Today, Chinese government officials are alleging cyber attacks
(hacking attempts) from the United States (click here for more).
"The defense ministry and China military online
websites have faced a serious threat from hacking attacks since they were
established, and the number of hacks has risen steadily in recent years,"
said a ministry spokesman, Geng Yansheng, earlier today.
Earlier this month the United States said that a Chinese
military unit is probably behind a series of hacking attacks mostly targeting
America (click here for more).
Do you think that the US and China hacking
dispute adds to diplomatic tension between China and the US?
What do these hacking related charges do to Chinese
suspicions about Washington's motives in Asia and arguments over issues from
trade to human rights?
French author Stéphane Hessel's wife, Christiane
Hessel-Chabry, told France's AFP news agency on Wednesday, that the 95-year-old
writer had died Tuesday night in Paris (click here for more).
Hessel led a long, courageous, and storied life. According
to the Guardian one French magazine stated: "Stéphane Hessel, dead? It's
hard to believe. He seemed to have become eternal, the grand and handsome old
Hessel was a member of the French Resistance during the
Second World War. He was arrested by the
Gestapo and sent to concentration camps where he was tortured, sentenced to
death, and managed to escape (click here for more).
Hessel was a great champion of human rights!
Of note to international scholars, Hessel worked along side
Eleanor Roosevelt in drafting and editing the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights in 1948. Today, the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay said, "Stéphane Hessel was a
towering figure in the human rights world. His close involvement with the team
who drafted the Universal Declaration is enough by itself to earn him a place
of honor in global history. But he went on to do so much more, and kept
contributing to the advancement of human rights well into his 90s."
Above: An English translation of "Indignez-Vous!"
In October 2010, Hessel published "Indignez-Vous!" - a pamphlet
that urged young people to seek justice by peaceful rebellion against what he
termed the dictatorial forces of international capitalism (click here for
Why do you think Hessel's pamphlet, "Indignez-Vous!,"
served to ignite the Occupy movement in Europe and the United States?
Why do you think that some people came from
World War II with a realist outlook while Hessel emerged from the Nazi
concentration camps an idealist?
The annual celebration of International Women's Day will be
Friday, 8 March this year. On International Women's Day our global village celebrates
the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and
Above: Park Geun-hye at her inauguration as South Korean president.
In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria,
International Women's Day is a national holiday. How will you celebrate women
in your community? International Women's Day honors the work of women,
celebrates women's success, and reminds of inequities still to be redressed.
Sadly, gross gender inequalities remain and entrenched part
of our culture. While ever small, the number of female leaders serving as heads
of state has declined in recent years. An
unprecedented total of twenty served during late 2010 and mid-2012.
There are currently 193 Member States of the United Nations.
Depending on state recognitions and how one defines statehood, there are about
200 (plus or minus) independent states in our global village. Of those 200 states 17 are led by women.
Argentina's President is Cristina Fernandez de
Australia's Prime Minister is Julia Gillard.
Bangladesh's Prime Minister is Sheikh Hasina.
Brazil's President is Dilma Rousseff.
Costa Rica's President is Laura Chinchilla
Croatia's Prime Minister is Jadranka Kosor.
Denmark's Prime Minister is Helle
Germany's Chancellor is Angela Merkel.
Iceland's Prime Minister is Johanna
Prime Minister is Portia Simpson Miller.
President is Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
President is Dalia Grybauskaite.
President is Atifete Jahjaga.
President is Joyce Banda.
Korea's President is Park Geun-hye.
Prime Minister is Yingluck Shinawatra.
and Tobago's Prime Minister is Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Would more women world leaders mean a different
world or do you expect relations among nations would remain pretty much the
What might these women leaders bring to the
world stage that men do not?
In his February State of the Union Address President Obama
said, "Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new
threats and new challenges. No single wall separates East and West."
The New York Times is reporting that cyber threats and
hacking into US government and corporation's sensitive data may be coming from
the Chinese government/military (click here for more). Reports indicate that the Chinese government
may have been responsible for the cyber infiltration of dozens of American
companies (click here for more).
