WBEZ | international http://www.wbez.org/tags/international Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Fifth Anniversary of Tahrir Square Protests http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-29/fifth-anniversary-tahrir-square-protests-114640 <p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:20px;"><strong>Egypt: Protester Reflects on Five Years since Tahrir Square Protests</strong></span></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Egypt2.jpg" style="height: 829px; width: 620px;" title="An Egyptian man walks past an old graffiti in Mohammed Mahmoud street near Tahrir Square, related to the Arab spring and the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. The run-up to the anniversary has seen stepped-up security measures in Cairo, a new wave of arrests and security checks in the city's downtown, an area popular with young, pro-democracy activists. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)." /></div><p><strong><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244440813&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="719px"></iframe></strong></p><p dir="ltr">This week marks the 5th anniversary of the beginning of protests in Egypt, which eventually became known as the &nbsp;&ldquo;Arab Spring.&rdquo; Five years ago hundreds &nbsp;of thousands of people across Egypt, especially in Cairo&rsquo;s Tarir Square, assembled to demand the ouster of longtime dictator, Hosni Mubarak. We&rsquo;ll talk with Salma Hussein, a 26 year-old Egyptian woman, who came of age during the protests. Hussein writes and reports extensively on human rights and democracy issues in Egypt. She&rsquo;s also under constant threat for criticizing the country&rsquo;s government and military. Hussein is in Chicago to spread awareness of what she says has been happening in Egypt since the Tarir protests began five years ago. She&rsquo;ll also talk about the plight of many of her friends, who she says are now imprisoned for speaking out against the government.</p><p dir="ltr">Guest: Salma Hussein is an Egyptian activist and blogger for the January 25th Movement.</p><hr /><p dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">WHO To Determine Whether Zika Virus is &ldquo;Public Health Emergency&rdquo;</span></strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Zika1.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title=" A municipal worker gestures during an operation to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmits the Zika virus in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Brazil's health minister Marcelo Castro says the country is sending some 220,000 troops to battle the mosquito blamed for spreading a virus suspected of causing birth defects, but he also says the war is already being lost. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)." /></div><p><strong><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244440966&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="719px"></iframe></strong></p><p dir="ltr">The World Health Organization is creating an &quot;emergency team&quot; to combat the Zika virus. The WHO has called the virus&rsquo;s spread &quot;explosive,&quot; and going &ldquo;from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions&quot;. The WHO also predicts three to four million cases of the virus and will meet next week to decide if the Zika crisis should be called a global emergency. We&rsquo;ll take a look at the &nbsp;potential public health emergency with Laura Rodrigues, professor of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She&rsquo;s currently in Brazil, one of the virus epicenters.</p><p dir="ltr">Guest: Laura Rodrigues is a professor of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.</p><hr /><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:20px;"><strong>Global Activism: Light and Leadership Initiative</strong></span></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LandL.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Members of the Light and Leadership Initiative include volunteers from Peru, the United States, Finland, France and Australia (Courtesy of Light and Leadership Intiative)." /></p><p dir="ltr"><strong><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244441159&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></strong></p><p dir="ltr">For Global Activism, we catch up with Global Activist, Lara DeVries. She left her childhood town of Tinley Park, Illinois and moved to Peru&rsquo;s Huaycan community to help impoverished families. DeVries is founder and executive director of Light and Leadership Initiative. Her group assists mothers and children in their struggle out of extreme poverty by improving access to quality education. DeVries updates us on her work in Peru.</p><p dir="ltr">Guest: Laura DeVries is the founder and executive director of Light and Leadership Initiative.</p></p> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 12:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-29/fifth-anniversary-tahrir-square-protests-114640 Analysts: Markets May Be Underestimating U.S. Economic Resilience http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-edition/2016-01-25/analysts-markets-may-be-underestimating-us-economic-resilience <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_143530056502.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As the old saying goes, the stock market has predicted nine of the last five recessions. In other words, sharply falling stock markets are crying wolf about half the time.</p><p>Dyke Messinger, who runs a small manufacturing company in Salisbury, N.C., thinks stock investors have been overreacting during this sell-off.</p><p>&quot;It is bizarre to me when we see what we believe is good core strength in the U.S. market,&quot; he says.</p><p>Messinger&#39;s market is the construction industry. His company, Power Curbers, manufactures machines that contractors use to build curbs and gutters for housing developments and commercial buildings.</p><p>&quot;Everybody is a bit on pins and needles due to the changing world economy, but there&#39;s still pent-up demand for housing and commercial construction,&quot; he says.