Ad by The Cutting Edge News

The Cutting Edge

Sunday June 24 2018 reaching 1.4 million monthly
Ad by The Cutting Edge News

The Edge of Climate Change

Marine Life Reacting Faster to Climate Change

August 6th 2013

Tuna haul

Marine life is reacting to global climate change faster than land-dwelling species, according to a new three year study published in the journal, Nature Climate Change.

The researchers said their findings show that the distribution of marine life is being re-arranged as the oceans get warmer. The research team includes 19 scientists from Australia, the United States, Canada, Britain, Europe and South Africa.

According to the scientists, marine species are escaping the warming waters by heading toward the Earth’s polar regions at a rate of up to 72 kilometers per decade. That compares to land-based species that are moving toward the poles at an average of six kilometers per decade.

“We found that, on average, marine organisms are moving three to 10 times faster than land-based organisms,” said David Schoeman, a member of the research team from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia. “They are moving at a rate of 30-72 kilometers per decade, compared with estimates of 6-16 kilometers per decade for land-based species.” Read more ..

Liberty at Risk

License Plate Readers Spur Privacy Concerns

August 5th 2013


Privacy advocates, already reeling from leaks on the government's surveillance of private citizens, have found another concern.  Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. are using powerful camera technology to scan license plates and build databases on the movements of millions of Americans.

Arlington County Police Detective Mohammed Tabibi is with the auto theft unit.  He uses license plate readers, or LPR’s, mounted on the hood of his car, to look for stolen vehicles.

“It has paid dividends.  We have caught some people involved in some serious crimes because of LPR.  And I know it has helped out a lot of agencies in the area as well," said Tabibi. The use of LPRs is growing across the United States.  Some are mounted on poles, others on cars, and privacy groups are concerned.  They say the information is being stored on computer servers and shared with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.  Read more ..

Central Africa on Edge

Central African Republic Regional Force Needs Bolstering

August 4th 2013

African Rebels and Guns

The U.N. assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, is calling for strengthening the regional security force (FOMAC) in the Central African Republic. U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic said ongoing instability since the March 24 rebel coup could intensify ethnic and religious divisions, and that humanitarian aid remains largely insufficient.

The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate following the ousting of former President Francois Bozize by the Seleka rebel coalition. Civilians continue to report widespread human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest, rape, torture, looting and summary executions. During a visit to the country this week, Simonovic said that security in CAR remains "virtually non-existent," particularly outside the capital, and that state institutions are "close to collapse."

He said respect for human rights is paramount in resolving the crisis. “Violations of human rights are the root causes of this conflict and reflect the current situation. Preventing further violations and ensuring respect of all human rights for all is a way to end conflict and to achieve reconciliation and sustainable peace, stated Simonovic. "Without security, there will be no return, no social services, no agricultural and no economy.” Read more ..

Broken Healthcare

Primary Care as Affordable Luxury

August 2nd 2013

innoculation of child

When I first arrived in California several years ago, I selected my primary care doctor based on the recommendation of a colleague from residency.  Several months ago, when my doctor announced his departure to join a concierge practice, I assumed I'd find my next physician the same way — through a trusted colleague.

While it may be true that doctors make the worst patients, they generally pick good doctors — or at least the doctors they perceive as good, since it's not at all clear there's any correlation between perception of quality and actual quality.

At the very least, as a physician, you're generally able to steer clear of the conspicuously bad providers ("gome docs"), and equally importantly, you're usually able to get into see even the busy docs whose practices might be closed - an increasingly common situation in primary care.

Armed with a promising recommendation, I called up the offices of the suggested doctor (whose practice, as expected, was closed to new patients), spoke to helpful staff member, and was told I'd hear back from them about my request, one way or another, by the end of the day. No reply. Read more ..

Broken Banking

Bear Stearns Mortgage Executives Have Plum Jobs on Wall Street

August 1st 2013


Before Lehman crashed, there was “The Bear.” Bear Stearns, once the nation’s fifth-largest investment bank, had been a fixture on Wall Street since 1923 and had survived the crash of 1929 without laying off any employees.

But in 2008, its customers and creditors didn’t much care about its storied history. They were worried that the billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities on its books weren’t worth what the company claimed. En masse, they stopped doing business with Bear.

Within a few days, on Monday, March 17, Bear was gone — subsumed into JPMorgan Chase & Co. with the help of the Federal Reserve for a price that was approximately the value of its shiny new Madison Avenue office tower alone.

