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Entire Nation Of Sierra Leone On Lockdown Due To Ebola Epidemic

Ebola Virus

The entire nation of Sierra Leone is essentially on lockdown due to the ongoing Ebola epidemic: FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The most ambitious and aggressive government campaign against the Ebola epidemic gripping parts of West Africa began on Friday when Sierra Leone ordered everyone in the country to remain indoors for three days, suspending commerce, […]

Let the Games Begin! (Institutional Reform Edition)

travel-suitcase

Now on to solving the complex puzzle of the post-referendum UK.

Catalonia Secession Movement Moves Forward

People hold "estelada" flags, Catalan separatist flags, during a gathering to mark the Calatalonia day "Diada" in central Barcelona

Despite seeing the effort fail in Scotland, Catalans say they intend to move forward with their own independence effort.

Scots Reject Independence, But The United Kingdom May Never Be The Same

Scotland and UK flags

The United Kingdom will stay united, but it may never be the same again.

Today in Comparative Ballots (“Independence or not” Edition)

election-voter-people

One of these ballots is legit. The others, not so much.

Final Election Eve Poll In Scotland Finds ‘No’ Leading By Six Points

UK and Scottish flags

As this post is being written, voters in Scotland have been heading to the polls for roughly seven hours, and polls will remain open until 10pm local time, or 5pm U.S. Eastern time. By all accounts, turnout is expected to be quite high, and neither side is claiming that they are assured of victory. However, […]

Why Did England Allow This Vote?

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The thought they’d win big and silence the Scottish separatists. They were wrong.

On Eve Of Vote, Anti-Independence Forces Have Slight Lead In Scotland

Scotland and UK flags

It’s all over but the voting in Scotland.

Iran And The U.S. On The Same Side Against ISIS?

Iranian And American Flags

Iran and the United States are on the same side in the fight against ISIS, whether they like it or not.

Chinese Airlines Rebrand ‘First Class’ as ‘Business Class’

first-class-cabin-china

A scandal erupted when the Chinese people learned their leaders were flying first class and staying in five-star hotels. Problem solved!

Comparative Smog

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Via the LAT,  Beijing’s smog makes Los Angeles air look good: In the American Lung Assn.’s 2014 national State of the Air survey, the L.A.-Long Beach area ranked worst in terms of ozone concentrations and third worst in terms of particulates as measured by the standard known as PM2.5, which captures particles so small they […]

Some Observations on the Scotland Independence Referendum

UK and Scottish flags

Thoughts on the Scottish referendum (and on the issue of thresholds and decision-making).

Obama’s Anti-ISIS Coalition Seems To Exist Only In His Mind

obama-isil-speech

Despite the President’s assurances of an international coalition, the rest of the world doesn’t seem all that interested in joining the fight.

The ongoing Damage to the Venezuelan Economy

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Via the BBC:  Venezuela’s annual inflation rises to 63.4% Venezuela’s annual inflation rate has risen to 63.4%, the highest in Latin America, according to official figures published on Tuesday. The figures are the first released by the central bank since May, which has led critics to accuse the government of withholding data for political reasons. […]

Scottish Independence Becoming More Likely?

Scotland and UK flags

With just nine days to go, it’s anyone’s guess how the Scottish Independence vote will turn out.

Mexican State Approves Same-Sex Marriage

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Via the BBC:  Mexican state of Coahuila approves same-sex marriage The northern state of Coahuila has become the second region in Mexico to officially allow same-sex marriage. Coahuila’s congress approved changes to the civil code which give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, including adoption. In Mexico, laws on same-sex unions fall under […]

Today in Broken Irony Detectors

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"I’m not giving up on them, but I’m just saying either convert them or kill them. One or the other."—Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty on ISIS.

Denmark’s Bestiality Brothels?!

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Bestiality and prostitution are legal in Denmark. And not just separately.

King Abdullah Warns the West

abdullah

Is the West next in ISIS’s crosshairs?

Russia Has Invaded Ukraine

Russia Ukraine Flags

A major escalation.

UK Poorer Than All US States Except Mississippi

usa-uk-puzzle

Alabamians like to exclaim, “Thank God for Mississippi.” Perhaps it’s time for that slogan to cross the Pond.

Well, Everybody Makes Mistakes…

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Via the BBC:  Captured Russian troops ‘in Ukraine by accident’

Russia’s Sanctions Against The West Are Hurting Russians More Than The West

Vladimir Putin Russian Flag

Russia’s retaliatory sanctions against the West are  is having an impact on the average Russian’s food budget: Russia’s embargo on imported Western food is hitting its own people, as food prices in Moscow shops have jumped by up to 6% in just a week. Moscow officials say frozen fish prices in the capital’s major supermarkets have […]

Gaza Cease Fire Extended, But Prospects For Bigger Peace Deal Seem Dim

Gaza Rockets

The two sides in Gaza keep extending the humanitarian cease fire, but remain miles apart on the major issues dividing them.

Ebola Death Toll In West Africa Hits 1,200

Ebola Virus

The Ebola epidemic in western Africa continues to spread: LONDON — As West African nations grapple with the worst-ever outbreak of the Ebola virus, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the death toll had exceeded 1,200 and announced increased efforts to forestall hunger in areas isolated by quarantine measures. The figure offered a […]

Fighting over Mosul Dam

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Via the BBC:  Iraq crisis: Military claims control of Mosul dam Iraqi military spokesman Lt-Gen Qassim Atta told state TV the dam – Iraq’s largest – had been "fully cleansed". Troops had been backed by a joint air patrol, he added, without specifying if there had been any US air strikes. However, journalists in the […]

Nouri Al-Maliki Agrees To Step Aside

Nouri al-Maliki  Photo

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has apparently agreed to abandon his bid to stay in power: BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Thursday night said he agreed to relinquish power, state television reported, a move that came after days of crisis in which Mr. Maliki’s deployment of extra security forces around the capital […]

Germany Ready To Take A Harder Line Toward Russia Over Ukraine?