</p><p>Those sectors performed weakly in the U.S. coming out of the recession but are doing much better now.</p><p>Messinger&#39;s business is actually a good reflection of the situation many U.S. manufacturers face. He exports a lot of his machines. About 30 percent of his sales are to international customers, including oil producing countries in the Middle East. The plunge in oil prices has hurt his business; his international sales have fallen sharply. So he knows the global economy can hurt U.S. growth.</p><p>&quot;I know a lot of what happens in the United States depends upon what&#39;s going on in China and other countries, but if I had some spare money, I think I&#39;d be buying U.S. stocks,&quot; Messinger says.</p><p>He says for his company, growth in the U.S. economy will more than offset lost business abroad.</p><div id="con463991179" previewtitle="Related links"><div id="res463978088"><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div></div><p>Economist Sara Johnson also believes the U.S. stock market is not accurately predicting the U.S. economy in 2016. &quot;I think financial markets have overreacted,&quot; she says.</p><p>Johnson, senior research director for global economics at IHS, points to strong U.S. job growth as evidence the domestic economy remains on track despite global weakness. And she says concerns that the U.S. is vulnerable to the slowdown in Chinese growth are overblown.</p><p>&quot;While it certainly is creating some turmoil in financial markets, the real economic consequences for the U.S. are limited,&quot; she says.</p><p>For one reason, total exports represent only about one-eighth of the U.S. economy, and less than 10 percent of those exports go to China. So the vast majority of U.S. economic activity is generated inside U.S. borders.</p><p>And Johnson sees a positive picture for this year, helped by the deep decline in oil prices. She acknowledges that plummeting oil prices hurt the U.S. economy last year, decimating energy companies and sparking huge layoffs. But, she says, 2016 will be different.</p><p>&quot;The U.S. is a net importer of crude oil, so the drop in prices is a substantial gain to U.S. consumers,&quot; she says.</p><p>That&#39;s been the conventional wisdom, but some economists have begun to doubt that low oil prices are a net positive for the U.S. economy. After all, because of the shale revolution, the U.S. has become the world&#39;s largest producer of oil and natural gas. That means energy price drops have a bigger negative impact on American companies and workers than before.</p><p>In fact, Goldman Sachs now predicts that those negatives will offset the benefit to U.S. consumers, so lower oil prices won&#39;t be a boost to the economy this year.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/25/463968800/analysts-markets-may-be-underestimating-u-s-economic-resilience?ft=nprml&amp;f=463968800"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 11:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-edition/2016-01-25/analysts-markets-may-be-underestimating-us-economic-resilience The Real Goal for These Cricket-Crazy Maasai Men? Ending 'The Cut' http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/real-goal-these-cricket-crazy-maasai-men-ending-cut-114554 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/warriors_custom-c9708124c18ecf8fa20fc38ff5c2c890bb669f4f-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463709637" previewtitle="A new documentary shows how the young Maasai men in Il Polei fell in love with cricket — and use the sport to send a message to their village elders."><div data-crop-type="">You&#39;ve never seen a sports team like this one.</div></div><p>Dotted across a dusty rectangle of dirt in the Kenyan savanna, bare-chested Maasai men in traditional clothing &mdash; plaid red fabrics and colorful accessories made of feathers and beads &mdash; are playing a sport known for its stiff whites: cricket.</p><p>But winning isn&#39;t the team&#39;s No. 1 goal. It&#39;s putting the practice of female genital mutilation, which has affected girls as young as six in the community, into a permanent time-out.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Maasai.Cricket.Warriors/">Maasai Cricket Warriors</a>, as they&#39;re called, are the subject of<em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.warriorsfilm.co.uk/">Warriors</a>,</em> a documentary film by British director Barney Douglas. It follows the Maasai players from their village of Il Polei all the way to London for their first cricket championship.</p><p>The film, which comes out on DVD this month, premiered in Los Angeles last September and has been shown in the U.K., South Africa and Kenya. Forty-five percent of the profits will go toward creating a community youth center in Il Polei.</p><p>Even before cricket came to town, the village knew what FGM meant for Maasai girls.<a href="https://globalcricketcommunity.com/index.php/profiles/international-profiles/142-sonyanga-ole-ngais-captain-maasai-cricket-warriors">Sonyanga Ole Ngais</a>, one of the stars of&nbsp;<em>Warriors</em>&nbsp;and the team captain, witnessed three of his sisters undergo the pain of &quot;the cut.&quot;</p><p>Once they were circumcised, they were considered ready for marriage and were quickly married off. Their education ended abruptly.</p><p>Ngais and the younger generation of Maasai men in the village know the power of an educated female. In the movie, they tell how she can help the men and raise up the community as a whole. But to encourage this behavior, the men know they have to speak up, too.</p><div id="res463809253"><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>&quot;In their society, men are dominant,&quot; says Douglas. &quot;So for this reason, it&#39;s partly the young men&#39;s responsibility to stand up and say, &#39;FGM is not right. It&#39;s unacceptable. We want our young women to go to school.&#39; &quot;</p><p>And how did cricket come into the picture?