Archive for Current Events

World Press Freedom Day

In the era of “fake news” and “alternate facts”, a truly independent press is a must. Why do you think it is enshrined in the First Amendment? This is a particularly appropriate series for World Press Freedom Day from UNESCO; it contains nine volumes of relevant material including its 2017 publication Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age. Another title worth perusing is Building digital safety for journalism: a survey of selected issues. The World Press Freedom Index shows the United States in 43d position among the world’s countries, a drop of two places since 2016. Previous presidents have marked this day. As of this writing (on May 3 at 1:30pm, EDT), there has been no statement from the current occupant of the White House on the importance of a free press.

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Update on Hudson County Construction Projects

Jersey City is not the only municipality in Hudson County witnessing a building boom. Every other town appears to be in the midst of rising towers of condos or rentals. This article from the Hudson Reporter provides a detailed and informative review of what is happening. It is the best summation of county-wide construction activities I have seen; it is very readable considering the amount of information offered. Another article from this same paper provides an overview of all the advances the county has made in attracting businesses.

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The Spectre of Famine

Famine, the “extreme and general scarcity of food, as in a country or a large geographical area”, has appeared in four conflicted countries – Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. This is an unprecedented occurrence; such large-scale simultaneous scarcities of food have never before been recorded in so many countries. All four countries face both internal and external military pressures. The International Crisis Group is publishing Instruments of Pain, a four-part series devoted to the above countries and their travails. Additional sites of relevance include: Millions across Africa, Yemen could be at risk of death from starvation – UN agency (UN News Centre); Famine and Food Crises (UNICEF); Drought and War Heighten Threat of Not Just 1 Famine, but 4(The New York Times); and Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

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For the Cost Of a Subway Ride, Take Advantage of the New City-wide Ferry Service

Commencing in the summer of 2017, a roll-out of a city-wide ferry service commences. Presently, only the Staten Island ferry provides commuter rides in the city; this will change with the addition of new routes that will emanate from Brooklyn, Queens, the East Side, and the Bronx. Having had a grandfather who worked for McAllister, it is so nice to see the re-emergence of ferry routes in the city.

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Reports on Brexit From European Sources

While Brexit will certainly affect the United States, it will have a major impact in Europe in so many sectors, among them trade, travel, work, and borders. Because of this, this posting will be limited to works emanating from various European think tanks. (A U.S. perspective can be read here: Economic Implications of a United Kingdom Exit from the European Union).

Bruegel examines Brexit from an economic perspective.

Carnegie Europe (Brussels) features Brexit-related works.

The Centre for European Policy Studies has a section on “Britain and the EU“.

The Centre for European Reform has “Britain & the EU“.

Chatham House contains “After Brexit: Britain’s Future”. 

The European Parliamentary Research Service hosts “What Think Tanks Are Thinking” – a guide to European institutional research. The latest edition on Brexit was posted on February 17, 2017); previous studies can also be accessed.

The European Council on Foreign Relations discusses European reactions in Brexit:Responses.

The European Policy Centre has issued dozens of reports on Brexit.

The UK Parliament Library issued Brexit: a reading list of post-EU Referendum publications by Parliament and the Devolved Assemblies [definition of purpose of devolved assemblies] on March 29, 2017. This document lists hundreds of linked reports generated from the House of Lords, the House of Commons, and select committees






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Syria – Current Events and Overview

This CRS report succinctly outlines the conflict in Syria – Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response. Also, please read the International Crisis Group’s Syria section and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Syria page.

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Could Light Rail Be Coming to Bergen County?

The light rail carries the name Hudson Bergen, but for a variety of reasons, it has never made it to Bergen County. Until now. It looks like there could be glacial movement with the release of an environmental impact report. For those of us in Bergen County, having the light rail in our neighborhoods would be a boon. Being able to travel from northeastern Bergen County to Jersey City is an option many of us would gladly embrace.

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