Bear Stearns failed largely because it had spent the previous five years gorging on subprime mortgages in what appeared to be an ever-rising housing market. When home prices started falling and those loans started to go bad, Bear’s creditors got scared and pulled their money out of the investment bank. Read more ..

Ecology on Edge

Mozambique Poaching Has Regional Effects

July 31st 2013

Rampaging Bull Elephant 500px

Mozambique says it is committed to fighting wildlife crime, especially elephant and rhino poaching. Thousands of elephants were killed in the country between 2009 and 2012. Poachers also use Mozambique as a base for regional criminal activities.

Mozambique has been under growing pressure to take a much tougher stand against poaching. Neighboring South Africa and conservation groups want the government to adhere to CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. A CITES meeting earlier this year in Thailand singled-out Mozambique for its lack of action on poaching.

“Mozambique increasingly has become one of the major exit points for both rhino horn and elephant ivory. We’re facing a crisis for both species. And, in particular, the Vietnamese syndicates that are behind the rhino horn trade – it’s very clear with the improved law enforcement effort being made in South Africa that they’ve moved next door to Mozambique,” said Tom Milliken, elephant and rhino coordinator for TRAFFIC International, a wildlife trade monitoring network. He said that action taken by Mozambique will have a direct effect on South Africa.

“Mozambique nationals are heavily involved in the poaching of rhinos in Kruger National Park, which is the premier wildlife site in South Africa. Hundreds of rhinos are being killed in that park and mostly by Mozambican nationals, who are crossing over the border killing the animals -- bringing the horns back --selling them to the Vietnamese syndicates behind the trade. And then the horns are leaving for Asia out of airports and seaports from Mozambique.” Read more ..

The Edge of Healthcare

UN Hails Drop in AIDS-Related Deaths in Africa

July 30th 2013

South African Aids Patient

The United Nations’ AIDS agency is hailing what officials describe as significant progress in the fight against the epidemic in eastern and southern Africa. The report says AIDS-related deaths have declined dramatically and that the number of new infections has decreased - a direct result of more available treatment. But, they warned, challenges remain. 

Top health and aid officials praised the gains in the fight against AIDS in southern and eastern Africa - among them, a nearly 40 percent drop in AIDS-related deaths since 2005, and a 50 percent drop in new infections among children since 2001.

The cause, they said was simple: The number of people receiving anti-retroviral treatment has increased tenfold, from 625,000 in 2005 to 6.3 million in 2012.

But this disease, said Ethiopia’s health minister, is not about numbers. Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu said he is still haunted by some of the patients he met when he was in practice a decade ago. At the time, he said, Ethiopian hospitals were full of suffering AIDS patients. The disease was taboo, he said, and the media portrayed it “as a horror.” He was one of the first doctors to begin treating AIDS patients in Ethiopia. At the time, treatment was expensive and complicated. Read more ..

Muslims In Europe

Poland's Lipka Tatars: A Model For Muslims In Europe?

July 29th 2013

Muslims pray in Paris streets

The darkish tint in Bronislaw Talkowski's otherwise rosy cheeks provides just a slight hint that his ancestral roots may reach back further to the east. Talkowski is a Lipka Tatar. Unlike other minorities in this Central European, overwhelmingly Catholic country, that fact has never precluded him from being considered a Pole.

Members of this Muslim community, whose ancestors first arrived in Poland six centuries ago, say their experience here can provide a blueprint for newly arriving Muslim immigrants. But they warn that assimilation comes with its own inherent risks in a community that now numbers only in the thousands. As Talkowski tells it, the Tatars did "a service" to Poland and the state paid his community back.

The first Tatars arrived in northeastern Europe in the 14th century. The Turkic settlers, called "Lipka," after the Crimean word for Lithuania, had honed their military skills during Genghis Khan's Eurasian conquests and committed early on to serving the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In return, they were given noble status and allowed to flourish in the lands that today make up Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus. Read more ..

Israel and Palestine

Palestinian Prisoner Release Opens Wounds

July 28th 2013

Obama Netanyahu Abbas1

Karin Kaub of the Associated Press has captured the predicament in a telling article on the expected freeing of Palestinian terrorists in advance of the forthcoming Israel-Palestinian talks. Kaub wrote:

In April 1993, Omar Masoud and three accomplices broke into a European aid office in Gaza City, grabbed a young Israeli lawyer working there and stabbed him to death.

