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Daily Archives: June 22, 2014

Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

CRS – Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights, Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs. June 13, 2014

“Since the 2011 U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, sectarian and ethnic divisions have widened, fueling a revival of a Sunni Muslim insurgent challenge to Iraq’s stability. Iraq’s Sunni Arab Muslims resent Shiite political domination and perceived discrimination by the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Iraq’s Kurds are embroiled in separate political disputes with the Baghdad government over territorial, political, and economic issues, particularly their intent to separately export large volumes of oil produced in the Kurdish region. The political rifts—which  were contained by the U.S. military presence but have been escalating since late 2011—erupted into a large and sustained uprising beginning in December 2013, led by the radical extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The group and its allies took control of several cities in Anbar Province, including the key city of Fallujah, in early 2014, and began a major offensive that captured Mosul and several other mostly Sunni cities in June 2014. Insurgent violence did not derail the national elections for the Council of Representatives (COR, parliament) held on April 30, 2014, although voting was sparse in some Sunni-dominated areas. Facing divided opponents, Maliki’s slate won the most seats and was expected to retain his post
for another four-year term, although the success of the ISIL offensive in June 2014 has tarnished his image as a strong and effective leader. The violence has exposed severe weaknesses in the 800,000 person Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), which are no longer backed by the U.S. military presence in Iraq. The ISF and related informal security structures put in place during the U.S. intervention in Iraq in 2003-2011 have faltered against the ISIL challenge, and collapsed in the face of the ISIL assault on Mosul in June 2014. At the same time, violence has not affected economic development in Iraq, including oil production levels that reached a new high of 3.6 million barrels per day (mbd) in April 2014.”

Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

“What trafficking victims endure is incomparable to what most of us confront in a lifetime and should put into context the small injustices and frustrations of our daily work and lives. The same can be said of their  courage and strength, both during their exploitation and recovery. Of the tens of thousands of victims  identified… Continue Reading

The Dynamics of Political Interest and News Media Consumption: A Longitudinal Perspective

“For democracy to function correctly, citizens need to have an adequate level of political knowledge on which to judge political representatives. Media use is generally regarded as being one of the key factors affecting the distribution of this information, but how has the greater media choice provided through the Internet and other mediums affected the… Continue Reading

State & Trends Report Charts Global Growth of Carbon Pricing

“Globally, 39 national and 23 sub-national jurisdictions have implemented or are scheduled to implement carbon pricing instruments, including emissions trading systems and taxes. The world’s emissions trading schemes are valued at about $30 billion, with China now housing the world’s second largest carbon market, covering the equivalent of 1,115 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.… Continue Reading

Securities Lending and the Untold Story in the Collapse of AIG

“American International Group Inc. (AIG), a worldwide insurance powerhouse, avoided bankruptcy in 2008 thanks to generous bailouts from the federal government. Understanding what happened to AIG is critical in evaluating the regulatory reforms enacted since the crisis, and ascertaining whether earlier implementation of those reforms would have prevented the AIG bailout and whether the reforms… Continue Reading

Why do people persist in believing things that aren’t true?

Maria Konnikova, New Yorker [snipped] – “Last month, Brendan Nyhan, a professor of political science at Dartmouth, published the results of a study that he and a team of pediatricians and political scientists had been working on for three years. They had followed a group of almost two thousand parents, all of whom had at least one… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – The sad reasons why Amazon’s #1 reading city doesn’t belong on the list

Via – The sad reasons why Amazon’s #1 reading city doesn’t belong on the list – In this article David Rothman highlights the backstory on Amazon’s new list of America’s “Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities,” based on its sales of books, magazines and newspapers. As has been the case previously, the winner is Alexandria, Virginia, his hometown, which… Continue Reading

The USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 3361) as Passed by The US House

Via cdt – “The USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 3361) is the most significant national security surveillance reform legislation in more than a decade. The bill was watered down in the House prior to final passage, prompting CDT, other public interest groups, and many major technology companies to withdraw support for the bill. CDT is urging the Senate to make… Continue Reading

Evidence review of the economic contribution of libraries

Foreword from Arts Council England, Final Report June 2014: “Every day, across England a wide range of people walk into their library, or visit their library online to do an extraordinary range of things: borrow a book or DVD, attend a training session, track down some crucial information, meet a friend or client, study quietly and… Continue Reading

Town shuts down boy’s ‘little free library’ for alleged detached structure violation – ABA Journal

Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal – “A 9-year-old Kansas boy and his family have moved their “little free library” after their town said it violated city code banning detached structures in the front yards of single-family homes. Spencer Collins and his parents moved the library to the garage after the town of Leawood warned in a letter… Continue Reading