A Spotlight on African Growth and Development

At a time when it is commonplace to see news about terrorist attacks by Boko Haram or Al-Shabab, when it is normal to hear European countries slander the African migrants who leave home to support their families from abroad, and when aid and adoption rates have reached an all time high in some African countries, it is important for us to not so easily fall into the narrative of undermining Africa’s history of oppression. Africa’s struggles are the expected consequences of global hegemonic imperi...
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Red Alert: China’s Suffocating Smog Problem

Beijing, as well as a vast area from Xian in central to China to Harbin in the frigid north-east are in the midst of a hazardous “red-alert” smog. This is the second alert to be issued in Chin, the first warning was given only a little more than a week ago. Residents in Beijing especially are being advised to omit from going outdoors and are even undergoing restrictions on the use of vehicles, factories and construction work. The health effects are alarming. Long-term exposure to PM2.5—particul...
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Japanese Parliament Reverses Precedent of Pacifism

  Last week, in a move that reversed a seventy-year-old precedent, the Japanese Diet, led by Premier Shinzo Abe, curtailed its constitutionally-mandated pacifism. On September 18, 2015, late in the evening, the Diet passed legislation expanding the ability for the nation to engage in war for “collective self-defense.” Under the planned changes, Japan can now assume combat roles to aid their allies, namely the United States, even if Japan itself is at no risk of direct military att...
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A Womanless World

The world is missing approximately 160 million women as a result of prenatal female infanticide, sex–selective abortions, differential mortality rates, and other discriminatory practices against women. This figure is equivalent to more than the entire female population of the United States. While normal sex birth ratios range between 105 and 107 male births per 100 female births, the gender ratios in Asian and Eastern European countries have reached unprecedented numbers.[1] In China, 121 boys a...
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Blood Ivory: Africa's Next Conflict Resource

A few weeks ago, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service crushed six tons of confiscated ivory tusks and trinkets, turning tens of millions of dollars of contraband ivory into useless powder. This event sent a resounding message to the world that elephant poaching would not be tolerated.[1] Although the international commercial trade of African elephant ivory has been banned since 1989, tens of thousands of elephants are killed annually. Officials estimate that poaching may be even worse tha...
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Opium: From China to Afghanistan

Heroin is one of the world’s most addictive and profitable drugs, with world consumption currently valued at 340 tons annually.[1] Conversely, prescription opiates are an invaluable painkiller for many patients. People have been trying to balance opiates’ medical properties with their addictive nature for thousands of years. Ancient Sumerians, Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans, for example, realized the potential for opium and used it as a medicine. In 16th century India, Moghul elephants were fed o...
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Polluted Pig Carcasses Pulled from Shanghai Waterways

Shanghai Pigs 39 percent of the water in China’s main rivers is toxic to the point that human contact of any kind is strongly discouraged. And that was before authorities began pulling pig carcasses out of Shanghai’s Huang Pu River. The discovery of these dead pigs began on Saturday March 9th as waves of pig carcasses began washing up along the sides of Shanghai’s main waterway. The number discovered a day has been continuously decreasing but the total number has already surpassed 6000. The sour...
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Weekly Recap – Feb 18th to 25th

What's inside....?
The Blade Runner Can't Run Last week Oscar Pistorius, lauded last year as the first double-amputee athlete to compete in the Olympic games, was accused of murdering his girlfriend. The South African runner pleaded not-guilty in court, claiming that he mistakenly shot his girlfriend - model  Rena Steenkamp, believing there was an intruder in the house. He was subsequently released on bail later that week.   Hacking Chinese Style Last week American security firm, Mandiant, released a repo...
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A Changing Strategy: China in Third World countries

  By examining China’s different focus on Africa since mid-1950, when the People’s Republic of China was just founded, and Latin America since the recent decades, one can clearly see how Beijing’s strategy in dealing with third world countries evolved and became more sophisticated. This change of policy results not only from different contemporary context but also China’s different diplomatic need. Originally when Chou En-lai started his Safari and China started its interaction with Afric...
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Factionalism: Conflicting or Balancing

Though the Communist Party retains monopoly in Chinese government, the political competition over the power transition is in no way mild or simple. Particularly on the eve of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party, the competition between different factions within the party, mainly among Shanghai Clique, Princeling and Tuanpai, remains the focus in the election of the fifth generation of the CCP leaders. Under such context, the understanding of the internal balancing in this factional...
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