Israel arrested Masoud a month later and sentenced him to life, meaning he was doomed to die in prison one day for killing the lawyer in the name of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a small PLO faction. Now Masoud, along with dozens of other long-term Palestinian prisoners, is up for release as part of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's attempt to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks after five years of diplomatic paralysis.


The South Africa Edge

Start-ups Find Collaborative Work Space in Johannesburg

July 27th 2013

Interior office and flourescent lights

In Johannesburg, South Africa, there are a small but growing number of shared office spaces in which sole proprietors and small businesses rent a desk and other services.  For small business owners and start-up companies, this route not only provides cheaper overhead for workspace, but it also helps entrepreneurs network. 

The OPEN Collaborative Workspace is on the fourth floor of a building in an artsy, up and coming area just south of downtown Johannesburg, in a neighborhood called Maboneng.

Inside, it is a large open space, with meeting rooms and work rooms off to the side.  There are dozens of tables and chairs set up as desks, couches for meetings, floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the city outside, a full coffee bar with an on-site barista, and some recreational activities to take a break. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

The Rise Of Al-Qaeda 2.0

July 26th 2013

Bomb Maker

Early on, Al-Qaeda was a close-knit band of extremists with common cause, a centralized leadership, and a base from which to launch global operations.

With the death of Osama bin Laden, the loss of a host of top commanders, and its retreat from Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda has become a diffuse group with no coherent center. But the emerging network of Al-Qaeda offshoots, with operations around the world, is no less dangerous.

Call it Al-Qaeda 2.0 -- the evolution of a group whose directives once came from the top into a network of affiliates who are essentially on their own to export a fundamentalist brand of Islam and upstage secular governments in the Muslim world. Al-Qaeda's growing list of affiliates, by feeding off local grievances and exploiting political turmoil, are showing their strength in a number of countries, including Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Mali. Read more ..

Edge of Climate Change

Greenland and Antarctic Ice at Risk of Exacerbating Sea Level Rise

July 25th 2013

Click to select Image

In events that could exacerbate sea level rise over the coming decades, stretches of ice on the coasts of Antarctica and Greenland are at risk of rapidly cracking apart and falling into the ocean, according to new iceberg calving simulations from the University of Michigan.

"If this starts to happen and we're right, we might be closer to the higher end of sea level rise estimates for the next 100 years," said Jeremy Bassis, assistant professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences at the U-M College of Engineering, and first author of a paper on the new model published in the current issue of Nature Geoscience.

Iceberg calving, or the formation of icebergs, occurs when ice chunks break off larger shelves or glaciers and float away, eventually melting in warmer waters. Although iceberg calving accounts for roughly half of the mass lost from ice sheets, it isn't reflected in any models of how climate change affects the ice sheets and could lead to additional sea level rise, Bassis said. Read more ..

Iran on Edge

Iranian Mobile Provider Under Fire For Insulting Sunnis

July 25th 2013

Smart phone

A text message has landed one of Iran's largest mobile providers in legal trouble after it was indicted for insulting a caliph revered by Sunni Muslims.

A prosecutor from Sistan and Baluchistan Province, an impoverished area that is home to a large Sunni community, last week filed charges against Irancell in the wake of protests over a quiz question sent to the company's subscribers. ''Which judge was deceived by the devil during the time of [the first imam of Shi'a] Imam Ali?'' subscribers were asked in a text message.

Participants in the contest could choose from two possible answers, one of which was Omar, whose role in Islam is hotly disputed among Shi'a and Sunnis. The suggestion in the text message that Omar could have been deceived by the devil could be cause for offense to Sunnis.

Omar was the second caliph to succeed the Prophet Muhammad and one of the four "righteous caliphs," along with Ali, to found the Rashidun Caliphate. Shi'a believe that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, only Ali was the rightful successor to lead the Muslim world and the first three caliphs were not legitimate. The SMS led to anger among members of Iran's Sunni minority, who launched a campaign to boycott Irancell. Read more ..

Afghanistan on Edge

Trailblazing Afghan Female MP Forced To Take Shelter

July 24th 2013

Afgan Women in Burka

Noorzia Atmar is the human face of women's rights in Afghanistan, her unbridled and open enthusiasm now bruised and sheltered from the public eye.

As one of the country's first female lawmakers, she was a vocal and active force in carving out a bigger role for women in a society that had suffered for years under the hard-line rule of the Taliban.

Today her voice has been muted, and her existence in a home for battered women epitomizes the rapid unraveling of what advancements had been made.

