- Winners and Losers
Many international and domestic political observers have watched the Egyptian parliamentary elections with hope. This round of parliamentary elections came to bridge a gap of trust between the national Egyptian institutions and the Egyptian people, who had been rendered voiceless by the previous regime. Whereas the SCAF (Supreme Council of Armed Forces) has stressed that, unlike in the past era where there was little judicial supervision of elections, this time elections would be carried out “under complete judicial supervision”.Read More »
The Eastern Partnership initiative, a cooperation involving six countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), emerged from a Polish-Swedish idea in June 2008, and developed into an official program one year later. The quest was to improve the relations between the EU and the partner countries in different ways, thus offering a prospect for them which can eventually lead to EU membership. (As Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said: “to the south, we have neighbours of Europe. To the east, we have European neighbours”.)The program is based on bilateral as well as multilateral relations including political and economic ties, through meetings and conferences at different levels.Read More »
A few years ago a sleazy, run down bar called D22 was one of the few places where Chinese underground bands in the capital could get a chance to try their wings. Its location in the middle of Beijing’s northwestern district, in close proximity to several of China’s biggest and most prestigious universities, would prove perfect for attracting Chinese youth. The bar quickly became an outlet for the developing local underground music culture.
The international media covering the event focuses on thedifficulties in accomplishing a democratic election, such as the large country’s poor infrastructure, lack of organization surrounding the election, along with violence and suspected fraud. Nonetheless, according to the International Crisis Group, the conflict region in the east has improved its infrastructure and electoral situation, implying that participation in the election will probably be higher than it was in 2006. As important as these logistical aspects might be in providing a democratic election, a more challenging could be the lack of proper debate and campaigning in the political arena of DRC.Read More »
In May 2011, 27 people were murdered – most of them beheaded – at a ranch situated in the Peten province, close to Mexico’s border to Guatemala. The killings were carried out by members from a Mexican drug cartel, allegedly the Zetas, which is the second largest drug cartel in Mexico after The Sinaloa Cartel, but considered to be the most violent. This is only one example of how Central American states that exert little or no control over certain parts of their territories risk being overrun by anti-state groupings with strong cross border networks. Many Mexican drug cartels are increasing their presence in such countries due to the fervent attempts by Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón, to curb their turf and activity. There are signs of the drug cartels increasingly beginning to align with gangs, such as The 18th Street Gang and the Mara Salvatrucha, both of which originate from Los Angeles, later expanding their networks to Central America. The real extent of the collaboration is still unknown, but a potential cooperation could pose a great threat to positive development in several Central American countries, as has been pointed out by the World Bank.
More than two months have passed since activists started demonstrating against social and economic inequalities in Zucotti Park, Wall Street, New York. Now the so called Occupy Wall Street movement has grown and become known globally. Critics say that the movement must have a concrete agenda in order to be taken seriously. Yet the occupiers do not show any signs of leaving their tents.
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