragility." The statement should also point out that the transition to clean energy creates jobs and economic growth, the BBC-News reported.

Yet, Trump, who unfortunately has the power to pull the US out of the agreement without a vote by the people, continues to defy sound scientific knowledge that the effects of global warming will be tragic. He has called global warming a "hoax". Thus, the people of the US will be denied an important partnership within the international community to clean up Earth's fragile and failing eco-systems.



May 31, 2017

ASIA:

To Ending Nuclear Proliferation and the Arms Race

Nuclear arms served a specific and a particular purpose at a then needed time in a bygone era. The use of the weapons brought to a close World War II, an episode of war that could have consumed many more lives had the weapons not been used. The purpose was fulfilled.

Today, in this era of a global economic and international pacts dominated by international trade and commerce, cooperation between states and pacts between sovereign nations under the umbrella of the United Nations(UN), should be an obvious omen signalling that the time of nuclear proliferation has expired.

However, such is not the case. Nations continue to pursue nuclear arms and better capabilities to launch them. The arms race is speeding up once again with mega arms deals between nations and in already volatile regions.

The age of civil diplomacy between nations should be resurrected as a means to ending nuclear proliferation and a widening arms race. Diplomacy must outpace fanaticism and authoritarianism and the commerce of arms deals. 



May 30, 2017

ASIA:

Declining Influence of America's Republic under Trump

If an 11-percent dip in tourism to the United States(US) since the stewardship of Donald Trump is not sufficient to demonstrate a decline in the influence of the Republic, then any doubt to the falling was rebutted this weekend by the European confession and affirmation that the continent could no longer rely on the US under Trump, as it has traditionally done in the past.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has emerged as the new leader of the free world in light of doubts about the new White House occupant, confirmed to a political rally in Germany that: "The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over." The German leader told the Munich crowd: "We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands."

Last week at a summit of world leaders in Sicily, Italy, Trump, unlike his other counterparts of the G-7 nations, failed to reaffirmed a commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. While Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Britain reaffirmed the accord to reduce greenhouse emissions, Trump didn't saying he would give an answer this week. 

Trump's attitude to and around other world leaders, his erroneous display of sound intelligence and education, including his error on geography and manners, his stated doubts about NATO as well as the European Union(EU), amount to his increasing isolation from the world's free nations. Moreover, his stated assumption that global warming is a "hoax", plus his non action on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, amount to a declining influence of the Republic of the United States on the world stage.



May 29, 2017

ASIA:

Happy Memorial Day 2017

Today is Memorial Day 2017 - a time of reflection and thanks to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live as people. We thank them for their service to the armed forces, to the Republic and to humanity.

The many cookouts, barbecues and picnics usual of this day, do not subtract from the importance or meaning of Memorial Day, but rather, they are activities done to to reaffirm acknowledgment of freedoms enjoyed through the valiant sacrifices of the fallen.

Thus, humanity will never forget those who gave their lives so that we may be free.




May 28, 2017

ASIA:

Educated Acceptance of the Dangers of Global Warming

The time has come for all of humanity to accept all scientific evidence regarding the dangers facing Planet Earth from Global Warming. 

Many nations have endorsed the science of the graved reality, yet there are some skeptics. The unbelievers of the science are willing to chance the lives of millions of people based upon their own fallible interpretation of scientific data and their erroneous belief that business and profit should out perform all protections of the environment.

Six of the seven member-nations of the world's most industrialized economies have recognized the dangers posed by global warming. Intent on doing something to reverse the poisoning of the planet, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Italy, have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Scores of smaller nations have also reaffirmed to the sensibleness of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The United States(US), under Donald Trump, has not reaffirmed its obligation to save Planet Earth. President Barack Obama did commit the Republic to the planet saving accord and even China joined him in pledging to fight the poisoning of the atmosphere.

However, Trump, elected to the presidency by a bunch of localist people, who apparently are unable to visualize a larger forest outside of the single tree in their backyards, has threatened to pull the US out of the Paris accord. He told his G-7 counterparts that he would make a decision this coming week per the US reaffirmation of the planet saving measure. In the past, he has described global warming as a "hoax".

But Trump should accept the educated dangers facing the planet from global warming. He should not allow the non environmental education of a bunch of people in remote places of the Republic to act as doomsday judges and to condemn the rest of the nation to a course of ruin of the environment. Trump should reaffirm America's commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change forthwith.



May 27, 2017

ASIA:

Six-Way Affirmation to Cleaner Air Minus Trump's Decision

Six world leaders, minus Donald Trump, have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Accord to reduce greenhouse emissions and to act toward cleaner air, at a G-7 summit in Sicily, Italy. 

Trump's abstention mirrors his once dismissal of global warming as a "hoax". He has also threatened to pull the United States(US) out of the accord that seeks to reduce the world's greenhouse gases. 

While the people and leaders of Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Italy have reaffirmed their policies to enact the first comprehensive deal to combat greenhouse emissions, Trump did not commit, but said he would give an answer next week. 

As reported by the BBC-News, the final communique at the G-7 summit said the US "is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not a position to join the consensus..." But the other six nations "reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leader of the committed group, described the discussion on climate change, according to the BBC-News, as "very unsatisfactory" that "we have a situation of six against one." Yet, United Nations(UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is in Italy also for the G-7 summit, confirmed that the Paris accord would survive regardless of Trump's position.



May 26, 2017

ASIA:

Toward the End of Terror

Terror will not end by dropping big bombs on hillsides, neither will it end by denying full assimilation into society by people of a particular faith. Terror will not end by censoring, neither will it end by imprisoning large numbers of young men.

Terror, however, will end when all of the impediments to liberty, happiness, community participation and engagement, as well as the free excise of religion, are removed. Moreover, terror will end when conflicts that victimize many innocent people, including children, have been brought to an end.

Fallible ideology fed through the Internet or via terror training camps in Libya, Syria or elsewhere, will never be sufficient to err individuals deeply involved in their communities into committing acts of terror. But if the sense of community involvement is missing, removed, not defined, then marginalized individuals become more prone to acts of terror.

As the list of possible terror suspects lengthens within intelligence agencies, concerted efforts should be placed to engage and to accept into community involvement programs each and every one of the young people believed to be vulnerable to extreme influence. 

Deeply involved community activists do not become terrorists especially once they have accepted their societal duties and once their communities have permitted their assimilation. Therefore, the end of terror is possible.



May 25, 2017

ASIA:

To Hope, to Cope and to Adapt - to Overcome

[Today I republish My Blog from May 25, 2016, with a few edits. Many themes and topics remain applicable across the annuals of time.]

Hope is never a dangerous thing as some people might have you assume out of fear of failing to realize things hoped. Rather, hope is the aspiration that allows millions of people to cope with events, tragedies, conflicts and adversaries in order to adapt to inevitable changes on the way to success and to victory on the behalf of all humanity and as an example to the many now dreaming or grieving.

Like the son of a Kenyan student and an American Midwesterner who ascended to the 44th Presidency of the United States of America(USA); like the son of Barbadian immigrants who became Attorney General Eric Holder; like Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist, who beat terror to become a Nobel Prize laureate; like the former Moroccan shepherd girl who now sits as France's Minister of Education; like the son of a Muslim bus driver and seamstress who is now Mayor of London; and many other examples, international hope remains alive.

Therefore, in the communities of Manchester, Brixton, Birmingham and London, England, in the refugee camps of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey; in the audience of town hall meetings in Vietnam; in the streets of Hong Kong; in the shadows of southern Turkey; in the parched fields of Ethiopia; in the black out streets of Venezuela; in the corridors of Belgium, France, Germany, Britain and Italy; as in many other places, the hopes of humankind are beating with resolve and are alive and fertile to bear fruits of humanity's many triumphs over adversities. Here's to the human spirit of hope.



May 24, 2017

ASIA:

...on some Circumstances of Terror

It remains deeply troubling that a presumed human being could seek to destroy innocent people not known to the perpetrator. And that people with no connection whatsoever to any grievance the said perpetrator might have with society, could be killed for merely enjoying their lives. 

Even more troubling, is the evil descent to violence by the offspring of refugees upon the said communities that have granted them domicile.

Yet, from England to France to Belgium to Germany and even to the United States(US), there have been very stark examples of such perpetrators wrecking havoc upon the said societies that have granted them domicile and provided comfort to their parents for many years. Why?

Evil must be the first circumstance of terror - for only persons possessed by evil could conduct such callous violence upon the innocent. Hatred - must then, be the second circumstance of terror, for to carry out such acts that have been committed across Europe and the US, perpetrators must have been consumed by a demonic hatred.

A fallible ideology in many cases of terror, has stoked the evil and the hate within marginal individuals leading to unspeakable events of violence. Often, failure to assimilate into a larger community has prompted marginal perpetrators to be easily influenced by evil and hate, thus leading to notorious events of terror. Also, at times, the circumstance of perpetrators having a major grievance with a community, has led to terrorism.

But terror, evil, hatred and all easy resorts to violence upon innocent people, must have no place in civil society. Therefore, communities should ensure the equal and fair access to life, liberty and happiness as a necessary policy to defeating terror.



May 23, 2017

ASIA:

Condemnation of Terror at Manchester, England - Toward Eradication of Causes and Uses of Terror

That an apparent suicide bomber would elect to detonate an improvised bomb at a concert known to be crowded with young people, including many pre-teen and teens girls, clearly speaks heavily of the destructive and warped personalities of terrorists, their fallible ideology and their extremist thirst to violently end the lives of innocents persons, who are not connected in any way to the perpetrator's failings within society.

Manchester, England, must cope today with the shocking and horrifying deaths of 22 people, including at least one pre-teen girl and and another 18-year-old girl, cut down before the threshold of womanhood by an apparent suicide bomber last night, at Manchester Arena, following a concert by American Pop Star, Ariana Grande. Miss Grande is the icon of many pre and teen girls across the world and many were present in Manchester for her concert, when the terrorist detonated a suicide improvised bomb, laden with nuts and bolts, at about 10:35 p.m. British time.

Complete and utter condemnation of the heinous crime is hereby offered as the world community resolve to eradicate terrorism along with its causes and uses. 

British authorities know the unreleased identity of the apparent suicide bomber and they  have already moved to arrest another 23-year-old suspect in Manchester. Yet, many questions remain: Why? How? and Who else?

The international community stands with Manchester, England. All people, who are free, do hereby re-affirm their resolve not to be intimidated or be defeated by shameful cowardly terrorists and their tainted ideology. Good will always conquer evil and violence. Happiness and freedom must always win. Down with terrorism!



May 22, 2017

ASIA:

The Defeat of Human Rights - the Jailing and Disappearance of Defenders of those Rights

John Sudworth of the BBC-News, Beijing, filed a story earlier today in respect of a Chinese lawyer, Wang Quanzhang, who was detained by the communists back in August, 2015, and is still missing. He has vanished. His wife has not heard from him since 2015, yet the world continues to bask in the economic output of China, as human rights suffer defeat at the hands of Beijing authorities.

In July of 2015, Beijing officials arrested or detained more than 200 lawyers, legal assistants and human rights activists in a nationwide raid. The operation dubbed "709 ", according to the BBC-News, because of the July 09, start date of the crackdown, was part of president Xi Jinping's consolidation of power. Xi has been opposed to liberal ideals, like constitutional rights enforceable in courts as posing a danger to Communist Party Rule.

Many lawyers and activists have been jailed, given suspended sentences and some released but kept under constant surveillance. However, Wang Quanzhang, has not been heard from. "I don't know whether he's alive or dead," his wife Li Wenzu told the BBC-News reporter, while adding: "I have had no information at all. He has simply disappeared from the face of the earth. It is so scary, so brutal."

Some commentators of China suggest that the lawyer has disappeared because he failed to compromise his human rights beliefs with any public confession to appease the communists.

But the disappearance of the lawyer, the jailing, detaining and stifling of human rights advocates in China is simply the overt defeat of human rights before an impotent international society that appears to count currency fist before demanding the rights of all people. Before Wang Quanzhang was detained, China sentenced human rights lawyer, advocate and professor, Xu Zhiyong, to four-years in jail on trumped up charges of "gathering crowds to disrupt public order". Xu Zhiyong and his New Citizens Movement had merely through their actions sought clarification of a Chinese citizen's constitutional rights.

Shamefully, the world community stood idly by as protectors of rights like Xu Zhiyong and Wang Quanzhang were jailed and disappeared. Who will now fight for such martyrs? The United States(US)? The United Kingdom(UK)? The European Union(EU)? Or will citizens be left to their own ideas to demand justice and human rights? 



May 21, 2017

ASIA:

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and for Development

As designated by the United Nations(UN), today, Sunday, May 21, 2017 is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development - a time to raise awareness of the need for dialogue and development in respect of the richness of the world's diversity and culture.

That three-quarters of the world's major conflicts have a cultural dimension is more than enough evidence to recognize the urgency and necessity to bridging gaps between cultures.

So on this special day of diversification and hereafter, humanity should pledge to recognize cultural diversity as a driving force of development, and according to the UN, not only in respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.

Here's to cultural diversity and its development.



May 20, 2017

ASIA:

Migration, Radicalization or Starvation - Limited Choices Facing Too Many People

Safe and far away from living in conflict zones, many privileged  people criticize the stark options taken by displaced people in their efforts to find solace. 

To migrate, to become radicalized or to starve to death, are choices those unfamiliar with conflict and suffering view as far fetched realities. But inside conflict zones, these options become forced realities for millions of people. Many must accept one of these options as they are faced with the acute horror of their dire current affairs. 

For many victims of conflict and bad governance, the choice of fate will always be limited. The poorest will starve to death, the economically viable will migrate, while nationalists and those not having any other choices will become radicalized. This reality is true from Syria, to Iraq, to Libya, to North Africa, to Ukraine and beyond.

In conflict, there is no sociological survey that determines who survives or not. That fate is apparently bestowed by a victim's environment, standing, will and ability to survive. In Yemen, a home could be mistakenly bombed; in Syria, the Assad regime or the Islamic State(IS) could elect to starve a particular town; in Iraq, the government could ignore the basic needs of a town; and in Libya, revenge could force a victim into the camp of extremists.

Therefore, as conflicts continue to rage and as the rolls of the hungry and the starving bulge, more and more people will become victims having limited choices to migrate, to starve or to become radicalized. Moreover, if historical places of havens are closed to the persecuted and those displaced, then greater radicalization could be expected over time.



May 18, 2017

ASIA:

A Responsibility of the Executive Branch to the People of the Republic

Sovereignty is a compulsory tenet of any Republic. If ever an entity's claim to sovereignty is found to be influenced by any foreign entity, then the influenced entity can never claim to be an independent Republic.

Therefore, the onus of the president of the Republic - the executive branch,  must always be first and foremost, to uphold the unequivocal retention of the Republic's sovereignty. It is the responsibility of the executive branch to protect and to honor the sovereignty of the Republic as a matter of retaining the national security of the Republic. 

The people of the Republic expect full protection of the nation's sovereignty from the executive and all other branches of government. Any and all influences by tyrant governments and their agents -  both foreign and domestic, upon the Republic, must be quelled and expelled forthwith.



May 18, 2017

ASIA:

The Republic Stands Aloft of the Man and of the Presidency

Presidents of the United States of America have come and gone during the more than 230-year-history of the Republic - with many having served exceptionally well toward the development, protection and sovereignty of the Republic. 

The rise of the US as a super power, its defense of democracy, of liberty and of the rights of humankind, all developed because a succession of US Presidents -  from Washington, to Jefferson to Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama, held and maintained high ideals of the High Office as Commander-in-Chief to protect and to serve the Republic, while maintaining its unquestionable sovereignty.

One the other hand, very  few presidents of the 45 the Republic has had, thus far, failed in meeting the high standards of the office of President of the United States. That small group, including Richard Nixon, found out that the Republic stands aloft of the man -  aloft of the presidency.

In 2017, the Republic, under the temporary guardianship of Donald Trump, is under stress. Intelligence reports have indicated that Russia played an influencing role in the recent presidential elections that placed Trump in the White House. A national security adviser to the president has had to resign because of his factual connections to the Russians. Yet, the extent to which the president's campaign, if at all, was directly influenced by Russia, still remains unresolved.

The new White House has not erased none of the serious uncertainties as to any Russian influence over the Oval Office. Last week, the new White House affirmed more uncertainties as it hosted Russia's foreign minister and the Russian press, but barred the American media from the White House event.

However, a slow but now defined path to ascertaining America's sovereignty question has been started through the selection of a special counsel by the Justice Department to look into Russia's role in the 2016 US Presidential Election. Unfortunately, President Trump has tweeted that the new independent investigation amounts to the "greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history", reported the New York Times, earlier this morning.

Whatever, the truth must be found, the United States Republic must be protected and the Republic must be maintained as a higher entity over that of  the man or of the office of president.



May 17, 2017

ASIA:

The Mutiny on the Ivory Coast Ends

An immediate bonus of $8,400 and another $3,500 payable at the end of June to mutineer soldiers on the Ivory Coast, have proved sufficient to end a stand off between the government and some 8,400 soldiers, who demanded promised payment since aiding their president into the seat of power back in 2011.

Former rebels on the Ivory Coast, who integrated into the nation's army after years of fighting an insurgency, which benefited president Alassane Ouattara, had reached a deal with the government back in January for back pay. However, after paying some of the money, the government delayed paying the balance, thus forcing the former rebels, turned-soldiers, onto the streets in cities across the Ivory Coast, demanding payment.

On Tuesday, the government gave in and compensated the soldiers hereby ending the mutiny on the Ivory Coast. According to the BBC-News, the deal calmed fears raised that the mutiny could have reignited a resurgence of the violence witnessed during 10-years of civil war in that nation. 

Back then, pro-Ouattara rebel forces swept into the capital, Abidjan and helped the president to take office after his predecessor, Laurent Gbagdo, refused to accept defeat in elections. Rebels were rewarded for their support with jobs in the army.



May 16, 2017

ASIA:

Toward the Protection of the Sources of all Vital Information

Whether or not a president feels compel, or that he has the right to disclose information - classified or not, to Russia, or to any other foreign entity, his decision should always be governed by the need, the respect and the security to protect the sources of said information at all costs.

The United States(US) Presidency is a High Office that should be voided of gloating and boasting. All information privy to the Oval Office, should be treated with the highest of decorum.

Media reports that Donald Trump shared highly classified information with Russia during a meeting last week that included the Russian press, but precluded the US press, are deeply troubling. Such revelations could have a provocative negative impact upon the future of US intelligence gathering, while discouraging credible sources from sharing critical information with the US.  Moreover, such revelations could place sources in deadly peril. 

Information provided via credible, well informed and well placed sources, has always been a crucial link to the intelligence gathering services. If the trust of anonymous informants is betrayed, then intelligence agencies will inevitably suffer. 

Therefore, while the appropriate checks are carried out to determine what sort of information Trump disclosed to the Russians, all measures must be taken to protect the identity and safety of sources of all US intelligence information.



May 15, 2017

ASIA:

Mutiny on the Ivory Coast - Soldiers Demand Promised Pay

Mutineer soldiers have opened gun-fire in the streets of cities across the Ivory Coast(Cote d'Ivoire) defying a government order to lay down their guns as they make a case for promised pay from the government. 

