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Afghan Refugees in Pakistantheatlantic.com
For more than three decades, Pak­istan has been home to one of the world’s largest refugee com­mu­ni­ties: the more than one mil­lion Afghans who have fled years of war­fare in their home coun­try. Liv­ing in tem­po­rary shel­ters along the…

Afghan Refugees in Pakistan - In Focus - The Atlantic

Afghan Refugees in Pakistan
theatlantic.com

For more than three decades, Pak­istan has been home to one of the world’s largest refugee com­mu­ni­ties: the more than one mil­lion Afghans who have fled years of war­fare in their home coun­try. Liv­ing in tem­po­rary shel­ters along the…

Afghan Refugees in Pakistan - In Focus - The Atlantic

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thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
The president of the Central African Republic, Michel Djotodia, resigned his post and left the country for Benin in hopes that might calm violence in the country, but violence still flare. 
From Le Monde: how France sped up the resignation and exile of Djotodia (story in French).
The US has sent a small team of uniformed military advisors to Somalia. 
The trial of the four men accused in the Westgate mall siege in Kenya is now underway.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan replaced his entire military leadership.
Libya’s deputy minister of industry, Hassan al-Droui, was assassinated by gunmen on Saturday.
Voting on Egypt’s new constitution appears to be headed to 95% approval while the crackdown on free speech and activism only increases. 
AP cameraman Hassan Abdulla Hassan was detained yesterday after images of his were used by Al Jazeera.
Egypt claims that Al Jazeera journalists it detained in December have confessed to terrorism charges, which Al Jazeera is rebuffing. 
The UN can no longer keep count of the dead in Syria. 
Displaced Syrians and Palestinians are starving in the Yarmouk camp near Damascus. 46 have died of starvation since October because of the government blockade. 
Syrian rebels killed ISIS/Al-Qaeda leader Abul Baraa in the town of Saraqeb in northern Syria. 
The trial of the accused in the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri, killed nine years ago, has begun.
Israel announced construction of 1400 more settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepted rockets aimed at the city of Ashkelon and sent a return volley into Gaza. 
Former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon died at 85 after many years in a coma. 
75 were killed in bomb attacks and shootings on Wednesday of this week alone in Iraq. 
Iran’s top nuclear negotiatior Abbas Araghchi claims that the nuclear deal would be reversible in a day’s time if Iran decided to reboot its uranium enrichment. 
Al-Monitor interviews Deputy Secretary of State William Burns about his leading role in nuclear negotiations with Iran.
A coalition airstrike in Parwan province, Afghanistan, on Wednesday morning killed two civilians and ramped up tensions.
Afghanistan has its first female police chief. Col. Jamila Bayaz is Kabul’s new police chief.
The Thai government has deployed 18,000 security forces to deal with anti-government protesters seeking an ouster of PM Yingluck Shinawatra. 
Five ways North Koreans are defying the regime. 
According to Human Rights Watch, Russia is intensifying its harassment and intimidation campaign against activists ahead of the Winter Olympics. 
RFE/RL journalist David Satter has been barred from entering Russia.
Ukraine has passed a sweeping anti-protest/anti-opposition law.
Venezuela is one of the world’s most dangerous countries: 24,000 murders last year. 
New reports in The Guardian: the NSA collects around 200 million text messages a day from around the world in an “untargeted” sweep and extracts geolocation data, credit card information and contacts.
Obama will deliver a speech on NSA surveillance programs at around 11AM EST today. He is expected outline some new limits to NSA operations.
A Senate Intelligence Committee report was made public, blaming both the Department of State and the intelligence community for failing to stop the Benghazi attacks. The report also indicates that 15 people listed as “supporting the [FBI] investigation or otherwise helpful to the United States” have since been killed in Benghazi. [PDF of report]
Journalist Jeremy Scahill’s documentary Dirty Wars got an Academy Award nomination.
Historian and Cambridge professor Christopher Clark sees echoes of 1914 in contemporary wars. 
Nick Turse on America’s global special operations presence. 
Richard Engel reports on new tools of contemporary spycraft.
The NSA has devised ways into computers even if they are not online.
New project FP Interrupted intends to bolster the voices of women in the field of foreign policy analysis, reporting and commentary.
House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon is set to retire.
David Cole considers Assange, Manning and Snowden and what should (or should not) be done about them. 
Photo: Malakal, South Sudan. Former SPLA rebels, now soldiers, sit outside the governor’s compound. Simon Maina/AFP/Getty

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Malakal, South Sudan. Former SPLA rebels, now soldiers, sit outside the governor’s compound. Simon Maina/AFP/Getty

(via humanrightswatch)

175 notes

theatlantic:

Is It Better to Have a Great Teacher or a Small Class?

