The United States has an image problem in the Middle East. Years of supporting regional dictators and occupying Iraq have undermined influence. The current upheaval provides a rare opportunity for the US to reset regional relations. For years, US strategic interests, such as securing access to oil, counting allies in the fight against terror, or countering Iranian influence, trumped anemic calls in Washington for reform. But it is actually a US strategic interest to stand up for democracy, as open countries are inherently more prosperous, capable of upholding rule of law, and stable in the long-term. Initiating military action in Libya makes a transparent vision for engagement in the region imperative. Foreign policy expert Adam Hinds lists six decisive steps President Obama must take.
One year ago, President Barack Obama signed a sweeping health-care law to fulfill a long-standing Democratic pledge to ensure health-care coverage for all Americans. Passage of the law was a major legislative victory for Obama and helped change the political landscape, but not always in the way Democrats had hoped. Republicans strongly opposed the law and successfully worked public skepticism about it into sweeping election victories in November. Here's a look at the uncertain future of the health care law:
Much talent, many marriages, and great beauty. Such is the legend of Elizabeth Taylor, who died today at the age of 79. Taylor – indisputably one of the great actresses of Hollywood's golden era – attracted prodigious amounts of press coverage throughout her lengthy career. Here are a handful of the best books that chronicle her life.
While President Obama predicts US forces could disengage from Libya within the week, Senate hawks who pressed for military intervention watch closely to see that the mission's goals are fulfilled. Critics, including conservatives, say they are leading the nation into endless, costly wars. Here’s how the hawks respond – and what they say should happen next.
Mouthwash. Rice. A handful of quarters. What do these household items have in common? They constitute the perfect emergency-repair kit for gadgets. When device disasters strike and warranties turn their backs on you, it's time to get in touch with your inner MacGyver. So, here are eight low-tech solutions to high-tech disasters.
With Yemen in upheaval, US pundits have peddled inflated fears about the threat it poses. While it’s easy to identify risk factors, circumstances don’t spell the kind of chaos Americans most fear, nor do they validate US support for President Ali Abdullah Saleh. His unpopular government has little moral or logistical ground to stand on. After a violent government crackdown on protesters Friday, three key military leaders have defected to the opposition, in addition to numerous other diplomats and lawmakers. But this doesn’t necessarily spell a victory for democracy. Sheila Carapico, a professor of political science and international relations at The University of Richmond and American University in Cairo debunks six claims about the tumult in Yemen.
When the world’s third-largest economy is hit with its worst earthquake ever, a tsunami, and a subsequent nuclear crisis, the human and physical toll has been enormous. The disaster is also sending ripples through the world economy. Here is a look at four ways the Japanese crisis changes the investment landscape:
In recent weeks, the price of a barrel of oil has stayed at about $100 a barrel, and gasoline prices have been edging closer to $4 a gallon. The costs are apparently due to events half a world away, in the Middle East. Even though plenty of oil is around, there is fear of further disruptions, and consumers, business people, and politicians have all been making adjustments. Here are eight ways that higher energy prices are starting to affect America.
Though the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant appears to be stabilizing, the United States is stepping up inspections of the country’s 104 nuclear reactors. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission today announced that inspectors will soon visit all US reactors to ensure they can withstand the kind of “severe accident” that led to Japan’s emergency. That emergency has caused many Americans to wonder about the future of nuclear power. Is it safe and dependable? Yes, says Tony Pietrangelo, chief nuclear officer and senior vice president of the Nuclear Energy Institute (the organization of the nuclear energy and technologies industry). Here’s why:
With 64 of the 68 teams in the field eliminated, the NCAA Tournament lived up to its reputation in the first two weekends of play, complete with shocking upsets, heart-pounding finishes, controversies, and a school from Richmond called Virginia Commonwealth. Here’s our top list of wild and crazy finishes from the second third rounds, the Sweet 16, and the Elite Eight.
