Global

Climate change and the Syrian uprising

Climate change and the Syrian uprising

By Shahrzad Mohtadi

16 August 2012

A drought unparalleled in recent Syrian history lasted from 2006 to 2010 and led to an unprecedented mass migration of 1.5 million people from farms to urban centers.
Because the Assad regime's economic policies had largely ignored water issues and sustainable agriculture, the drought destroyed many farming communities and placed great strain on urban populations.

U.N. Syria mission to end, Russia calls meeting of key powers

U.N. Syria mission to end, Russia calls meeting of key powers

By Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS

Thu Aug 16, 201

(Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council will not renew the mandate of a U.N. observer mission in Syria, which is due to expire in the coming days, and will begin its withdrawal from the country, French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said on Thursday.

Which Country Has the Best Government?

Which Country Has the Best Government?

Bernhard Zand

Der Spiegel, 10 August 2012

Western democracies consider themselves to be efficient, farsighted and just -- in other words, prime examples of "good governance." But in recent years, the euro and debt crises, along with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have shattered faith in the reliability of western institutions. Disconcerted Europeans are casting a worried eye at newly industrialized nations like China and Brazil. Can the West learn something from countries that for so long sought its advice? In an introduction to a four-part series, SPIEGEL looks at how the world is governed today.

Syria crisis: Ban Ki-moon set to announce new peace envoy

Syria crisis: Ban Ki-moon set to announce new peace envoy

Julian Borger, The Guardian,

8 August 2012

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon has held talks with the Arab League in the hope of agreeing on a new Syrian peace envoy to replace Kofi Annan and keep open an alternative to the spiralling levels of violence.

Data Points to Home-Grown WMD Terror Threats in U.S.: Experts

Data Points to Home-Grown WMD Terror Threats in U.S.: Experts

Aug. 8, 2012

Two national security experts said in a Wednesday analysis on the CNN website that information collected since Sept. 11, 2011, suggests that home-grown U.S. militants pose a greater threat to acquire and use WMD materials than foreign terrorists (see GSN, June 22).

A difference beyond question

A difference beyond question

Washington Post, Richard Cohen

7 August 2012

Before the Jews of Hungary were emancipated in the 19th century, they were not permitted to own land. By the end of the century, they were on their way to owning fully one-fifth of Hungary’s large estates and were hugely successful in business and the arts. The Jews of Germany had a similar history. In the early 20th century, they comprised many if not most of the country’s lawyers, doctors, composers, playwrights and scientists, and were so astonishingly successful in business that while they were just 1 percent of the population, they were 31 percent of the richest families. What did it? Was it nature (Jews were smarter) or nurture (Jews had a certain culture)? Here’s my answer: I don’t know.

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