</p><p><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/aliyabauer">Aliya Bauer</a>&nbsp;introduced cricket to the area in 2007 during a long-term research trip on baboons for the University of California. The South African thought it might be fun, plus she missed playing the sport. Bauer shipped in some equipment, contacted the local chief for his support and taught the villagers how to play.</p><p>They were hooked &mdash; the Maasai found the movements of the game similar to hunting and spear-throwing, a big part of their culture. In 2009, a group of six or seven young men in their teens and early 20s decided to start an official team, the Maasai Cricket Warriors, with Bauer as their coach.</p><p>But they didn&#39;t just want to play. They wanted to use their growing popularity as a cricket team to champion their opposition to FGM.</p><p>The men hoped that by banding together as a sports team, they could gain the clout needed in Maasai society to stand up to the elders against FGM &mdash; and get them to reconsider the tradition&#39;s importance.</p><p>The Warriors also wanted to inspire youth. They taught children how to play cricket and traveled to schools to speak to students about FGM, gender equality and HIV/AIDS, a disease that has affected the Maasai community.</p><p>They led by example, vowing not to marry any woman who has undergone the cut.</p><p>&quot;If you want to join the team, you have to subscribe to the objective of ending FGM,&quot; says Douglas. &quot;And you have to practice what you preach.&quot;</p><p>The elders were skeptical that cricket could make any real impact against FGM in Il Polei.</p><p>&quot;We have not yet seen the fruits that this cricket team has brought to the community,&quot; says one village elder early in the film.</p><p>In 2013, when the team decided to compete in the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lastmanstands.com/usa">Last Man Stands</a>&nbsp;amateur cricket championship in London, things started to change. The community was buzzing with excitement over the team&#39;s trip. Children were clamoring to play cricket.&nbsp;The adults were proud.</p><p>&quot;Their journey to London greatly enhanced their status and allowed them to question their elders,&quot; says Douglas. &quot;This is something a warrior should&nbsp;never&nbsp;do.&quot;</p><p><em>Warriors&nbsp;</em>climaxes with a conversation between the village elders and the players. Perched on a flat rock and staring out into the vast Kenyan savannah, members of the old generation and the new engage in a civil debate about the tradition of FGM.</p><p>&quot;This is your time, this is your life,&quot; says one village elder in the scene. &quot;We old people are through. We need to ask the [young men what they think about FGM]... it is you guys who will marry.&quot;</p><p>The elders give the young men their blessing to stop marrying girls who have been circumcised, which could then discourage families from enforcing the practice.</p><p>Today, the Maasai Cricket Warriors has grown to more than 25 members. A girls&#39; team has formed. Both teams travel to schools in and around the area to teach children how to play cricket and encourage young people to speak out against FGM.</p><p>Ngais, the team captain, now studies communications and electronic media at Daystar University in Nairobi. He hopes to work in the film industry when he graduates.</p><p>&quot;What I hope comes across is that young people can affect change,&quot; says Douglas. &quot;Young people can get a bad reputation sometimes. But the Warriors did it with the right intentions. It&#39;s an inspiring message.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/01/21/463709275/the-real-goal-for-these-cricket-crazy-maasai-men-ending-the-cut?ft=nprml&amp;f=463709275" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 15:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/real-goal-these-cricket-crazy-maasai-men-ending-cut-114554 Mysterious Giant Golden Statue of Mao is Gone http://www.wbez.org/news/mysterious-giant-golden-statue-mao-gone-114428 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-503433188-dccccac7a648b51954a7c7184b664c5a20430171.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res462372626" previewtitle="The huge statue of Chairman Mao Zedong in central China's Henan province before it was demolished."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The huge statue of Chairman Mao Zedong in central China's Henan province before it was demolished." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/08/gettyimages-503433188-dccccac7a648b51954a7c7184b664c5a20430171-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The huge statue of Chairman Mao Zedong in central China's Henan province before it was demolished. (AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>A 121-foot-high statue of Mao Zedong mysteriously cropped up in a remote field in China&#39;s central Henan province,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/05/462016496/in-remote-field-in-china-theres-now-a-giant-golden-statue-of-mao">as we reported</a>&nbsp;this week.</p></div></div></div><p>But it seems the homage to the founder of Communist China didn&#39;t have much time in the sun.</p><p>The golden statue grabbed international headlines, sparking criticism and ridicule. Now, local residents and officials&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/07/us/politics/clinton-blair-transcripts-document.html">say the statue has been torn down</a>, according to media reports. Images&nbsp;<a href="http://tieba.baidu.com/p/4255123861">circulating on social media</a>&nbsp;show the tribute to Mao with a black cloth draped over its head and missing parts of its legs and arms.</p><div id="res462371705"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Devastating news: giant golden Chairman Mao statue torn down in Henan province, locals say <a href="https://t.co/Y8T370KSeM">https://t.co/Y8T370KSeM</a> <a href="https://t.co/SDnkvQmAYN">pic.twitter.com/SDnkvQmAYN</a></p>&mdash; Tom Phillips (@tomphillipsin) <a href="https://twitter.com/tomphillipsin/status/685397252014211072">January 8, 2016</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p>&quot;Demolition teams arrived Thursday morning, villagers said, and by Friday morning only a pile of rubble remained,&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/09/world/asia/china-mao-statue-henan.html?