18 October 2014   Leave a comment

The Economist has published a very intelligent, substantive, and sobering analysis of the likely evolution of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  When reading the article, one needs to maintain a clear framework:  the current outbreak may become truly catastrophic, but only if the world fails to take the necessary steps to help out countries which lack the medical, economic, and political infrastructure to deal with the crisis.  The world needs to understand that if everyone is to be protected from this virus, we need to treat the outbreak in West Africa with the same urgency and dedication as if the outbreak were in our own backyards.  In this circumstance, everyone is a next-door neighbor.

Tensions are rising in Jerusalem as disputes have arisen over Muslim access to the al Aqsa Mosque. Israelis hold the Temple Mount (the area outlined in blue in the photograph below) as sacred; Muslims regard the mosque built on the Temple Mount as sacred.  The only part of King Solomon’s Temple that remains is known as the Western Wall.  Palestinian President Abbas gave a speech in which he called upon Fatah to protect the right of Muslims to enter the mosque, after Israel restricted Muslim access so that Israelis could visit the mosque.  Any controversy over these sites are potentially very dangerous.

The three week battle between the Hong Kong authorities and student protesters has regained momentum as the protesters regained parts of the city from which the police had evicted them earlier.  The back-and-forth struggle has been taking place against the backdrop of negotiations that can only be described as fitful.   Both sides seem to be hardening their positions even as it is clear that both sides wish to avoid an outbreak of bloodshed.  It is very difficult to see how this dispute will be resolved.

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Posted October 18, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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