Many of the mutinous soldiers make up about 8,000 of Ivory Coast's 22,000 member army, the BBC-News reported earlier this morning. Mutineer soldiers were once rebels now integrated into the country's armed forces, which allowed present president, Alassane Ouattara, to assume power back in 2010, when the election-losing president Laurent Gbagbo, refused to leave office. 

Locked in a payment dispute with the government of the world's largest exporter of cocoa beans, soldiers were promised $15,000 back in January. However, with falling world cocoa prices, the government has only made good on a payment of $6,500 but not the remaining $9,500. 

The former rebels now integrated into the army, had fought for many years to help president Ouattara attain power on the Ivory Coast. Last Thursday, an alleged spokesman for the mutinous soldiers, had announced on national television that the rebels were dropping their demands for the rest of the money promised. However, the soldiers appear to disagree with the televised announcement and took to streets with their weapons in the cities of Abidjan, Bouake, Daloa, Bondoukou and others, shooting in the air. One person has been reported killed by a stray bullet.

Forces loyal to government have been dispatched to quell the mutiny as the country falls short of foreign currency because of slumping cocoa prices. 

Violence is not foreign to Ivory Coast which gained its independence from France in 1960 and saw one man, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, rule as leader from 1960 until his death in 1993. There was a military coup in 199 and civil war broke out in the nation between 2002 and 2007 between the Muslin north and the Christian south. After some negotiations, a degree of stability returned to Ivory Coast, but the spell was broken when president Laurent Gbagbo lost the 2010 general election, but refused to leave office.

Rebel soldiers, many of them now integrated into the army, placed the declared winner of the 2010 election, Alassane Ouattara, now president, into the seat of power. Today, those soldiers are demanding payments as a violent showdown becomes possible on the Ivory Coast, where soldiers have mutinied.



May 14, 2017

ASIA:

Happy Mother's Day 2017!

To all the mothers who have parented, to those who continue to parent and to those will parent, Happy Mother's Day! And a special Mother's Day to the moms victimized by conflict and hardships from the Horn of Africa to the Middle East and beyond.  

Also, to all the aunts, the cousins, the sitters and the friends, who assist with parenting, Happy Mother's Day to you too. May God Bless you all!



May 13, 2017

ASIA:

Uncertainty over the new White House - Undue Pressure upon the Republic

Historically, during the normal functioning of the Republic of the United States of America, the White House, the Congress, the American media, the people, associations and organizations, all act as cohesive parts toward the trusting protection of the Republic. 

However, since Donald Trump has occupied the Oval Office, questions about the role of Russia to the president, to his campaign for president and to any prior relationship between his business dealings and the Kremlin, have not been unequivocally debunked. Hence, distrust has emerged within the various elements of American society charged with protecting the Republic from all enemies - foreign and domestic.

As a matter of fact, instead of information becoming clearer to exonerate the president of any compromising positions to Russia, circumstances and events appear to paint an even cloudier picture as confirmed by the action of the White House this week, to preclude the American Press from an event with the Russian foreign minister, within the White House, but to admit members of the Russian media.

That single action by itself points to undue pressure upon the Republic created by the new White House. Congressional hearings and other investigations into Russia's meddling in the United States continue amid the recent firing of the FBI director. Yet, calls for an independent counsel to look into Russia's influence upon the American Republic, are rebuffed by Republican leaders in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.

The present undue pressure upon the Republic cannot be relieved unless independent verification is either confirmed or denied as to Russian tainting of the American processes and its top leadership.



May 11, 2017

ASIA:

A Criminal Athlete, His Conviction, His Suicide and an Abatement

American football player, Aaron Hernandez, was convicted in the state Massachusetts for murdering Odin Lloyd in June 2013. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In April of this year, Hernandez was acquitted of double murder charges in a separate case. 

Hernandez had appealed his conviction for murdering Lloyd and before his appeal was heard by the Massachusetts courts, he killed himself while in jail. 

Massachusetts has had for many years a policy on their legal books called: "abatement ab initio" - that if a defendant dies before his/her criminal appeal is heard, the conviction is set aside in order to ensure the right to appeal for defendants. In other words, that Hernandez appealed his conviction and the case was not heard, that he died before the case was considered, then his original conviction is voided.

Attorneys for Hernandez motioned that the Massachusetts courts vacate their client's conviction and on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, the courts vacated Hernandez's conviction.

While the district attorney for Bristol County, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, holds that prosecutors would appeal the court's ruling, the Massachusetts court has ruled in a manner that could protect the innocence of Hernandez's 4-year-old daughter. 

She is an innocent soul who has to grow up in a society where her father was a criminal. However, her father died and his death should be taken as payment for his crimes. Moreover, contrary to the argument of prosecutors that vacating Hernandez's conviction was rewarding him because he willfully committed the act of suicide, the innocence and protection of Hernandez's daughter, must outweigh all other circumstances.

Civil matters brought against Hernandez's estate for the death of Odin Lloyd are legitimate separate matters that should not effect the abatement of his conviction. Yet, as the family of Lloyd deserve their justice, a 4-year-old innocent girl should be allowed to grow up without a criminal conviction against her father's name because her father paid for his wrongs with his death. 




May 11, 2017

ASIA:

Comey, Trump, an Election, an Investigation and a Firing

[My Internet publisher has been experiencing technical difficulties for the past two consecutive days, thus I was unable to publish My Blog. I experienced the said problem two weeks ago after going some four years without any technicalities. Circumstances and events are inevitable at times.]

James Comey, in his capacity as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations(FBI), shocked the political world days before last November 08, presidential Election, when he went public to disclose further investigations into additional emails connected to Democratic nominee for President, Hillary Clinton.

The timing of the director's disclosure amid calls from then Republican nominee, Donald Trump, to jail Clinton, did not sit well with an American public about to enter an election. Clinton lost the election to Trump and history must attribute one of the reasons for her defeat to the FBI director's declaration so close to the actual vote.

Trump fired the FBI director yesterday while an investigation into the role of Russia in the 2016 United States Presidential Elections continues. Trump claimed Comey was not doing a good job. 

However, media houses are revealing that in the days leading up to the director's firing, that he sought extra resources for the Russian probe. Meanwhile, on the day after the firing, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, was to meet with Trump after meeting with the US Secretary of State in Washington, D.C.

And so another day in the era of Trump's White House has brought more dramatic events to the US Republic.



May 08, 2017

ASIA:

To Fight Division, to Promote Hope and Reconciliation - the Fifth Republic of France is Re-Affirmed

With yesterday's decisive victory in the French presidential election by Emmanuel Macron, the Fifth Republic of the learned and progressive French people, is hereby re-affirmed, thus ensuring a continuity of the democratic principles that have brought prosperity and stability to modern France, Europe and humanity in general.

Macron's landslide victory, which commanded 66 percent, of the French vote over the divisive and isolationist, Marine Le Pen, is indicative of the strength and of the confidence many French people still retain of the European Union(EU) in spite of a Brexit.

The new French leader has promised to fight division and to promote hope and reconciliation during his presidency. Success of Macron's promises are necessary toward a more integrated and cohesive France, which has suffered far too many tragic extremist events, in recent years. 

Therefore, all sections of French society should be patient and cooperative with the young leader and give him their full support to building an even better and more integrated France that flourishes with opportunity for all of the French people.



May 07, 2017

ASIA:

France Votes

The French people are at the polls today voting for a new president. By noon, French time, 28 percent of voters had cast their ballots, according to the BBC-News, a lower rate than in the previous presidential election.

Yet, as the afternoon wears on in France, voters could turn out in larger numbers in the vital election in order to secure a victory for the moderate candidate, Emmanuel Macron, so as to retain the principles of European unity that France has held in the modern years of the Republic.

Any indecisiveness on the part of the French in electing between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, could throw France, the European Union(EU) and the world in general, into a decline.



May 06, 2017

ASIA:

The French Decision - Continuity of Progress or Divergence into the Unknown

The French people will go the polls tomorrow, May 07, 2017, to elect a new president. Their choices: continuity of the progress and democratic principles that have been hallmarks of the modern Republic; or divergence into nationalistic isolation.

Ceteris paribus, autres choses egales par ailleurs, other things equal, Emmanuel Macron will emerge as the new leader of France affirming the continuation of the powerful economic block, the European Union(EU). Moreover, Macron's election would continue the much copied French democratic principles that have brought hope, peace, development and greater civility, not just to France, but to many other countries ranging from Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean.

On the other hand, should the French drink of the drunken, caustic, nationalistic, isolationist and racist kool-aid offered by Marine Le Pen, of the far right party, France, Europe and humanity on the whole, would become transformed into a turbulent era of unknown outcomes.

Therefore, tomorrow's vote, given the historic sensibleness and saneness of the people of France, should carry Emmanuel Macron onto the presidency in a landslide victory. Anything short of a landslide victory for Macron would prolong France to the vulnerability of the forces of instability.



May 05, 2017

ASIA:

Healthcare and the People's Choice

Universal health care should be a benefit of all the people. However, in lieu of it, the Affordable Care Act, passed under the rational leadership of President Barack Obama, sought protection and accessibility to health care for all the American people.

The elderly, the poor, the uninsured and those with pre-existing medical conditions were given necessary protections under the law passed by President Obama. Yet, many Americans, who benefited from the law, allowed their fortunate positions of benefactors of health care, to become convoluted by politicians, who opposed the 44th President.

Like some Brits, who benefited immensely from the United Kingdom's membership in the European Union(EU), but were misled by Brexit pols to vote against the union, many Americans benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, voted for Donald Trump, who pledged to overturned the law that gave them medical protections.

Yesterday, those who supported Trump's campaign pledge to get rid of their insurance coverage, saw their hope come closer to fruition as the United States(US) House of Representatives voted: 217-213, to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to replace it with the American Health Care Act. 

Though the US Senate might change the passed measure considerably, the Act, as written, could leave many Americans without health care because of cost and pre-existing conditions. Also, it would become more expensive for seniors and cheaper for young people. 

Whatever the result, Americans adversely effected by the bill will have to suffer the consequences of their actions to decry the Affordable Care Act, only to have it replaced by something that stings their quality of life and health care. Good riddance to that group.



May 04, 2017

ASIA:

Rejection of the Department of Justice Finding on Alton Sterling

Let me be very explicit: I never knew Alton Sterling - the Black man, shot dead by police in Louisiana, last year. Chances are that even if he and I crossed paths before his death, we would never have become friends. I do understand the circumstances and reasoning of what he did to his teeth, but that doesn't and shouldn't preclude a human being from gaining justice.

With that said, I hereby still contend that the decision by the United States(US) Department of Justice not to charge police for playing a part in Sterling's death, should be rejected. That the department did not find enough evidence to charge the police over Sterling's death, is preposterous. Sterling was killed, he was shot multiple times, there was a body, there was ballistic evidence. Yet, no charges because he was allegedly armed? Ludicrous! 

Too often have police taken the lives of young Black men without having to suffer any consequences. That dangerous precedent must cease. Justice must be served. And if, the Department of Justice fails to render justice, then the department defers justice to others - another dangerous precedent.



May 03, 2017

ASIA:

A Dangerous Precedent - the Passing on Justice by the US Department of Justice

That a Black man, or any man or any woman for that matter, could be pinned down, shot and killed by police, then to have the United States(US) Department of Justice pass on prosecuting the police for the killing, is a dangerous precedent for the new attorney general and his office to set in a time that could prove very turbulent.

Alton Sterling was killed last summer in the US state of Louisiana by police. Video of the shooting showed police pinning Sterling down before he was killed. Yet, Donald Trump's Department of Justice yesterday decided not to file any charges against the policemen involved in the shooting.

Though the state of Louisiana could still bring charges against the officers involved in the killing of Sterling, yesterday's action by the Trump administration reverses historical acts by the Federal government as the go-to protector of the civil and human rights of citizens via intervention to charge and to prosecute guilty parties in lieu of failures to do so by the states.

Today, based upon yesterday's announcement, it seems that the Trump administration, with a Department of Justice led by Jeff Sessions, who has had a very questionable experience per race relations, will now opt to defer justice in any controversial race-related matters back to the states that have had horrible track records of protecting and upholding minority and civil rights.

For the Department of Justice to pass on rendering justice in such a blatant action that resulted in death, sets a clear dangerous precedent that will inevitably conflict with the insistence of minorities and other groups to have justice served.



May 02, 2017

ASIA:

The Lost Mandate of Venezuela's Socialists

[Some topics remain pertinent for a long time - today's Blog is re-published from May 16, 2016.]

If the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez had a mandate from the people to construct a socialist society in the oil-rich South American nation, then that mandate ended with his death.

Inheriting the reins of Venezuela from Chavez, President Nicolas Maduro falsely assumed he was heir to an already ended mandate, thus his socialist and non economic growth policies, faltered early in his presidency, thereby plunging the land of countless beauties into economic and political disrepair. 

Maduro's jailing of dissenters and blaming of others for his catastrophic failings have underscored that any mandate from the people of Venezuela to the socialists has been lost. Maduro's antics have failed to resurrect an ended failed mandate of the Chavez era.

Any mandate from the people to the socialist caretakers in Venezuela ended when babies began to die in ill-operated government hospitals with non-working incubators and sparse medical supplies.

Any mandate from the people to Maduro and his socialists ended when the crime rate spiked and a beauty queen was murdered in cold blood.

Any mandate to the socialists in Venezuela ended when basic supplies including toilet paper, flour and running water became scarce and as opposition figures were being jailed.

The socialists have failed in Venezuela as they have failed elsewhere in the Americas because the system has failed to adapt to the historical, social, economic and political make-up of the region. 

Therefore, instead of subjecting the festive and the beautiful Venezuelan people to any prolong suffering, Maduro's socialists must admit that their system has failed and they should allow the will of the people as expressed in the acquired 1.8 million signatures to recall, to follow the natural and determine aspirations of Venezuelans to usher in a period of hope, plenty and prosperity.



May 01, 2017

ASIA:

Toward the Protection of Labor on this May(Labor) Day 2017

Today is May 01 - May Day or Labor Day, or International Workers Day 2017, a celebration and appreciation of workers all across the globe, with the exception of the United States(US), which observes Labor Day on the first Monday in September. 

On this May Day, the global community commemorates the contributions of working people to the continuity of life, liberty, security and happiness on Planet earth. From Ukraine, to Poland,  to the United Kingdom, to Barbados, to China, to Canada, to Cuba, to France  and wherever there are workers, humanity pauses on this day, to say thanks to those who labor.

Yet, as thank yous and celebrations are offered  to workers today, international labor still encounters forced labor, graved danger and deplorable working conditions. Henceforth, today is a fitting time that humanity resolves to protect all labor.



April 30, 2017

ASIA:

After 100 Days, No Redemption - Defiance and Divisiveness Affirmed by Trump

Just when it appeared that maybe Donald Trump was turning the corner on the way to attaining some appearance of normalcy to the United States(US) presidency, he mounted a stage yesterday in the state of Pennsylvania, to mark his 100 days-in-office, where he displayed no redemption as to his performance, but instead affirmed his egotistic defiance to the free press in a speech, which one political commentator, who has been an adviser to four US presidents, has labeled as the most divisive presidential speech he has ever heard.

As reported by CNN, Trump spent a large portion of his speech to his fans in Pennsylvania decrying the alleged shortcomings of the mainstream media. His divisive rantings and defiant stance prompted veteran political analyst, David Gergen, of CNN to call the remarks "deeply disturbing". "This was the most divisive speech I have ever heard from a sitting American president," Gergen, who advised Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, concluded.

And so the first 100 days of Trump has concluded with divisiveness and the next 100 days have been ushered in with more divisiveness. Of greater concern is the constitutional requirement that allows for another three years, barring any impeachment, of Trump style divisiveness to the high office of President of the United States of America.



April 29, 2017

ASIA:

The New American Resistance - to Protect Liberties and the Environment

New notice of America's resistance to protect human, civil and gender liberties and to protect the environment, was explicitly demonstrated via the popular Women's March on the day after the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States(US). 

Since that day, January 21, 2017, Americans have been staging demonstrations and rallies in many cities across the country in resistance to the agenda of Donald Trump. After the women's march, Scientists, last weekend, joined the lengthening list of groups demonstrating in Washington, DC, as they rallied for continued support and respect of science.

Today, the Climate March - a diversified group of climate activists, environmentalists, children, parents, grandmothers, grandfathers, social activists and regular people, takes place on the National Mall, to protect the climate, to create good-paying jobs and to push for a just world.

The Climate March takes places on the 100th day of Trump's occupation of the White House and it affirms the intent of the American people to resist, to build and to rise in the Trump era. The people will march to protect liberties and the environment.




April 28, 2017

ASIA:

To Resist, to Build to Rise - the People's Climate March 2017

United in the need to protect the climate, to create good-paying jobs and to build a more just world, tomorrow, April 29, 2017, on the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency, the People's Climate March will be held on the National Mall, Washington, DC, to celebrate both diversity and unity of movements and demonstrations against Trump's divisive agenda.

Themed: "We Resist, We Build, We Rise", the People's March, which started back on September 21, 2014, and was organized by the Peoples Climate Movement on the eve of the United Nations(UN) Climate Summit, saw hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life marched through New York City, New York, to demand bold and urgent action on the global climate crisis.

Tomorrow, participants will march for climate protections, jobs and justice as they celebrate the diversity and the unity of the movements against the Trump agenda, which has sought to deny climate change, among other environmentally-damning policies. The event is being held on the 100th day that Trump has been in office.

The March starts at 11:00 a.m. local time and will feature eight-blocks within the demonstration staged from Third Street and Jefferson Drive SW. The line-up will be under the follow banners and supporting people: 

1) Protectors of Justice - Indigenous, Frontline Environmental and Climate Justice communities;

2) Creators of Sanctuary - Immigration, LGBTQI, Women, Latinos, Water Keepers, Food Sovereignty and Land Rights'

3) Builders of Democracy - Labor, Government Workers, Voting Rights and Democracy Organizations;

4) Guardians of the Future - Children, Parents, Elders, Youth, Students and Peace Advocates;

5) Defenders of Truth - Scientists, Educators and the Health Community;

6) Keepers of Faith - Religious and Interfaith Groups;

7) Reshapers of Power - Anti-corporate, Anti-nuclear, Fossil Fuel Resistance and Renewable Energy;

8) Many Struggles, One Home - Environmentalists, Climate Activists and more.

If, last week's attendance at the March for Science is indicative per tomorrow's event, then close to or more than 500,000 people, could walk on Washington, DC, to resist, to build and to rise in the era of Trump.



April 27, 2017

ASIA:

Of Men and War and the Unfathomed Tragedies that Result

[Technical difficulties originating with my Internet Publisher resulted in My Blog not being published, yesterday, April 26, 2017. I thank all of you readers for your continued faithful patience.]

Two World Wars, including one to end all wars, followed by wars in Vietnam, Korea, Iran, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Angola, Nigeria, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Rwanda, Croatia, Sierra Leon, Algeria, Ukraine, Somalia, Georgia, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Angola, Nicaragua and Bosnia, to name some theaters of past or present conflict, have all been the consequences of mankind's deliberate actions.

Yet, mankind has failed to gain any knowledgeable experience in preference to peace over war because warring continues today against a background of fresh threats.

While some legal arguments could be raised in defense of war from time to time, more attention and consideration of the human tragedy from the violence of war should accompany all rhetoric threatening new wars.