When it comes to student success, “smaller is better” has been the conventional wisdom on class size, despite a less-than-persuasive body of research. But what if that concept were turned on its head, with more students per classroom – provided they’re being taught by the most effective teachers?
That’s the question a new study out today from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute set out to answer, using data on teachers and students in North Carolina in grades 4 through 8 over four academic years. While the results are based on a theoretical simulation rather than actually reconfiguring classroom assignments in order to measure the academic outcomes, the findings are worth considering.
The research on class size is mixed, and modest efforts–taking one or two students out of a room with more than 20 kids, for example–haven’t been found to yield much benefit on average. The enormous expense of paring classes down to the point where research has suggested there’s a measurable benefit for some students is simply beyond the fiscal means of most districts. As a result, everyone from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to philanthropist Bill Gates has urged districts to consider waiving class size policies in favor of giving more students a chance at being taught by a highly effective teacher.
Read more. [Image: Mari Darr-Welch/AP Photo]

theatlantic:

Is It Better to Have a Great Teacher or a Small Class?

When it comes to student success, “smaller is better” has been the conventional wisdom on class size, despite a less-than-persuasive body of research. But what if that concept were turned on its head, with more students per classroom – provided they’re being taught by the most effective teachers?

That’s the question a new study out today from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute set out to answer, using data on teachers and students in North Carolina in grades 4 through 8 over four academic years. While the results are based on a theoretical simulation rather than actually reconfiguring classroom assignments in order to measure the academic outcomes, the findings are worth considering.

The research on class size is mixed, and modest efforts–taking one or two students out of a room with more than 20 kids, for example–haven’t been found to yield much benefit on average. The enormous expense of paring classes down to the point where research has suggested there’s a measurable benefit for some students is simply beyond the fiscal means of most districts. As a result, everyone from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to philanthropist Bill Gates has urged districts to consider waiving class size policies in favor of giving more students a chance at being taught by a highly effective teacher.

Read more. [Image: Mari Darr-Welch/AP Photo]

192 notes

latimespast:

The Vincent Thomas Bridge, connecting San Pedro and Long Beach, opened 50 years ago today. Scott Harrison at Framework has the story: Vincent Thomas Bridge turns 50

Photos: (Top) With catwalks in place, workers begin spinning cables for the 1,500 foot span of the Vincent Thomas Bridge. This photo was published in the Sept. 20, 1962, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Los Angeles Times file. (Bottom) Evening traffic streams across the Vincent Thomas Bridge at dusk. This photo was published in the Nov. 6, 1988, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Alan Hagman / Los Angeles Times

(via latimes)

1,408 notes

awkwardsituationist:

the hill that women built by andrea bruce

on a hill overlooking kabul, with little access to electricity, more than one thousand women have made their own houses, brick by brick, from the land beneath them. they have created what is known by afghans as tapaye zanabad - “the hill that women built.”

widowed by the violence of the past 15 years, these women were left without the means to take care of their families, let alone a place to live. many were forced into prostitution and lived in constant fear of the taliban’s strict interpretations of sharia law.

the united nations development fund for women places the number of ‘war widows’ in afghanistan at more than two million. many are are uneducated, illiterate and lack basic job skills, and lead, as a consequence, secluded, poverty stricken lives. as one of the hill’s inhabitants put it, “it is better to be dead than be a widow in afghanistan.”

beginning in 2001, widows from all corners of afghanistan left the shadows of their harsh life for the rumor of a utopia in kabul made just for them. the abandoned government property they live on, once an outpost for the soviets, is now organized by the women in commune fashion.

aneesa (pictured above), with few relatives and no work opportunities for her as a woman, came to the hill after her husband, a soldier, was killed. “once you become a widow and live alone, people are strange toward you. they say a lot of bad things,” she said. “we feel more comfortable when we’re around other widows.”

but it was tough going at first, as police would tear down the homes and walls. but, she says, “i would rather have died than abandon this place.” with little help from the government or international donors, however, the hill can only offer mere refuge to these women.