_r=1">The New York Times reports</a>. Here&#39;s more:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;Public Security officials and groups of unidentified men in olive green greatcoats brusquely turned away visitors and blocked road access to the site, outside the village of Zhushigang.</em></p><p data-para-count="183" data-total-count="1478"><em>&quot;Villagers said the guards had been sent by officials in Tongxu County, which includes Zhushigang. They said they believed the statue was torn down on orders from provincial officials.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>It&#39;s not immediately clear why the statue was destroyed.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/08/giant-golden-chairman-mao-statue-destroyed-henan-province?CMP=share_btn_tw">A local resident told The Guardian</a>&nbsp;that he heard &quot;it was because it had occupied a farmer&#39;s land.&quot; The newspaper says local media reports that &quot;the statue had not gone through the correct &#39;approval process&#39; before construction.&quot;</p><p>The criticism and ridicule might have had something to do with it.</p><p>As The Two-Way reported Tuesday, &quot;Henan province was one of the worst-hit areas of what has become known as the &#39;Great Famine&#39; during Mao&#39;s rule, so a statue of Mao in the middle of farmland there might seem like a surprising choice.&quot;</p><p>The statue also garnered criticism for its steep price tag &mdash; about $460,000 &mdash; in the middle of what was once one of China&#39;s most impoverished areas.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/08/462370743/mysterious-giant-golden-statue-of-mao-is-gone?ft=nprml&amp;f=462370743" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 08 Jan 2016 13:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/mysterious-giant-golden-statue-mao-gone-114428 International Olympic Committee to allow refugees to compete http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-29/international-olympic-committee-allow-refugees-compete-113555 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/guar maker.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95183"><img alt="A stateless athlete Guor Marial, from South Sudan, poses at a press conference at the London Olympics media center during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 in London. Marathon runner Marial, who was displaced by the war in Sudan, competes in London 2012 Olympic Games as an independent Olympics athlete. (Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/10/1029_guar-maker-624x407.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="A stateless athlete Guor Maker, from South Sudan, poses at a press conference at the London Olympics media center during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 in London. (Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images)" /><p>This week the International Olympic Committee said that athletes who have fled their home countries will be allowed to qualify to compete in the Olympics &ndash; under the Olympic flag.</p></div><p>The IOC has not had a policy to allow refugees to compete in the past, but there have been some exceptions. One was track and field athlete&nbsp;<a href="http://www.unhcr.org/pages/52f38d056.html" target="_blank">Guor Maker</a>&nbsp;of South Sudan in 2012. He fled the Sudanese civil war when he was young and came to the U.S. In 2012, Maker ran the marathon in the London Olympics under the Olympic flag, as an independent athlete.</p><p><em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</em> Robin Young speaks with Maker about his experience as an independent athlete and what he thinks of the IOC decision. Maker&nbsp;is training to compete in the 2016 Olympics.</p><hr /><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Interview Highlights</strong></span></p><p><strong>What was your reaction to the IOC&rsquo;s decision?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;I was very happy and hopeful on the decision that IOC made, I could feel how excited those young refugees would feel across the world. I can understand because that&rsquo;s how I was in 2012.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>How did you feel when you qualified in 2012 to run as an independent?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;I was watching from my home in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I was training. My name was there, I was among those three athletes who walked into the stadium. I was there in spirit and I was watching them. I wish I could have been there. I knew at the time, I was accepted three days before, and I was getting ready to get my documents to go to London. It was overwhelming, I was very thankful of all the support and the decision from the IOC. Everyone just came together and put the sport before our differences in races and gender, so it was just showing the unity of the sport and how the Olympics can change and make a difference.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Does competing in the Olympics help you move on from </strong><strong>tragedy</strong><strong> of the civil war?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Well, life loss is something you cannot move on from, it&rsquo;s something you always remember. You have to do something positive to replace that, but it&rsquo;s always there. So going to the Olympics was not something I considered for me, but I considered for the people of South Sudan, and the 2 million we lost in South Sudan. So, my going to the Olympics, I was not ready to go to win, I was not in shape, but I was going to raise awareness and spirit of the youth in South Sudan.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Do you think the European refugees will look to compete in the 2016 Olympics?