With the ongoing Syrian civil war and the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan as examples, humanity should consider other alternatives to war before idle rhetoric plunges competing parties onto a one-way street to war. Like many fights, wars are very easy to get into, but difficult to end even with high death tolls.

Unfortunately, most of the people, who are often effected and inevitably become the victims of war, are the non decision makers given no opportunity to opt out of war, but must furnish their sons and daughters to the war cause.

The unfathomed tragedies of war should be avoided through the power of diplomacy. Tact, the power of communication and peaceful persuasion, stand as humankind's best deterrent to war. Let's all live for peace. Amen!



April 25, 2017

ASIA:

Donald Trump and North Korea - Decisions in the Making

United States(US) President Donald Trump continues to talk tough on North Korea. Barring his acceptance of any rational arguments not to go to war, Trump could find himself declaring war on the Korean peninsula only to save face amid tough rhetoric against the reclusive, repressive and unpredictable Pyongyang regime.

"North Korea's a big world problem, and it's a problem we have to finally solve. People put blindfolds on for decades and now it's time to solve the problem," CNN cited Trump as stating to ambassadors of nations that make up the United Nations(UN) Security Council. 

Moreover, as the USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine, emerges in the waters off South Korea, in a show of force to North Korea, the BBC-News reports that the entire US Senate has been invited to a briefing on North Korea, tomorrow, Wednesday, at the White House.

Also, as the US and South Korean navies hold joint exercises off the western coast of the Korean peninsula, on the Yellow Sea, Pyongyang, earlier today, held  a "large-scale artillery drill" in eastern North Korea, marking the 85th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's army, celebrating armed forces day in the isolated country.

Yet, amid threats from North Korea that it would sink the US Aircraft carrier, Carl Vinson and would launch strikes against the US; then with the arrival of more US military assets around the Korean peninsula, President Donald Trump has indicated that he could act against North Korea alone. This week could reveal a final decision on Trump's plan for North Korea.



April 24, 2017

ASIA:

Le Pacte Republicain - the Republican Pact to Affirm French Ideals in the Run-off Presidential Election

A 39-year-old pro-European Union(EU) former economy minister, who quit his job to form a new political party to seek the presidency of France, is set to become the youngest leader of the Fifth Republic on May 7 in a run-off election. 

Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, who founded En March political party last September after quitting as France's economy minister, emerged as the major vote getter after yesterday's first round of voting in the election for the president of France. He got 8.4 million votes or 23.8 percent of the vote. 

Macron, who got more votes than any of the other 10 candidates vying for the presidency, secured his place in the run-off race against right-wing, anti-EU and anti-immigrant candidate, Marine Le Pen, of the National Front(FN), who got 21.5 percent of the vote to support her vow to take France out of the EU. Center-right candidate Francois Fillon got 19.9 percent of the vote; leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, gathered 19.6 percent and socialist, Benoit Hamon, got 6.4 percent. The two top vote getters advance to the run-off election.

However, the mathematics of French politics, according to the Guardian Newspaper, stacks up against nationalist Le pen because "Le Pacte Republicain" - the Republican Pact among all mainstream parties, would now call for and align support behind Macron in the May 7 vote.

Hence, if all the variables of French politics remain equal, Emmanuel Macron would become the next president of France and the first leader in over 60 years not to come from a major party. Yet, the French, in selecting Macron, would be reaffirming their support for the EU. .



April 23, 2017

ASIA:

The French Vote - another Defining Event of the Future of Europe

The people of France are voting today in a presidential election, which will join the already concluded March 14 decision of the Dutch people and the scheduled September vote of the German people, to define the future of Europe - with or without a strong European Union(EU), or become a divergent region marred by right wing nationalism and replete with anti-immigration and anti-Muslim sentiments.

In rejecting the scare tactics of Holland's right wing rhetoric-mongers, the people of the Netherlands reaffirmed their commitment to the EU in their election on March 14. Today, the French have their say, but the French vote comes on the heels of yet another violent extreme event in Paris, when last week, a known violent individual, shot and killed a policeman during an attack upon a police vehicle on the busy tourist attraction, the Champs Elysees.

France has suffered violent extreme events in recent years and right wing parties have seized upon the occurrences to denounce immigration and to condemn Islam. Yet, the unfortunate events could have been possible even under military leadership. 

By the end of today, the French could either vote to honor their long standing position as a humanitarian land rapt in European integration, or they could vote to usher in an untested era of nationalist isolation. Also, should any of the 11 candidates in today's presidential election fail to gain a 50 percent majority, the two top vote-earners, will enter into a run-off election in two weeks. 

The German people will have their vote to affirm or to weaken the EU in September.

Like the Dutch vote, there could be a stronger than usual showing for right wing candidates today in France, but as was confirmed in Holland, the French, whether today, or in two weeks, should affirm the continuity of French freedom and sound reasoning that has abound around, over and beyond the Seine River valley for many generations, thus paving the way for the German people to also affirm European unity in September.



April 22, 2017

ASIA:

Earth Day 2017 - to Accepting Scientific Evidence of the Necessity to Protect Planet Earth

Today, is Earth Day 2017. On this day as the global community seeks to explore and to highlight ways and means to human sustainability on Planet Earth, humankind should be reminded of the science that underscores the importance of protecting the entire environment - the air, the oceans and seas, the rivers and the lakes as well as the land.

As the effects of climate change grow more evident, humankind should respect the science that clearly offers rehabilitative and preventative solutions to sustaining life on Planet Earth. The people of the United Kingdom(UK) yesterday demonstrated that it is possible to live without dirty-burning coal as they went a full day without burning any of the carbon-rich threat to human sustainability on Earth,

Thus, on this day, all of humanity should reaffirm to work toward the protection of the environment in order to make our 'Bright Blue Marble' more pristine and more healthy for many generations to come.



April 21, 2017

ASIA:

Problematic Conditions Facing Humanity - Duration and Prolongation of Suffering

In the circles of real political idealists, revolution has always been a welcomed event because it offers immediate change, relief and rebirth of governing systems. The most notable revolutions across history, from the French to the American and all the other not-so-well-accepted events, underscore the benefits and the opportunities presented to nationalities via revolution.

However, in recent years, in lieu of revolutions to change disgusted and failed governments in some lands, humanity has had to suffer problematic deathly conditions over a long duration with no guarantees of relief.

Syria, Venezuela, South Sudan and Yemen are but a few nations that could have shorted the duration of the sufferings of their people via revolution. But, in the absence of any needed revolution in Syria, Syrians have had to suffer for seven years, as Bashar al Assad and his Russian ally, inflict irreparable harm upon civilians. More than 500,000 Syrians have died, tens of thousands have been maimed and more than 11 million have been displaced both internally and externally from seven-years-of-hell. The grief continues since starting in 2011.

Anti-government protests this week in Venezuela that have been marked by deaths is no new debacle to the oil-rich nation. Before 2014, Venezuelans have been trying to get their government to tend to the needs of the masses and not just to the political appetite of the ruling authorities. A beauty queen, students, activists and other civilians have died in recent years in Venezuela as the opposition attempted to force the socialist government to amends its ways and to address a worsening economy that has brought hardships to many with scarcity of common items like toilet paper and soap. Without a revolution, the plight of the Venezuelan people continue today.

In Yemen, in South Sudan and in other places that could have benefited from revolutionary change as a means to delivering good governance to the people, there continues to be a prolongation of the duration of suffering by the people.

By the time any substantial change comes to either of the a fore mentioned nations, too many innocent people, including children, would have died or made to suffer for far too long.

Thus, as it has been determined by many nationalities throughout history, those suffering today must decide total liberty, death or prolonged suffering.



April 20, 2017

ASIA:

Trouble in the Backyard - Killings in Venezuela and Seizure of an American Plant

Years of political strife, exacerbated by the failed economic and social performances by president Nicolas Maduro to bring relief and prosperity to the Venezuelan people, have reached yet another boiling point with three people killed at anti-government protests and with socialist authorities seizing an American car plant.

Despite having one of the world's largest proven reserves of oil, under Maduro and his failed economic policies, Venezuela has struggled to maintain basic commodities needed to enhance every day life. Toilet paper, food and basic materials remain scantly scarce in a country that has a strong potential to economic prosperity. Instead, according to a BBC-News report, citing an International Monetary Fund(IMF) report, Venezuela will teeter close to 700(seven-hundred) percent inflation by year's end.

Anti-government protest have become commonplace with Maduro's police and security forces hitting back against dissent by breaking up rallies and imprisoning opposition members. Three people, including a teenager in the capital, Caracas, and a woman in the town of San Cristobal, close to the Colombian border, were shot dead in recent protests across Venezuela and a national guardsman was killed south of the capital, the BBC-News reported.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have been protesting to demand new presidential elections ahead of the late 2018 schedule. The opposition, led by Henrique Capriles, is hoping to pressure Maduro into negotiating with them in an attempt to end the country's economic crisis.

In a mean time, American automobile giant, General Motors(GM), has confirmed that Venezuelan authorities have seized its Venezolana car plant in the city of Valencia. The BBC-News reported that assets, including vehicles, had been taken by the government. GM has promised to "take all legal actions" to defend its interest, which it contends, has suffered irreparable damage. 

Yet as Maduro seizes an American firm, it has been confirmed that the Venezuelan state oil company, CITGO, which for many years has been very generous to Americans by donating a lot of home heating oil to needy families, donated $500,000.00 to the Donald Trump presidential inauguration.

As Venezuela's turmoil continues to unfold in the backyard of the United States(US), opposition groups have planned more protests for today attempting to force the government to enter negotiations to ending the economic crisis or to call new elections.




April 19, 2017

ASIA:

European Elections 2017 - Three to Affirm the EU, One to Underscore an Exit

British Prime Minister Theresa May, today, seeks the backing of parliament to hold snap elections on June 8, 2017, a surprise move from the newly installed prime minister, who soon after being installed in the position, chided that there was no need for elections until the schedule time in 2020. He request, after some tongue-lashing from opposition parties, would probably be granted.

However, with the United Kingdom(UK) now involve with formal talks to leaving the European Union(EU), the Brit election announcement, came as a surprise in a year when three scheduled European elections set to affirm EU membership, or to bow to right-wing influences.

Thus far, the Netherlands election, held on March 14, has affirmed EU membership, while it struck back against a right-wing and nationalist opposition. Next country on the election schedule is France, which will hold a first round of voting, this Sunday, April 23. Like the Netherlands, France is witnessing an influencing right-wing operation that seeks to curb the EU. If no majority winner emerges in France on Sunday, the two top vote-getting candidates will compete in a determining vote on May 7.

The third planned European election schedule this year that seeks to either affirm EU-membership or to bow to nationalistic influence from right wing groups, is the German vote, set for September 24, which should affirm Angela Merkel's commitment to the EU and her emerging status at the leader of the free world.

Theresa May's British announcement places the UK in the elections column for June 8, 2017, when she expects Brits to endorse her Brexit plans, as she promises "strong and stable leadership", if she wins. She faces opposition from Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party  and Tim Farron's Liberal Democrats. Yet, Europe's more contentious elections remain the French and German votes that seek to affirm the colossal economic pact of the EU. 



April 18, 2017

ASIA:

An Obstacle to Syria's Peace - Insistence on the Inclusion of Assad in a New Syria

[Today, because of time constraint, I repeat My Blog, with some edits, from a year-ago. The topic remains pertinent under current conditions.]

The Syrian opposition has declared peace talks, slated for Geneva, Switzerland, should not go on if the regime continues to violate the ceasefire agreement. 

The opposition found it  explicitly "unacceptable" for the talks to continue if the government and its allies did not lift sieges and stop bombing civilians areas, Reuters reported earlier today. And based upon the complaints of the Syrian opposition, peace talks in Geneva could fail again. 

Syrian peace talks could fail because of ceasefire violations by Bashar al Assad's forces and his allies as they continue actions aimed at attempting to cement a place for Assad in a new Syria. Yet, that very insistence of trying to secure a place for the perpetrator Assad in a new Syria, undoubtedly stands in the way any peace in the Levant.

It should become apparent to any logical individual, with the exception, perhaps of Assad's allies - Russian and Iran, that the presence of Bashar al Assad in Damascus, represents a source of perpetual violence and insecurity in the entire Middle East region and beyond.

Therefore, as the Syrian opposition continues to complain of ceasefire violations that effect and endanger the lives of thousands of Syrians everyday, Syria's peace talks in Geneva should focus on the security of Syria and the entire Levant along with the inevitable departure of Bashar al Assad.



April 17, 2017

ASIA:

Death of Democracy in Turkey - Erdogan Wins Regal Powers

The free world has lost the democratic processes of government in Turkey to the authoritarianism of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Results from Sunday's referendum to extend regal powers to Erdogan, indicate that he has won the measure  for greater powers with a mere 51 percent of the vote, in a system in which, he controlled the ballot boxes.

While international observers have beckoned that voting fell short of expected standards and opposition parties have claimed foul at the ballot boxes, nothing in operation in Turkey today will stop Erdogan from assuming the strong powers he so desperately craved and desired. 

Therefore, with a close ballot box assumed victory, Erdogan has positioned himself as the lone strong man of NATO-member, Turkey, a position he could hold until death or until 2029. 

Hence, the parliamentary system in Turkey will be abandoned along with the position of prime minister. Erdogan will have powers to appoint ministers of government along with senior members of the judiciary and power to make decrees as he sees fit. 

Democracy has therefore died in Turkey with the enhanced powers given to the presidency, which, before Erdogan, was merely a ceremonial position. A new untested era begins with the coronation of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

In the mean time, as has happened in Turkey, as had occurred in the United Kingdom(UK), as also once in Colombia, before a second vote changed an original vote, referendums given to the people have yielded surprising close results. Thus, the question could be raised as to whether or not referendums should require a three-quarter majority in order to be enacted.



April 16, 2017

ASIA:

Erdogan's Coronation - the Rise of Greater Authoritarianism in Turkey

By the end of this day, Turkey could become a nation with a president having sweeping regal powers and a nation without a leading parliamentary system of power that also gets rid of the prime minister's position and gives greater power to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to appoint top government officials as well as ministers of government.

Turks are today voting on a referendum to replace the nation's parliamentary system with an executive presidency, according to the BBC-News, which Erdogan and his supporters have argued would modernize the country, but opponents contend and fear the change would lead to greater authoritarianism. Turkey still remains under emergency decree ever since a failed coup last July. 

Since the failed coup, tens of thousands of Turks have either been detained, jailed, fired or suspended from governmental positions, including the judiciary, police and teachers. More than 150 media outlets have been shuttered and journalists have been jailed as Erdogan has solidified his grasp over NATO-member, Turkey.

If Turks approve the referendum, Erdogan could remain in power until 2029. His regal powers would allow him to appoint cabinet ministers, issue decrees, pick senior judges and to dissolve parliament. Erdogan claims the changes are needed to address Turkey's security challenges and to avoid the fragile coalition governments of the past.

Opponents to the supreme power change fear the president's position would become too powerful amounting to one-man rule without any checks and balances. 

But central power in Turkey remains in the hands of Erdogan during today's vote and more than likely, Erdogan will have his way at the ballot boxes. 



April 15, 2017

ASIA:

Saber-Rattling - North Korea Bluffs on the Brink of Possible War

Showcasing its military hardware to celebrate the 105 anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim II-sung, North Korea continues to promise more nuclear testing of weaponry despite a firm show of might from United States(US) President Donald Trump, who once vowed to tackle North Korea, alone. 

The Trump administration has positioned an aircraft carrier and addition naval systems closer to the Korean peninsula in light of on-going weaponry testing by North Korea's portly leader, Kim Jong-un. He has vowed to continue testing of a delivery system for far-reaching nuclear weapons. The tense war-atmosphere over Korea comes from Jong-un's perceived craziness matched by Trump's desire to appear strong.

Today's military show case by Pyongyang took place amid speculation that Jong-un could order a new nuclear test, the BBC-News reported. But in spite of saber-rattling on the peninsula, it is doubtful that the North Korean would attempt any new nuclear testing while a trigger-happy Trump seeks a scenario to affirm his resolve to respond to any threats to US national security interests. 

Although Trump appears to have softened his earlier tone of dealing with North Korea alone since hinting at getting Chinese help and consultation with the international community, before any action, Pyongyang did not seize its patriotic moment to test any new weaponry at today's military parade. Thus Jong-un is bluffing about any new nuclear test in spite of rhetoric from his second-in-command, Choe Ryong-hae, who has declared: "We're prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war;" the BBC-News reported. He added: "We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks."

However, barring any stupid action from North Korea, the present saber-rattling on the Korean peninsula  has reached a peak from which a calming effect should now ensue, for peace-sake.




April 14, 2017

ASIA:

Big Bombs Alone Will Not End Terror

The United States(US) underscored its military might on Thursday by detonating the "mother of all bombs" - the most powerful non-nuclear bomb the country has ever used in fighting, over tunnels of the Islamic State(IS) terror group in Nangarhar, Afghanistan. The Afghan government reported this morning that no civilians were killed nor injured in the bombing, but it confirmed that 36 IS fighters were killed.

The detonation of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb(MOAB), or the "mother of all bombs", over that particular area of Afghanistan, came after the death of a US soldier in that region a week ago. MOAB targeted a network of tunnels used and operated by the IS terrorists in the Achin district, of Afghanistan, the BBC-News reported.

Weighing 21,600 pounds, 30-feet long and guided by GPS, MOAB was dropped from a MC-130 transport plane. The main expected effect from this big bomb is a huge blast-wave stretching a-mile in diameter from the impact zone created by 18,000 pounds of TNT. The IS certainly obtained a first-hand experience of US military might.

However, big bombs will not stop terror, nor deter it. MOAB and similar weaponry could force terrorists from caves and caverns to more populated urban centers, where they would represent an even greater threat to innocent civilians, while making their detection difficult.

To abate terror, specific targeted rebuttal is required to counter fallible religious rhetoric and ideology. Also, a righting of historical wrongs, access to a fair system of redress to deal with grievances and the extinction of bad governance, like the Bashar al Assad regime, are all required to combat terror, not big bombs alone. Moreover, an ongoing engagement of varying cultures could help in reducing terror threats.



April 13, 2017

ASIA:

Putin Affirms Support for Assad at the UN as Russia Damns Humanity

Russia vetoed yet another United Nations(UN) resolution on Syria before the Security Council(SC) yesterday, thus affirming Vladimir Putin's support for gassing perpetrator, Bashar al Assad, thus cementing Russia's isolation as it damns humanity to the likely of more chemical warfare.

The UN resolution proposed by France, the United Kingdom(UK) and the United States(US), sought to condemn last week's chemical gas(sarin) attack upon civilians at Khan Sheikhun, Syria. Some 80 civilians, including a number of children, died in that attack. According to the BBC-News, the draft measure also sought to demand that Damascus cooperate with international investigators.

But, Russia, for the eighth time since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, invoked its super veto before the SC to quash the resolution hereby protecting Assad once again and damning humanity to possible future chemical gas attacks in Syria, where hundreds of people, including children, have died in chemical attacks perpetrated by the Assad regime.

China, which has vetoed six similar Syrian resolutions in the past, abstained from yesterday's vote, so did Ethiopia and Kazakhstan. Ten empathetic nations: France, UK, US, Italy, Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay, voted for the resolution, while Bolivia joined Russia in voting against it. As a permanent member of the SC, Russia's "no" vote automatically  vetoed the measure.

Russian support for the Assad regime amounts to an endorsement of crimes against humanity and future treatment of Russia should follow similar patterns meted out to war criminals just like Bashar al Assad and his regime.



April 12, 2017

ASIA:

Stand Down - Abandon Any Plans to Terror

To any and all would-be terrorists or extremists, who might have been seduced by fallible religious rhetoric and ideology into plotting any terror attack during this High Holy week or subsequently, I encourage and I implore you to stand-down and to abandon any and all such plans.

Terror can never triumph over good and innocence. But terror, as it has proved from time to time, inevitably creates a living hell for the families, friends, associates and nationalities of terrorists. Terror is perhaps the most selfish of all actions that fails to consider the innocence of children and adult victims.

So, once again, I beseech any and all troubled souls, who have been confused into considering terror against innocents, to stand down and to abandon any plans to violence and mayhem. Instead, I pray that any such marginalized individuals seek atonement and forgiveness for all transgressions.



April 11, 2017

ASIA:

Syrian Peace

Syria's people must stand and demand their peace - demand their peace and their emancipation from Bashar al Assad, as well as to insist upon a divorce from Russian influence in that part of the Levant.

Peace will not come to Syria as long as Assad remains in Damascus under Russian support. Moreover, to accommodate their inevitable forthcoming peace, it might become imperative and beneficial that Syrian Opposition groups should seek a working coalition in order to transition into a new dawn, a new government and a new era for Syria.

After the fall of Assad, the Opposition must be in a position to extend governance to Syrians with very minimal confusion and hiccups. Therefore, Syria's Opposition must unite now. It is through a forged unity that the cultural and the social wealth of Syria could be regained.



April 10, 2017

ASIA:

Unsettled Historical Wrongs, Missing Means to Redress - Continuing Factors to Extremism

Bluntly stated: unsettled historical wrongs, missing means to redress of current grievances and the deliberate and systematic closing of opportunities to equality and to personal betterment, remain substantial causes of extremism in the east in western societies.

Two violent attacks in Egypt upon Coptic churches on Palm Sunday, are indicative of still held historical grudges that have become intertwined with government actions in recent years. Sunday's Egyptian tragedies will not be the last to occur because there are many unsettled issues remaining from the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood,  to the ousting of the democratically elected Mohamed Morsi and to the mass jailing of thousands of dissenters and protesters.

Extremist violence from Syria to Iraq to Libya, to Turkey and beyond are all also rooted in historical events and the lack of redress for many people and sects with arguable cases. Similar conditions exist in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, elsewhere across Africa and into Myanmar, Bangladesh, the People's Republic of China, India, Russia, the former Asian soviet states and in other places of Asia.

Moreover, extremist acts of violence that have targeted France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and elsewhere across Europe that have sent influencing radicalization to North America, are all connected to the said historical wrongs, missing means to redress and the denial of opportunities that are prevalent in the source-nations.

To continue all efforts to diffuse radicalization and to combat extremism, the military option should never become the sole means. Instead, atonement, development, opportunity, cooperation, respect and empathy, must all be encouraged.



April 09, 2017

ASIA:

The Entry, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Today, Christians celebrate Palm Sunday - Jesus Christ's entry into Jerusalem, leading to his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

After the sacrifice of Christ, what lessons have modern man learned? Injustice, persecution and discrimination based on race, color, religion and country of origin, still abound. For what then, did Christ gave his life?

Humanity should continue into the future observing each and every day as a holy day - with the giving to charity, extending care and empathy to fellow humans and having respect of one another - kindnesses often only customary on High Holy days. 

To resolve to live each day as a High Holy day, is to resolve to serve and love humanity, thus giving meaning to the sacrifice of Christ.

Walk in peace my brothers and sisters. Amen!



April 08, 2017

ASIA:

Syrian Objectives to Lasting Peace

Any and all objectives per Syria should involve the establishment of peace through a transfer of power from a failed hereditary system to the hands of the Syrian people that must involve the inevitable dismissal of Bashar al Assad from Damascus.

Any and all discussions and agreements to peace should include the various sects and groups representing the full spectrum of Syrian society, but must be void of participation of Assad and his henchmen who are guilty of crimes against humanity. 

Moreover, that Russia has and continues to play an active part in perpetrating and waging war against the Syrian people, on the behalf of Assad, must summarily disqualify Russian involvement in the long term peace process for  Syria. Also, that Russia and Assad will always be associated with violence and suffering in Syria, further demands that Russian military bases in Syria be closed per any peace agreement worthy of lasting peace.

If the afore mentioned objectives could be reached with regards to Syria, then peace and a lasting security could come to that area of the Levant, as extremism retreats in the absence of a foreign killer of Syrians and also in the absence of Bashar al Assad as stokers of radicalism, extremism and unconscionable violence against humanity. 



April 07, 2017

ASIA:

America Strikes Back Against Assad's Chemical Weapons Attack

Bashar al Assad must be the most stunned man on planet earth this morning after United States(US) tomahawk missiles, from ships in the eastern Mediterranean, rained down upon one of his airbases within Syria, in retaliation for this week's chemical weapons attack upon Syrian civilians at Khan Sheikhoun, south of Idlib. 

Self-assured that with Russia's backing he would remain untouchable, especially in the face of missing US efforts to dislodged his humanity-damning regime, Assad, foolishly, mistook rumblings from the new administration in Washington, D.C. that based upon a vowed better relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, that his illegal warfare could go unpunished and unnoticed.

International images of the chemical weapons attack showing choking children and civilians on the streets of Khan Sheikhoun were provoking and overwhelming. 

President Donald Trump approved the US naval attack upon the Syrian military installation that resulted in the killing of six. Russia now says it will help Syria fortify its skies from any future raids. 

Without stating any long term objective per Syria, Trump defended the attack as being in the interest of US national security in a live television briefing. He spoke of the horrors upon the Syrian children and civilians. The president's action was a departure from his isolationist statements, but more in line with the historical stance of the US a defender of freedom, democracy, justice and the rule of law.




April 06, 2017

ASIA:

Commonalities between Trump and Xi? Business and Censorship?

As American Donald Trump and Chinese Xi Jinping begin two-days of talks in the United States(US), it is possible that in spite of some doubts the two might not see eye-to-eye on most issues, that maybe, and strangely enough, both men might be able to form a bond out of their associations to business and because of their apparent desires for censorship.

China's businesses, sparked by salacious western appetites for cheap and mass produced goods, have boomed for more than a decade. Xi, like other Chinese leaders before him, has cemented his power over the communist nation based in part by effective specific targeted censorship of most parts of Chinese society, including the news, social media and religious and human rights.

On the other hand, America's Trump has been well documented as having a bloated passion for business for well over three decades, even with a number of bankruptcy filings. His stated views about the free press in the US concludes that he would love to exact upon American media, the same exertion that Xi and the communists, have imposed and continue to hold, over Chinese life.

Moreover, even though Trump has bluntly criticized China more so than any other American leader in recent times, he enjoys a better than average support among China's classes of people because of their perception of him as a "successful" businessman. And many Chinese love and admire the creation and possession of wealth, so naturally, they see Trump as someone to idolize even more so than a cross standing over a censored church in the Chinese countryside.

So as Trump and Xi attempt to settle matters of trade deficits, concerns over North Korea and other issues, it remains possible that if, business and censorship are sufficient to overlook more serious matters, then Trump could emerge from the talks boasting of Xi as a new found best friend. 



April 05, 2017

ASIA:

The New Seven-Years War - An Ongoing Slaughter of Innocents in Syria

The entry of Russia into the Syrian civil war to aid and to abet the regime of Bashar al Assad, has without doubt, contributed to the prolongation of suffering, death and the damnation to violence for the Syrian people.

That half of Syria's prewar population -  more than 11 million people, have been killed or displaced by the conflict, seems to be of no concern to Russia nor to the Assad regime: for the fighting, now accented by attacks with chemical weapons upon civilians, including children, continues in lieu of  any real plan by the historic stalwarts of democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law, to put an end to the Syrian carnage.

Now in its seventh-year, since starting on March 15, 2011, the effects of the Syrian war, will be felt even after the conflict ends. The Syrian war and its documented atrocities against humanity, have sparked global extremism marked by terror events from the Middle East to Europe and even Russia. 

Syria's war will continue in some form or fashion as long as Bashar al Assad sits in Damascus. Any declared victory by his regime or by Russia, will not end the violence in that corner of the Levant. Too many wrongs have been committed in Syria to be easily forgotten. Some form of insurgency will continue in Syria for many years to come unless a victory is gained by Syrian people that involves the removal of Bashar al Assad from Damascus.

Assad started, perpetrated, escalated and continues the war with Russian support. The main instigator of such a human tragedy involving committed crimes against humanity, can never be retained under any lasting peace scenario. Thus, logic holds that any peace to Syria could only come with the removal of Bashar al Assad. The Syrian people, like all the world's people, are deserving of peace and happiness.



April 04, 2017

ASIA:

Another Crime Against Humanity - More Chemical Gas Attacks in Syria

That the Syrian regime -  facing no declared opposition from the new administration in the United States(US), feeling all assured of certain victory in the Syrian civil war and would again resort to the illegal use of chemical weapons upon innocent Syrians, clearly underscores the blatant disregard Bashar al Assad and his allies have for humanity or for any humanitarian conventions covering modern warfare.

Early estimates are that between 58 and 100 people were gassed to death earlier this morning, in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, about 30-miles south of the city of Idlib. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported that air strikes by Syrian regime or Russian jets caused many people to choke to death. Later, aircraft linked to Assad or to Vladimir Putin, fired upon health clinics treating the said poisoned and bomb victims. 

The London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 58 victims, including 11 children died in the gas attack. However, Mohammed Rasol, who runs a charity ambulance service in Idlib, according to the BBC-News, placed the number dead at 67 and the injured at 300. Rasol said he received news of the air strikes about 6:45 a.m. local time and when three of his ambulance got to the scene 20-minutes later, his medics found people choking to death in the streets.

A pro-opposition media center in the area placed the number dead at 100 and it determined the chemical agent used as being the nerve agent - sarin. In August, 2013, Syrian regime forces killed more then 500 people in a rebel area of Damascus by reportedly deploying sarin gas. Assad's government was suppose to hand over all its chemical weapons under an international agreement.

But today's chemical attack is a clear crime against humanity and the assault further affirms that Assad's regime has become emboldened in the face of no calls for his removal from power by the Donald Trump administration in Washington, D.C., which has vowed to work closer with Russian, the major protector of Assad's throne in Damascus.   



April 03, 2017

ASIA:

Peril in St. Petersburg - Terror Strikes the Hometown of Vladimir Putin

The global community grieves today with the families, loved ones, friends and associates of the ten innocent people killed in twin blasts aboard metro trains around the city-center of St. Petersburg, Russia, the hometown of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Along with the confirmed dead, another 50 people were reportedly injured in the apparent pipe-bomb attacks aboard trains at the Sennaya Ploshchad  metro station and at the Technological Institute station, one stop away from the first station. 

News wire service reports suggest that the bombs were filled with nails rendering a scene of carnage of bloody victims upon the metro platform at Sennaya Ploshchad station. At about 2:40 p.m. St. Petersburg time, the second explosion occurred. Three train lines connect at Sennaya Ploshchad metro station and two lines connect at the Technological Institute station.

Putin was in his hometown of St.Petersburg today for a meeting with the president of Belarus. Under Putin, Russia has been involved in military events in Ukraine, in Crimea as well as in Syria, where Putin has been militarily propping up the Bashar al Assad government for the past two years. Major anti-corruption demonstration have also been held across Russia for the past two-consecutive Sundays.



April 02, 2017

ASIA:

A Muddy Tragedy - Prayers and Relief Efforts to Colombia

At least 254 people have died, another 400 injured and 200, including a number of children, are missing after copious amounts of rain on Friday, triggered a watery-mudslide yesterday of muck and boulders upon the city of Mocoa, in the South American nation of Colombia.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has declared a state of emergency in the region after touring the devastated area, in the southwest of the country, close to the Ecuadorian and Peruvian borders. Relief workers have been joined by more than 1,000 troops and police in carrying out rescue assistance and heartbreaking recovery operations. 

Prayers have been offered for the Colombia people as they cope with the natural disaster. At least three large temporary housing shelters have been erected to house the displaced.

According to the BBC-News, Colombia's National Disaster Risk Management Unit confirmed that a third of the region's expected monthly rainfall, fell during one night. The rain swelled rivers causing them to break their banks causing the horrendous mudslide. "It was a torrential rainstorm, it got really strong," local resident Mario Usale, whose father-in-law was missing, told Reuters.

Mocoa mayor, Jose Antonio Castro, said his city was "totally isolated" without running water and electricity because the devastation was blocking access routes. 

This is the rainy season for many places close to the equator, especially in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. Heavy rains that maintain some of the dense plush jungles and rain forests in the region, can have disastrous effects over large areas. Our condolences to the bereaved and our hopes to a speedy recovery in Mocoa.   



April 01, 2017

ASIA:

Attacks upon Freedoms from the USA to China - a Frightening Reality Emerges

Reuters has reported that United Nations(UN) human rights investigators have described as "alarming and undemocratic" a recent trend since the election of Donald Trump, to curb freedom of expression in America. In China, long beards and veils have been banned in Xinjiang province, the scene of past alleged Muslim violence.

Yet, that 19-U.S. states have introduced bills seeking to curb freedom of expression and the right to protest ever since Trump's ascension to the presidency, is damning to the American Republic as a historic country of democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law. 

Reuters cited both Maina Kiai and David Kaye, independent UN experts on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, as categorizing the States' bills to curb protest and speech, as being incompatible with international human rights law. "The trend also threatens to jeopardize one of the United States' constitutional pillars: free speech," the two experts declared.

Legislation before Republican-governed states like Indiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri, seek to block fundamental rights to protest. Another piece of legislation in Minnesota seeks to criminalize peaceful protesters for participating in demonstrations that subsequently turned violent. Anti protest bills have also been proposed in Colorado, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

However, the UN experts have duly noted that there was no such thing as a violent protest, only violent protesters because "One person's decision to resort to violence does not strip other protesters of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly," Reuters reported.

Meanwhile in China, the BBC-News reports that Chinese communists have moved to ban long beards and the wearing of veils in public places. China also seeks to criminalize any refusal to watch state television.

As feared by many, actions to abridge the rights of the people have started in this era of Trump. Proposed legislation in some US States are reading like many from the soviet-era and like those usually invoked in places like China and  in places of failing dictatorships.




March 31, 2017

ASIA:

Assad Wins - Humanity Loses in Syria

Statements yesterday by the United States(US) ambassador to the United Nations(UN), Nikki Haley, have confirmed that Bashar al Assad - the slaughtered of women and children, purveyor of chemical weapons upon the Syrian people and instigator of crimes against humanity, has won the Syrian civil war. With Assad's win, humanity henceforth, has lost.

According to reports by the BBC-News, Ambassador Haley confirmed that the US is no longer prioritizing the removal of the Syrian leader. "...we can't necessarily focus on Assad the way the previous administration did," she said. Under the Barack Obama administration, efforts were made to remove Assad from power and to effect justice for the Syrian people for the killing of children, the use of barrel bombs and the use of chemical weapons that killed many Syrian children.

However, with the new Donald Trump administration in control of the pursuit of justice as a historic leader of human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law, "Our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out," Haley confirmed, "Our priority is to really look at how do we get things done, who do we need to work with to really make a difference for the people in Syria," the BBC-News cited the ambassador as saying.

Thus, as Trump has vowed to work more closely with Russia, which supports and props up the Syrian regime, Assad appears to be off the hook for war crimes. His retention in Damascus represents a victory for tyranny and a defeat for humanity, justice, freedom and rule of law.

However, and just maybe, the UN, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy or some other influential organization or nation state, could develop and insist upon a mechanism whereby Bashar al Assad is still made to be held accountable for crimes against the people and the children of Syria.



March 30, 2017

ASIA:

After Brexit - a British Option

In lieu of adopting any reactionary isolationist measures from the European continent post Brexit, Britain has an option of seeking an increase into its influence, involvement and commitment in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO). The United Kingdom(UK) could transform into a bigger security provider benefiting the European Union(EU) instead of being a par trading member of the economic bloc.

Moreover, the UK should be able to soften its Brexit hard landing by pledging and committing more resources to the security of Europe via NATO, as a means of signaling to the EU that though, it felt constrained by the pact's immigration and sovereignty policies, the UK  would still remain an integral part of the continent. The UK was one of the founding 12-members of NATO.

Through a sound pledge to the greater defense of Europe, the UK could retain some of its privileges enjoyed as a member of the EU. If EU member states could rationalize the importance and the value of a sister-state willingly stepping forward to take on more weight of the security of the continent, then Britain and EU could still have a very healthy marriage post Brexit. 

Britain's additional commitment to Europe's security could also cushion any possible pullbacks toward NATO from the new administration in Washington, D.C.



March 29, 2017

ASIA:

Beginning of an End - the UK Triggers Article 50 to Leave the European Union

Official proceedings have overshadowed any celebration and any sobbing as British Prime Minister Theresa May, has dispatched a six-page letter to European Union Council President, Donald Tusk, in Brussels, Belgium, invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, hereby signaling the beginning of a two-year process to officially divorce the United Kingdom(UK) from the European Union(EU).

Voters in the UK narrowly approved Brexit last June. The UK would be leaving the EU after 44 years that has witnessed the union increase in influence and in size and scope. Yet, voters in the UK, concerned over immigration and sovereignty issues, elected to leave to the union unaware of their long term economic health.

May's letter, delivered by her ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow, was accepted by the EU. The prime minister, according to the BBC-News, explained: "Today the government acts on the democratic will of the British people..." She concluded: "This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back."

And so it has come to past that in the year 2017, having voted to leave the EU in 2016, the people of the UK have officially notified the EU of their plans to leave the union, which will take place in 2019.  The divorce will not be an easy ordeal for the sons and daughters of the UK. Many immigration and economic matters will need to be sorted. It will not be any easy considering the number of towns, cities and people in the UK, whose livelihoods are directly connected to the EU.




March 28, 2017

ASIA:

Environmentally Damning - Reversing Clean Air Protections from the Obama Era

The businessman White House occupant, Donald Trump, will today seek to damn the United States(US) environmental climate to increase pollution from coal-fired power plants, as he issues an executive order to remove restrictions on maxims of pollution allowed by factories that were imposed by President Barack Obama to help battle the debilitating effects of global Climate Change.

Trump, who during last year's Presidential Election, pledged to pull the US out of the historic planet-saving Paris Agreement on Climate Change, claims that removing restrictions on emissions by coal-fired power plants, would create jobs. But at what and at whose expense? The new president will also seek to slash the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) by a third. 

The new White House also plans to review environmental protection regulations on oil, gas and coal production, with a view to reversing green rules set by President Obama to limit greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants in order for the US to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Acting on a misguided notion that environmental protections hurt the economy, Trump has maintained that he would put people back to work by reversing Climate Change protections. 

If people are employed via injuries to the environment, could such employment ever be counted as an economic good given the associated health effects that will inevitably come with air pollution? Trump, who turns 71, on June 14, is gambling on the short run and obviously not on the long run.



March 27, 2017

ASIA:

Jailing of Alexei Navalny - Snapshot of Old and New Russia and Putin's Desired Influence

A Russian court this morning jailed charismatic opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, 40, to 15-days in jail after he was arrested on Sunday, in Moscow, heading to one of numerous anti-corruption protests demonstrations that drew tens of thousands of people across Russia from the capital to St. Petersburg, to Vladivostok, to Novosibirsk, to Tomsk and as far away as the western city of Chita, in Siberia and stretching to the southern Dagestan capital of Makhachkala.

The Associated Press(AP) described Sunday's Russian anti-government and anti-corruption demonstrations as "the biggest show of defiance since 2011-2012 anti-government protests."

Navalny, who's been twice convicted on politically motivated fraud and embezzlement charges and is currently serving a suspended sentence, has shown no softening in his criticism of Russian government corruption. He organized Sunday's demonstrations before being arrested and subsequently jailed, this morning for resisting police orders. Before going to jail, Navalny Tweeted: " A time will come when we'll put them on trial too - and that time, it will be fair," he observed about Russian judges.

After a judge denied motion after motion at his hearing this morning, the AP cited Navalny: "Even the slightest illusion of fair justice is absent here...the people demand political representation and I strive to be their political representative." He intends to run for the Russian presidency in 2018.

But Navalny's jailing, is reminiscent of the soviet area treatment of dissent and Vladimir Putin's present control and influence over Russia which he would like to export to western nations, including the United States(US). 

Human rights observers reported that some 1,000 protesters were arrested in Sunday's demonstrations, including 13 associates of Navalny, who were taken into custody at their office as they were setting up and monitoring webcast of the Moscow rally, the AP reported. Strangely, Russian state media failed to mention anything of the protests...typical of the soviet era, today's circumstances and all places under Putin's sphere of influence.



March 26, 2017

ASIA:

China Picks a 'Nanny' over 'Mr. Pringles' and a 'Judge' to Run Hong Kong

Stalled political reforms in the former British colony of Hong Kong have facilitated the continuity of China's dominance over the island. Chinese influence was underscored earlier this morning as Beijing's choice to lead Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, nicknamed the 'nanny', as she is viewed as a caretaker, was selected by fewer than 1,200 people to become the new chief executive. She served in the number two position as chief secretary for the past five-years.

Selection and election of Hong Kong's chief executive position is not given to the people of Hong Kong for a popular vote, but given to a Beijing-controlled committee of 1,194 people, the BBC-News has reported.

Lam defeated financial secretary, John Tsang, nicknamed 'Mr. Pringles' or 'Uncle-Chips' because of his likeness to the character on a popular chip container, who perhaps would have won a popular vote contest. She also defeated Woo Kwok-hing, nicknamed the 'Judge' because he was a judge.

Democratic reforms to extend government closer to and by the people of Hong Kong, have been slow ever since Britain gave the colony back to communist China in 1997. 

In 2014, democratic reform rallies brought Hong Kong to a standstill, yet, the youthful democracy seekers have had very few of their aspirations to democracy realized under a system deeply controlled by China. China rules Hong Kong under a"one country, two systems" policy. 

Promised political reforms set out in the agreement under which Hong Kong was returned to China, have slowed. Now with another pro-Beijing chief executive in charge of Hong Kong, reforms will not come willingly. The youth of Hong Kong could return to the streets in protests very soon.



March 25, 2017

ASIA:

New Declaration of Rome, 60-Years Later - Affirmation to a Deeper Union

Twenty-Seven nations of the European Union(EU) are meeting today at a summit in the Italian capital, to celebrate the 60th anniversary signing of the Treaty of Rome, in 1957, which created the European Economic Community(EEC), the forerunner of the present-day powerful economic block, the EU.

Members will sign a new declaration at today's summit to honor the 1957 Treat and to hereby affirm continuance to a deeper union despite the forthcoming departure of the United Kingdom(UK), which shocked the world and narrowly voted last year to leave the economic-powerhouse union. The UK is not attending today's summit.

Yet, founding partners, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany(now Germany), along with members Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, stand staunchly committed to the continuity of the union.

Pope Francis yesterday welcomed the 27-nations to the Vatican on the eve of the anniversary of the Treaty, according to the BBC-News. In a speech, the BBC-News reported that the Pontiff warned members that all organisms risked dying if they didn't look forward, hence, he challenged the union to approach the future with renewed vigor, while he cautioned about "false forms of security" promised by populists, who want to wall themselves off. Pope Francis urged the EU to seek greater solidarity.





March 24, 2017

ASIA:

Potential Terrorists in Free Societies

[From time to time, I republish one of my Blogs because of pertinence and for emphasis; today's Blog was first published, Thursday, March 24, 2016.]

That people granted solace, residence, protection and due process in free societies would execute deadly violence upon the communities that have housed and fed them, is stark and perplexing. Yet, in all the recent terrorist attacks upon free societies, this pattern of treason has been repeated.

Terrorists and their facilitators have unknowingly circulated freely in western nations and the daunting task before security personnel has always been identification of potential assailants. Yet, with careful psychological analysis and with stellar radicalization profile builders, these perpetrators could be identified. However, such a feat is easier implied than it is exercised.

The Islamic State(IS), which according to an Associated Press(AP) investigation, has trained some 400 jihadists to infiltrate the west, has become crafty in influencing marginal and disgruntled individuals to carry out its extremist agenda. To this end, any individual that feels robbed of the opportunity to redress in any dispute - criminal or civil, could undertake a violent event, of which the IS could claim responsibility and attain the illusion of having a larger than real reach and sphere of influence.

Against this background, the risk of a violent episode becomes more likely from free nation to free nation. However, smart intelligence hold the key to identifying and preventing more terror threats and actual events in free societies.



March 23, 2017

ASIA:

Civility over Terror - Stand with London to Denounce Terrorism

Today, the free world stands with London to denounce terror, while opting for civility over hatred and terror and in full rejection of yesterday's horror on Westminster Bridge, in the British capital, where an assailant plowed a motor vehicle onto a busy pavement laden with pedestrians, in an assault close to the houses of the British Parliament.

Three innocents and the raged-attacker died in the horror that started on the highly-visited Westminster Bridge, when the attacker, now identified as a British-born citizen, ran down pedestrians before crashing the motor-weapon close to Parliament, where he he continued on foot to stab an unarmed London Metropolitan policeman. Along with the three victims killed, seven people remain hospitalized in critical condition, while another 29 people have been treated for injuries sustained during the attack.

As the terror group, the Islamic State(IS), claimed the attacker as one of their sympathizers, yesterday's attack, ironically, occurred exactly one-year to the date, March 22, 2016, when there were three-coordinated suicide bombings in Brussels, Belgium, two at the airport and one at Maalbeek metro station, attacks also claimed by the IS.

Yet, any feared sophistication used by terrorists appear to be waning suggesting a frustration by extremists to influence or to upset free civil societies. 

So today, as the free world stands against terror with the people of London, yesterday's senseless act of violence upon innocents, should serve as a reminder of some dangers that still lurk within communities. It also underscores the need for greater vigilance as civility continues to trump terror in spite of various agitations.



March 22, 2017

ASIA:

World Water Day 2017: "Why Waste Water?"

Today is World Water Day. It was back in 1993 that the United Nations(UN) selected this day, March 22, as a time to raise awareness about  the importance of fresh clean drinking water. The theme of 2017's awareness campaign is fittingly: "Why waste water?" Safe and clean drinking water is a vital resource, yet in some areas of plenty, waste is widespread.

In contrast, 663 million other people across the globe live without access to safe water close to their homes. Many have to travel long distances or wait in long lines for long hours to get water. Sadly, another 1.8 billion people everyday use a source of drinking water that is contaminated by feces, thus raising risks of associated illnesses of cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.

Yet, as too people live in a crisis of limited access to fresh clean water, the important resource is wasted in a number of other jurisdictions through some simple acts like - continuously running the faucet, while brushing teeth and washing dishes. If the clean resource needed for sustaining life is to be accessed by all people, as part of the United Nations(UN) Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030, then each and every person of planet Earth must make a larger commitment not to waste water via reduce usage and recycling.

The people of planet Earth have the power to change the water crisis and this could be accomplished, as observed by Guy Ryder, chair of UN-Water, who has admonished individuals to:"Do what you can, do it with others, and do it with passion."



March 21, 2017

ASIA:

Migration, Radicalization or Starvation - Limited Choices Facing Too Many People

Safe and far away from living in conflict zones, many privileged  people criticize the stark options taken by displaced people in their efforts to find solace. 

To migrate, to become radicalized or to starve to death, are choices those unfamiliar with conflict and suffering view as far fetched realities. But inside conflict zones, these options become forced realities for millions of people. Many must accept one of these options as they are faced with the acute horror of their dire current affairs. 

For many victims of conflict and bad governance, the choice of fate will always be limited. The poorest will starve to death, the economically viable will migrate, while nationalists and those not having any other choices will become radicalized. This reality is true from Syria, to Iraq, to Libya, to North Africa, to Ukraine and beyond.

In conflict, there is no sociological survey that determines who survives or not. That fate is apparently bestowed by a victim's environment, standing, will and ability to survive. In Yemen, a home could be mistakenly bombed; in Syria, the Assad regime or the Islamic State(IS) could elect to starve a particular town; in Iraq, the government could ignore the basic needs of a town; and in Libya, revenge could force a victim into the camp of extremists.

Therefore, as conflicts continue to rage and as the rolls of the hungry and the starving bulge, more and more people will become victims having limited choices to migrate, to starve or to become radicalized. Moreover, if historical places of havens are closed to the persecuted and those displaced, then greater radicalization could be expected over time.

[Today's Blog was republished from 03.31.2016 and done for emphasis.]



March 20, 2017

ASIA:

Increasing Responsibility of NGOs and Individuals to Protect Humanity

In the face of declining western commitment to protect, to preserve and to champion questions of religious freedom, civil, human and gender rights, as well as to uphold the tenets of democracy, liberty and the rule of law and to provide a sanctuary to the displaced and to refugees, these historical obligations will inevitably and  increasingly become the responsibility of Non-Governmental Agencies(NGOs) and individuals, to protect and to sustain humanity.

Executive orders from the new White House in Washington, D.C., has sought to curtail and to ban the entry of refugees and immigrants from some countries, hereby removing a historical haven to the world's persecuted as well as dousing the hopes of thousands seeking that shiny beacon upon a hill of comfort and of happiness.

With real and actual attempts to close the United States(US) to thousands of dreamers, NGOs and individuals are now forced to re-double their humanitarian efforts in some lands marked by stark violence with a view to preserving the lives of millions of people, from Yemen to South Sudan to Somalia to Nigeria to Syria and to many other places, inflicted by conflict, war, hardship and famine.

Groups like Doctors Without Borders, CARE, the United Nations(UN) and all its humanitarian agencies, Mercy Corps and scores of other organizations and individuals, have been left alone in many areas to defend the survival of humanity with their limited budgets and without armed protection in the execution of their valuable humanitarian services.

Yet, these humanitarian organizations and individuals remain frightfully committed to their increasing responsibility to the service of humanity as some governments develop an apathy to the conditions of lesser privilege people in far off places. 

Through the work of these hero-humanitarians, humanity stands a chance at survival; so here's to all the good people and organizations. Other people and organizations not yet involved in any humanitarian work, should pitch in whenever and whatever they can from time to time to in order to help to sustain humanity as it struggles against stresses from governmental withdrawals and denials. 



March 19, 2017

ASIA:

Saving Humanity...

Humanity continues to suffer pressures from both natural and man-made sources. Yet, most of the experiencing stresses could be alleviated and humanity could be saved, if only mankind would act more responsible and rational, in respect to environmental, rights and conflict issues.

Humankind holds its existence and survival in its own hands. All actions taken by governments and measured down to the unitary actions of individuals, bear a direct correlation to the continuity of humanity. 

Governmental policy to remove carbon cap emissions imposed on factories will adversely effect the environment. Littering Rock Creek and other parks with disposable water bottles will inevitably harm the environment. 

Removing environmental protections will kill humanity. The air, oceans, rivers, lakes, forests and cities will become poisonous places for humans, animals and all organisms in the absence of environmental protections. 

Conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Ukraine, South Sudan, as well as in other places, along with other conflicts that are in the making, will all damper humanity's survival. Escalations of conflicts and the infusion of more fighters into existing conflicts, will not save humanity. But ending all conflicts will  ensure humanity's survival.

Moreover, any intrusion, denial and trampling of the rights of humankind, will not save humanity. However, humanity could be saved via the protection of all religious, human, civil and gender rights. 

To safeguard humanity, rational, sensible and empathetic governance must be promoted under a broad mandate to preserving all species with no limitations of any preferences to class, color, creed or nationality.



March 18, 2017

ASIA:

Diminishing Opportunity - Contracting American World Leadership

With the passing of each day, with every outrageous Tweet, with every ill-thought executive order, with each unfounded accusation of wire-tapping, with every diplomatic blunder, with all concerns of any Russian influence, with the withdrawal of funds for women's health worldwide and with a Republic-busting budget, the Donald Trump administration continues to contribute to the diminishing of the United States(US) as the globe's leader.

Humanity has an open opportunity for a sound global leader to guide all the changes needed to ensure continuity of the human species. Yet, the influence of the US appears to dwindle with the passing of every day via bizarre actions by the new White House and by the apparent inability of Trump to measure up to the learned men, who have occupied the Oval Office, over the years. 

Hence, America's remaining world influence seems to cling upon the mere merits of historical alliances and strategic partnerships, built and developed by previous Presidents, but which are now in danger of suffering possible non repairable harm.

It is possible that the longer the Trump era lasts, the longer it would take to rebuild the American Republic to its respected height of glory and influence. Any ill-conceived notion that a significant increase in defense spending would be sufficient to prop up the US world leadership role, is fallible on its face. With any mighty army, it demands calm, collective, rational and educated management in order to execute sound leadership. These qualities continue to elude the new White House.

However, it is not too late for Washington to adjust back to its leadership role, but it would take a deeper understanding of the wider world and a broader respect of the varying and multi-cultured people off the US coasts. And most of all, it would demand that a President behaves and acts as the chief executive of all the people, and not just for the people associated with any  family-owned business.



March 17, 2017

ASIA:

Trump's Budget Slash - a Step Closer to the Decline of the Republic

History is rife with lessons of ascension and decline of nation states and empires. While varying causes over the human era have contributed and triggered declines in civilizations from Africa, to Greece, to Rome and other places, I submit that in this modern and dynamic era, any subtractions or reductions of research, of education, of science and of the arts, will lead to the decline of the offending people, nation or power.

Therefore, it is with a heavy heart and with much love, patriotism, honor and fondness for my country, my home - the Republic of the United States of America, that I explicitly state without recall that if accepted as proposed, Donald Trump's budget will force the Republic into decline as a world leader in the arts, science and technology, education, environment protection and in human rights.

Civility is dead without the arts. Civility will become poison without environmental protections. Civility will starve under reductions in agriculture. Science and health will suffer with reductions to research. Commerce will dwindle under any reduction. Cuts in diplomacy will lead to wider conflicts. And any abridging of labor safeguards will lead to strife.

Donald Trump's budget, according to figures published by CNN, would reduce the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) by 31.4 percent; reduce the State Department by 28.7 percent; reduce the Department of Labor by 20.7 percent; reduce the Department of Agriculture by 20.7 percent; reduce Department of Health and Human Services by 16.2 percent; reduce the Commerce Department by 15.7 percent; reduce the Department of Education by 13.5 percent; reduce the Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD) by 13.2 percent; reduce the Department of the Interior by 11.7 percent; reduce the Department of Transportation by 12.7 percent; reduce the Army Corps of Engineers by 16.3 percent; reduced the National Institutes of Health(NIH) by 20 percent; as well as to eliminate and to reduce other civil programs that have contributed to the Republic's greatness at home and abroad.

While fiscal responsibility is a virtue for most micro-economies and serves as a guideline to macro-economies, there are some dangerous and serious effects of implementing harsh austere measures at the macro-level that are easily adopted at the micro-economy. 

Increasing the budgets of the Defense Department, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs cannot be sufficient to sustain the Republic as a world leader. This 2017 and beyond, should not be accepted as a contraction period for the arts, for science and technology and for education as well as for any other social programs because they are necessary to sustaining humankind and they require expansion in order to sustain a stable global civilization. 

If the United States(US) Congress accepts and passes Trump's budget as proposed, it too would be contributing to the decline of the Republic. Trumps budget should be rejected.



March 16, 2017

ASIA:

"Safe and Stable and Prosperous" - the Dutch Election

The Dutch yesterday elected a safe, stable and prosperous continuity and they rejected anti-immigration and anti-European Union(EU) in voting to keep Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government, while sending a cold shoulder to the right-wing scorn of Geert Wilders and his nationalist Freedom Party. 

Moreover, Dutch voters in re-electing Rutte and his People's Party for Freedom and Democracy(VVD), affirmed that Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had influenced the election in a good way because the votes for Rutte underscored that the Dutch respected his stance against Erdogan using Holland as a political pitch for his referendum back in Ankara and his subsequent liking of the Dutch as "Nazi remnants".

That the Dutch were successful in beating back any surge from immigrant, EU and Muslim hater,Wilders and his nationalist platform of Islamophobia and xenophobia, augurs well for the prospects of the defeat of other right wing nationalists in France next month and in Germany in September.

The Dutch people rejected "the wrong kind of populism", the BBC-News quoted a victorious Rutte as saying; he added: "The Netherlands said "Whoa!'" to the wrong populist..."We want to stick to the course we have - safe and stable and prosperous." 



March 15, 2017

ASIA:

Has Turkey's Erdogan Influenced Today's Dutch Vote?

The Dutch are voting today in a general election that is fiery charged over immigration policy. When the votes have been finally tallied, any influence on Dutch voters by Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would be reflected in the number of votes gained by the acidic anti-immigrant and anti-European Union(EU), Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party.

Wilders has made no bones about his hatred of Muslim immigrants in Holland. He plans to close all the Mosques and to ban the Quo-ran and also to remove the country from the EU, should he elected leader of the 'Orange' people.

Last weekend, the Dutch government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is running for re-election today,  blocked two Turkish ministers from speaking at rallies related to a forthcoming Turkish constitutional referendum back in Ankara. There is a large Turkish population in Holland who are able to vote on matters back in Turkey.

In response to Dutch blocking speeches by the Turks, Erdogan called the Dutch "Nazi remnants". He has also criticized Germany for restricting Turkish political canvassing in Germany. 

Mark Rutte was right to institute blocking the Turkish speeches especially since they were coming on the fore of a crucial immigrant- sensitive election in Holland and at a time when his opponent, Wilders, calls for closing of Mosques, banning the Quo ran as well as closing Holland's borders to immigrant. Wilders went as far last weekend to describe as "scum" Muslim protesters in Holland. 

Erdogan's classification of the Dutch as "Nazi remnants" by blocking Turkish ministers from speaking at such a sensitive time in Holland could have enraged right wing voters, thereby sending them to the polls in large numbers to claim a non-immigrant stand in Holland. In contrast, Erdogan might have underscored to Dutch voters the importance to keeping the Rutte government as a symbol of rational leadership over the fiery-brand of Wilders. The Dutch votes will soon disclose the truth - continuity of the Rutte government, a change to Lodewijk Asscher's Labor Party, or upheaval with the fire of Wilders and his Freedom Party.