Shortly after losing her place in the national parliament, Atmar ran into trouble at home. After divorcing her abusive husband, she was spurned by her own family and forced to seek refuge in a discreetly located shelter in Kabul for abused women and girls.

The 40-year-old's plight has cast a spotlight on the erosion of women's rights that has sped up just as international troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014. As international scrutiny has waned, powerful religious and conservative circles have taken steps to undermine women's rights. Read more ..

Healthcare on Edge

Sickle Cell Disease Cases Are Increasing

July 23rd 2013

Docs and Tech

Basic health interventions may significantly reduce deaths among young children with sickle cell anemia. The illness causes the body to produce sickle or disc shaped red blood cells making it difficult for them to transport oxygen from the lungs. The number of newborns with the inherited blood disease is increasing, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

A new study in PLOS Medicine says by 2050 over 400-thousand babies will be born every year with sickle cell anemia. That’s an increase of about 100-thousand per year. Most of those births will occur in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and India. The three countries accounted for 75 percent of sickle cell newborns in 2010. Dr. Frederic Piel led the research by the University of Oxford, Imperial College and the KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Program in Kenya.

“It’s a genetic disorder and if you inherit one copy of the gene from one of your parents, you don’t have any symptoms and you’re called a carrier or a heterozygote individual. If you inherit two copies from your parents, then you have sickle cell anemia, which is quite severe and lethal in countries where there is no treatment available,” he said. Read more ..

China on Edge

Recognizing the End of the Chinese Economic Miracle

July 23rd 2013

Bank of China

Major shifts underway in the Chinese economy, as forecast and discussed for years have now drawn the attention of the mainstream media. Many have asked when China would find itself in an economic crisis, to which we have answered that China has been there for a while—something not widely recognized outside China, and particularly not in the United States. A crisis can exist before it is recognized. The admission that a crisis exists is a critical moment, because this is when most others start to change their behavior in reaction to the crisis. The question we had been asking was when the Chinese economic crisis would finally become an accepted fact, thus changing the global dynamic.

In mid July, the crisis was announced with a flourish. First, The New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-recipient Paul Krugman penned a piece titled “Hitting China’s Wall.” He wrote, “The signs are now unmistakable: China is in big trouble. We’re not talking about some minor setback along the way, but something more fundamental. The country’s whole way of doing business, the economic system that has driven three decades of incredible growth, has reached its limits. You could say that the Chinese model is about to hit its Great Wall, and the only question now is just how bad the crash will be.” Read more ..

The Olympic Edge

Cosmonauts to Carry Olympic Torch During Spacewalk

July 22nd 2013


The Olympic torch has been as high as the summit of Mount Everest, as part of the relay for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. It's going to go even higher as part of the relay for the upcoming winter games. 

In the past, the torch has been carried on foot and on horseback, by air, by boat and by bicycle. For the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the Olympic torch will be transported by a reindeer sleigh and even a Soyuz spacecraft.  Yes, it's going to space.  

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins make up the next crew that is heading to the International Space Station, or ISS. They're launching in September.

Cosmonaut Kotov told space enthusiasts and members of the media at a recent event at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, that the torch is part of the first planned spacewalk of the mission.

"The next crew is supposed to bring it up to the station, and me and Sergey, we are going to take it with us out from the station to outer space," he explained. Kotov says the cosmonauts will take pictures and videos of the torch during their spacewalk, adding that the space station crew might even have a celebration inside the orbiting outpost.   Read more ..

Russia on Edge

Vera Kichanova: Russia's Opposition Must Go Bold, Even In Starting Small

July 21st 2013

Russian Protest

It's not every 22-year-old that gets a meeting at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama's national security adviser -- and shows up for it in peach-colored knee-high socks.

Meet Vera Kichanova, a young woman whose hipster garb belies her maturity, and whose fresh complexion has become one of the faces of the new generation of political opposition in Russia.

Kichanova, a journalist for the liberal news website Slon, was elected as a municipal deputy in Moscow's Yuzhnoye Tushino district in March 2012. A member of Russia's tiny Libertarian Party, she had campaigned on a ticket of transparency and democratic principles.

She concedes that her post is one that most Muscovites don't even know exists, but Russia observers and Kichanova alike say her election carries outsize importance. In a country where challenges to the establishment are routinely quashed and officials are usually installed, she says the opposition must be bold when it can -- but must also focus on making small political inroads. Read more ..

