Connect to share and comment

An onlooker watches as police arrest demonstrators after they refused to move from Broadway following the Flood Wall Street protest on September 22, 2014 in New York City. The Flood Wall Street protest came on the heels of the climate change march on September 21 that attracted over 300,000 protestors.

- AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK — The day after the People’s Climate March, and I’m awash with emotion. I’m exhausted, and exhilarated, from having gotten up before dawn to take a four-hour bus ride from Providence, Rhode Island to march for six hours through the streets of New York City with my 11-year-old daughter.

The streets were mobbed with 300,000 or 400,000 serious but upbeat people, making it by far the largest climate change protest in history.

Read on »

NEWPORT, WALES -- US President Barack Obama talks to reporters at the end of the NATO Summit on Sept. 5, 2014. Leaders and senior ministers from around 60 countries attended the two-day summit, with Afghanistan and Ukraine at the top of the agenda.

- Getty Images

WARSAW, Poland — The NATO summit in Wales this month was planned to tell a success story about the alliance’s engagement in Afghanistan; a historic moment after more than a decade in Central Asia and the ongoing troop drawdown from the country.

Russia’s actions in Ukraine, however, challenged the security architecture in Europe and forced NATO to change the summit’s priorities. Although not a present danger, terrorist threats both in Afghanistan and across Central Asia remain a worry for the international community and for local governments.

Read on »

Vowing to target the Islamic State with air strikes 'wherever they exist', Pres. Barack Obama pledged to lead a broad coalition to fight IS and work with 'partner forces' on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

- AFP/Getty Images

DENVER — The US administration seems unable to make up its mind whether the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a war but the objective has been made clear by President Obama, “degrade and defeat” the Islamic State. But how?

Read on »

A Cambodian policeman (R) escorts thirty trafficked fishermen returning from Indonesia after being freed or escaping from slave-like conditions on Thai fishing vessels at the Phnom Penh International airport on December 12, 2011.

- AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Last June, media reports sparked an outcry over human slavery on fishing vessels — a dark side of the cheap shrimp and other seafood now sold year-round by stores like Costco and Walmart.

The horrors uncovered by the Guardian newspaper’s investigation included Cambodian and Burmese men being sold to fishing boats, forced to work at sea against their will for months or years at a time, victimized by violence, and left with little or no earnings at the end of their ordeal on the ever-emptier, overfished oceans. These men were packed below decks like sardines and half-starved.

The exposé has led to calls for consumer boycotts of seafood from Thailand, the epicenter of the scandal. This response — although understandable — neither helps those already trapped in this industry nor addresses the root of the problem.

Read on »

A soldier of the African Union's AMISOM force walks past weapons seized after heavy fighting early on August 15, 2014 in Mogadishu as African Union troops backed government forces in the battle to seize weapons from a local militia.

- AFP/Getty Images

MELBOURNE, Australia — On September 5, the US military confirmed that it killed Ahmed Godane in an airstrike south of Mogadishu. The Pentagon called it a “major symbolic and operational loss to Al Shabaab” insurgents.

A military offensive against Al Shabaab was underway in south-central Somalia, and Godane’s death was a necessary if transient victory. Al Shabaab quickly announced its new leader. Shortly, a suicide car bomber struck a convoy outside Mogadishu as “retaliation.” The convoy was operated by AMISOM, the African Union Mission in Somalia, a regional peacekeeping mission.

So, Godane was killed, but an uninterrupted war continues in Somalia.

Read on »

Saudi Shiite Muslim men take part in Ashura mourning rituals to commemorate the killing of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammed, in the mostly Shiite Qatif region of Eastern Province on December 6, 2011.

- AFP/Getty Images

TEL AVIV — The Shia minority in Saudi Arabia, comprising 10 to 15 percent of the population, has what can best be described as a rocky relationship with the ruling Sunni Al-Saud family.

Located primarily in the oil-rich Eastern Province, there remain deep-seated perceptions among many Sunni citizens that Shiism is heretical. The Shia population counters with allegations of institutionalized discrimination.

Shia demands for change have triggered periods of increased demonstrations, including on a larger-scale in 1979 and 1980, and again in 2011 and 2012 when they coincided with unrest across the region referred to as the “Arab Spring.”

Read on »

People play in a camp for survivors of the January 2010 quake in Haiti which killed 250,000 people, on February 28, 2013 in Port-au-Prince. The UN has in Haiti a huge mission of peacekeepers led by Brazil, helping the impoverished country with its political strife and the impact the devastating 2010 quake. Hundreds of thousands are still living rough in squalid makeshift camps, and they now face rampant crime, a cholera outbreak and the occasional hurricane.

- AFP/Getty Images

DENTON, Texas — Haiti has never fully recovered from the devastating earthquake of 2010. Widespread homelessness, impassable roads, food insecurity, and access to clean drinking water continue to hinder recovery efforts.

But perhaps the biggest problem is created by one of the most basic human functions—defecation.
Cholera, though eliminated before the earthquake, has come roaring back and shows little sign of abating. This deadly disease is spread through contact with infected feces. Despite public awareness campaigns, thousands in cities like Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince, are still using the “flying toilet” – a plastic bag – and spreading the disease from person to person, house to house.

Read on »

A statue representing a child receiving a injection of vaccine is seen at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters on September 5, 2014 in Geneva. A vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus could be made available for healthcare workers by November, the World Health Organization said Friday, saying safety testing of two possible vaccines was underway.

- AFP/Getty Images

LONDON — The coverage of the Ebola epidemic to date has focused on treatment, or the lack of it: the fact that Ebola has no cure; the heroic efforts to keep patients alive; the use of a new drug never before tested on humans.

All have received considerable attention. So, too, has the terrifying pace of the epidemic in some of the poorest communities in Africa.

Treatment is certainly a critical component of the response to Ebola. But the single-minded focus on treatment is obscuring the most important fact about this current Ebola epidemic. It can be contained and stopped, within months, with tools already at hand, and at a reasonable cost.

Read on »

Iraqi Peshmerga fighters take position at a post near the jihadist-held city of Zumar in Mosul province on September 4, 2014. Iraqi security forces, now bolstered by thousands of Shiite militiamen as well as Kurdish fighters, have clawed back some ground northeast of Baghdad and Kurdish forces backed by Iraqi air are fighting to retake Zumar from Islamic-State (IS) militants.

- AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Over the past decade, the United States has worked with Kurdish authorities by funneling support through the central Iraqi government in Baghdad. Within the last few weeks however, a fundamental shift has emerged in US engagement with the Kurdish semi-autonomous region.

Recognizing the dysfunction of Nouri Al Maliki’s regime in Baghdad, the US has begun directly providing military support and armaments to the Kurds. European allies are following suit; helmets and body armor are being provided directly by France, Britain, Germany and even the Czech Republic. Other European Union nations, including the Netherlands and Italy, have agreed to arm Kurdish security forces.

Read on »

NEW YORK — For a woman who risks assault, incarceration or death because of what she says and writes, Yoani Sanchez comes off as entirely serene and at peace with herself. And this soft-spoken 39-year-old, a wife and mother of just over five feet tall, is one of the most famous people taking on one of the most famous revolutions of our time: the Cuban Revolution.

Yoani has taken on the Cuban government not by protesting on the streets of Havana, which surely would land her in jail, but by writing about her daily life — a sort of quiet protest — and publishing what was once completely unthinkable: a Cuban blog.

Read on »