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Feb 17, 2014 0 Comments

Student Dies in Crackdown on Venezuela Opposition Articles / Opinion Editorials


On the morning of February 12, Bassil Alejandro Da Costa left a message for his mother informing her he would be participating in a nationwide student protest for liberty in Caracas, Venezuela. By the end of the day, 24-year old Bassil was lying in the morgue dead from a fatal gunshot fired by Venezuelan security forces. 

Bassil’s shooting went viral, as did two other fatal shootings that day: that of Roberto Redman and Juan Montoya, a pro-government supporter.

The protests — among the largest seen in the months following Nicolas Maduro’s wafer-thin electoral victory in April 2013 — have spread across the entire country and the government’s response has been unmeasured and brutal. Armed motorcycle patrols, like the ones believed responsible for Dacosta’s death, wade into crowds, weapons at the ready.

Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government, as earlier reported in these pages, is steadily losing whatever legitimacy it might have had among the Venezuelan people.
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Feb 12, 2014 0 Comments

Russia, China set sights on Arctic riches Articles / Opinion Editorials

Authors: J.D. GORDON

While the Polar Vortex and Sochi Olympics may have dominated world headlines this winter, both are relatively minor in size and scope when compared to an evolving geo-political crisis also featuring freezing temps and international competition. 

The high stakes “Great Game” over Arctic riches will affect billions of people in the coming years, yet appears near completely “out of sight, out of mind.” 

Though polar sea ice has increased this past winter, satellite photos clearly show a decades-long melting trend, which, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, is now an average of 45 percent smaller than during the 1980s and 1990s. Thus the race is on for the Arctic’s vast petroleum, fishing and mineral resources. And I do mean vast.

Polar bears on floating ice blocks may soon be the least of our worries. 

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Feb 4, 2014 0 Comments



Nearly seven years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin successfully won the bid to host this week’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. For Putin, this is an opportunity to show off Russia as a leader on an international stage. For others, this may be a chance to send a message to the world.

In July of last year, Doha Umarov, leader of the al-Qaeda affiliated “Caucusus Emirate” terrorist group, released a statement vowing an attack on the Sochi games, which he called “Satanic dances on our ancestor’s graves.” Umarov also claimed responsibility for two major explosions in Volgograd in December 2013, calling them rehearsals for future Sochi attacks.

Responding to the current threats, Putin has deployed more than 40,000 additional security forces to Sochi, restricted automobile access to several sites, and has spent more than US $50 billion on the games. Despite these measures and precautions, however, many security experts remain concerned because these particular Islamist terrorists may be outside Putin’s sphere of influence.

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