(via humanrightswatch)

19 notes

humanrightswatch:


Libya: Displaced Camp Residents Need Immediate Protection
The Libyan government should urgently provide protection for the four major camps of displaced people from Tawergha in Tripoli after militias attacked one of them on November 15 and 16, 2013. The two militia attacks killed one camp resident and injured three others.The camp that was attacked, al-Fallah, houses 1,200 displaced people from Tawergha, among approximately40,000 displaced Tawerghans sheltering around Libya, according to the local Tawergha council in Tripoli. The three other camps for displaced Tawerghans in Tripoli are Janzour Camp, Airport Road Camp and Sidi Sayeh Camp. Tawerghans fled their town in August 2011 under attacks by armed groups from the nearby town of Misrata and have not been allowed to return since.
Read more.

humanrightswatch:

Libya: Displaced Camp Residents Need Immediate Protection

The Libyan government should urgently provide protection for the four major camps of displaced people from Tawergha in Tripoli after militias attacked one of them on November 15 and 16, 2013. The two militia attacks killed one camp resident and injured three others.

The camp that was attacked, al-Fallah, houses 1,200 displaced people from Tawergha, among approximately40,000 displaced Tawerghans sheltering around Libya, according to the local Tawergha council in Tripoli. The three other camps for displaced Tawerghans in Tripoli are Janzour Camp, Airport Road Camp and Sidi Sayeh Camp. Tawerghans fled their town in August 2011 under attacks by armed groups from the nearby town of Misrata and have not been allowed to return since.

Read more.

520 notes

fotojournalismus:

Syrian Refugees in Majdal Anjar, Lebanon | November 11, 2013

"As the war in neighbouring Syria drags on for a third year, Lebanon, a country of only 4 million people, is now home to the largest number of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict. The situation is beginning to put huge social and political strains on Lebanon as there is currently no end in sight to the war in Syria.”

Photos by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

(via humanrightswatch)

126 notes

reuters:

Two explosions targeted Iran’s embassy in Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people, including an Iranian cultural attaché

The explosions damaged at least six buildings in the embassy compound. A Lebanese-based al Qaeda-linked group known as the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for what it described as a double suicide attack.

Photo: Civil Defense personnel extinguish a fire on cars at the site of explosions, as a group of children gathered nearby, near the Iranian embassy in Beirut November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mahmoud Kheir

(via humanrightswatch)

61 notes

fotojournalismus:

A Eritrean woman attends the commemoration ceremony for the victims of the boat sinking disaster off the Lampedusa coast on October 21, 2013 in San Leone near Agrigento, Italy. Victims of the Lampedusa disaster, which killed more than 300 asylum seekers when the boat they were on sank, have been buried in unknown vaults despite Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s promise to hold a state funeral for the dead.
[Credit : Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images]

fotojournalismus:

A Eritrean woman attends the commemoration ceremony for the victims of the boat sinking disaster off the Lampedusa coast on October 21, 2013 in San Leone near Agrigento, Italy. Victims of the Lampedusa disaster, which killed more than 300 asylum seekers when the boat they were on sank, have been buried in unknown vaults despite Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s promise to hold a state funeral for the dead.

[Credit : Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images]

944 notes

latimes:

'A last testament' to Africa's wildlife

Times photographer Barbara Davidson sat down recently with renowned photographer Nick Brandt, whose current focus is on the dwindling wildlife of Africa.

Brandt said of his focused choice of subjects:

There is something profoundly iconic, mythological even, about the animals and landscapes of East Africa. There is also something deeply, emotionally stirring and affecting about those vast green rolling plains under the huge skies.

It just affects me, as I think it almost inevitably does many people, in a very fundamental, possibly primordial way.

See more of Brandt’s work over at Framework.

Photos: Nick Brandt