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Rugby League Encouraged by Ghana

By Martin W. Lewis | March 7, 2012 |
Rugby Union World Map Wikipedia

Ghana is attempting to establish the sport of rugby league both in the country and throughout West Africa, a move described as part of as “groundbreaking development initiative.”

Indigenous Protests in Panama

By Martin W. Lewis | |

Massive protests by indigenous people, occasionally accompanied by violence, have been occurring in Panama since late January. On March 1, leaders of Ngöbe-Buglé people walked out on talks with the Panamanian government after several of their young supporters were shot with rubber bullets.

South Korea Cuts University Tuition

By Martin W. Lewis | March 6, 2012 | One Comment
Educational Attainment Map Wikipedia

The Korea Herald announced last week that South Korean Universities would be reducing their tuition by an average of 4.5 percent. Almost all schools cut their fees, some by more than 20 percent.

More Flooding in Australia

By Martin W. Lewis | March 5, 2012 |

Interior Australia is noted for its extreme climatic oscillations, especially in regard to precipitation. If anything, the change from wet to dry periods seems to be getting more extreme.

Remarkable Sardinian Statues Reconstructed

By Martin W. Lewis | March 4, 2012 | 2 Comments

Archeologists on the Italian island of Sardinia have completed the painstaking reconstruction of “small yet unique army of life-size stone warriors which were originally destroyed by enemy action in the middle of the first millennium BC.”

Turkmenistan’s Renewed Personality Cult

By Martin W. Lewis | March 1, 2012 | 2 Comments

The death of Turkmenistan’s president Saparmurat Niyazov in 2007 was widely viewed as a boon for his country but a loss for comedians worldwide. Niyazov, or “Turkmenbashi” (Leader of the Turkmens) had constructed a personality cult so lavish that it verged on self-parody.

The US Virgin Islands after the Shuttering of the Hovensa Refinery

By Martin W. Lewis | February 28, 2012 |

Until recently, Hovensa in the U.S. Virgin Islands was one of the world’s largest petroleum refineries, with a capacity of almost 500,000 barrels per day. As of this month, Hovensa is no longer refining oil, but is merely serving as a storage facility.

The Ethiopian-Eritrean Cold War Heats Up

By Martin W. Lewis | February 26, 2012 | 3 Comments
Wikipedia Map of Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Ranking

The struggle between Ethiopia and Eritrea has recently been extending well beyond the boundaries of the two countries. Ethiopia has accused Eritrea of supporting the radical Islamist group al Shabaab in Somalia, and is now pushing for stronger U.N. sanctions against the Eritrean government.

Alaskan Sovereignty Issues: Wrangles Over Wrangel

By Martin W. Lewis | February 25, 2012 | 3 Comments

Sovereignty issues have recently been appearing in Alaskan newspapers. On February 22, the Alaska Dispatch noted that former U.S. senate candidate Joe Miller was lambasting Barak Obama for relinquishing control of several sizable “oil-rich” Alaskan islands, ostensibly because of the Obama administration’s hostility to the petroleum industry.

Mother Goddess Worship in Vietnam

By Rebecca Hecht | February 24, 2012 |
Wikipedia Religious Freedom Map

Although Vietnam is in name a Communist state, the practice of mother goddess worship endures through much of the country. For the first time, the worship of Mother Goddesses is on display at a public museum in Hanoi.

Protests on the island of Réunion

By Rebecca Hecht | |
Wikipedia Map of France and its Overseas Possessions

French news outlets are reporting “spontaneous and unorganized” outbursts of violence on the island of Réunion, one of France’s overseas departments. Protests against the high cost of living and rising prices of fuel exploded several days ago.

Growing Iranian-Azerbaijani Tensions and Baku’s Diplomatic Maneuvers

By Martin W. Lewis | February 23, 2012 |

Tensions between Azerbaijan and Iran have been intensifying in recent days. On February 23, hackers from groups called “Iranian Cyber Army” and “Cocaine Warriors from Persia” attacked several Azerbaijani website, including that of the national airline, AZAL.

New Internet Censorship in Iran

By Martin W. Lewis | | 2 Comments

According to Lebanon’s Naharnet, Iranian authorities just unleased a sophisticated attack on internet usage. The new measures “completely stopping the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs),” software that has allowed millions to avoid web censorship.

Burma’s Electricity Quandaries

By Martin W. Lewis | February 21, 2012 |

In early 2012, the Burmese government again astounded many by suspending an $8 billion, 4,000-megawatt, coal-fired power plant at Dawei in the southern part of the country, due mainly to environmental concerns,

New Rare Earth Deposits in Mozambique – And Elsewhere

By Martin W. Lewis | February 20, 2012 | 4 Comments

Over the past several years, China’s near monopolization of the supply of rare earth elements has received much attention in the global media. Less widely reported is the quest to locate and develop alternative supplies. Currently, an Australian firm is building a rare earth refinery in Malaysia to process radioactive ore from Western Australia. In late January 2012, Malaysia granted …

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