Egypt's Second Revolution

They Hate Us, They Really Hate Us

July 19th 2013

Hate Obama Patterson

This week, Hosni Mubarak's old media boss, Abdel Latif el-Menawy, published an astonishing essay on the website of the Saudi-funded, Emirati-based satellite television station Al Arabiya. Menawy described a wild conspiracy in which the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, directed Muslim Brotherhood snipers to murder Egyptian soldiers.

It would be easy to dismiss the ravings of an old Mubarak hand if they were not almost tame compared with the wild rumors and allegations across much of the Egyptian media and public. Even longtime observers of Egyptian rhetoric have been taken aback by the vitriol and sheer lunacy of the current wave of anti-American rhetoric. The streets have been filled with fliers, banners, posters, and graffiti denouncing President Barack Obama for supporting terrorism and featuring Photoshopped images of Obama with a Muslim-y beard or bearing Muslim Brotherhood colors. Read more ..

Egypt's Second Revolution

Political Transition Accelerates in Egypt

July 19th 2013

Cairo Skyline

Renewed clashes broke out Monday night between Egypt's army and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi leaving seven people dead and more than 260 wounded. The grim news added to the Muslim Brotherhood's existing outrage – 50 Morsi supporters died last week outside a military compound in Cairo supposedly holding the former President. Even as the Brotherhood held demonstrations in the streets, the new army-backed interim government began setting up a roadmap for a return to democratic governance.

On July 8th, the interim President Adly Mansour detailed a new timetable for constitutional reform and presidential and parliamentary elections. Pushed by the army to accelerate the military's exit from politics, the interim president suspended the constitution drawn up by the Islamist government. Mansour acounced 10 lawyers will draw up changes within a month. Fifty civil-society leaders, judges, and legal experts will review the changes for two months, with a final version put to a referendum a month later. Presidential elections could follow primary elections as early as a year. Read more ..

South Africa and Mandela

South Africans Celebrate Mandela’s Birthday by Volunteering

July 18th 2013

Mandela Volunteers

Nelson Mandela turned 95 Thursday, a remarkable milestone for a man considered South Africa’s most exceptional citizen.  Across the nation, South Africans celebrated the life of the anti-apartheid icon and followed his directive to volunteer for a charitable cause.  Meanwhile, Mandela remains in critical condition in a Pretoria hospital - where he has been for 40 days.

Nelson Mandela is known for doing the impossible: for keeping strong during a punishing 27-year prison term, for overturning South Africa’s ironclad apartheid regime, for uniting his fractured nation as its first black president and for bringing his country back on to the world stage after years of isolation. On Thursday, he proved, yet again, that he is no ordinary man. Read more ..

The Way We Are

Are Sounds Of The Caucasus Shaped By The Mountains Themselves?

July 17th 2013

Village Akhty-Daghestan

In the 10th century, an Arab geographer described the Caucasus region as a "mountain of tongues." The nickname has stuck to this day, likely because of how well it captures two of the area's main features: its dramatic cliffs and its array of languages.

But new and controversial research by a U.S. linguist suggests that the "mountains" may have more to do with the "tongues" than anyone has guessed.

In a study published last month in the journal "Plos One," Caleb Everett, an anthropological linguist at the University of Miami, claims that a special class of sounds occurring in almost all of the languages of the Caucasus may be due to "the direct influence" of the region's high altitude. Read more ..

Broken Intelligence

Keeping the NSA in Perspective

July 16th 2013

NSA facility

In June 1942, the bulk of the Japanese fleet sailed to seize the Island of Midway. Had Midway fallen, Pearl Harbor would have been at risk and U.S. submarines, unable to refuel at Midway, would have been much less effective. Most of all, the Japanese wanted to surprise the Americans and draw them into a naval battle they couldn't win.

The Japanese fleet was vast. The Americans had two carriers intact in addition to one that was badly damaged. The United States had only one advantage: It had broken Japan's naval code and thus knew a great deal of the country's battle plan. In large part because of this cryptologic advantage, a handful of American ships devastated the Japanese fleet and changed the balance of power in the Pacific permanently. Read more ..

Egypt’s Second Revolution

The Confrontation Between Morsi and al-Sisi Revealed

July 15th 2013


Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi displayed arrogance and complete loss of touch with the Egyptian people in his final meeting with General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who led his ouster according to journalist and Algemeiner Blogger Raymond Ibrahim, who deftly translated a “fly-on-the-wall” report from a journalist at the scene.

The reporter, from El Watan, a popular Egyptian newspaper, said he witnessed and transcribed the conversation verbatim from a closed-circuit television in an adjacent room to the Morsi-Sisi tete-a-tete, which took place on July 2, a few hours prior to Morsi’s final public speech before the coup that removed him from office.