Fourteen safety-related events at nuclear power plants required follow-up inspections from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the NRC reported in 2010. These "near-miss" events "raised the risk of damage to the reactor core – and thus to the safety of workers and the public," concluded a new report, "The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2010," by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Here are five of these 14 "near miss" examples:
Graduate schools of business saw some reshuffling of rankings this year as US News & World Report downgraded perennial No. 1 Harvard and crowned a new undisputed champion. The business schools, part of US News's broader survey of all graduate schools, were ranked using nine measures. In one category, however, the Top 5 business schools were very evenly matched. Tuition ranged narrowly from $48,550 to $53,118 a year. Here's a look at the Top 5:
Could something as simple as e-mail really solve America’s current economic woes? Consider its drag on productivity: With more than 294 billion e-mails sent worldwide every day, office workers spend a quarter of their working hours on e-mail-related tasks. You can make a powerful improvement in your output – and boost American productivity in the process – by making a few adjustments to your in-box routine. Here are three ways to eliminate your e-mail overload:
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in Japan underscores – yet again – the need to abandon nuclear power as a panacea for energy independence. Experts may never determine what caused all of the emergency cooling safety systems at Daiichi to fail completely. But they have learned that they are nearly powerless to bring the smoldering units under control. In the meantime, significant amounts of radioactive gas have vented, and partial meltdowns of at least two reactors have occurred. Indeed, nuclear power will never live up to industry promises. As a whole it is ultimately unsafe, an accident waiting to happen, and far more expensive than proponents admit. Colby College professor Paul Josephson gives seven reasons why we should abandon nuclear power and instead turn to solar, wind, and other forms of energy production that won’t experience such catastrophic accidents.
One of the most enjoyable things about the NCAA tournament – for basketball fanatics and casual observers alike – is the Cinderella story. On Thursday, Morehead State chalked up the first upset of the tournament by vanquishing No. 4 Louisville. There’s just something appealing about watching the triumph of the little guy - the team no one ever paid any attention to, never gave a chance. Or maybe it's watching the titan, the sure-thing, the team that everyone knows will win, well, not win. Here is our Top 10, plus one.
What should you read on St. Patrick's Day? If you're hoping to celebrate Ireland with a book in hand, the hardest part will be figuring out which one, as the Emerald Isle has long been a wildly prolific source of inspiration to writers. And so to my earlier list of 10 best books about Ireland (which I still stand by), I can easily add five more.
The circle of seismic activity in the Pacific Ocean, known as the "ring of fire," stretches from Australia to Russia around to Alaska and America's West Coast and down to Chile in South America. It's an area responsible for 90 percent of the world's earthquakes and 75 percent of its volcanoes. So which of the more than 26 nations in the ring has nuclear power? Only three: Japan, of course (more than 50 plants); the United States (eight reactors at four plants); and Mexico (two reactors at one plant). Here's a look at the five non-Japanese plants in the world's most active earthquake zone:
The Pacific Rim, the body of land surrounding the Pacific Ocean from the west coasts of North and South America to the east coasts of China and Japan, is one of the most volatile regions in the world for earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Since 1975, several stunning earthquakes around the Pacific Rim have resulted in tremendous devastation and loss of life – some smaller, but some much greater, than the unfolding crisis in Japan from the March 11 temblor. Source: US Geological Survey historical data
Japan has received offers of assistance from 14 international organizations and 102 countries (including a number of unexpected aid donors such as embattled Afghanistan and poverty-stricken Cambodia), according to the latest report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Japan has accepted help, mostly in the form of search and rescue teams, from 15 countries. Here is an overview of some of the help pouring into Japan as it struggles to dig out from Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami.
Each year when March 15 rolls around, many of us grope mentally backward to 9th-grade English class and do our best to remember who exactly who it was that warned Julius Caesar to "Beware the ides of March" and why. But in the years since Shakespeare first coined the phrase in 1599 the fatal date has become well ensconced in literature. To bring yourself up to speed on "ides" literature, here's a beginner's list.