March 14, 2017

ASIA:

In Memory of a Mother, a Believer, a Life-Victim of Societal Circumstances and of Deficient Governance to Protect Women

In Honor of My Mother on this the Second Anniversary of her Passing. This is a republish of My Blog, Sunday, March 15, 2015.

Monte Rosina Pitts, nee Boyce, died of renal complications from diabetes yesterday in New York City, New York -  her home for the past 45-years, at the age of 75. 

She was my mother. And also mother of Mark Boyce, of Pennsylvania and Marcelene Boyce, of St. George, Barbados, Caribbean. She leaves 10 grandchildren of which four are my sons and 11 great-grandchildren of my siblings on the island of Barbados. She was the widow of James Pitts, of Belieze, Central America.

This memory of my mother I hereby etched into the annuals of time today, for if not for this publication, history might have omitted her, and as my mother, I insist that humanity takes note of her, even if just posthumously. 

The New York Times nor the Washington Post might not publish the obituary of Monte Rosina Pitts for she had not millions, neither did she build sky scrapers nor ran a fortune 500 company. She shunned technology believing that computers would some day steal all our identities, but in the last seven years, she warmed to using a cell phone.

My mother's faith and service to God were second to nothing in her life. As a non wavering member of the  Jehovah's Witnesses Congregation, her devotion to that religion sparred many heated differences between her and me as I retained my neutrality to any religious sect.

But this memorial to my mother is not to highlight my relationship nor that of my siblings with Monte Rosina Pitts. This tribute to her underscores the past and present failings of governance across the globe to protect the rights and well being of women - ordinary women, who for generation after generation, have been sexually harassed, abused and forced  into life-long struggles, as victims of circumstances. My mother was such a victim.

Born on the Caribbean island of Barbados, my mother birthed three children of which I am the youngest. After her partner - my father, died when I was two-years-old, Monte Rosina Pitts suffered five-long years of sexual harassment and abuse from employers and potential employers as she attempted to ply a living without a high school diploma to feed her children. 

It was the 1960s in the Third World; and despite the glossy tourism brochures of Caribbean sun, fun and surf, life for many women on all the islands was immorally dependent upon their acceptances of abuses from employers and from men in positions of power. Monte Rosina Pitts rejected this practice. She left Barbados for the US in 1970.

With teary eyes and a heavy heart, my mother, who single-handedly fought off multiple muggers in Harlem on more than one occasion and at another time drove herself to the hospital while suffering a heart attack,  related the story of her life to me as I visited her in the summer of 1979. It had been nine years since I had last seen my mother. 

To survive as an unmarried woman with young children in Barbados was too much for her to bear. Left in the care of guardians, my siblings and I benefited from many care-packages sent from the US to Barbados by our mother. 

Thirteen years after my mother's flight from Barbados, I witnessed the same practices from which she fled during the course of my work as an investigative journalist on the island. My earnest fight against such and other practices resulted in my own self-exile on Christmas Day, 1984.

Torn from her home, alienated from her children and in solitude in America for a number of years, my mother's story of the failure of governance to protect women from sexual harassment and abuse, must be told and remembered as a rallying call to hold governments accountable to persevere to do more for the rights and lives of women worldwide.

As we lay our mother to rest into the arms of Almighty God, I pray that our Heavenly Father remembers our mother in the Resurrection of which she held a deep belief. 

For me, I am comforted that my mother's pain has ended and I shall willfully continue to harbor controllable anger toward the systems which still exist that adversely effect the lives of so many good, simple and decent people for an entire lifetime.

Rest In Peace Mom -  Monte Rosina Pitts Boyce. May the kindness of God travel with you. Amen!



March 13, 2017

ASIA:

Failed Governance - a Contributor to Famine and Starvation

Failed governance and its effects are the driving forces leading to famine and to starvation in some regions of the world. Failed governments engaging in conflicts and those failing to protect their populations from insurgencies, are responsible for the plight of famine and starvation upon their people.

From Yemen to Somalia to South Sudan and to Nigeria - nations that the United Nations(UN) have identified as having 20 million people at risk of starving, they are all responsible for the current predicament of their populations.

In Yemen, a civil war has exacerbated already blighted conditions thereby exposing 14.1 million people to starvation, according to UN data. Yet, the warring continues as adequate amounts of money become available for arms, but not for food for the masses. Hence, international aid agencies, are forced to fulfill the void of welfare for the people of Yemen.

Similarly, in South Sudan, there are arsenals of weapons fueling a civil war, yet, 4.9 million face starvation and relief efforts have been difficult because of the rampant violence.

Nigeria's oil wealth, while supplying ample amounts of luxury goods, cars and homes for the well-to-do in the major cities, has not trickled down to feed more than 1.8 million people, mainly in the northeast of the country, who have been adversely effected by extremists fighting and poor governance.

On the horn of Africa, climatic conditions doubled by extremists actions and failed governance, have exposed 2.9 million people to famine. 

Famine and starvation are conditions that need not exist in 2017. However, they do. They have exposed too many people to suffering. Therefore, to combat these conditions, the people exposed should take control of their governance with a view to making the necessary changes needed to avert death from the scarcity of food.



March 12, 2017

ASIA:

Militarism, Famine, Starvation, Eroding Rights - Tests of the Times

The era of expanded military budgets over the expense of funding for education, the environment, the arts, science and social programs, has arrived. If, the stated intentions of the new Donald Trump administration in Washington, D.C.,to increase military spending by $54 billion, is any indication of a global trend, then humanity is doomed.

As the Trump administration proposes increase military spending, a converse decrease in spending in civil areas would ensue - reducing budgets for the arts, protection of the environment, science and research, education and other social programs. 

Ironically, Trump's ten percent increase in defense spending, which would contribute to the further militarization of the world, comes at a time when international humanitarian organizations are strapped for cash in their efforts to avert impending humanitarian tragedies via famines and starvation in Yemen, in Somalia, in South Sudan and in Nigeria.

Moreover, with just a fraction of the Trump proposed increase in military spending, the United Nations(UN) and its agencies along with Doctors Without Borders, MercyCorps, CARE and other humanitarian groups, could stabilize the diminishing human conditions in many areas including Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen among other places. 

Also, such copious amounts of money could go a long way to ensure and enforce eroding human, civil, religious and gender rights, as well as to protect the environment from looming doom. 

Humanity's passing or failing of the tests of the times will be determined by priorities governments make per the wide and varied existing and emerging global conditions.



March 11, 2017

ASIA:

A Humanitarian Crisis - 20 Million People Could Starve to Death

The United Nations(UN) has warned that the world faces its largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, with 20 million people facing starvation and famine in Yemen, in Somalia, in South Sudan and in Nigeria. More shocking is the dire warning that some 1.4 million children could starve to death this year alone.

Given these bleak numbers, the UN humanitarian chief, Stephen O'Brien, has issued a plea for assistance in order to avoid "a catastrophe", the BBC-News reported on its website earlier this morning. 

"We stand at a critical point in history...Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations," O'Brien was cited as confirming in the BBC-News report. He added: "Now more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease."

The UN humanitarian chief disclosed that $4.4 billion was needed by July to avert the impending disaster and humanitarian failing. If funding is not successful, O'Brien forecast: "Children stunted and out of school. Livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost. Communities' resilience rapidly wilting away. Development gains reversed. Many will be displaced and will continue to move in search for survival, creating even more instability across entire regions."

Of the millions at risk of starvation, 14.1 million are in worn-torn Yemen; 4.9 million in conflict ridden South Sudan; 2.9 million in climate and conflict effected Somalia and 1.8 million in northern Nigeria afflicted by extremist violence.

The images of starvation and famine have been stark with emaciated children reduced to eye-sockets and skin over  frail toothpick- like torsos.

Yet, the suffering continues because of ongoing conflict, bad governments, poverty, under development, the lack of the rule of law and without any sympathetic systematic efforts by the stalwarts of rights and of liberty and of democracy to put an end to the contributing factors that lead to starvation and famine.



March 10, 2017

ASIA:

A Self-Inflicted Flounder on Immigration and Travel

Contrary to electioneering rhetoric, undocumented immigrants in the United States(US) are not part of any new crime wave. Similarly, no known groups have entered the US en mass during the past month from any Muslim majority country seeking to do injury to America. 

Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, very few are criminals, thus the US has floundered over rounding up this class of people and targeting them for deportation, even though many of them have lived in the country for many years and that they have remained loyal and patriotic to the Republic. 

Moreover, given an opportunity to redress and to atone for their undocumented presence, most undocumented immigrants would remain patriotic to the US and its Constitution. That they remain in the country is testament to their love of American values and not of any ill-concerted plot to do harm to the Republic.

Undocumented workers remain a vital part of the US economy - they pay federal as well as state and local taxes, thus providing additional revenue for the national and local treasuries. The services used by these immigrants also provide and maintain many other businesses run by Americans. 

To round up a crucial part of the economy, to destroy it and to leave it void with no replacement, would bring an economic flounder over the US in the short and long runs. Mass deportations are flounders to any economy.

Not since September 11, 2001, has any group entered the US intent on causing harm to Americans. While the Donald Trump administration has singled out some countries to ban from travel to the US, restricting travel has never been a guarantee against terror. None of the nations singled out by the Trump administration for a ban played any part in the September 11 horrors. Thus, there is no precedent to the administration's action. 

However, travel bans restrict a flow of technology experts and international students from US tech firms and institutions of higher learning, hereby casting another flounder over the economy of the Republic by creating distractions from a need for government clarity, infrastructural development and re-employment of rusting towns, cities, states and regions.



March 09, 2017

ASIA:

Diminishing Global Respect and Declining Status - the Onset of the Trump Era

Not too long ago, the United States(US) - the former beacon of hope, opportunity, solace and comfort to the world's persecuted, immigrants and to those displaced, was busy spearheading global efforts to eradicate hunger, leading efforts to combat an impending worldwide environmental calamity and among other things, it was also championing strides to ensure and to guarantee social, civil, religious and gender equality and justice. Not anymore.

In lieu of its global lead and stewardship for liberty, justice, democracy and the rule of law, it appears that the new Donald Trump era in the White House, has brought sovereignty and identity issues to the Republic based upon an isolationist and a militaristic agenda.

Two versions of a travel ban, a proposed freeze on the resettlement of refugees in the US, a proposed partition via a wall of neighbor Mexico, irrational rages of rhetoric to dissent actions and unanswered questions regarding any Russian connection and influence over the new White House and/or on the 2016 Presidential Election, have cost the America Republic many friends, diminished global respect and the accompanied decline in American status on the world stage.

Diminished global respect of the US was highlighted on Tuesday, when China's leadership suggested and seemingly dictated an end to yearly South Korean-American military exercises, as a means to getting crazed North Korea to refrain from a nuclear program. A strong retort of China's dictation has yet to come from Trump's White House.

If the US global influence has soured so badly that China could now dictate the Republic's foreign policy, then, there can be no confidence in the new White House to protect and to preserve the American Republic as it has stood for generations of liberty dwellers.




March 08, 2017

ASIA:

International Women's Day - in Honor of Women

Today, March 8, 2017, is designated International Women's Day by the United Nations(UN) and by the people of the world, in honor of women - the stronger sex of our communities, who are responsible for the welfare, the nurture and the continuity of the human species. 

On every continent, region, country, province, town, hamlet and enclave, we salute, honor and reaffirm our respect for the unmatched contributions of women to our communities on this day and on each day hereafter.

So whether or not a woman strikes from her job today or from her usual duties; whether or not she wears red; whether or not she abstains from shopping; and whether or not she contributes a charity today, all of the world's women must be taken seriously and be fully appreciated for without our them, there would be no civilization. 

To the women of the world, walk proudly in recognition of your greatest importance to humanity. On behalf of my four-sons, we acknowledged your superiority and your devotion and we continue to pledge full respect and recognition of you, oh Dearest Women.




March 07, 2017

ASIA:

Travel Ban 2.0, Healthcare Adjustment - not Sufficient to Deviate from a Clouded White House

A cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the new White House in the United States(US) with unanswered questions regarding the depth of any connections to Russia and any associated effects such relations could have upon the sovereignty of the Republic.

Yesterday's new roll out of another travel ban from the Donald Trump administration, along with a Republican party congressional adjustment to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), do not suffice deviation from the severity and any potential threat to the sovereignty to the US posed by any tainted connections to Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Therefore, a new travel ban from Trump that targets six of the original seven countries covered under the original Trump act, which was deemed flawed, by a high court, should also not detract from the Russian connection investigation. Moreover, attempts by Congressional Republicans to adjust the ACA should not be allowed to overshadow the Russian connection.

Russia's role in the 2016 US Presidential Election and its contact with members of the new White House should be settled forthwith rather than to risk irrevocable damage to the Republic from Russian exposure and influence. 



March 06, 2017

ASIA:

A Stark Non-Evident Accusation to Distract Attention away from Reality

The reality is that Donald Trump's new White House has a Russia connection problem and rather than to cast the Russian blight out the window, Trump has sunk to a new low and he has accused the rational 44th President Barack Obama of wiretapping him. 

Trump's non-evident accusation on its face is that of a direct and willful attempt to distract attention away from a Russian connection to the new administration. Disgraced Trump's national security adviser, Mike Flynn, resigned amid revelations of meetings with Russian officials. Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is still under pressure  with calls for his resignation for lying and for failing to reveal to Congress that he had met with Russian officials, on at least two occasions and for claiming he had no knowledge of anyone connected to the Trump campaign meeting with Russians.

Also, many question are yet to be answered as to a deeper Russian involvement and influencing into the United States(US) 2016 Presidential Election and whether or not the Russian actions were done to assist the Trump campaign. Trump won the election and the White House even though Hillary Clinton received more than 2.8 million votes above his tally.

Trump's unfounded accusation that President Barack Obama tapped his phones has already been explicitly rejected by the Federal Bureau of Investigations(FBI) head, James Comey, who according to the New York Times and NBC-News, has also asked the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump's false claims.

Yet, the embarrassing and shameful accusations cannot be allowed to detract or subtract from the serious questions involving Russia's connection to the Trump administration and as to the true sovereignty of the American Republic.




March 05, 2017

ASIA:

Many Outstanding Youthful Pianists in Washington, D.C.

I was never musically inclined as a boy. Many moons ago, after challenges as a beginner on the clarinet, I took my deep-breaking pre-teen voice as a sign to permanently leap from music to the sociological discovery of history. 

But yesterday, at the First Annual Steinway and Sons Washington Piano Competition and again hearing my two younger sons play piano along side scores of other youth in the Washington, D.C., metro region, I came to realize how much love and passion I've missed over my lifetime because of a self-imposed deterrence of music - that classical performance art.

I was awed at the richness and depth of classical piano performances in the region as scores of children performed in three divisions in two locations, from North Bethesda, Maryland, to Tysons Corner, Virginia. Fate would have it that my youngest son was the first to play in the competition as he performed as contestant number one at 8:00 a.m. in North Bethesda. Four-and-half hours later, my third son played in his division at Tysons Corner.

Though my two sons did not win any of the major prizes, they both had fun at their first ever piano competition. They walked away with a Steinway certificate for excellent performance and my wife and I got to spend a day with them under variations of Polonaise and Mazurka by the great Polish composer, Frederic Chopin.

The participants I witnessed played, performed remarkably. The pool of talent and extraordinary talent in the area of classical piano is deep. Many of the kids could fill Royal Albert and Carnegie Halls to pompous ovations. While most participants were of Asian origin, the competition underscored an opportunity for other groups to become more  involved in educating and competing their children in the humanities via the performance arts and classical piano.



March 04, 2017

ASIA:

First Annual Steinway Piano Competition

Steinway - the great international piano maker, will host its first annual piano competition today in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

My two younger sons will take part in this competition. While my two older sons played the violin en route to college, my two younger sons have shown an affiliation for the piano. As I've explicitly told my wife and my boys' piano instructor, I don't expect my sons to play at Royal Albert Hall or at Carnegie Hall. I got them into piano playing as a development tool for the other side of the brain that aids in mathematics and abstract thinking.

However, one day recently, my wife returned from our sons' piano lessons declaring that the boys should attend this Steinway competition suggested by their instructor. So, here we are on the first Saturday in March attending Steinway's inaugural Piano Competition in two different areas of the metro-region because of the age-grouping of our young sons.

First and foremost, I've insisted that my sons have fun and not ever appear robotic, for if that occurs, that would be the end of their piano playing stint under my watch.

So here's to fun at the Grand Steinway Pianos to my sons and to the other entrants.



March 03, 2017

ASIA:

To Merely Recuse from Russian Investigations Cannot Suffice the Integrity of Attorney General

United States(US) Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who did not disclose during his confirmation hearings that he met with the Russian ambassador, at least twice, when he was associated with Donald Trump's campaign for president, agreed yesterday to recuse himself from any campaign-Russia investigation. His self punishment, for at least not being forthcoming, is not sufficient. He should resign.

Ever since last year, intelligence agencies and concerned individuals have raised red flags about a Russian influence upon the US 2016 President Elections. Mere knowledge of this should have been more than enough evidence for Sessions to reveal his meetings a Russian diplomat at his confirmation hearings before the US Senate.

Instead, asked: "If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?" Sessions answered: "I'm not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communication with the Russians."

He did have audience with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, on more than one occasion. This said Russian had audience also with Mike Flynn, Trump's disgraced National Security adviser, who resigned recently and apparently, this said Russian, also met with Donald Trump's son-in-law and now White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Though it is not criminal for transition team members to meet with representatives of foreign governments; some troubling event, involving the elections in 2016, the role of Russia and contact with members of the new administration in Washington, DC, has taken place that reeks of 'red herrings' and not just odorless vodka. 

Thus, in ensuring the sovereignty of the Republic, any and all connections with Russia that may contribute to the weakening of the Republic of the United States of America, must be identified and be severed from any and all functions of governance of this great democracy.

March 02, 2017

ASIA:

...and now the AG - Russia's Widening Touch of the New White House

Evidence has emerged that the United States(US) Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, while a Senator and supporter of the Donald Trump campaign for president, had multiple contacts, at least two, with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in the past year. This information was not volunteered to the Senate during his confirmation hearings for the spot as the Republic's top lawyer.

Some people, including House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, have called for Sessions to resign, while others have called for him to recuse himself from an investigation into Russia's meddling into the 2016 US Presidential Election, according to a Time Magazine report.

"Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign," Nancy Pelosi was cited by the New York Times as declaring. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee said Sessions should "clarify his testimony(made to Congress) and recuse himself."

Sessions failed to mention any meeting with Russian officials during his confirmation hearings for the Attorney General position. Under oath at the hearings he said he knew of no contacts between Trump surrogates and Russians. Sessions has claimed he never discussed campaign-related issues with anyone from Russia, the New York Times reported.

The Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, according to reports, is considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia's top spies and spy recruiters in Washington, DC.

This new revelation involving the US Attorney General, multiple current investigations amid evidence of Russian meddling in US elections and affairs, undoubtedly underscore Russia's broad touch of the new administration, thus leaving many questions unanswered as to the real sovereignty of the Republic in the Trump era.


