News

Role of Women in Japan

Role of Women in Japan

Japanese culture has historically emphasized gender roles. Expectations for men and women have traditionally aligned with societal obligations in the private and public sector. Women dominated the household but outside of the home, their families dictated their behavior. Although ancient philosophies like Confucianism and feudalism laid the foundations for the status of women, turning points like WWII allowed them to break through the glass ceiling and defy gender expectations.   The evolution of Japanese society has caused women to acclimatize to new customs and responsibilities. Various waves of change introduced new philosophies that guided Japanese lifestyles. Women were instilled with values...

Read more...
Brexit: The Pros and Cons

Brexit: The Pros and Cons

On June 24, 2016, the people of the United Kingdom made a decision that reshaped their country’s place in the world.  In a stunning vote of 52 percent to 48 percent, they voted to leave the European Union. Around the globe, people reacted with shock as news of this historic decision, known as ‘Brexit’, filled newspapers, magazines, and television channels.   But what does all this mean? What are the implications of Brexit?   Those who support Brexit argue that there are numerous advantages to Britain’s exit from the European Union. The country’s departure from the EU will result in...

Read more...
English Vs. Mandarin Chinese: The Fight for the Global Reign

English Vs. Mandarin Chinese: The Fight for the Global Reign

As the world evolves and cultures blend, the concept of identity often becomes blurred. Slowly, English has grown more popular and come to be understood as the common tongue of the world. However, the fate of thousands of other languages is at risk of being overshadowed by English’s rapid spread and influence. Formerly regarded as the language of innovation, English dominated for centuries and started replacing many native languages, which inhibited the potential for growth of aboriginal cultures.   English-speaking countries imperialized many Asian and Hispanic areas, imposing English on cultures that thrived without the use of the foreign language....

Read more...
Growing Economic Disparity in Modern China

Growing Economic Disparity in Modern China

On April 3rd 2016, an anonymous source leaked 11.5 million documents containing sensitive financial and legal information to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. This leak, the largest in history, is known as the Panama Papers. The documents originated from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth largest law firm specializing in offshore money management. They revealed how a global elite used offshore accounts and shell companies to hide billions of dollars in financial transactions from taxing authorities. Public outrage was swift and widespread. One of the first casualties of the leak was Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, the former Prime Minister...

Read more...
“We Are Whatever They Want Us to Be”: Identity Politics and Hungarian Roma

“We Are Whatever They Want Us to Be”: Identity Politics and Hungarian Roma

  Despite their status as the country’s largest minority, Hungarian Roma remain excluded from the political and cultural movements—and the basic human rights—enjoyed by their non-Roma compatriots. Reflecting the broader European trend of Roma exclusion, Hungarian Roma suffer at significantly higher rates than other minorities from infant mortality, shortened life expectancy, and extreme poverty.   If Roma had the cultural capital to form a unified movement within Hungary, instances of forced eviction and (sometimes fatal) violence against Roma would attract greater national and international attention. Roma voices would form a stronger contingent in media and the arts, which could inspire...

Read more...
(Not) Made in China

(Not) Made in China

In 2014 China reported yearly economic growth at 7.3% of GDP. In 2015, it reported 6.9%, the slowest annual growth rate since 1990. On March 5th Premier Li Keqiang announced China’s GDP growth target for 2016 to be between 6.5% and 7%. Forecasts from the IMF estimate an expansion of 6.3%. In January of 2017 many expect China to announce it hit its goal. In January of 2017 many will doubt it actually did.   Reasons abound for the skepticism and pessimism. Analysts increasingly take official Chinese economic data with some salt (a pinch or bucketful depending on who you...

Read more...

Putin’s Russia, Part VI: A Political Machine – Society

Most tellingly, the majority of Putin’s mass popular support stems from the historical contrast of current living conditions in Russia against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1990s , which continues to cast its dark shade in the minds of Russians.   Russia, under Boris Yeltsin’s rule in the 1990s, was marked by years of anarchy and abuse during the long, costly, and unstable transition towards liberalization and decentralization. The country plunged into political deterioration, economic depression, and widespread social decline and wrecked the standard of living as corruption, inflation, and lawlessness ran rampant in the country. This experience effectively discredited...

Read more...

Putin’s Russia, Part V: A Political Machine – Economy

The Russian economy is a blend of liberal free market and statist socialist features, plagued by pervasive corruption. Under Putin’s system, the economy is carefully managed by the state.  Since Putin assumed the presidency in 2000, the Russian government has nationalized and seized control of the country’s raw materials export economy, which is especially pertinent to its energy sector. Through his management, Putin was able to siphon revenue from Russia’s oil and natural gas trades during the oil boom years of 2000-2008 to build state reserves large enough to pay off the countries’ outstanding Soviet-era debts to foreign countries—over $40...

Read more...

Putin’s Russia, Part IV: A Political Machine – Politics

Nominally, Russia is a democracy. It holds free, competitive, multi-party elections to vote candidates into different branches of the government and guarantees basic freedoms to its people under its constitution. However, ever since Putin attained power in 1999 as Prime Minister then President of Russia, he has centralized Russian politics to create a distinct, highly personalized system of rule in his country to serve his own political agenda. Putin’s government consists largely of officials who support Putin and his objectives: Executive The administration is composed disproportionately of members of the militocracy—military and security officers with connections to Putin during his...

Read more...
Raúl Castro: Is Cuba Better off Now?

Raúl Castro: Is Cuba Better off Now?

In the United States, ten different polls can be conducted on Barack Obama and the findings can be assumed to be fairly accurate.  Researchers even go as far as to ensure that the methods are as unbiased as possible.  This gives us an idea of the general views regarding our president and the current decisions he’s making.  It also gives Obama updates on his country’s supporters after recent political changes or responses to global disasters.  Other countries, not shockingly, don’t have such freedoms.  We forget that not all countries are allowed to “bad mouth” their leaders without consequences.  Cuba, with...

Read more...
Putin’s Russia, Part III: Western Encroachment

Putin’s Russia, Part III: Western Encroachment

So Russia is sliding into economic decline, but why does political support for Putin remain high amidst the economic downturn? To truly understand the average Russian’s mindset, we have to examine the historical, political, and social frameworks that have shaped their way of life and observing the world. ———————————————————————————————————– NATO Expansion In 1990, during the negotiations between the US and USSR over German reunification, USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and US Secretary of State James Baker discussed NATO expansion in the context of a reunified Germany. Baker told Gorbachev that “if the US maintained its military presence in Germany within the NATO framework,...

Read more...
Putin’s Russia, Part II: Ukraine

Putin’s Russia, Part II: Ukraine

So Russia is sliding into economic decline, but why does political support for Putin remain high amidst the economic downturn? To truly understand the average Russian’s mindset, we have to examine the historical,  political, and social frameworks that have shaped the their way of life and observing the world. ———————————————————————————————————– Ukraine Historically, Russia has viewed—and continues to view—Ukraine as “Little Russia” because the two regions share deep ties. Prior to gaining independence in 1991, Ukraine was a territory of Soviet and Tsarist Russia. During the Middle Ages, Ukraine became divided along its Dnieper River. All land that lay on the Dnieper River’s...

Read more...