Raymond Ibrahim’s translation, below, is based entirely on the El Watan report. Read more ..

Russia on Edge

After Years Of Scandal, Russia's Bolshoi Looks To Move On

July 14th 2013


Russia's world-famous Bolshoi Theater is hoping to finally turn the page after years of scandals, including an embezzlement case, accusations of pimping, and an acid attack that has left the artistic director of its ballet company almost blind.

On July 9, Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky announced that Bolshoi head Anatoly Iksanov had been fired. Speaking at a news conference, Medinsky said that "a difficult situation had developed around the theater" and that events "pointed to the need for renewal."

Vladimir Urin, the director of another major ballet and opera theater, the Stanislavsky Musical Theater, has been appointed to replace Iksanov. Urin said he would do his best to restore calm at the Bolshoi. "It is very important that this transition from one director to another is done in a civilized, normal, calm, and businesslike manner," he added. Read more ..

The Ancient Edge

Ancient Egyptian Leader Appears in Modern Israel

July 13th 2013

sphinx of israel

As modern Egypt searches for a new leader, Israeli archaeologists have found evidence of an ancient Egyptian leader in northern Israel. At a site in Tel Hazor National Park, north of the Sea of Galilee, archeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have unearthed part of a unique Sphinx belonging to one of the ancient pyramid-building pharaohs.

The Hazor Excavations are headed by Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor, the Yigael Yadin Professor in the Archaeology of Eretz Israel at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology, and Dr. Sharon Zuckerman, a lecturer at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology.

Working with a team from the Institute of Archaeology, they discovered part of a Sphinx brought over from Egypt, with a hieroglyphic inscription between its front legs. The inscription bears the name of the Egyptian king Mycerinus, who ruled in the third millennium BCE, more than 4,000 years ago. The king was one of the builders of the famous Giza pyramids. Read more ..

Children on the Edge

Young Taliban Victim Calls for Children's Rights

July 13th 2013

Youth Delegates-UN

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistan girl shot by the Taliban in 2012 for being an outspoken voice for girls' education, marked her 16th birthday Friday by giving a speech before U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and more than 500 of her peers at the world deliberative body's New York headquarters.

Addressing the youth assembly, Yousafzai said the gunmen could not silence her because knowledge and education is more powerful than their bullets, adding that Friday's event, which has been referred to as "Malala Day," was really about the much broader cause of children's rights worldwide.

“Do remember one thing, 'Malala Day' is not my day," she said, clothed in a pink shalwar khamez and a shawl that belonged to the late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. "Today is the day of every woman, every boy, and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights." Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

What Have U.S. Troops Been Doing in Jordan?

July 13th 2013


Weeks ago, fearing a reprise of the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Washington reportedly stationed hundreds of Marines to Sicily in the event they were required to protect the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. But these soldiers aren't the only U.S. assets in the region guarding against contingencies.

In late June, thousands of U.S. service members wrapped up a 14-day annual multilateral military training exercise in Jordan known as "Eager Lion." At King Abdullah's request, 900 of these American soldiers, a squadron of F-16s, and a Patriot Missile Battery have -- according to President Obama -- remained behind to support "the security of Jordan," a state increasingly threatened by spillover from the war in neighboring Syria. And should reinforcements be required, the Marine amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge is steaming off the coast of Aqaba. Read more ..

Brazil on Edge

Unrest Among the Giants of the Emerging World

July 12th 2013

Protest Turkey-Brazil

In a speech given on June 22, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan drew parallels between the current protests and social movements in Turkey and Brazil: “The same game is being played in Brazil … There are the same symbols, the same posters. Twitter, Facebook is the same, so are international media.”  Prime Minister Erdogan was referring to the protests that began in Turkey on May 28, and in Brazil on June 17. Both movements are now under international media spotlights, which have prompted even high-level policymakers like Prime Minister Erdogan to compare the two. Nevertheless, even though some features of these movements bear a resemblance to one another, a look at the underlying principles of these protests highlights their autonomous and distinctive characters. Read more ..

Islam's War Against Christianity

Bedouin Arabs Run Torture Camps in Sinai

July 11th 2013


An absolutely horrific story out of the Sinai peninsula: Bedouin Arabs are kidnapping Christians from Africa and then ransoming them for exorbitant sums. When destitute families cannot pay the ransoms, the victims are tortured to death.

