NPR-February 15, 2012
The level of force required to secure the interests of the United States of America is the big talk amongst policy makers over the past few weeks. President Obama has plans to make cuts in the Defense department. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes that these cuts can be made without loss of security, but many in Washington want the department to be left untouched.
The New York Times-February 13, 2012
In the escalating conflict between Israel and Iran the accusation of bombings in India and Georgia make the situation in the Middle East a world issue. Bombs that were in the vicinity of Israeli embassy employees in the capitols of foreign nations were blamed on the Iranian government by Israel.
The New York Times-February 15, 2012
Iran has threatened to cut off its oil supply to six European countries in response to international sanctions instituted on their nuclear program. Early forecasts foresee that the Iranian embargo will have a massive effect on worldwide economics, possibly doubling the global price of oil.
BBC-February 15, 2012
As Greece scrambles to satisfy European requirements for a second bailout, some members of the eurozone wish to end their fiscal relationship with the country. This news comes at a particularly unstable time for Greece. Eurozone ministers have recently ruled the controversial austerity plan to be inadequate, and swarms of opposition to the plan infested Athens last weekend in protest, setting fire to parts of it. Conversely, and fortunately for Greece, some European officials are claiming the threats of abandonment are only rumors.
NPR-February 8, 2012
This semester, The University of Michigan became the first public University to have an endowed position for a Muslim Chaplain. Mohammed Tayssir Safi was hired for the chaplaincy at Michigan, but will not be paid by the university as a result of separation of Church and State. Donations from alumni and parents raised roughly $30,000 dollars; enough money to pay Safi a part time salary for the position. There are an estimated 850 Muslim students at UofM and until now many held their own religious meetings. These student run meetings are planned to continue as Safi is meant to act as more of a counselor and advocate for Muslim students transitioning into college life.
The Guardian-February 16, 2012
The UN general assembly has approved a resolution calling for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down from his post due to human rights violations by his regime. China and Russia voted against the resolution along with a similar resolution in the Security Council. The resolution is not legally binding, but it does reflect world opinion on the issue sending a strong message to Assad and a message to the Syrian people that powerful countries are on their side.
NPR-February 15, 2012
The Obama administration is expected to design a $5 billion competition designed to improve teacher quality. The administration plans to use its Race to the Top program in order to allow states to design their own programs and the Education Department will make the decision of which are the most promising. This initiative, proposed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, will seek to transform the teaching profession in order to maintain consistence in training, competitive salaries to allow for motivation, and greater rewards for the best teachers. The program was included in President Obama’s recent budget proposal, but will likely have some trouble passing, due to the past complaints from the Republicans of the federal government’s role in education.
CNN-February 15, 2012
President Barack Obama’s approval rating is back to 50% for the first time in over eight months. The last time that his approval rating piqued to 50% coincided with the death of Osama bin Laden last May. The CNN/ORC International Poll indicates that much of the enthusiasm surrounded the GOP’s advantage has been erased and the number of Americans satisfied with the country’s current state is on the rise. Despite the previous advantages of the GOP, enthusiasm for the Democratic party is on the rise, virtually matching the enthusiasm for the Republican party, indicating that President Obama’s re-election chances are on the rise.
The Washington Post – February 18, 2012
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the expected future leader of China, visited the United States this week for meetings with President Obama, a visit to Iowa where China has decided to buy $4.3 billion in soy beans and the Port of Los Angeles- the biggest entry point for Chinese goods. Xi’s tour culminated in a deal to improve US access to China’s box office market resolving a five-year dispute between the two countries at the World Trade Organization. This agreement will allow more American films to be shown in China and will also provide for a fairer distribution of profit from ticket sales.
Fox News-February 17, 2012
Stanford researcher, Jonathan Meyer, and technical advisor to the Wall Street Journal, have confirmed that various advertising companies, including Google, have been able to bypass the privacy setting of millions of people using Apple’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers. Companies used a special computer code that “tricks” the Safari Web-browsing software into allowing them to monitor its users. Multiple other online-ad companies have been found to use these techniques, including, Vibrant Media Inc., WPP PLC’s Media Innovation Group LLC, and Gannett Co.’s PointRoll Inc. Google has defended its actions, stating, “It’s important to stress that these advertising cookies do not collect personal information.”