A New French Prime Minister

It appears that French president François Hollande might not be completely incapable of taking decisive action, after all. Today, he approved a new cabinet and fired his prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, replacing him with the center-left interior minister, Manuel Valls. Though, frankly, this change is coming a little late. Recently, the president suffered humiliating losses at French local elections, which were predicted to be embarrassing, but not this embarrassing: the president's Socialist ...
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Why Malaysia Isn't Talking

Malaysia is in a curious position. It is by no means an insignificant country; it has a sizable population on par with that of Canada and a per capita GDP that, while not great, is certainly above that of stereotypical “third-world” countries. Of course, the government is quite corrupt, but hey, what are you going to do about that.  However, it has never really been embroiled in world politics. More or less a non-participant in the cold war, Malaysia has sort of flitted by comfortably in the Sou...
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The Future of British Higher Education

The past thirty years have seen a 500% in the price of higher education in the United States.[1] As any American college student and their families can attest, the financial strain of higher education has reached ridiculous degrees. The dregs of student debt often last well into a college graduate’s career. Many parents find themselves digging into their retirement funds in an attempt to assist their children. And, of course, the lack of accessibility to higher education only compounds inequali...
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Tensions Rising Over Senate Report on Bush-era CIA Tactics

The relationship between the CIA and the Senate is, to say the least, tense. A dispute over the public release of a report on Bush-era interrogation tactics isn't helping to mend bridges. The Senate Intelligence Committee is all ready to send the 400-page summary (of a 6,200-page investigation) to President Obama's desk for his approval or redaction. The Committee hopes that the release of the information would cause some transparency regarding the interrogation methods undertaken by the CIA dur...
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Typhoon Haiyan: Women and Natural Disasters

On November 8, 2013, one of the strongest storms ever recorded at landfall struck the Philippines, killing thousands of people and displacing millions. Just five days after Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the central Philippines, accounts of rape began to surface. Violeta Duzar, a survivor from Tacloban City, reported, “It’s the criminals who escaped from prison. They’re raping the women. Tacloban is a dead city.”[1]Her testimony is an example of a tragedy surrounding natural disasters that isn’t wi...
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Global Poverty – An obligation to care?

Let's face it. School is difficult, family relationships are difficult, romantic relationships are difficult, and above all, trying to navigate the treacherous and nebulous path called life is difficult. More often than not, we have our heads barely above the water, wondering if anything that we do really even matters. Even during our few, truly happy moments the numbing weight of reality beckons, slowly sapping even the remnants of the little joys in life that had sustained us. I sincerely hop...
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Maternal Mortality: A Human Rights Issue

On February 12, the United Nations Population Fund released a major report on the progress the international community has made in regards to improvements in women’s health and equality. Women are having fewer children, many maternal mortality rates have gone down and literacy rates have gone up. While these are resounding achievements, the report concludes that “women’s status, maternal death, child marriage…have seen little progress in the last 20 years” in the poorest areas of the world.[1] ...
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Nostalgia For the Eighties Has Officially Gone Too Far

Joe Biden stands by the centermost window of the Oval Office, deep in reflection, occasionally sipping from his cup full of wine cooler. “You know, we really should have seen this coming when they remade Robocop. But we all thought, ‘Oh, everyone loves the eighties, it’s kitschy.’.” But it’s not so kitschy now. The Robocop remake was terrible. U2 performed at the Oscars. And Putin apparently loves the eighties so much he’s invaded Crimea in an effort to restart the Cold War. “It’s been really t...
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Weekly Roundup – Feb 23 to Mar 1

S&P At Record Highs (Again) For another time in the past year we see the S&P closing at a record high of just under 1860, with the Dow Jones and Nasdaq also closing up as well. After a short fall early in the year this signals a faith in Janet Yellen and positive outlook on the US economy. With some fears of Ukrainian effects relaxing and positive outlook on US GDP growth, February ended well for Wall Street.   Ukrainian Revolution and Change It was a week of much change in Ukra...
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Confronting Slavery's Legacy: Affirmative Action in Brazil

The Brazilian population is one of the most ethnically mixed in the world. Biologist Stephen Yearns of Yale University says that in a few centuries, “we will all look like Brazilians.”[1] Brazil was the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery, and by the time it was abolished in 1888, an estimated four million slaves had been brought to Brazil.[2] Because Brazil had a large population of free blacks and mulattos at the time, no racial segregation laws were enacted following the abol...
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