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Yes I do think if they go to a safe place where they can get the opportunity to work, and these youth can get opportunity to go to school, I&rsquo;m pretty sure they will have the spirit to do their sport. They might not have it for 2016, but hopefully 2020, they will establish themselves to fulfill their dreams.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>The IOC has since recognized South Sudan. Will you run under that flag in 2016?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Of course, I will do it, and I live here now and I am a U.S. citizen and I am very grateful for that. I honor the United States and I put it in my heart as my country. As well, South Sudan I put in my heart as my country, that&rsquo;s where I was born, and the people of South Sudan I love dearly. I&rsquo;m going to do this for them, I&rsquo;m going to raise the flag of South Sudan, and I have a hope that I will be bringing other athletes with me. I hope to go as a team. Right now we are here, about 15 of us, South Sudanese athletes I have on my list, training here in the U.S., in Australia, the U.K., Kenya, and back in South Sudan. We are all training and I am in check with them to make sure they are doing necessary training to get the opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Do you have any words of wisdom to other refugees?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;I hope this&nbsp;would be an example for all the refugees across the world to not give up hope, because there is always the next day. You might be in the darkness today, they might think this is the end of the world for them, but I can tell them that if you keep hope and if you keep it alive with the support of people around you, whichever society you are in, there is always opportunity your dream will always come true.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/29/refugees-can-compete-in-olympics" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-29/international-olympic-committee-allow-refugees-compete-113555 U.S Destroyer sails near disputed islands in South China Sea http://www.wbez.org/news/us-destroyer-sails-near-disputed-islands-south-china-sea-113515 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/This February 2012 image shows the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Lassen. The U.S. Navy sent the warship within 12 nautical milesof islands artificially created by China in the South China Sea..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res452087971" previewtitle="This February 2012 image shows the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Lassen. The U.S. Navy sent the warship within 12 nautical miles (about 22 kilometers) of islands artificially created by China in the South China Sea."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="This February 2012 image shows the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Lassen. The U.S. Navy sent the warship within 12 nautical miles (about 22 kilometers) of islands artificially created by China in the South China Sea." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/26/warship_wide-cb3a6d2bc9c50fb4b2a9b5ff95840bf3c8bcad17-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="This February 2012 image shows the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Lassen. The U.S. Navy sent the warship within 12 nautical miles (about 22 kilometers) of islands artificially created by China in the South China Sea. (Kyodo /Landov)" /></div><div><div><p><strong>Updated on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 3 a.m. ET.</strong></p></div></div></div><p>The USS Lassen has sailed within 12 nautical miles of the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The Pentagon says the guided missile destroyer passed by the Subi Reef on Tuesday morning local time, NPR&#39;s Anthony Kuhn reports.</p><p>The move, which the Obama administration has billed as exercising the right to freely navigate international waters, is being characterized as a challenge to China&#39;s claim of control over the area.</p><p>&quot;Make no mistake, the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea is not and will not be an exception,&quot; Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Oct. 13, according to The Associated Press.</p><p>The Spratly Islands are a collection of hundreds of islands and reefs. In the past year, China has staked out territory in the area,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/04/10/398824551/great-wall-of-sand-china-builds-islands-in-contested-waters">constructing seven man-made islands by piling sand on top of some of the reefs</a>. China&#39;s claim of sovereignty in those waters, along with its rapid construction of the artificial islands, has heightened tensions in the region. Complete with runways and docks, the new islands pose a threat to the Philippines,&nbsp;Vietnam&nbsp;and other East Asian countries, which also claim some of the islands.</p><p>China&#39;s territorial claim has also&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/tags/310489603/south-china-sea-islands-dispute">created problems in U.S. and China relations</a>. The U.S. has long maintained that it is free to sail among the Spratly Islands.</p><p>&quot;The whole point of freedom of navigation in international waters is that it&#39;s international waters. You don&#39;t need to consult with anybody. That&#39;s the idea,&quot; State Department spokesman John Kirby said, according to the AP.</p><p>The U.S. presence is a tangible indication of its position that the area is not under Chinese sovereignty. A Chinese official, however, chastised the move, saying the U.S. was &quot;flexing its muscles.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Freedom of navigation and overflight should not be used as&nbsp;excuse&nbsp;to flex muscle and undermine other countries&#39; sovereignty and security,&quot; a spokesman at the Chinese embassy told the AP. &quot;We urge the United States to refrain from saying or doing anything provocative and act responsibly in maintaining regional peace and stability.