The Crisis That Changed Pope Francis

By Paul Vallely – Newsweek

He was not what she was expecting, in several ways. The man who would one day be Pope Francis had come to hold a service far from the grandeur of the great cathedral of Buenos Aires. He had travelled – taking the subway train and then the bus – to arrive in one of the shanty-towns, which Argentines call villas miserias – misery villages. He had picked his way down crooked and chaotic alleyways, criss-crossed with water pipes and dangling electricity cables, along which open sewers ran as malodorous streams when the rain came. There, amid ramshackle houses of crudely- cemented terracotta breezeblock, he fell into conversation with the middle-aged mother.

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Arming Ukraine Is a Very Bad Idea

James Carden – The Nation

Senators Carl Levin and James Inhofe’s call to send weapons into a war zone is a transparent ploy to provoke Russia.

As if to prove that the one thing the Washington establishment fears more than war is peace, Senate Armed Services chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and ranking member James Inhofe (R-OK) published an op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday calling for the United States government to arm Ukraine. The first indication that the primary aim of their article is to further destabilize US-Russian relations is its timing, coming as it does only a week after Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held what was generally seen to be a relatively constructive meeting in Paris.

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Despite Media, Rightwing Ebola Hype, U.S. Public Resists Total Panic

By Jim Lobe*

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 2014 (IPS) – Despite media hype, missteps by federal health agencies, and apparent efforts by right-wing and some neo-conservatives to foment fear about the possible spread of the Ebola virus in the U.S., most of the public remain at least “fairly” confident in the authorities’ ability to deal with the virus.

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In the Syria We Don’t Know

Charles Glass – The New York Review of Books

November 6, 2014 Issue

Supporters of Bashar al-Assad at a demonstration in Homs, May 2012
A young woman in Damascus produced a smart phone from her handbag and asked, “May I show you something?” The phone’s screen displayed a sequence of images. The first was a family photograph of a sparsely bearded young man in his twenties. Beside him were two boys, who appeared to be five and six, in T-shirts. The young man and his sons were smiling. Pointing at the father, the woman said, “This is my cousin.” The next picture, unlike the first, came from the Internet. It was the same young man, but his head was severed. Beside him lay five other men in their twenties whose bloody heads were similarly stacked on their chests. I looked away.

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Tom Englehardt* Interviews Laura Poitras** on Snowden

Posted by Yves Smith – Naked Capitalism

Yves here. This interview with Laura Poitras is a reminder of how the world has, and more important, hasn’t changed since the explosive revelations made by Edward Snowden less than a year and a half ago. Even though his disclosures produced a great uproar, with demands in the US, UK, and Europe for explanations and more information about the nature and range of spying programs, actual changes have been few indeed.

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Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola


Cuba is an impoverished island that remains largely cut off from the world and lies about 4,500 miles from the West African nations where Ebola is spreading at an alarming rate. Yet, having pledged to deploy hundreds of medical professionals to the front lines of the pandemic, Cuba stands to play the most robust role among the nations seeking to contain the virus.

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Cash-Strapped Human Rights Office at Breaking Point

By Thalif Deen*

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 2014 (IPS) – After six weeks in office, the new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of Jordan launched a blistering attack on member states for insufficient funding, thereby forcing operations in his office to the breaking point “in a world that seems to be lurching from crisis to ever-more dangerous crisis.”

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How One Man Refused to Spy on Fellow Muslims for the FBI—and Then Lost Everything

Arun Kundnani, Emily Keppler and Muki Najaer – The Nation

The case of Ayyub Abdul-Alim fits a decades-long pattern of government criminalization of African-American Muslims.

On the night of December 9, 2011, Siham Stewart called her husband, Ayyub Abdul-Alim, as he closed down his corner store, Nature’s Garden, in Springfield, Massachusetts. She asked him to bring home a gallon of milk. A few minutes later, she watched from the window of their second-floor apartment as he was seized in the street and handcuffed by two police officers.

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Climate Change and the Smithsonian

Asoka Bandarage* – The Huffington Post

The premier “science museum” in the U.S., the Smithsonian, issued an official statement on climate change on Oct. 2, 2014. It states, “Scientific evidence has demonstrated that the global climate is warming as a result of increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases generated by human activities.” It goes on to say that “[t]he 500 Smithsonian scientists working around the world see the impact of a warming planet each day in the course of their diverse studies,” and that “[t]he urgency of climate change requires that we boost and expand our efforts to increase public knowledge and that we inspire others through education and by example.”

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ISIS and the Challenge of Terrorism

by Paolo Acanfora*

The challenges of terrorism have produced and are still producing deep changes internationally and, they often intertwine with very serious problems which sometimes can be defined as traditional, i. e. the case of Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Being in a state of constant fibrillation due to emerging conflicts, it seems that international order is undergoing reset. Such conflicts are apparently happening on a regional scale, but as many analysts have pointed out, they represent global challenges.

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Saudis Deploy the Oil Price Weapon Against Syria, Iran, Russia, and the US

Posted by Yves Smith – Naked Capitalism

Asian stock markets continued to fall today, propelled at least in part by the adverse reaction to the Saudi announcement yesterday that they would let oil prices fall to $80 a barrel. And further reports indicate that the Saudis intend to keep oil prices low enough to force a realignment of prices not just among various grades of crude, but also for intermediate and long-term substitutes.

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ISIS: Negotiation, Not Bombing

by Johan Galtung* – TRANSCEND Media Service

EDITORIAL, 13 October 2014

More senseless bombing of Muslims, more defeats for USA-West, more ISIS-type movements, more West-Islam polarization. Any way out?

“ISIS, Islamic State in Iraq-Syria, appeals to a Longing for the Caliphate” writes Farhang Johanpour in an IPS column. For the Ottoman Caliphate with the Sultan as Caliph–the Shadow of God on Earth–after the 1516-17 victories all over till the collapse of both Empire and Caliphate in 1922, at the hands of the allies England-France-Russia.

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Malala got the Nobel peace prize; here’s why Nabila won’t

by Staff , Firstpost of India

Last week, the Nobel Peace Prize committee announced two winners: Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi for their struggle for the rights of children. While for most Indians K Satyarthi’s name was a bit of a mystery, Malala was already a widely known international figure, her personal story documented on magazine covers around the world.

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