It's time once again to peer into the crystal snow-globe to try to decipher and predict what we may expect ahead in 2015. After a dangerously tumultuous past year, the dust has yet to settle on a score of crises ranging from the man made chaos of the Middle East to the medical Ebola emergency in West Africa.
A growing global wave of criticism, concern and consternation continues as both the U.N. General Assembly and now the Security Council have firmly condemned North Korea's communist regime for human rights abu ses to its own population.
One of the last legacies of the Cold War has ended with Washington re-establishing diplomatic ties with Cuba after a fifty-three year break in relations.1 Comment
Set to the backdrop of regional wars and simmering ethnic conflicts, the U.N. relief agencies made an unprecedented appeal for wider funding to address the current chaos in a score of countries. Valerie Amos, the U.N.'s emergency aid chief, stated candidly that the number of people affected by conflict "has reached record levels" for the post-WWII era.
The precipitous fall in petroleum prices has brought an unexpected holiday season bonus to oil and gasoline consumers throughout North America. And it's not a moment too soon that the high fuel prices of the past few years finally take a dip. But while cheaper costs, both for private drivers and the wider trucking and transportation industry, happily align with the upcoming holidays, there's actually a bigger story here.
The time is ticking as American and NATO forces begin the countdown to military withdrawal from Afghanistan by year's end. But as Taliban militants watch the clock and the calendar, eagerly awaiting the foreign troop pullouts, thus hoping to topple the country's still teetering government, still another threat as dangerous as the Islamic militants lurks in the shadows.
It's one of the tougher warnings the world community has sent to the neo-Stalinist regime in North Korea; a detailed condemnation of widespread human rights abuses in the reclusive communist country and, as significantly, a call that the Case and the regime leadership be eventually referred to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
A quarter century ago, the Joshua trumpet of freedom sounded and the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. Naturally, this allegory was slightly more complicated as the epic political events which led to the fall of the Wall on Nov. 9, 1989 were long in coming but nonetheless still not at all anticipated.
Despite what many observers see as a politically reformist presidency of Hassan Rouhani, the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran remains dire. A recently released U.N. report paints a grim picture of widespread executions, a tarnished judicial system, systematic religious persecution, and widespread discrimination against women.
Canada has yet again been given a reality jolt. Twice within three days, "lone wolf" terrorists have killed Canadian soldiers on Canadian soil; one outside Montreal and another at the symbolic National War Memorial in Ottawa. The Ottawa incident also saw the apparent lone gunmen rush into the Houses of Parliament, wildly firing shots in an attempt kill legislators. Fortunately he failed.