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/26/452074317/u-s-destroyer-nears-disputed-islands-in-south-china-sea?ft=nprml&amp;f=452074317" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 10:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-destroyer-sails-near-disputed-islands-south-china-sea-113515 In other countries, it wouldn't be "too late" for Biden to run http://www.wbez.org/news/other-countries-it-wouldnt-be-too-late-biden-run-113441 <p><div id="res450562522" previewtitle="Only in the U.S. is nearly 400 days out considered potentially too late to run."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Only in the U.S. is nearly 400 days out considered potentially too late to run." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/21/gettyimages-493424470-9448930dab3d5c381b8caadccfc03374a65b322b-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Only in the U.S. is nearly 400 days out considered potentially too late to run. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>If Vice President Joe Biden had announced his presidential candidacy today, he would have entered the race with 384 days until Election Day. But he said it was too late for him be competitive.</p></div></div></div><p>Here&#39;s the thing: Three hundred eighty-four days is an absurdly long time.</p><p>At least, it is when you compare American campaigns to those in other countries. The U.S. doesn&#39;t have an official campaign season, but the first candidate to jump into the presidential race, Ted Cruz, announced his candidacy on March 23 &mdash; 596 days before Election Day.</p><div id="res450536983" previewtitle="Whether you measure from the first candidate's entry or the first caucus, the U.S. campaign season is way longer than many other countries'."><div><div><p>Meanwhile, Canada just wrapped up its latest campaign season. That one was longer than usual &mdash; at around 11 weeks. To the south, Mexican general election campaigns start 90 days before election day (and have to stop three days prior to the election), with an additional 60-day &quot;pre-campaign&quot; season, in which candidates vie for the nomination.</p></div></div></div><p><strong>Different Laws And Different Systems</strong></p><p><img alt="Whether you measure from the first candidate's entry or the first caucus, the U.S. campaign season is way longer than many other countries'." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/21/national-election-campaign-length-days-_chartbuilder-3-_custom-a47a294c0f2b0a439cba13991b121ce600d5efb1-s300-c85.png" style="height: 256px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Whether you measure from the first candidate's entry or the first caucus, the U.S. campaign season is way longer than many other countries'. (Danielle Kurtzleben)" /></p><p>How do so many other countries keep their campaigns so short while the U.S. drags on so long? The simple answer is that many countries simply have laws dictating how long a campaign period is, while the U.S. doesn&#39;t.</p><p>In Mexico, a&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2007/sep/15/world/fg-mexreform15">2007 law</a>&nbsp;limited the length of campaigns. In Argentina, advertisements can only begin&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ec-undp-electoralassistance.org/index.php?option=com_docman&amp;task=doc_download&amp;gid=556&amp;Itemid=&amp;lang=en">60 days before the election</a>, and the official campaign itself can only start 25 days after that. In France, the presidential campaign is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.loc.gov/law/help/campaign-finance/comparative-summary.php">generally only two weeks</a>&nbsp;long.</p><p>The system of government can also dictate the campaign season length. In many parliamentary systems, the campaign season is tied to the date when the prime minister dissolves parliament. In August, Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolved Canada&#39;s parliament &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/ElectionsAndRidings/LengthCampaigns.aspx?SortColumn=DaysDissolutionElectionDate&amp;SortDirection=DESC">11 weeks</a>&nbsp;before a scheduled election, making for the longest modern campaign season yet in that country, according to the CBC. (The minimum length of an election campaign in Canada is 36 days.)</p><p>And though the country has no legal limit on how long a campaign can be, it is constrained by that first date of dissolving parliament.</p><div id="res450351364"><aside aria-label="pullquote" role="complementary"><div><p>Voters in [Canada] would not have the tolerance or would not accept a system where that kind of money is spent on campaigns. There would be a huge uproar.</p></div><p>Don Abelson, professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario</p></aside></div><p>&quot;That&#39;s only feasible with a short campaign period. We obviously couldn&#39;t dissolve the Congress 18 to 24 months in advance,&quot; says Michael Traugott, professor of political science at the University of Michigan.</p><p><strong>Big Money In Politics</strong></p><p>Laws may keep some countries&#39; elections short, but other factors allow America&#39;s to go long &mdash; large amounts of money being chief among them. A candidate can&#39;t keep advertising for a year and a half, for example, without millions of dollars at his or her disposal. The U.S. system essentially requires candidates to raise millions of dollars to even mount a serious run.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/quote.JPG" style="height: 307px; width: 250px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="" />Indeed, Canadians balked even at the country&#39;s recent 11-week campaign.</p><p>And in many countries, there&#39;s not room for a massive advertising arms race like the U.S. has, anyway.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21611070-political-airtime-tv-follows-strict-schedule-will-it-matter-tightly-scripted-telenovela">Brazil</a>, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/03/10/391936801/no-big-money-or-tv-ads-whats-with-the-u-k-s-low-key-election">U.K.