24 August 2014   Leave a comment

On Friday, Lithuania requested a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the Russian humanitarian aid convoy into Ukraine.  Lithuania, a member of the Council, was obviously concerned about what it regarded as Russian intrusion into the internal affairs of Ukraine, and was supported by the Western powers on the Council.  The Russians countered by charging that Western powers were unconcerned about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine (about 2,000 people have died as Kyiv has tried to regain the territory held by the separatists), adding that the West had created the crisis in the first place.  The charges and counter-charges are indicative of the controversial nature of humanitarian missions.   We should remember, however, that the Russians have vetoed 4 resolutions to send aid to Syria, even though 191,000 people have died in that civil war.  Consistency is not a high priority for the great powers.

In addition to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa which so far has affected 2,615 people (claiming 1,427 lives), the Democratic Republic of Congo has now identified two cases of the Ebola virus.  Congo has had 7 outbreaks of Ebola since it was first identified in 1976 near the Ebola river.  The outbreak has led to quarantine and travel bans, inflicting great economic damage to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.   The outbreak is clearly not yet under control and not nearly enough aid is being sent to the region whose countries lack the resources and infrastructure to deal with it.

China has announced that it intends to develop its own computer operating system to compete with Western systems such as Windows and Apple and Google’s operating systems.  The move is clearly designed to help China avoid dependence on Western systems which it suspects are Trojan horses for Western spies.  Additionally, a homegrown operating system would be far cheaper and perhaps more intuitive for the huge Chinese market.  We shall have to see how successful the project is:  on the one hand, China will be able to avoid many of the mistakes made by Western manufacturers.  On the other hand, operating systems are devilishly complex.

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Posted August 24, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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