Friday, January 24, 2014

Ukraine - Slipping Into Chaos

I wrote last month about Ukraine, and President Yanukovich's decision to spurn E.U.'s invitation to foster closer ties, instead choosing to stay tethered to Russia. As I said then, the decision was disappointing, and could have a profound impact not just on Ukraine's future - the possibility of their debt spiraling out of control could very likely result in a default - but on the entire region.

Courtesy of WSJ

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thai Government Declares State of Emergency

After repeated threats by Thai officials, the government yesterday declared a state of emergency in response to spiraling political violence in recent months. Clashes between pro- and anti-government forces, in addition to at least 4 grenade attacks on protesters by unknown assailants, have killed dozens since November, prompting authorities to enforce a crackdown and assume powers to impose curfews, (further) censor the media, dissolve gatherings of any kind and use military force against protesters.

Anti-government protesters gather in Bangkok. Jan. 5, 2014 (VOA)
The recent protests began back in November, when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s party pushed a controversial amnesty bill that would have shielded her older brother and military-ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra from past corruption charges, which would have allowed him to return to Thailand from exile without serving jail time. Although the legislation was ultimately scrapped following massive public outcry, the issue has reenergized anti-government sentiment in a country where the thin veil of democracy is constantly at odds with state-sponsored terrorism and repression.

Friday, January 17, 2014

India's Hidden Rape Crisis

The reported gang rape of a Danish woman this week in one of New Delhi’s most popular tourist areas has reignited conversations about sexual violence against women in the world’s largest democracy. Since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman, known as “J” in the Indian press, the world has been fixated on India’s “rape crisis,” especially when rapes are perpetrated against foreign women. In July 2013, six men were sentenced to life in prison for the beating, rape, and robbery of a Swiss woman. Both “J” and the Swiss woman were accompanied by male companions, giving lie to the myth that women with male protectors are safer than those without. The Danish woman, who left India on Wednesday, was alone, but in a purportedly safe area frequented by Western tourists.

The attack on the Danish woman took place near New Delhi Railway Station

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014: The Year to Come in International Relations

It’s certainly been an eventful year in international relations and for The Global Atlas’ coverage of global events. From South Sudan’s and Syria’s spiraling civil wars to the surrender of M23 rebels and NSA revelations, 2013 was a year of chaos and hope. We saw prominent leaders such as Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and most recently Ariel Sharon pass away, while America’s leading lawmakers brought their constituents—and the U.S. economy—to the brink and back. Secretary of State John Kerry, under President Obama’s direction, has even reached a historic nuclear agreement with Iran despite the powers’ lack of diplomatic relations dating back before 1979. Through it all, The Global Atlas has been a witness to and commentator on these events. Here’s a list of our biggest stories from this past year, along with the authors’ predictions for what to expect in 2014.