The Christian Broadcasting Network reports many of these Christians flee their African homeland seeking a better life in Israel. They are abducted from refugee camps by Bedouins and then smuggled to Sinai. It is there that the torture begins.

CBN reports:
"Sinai was always a place for human smuggling, but since around two years ago -- even a bit more -- it started also to be a place of human torture," Shahar Shoham, director of Physicians for Human Rights, said. Shoham has documented more than 1,300 cases of torture in the Sinai. Those survivors ... made it to Israel. But most of the cases of torture are not documented. Read more ..

Broken Bookselling

Nook, Nook. Who’s There? Not The CEO or Consumer Engagement

July 10th 2013

Barnes-and-Noble store shot

No joke. Barnes and Noble CEO William Lynch, resigned on Monday. The writing was on the wall, or e-reader, well somewhere, that B&N’s digital division had failed to turn their e-readers and tablets into best sellers.

Surprise ending to this story? Well, shouldn’t have been. Not from either a financial or emotional engagement perspective. If you’ve been reading the financial reports digitally, or on old-century newsprint, you can’t have missed the fact that Nook recently reported a 34% drop in sales. If you had paged through the Brand Keys Nook emotional engagement assessments, you would have found that a real tearjerker too.

We’ve been measuring e-readers since there were e-readers. And while there are lots of categories where being first-to-market gives you a substantive advantage, and though you’re probably thinking e-readers were one of those categories, today that’s pretty much a fairytale. New technology will, of course, attract early adopters. And while they’re the ones who set the general plotline for the category, ultimately it’s the rest of us who define the specific emotional narrative thread that brands must follow if they want to show up as a marketplace best seller. Read more ..

Broken Government

Black Lawmakers Demand Obama Take Control of Gun Control

July 9th 2013

Beretta 90TWO

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus urged President Obama to take action on gun control legislation on July 9 at their first meeting with the president in more than two years.

Obama “reaffirmed his commitment” to the issue during the White House meeting, one administration official said.

The president told the lawmakers that he will focus on gun violence, and acknowledged the problem wasn't just about tragic events like the one in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six educators were killed by a lone gunman in December. He gave examples of other places where gun violence was a problem, according to one attendee of the meeting. Read more ..

The Way We Are

Global Corruption 'Worsening,' But Citizens Prepared To Act

July 9th 2013

International Currency 3

The world’s largest public-opinion survey on corruption shows that more than half of respondents believe graft has worsened in their country in the past two years.

But the survey, conducted by Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International, also says nearly 90 percent of respondents expressed an eagerness to act against corruption, from signing petitions to taking part in protests.

The "2013 Global Corruption Barometer" was based on interviews with 114,000 people in 107 countries.

Just over half of respondents, 53 percent, said they felt graft had worsened in the past two years. That includes the majority of people surveyed in countries ranging from Brazil to Russia, Pakistan to the United States, and Turkey to Ukraine. Much of the corruption reported was in the form of paying bribes, which more than a quarter of worldwide respondents said they had done in the past year. Read more ..

Ecology on Edge

Bacteria Thrive On Ocean Plastic Debris

July 8th 2013


Plastic pollution in the ocean is harboring colonies of bacteria that could be harmful not only to marine animals but also to humans.

Thoughtless habits and practices -- a bottle dropped here, a bag thrown there -- are creating garbage dumps in the world’s oceans. The flotilla of debris moves with the currents and harms fish and marine mammals that either ingest or get entangled in it.

But for some organisms, it's home. Scientists have discovered a wide diversity of microbes colonizing and thriving on plastic that is polluting the ocean in the so-called plastisphere.

It takes about six weeks for a plastic bag or bottle to ride the surface currents from the U.S. East Coast to the Sargasso Sea, in the center of the North Atlantic. The area is a gyre, essentially a big whirlpool that traps and swirls the debris which, unlike other types of trash in the ocean, never biodegrades. Read more ..

The Edge of Education

Make Way For MOOCs: How Free, Online Courses Could Revolutionize Education

July 7th 2013

Computer-User Kenya

WASHINGTON -- It's more than 11,000 kilometers from Shakargarh, a city in northeastern Pakistan, to the venerated halls of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the top universities in the United States.

Twenty-five-year-old Khalid Raza lives in Shakargarh but is taking "The Challenges of Global Poverty," a course taught by a former adviser to the World Bank and a professor of international economics at MIT.

