Saturday Reads

Talk Of An Israeli Attack On Iran Is Overstated
Zachary Keck of The National Interest believes talk of an Israeli strike on Iran are grossly overstated contending that if they were planning to do so, they would have attacked before now. Furthermore, he argues, an attack on Iran would make an Iranian bomb more, not less, likely.

Ukraine Calls For Elections Amid Crackdown On Protestors
Ukranians protesting the government’s decision not to join the European Union with met with baton-wielding police in rallies on Saturday. In addition to calling for early elections, the opposition called for a national strike in the hope of forcing President Viktor Yanukovich’s resignation.

“We have taken a common decision to form a headquarters of national resistance and we have begun preparations for an all-Ukraine national strike,” former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, Reuters reports.

In the view of Claire Gatinois, Ukraine’s decision to succumb to Russian pressure despite the benefits that could be accrued by joining the European Union also says a lot about the incompetence of the EU.

“Still, what the failure in the negotiations also shows is the patent impotence  of Europe when it comes to bringing countries together. Jose Manuel Barroso,  whose mandate as head of the European Commission comes to an end in 2014, will  leave a very poor legacy behind him. During his 10-year tenure, Europe has  failed on two fronts: with the crisis-ridden  southern countries, and now on its eastern front.”

Africa’s Growth Out Of The Economic Darkness
Der Spiegel begins a three-part series on the economic progress Africa has made in the last decade.

“Here are the facts behind the fiction: No other continent has developed as rapidly in the last decade as Africa, where real economic growth was between 5 and 10 percent annually. In oil-rich countries, such as Angola, it was a possibly record-breaking 22.6 percent in 2007.

“A World Bank study shows that 17 of the 50 national economies currently displaying the greatest economic progress are in Africa. The gross domestic product of the continent as a whole — over $1.7 trillion (€1.3 trillion) — is nearly equal to that of Russia,” notes the German newspaper in stating its case that the next century will bring continued growth and expansion.

Is Kindness The World’s First Social Network?
John Yemma, an editor at The Christian Science Monitor, says even the most rugged individualist can benefit from the oldest social network in the world. In making his case, Yemma cites the example of the experience of the Lost Boys, refugees from Sudan who resettled in the United States.

“Kindness begets kindness, researchers now believe, because kindness is its own reward. That’s encouraging – as long as we are aware of the trap of “telescopic philanthropy,” that trait Charles Dickens wrote about in his novel “Bleak House” in which faraway causes can seem more compelling than close-up ones.

“There are lost boys and girls in every community, put there by broken families, poverty, or bad choices that have been made. Just as they need to locate that individual spark that gives them strength, they also need their own map of kindness. Which is where you and I come in,” Yemma asserts.






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