March 01, 2017

ASIA: 

After Settled Rhetoric, a Conscious Responsibility Should Dawn over the Republic

That men would resort to any rhetoric and alternative facts(lies) to get themselves cast as political leaders, was a literal facet of recent elections. Now that the electioneering is over and the sustainable security and health of the Republic depend upon facts, truths, sanity and cohesiveness in order to function, then a more responsible leadership should now dawn over the Republic.

Last night's remarks by President Donald Trump before a joint session of the United States(US) Congress that appear to condemn some recent events of hate across the Republic, were not sufficient by the executive branch to denounce a spike in hatred. Yet the remarks could be taken as a starting point to bringing a saner and a more responsible attitude from the new White House toward the management of the Republic.

A more centrist tone should take hold over the executive branch for history and past leaderships in Washington, DC, have demonstrated that ruling from the center offers the best opportunity to preserving the security and the health of the Republic.

Extremism breads more extremism, greater dissent and promotes anarchy, hate and violence. Extremism is an established enemy of the existence of any Republic. Therefore, in learning that the Republic must be placed ahead of business deals, business friends, business interests, hate, xenophobia, homophobia and social divisions, the new White House should now assume a conscious responsibility toward the preservation of the American Republic as it has stood to Americans and to the rest of the world for many generations.



February 28, 22017

ASIA:

Superseding Rhetoric and Hate, the Health of the Republic Takes Precedence

In spite of narrow supporter-pleasing rhetoric offered up in the heat of a political campaign, in spite of the spread of hate through division and classification of people and religions as either friends, or as foes, the health of the Republic takes precedence over all things. 

Hate, religious and ethnic preferences, as well as the recall of rights and privileges of particular sects within the community, are cultivated illnesses within the Republic that will sicken now and also in the long run. Though the re- introduction of these sicknesses may have been recent, nonetheless, they still represent a clear and infection danger to the Republic. 

Therefore, these ailments should be remedied and rescinded forthwith as they have been battled for many decades from 'Jim Crow' in the south to 'homophobia' from shore to shore.

The Republic, just like any living organism, will become ill and run the risk of ending, upon the continued introduction of illnesses into its core. Racism, xenophobia, hate and sect divisions remain illnesses to the republic that must be eradicated. 

So as President Donald Trump takes the rostrum at the United States(US) Capitol later tonight to address a joint session of Congress, he should seek to put an end to the illnesses to the Republic that have spiked ever since he ascended to the Oval Office, January 20, 2-17.


February 27, 2017

ASIA:

To Err is Human at Times - Moonlight Wins Best Picture after a Hollywood Blunder

There has always been something special about the movies - the fame, the hype, the glitter, the pompous and all that...so a blunder that originally announced the wrong movie, La La Land as Best Picture, over the real winner, Moonlight, should not be taken as any conspiracy event, but just as another Hollywood moment - the life and times of Tinseltown that contributes to making the movies, even more special.

Aging actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were apparently handed a wrong envelope for Best Actress, Emma Stone - La La Land, instead of the rightful red envelope that named Moonlight as this year's Best Picture. Accounting giant PriceWaterhouseCooper has apologized for the mix up.

After an acceptance speech by the La La Land cast, the mistake was corrected with the cast of  La La Land making the announced correction with great grace and decorum that actors reserved for one another. Moonlight, exhibiting a profound surprise, accepted the Oscar for Best Picture adding to yet another dreamy and fantastic Hollywood moment.

The big winners at the Oscars included:

Emma Stone - Best Actress, La La Land.
Casey Afflect -  Best Actor, Manchester by the Sea.
Viola Davis - Best Supporting Actress, Fences.
Mashershala Ali - Best Supporting Actor, Moonlight.
The Salesman -  Best Foreign Language Film.
Moonlight - Best Picture.


February 26, 2017

ASIA:

Global Unity Needed to Persevere over Humanity's Tests, Pressures and Attacks

A global unity over identified necessities to the peaceful and  sustainable habitation of planet Earth, is needed in order for humanity to persevere over its many tests, pressures and attacks.

Those identified necessities from the Americas to Europe to Asia to Africa and to Oceania, are protections of the environment, unabridged human, gender, religious and civil rights, national development and the alleviation of poverty.

Yet, such easily identified tasks remain subjects of disbelief and attacks in 2017. Climate change is real that demands sustained action from all nations - developed and developing, to roll back some of the deadly affects of adverse changes. 

New immigration policies and attempts to influence the media under the new Donald Trump administration in the United States(US), have sought to change the scope of the US as a free country as well as to close America's historical doors to migrants and refugee seekers, thus adding more pressures upon humanity. Wars and conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have created human starvation from Yemen, to Somalia, to South Sudan and to northern Nigeria. Conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere all represent additional strains on humanity.

However, a resolute global unity behind all the necessities to peaceful occupation of Earth will persevere against localized and international attacks upon humanity, while preserving liberty, security and the rule of law for the children of today, tomorrow and the coming years.



February 25, 2017

ASIA:

Prelude to an Authoritarian State - Fake News and Manipulation of the Media

If the actions completed so far by the Donald Trump administration had been conducted in lesser known countries, there would have been cries of authoritarianism and of dictatorship. The actions: travel restrictions, immigration crack downs, omission and exclusion of some media houses, the manufacture of untrue terror events and the creation of alternative facts, all speak of an attempt to authoritarianism.

Yet, the United States(US) has never and will never be a dictatorship because of checks and balances reserved under the Constitution to maintain and to sustain free and fair governance. 

However, the freedoms and rights of the Republic continue to be tested by the new administration in Washington, DC. Yesterday's exclusion of major media houses, including the BBC-News, CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Politico, from an informal briefing with the White House, underscores the continuing stresses and tests to the American tradition of fair and open democratic government.

The Trump administration must be reminded that it is not bigger than the Republic. Rather, the administration must function as a server of the Republic and not vice versa. That repeated events have challenged the free democratic exercise of the Republic, then the time has come for the people to establish specific and explicit courses of action, to always keep the Trump administration within the scope and perimeters of the Constitution and within the tenets of a democratic government, whereby preventing any ascension to dictatorship.


February 24, 2017

ASIA:

Turkey's Growing Insecurity - 136 Diplomats Seek Asylum in Germany

An alarming 136 Turkish diplomats and their relatives have sought asylum in Germany since a failed coup attempt in Turkey last July. 

This exodus from Turkey underscores the erosion of human rights as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attempts to solidify himself as a new "emperor" of the sons and daughters of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Erdogan wants Turkey to amend its constitution to give his position more power and to diminish the strength of the parliament. A referendum on the subject will soon be put before Turks.

As reported by the BBC-News earlier this morning citing German media, the 136 holders of Turkish diplomatic passports and their relatives, asked for asylum in Germany between August 2016 and January 2017. Since the failed coup against the ambitions Erdogan, his government has dismissed more than 100,000 public servants, including teachers, police and members of the judiciary.

Another 43,000 Turks have been detained, 130 media outlets closed and 150 journalists have been arrested as Erdogan has set about cracking down on free speech and human rights, especially in the period after the failed coup. 

Turkey has asked Germany not to grant the diplomats asylum. A Court in Greece recently denied extradition of eight Turkish soldiers believed to have been involved in the failed coup. The Greek court doubt the soldiers would have obtained a fair trial back in Turkey. 

Erdogan's ambitions, his attacks upon rights, his dismissal of public servants, his detention of dissenters, his closing of media houses and his arrests of journalists affirm a rising insecurity in Turkey, a NATO member that seeks to join the European Union(EU).


February 23, 2017

ASIA:

A Spousal Monetary Affirmation in England

The British Supreme Court has upheld a monetary minimum earning amount for Brit spouses before they could bring a non- European Union(EU) spouse to the United Kingdom(UK). The ruling does not effect EU spouses.

British immigration restrictions place a minimum income requirement of 18,600 British Pounds before British citizens, or those with refugee status, are allowed to bring any non-EU spouse into the country. The level rises to 22,400 British Pounds for any non-EU spouse and child and an additional 2,400 for each additional child. 

The income requirement, according to the BBC-News, came into force in 2012 as an attempt to control immigration from outside Europe and to ensure that incoming families to the UK would not burden the UK taxpayer. The "family of a settled person(refugee)" to the UK cannot claim benefits or public funds.

Yesterday's affirmation of the rules by the Supreme Court has left many Brits in limbo with some spouses in the UK earning below the minimum income level and unable to bring their loved ones home. Couples are living as singles and  families are torn in separate lands.

Challengers to the immigration requirement argued that the rule was discriminatory and that it collided with the right to a private and family life. However, the Supreme Court found the rules lawful even though it admitted that requiring a minimum income caused hardship.

While the discriminatory rule remains active in the UK, would other countries impose similar restrictions or would some nations seek to fix income levels before couples can have children? The upheld British rule runs the risk of duplication and adaptation in a number of other places.


February 22, 2017

ASIA:

Fears of Undocumented Immigrants - a Closing Door to Redress

The hope and the opportunity for liberty, for democracy and for the rule of law that the United States(US) has always stood for through the eyes of multiple-generations of immigrants and refugees - those persecuted or deeply troubled in their native lands, are quickly fading. 

Under the new Donald Trump administration, centuries of US representation as the greatest icon of the beacon of solace and of hope to millions of immigrants, has quickly changed in less than six-weeks. 

Today, law abiding undocumented immigrants face their greatest fears of being deported despite years of paying taxes, raising children and playing by the rules, but only lacking the necessary documentation to legal status. Moreover, their fears become amplified with no mechanism to redress to attempt to ameliorate their conditions.

This is shameful era of rightist anti-migrant factions in the US urged on by the exercises of the new administration to hunt down as many undocumented immigrants as possible, even those with only traffic violations. 

Thus, the doors of the US as a haven to the persecuted and to opportunity seekers, have now closed. Solace, comfort, liberty and the rule of law will now have to be found elsewhere. It is a sad and unfortunate reality of the Republic and until such a time that a change should come to the White House, the US shall remain a different and harsh land, non respected by growing millions and amok of the tenets from the times of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan and Obama. May God have mercy upon us.


February 21, 2017

ASIA:

Starving Children - a Consequence of War and Conflict

Nobody should starve to death in this era of ample food supply, yet the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, is warning that some 1.4 million face starving to death mainly because of conflict and war.

UN assistant secretary general, Justin Forsyth, confirmed this stark and grim reality in a report by the BBC-News. He warned that the unacceptable number of children facing death from starvation covered four nations - South Sudan, northern Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia. He blamed conflict and war for the risk of starvation because access to the needy had become difficult and impossible in some places. 

The assistant secretary general said immediate action was needed to relieve the dire conditions. While conflict and war remain the chief culprits to exacerbating the graved reality, he said the situation was made worse by drought and climate change. 

Some 400,000 children are starving in Yemen alone, where war has contributed to the gross withering of the bodies and minds of small children. Therefore, to ease the sufferings from Yemen to Nigeria to South Sudan and to Somalia, conflicts and wars must come to an end - for the children's sake. 


February 20, 2017

ASIA:

Famine in South Sudan - Another 20 Million People Face Starvation Globally

South Sudan has declared a famine - 100,000 people in the war-torn country are facing starvation, another one million are on the brink of famine and another 5 million people are in need of food and nutrition assistance.

Even more daunting, another 20 million people worldwide face starvation in a series of four simultaneous famines over the next six months, the United Nations(UN) World Food Program(WFP) has warned. 

Precipitated by a civil war and an economic collapse, South Sudan's famine is the first declared globally in the last six years even though there have been starvation warnings in Yemen, Somalia and northeastern Nigeria, the BBC-News reported. In South Sudan, another six million people could be in danger of starving to death unless the food situation is ameliorated. 

Elsewhere across the globe, the WFP warns of another 20 million people who face starvation over the next six months due to four simultaneous famines brought on by drought and wars. Arif Husain, the chief economist for the WFP, confirmed the coming danger in a BBC-News report, while he noted that humanitarian aid had increased, but was not sufficient to feed all the needy people.

In 2012, drought across the Sahel brought famine to the multiple-nations of Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania and Burkino Faso. Back in 1998 to 2004, 3.8 million people died from starvation and disease during a famine created by the Second Congo War.


February 19, 2017

ASIA:

Toward Social Justice

Tomorrow, February 20,  is World Day for Social Justice - a time to affirm efforts to tackling poverty, exclusion and unemployment through the promotion of gender equality as well as the rights of indigenous people, migrants, refugees and minorities. 

It was back in November, 2007, when the United Nations(UN) General Assembly(GA), passed a proclamation declaring February 20, as World Day for Social Justice because the international body recognized social justice, as the underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. Starting in 2009, World Day for Social Justice has been observed to remove barriers that people face because of age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability, the UN has published on its website in honor of the day.

However, it appears that in 2017, the principles of social justice will need reaffirmation often as various conditions to limit social justice have continued, while some fresh barriers have recently surfaced threatening all progress that have made to sustaining social justice.

Therefore, today, tomorrow and beyond, humanity should seek to uphold the tenets of social justice and in doing so, an affirmation should be made to beat back all ambitions to tyranny and all policies that threaten to return humankind to the attitudes and norms of the 'Dark Ages'. Here's to social justice.


February 18, 2017

ASIA:

The Rains of California - a Dangerous End to a Drought

Californians are under a severe weather event as yet another Pacific storm pushes on shore, inundating southern to northern California, with torrential rains. 

This new and dangerous weather system - dubbed a "bombogenesis", or a weather bomb, is a strong extra-tropical cyclonic low pressure system, laden with copious amounts of rainfall. As a result evacuation orders have been given in some areas including suburbs of Los Angeles and regions of the San Gabriel Mountains, east of Los Angeles. 

Californians are being urged to exercise great caution. Sink holes have opened up, there are downed power lines, toppled trees and swollen rivers and creeks.Tragically, three people have died in this most recent weather event. The Los Angeles Times has reported that 10 trillion gallons of rain could fall on California in the coming week, enough water to power Niagara Falls for 154 days, the BBC-News compared.

Described as the biggest storm to hit California in recent years, the system impacting upon the state, comes upon the heels of successive weather systems that have dropped large quantities of rainfall across California and the Pacific northwest regions that led to evacuations and a damaged dam spill-away system in northern California. Oddly, these copious amounts of rainfall, are ending the state's multi-year drought, but at a brutal cost.

Californians should heed all warnings and exercise extreme caution. Stay safe and may God be with you California.


February 17, 2017

ASIA:

Fight or Flight - Peaceful Refugees and Immigrants Opt for Flight

Only extraordinary circumstances would force individuals to scale razor-sharp walls, to traverse harsh terrain, to brave inclement weather, to hideaway in suitcases, to risk death, to fall victim to abuse as well as to fall prey to human trafficking, in order to seek solace in an alien land. 

Such are the conditions of many immigrants and refugees seeking ports of welcome away from their local experiences and sufferings where many have no means to redress in order to ameliorate their conditions. Many opt to flea rather than to fight against the forces of their chronic conditions.

But is flight the best option before each and every immigrant and refugee? That option to run away in order to have the opportunity to fight another day, appears at face value to be the choice of wisdom. Yet, while fleeing, the immigrant and refugee at times encounter conditions more grave that their local conditions. 

Also, the presumptuous fortunate refugee or immigrant who find their way onto a shore of presumed comfort, usually encounter hostility, discrimination and violence from host nations. Then, the refugee or immigrant is forced again to re-evaluate whether flight was the best option.

To fight persecution, conflict, war, famine, poverty and tyrant regimes are tall orders for any refugee or immigrant. Exercising the option to fight  halos an honor and a proud sense of respect over the head of the refugee or the immigrant. To fight for your land, for your basic rights, for your religion, for your dignity and for your survival takes a lot of grit, sacrifice and organization - conditions that elude many refugees and immigrants. 

Most refugees and immigrants who opt for flight are peace-loving passive people preferring an orderly process to relief over violent and radical solutions. Interestingly, radicalized and extremist individuals remain in their conditions pledging to fight the opposing system. 

Therefore, it is not very likely that radicalized and extremist refugees or immigrants are among those exercising the flight option. So, it is possible and plausible that ports of comfort could become a bit more welcoming and less suspecting of entering refugees and of immigrants.


February 16, 2017

ASIA:

In Full Solidarity with Immigrants

In recognition of "A Day Without Immigrants" - a boycott by non-criminal undocumented immigrants, residents and citizens of the United States(US), to send a message reminding the new administration, in Washington, DC, of the necessity of immigrants to the proper functioning of the Republic, today, my family and I will forego shopping, working and school in full solidarity with the movement to emphasize the importance and deep impact of immigrants upon American society, including the economy. 

With this declaration, my work day is completed for this day, February 16, 2017.  


February 15, 2017

ASIA:

The State of the Republic's National Security

What is the state of the Republic's national security? Is it in tact? Has it been compromised? Is it vulnerable to Russian influence peddling? 

Any likely collaboration between Russian intelligence and Donald Trump's campaign for president must be rejected and condemned. If it is proved by the Federal Bureau of Investigations(FBI) and Senate and House Intelligence Committees investigations that there was any collaboration between Russia and the Trump campaign, then the new White House administration should resign.

With regards to Monday's forced resignation of Michael Flynn as Trump's national security adviser, following revelations that he discussed United States(US) sanctions against Russia with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, on occasions, including on December 29, then Flynn should face investigation as to whether or not he violated the Logan Act.

Moreover, careful attention should also be given to the extent of the president's knowledge of Flynn's actions and when he became aware of the actions. 

All investigations into the involvement of Russia in the US 2016 Presidential Elections, any collaboration with the Trump campaign and any influence over the new White House, must be conducted with a view to protecting, safeguarding and ensuring the national security of the Republic.


February 14, 2017

ASIA:

Safeguards of National Security

The cornerstone to achieving a vital, safe and effective national security lies not in travel bans, but in the integrity of the appointees placed in positions that demand utmost allegiance to the Republic. Safeguards of national security demand full integrity of those who serve the Republic's well being.

Any evidence of compromise of any individuals across all spectra of national security should be carefully scrutinized and the targeted individual(s) must be ripped from all positions dealing with the national security of the Republic.

Information warning or confirming of the compromise of national security by any individual at any level, is sufficient to prompt an immediate act to retaining the Republic's national security. Any information suggesting the compromise of any individual on the national security team must lead to the termination of the guilty party, forthwith, and not played out hoping for the party to resign.

The integrity of the people serving on the national security team of the Republic effects public safety and interest more so than the entry into the Republic of individuals from suspected Muslim nations. Most travelers to the United States(US) are safe friendly people seeking an exchange of culture and experience or people in search of solace from wretched home happenings. None normally seek to harm the US. But the compromise of any national security figure within the Republic is done under a direct operation to influence the functioning of the democracy.


February 13, 2017

ASIA:

Intrinsic Value of Undocumented Immigrants to the American Economy

The pool of undocumented immigrants in the United States(US) is intrinsic to a high performance of the national economy. And by the very same token that keeps undocumented people plying in America, so too is the fruit of their labor as valuable to the country's industries.

Therefore, unless an undocumented immigrant has been convicted of a felony or a high misdemeanor, then no mass deportations of the group should be spearheaded by the government because of the likely damage and pressure, which could be inflicted upon the national economy.

While government should proceed expeditiously to deport violent felons, immigration officials and the new White House, should show compassion to the retention of whole families while exercising deportation proceedings. Non violent mothers should never be deported and stripped from their children. 