</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/12/19/in-japan-fair-elections-breed-apathy-and-destroy-competition/">Japan</a>, among many others, simply don&#39;t allow candidates to purchase TV ads (but that doesn&#39;t mean zero ads &mdash; in some countries, like Japan, candidates each get equal, free, ad space).</p><p><strong>Primary Creep</strong></p><p>But the U.S. campaign hasn&#39;t always been an ultramarathon, and the presidential campaign didn&#39;t always drag on for a year and a half. Prior to the 1976 cycle, most presidential campaigns started within the election year, as Larry Sabato&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203476804576615300476081190">wrote in theWall Street Journal</a>&nbsp;(just imagine if all today&#39;s candidates were still three months from declaring).</p><p>But then Jimmy Carter decided to jump-start his Iowa campaign in 1975. That helped lead other candidates into the early race as well. Add in states&#39; constant jostling to have the first primaries or caucuses, Sabato added, and it helped create the permanent campaign we all know today.</p><p><strong>So What&#39;s The &#39;Right&#39; System?</strong></p><p>It&#39;s easy to think that the grass is greener across the border (or ocean). But it&#39;s not as if shorter systems are inherently better. Mexico, for example, is still dealing with the unintended consequences of its recent reforms, says one expert.</p><p>&quot;The truth is that it&#39;s really impossible, or incredibly complicated, to create a system where the big problems can be removed without creating another set of problems,&quot; said Eric Magar, professor at the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology.</p><p>He points to the country&#39;s Green Party as an example. The government recently&nbsp;<a href="https://news.vice.com/article/in-mexican-politics-the-greens-are-corruption-turned-into-a-party">fined&nbsp;</a>the party for running ads&nbsp;<a href="http://thenews.mx/2015/03/ine-penalizes-green-party/">outside the campaign window</a>.</p><p>True, the laws are being enforced, but the party&#39;s actions point to two problems in the nation&#39;s newly reformed system: One is that parties can simply run ads before it&#39;s legal, because they think it&#39;s worth the fine.</p><p>The other: They can use taxpayer money to pay those fines.</p><p>&quot;Most of the money is public, so what ends up happening is they&#39;re using a bunch of taxpayer money to pay the fines,&quot; Magar says. &quot;So it&#39;s a system that has lots of holes in its operations.&quot;</p><p>Other election systems can reinforce a party&#39;s power. The prime minister often chooses to disband parliament when his party is popular, Abelson explains, so his party can be assured of winning the next election. This can give the party in power an extra boost &mdash; not necessarily a bad outcome, depending on whom you support, but it&#39;s a system that plays a big part in determining who leads.</p><p>(As an example, Abelson points to a hypothetical Prime Minister George H.W. Bush. Had he called an election in 1991, when he was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/116677/presidential-approval-ratings-gallup-historical-statistics-trends.aspx">enormously popular</a>, he could have far more easily held onto his spot than one year later, when his favorability ratings had plummeted.)</p><p>And some have made the case that&nbsp;<a href="https://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/12/19/in-japan-fair-elections-breed-apathy-and-destroy-competition/">Japan&#39;s uber-strict election laws</a>&nbsp;go too far, keeping new ideas out of the public discourse.</p><p>Still, a shorter U.S. election season could have plenty of advantages &mdash; it wouldn&#39;t exhaust voters, and it might not require a candidate to amass tens of millions of dollars to even run, for example.</p><p>Not that change seems likely anytime soon. For U.S. voters sick of the perpetual electioneering, there&#39;s not much to do but gaze wistfully at other countries &mdash; or make that perennial &quot;moving-to-Canada&quot; threat.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/21/450238156/canadas-11-week-campaign-reminds-us-that-american-elections-are-much-longer?ft=nprml&amp;f=450238156" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 21 Oct 2015 11:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/other-countries-it-wouldnt-be-too-late-biden-run-113441 Japan's Nuclear Crisis Highlights Political Woes http://www.wbez.org/story/asia/2011-03-17/japans-nuclear-crisis-highlights-political-woes-83869 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//naoto-kan-2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Disaster often has a way of giving national leaders a chance to rally their nations around them. Think of President George W. Bush following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.</p><p>But there were severe questions about the abilities of Japan's leaders even before the tripartite disaster that hit the island nation.</p><p>Now a series of calamities that would have severely challenged even the strongest leadership are, according to reports, really straining the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.</p><p></p><p>Kan faced political difficulties even before the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster. Before, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12540264">opinion polls showed about half</a> of the Japanese surveyed wanted him gone. And that despite his only being in office since June.</p><p>Reports suggest those troubles are deepening, despite an initial rally-round-the-leader effect.</p><p>Even a <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_13/b4221023294292.htm?campaign_id=rss_topStories">Bloomberg Businessweek piece</a> that arguably is somewhat positive about Kan's performance since last Friday's earthquake and tsunami, damns him with faint praise.</p><p><blockquote></p><p>Overnight Kan has gone from tired politician to something resembling a leader.</p><p></blockquote></p><p>It may seem unseemly to discuss politics at a time when Japan is coming to terms with thousands of dead, with such massive destruction and dislocation.