Tag Archives: Sylvie Stein

What Do Elections Mean for the DRC?

When, in 2006, Joseph Kabila became the first democratically elected president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many Congolese and international observers felt assured that stability had finally come to the country. During the previous decade, Congo had been marred by widespread violence, including the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II — a conflict involving three Congolese rebel movements, 14 foreign armed groups, and countless militias; killed over 3.3 million Congolese; and destabilized most of central Africa. But, to put it simply, stability did not come to the country. Since 2006, clashes have killed hundreds, maybe thousands, of fighters and civilians and forced half a million people to relocate. Congo is now the stage for the largest humanitarian disaster in the world — far larger than the crisis in Sudan.

So what will the current elections mean for stability in the DRC? Could new leadership usher in a new era of tranquility and peace? Or could a second term for Kabila do the trick? Continue reading


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How Much Did the Arab Spring Cost?

$55 billion dollars, according to a new report released by consulting group Geopolicity. The report reveals that Egypt, Syria, and Libya were hit the hardest financially by the protests in North Africa and the Middle East. So what do these astronomical prices mean for the region now? Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Arab Spring, Economics, Human Rights, Middle East

HB56: Anti-Immigration Laws Get Harsher

Heard of HB56? Described as the “new Jim Crow” and the nation’s harshest anti-immigration law yet, this legislation is splintering families and inspiring fear across the state of Alabama. Like Arizona’s anti-immigration law, the bill requires that police investigate and detain anyone who gives them “reasonable suspicion” to believe that they may be undocumented. It explicitly states that undocumented immigrants may not receive any public benefits, and forbids employers from hiring, harboring, renting to, or even giving rides to undocumented immigrants. But it gets more shocking from there. Continue reading

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How do we think about famine in Somalia?

Today,the International Red Cross began an enormous distribution of aide to one million people in famine zones in Somalia — the country with the highest malnutrition level in the world. The Red Cross is targeting areas controlled by Islamic militants; but will this kind of aide distribution be the solution to the 30,000 (and growing) people dying each day of famine?

Yes, al-Shabaab (Somalia’s largest Islamist militant group, which is currently fighting to overthrow the current transitional federal government) has been blocking foreign aide and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. Yes, it theoretically makes sense to give food directly to those areas most affected by such a group. However, the notion that Red Cross aide and other foreign aide continue to propagate is that throwing money at the problem will somehow fix it. Continue reading


Filed under Africa, Human Rights

“Dr. Death” Faces Charges in South Africa

Who is “Dr. Death?” Walter Basson, as he is less commonly known, is a South African cardiologist who earned his nickname as the head of the country’s secret project, Project Coast. A tool of biological and chemical warfare, Project Coast was conducted during the nation’s era of apartheid, a period of legal segregation enforced by the National Party government from 1948 to 1994. After having been suspended from his military post with full pay in 1999, Basson was acquitted in 2002 of 67 criminal charges. Now, however, he faces further charges, bringing new implications for those still seeking resolution in the wake of apartheid. Continue reading

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Breaking: Did Obama Just Endorse Gay Marriage?

Happening now is President Obama’s first news conference since March. Amidst interesting thoughts on Afghanistan and the civil war in Libya, Obama spoke on gay rights — and got perhaps the closest he has gotten to explicitly supporting same-sex marriage. Continue reading

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Filed under Breaking News, Human Rights, U.S. Politics

North Korea’s University Shutdown

What’s Kim Jong-Il’s solution to the economic crisis? Shut down the schools and put those lazy students to work.

The reports, coming from South Korea, indicate that on Monday, the North Korean government issued an order that all universities cancel classes until April of next year, exceptions only applying to foreign students and those with imminent graduation dates. What will the ousted pupils be doing? Working on construction projects in major cities and doing repair work in agricultural regions, affected by a recent typhoon.

But, a Telegraph article reports, economic recovery may not be the primary reason for the university shutdown. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, Asia, Human Rights