That many undocumented immigrants have lived in the US for a very long time, should serve as testimony as to their intent to swear allegiance to the Republic. Thus, all non-violent undocumented immigrants should be steered along a path to legitimately gain documented residency. The intrinsic value of undocumented immigrants to the service industry, to construction and to agriculture, demands that government scrubs all plans for any mass deportations.


February 12, 2017

ASIA:

Keeping the Doors Open to Refugees and Immigrants

The doors of the free World should always be open to refugees and immigrants. Wherever people are persecuted, displaced and threatened, they should be accorded some comfort in knowing that there are places where they could seek shelter out of the storms of conflict and injustice.

Not one country or one particular region should bare the moral responsibility of protecting and of hosting most refugees and immigrants. However, all the nations, wherever people are free, are specifically tasked with the humanitarian obligation to opening up their border doors to refugees and immigrants from multiple origins. 

Attempts to close a historical haven of solace - the United States(US), from the reach of endeavoring refugees and immigrants, should never be considered. The mere existence of the US as a possible place of comfort to many people facing dread and doom, has at times prove to be sufficient to sustain many people through their woes because they envisioned the beacon upon that hill that offers hope, freedom, democracy and the rule of law. To remove such hope would amount to a betrayal of the Republic.

The doors of America should stay open to refugees and immigrants. And whereas the US Courts have suspended a Constitution conflicting travel ban, it is not wise for the new administration in Washington, DC, to now turn its sights upon the rounding up of undocumented residents across the country. Non-criminal undocumented residents play a vital role within the US society and like all of us, who are citizens, they deserve a pathway whereby they could pledge their allegiance to the United States of America.


February 11, 2017

ASIA:

Some Responsibilities of the President of the Republic

One of the reasons the United States(US) Republic has remained a leader of the free world for so long, has been the recognition, behavior and service of successive Presidents, of and to the serious, responsible, cohesive and unity-building tasks to occupying the Oval Office.

The presidency of the US has never been about vendettas and egotistical rants and decisions to satisfying personal ambitions as if the responsibility of Commander-in-chief is the same as a leader of business - seeking profits, by all means necessary, with no consideration for all the people. The presidency is different.

The health, well being, development, security, respect and strength of the Republic, has always been paramount to person feelings and philosophies. In essence, the nature of governing is the preservation of the strength and the power of the Republic and not about exalting the resident of the Oval Office.

Responsibilities of successive presidents of the Republic have encouraged and facilitated the openness of the Republic as a beacon of hope, liberty, safety and the rule of law to world's people - immigrants, refugees, scientists, students, entrepreneurs and dreamers. Also, responsibilities include the decent decorum and respect of the Judiciary and the Legislature, along with scholarly respect of science, protection of all rights and shared diplomacy with other nations. These responsibilities and their adherence have kept America strong and respected. These responsibilities must be honored and not be abused nor destroyed. 


February 10, 2017

ASIA:

United States Courts Retain Reviewability of Executive Orders - Trump's Travel Ban Remains Suspended

In an unanimous decision by Justices of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, California, yesterday evening, Donald Trump's travel ban will remain suspended for now as the Court denied the new White House administration, a stay of the travel ban suspension issued by a Federal District Court Judge, in Washington State.

President Trump's executive order, among other things, sought to ban entry into the US from seven-mostly Muslim nations - Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Libya and Sudan. The American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) as well as a number of States including Washington and Minnesota - the Plaintiffs and Apellees of yesterday's action, sued the Donald Trump and the Federal government for relief from the ban.

After District Judge James L. Robart suspended the ban, Trump appealed the ruling to the Appellate Court. Justices William C. Canby, Richard R. Clifton and Michelle T. Friedland heard oral arguments on the case on February 7, before issuing an unanimous decision yesterday that allows for the suspension of the travel ban while the case works its way through the courts.

Most striking of the Justices' decision finding that the States have standing per damages as a result of the travel ban, was the explicit declaration by the Court of its reviewability of executive orders. This affirmation by the Court, hereby rebuked the Government's contention that the district court lacked authority to enjoin enforcement of the Executive Order because the President has "unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens."

Noting that the Government took "the position that the President's decisions about immigration policy, particularly when motivated by national security concerns, are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections." The Court added: "The Government indeed asserts that it violates separation of powers for the judiciary to entertain a constitutional challenge to executive actions such as this one."

But the Court ruled: "There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy...Within our system, it is the role of the judiciary to interpret the law, a duty that will sometimes require the resolution of litigation challenging the constitutional authority of one of the three branches."

The Ninth Circuit Court affirmed that "...the Supreme Court has repeatedly and explicitly rejected the notion that the political branches have unreviewability authority over immigration or are not subject to the Constitution when policymaking in that context."

The Court concluded: "...although courts owe considerable deference to the President's policy determinations with respect to immigration and national security, it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action."


February 09, 2017

ASIA:

Trump's Reality Exposes Weaknesses within the Republic

With the passing of each and every day since the night of November 8, 2016, it has become more apparent that the United States(US) and the World, barring any impeachment or an honest resignation, are stuck with a Donald Trump presidency for four unpredictable years. There is no possible popular recall to the election, for as a Constitutional Representative Republic, which gives power to the states, rather than to the popular vote for the selection of President, there isn't a darn thing that could be done to remove Trump from power.

However, Trump's election to the White House with fewer than 2.8 million votes than Hillary Clinton, clearly exposes inherent weaknesses within the Republic that are outdated by modern standards. The Electoral College poses a hindrance to the winner of the popular vote should the winner fail to win key states. The Electoral College that dates back to slavery as a means to giving states a greater say in the election of the presidency, is a flawed system in the modern era and it should be amended. 

Added to, or in lieu of the Electoral College, consideration should be given to a recall mechanism via which voters could get rid of an unpopular president other than by impeachment.

In other words, 20-days into the Trump presidency, the people - the Republic, the electorate, have no system to ousting a widely unpopular president, whose unpopularity is not rooted in his color, his religion nor his political party, but within explicitly established divisive policies via Executive Orders to discriminate based upon religion and upon country of origin, as well as to disband a system that provides access to health care for all Americans, even to those with pre-existing conditions. 

Also, the dissent and unpopularity of Trump is based upon his apparent inability to measure up to the high office as president, his partitioning of the Americas with a wall on the Mexican border, his vindictive character to businesses and individuals not paying homage to he and his clan and a slew of other actions that could seriously damage the Republic. 

From the US to the rest of the world, the unpopularity of the 45th President is unprecedented, yet, he cannot be immediately removed from office. Therefore, inherent weaknesses within the Republic are clearly emphasized every day.


February 08, 2017

ASIA:

An Era of Altered Rules, Alternative Facts and Attacks upon Rights

The new White House resident Donald Trump, as a presidential candidate, characterized many situations facing the Republic as "bad, bad, bad". He was successful in evoking support from many rural voters who believed the description of current affairs. 

However, it is now explicitly clear that things were never bad. There were good, good, good - the unemployment rate fell consistently since 2008, the economy recovered and was prospering, every American had access to health care, there were no foreign attacks upon North American soils and people, politicians and the media spoke openly and candidly without fear of reprisals. That was America under the stewardship of the rational, learned and even-keeled President Barack Obama.

Today, affairs are souring in the Republic: altered rules in the national legislature have silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; alternative facts(lies) are being spread to create fear and to justify the agenda of a few; the rights of aliens and visitors are under pressure from Executive Orders; the once global haven for humanity, away from conflicts and persecutions, is now quickly closing; people bent on tearing down agencies of the federal government are now in charge of those departments; and worse yet, it is only February - 19-days into a new administration in Washington, DC.

The era of altered rules, alternative facts and attacks upon rights must be a short one, if not, then, the Republic as it has been known, will not survive in tact to carry out its historical function as a beacon for democracy, a tranquil land for immigrants and the home of the free and the brave under the rules of law. 


February 07, 2017

ASIA:

New Burden upon US Courts to Protecting the Integrity of the Republic

Although it may not be a readily admitted responsibility of the United States(US) High Courts, they now carry the heavy burden of protecting the reputation, the respect and the integrity of the Republic in the era of the Donald Trump White House.

Today's oral arguments on the merits in support of and against Trump's Executive Order to ban travel to the US from seven Muslim nations, slated for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, California, confirms the burden that courts will have to carry over the next few years in deciding matters that have serious ramifications to the reputation and integrity of the Republic.

That the new White House would effect a new era of judicial review comes in light of Constitution-skirting policy judgments from Trump's administration that challenge the historical soundness and the establishment of the US as a beacon of hope, of liberty and of the rule of law to generations of immigrants from multitudes of nationalities.

Therefore, when the three learned Justices ascend the bench of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals later today, they are expected to give heightened scrutiny to the urging of the Trump administration as they attempt to tender justice with the social and moral responsibility of the Republic as a global leader of human and civil rights. 


February 06, 2017

ASIA:

Seeking Guarantees from Anti-Corruption, Romanians Remain Defiant in Protests

Pressured by the largest protests the country has seen since the fall of communism in 1989, the Romanian government repealed a corruption decriminalization decree over the weekend that would have benefited some politicians. But the late action to quell demonstrations after a week of protests in the capital, Bucharest and in others cities, was not sufficient to recall Romanians from the streets as many now demand the government resigns.

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu's Social Democratic Party(PSD), issued a decree last Tuesday that decriminalized some aspects of corruption including non-jail time for corruption involving less than $48,000. Romanian skeptics saw the new law as abetting corruption and specifically benefiting politicians and magistrates already convicted or facing trials for corruption, including the leader of the PSD, Liviu Dragnea, who was forced from power by protests in 2015, amid charges of defrauding the country. Protests involving more than 150,000 demonstrators ensued in Bucharest and in other cities across Romania last week.

The government, according to the BBC-News, scrapped the decree over the weekend with the intention of putting a revised version of the law before parliament. Fearing the retention of any parts of the law that would shield politicians from corruption prosecution, Romanians turned out more than 500,000 strong on Sunday night, in demonstrations at Victory Square and elsewhere across the country for a sixth day-in-a-row with many protesters calling upon the government to resign.

While the government cites prison overcrowding as a reason for the decriminalization draft law, Romanians remain suspect of corruption. Thus, Romanians have taken the lead in putting elected officials on notice worldwide that people are ready, willing and able to stand  and to demand fairness, accountability and transparency in their governance.


February 05, 2017

ASIA:

Alienage, Scrutiny and Security - to Finding a Balance

That the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco, California, earlier this morning, denied an Appeal from the Trump administration for an immediate lift of the stay of the travel ban granted by a Federal Judge in Seattle, Washington, on Friday, confirms that serious constitutional questions have been raised by any order that attempts to limit or to discriminate against a class of people or a sect of religion.

Thus, while the new White House might assume that it has absolute power over some facets of government in the United States(US) and that it could, by Executive Order, do whatever Donald Trump and his advisers wish, is definitely not the case in a functioning Republic with checks and balances built into it to protect against tyranny.

Aliens have rights protected under the Constitution and though those rights might not be as expansive as those reserved for citizens under the Privileges and Immunities Clause, yet strict scrutiny should always be applied to any matters bearing the classification of alienage.

Therefore, while the responsibility of the White House for national security must be respected, the Executive Branch, in absence of any imminent threat, should allow for the constitutional testing of all matters discriminatory in nature including those of national origin and of  religion. A balance must be reached between alienage, scrutiny and national security.



February 04, 2017

ASIA:

The Law - the Constitution and the Presidency: an Emerging Battle

No man nor his desires are above the law. The laws of the Republic - the Constitution and its Amendments, adapted to meet changing times, have sustained the might and the strength of the United States(US) for more than two centuries. Yet, in 2017, laws that have for years protected religious, civil and other freedoms, are now under pressure from a surprising source - a new White House administration, in Washington, DC.

That a political candidate, in the heat of campaigning rhetoric, would vow to ban a particular religion from the US, then attempt to follow through with that thought upon ascending to White House via a series of Executive Orders, must not be allowed to circumvent the rule of law nor the established norms and guaranteed protections of the Constitution. 

In other words, if President Donald Trump fears Islam, then that is his personal problem. Therefore, he must not be allowed to crush religious freedoms nor be allowed to use a travel ban to discriminate against practitioners of Islam. 

The temporary restraining orders, issued by the courts of the US against the discriminatory travel band against seven-major Muslim nations, must be honored. Obviously, judges issuing the restraining orders, are viewing evidence presented for and against the ban that they have adjudged to merit a more thorough judicial review because of constitutional questions. 

The law remains bigger than Trump and his ideology. Thus, all agencies, agents and facets of the federal government, should abide by the restraining orders of the courts until the full constitutionality of the travel ban could be ruled upon.


February 03, 2017

ASIA:

Ukraine 2.0: Renewed Fighting, a Test of the Country's Sovereignty in the Trump Era

New fighting has broken out in the past week  in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian rebels. Deaths and injuries have been reported on both sides -  representing the first event of violence, in the conflict between pro-Russian rebels and Ukraine forces, since Donald Trump ascended to the White House, in Washington, DC. 

As it was in April, 2014, when fighting started between the parties, Ukraine's sovereignty will be tested again. This time Kiev is unsure of what support it might get from Washington. New fighting has claimed some 15 lives in the past week amid a two-year cease fire agreement that has mostly held in spite of  numerous reported violations.

Fighting in Ukraine, in 2017, comes with a new administration in the United States(US) that appears cozy with Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia. However, US Senator John McCain, according to an Associated Press(AP) report, has written to the new US president asking him to authorize sending lethal weapons to the Ukrainian government forces. 

The time of the new fighting in Ukraine that escalated as the US president hosted a telephone call with Putin, according to Senator McCain: "is an indication that Vladimir Putin is moving quickly to test you as commander-in-chief," the letter to Trump warned. The White House is yet to publicly confirm or deny the Senator's request.

"Unacceptable!...Sides have to stop fighting," the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe(OSCE) said of the conflict on its Facebook's page. Signs of a renewed conflict continues testing Ukraine's sovereignty, which will either be finally determined or challenged via events in eastern Ukraine.


February 02, 2017

ASIA:

A Romanian Reality of Eroding Confidence in Governance

One of the largest ever anti-government protests in Bucharest, Romanian, was staged last night, as Romanians took to the streets against a decree that could decriminalize some levels of corruption. 

As reported by the BBC-News, some 150,000 protesters marched on government offices in the capital and  many more marched in other Romanian cities to protest the government action that decriminalizes several offenses and makes abuse of power punishable by incarceration only if the money involved is more than $48,000. 

The Romanian government responsible for the new decree, is led by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu of the Social Democratic Party(PSD), which only returned to power in December after protests forced its last leader, Liviu Dragnea, from power in October 2015, the BBC-News revealed.

The new emergency decree, which the government claims is needed to relieve prison over-crowding, would immediately benefit the PSD leader, Dragnea, who faces charges of defrauding the country of less than $48,000. Elected officials and members of the judiciary are also due to be freed from jail under the new decree.

Passed on Tuesday, the decree prompted a warning to Romania from the European Union(EU) against "backtracking" in its efforts to beat corruption. European Commission leader, Jean-Claude Juncker, said:"The fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone".

Some protesters allegedly threw smoke bombs, stones and firecrackers at police, who responded with tear gas. The protest forced business and entrepreneurship minister Florin Jinau to resign earlier today saying he did not want to look like a coward in his son's eyes.

Romania's protest underscores the reality of lost trust and confidence in governance - events that could be repeated often during the next four years from Europe to the Americas to Asia and to Africa. 



February 01, 2017

ASIA:

Is Modern Peaceful Protest Futile?

India's Mahatma Gandhi epitomized the utilization of peaceful resistance and peaceful protest to influence beneficial change. Similarly, Martin Luther King, Jr. of the United States(US), adopted Gandhi's non-violence philosophy to invoke social, political and economic change for Blacks during the Civil Rights struggles in the 1960s.

Both Gandhi and King remain synonymous with non-violence and peaceful protest. While both men advocated and practiced non-violence, there was never a shortage of violence directed at them and their followers. Many died and were maimed because of their non-violent stances. Yet, both Gandhi and King, rebutted advise to use violence to counter the violence perpetrated against them and their followers. 

Ironically, both leaders became victims of violence - Gandhi, assassinated on January 30, 1948, at New Delhi and King at Memphis, Tennessee, April 4, 1968.

While both leaders achieved considerable changes for their people, no non-violent movement has come close in recent times to reaching such highs. Peaceful protest is observed and neglected in modern times. Not much action is given to the concerns of peaceful protesters. There are talks, discussions and debates, but largely, protesting policies often remain in place. 

Peaceful protests have been violently shut down in recent times, in China, in Ukraine, in Syria and in Egypt to name a few. 

Protests in this era of a Donald Trump administration appear to be on tract to be seen, heard, discussed and debated, but with no heeding of the protesting messages. However, as peaceful and non-violent protests remain obeyed tenets of democracy, the question still arises: Is modern peaceful protest futile?


January 31, 2017

ASIA:

Threatened Soundness of the Republic

The United States(US) Republic is in danger of damage - of suffering unprecedented harm imposed via emerging and forced policies by the Donald Trump administration.

A partitioned wall along the Mexican border, an attack on health care that guaranteed coverage to all Americans, a travel ban on some Muslims and on seven Muslim-majority nations, an attack on media and upon opposing voices and punishment to those daring to stand against unconstitutional matters, are but a few of the vehicles rendering new harm to the Republic. Some Executive Orders issued by the new White House run amok of international rights norms. 

Yet, as by the same inherent weakness within the Republic that gave the White House to the non-majority vote-getter in the last November Presidential Election, other inherent weaknesses prevent the Republic from being rescued immediately.It seemingly, must suffer greater harm before it can be saved. 

The process by which the Republic saves itself from harm is not a forthwith action...it is a systematic procedure to build a case of impeachment, to mount a trial and to exercise the judicial responsibility that keeps the Republic safe. 

While the historical soundness of the Republic will be invoked and safeguarded eventually, it appears that more harm, rather than any good, will be committed before the good 'ole' United States of America re-emerges as that beacon of democracy, of liberty and of hope to the peoples of the world.


January 30, 2017

ASIA:

Policies of Hatred, Bigotry and Racism are Dangerous and Rife with Reciprocal Chances of Violence

To deny a benefit to a particular sect of people from a narrow group of nations based upon an unsubstantiated fear, is not fair, neither could it be legal under human rights laws. Such actions are suspect of promoting hate, bigotry and racism that could lead to reciprocal events including acts of violence.

Whether or not the new White House administration contemplated reciprocal actions by nations and people effected by a temporary ban from travel to the United States(US), it has however become apparent that the Donald Trump administration, has stirred up much anxiety, chaos and anger.

Moreover, that the administration singled out seven Muslim-majority nations to ban, appears to endorse a dislike to Muslims. Thus, yesterday's tragedy in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, where gunmen opened fire at a Muslim Mosque during Sunday prayers, killing six innocent people, while wounding another eight, though it may not have been directly related to the seeming anti-Muslim policy of the Trump administration, it was an example of stoked religious hatred - terrorism against Muslims.

The Canadian event, in a country that prides itself on its humanitarian support for refugees of all sects, creeds and countries of origin, "was a murderous act directed at a specific community," Quebec