Recently, while on the bus, he pulled out his laptop and submitted one of his first assignments. "It was an amazing experience when I was submitting my assignment," he said. "I was traveling and my friend was sitting with me. When I submitted my assignment, after some time he asked me a question, 'What are you doing?' So I told him the whole story, that I am taking a course from the U.S.A. He was so surprised and shocked." Read more ..

The Way We Are

Problems of the Second Generation: To be Young, Muslim, and American

July 6th 2013

Muslim American girl with flag

The Boston Marathon bombings highlighted, once again, the challenges of assimilating Muslim youth. And while the onus of accountability ought not rest exclusively on Muslim Americans, it understandably weighs most heavily on them. Indeed, any fair-minded assessment of recent events must underscore the inadequacies of Muslim-American leaders. Yet the usual criticisms are wide of the mark and fail to identify the institutional as well as intellectual weaknesses of these leaders.

In general we too easily overlook​—​even in the midst of a raging debate over our immigration policy​—​what Norman Podhoretz once referred to as “the brutal bargain” that immigrant children must accept in order to assimilate into the society their parents chose for them. For Muslims today, the drama involves not so much overcoming poverty and educational deficits but adapting to a society whose values are sharply at odds with their religious heritage. Among Muslim-American youth, especially since 9/11, this has led to heightened criticism and suspicion of U.S. government policies at home and abroad. More generally, it has resulted in a hard-edged identity politics that has encouraged some young Muslims to define themselves not only in opposition to the government but to American society and culture. Read more ..

Obama's Second Term

Uprising Against Morsi Also Anti-Obama

July 5th 2013

Hate Obama Patterson

An abundance of coverage during recent days drew us into Egypt with a 24-hour cable-news eye. If you indulged the instant intimacies of social media images and words,  it's clear that we weren't getting the whole picture from "vintage" sources in print and network news. While captivated by the height of the tsunami of public opinion that was virulently anti-Morsi, "vintage" news ignored another wave: the huge wave of anti-Obamaism.

Dozens of signs were borne through the crowds, hung upon buildings, trees, lightpoles. They were written in English, in Arabic, and in both. Their message is clear: President Obama and U.S. Ambassador, Ann Patterson, are not at all popular with the June 30 crowd. Read more ..

Obama's Second Term

New protections coming for disgruntled intelligence workers

July 5th 2013


The Obama administration is moving toward final implementation of new job protections for disgruntled intelligence employees who keep their complaints about wrongdoing within government channels.

Some advocates for whistleblowers have hailed the move, which comes as Edward Snowden — who has claimed to be a U.S. national security whistleblower — accelerates his search for foreign asylum from a Moscow airport waiting room.

By July 8, dozens of federal agencies are required to tell the White House in detail how they plan to implement an order the president signed last October that prohibits retaliation against those who flag “waste, fraud and abuse” in intelligence programs to approved officials. Obama signed the directive after Congress twice dropped intelligence workers from legislation meant to strengthen whistleblowing protections throughout the government. Read more ..

Moldova on Edge

Moldova Bans Chemical Castration for Child Rapists

July 5th 2013

jail door closeup

Moldova's constitutional court has banned the use of chemical castration to punish convicted pedophiles. The court ruled that the procedure amounted to medical intervention against a person's will and therefore was a violation of basic human rights.

Deputies from Moldova's Liberal Party pushed the law through parliament lin 2012.

It provided for chemical castration for Moldovans and foreigners convicted of sexual abuse of children under 15. The proponents argued that Moldova had become a destination for international sex tourists. Accusations that government officials are directly involved in sex trafficking, or who turn a blind eye, have long been rife in the Central European nation. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

The Cold War Roots Of Islamist Terrorism

July 4th 2013

Islamic Hamas rocket

The highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to defect from the Eastern Bloc says the Soviet Union orchestrated an anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda campaign in the Middle East four decades ago -- and the effects of the effort still reverberate.

Ion Mihai Pacepa led Romania's foreign intelligence service and was an aide to dictator Nicolae Ceausescu before defecting to the United States in 1978.

In his new book, "Disinformation," he and his co-author, U.S. scholar Ronald Rychlak, claim that under the leadership of Yury Andropov, the Soviet KGB helped sow the seeds of today's anti-American and anti-Israeli hatred in the Arab and Muslim world by initiating a sophisticated and covert propaganda campaign in the early 1970s. Ion Pacepa formerly headed Romania's foreign intelligence service and was an aide to Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu before his defection in the late 1970s. Read more ..

See Earlier Stories 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Copyright © 2007-2018The Cutting Edge News About Us