On The Brighter Side of Things, All of Our Animals Are Dying!

So, bad news first, the number of animals has decreased by half in the past forty years. That doesn’t mean half of the species are extinct, it doesn’t mean we’re finding less species than before, it’s just means that we, as a species, have effectively killed fifty two percent of the living things on this planet. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. We’ve killed fifty two percent of all animals not including insects, which might be better, depending on how optimistic you are.   This is the ...
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Do the Apple App Store and Google Play have the power to repel dengue mosquitos?

The dengue outbreak in the streets of Tokyo has recently called for nearly 150 confirmed cases of the disease; proposed to have been introduced by foreign travelers, the disease has been unknown to the region since the Second World War (1). Disquieted by the potentially lethal fever, the population has shown recent interest in smartphone application. “Dengue Mosquito Repellent Pro” amongst other smartphone applications on Google Play and the Apple Store, purport that these apps emit a high pi...
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Myanmar on the Mend?

Looking for an exotic travel destination? Myanmar—also known as Burma—is now “open for business”. Myanmar has long been isolated from the rest of the world on account of its former military junta that reigned from 1962-2011. The country—notorious for its human rights abuses—was closed off to international trade and to foreigners. However, ever since its ruthless dictatorship halted in 2011, there has been talk of Myanmar becoming the next “Thailand” of Southeast Asia. Now freed from economic sa...
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Children of Argentina's "Dirty War"

Last month, Estela Barnes de Carlotto announced that she had finally found her grandson, Guido, after 36 years of searching for him. Estela de Carlotto is the president of the Association of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo. She is 84 years old and is perhaps the greatest figure in the defense of human rights in Argentina. While pregnant, her daughter was snatched by Argentina’s brutal military junta, which lasted from 1976-83. Guido, who had been raised under the name Ignacio Hurban over 200 mile...
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Scotland and the UK: And They All Lived Economically Ever After

The results are in! After two years of sweeping debates and campaigns, 85% of the Scottish voting population turned out to the polls for yesterday’s independence referendum. The final vote was close—far closer, in fact, than anyone would have predicted just one year ago. (Just check out my feature article for The Consul from January 2013 for a historical perspective). In the end, 55% voted to maintain Scotland’s status within the UK, ensuring that Union Jack is kept intact. Although it has been...
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World Cup 2014 Group G – Germany v Portugal liveblog

Two European heavyweights take each other on in the first match of a tough-looking group G of the 2014 World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo has recovered from a knee injury to start for Portugal, and the current holder of the Ballon d'Or will be looking to get himself on the scoresheet to match other stars who have already scored in the tournament, including the home favorite Neymar, his Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema, and his eternal rival Lionel Messi. Germany lost Marco Reus to injury before th...
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Brazil 3-1 Croatia: Hosts grind out a scrappy victory in World Cup opener

The hosts Brazil kicked off the World Cup with a good 3-1 result against Croatia, but a subpar performance.  After going behind early to a Marcelo own goal, they needed a lucky Neymar shot from distance to equalize, before going ahead with an extremely soft penalty in the second half. Match Recap Brazil started the match like they were still in training.  Croatia dominated the opening minutes, attacking with speed and catching Brazil unprepared.  A seventh-minute move set the tone for Croatia’...
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Gold, Coltan & Diamonds: Pillaging in the Congo

Argor-Hereaus, one of the world’s leading gold refiners, is currently being investigated by Swiss authorities on suspicion of money laundering linked to gold pillaged from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2004 and 2005. The three tons of gold were later sold to companies in the Channel Islands and Great Britain. Gold is one of Congo’s most infamous conflict resources. It is widely available in the Kivu conflict region, and gold is less traceable than diamonds as there is no jewelry standa...
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Ukraine's Alleged New Register

The most recent bit of news to come out of the Ukraine has been the story of some anti-Semitic fliers being distributed in the city of Donetsk. In case you haven’t been following, the basic gist of what allegedly happened is that some masked men were loitering around a synagogue handing out leaflets to passerby. “Novosti Donbassa”, the Ukrainian news site that first ran the story, posted a picture of the flier; it stated that by order of a pro-Russian splinter group (the Donetsk People’s Republi...
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Alyne da Silva Pimentel v. Brazil

In November 2002, Alyne, a 28-year-old Afro-Brazilian woman, was admitted into a private clinic complaining of nausea. Although the medical staff considered her to present signs of a high-risk pregnancy, she was discharged from the clinic. She returned to the clinic two days later, and the doctors discovered that her fetus had died and removed it. Alyne’s health continued to decline, and she was later transferred to the Hospital Geral de Nova Igaçu. Medical officials continued to delay her treat...
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