Unknown soldiers: America’s secret, privatized army

Civil War, Threats

Unknown soldiers: America’s secret, privatized army

While many American policy makers believe that their country is ‘exceptional’ and thus shouldn’t have to follow long established laws, other governments see the precedents they set and act accordingly.

It’s been years since Newsweek has been a regular news source for large numbers of readers but it still occasionally produces good investigative reporting. In a long feature story titled “Inside the Military’sSecret Undercover Army” published in the magazine last month, William Arkin, author of a number of books on U.S. national security, revealed that the Pentagon and, even more alarmingly, private contractors working with it, have deployed thousands covert operatives at home and abroad. These covert programs are believed to have 60,000 operators, twice as many as the CIA.

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Russia: Frustrating Foreign Wars

Demographic, Russia

Russia: Frustrating Foreign Wars

Russia admits that about a third of its population is living in poverty. Many Russians, and foreign economists, believe the real rate is nearly 70 percent. Russian living standards have suffered continuous disasters since 2013 when the price of the major export (oil and has) fell by more than half and has not recovered. In 2014 Russia declared it was at war with NATO and Ukraine. That resulted in economic sanctions that have gotten worse since then. When the current Russian government took power in 2000 it became very popular by keeping a key campaign promise; to reduce the poverty rate. The poverty rate fell from 29 percent of the population in 2000 to just under 12 percent in 2012.

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North Africa and the Middle-East: A new wave of debt.

Demographic, Economy, Policies, Wild Cards

North Africa and the Middle-East: A new wave of debt.

In the first three parts we have observed the evolution of the DCs’ external debt over the last twenty years. The first part shows a dramatic increase of indebtedness, which multiplied by 2.5 with a steep acceleration from 2008 onward. The second part highlights the main threats on the DCs’ external debt, among which the growing significance of bonds, the evolution of interest rates and the depreciation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar. The third part examines the various factors that lure DCs into the debt trap: dependence on commodities, drop in foreign exchange reserves, inflating repayments, conjuncture of a multi-dimensional crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.

We deepen our analysis by focusing on various regions. After Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, we continue with the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA).

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What are food crisis and how many people are affected by them?

Poverty, Threats

What are food crisis and how many people are affected by them?

At least 155 million people are facing acute hunger because of conflict, economic shocks and extreme weather, a new report has found. The Global Report on Food Crises 2021 says the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the risk of severe hunger in some regions of the world.

The figure marks a new five-year high for global food crises, which affected 55 countries or territories in 2020. The publishers of the report issued a stark warning, saying “If current trends are not reversed, food crises will increase in frequency and severity.” In 2020, 20 million more people than in 2019 experienced acute food insecurity at “crisis or worse levels,” the report found. Around 133,000 people in Burkina Faso, South Sudan, and Yemen faced widespread death and a collapse of livelihoods in the most severe level of food crisis, classified as a ‘catastrophe.’

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Climate Migration: An Impending Global Challenge

Immigration, Policies

Climate Migration: An Impending Global Challenge

For months, we have watched the crisis at the Mexican border as migrants tried to enter the U.S. In March, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office estimated that there were 171,700 people attempting to cross the border—the highest number in 20 years. About 30 percent were families, of which one third were refused entry under Title 42, a public health statute.

The number of unaccompanied children arriving and being held in custody in U.S. border shelters hit over 5,700 in March. And this week, five unaccompanied girls between the ages of seven and 11 months were found at the Texas-Mexico border. While a migrant surge occurs every year as people come to the U.S. for seasonal work, the record number of children being sent by themselves is likely a sign of desperate conditions back home.

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Myanmar’s Bloodshed Reveals a World That Has Changed, and Hasn’t

State War, Threats

Myanmar’s Bloodshed Reveals a World That Has Changed, and Hasn’t

Myanmar’s rulers this week crossed a threshold few governments breach anymore: They have killed, by most estimates, more than 500 unarmed citizens of their own country.

Such massacres by government forces have, even in a time of rising nationalism and authoritarianism, been declining worldwide. This is the seventh in the past decade, compared with 23 in the 1990s, according to data from Uppsala University in Sweden.

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Counter-Terrorism: Rocks Of Doom

Terrorism, Threats

Counter-Terrorism: Rocks Of Doom

In western Iraq (Anbar province), the Syrian border has turned into another contested area where high-tech sensors are very useful detecting hostile border crossers. American and Iraqi forces cooperate to monitor the border and in late 2020 the Americans suggested using hidden night-vision digital cameras that covertly detect anyone crossing at night and can either store images on an SD card or transmit the data to a UAV high overhead which can then use its more powerful sensors to track the border crossers to their destination.

The success of this technique led the Iraqis asking to expand the use of this tech as well as help replacing cameras discovered and removed or destroyed by smugglers, Islamic terrorists or even some civilians looking to make some money.

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Solutions To America’s 7 Biggest Problems For We, The People

Policies, Society

Solutions To America’s 7 Biggest Problems For We, The People

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Our central thesis is that as a nation, we are divided and stalled out by deep, cynical, fully paid for partisanship at a time when the stakes of delaying pragmatic decisions to address the Five Fates could not be higher. What is to be done?

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The Silk Roads, 2nd: includes routes through Syria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and China (Silk Roads: A Route & Planning Guide)

Demographic, Iran

The Silk Roads, 2nd: includes routes through Syria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and China (Silk Roads: A Route & Planning Guide)

The Silk Road was never a single thread but an intricate web of trade routes – Silk Roads – linking Asia and Europe. This new practical guide helps travellers explore all these threads and covers Turkey, Syria, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and China.

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Diplomacy, Policies

International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance

The third edition of the award-winning International Organizations has been thoroughly revised and updated to take into account new developments and shifting power relations since 2009, as well as the most current scholarship. As before, the authors provide a comprehensive, in-depth examination of the full range of international organizations.

New features of the book include attention to a broader range of theoretical approaches, to the increasing importance of regional organizations, and to emerging forms of governance. And new case studies highlight the governance dilemmas posed by the Libyan and Syrian civil wars, human trafficking, LGBT rights, climate change, and more.

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