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Global News and Analysis

Germany’s Social Democrats and the European Crisis

Source: Foreign Policy in Focus

Germany towers over Europe like a colossus. Its economy is the biggest in the European Union, accounting for 20 percent of the EU’s gross domestic product. While most of Europe’s economies are stagnating, Germany’s will have grown by some 2.9 percent in 2011. It boasts the lowest unemployment rate, 5.5 percent, of Europe’s major economies, compared to those of France (9.5 percent), the United Kingdom (8.3 percent), and Italy (8.1 percent).

In many ways, Germany is like Japan. Both countries were forced to give up armed expansion during the Second World War, only to have the national energy channeled into building formidable economies. But whereas Japan faltered in the 1990s, Germany has steadily plowed ahead, becoming the world’s biggest exporter from 1992 to 2009, replaced in first place by China only in 2010. read more

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Global News and Analysis

Small Occupy Movements Across the Country Accumulate Victories

Source: Truthout

In a recent San Francisco Chronicle piece, “Occupy movement must move toward the center,” Tony Fels, associate professor of history at the University of San Francisco, writes that the Occupy “movement has reached a tactical dead end.”

Demonstrators don’t have nicely packaged sound bites; there’s no go-to spokesperson; Occupy DC is one of the last camps standing. But the movement is far from dead.

Here in California, the movement is exploding. In a recent study called “Diffusion of the Occupy Movement in California,” UC Riverside researchers surveyed 482 incorporated towns and cities in California and found that 143 – nearly 30 percent – had Occupy sites on Facebook between December 1 and December 8. read more

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Global News and Analysis

Robot Wars and the Future of the US Military

Source: Fault Lines, Al Jazeera

What is the role of drones and robots in wars and how will they shape the future of the US military?

Over the past decade, the US military has shifted the way it fights its wars, deploying more unmanned systems in the battlefield than ever before.

Today there are more than 7,000 drones and 12,000 ground robots in use by all branches of the military.

These systems mean less American deaths and also less political risk for the US when it takes acts of lethal force – often outside of official war zones.

But US lethal drone strikes in countries like Pakistan have brought up serious questions about the legal and political implications of using these systems. read more