</p><p>But in democracies, it's politics that forms governments. And it's governments that respond to national crises. So politics matter, especially during times like these.</p><p>As the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/world/asia/17tokyo.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all">New York Times reports</a> in a story that's must-reading to get a sense of the interplay between the disaster and Japanese politics:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>Evasive news conferences followed uninformative briefings as the crisis intensified over the past five days. Never has postwar Japan needed strong, assertive leadership more — and never has its weak, rudderless system of governing been so clearly exposed. With earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis striking in rapid, bewildering succession, Japan's leaders need skills they are not trained to have: rallying the public, improvising solutions and cooperating with powerful bureaucracies.</p><p>"Japan has never experienced such a serious test," said Takeshi Sasaki, a political scientist at Gakushuin University. "At the same time, there is a leadership vacuum."</p><p>Politicians are almost completely reliant on Tokyo Electric Power, which is known as Tepco, for information, and have been left to report what they are told, often in unconvincing fashion.</p><p>In <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/03/16/134573800/nuclear-information-gap-spreads-doubt-fear">a telling outburst</a>, the prime minister, <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/naoto_kan/index.html?inline=nyt-per">Naoto Kan</a>, berated power company officials for not informing the government of two explosions at the plant early Tuesday morning.</p><p></blockquote></p><p>With that as a backdrop, small wonder the Obama Administration on Wednesday recommended that U.S. citizens in Japan stay at least 50 miles away from the stricken nuclear plant. That compared with a 12-mile zone in the warnings of Japanese officials.</p><p>The U.S. move didn't exactly increase confidence in the Japanese government's handling of the situation.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/03/17/134582384/japan-struggles-to-aid-survivors-amid-nuclear-fears?ps=cprs">NPR's Doualy Xaykaothao reported</a> on the rising anger at the government among dislocated Japanese in the relief camps because of the lack of information among other complaints:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"People are now starting to get angry. A couple of days ago, people were still in shock, just trying to figure out what was next for them or how to reach safety.</p><p>"Now, they are starting to realize that something's just not right — this could be done faster, the information could be more accurate. And of course the big question now is what is really happening at this nuclear plant."</p><p></blockquote></p><p>Some observers suggest the crisis could be Kan's Katrina. But at least the Republican Party in the U.S. had a record of effective governing. Kan's Democratic Party of Japan is essentially a new party, created in 1998.</p><p>This is its first big test which, as Kan has said, happens to be the biggest Japan has faced since World War II</p><p>The DPJ only won power in 2009 after ousting the more conservative Liberal Democratic Party that ran the nation for decades.</p><p>Members of the DPJ have been severe critics of the Japanese bureaucracy which actually runs the country and must rely on that same bureaucracy, according to experts, to manage the government's crisis response and recovery efforts.</p><p>So while much attention has been, and rightly so, on the vast human tragedy and suffering and the malfunctioning nuclear plant, it's important not to lose sight of the challenges created by Japan's governance issues. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1300385263?&gn=Japan%27s+Nuclear+Crisis+Highlights+Political+Woes&ev=event2&ch=129828651&h1=International,Liberal+Democratic+Party,Democratic+Party+of+Japan,Prime+Minister+Naoto+Kan,Japan+In+Crisis,Foreign+Policy,It%27s+All+Politics,Japan,Asia,World&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=134621643&c7=1125&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1125&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110317&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=134624811,134624804,134624802,134624800,134454848,131423761,129828651,126924744,134454848&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 17 Mar 2011 11:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/asia/2011-03-17/japans-nuclear-crisis-highlights-political-woes-83869 Chicago's next mayor will need to be an international player http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/chicagos-next-mayor-will-need-be-international-player <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Daley and Ryan resize.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama&rsquo;s ten-day tour of Asia is an effort to drum up economic opportunities for American businesses and maybe more jobs at home.<br /><br />Working the international trade circuit has also been a hallmark of Mayor Daley&rsquo;s tenure. Daley headed abroad to attract foreign investors and pick up nifty ideas for urban living. And though the campaign to bring the Olympic Games to Chicago failed, those efforts did further Chicago&rsquo;s presence on the international stage.</p><p>So how much international mojo is required of our next mayor? And do any of the current declared or still thinking about it candidates have it? To find out, Eight Forty-Eight spoke to <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=greg-hinz" target="_blank">Greg Hinz</a>, columnist and blogger for Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business.</p><p><em>Music Button: Thunderball, &quot;Low Down Weather&quot;, from the CD 12 Mile High, (ESL Music) </em></p></p> Thu, 11 Nov 2010 14:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/chicagos-next-mayor-will-need-be-international-player