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The 2008 Beijing Olympics: An Unfortunate Legacy

The whole world turned its eye on Beijing this August in what many were led to believe would be a celebration of the triumph of the human spirit. This summer's Olympics were certainly host to an array of extraordinary athletic achievements. Even I, not at all an avid sports fan, found myself taken in by the spectacle, and particularly by'standout athletes like American swimmer Michael Phelps, who has made his country more than proud.

But as the Olympic flame blew out on Sunday many began to look back on the 2008 Beijing Olympics and wonder what legacy it will leave in its wake. Sadly, the athletic accomplishments of many will be overshadowed by the fact that these Games were little about sports and more about politics, greed, and deception as the international community complicity gave credence to a hostile regime that is fundamentally undemocratic and steeped in human rights abuses and atrocities. The motto for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics was, ironically, "One World, One Dream", chosen out of 210,000 submissions submitted worldwide. Unfortunately, this 'dream' is far from realizable for many of the world's poorest and oppressed and the Olympic host country, far from fostering this dream, continues to exacerbate global inequality with each passing year. We, here are at, are primarily concerned with China's position on two critical issues: Darfur and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Could Ongoing Zimbabwe Talks Signal a Regime Change?

Much has been made in the past week of the ongoing talks in South Africa by delegates of Zimbabwe's feuding parties, Zanu-PF and MDC, to negotiate an end to the country's current political crisis. Talks are coming on the heels of what has been a turbulent three months following the controversial March 29th general elections.

White House Staff Scream: "We are all in Uproar!"

Historians are of the opinion that President George W. Bush will go down in the books as possibly the worst president of the United States. Polls published by CNN suggest that Bush is also the most unpopular president in America's history. Americans gave Mr. Bush a 70% disapproval rating on how he is handling his job as the Nation's leader.

Nuclear Weapons; A Reflection

This summer I traveled to Japan after indefatigably working for two months to save up for a two way ticket and a JR train pass. During the three weeks of my stay I came across many new and interesting cultural quirks. For example the Japanese make a point slurp as loudly as they can when eating noodles as eating quietly may offend the cook or when going up the escalator they stand on the left side and pass on the right. Another is when a Japanese person wishes to express his or her gratitude, they lightly bow their head.

I also got a chance to become more acquainted with Japan's fascinating history which is given so little attention in both American and European public schools. In Tokyo I visited the Edo Museum which illustrated the highly sectarian society existing in Japan until the second half of the 19 century. In Kyoto I went to a local museum dedicated to the life of their national idol: Sakamoto Ryoma, the man who fought for the westernization of Japan, which allowed it to become a world power. A stop in one of the cities, however, left a heavy feeling. Though more than half a century has passed since the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima by the United States, killing 140,000 people and razing 90 percent of the buildings, there remains a kind of melancholy, unpleasant aura amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

Sudanese People Stand Up for Darfur in Diaspora

They say if you want to get to the truth of something, get it straight from the horse's mouth. If one wanted to get to the truth of the ongoing genocide in Darfur by its closest witnesses, one would have done well to attend the "Voices from Darfur: A Call to Action" event that took place on Saturday in DC. Hosted by Africa Action, the nation's oldest advocacy organization working on African affairs, the event was held at the Sankofa Caf' in northwest DC, just across the road from Howard University.

Killing American Priorities

S. 3294 - Advance America's Priorities Act, the so-called 'Coburn Omnibus' bill, containing 35 pieces of bipartisan legislation, was killed in the Senate yesterday after failing to receive enough cloture votes. The vote to consider the bill amounted 52 to 40, eight votes shy of the 60 required. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada had aligned together a laundry list of measures that Oklahoma Senator 'Dr. No' Tom Coburn has attempted to hold or stop completely for the last year. Considered non-controversial and near unanimous support in the house, this bill has gained attention mainly due to the slow progress in the Senate during the 110th Congress, with a focus on Senator Coburn's relentless obstruction. Reid's spokesman Jim Manley said, "Things have gotten so bad that Republican senators have approached Sen. Reid to ask that their bills be included in the package." Explaining the bill and the political situation at hand, Senator Reid's wrote to President Bush and fellow members of Congress:

"Mr. President, today I am joining with Senators Leahy, Lieberman, Feinstein, Inouye, Kennedy, Boxer, and Biden, to introduce an important bill, with provisions in a variety of areas - from advancing medical research in critical areas, to cracking down on child exploitation, to promoting important U.S. foreign policy goals, to helping improve America's understanding about the oceans. What unites this diverse package of bills" One thing - unprecedented obstructionism. Here are just a few examples of the legislation that this bill includes - and that Republicans are preventing from becoming law:

Iranian President Rightfully Criticizes Security Council's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke today on Iranian national television about the role of the United Nations in nuclear disarmament. Like with North Korea and India, the United States has attempted to persuade Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program and to open its plants to international inspection. But unlike these countries Iran remained indifferent to the entreaties. In exchange for Iran's cooperation in suspending its uranium enrichment program, the United States promised to ease economic and diplomatic sanctions it has imposed on Iran for the past decade.

Obama Berlin Speech to be Praised, not Criticized

Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. Barack Obama was criticized by the McCain campaign for not having visited the Middle East, which they believed displayed a lack of foreign policy intelligence and experience. So, Obama and his campaign scheduled meetings in Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Kuwait to show that he is directly informed and has had personal contact with American troops.

What's Wrong with Going Green?

Correct me, please, if I'm wrong, but given the state of global disruption, shouldn't the American people, especially the presidential candidates, do everything they can to promote a sustainable environment? The Democratic National Convention Host Committee has done just that - they have proposed guidelines to encourage organic food and products to be distributed at the Convention in August 2008. Apparently, these conditions do not appeal to Washington Post contributor, David Montgomery.

Global Warming, More like Global Disruption

Global warming seems to be a reality that can be more accurately described as "global disruption." John Holdren, professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, claims that the effects of global warming are not merely a matter of temperature; although increased temperature is a the root of many of the problems.