Sábado, 11 de febrero de 2017 (Continuación)

Since the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House, U.S. policy toward Southeast Asia has remained uncertain. Leaders around the world have become anxious about whether the United States will continue to engage with the global community or adopt an isolationist foreign policy to please American conservatives.

Amid this anxiety, the U.S. recently announced the launch of this year’s Cobra Gold military exercise, due to begin Tuesday. Cobra Gold has long represented the bedrock of relations between the U.S. and Thailand, which can be traced back to the Cold War period. The exercise, initiated in 1980 and one of the largest in the Asia-Pacific region, involves 13,000 troops from 24 Asian-Pacific countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

Introducing the terrifying mathematics of the Anthropocene

Here are some surprising facts about humans’ effect on planet Earth. We have made enough concrete to create an exact replica of Earth 2mm thick. We have produced enough plastic to wrap Earth in clingfilm. We are creating “technofossils”, a new term for congealed human-made materials – plastics and concretes – that will be around for tens of millions of years.

But it is the scale that humans have altered Earth’s life support system that is the most concerning.

In 2000, Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer proposed that human impact on the atmosphere, the oceans, the land and ice sheets had reached such a scale that it had pushed Earth into a new epoch.…  Seguir leyendo »

International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court is facing something of a backlash. As an institution, it seems to be dramatically running out of support in the very continent where it does most of its work. At a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the end of January 2017, the African Union agreed on a “strategy of collective withdrawal” from the ICC. This latest blow to the court and its supporters comes after separate decisions to withdraw from South Africa, Burundi and The Gambia in 2016.

So why the sense of mass disillusionment from African nations? Why the rejection from the largest regional group of state parties (34) to the ICC?…  Seguir leyendo »

General view of Victoriei Plaza full of protesters flashing the lanterns on their cell-phones, all at the time, during a massive protest in front of government headquarters, background, in Bucharest, Romania, 05 February 2017

Romania recently saw the largest demonstrations on its streets since the fall of communism. On February 5, more than half a million people took part in protests across the country.

The marches came in response to an emergency decree passed by the recently elected PSD-ALDE government – a coalition of the PSD (Social Democratic Party) and ALDE (the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats). Among other things, this aimed to weaken anti-corruption legislation and offered potential amnesty for those convicted of corruption.

The decree was issued at 10pm on the evening of Tuesday January 31 and did not have to face parliamentary scrutiny.…  Seguir leyendo »

Senator Alejandro Guillier is seen inside the Chilean congress in Valparaiso, Chile January 10, 2017 REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido - RTX2YELN

According to popular wisdom, if a government’s approval ratings are in the low 20s with an election around the corner, odds are that the ruling party will not retain power; people will vote for change.

But popular wisdom is not always right. And this is the hope of the Chilean left.

Just 18 months after winning the 2013 presidential election with 62% of votes, President Michelle Bachelet suffered an unprecedented political breakdown. Public support for both her and her Nueva Mayoría administration – a coalition of the Socialist, Christian Democrat and Communist parties, among others – fell to the low 20s by mid-2015, where it has remained since.…  Seguir leyendo »