German Russian Flags

The New York Times’ Alison Smale notes that the Ukraine crisis seems to be finally causing the Germans to reconsider their country’s relationship with Russia: BERLIN — Over recent months, something significant has happened in Europe: In the crisis over Ukraine, Germany has assumed leadership not just in its familiar fashion of trying to coax Russia […]

Despite Pressure, Malaki Unwilling To Step Aside In Iraq

Nouri al-Maliki

Iraq continues to appear to be headed toward a political crisis, notwithstanding the fact that everyone seems to be trying to pressure Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step aside: BAGHDAD — Iran’s supreme leader threw his weight behind Iraq’s newly appointed prime minister Wednesday, but incumbent Nouri al-Maliki denounced efforts to oust him as “a […]

Arming The “Good” Syrian Rebels Would Not Have Prevented The Rise Of ISIS

syria-obama

Dispelling a rising myth,

Scottish Independence Losing In The Polls

Scotland and UK flags

If recent polling is to be believed, the bid for Scottish independence is going to go down in flames.

No, Obama Isn’t Seeking ‘Regime Change’ in Iraq

iraq-protest

The United States is, in fact, doing the exact opposite.

NATO: “High Probability” Russia Will Invade Ukraine

Russia Ukraine Flags

The rebels in eastern Ukraine continue to suffer setbacks, and Russia is massing troops on the border again.

The Case Against American Action In Iraq

Iraq US Flag

Iraq’s problems cannot be fixed by the United States.

Muslim Brotherhood’s Political Party Banned

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Via the BBC:  Egypt court bans Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing Dissolving the Freedom and justice Party (FJP) was expected. The political wing of the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement can no longer compete in the next parliamentary elections, expected to be held before the end of this year. Its members can run either as individual candidates […]

Santos Sworn in

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Via the BBC from last week:   Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sworn in. Santos was re-elected to a second term back in June and is the second Colombian president to be re-elected (after the constitution was reformed to allow Santos’ predecessor, Álvaro Uribe, to run for and win a second term). The main issue confronting […]

Obama’s Iraq Policy Is Open-Ended, Directionless, And Likely To Fail

Barack Obama

President Obama doesn’t seem to have any idea what he wants to do in Iraq.

Ukrainian Forces Reportedly Have Rebels In Donetsk Surrounded

Russia Ukraine Flags

End game? Or the potential spark of a wider war?

Italian Senate Reform?

Italian-flag

Institutional reform does take place in other democracies.

Gaza Truce Ends As Hamas Refuses To Extend Humanitarian Ceasefire

Gaza Rockets

Well, it was nice while it lasted.

Russia Extends Edward Snowden’s Asylum For Three More Years

Edward Snowden 2

Edward Snowden will be allowed to stay in Russia for at least the next three years: MOSCOW — Edward J. Snowden, the American intelligence contractor who published a raft of secret documents and then fled to Russia, has been granted a three-year residence permit, his lawyer announced Thursday. Anatoly G. Kucherena, the lawyer, told a […]

Russia Imposes Sanctions Of Its Own

Vladimir Putin Russian Flag

In response to the multiple rounds of sanctions that the West has imposed in response to Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Russia has banned the importation of a broad range of Western food and agricultural products: MOSCOW — Russia announced on Thursday that it was banning the import of a wide range of […]

As Gaza War Winds Down, What Happens Next?

Israel-Palestine-Flags

The war in Gaza seems to be winding down, but the underlying issues remain.

Africa’s Ebola Crisis Hits 1,300 Cases

Ebola Virus

With one of the Americans infected with the Ebola virus headed for Emory University’s hospital as we speak, we have reached the first time that a disease that has ravaged Africa in the past is being knowingly brought to North America. By all accounts, the steps that medical professionals are taking to ensure that the […]

Republicans Block Additional Funds To Israel For Iron Dome Over Deficit Concerns

US Israel Flags

In a move you don’t see everyday, Senate Republicans blocked a measure that would have increased aid to Israel, specifically directed to the Iron Dome anti-missile shield, because of concerns about the deficit: In the end, the Senate couldn’t even agree to deliver emergency aid to one of the United States’ closest allies. A last-ditch effort to […]

Ugandan Anti-Gay Law Struck Down By Court

F2-uganda

A court in Uganda has declared that country’s controversial law against homosexuality, which has drawn widespread international condemnation, is unconstitutional: Uganda’s Constitutional Court has annulled tough anti-gay legislation signed into law in February. It ruled that the bill was passed by MPs in December without the requisite quorum and was therefore illegal. Homosexual acts were already […]

72 Hour Gaza Ceasefire Collapses In Less Than Two Hours

Gaza Attack 2

A glimmer of hope in Gaza is quickly snuffed out.

Debt Default In Argentina

money-investing

To our south, the nation of Argentina has just defaulted on billions of dollars in loans thanks largely to a dispute with at U.S. hedge fund: The hedge fund firm of billionaire Paul E. Singer has about 300 employees, yet it has managed to force Argentina, a nation of 41 million people, into a position where it […]

Scottish Independence Referendum A Nailbiter

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Scottish independence may be more likely than many think.

Despite International Pressure, Israeli Public Supports Netanyahu On The War In Gaza

Benjamin Netanyahu

The Israeli public if overwhelmingly behind the war in Gaza, and that means it will probably continue for awhile.

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