Ivory Coast’s long-anticipated Nov. 28 presidential election was meant to help the country move beyond its deep divisions. Instead, the vote fueled a political stalemate that sucked the country back into civil war.More than four months after voters elected President Alassane Ouattara, renegade incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo still refuses to step down even though rebel forces have now confined him to a bunker beneath the presidential residence. Hundreds of Ivorians have died in increasingly heavy fighting that included attacks this week by the United Nations and France. How did a simple vote turn into this? There are a number of reasons that go back years, even decades.
Targeted attacks are the trend in cyberspace. Six months ago, the world's first cyber superweapon – Stuxnet – was discovered to be targeting Iran's nuclear facilities. This week millions of e-mail addresses were reported stolen from Epsilon, a firm that supplies e-mail marketing to BestBuy, Disney, and many others. The two highlight a trend toward precision among those that create malicious software. Epsilon's information will help hackers craft very specific "phishing" e-mails that are far more subtle, experts say. Here are five emerging targets for precision attacks:
The Bugaboo Donkey stroller is being released this month in the US. The Dutch-made stroller has up to a $1,660 price tag and a long waiting list of customers. But it's not the only high-end buggy on the market. Here are five boutique strollers that make a fashion statement for the mothers who can afford them:
The famous Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei hasn’t been heard from since his arrest Sunday by Chinese authorities. The disappearance of Mr. Ai, who uses his art to express political dissent, is just one of a slew of recent arrests by the Chinese government in what seems to be a bid to prevent protests inspired by the Middle East uprisings to China. Ai has long been at odds with the Chinese government, and this isn’t the first confrontation. What has made Ai a marked man in China?
House Republicans are attempting to shape US environmental policy by attaching to their 2011 spending plans so-called "riders" that would target regulations ranging from greenhouse gases to mining. The White House and Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada oppose the riders, making it unlikely they will become law. But they remain in play as the House and Senate negotiate on spending and try to avoid a government shutdown this week.
The controversial Goldstone Report, the result of a UN fact finding mission following allegations of human rights violations during the 2008 to 2009 Israel-Gaza conflict, is under scrutiny again. In a column published April 1 in The Washington Post, Richard Goldstone, the South African judge who led the mission, retracted one of the most contested findings of the group’s September 2009 report. “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document,” he wrote. What findings makes this nonbinding UN report such a flashpoint?
For the second consecutive season, ticket prices stayed relatively flat in Major League Baseball, according to a new survey by Team Marketing Report. The average ticket price across all 30 teams is $26.91, which is only a 1.2 percent increase from last season. That percentage represents the lowest year over year increase since the company's Fan Cost Index debuted in 1991. Here are some of highlights of which teams charge the most and the least for tickets, hot dogs, and parking:
Unemployment has fallen to 8.8 percent, the lowest rate in two years. In March, the economy added 216,000 new jobs. But the recovery is leaving some US metros behind. Already mired in above-average joblessness, their unemployment rate is now higher than what it was when the recovery began in June 2009. Here’s a look at five of these wrong-direction metros:
Travel might be broadening, but in this case, it changes the course of three people's lives. The three main characters in this month's fiction roundup were born 100 years apart and on three different continents, but they all end up in the same place – the United States. Two are brought against their will as children and one makes the journey as an adult, 24 years later than she had planned.
The concept of emergency rule has been at the forefront of much of the Mideast unrest. Some countries have been in a “state of emergency” for decades, long after their citizens felt any threat still existed. Others have only recently implemented the emergency laws, in an effort to quell uprisings turned too large and violent for the governments to rein in. Although meant to help a country in times of danger, emergency law has sometimes been turned into a political tool.
We can only begin to imagine the depth of the political fissures once Congress seriously addresses our budget challenges as opposed to punting tough compromises down the road with last-minute, stop-gap spending bills. Just consider the intensity of the heat generated today over the Republicans’ continued resolve to cut “only” $100 billion from President Obama’s proposed budget for this year, which still would leave a massive deficit in excess of $1.4 trillion. Ultimately, Americans must consider a painful, indelicate balance of much larger spending cuts along with tax increases, coupled with the need for crucial investments in our nation’s future. In confronting these agonizing political choices, both parties, and the electorate, would benefit from advice from “Ike.” Such advice can be found in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s memorable (though little remembered) radio and television address on taxes in 1954. The address was delivered on March 15, which was Tax Day back then. Its value lies not in its details but in what he said about the government’s role domestically, about sound budgeting, and about being a “good American.” These words, from a Republican, challenged listeners then regardless of party, as they will challenge listeners today. Mount Holyoke College tax-policy scholar John O. Fox gives us Ike's four critical pieces of advice.
The devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has become the latest poster child for long-standing issues surrounding nuclear energy – issues that need to be resolved to reduce the risk of a similar nuclear crisis in the United States. These range from the seemingly eternal conundrum over dealing with highly radioactive spent fuel, to fire hazards, plant design, and emergency plans, say nuclear engineers and nuclear-safety watchdogs.
The finalists for the 2011 Best Translated Book Award – sponsored by the Three Percent weblog – were announced last week. The winning works of fiction selected were translated from German, Spanish, Afrikaans, Czech, French and Swedish. To read these books is to travel the globe in extraordinary style.
Every marriage is a little business. "Economics is about how to allocate scarce resources," says Paula Szuchman, coauthor with Jenny Anderson of "Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes." "That's what married people are trying to do, given that they have limited resources – time, money, patience." Marriage experts and even economists aren't ready to replace Dear Abby with Adam Smith. "Marriage is more than an economic transaction." says Raymond Fisman, a Columbia University economist. Still, he's a fan of the book. Test these four economic principles on your marriage:
Tax filing is never fun, especially for the unemployed, whose income plunged but who still owe taxes. The Internal Revenue Service tried to ease things a bit last year by not fully taxing the unemployment benefits. That offer has expired. Still, there are ways that the unemployed, and newly employed, can lower their taxes this tax-filing season. Here are five of them: