Blog Articles by Category

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has hailed the Brussels summit as a 'reality test' that the EU has passed, but is that really true? Many EU countries are feeling economic strain–the UK's new budget and the criticisms of it are only the most recent of events showing that the EU is following in the US's footsteps toward a shaky economic time, and Bear Stearns' banking crisis leaving its future unstable and at the mercy of the markets could well be a dark harbinger of things to come in Europe.

By Dominique Gracia  |  March 14, 2008

We're about to discover just how legitimate Pakistan's "democratic" institutions really are. The latest news out of Islamabad is the power-sharing deal brokered by Asif Zardari of the PPP and Nawaz Sharif of the PML-Q, and President Musharraf's subsequent summons to Parliament. The body will convene on March 17, but what exactly happens then is, at this point, anyone's guess. Here are some things to look for:

By Owen Barron  |  March 13, 2008

Election season is hotting up in Mexico. But these elections are not for government office. Instead, they are to decide the fate of Mexico's leading opposition party, the Partido de la Revolución Democrática, the PRD. Since at least the 2006 presidential elections, and in reality a great deal longer, the PRD has been divided (loosely) between radicals and moderates. On March 16, the party's base will decide which faction should lead it into the 2009 midterm elections.

By Jason Lakin  |  March 10, 2008

This week and for the next two weeks, former Israeli soldiers from "Breaking the Silence" are at Harvard University to present a rare exhibit on their service in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This traveling exhibit features video and photo testimonials of what really happens under occupation, and these former soldiers serve to fill the gap between the American and Israeli civilian perception of what is going on and what is actually taking place on the ground.

By Zehra Hirji  |  March 5, 2008

Russia's electoral promenade is concluding, and when the "votes" are in, we will undoubtedly see Dmitri Medvedev take Putin's place as Russia's next president. So what's fascinating to watch is not the theatrics of the campaign (for those, the world turned into the Iowa Caucuses) but the predictions of Medvedev's future. Several articles seem to make the point that although Medvedev will certainly be weak, he is less abrasive and will invite more citizen participation than Putin.

By Owen Barron  |  March 1, 2008

Recently, the social networking site Facebook made the move to de-list Palestine as a place on their website. On your profile page, you can no longer list Palestine, the West Bank, Gaza, The Palestinian Territories, or even the Occupied Palestinian Territories as your hometown. Jerusalem, Palestine was also removed, but Jerusalem, Israel still remains an option even though the territory is officially “disputed”.

By Zehra Hirji  |  February 26, 2008

If you care at all about democracy ever emerging in the Arab world, the recent decision by the Arab League to allow closer government oversight of satellite media should worry you. It shouldn't surprise you–after all, Arab governments are famous for censorship, disrespect for journalists, and police brutality. But the language of the new League charter, agreed upon almost unanimously, is chilling to those of us in the West who've grown to cherish our freedom of the press.

From the BBC:

By Owen Barron  |  February 22, 2008

Beirut, once known as the "Paris of the Middle East," famous for its raging nightlife has been recently seeing a dramatic decrease in the people venturing to go out for a good time. The bustling streets once packed with luxury cars late into the night are now quiet and most club and bar owners have been forced to close their doors permanently due to a lack of business.

By Zehra Hirji  |  February 20, 2008

The UK currency reform is entering a relatively bizarre debate. Although no measures have been passed to shift the uniquely English pound to the trade-conducive euro, the debate seems to be less along economic lines than social ones. The argument to shift from the pound to the euro is based on economic standardization: countries that use the same currency will have improved and increased trade. This `theory' has already proven beneficial in the countries that have embraced the standard euro. With more plausible trading opportunities, economies are able to mutually benefit.

By Zachary Sniderman  |  February 10, 2008

Wire-tapping, that memorably scandalous activity, is making headlines again in the UK. MP Sadiq Khan reportedly had a conversation with an incarcerated constituent recorded by counter-terrorism officers: a decision taken by the police force, unbeknownst to MPs, and without either of the participants' consent. Now, an investigation has been begun by the Justice Minister, Jack Straw, and he's made it very clear that the decision to instigate such an investigation is made by a police chief, not a minister.

By Dominique Gracia  |  February 7, 2008