Cyber attacks and hacking have increased Obama
administration worries that the engines of U.S. production and online life,
such as banks, energy pipelines, and water supplies, could be in danger of a
cyber attack that could cripple them and even lead to loss of life.
The Obama administration itself has embraced and supported
the building and rebuilding of the US digital infrastructure. President Obama says, "cyber threat is one of
the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation"
and that "America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on
cyber security" (click here for more).
Do you think US intelligence officers today need
to be as focused on the computer servers in Shanghai as they once were on the
nuclear command centers in Moscow during the cold war?
While there were no signs that Chinese hackers
tried to disable the American any of the American infrastructure is this a
concern because it is possible?
It is incredibly difficult to stop an idea, but an image
(especially a digital image) is almost impossible to stop. Edward Bulwer-Lytton
penned the famous quote, "the pen is mightier than the sword." To
which General Douglas MacArthur retorted, "Whoever said
the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic
weapons." Today the digital image on Facebook or a film that goes viral indeed appears to be mightier that the sword.
Filmmaker Jehane Noujaim claims that film and images are not
only powerful tools of war but can and should be used to build bridges of peace
for our global village. In this TED Talk, Noujaim explains her goal to bring
the world together for one day using the power of film.
Noujaim says, "we need to learn each other's dances."
In her most recent work, The Square, Noujaim reveals the events
in Egypt's Tahrir Square as the Hosni Mubarak regime fell (click here for more).
The Square won the Sundance Audience Award in the World
Cinema Documentary category earlier this year, and Noujaim and her team are
currently seeking funding for the post-production of the film (click here for
Might a globally shared film experience help us
learn each other's dances and bring us closer together?
What power(s) does the camera have that the gun
The Dutch-registered ship called the "Sea Shepherd" made a risky
effort to sabotage this season's whale hunt last Friday. The Sea Shepherd moved
in unusually close an to two Japanese ships in the Antarctic Ocean risking crew
and ships to save the whales lives (click here for more).
Tensions rose as the Japanese ship later rammed into the Sea
Shepherd (only minor damage and no injuries were reported - click here for
How do we protect the whales? The domestic consumption of
whale meat and the political power associated with that interest keep whaling
ships at sea.
The Japanese government is calling on the government of the
Netherlands to take action to prevent the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
from interfering with Japanese whaling ships.
Japanese fisheries minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said the Sea
Shepherd direct actions "threaten legitimate whaling activities and the lives
of crew members."
Do concerned citizens take direct - even hostile
and at times dangerous - action to protect these majestic creatures?
Or should concerned citizens and organizations
work within government and intergovernmental organizations to save the whales
Rivers link our global village. Rivers are mighty ribbons of
life that often flow easily across state lines and link people without regard
for culture, religion, or language. Rivers
such as the 3,000-mile long Mekong and the mighty Brahmaputra are the lifeline
for millions of people and completely ignore state borders we humans draw on
maps (click here for more).
Speaking in Russia in July of 2012, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said water is likely to become a geopolitical flashpoint commodity like oil (click here for more).
The Mekong, for example, links the people in the heart of all
South-East Asia with a vast and rich biodiversity similar to that of the
Amazon. The Mekong stretches to the South China Sea and is home to the world's
largest freshwater fisheries, about 700 different native species. Through
fishing, aquaculture and irrigation, it sustains more than 65 million people
(click here for more).
What happens if one state decides to dam up such a river?
The ever-expanding Chinese economy needs power. Thus, China
has become the world's largest dam builder. Chinese dams - five megadams have
already been built, eight are underway - are raising alarms of great concern in
India, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam (click here for more).
Critics claim that China's construction of dams threatens
complex ecosystems. The Indians blame the Chinese dams for flash floods that
resulted from unannounced discharges of water in the Himalayas. Scientists say that the dams will/are
drastically changing the natural flood-drought cycle and are blocking the
transport of sediment. Entire communities must be resettled. Communities have
suffered from lack of adequate compensation, problems with food security, and
increased incidence of disease.
Vietnamese President Sang said, "It would not be
over-exaggerating ... to view the water resources of the 21st century as the
oil of the 19th and 20th centuries."
