Developing news to watch in summer 2010

For the majority of students at Laurier, the school year is coming to a close. Regardless, international events will continue to evolve throughout the summer months.

The outcome of these budding issues will have a lasting impact on our world; they harbour the potential to set precedents for the future.

The following are top stories to keep an eye on over the summer.

Reconstruction in Haiti

Although Haiti was in desperate need prior to the earthquake that got the world’s attention, the influx of aid presents an opportunity to stabilize one of the world’s poorest nations.

With t-shirts, songs and events generating funds for the Haitianrelief effort, the issue this summer will be whether the country is able to move beyond the current disarray.

The attention brought by the earthquake has worked to highlight the need for sustainable development programs to revitalize the country. Today it appears that encouraging the re-development of the agricultural sector and local ownership are key to reviving the Haitian economy.

However, nothing is as simple as it seems. Success will come if the international community limits its position to a facilitation role. While the world must be a part of the solution, Haitians must take ownership in the rebuilding process.

-Compiled by Amalia Biro

Fighting in the DRC

While not a top newsmaker over the past eight months, as of late, the fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has taken a frightening turn.

Beginning in December 2009, the massacre in the country’s remote northeast took place over five days and took a planned route through 10 remote villages before the rebels returned to their camps north of the Uele River.

It is estimated that approximately 321 people were massacred and 250 more abducted for recruitment purposes by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that has been active in the region for over 10 years.

The LRA, originally based in northern Uganda, fuelling violence there, has evolved into a regional threat with activity in Sudan, the Central African Republic and the DRC. The UN Peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUC) is the largest in the world. Although MONUC is stymieing the violence in the region, the government of DRC hopes to see them leave as soon as possible.

The region needs a solution to this escalating issue. Whatever the outcome, its implications will have a lasting impression on both the DRC and the surrounding African region.

-Compiled by Amalia Biro

Google-China drama

The epic drama that began in late 2006, as a tale of two superpowers and a battle of ideologies, ended on March 22, as Google admitted defeat and withdrew from China.

In China, companies are forced to abide by strict government regulations on the Internet.

In order to comply with censorship laws, Google agreed to remove search results of any sites sanctioned by the Chinese government. In return, the multinational corporation received flack from the international community for submitting to China’s wishes.

In its defense, Google argued that its presence as a censored search engine was better than no presence at all. However, according to the New York Times, after Google determined that a number of hostile attacks on its network originated from inside China, any sort of appeasement of the Chinese no longer seemed justifiable.

Of the company’s recent move out of China, Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond, said that this “goes to the heart of a much larger global debate about freedom of speech.”

Immediately after Google shut its doors, the New York Times reported that the Chinese government launched an aggressive campaign to erase pro-Google sentiment from cyberspace.

As the slow-down of Internet censorship persists and the U.S. continues to struggle to develop a foreign policy for the digital realm, China’s ability to force Google out of the country clearly set a dangerous precedent, one that we can rest assured has not gone unnoticed.

Now, the only question left is who the next emerging power to stand in Google’s way will be. Repressive regimes that seek to stifle free speech online will be a trend to watch over the summer.

-Compiled by Paula Millar

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