Do you agree with Vietnamese President Truong
Tan Sang's warning of increasing tensions over water?
How will the international community govern dam
construction and stream adjustments by states such as China in a way to meet
the ever-growing and real concerns of downstream states?
not long ago, to rate Burma's openness and democracy on a scale of 1 to 10, Aung
San Suu Kyi said, "we're trying to get to 1."
has arguably become our village's most well known political prisoner. She was
placed under house arrest in 1989 where she remained until last year. Today she
serves as a beacon of hope for human rights and democracy around the world.
from the BBC (published on Sep 30, 2012) provides us with an excellent summary
of Aung San Suu Kyi's courage and sacrifice.
exactly is a political role model? Is it someone we relate to, someone we
aspire to be, someone we just greatly admire?
What should the United States do to
promote the burgeoning democracy and the protection of human rights in Burma?
Early in American history, minister John Winthrop delivered
a sermon known as "A City Upon a Hill" in which he urged his fellow colonists
to establish a commonwealth he hoped would serve as an example that the rest of
the world would one day emulate. President Reagan also referenced this sermon
calling the United States a "shining city on the hill."
On Thursday, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery,
Alabama. Rosa Parks, "the first lady of
civil rights", refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person as
required by the segregation law at the time.
This week the United Nations Human Rights chief Navi Pillay
marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Parks saying, "that simple act of
defiance became a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement in America and
inspired anti-racism movements around the world."
Pillay said, "The determined and principled stand taken by
Mrs. Parks against segregation should serve as a powerful motivation for all of
us as we combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
"In an increasingly globalized world, we are more often than
not exposed to prejudice, stereotypes, ignorance and xenophobia," Pillay said.
"We should face the challenges up front, as exemplified by Rosa Parks. When we
share the story of this brave woman to our children and future generations, it
is also essential to nurture the spirit of tolerance, multiculturalism and the
richness of diversity" (click here for more).
Does the United States serve as the society that
Winthrop and Reagan envisioned?
Do you think that the actions of Mrs. Parks and the
many others in the American Civil Rights movement help provide an example of
motivation to fight racism and racial discrimination around the world?
In 1911, when Fauja Singh was born in a Punjab, India, the British
government, ruled his country. Attitudes then and laws about basic human rights - women's rights - were very different from
today. Today, Singh is 101 and is the world's oldest runner. Singh is set to run two more marathons (26.2
miles) in the coming months to support women's rights.
Singh say that he will be retiring from marathon running,
but he will not do so before raising awareness for the rights and security of
women (click here). "I am pained to
listen that my daughters, grand daughters and great grand daughters are no
longer safe," said Singh (click here for more).
Singh is referring - in part - to the brutal attack in India
on 16 December 2012. Indian police say a 23-year-old victim and her friend
boarded the bus after seeing a movie. The bus turned out to be off-duty and was
being driven by a group of men who, police say, attacked the couple and then
took turns raping the woman. They also penetrated her repeatedly with a metal
bar, causing massive internal injuries. The two were eventually dumped on the
roadside. The woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital (click here
for more). This horrible crime ignited national protests all across India and
an international debate about the treatment of and attitudes about women.
While some protesters are calling for the death penalty for
the six accused men, Singh, a follower of Sikhism, is calling for an open and
larger conversation about the need for social and cultural change.
How might international athletes and other
leaders set the tone for social and cultural change?
Why is it that the victims are too often blamed
for their own attacks and violations of these most basic human rights?
The United States is operating a CIA drone base in
Saudi Arabia. The drones from that base have
been used to conduct a controversial assassination campaign in neighboring
Yemen (click here for more).
Earlier this week, NBC made public a administration
white paper dating from 2011 justifying the killing of U.S. citizens who have
joined al-Qaida and who pose an "imminent threat of violent attack"
against the United States.
The President of the United States may order a "targeted
killing of a U.S. citizen who has joined al-Qaida or its associate forces."
According to a white paper from the White House such an order "would be lawful
under U.S. and international law" (click here for the white paper).
Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
The Obama administration has already exercised this power. In September 2011, President Obama ordered
the killing in a drone strike of Anwar Awlaki, a known al-Qaida leader and a U.S.
citizen living in Yemen. Awlaki was killed along with another U.S. citizen
Samir Khan (click here for more).
Do you agree with senior Obama officials
including Attorney General Eric Holder and John Brennan, Obama's top terrorism
adviser and his current nominee to lead the CIA, that the president is and should
be vested with this power?
Is this power likely to become permanent? Is
this power only vested in the current president for the special case of
al-Qaida or might future presidents who may have more menacing plans use it?
The international community has many actors: states, IGOs,
NGOs, MNCs, individuals, and even strong domestic actors. Domestic actors often
shape policy and relations.
In the United States Agribusiness is a domestic actor that
has a huge impact on many policies - from American diets to the allocation of
corn via the USAID humanitarian programs around the world. Much of our global
food is determined by the 1,770-page, almost $300-billion Food, Conservation,
and Energy Act of 2008 (commonly known as the "farm bill"). The US farm bill
supported by domestic actors - special interests - creates a specific policy with wide ranging and far reaching
The Japanese people also have a similar and strong domestic
actor that is shaping Japanese policy. The Japanese state allocates annual
subsidies for the whaling industry, channeled through the Institute for
Cetacean Research, of ¥782m ($125,521,948 US dollars). The Japanese
taxpayers have spent about ¥30bn ($323,428,500 US dollars) to support whaling
between 1987 and 2012.
While the International Whaling Commission (IWC) imposed a
moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, the ban has a loophole that allows
the Japanese to catch up to about 1,000 whales annually.
Why are the Japanese spending so much to support whaling?
Despite decades of of opposition from the international
community, the Japanese state continues to use taxpayer support to support the
killing of whales.
Like the US farm bill subsidies for corn, the influence
wielded by special agribusinesses lobbyist on politicians keeps the Japanese
state from abandoning its whaling program. Despite years of opposition and the remarkable fact that
even Japanese consumers are not buying whale meet the killing continues. A Nippon Research Centre report states that whale meat
consumption has fallen to about 1% of its 1960s peak.
The NGO International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), has
release the results of a comprehensive study (that drew on Japanese government
data) to build a case against the use of millions of dollars in public
subsidies to prop up the industry amid a dramatic decline in consumption of
whale meat (ef="http://gu.com/p/3dhxa">click here for more).
Above: IFAW's Patrick Ramage at a whale meat stall at the Tskijii fish market standing by a sign displaying various cuts of whale meat.
The IFAW analysis (click here) of the economics of the
Japanese whaling industry highlights three striking findings. First, the
Japanese whaling industry has relied on taxpayer subsidies for more than 20
years and is no longer supported by the Japanese people. Secondly, that a majority
of Japanese are indifferent to whaling and have no interest in eating whale
meat. And third, the industry of responsible whale watching provides a much
more profitable and attractive alternative for the coastal communities with
long cultural ties to whales.
How might the international community help the
Japanese government change these harmful policies?
Do the domestic actors (agribusiness) have too
much power in the area of international environmental issues?
In this recent video we hear Fidel Castro say, "Fifty years
of blockade [embargo] and they [the United States] haven't been successful.
Castro's Cuba is the only communist state in the Western
Hemisphere. Cuba is home to over 11 million people who have suffered greatly
over the centuries as Americans and Europeans brought slavery and wars to the
Caribbean's largest island.
Fidel Castro led a "revolution" in Cuba from 1959 until his
resignation in 2008. On January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro entered the capitol city
of Havana a liberating hero. An outraged United States imposed an embargo
against all trade and travel to the island. That embargo is still in place
The Cuban people have done relatively well under Castro's
leadership. In specific, the state controlled agricultural and public health
systems have been recognized by the World Health Organization as a "model for
Fidel Castro has handed power off to his brother (Raul) but
his legacy will long dominate the country.
With the Cold War threats long gone why does the
United States continue to keep the fifty-year-old embargo in place?
expect the long adversarial relationship with the United States to change in
President Obama's second term?