The Sectarian War at Hand: Redrawing the Middle East Again

The warm waters of the Gulf look quiet from where I am sitting, but such tranquility hardly reflects the conflicts this region continues to generate. The euphoria of the so-called Arab Spring is long gone, but what remains is a region that is rich with resources and burdened with easily manipulated history that is in a state of reckless transition. No one can see what the future will look like, but the possibilities are ample, and possibly tragic.

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No Justice for the Dead in Bangladesh

Source: The Nation

Months after the Rana Plaza factory disaster, victims’ families have received little to no compensation.

A foreign visitor is never left alone to contemplate the ruins of Rana Plaza. On a searing hot August morning, sorrowful people gathered with fistfuls of documents and pictures, jostling for my attention. They were desperate for some acknowledgment of the daughter, son, wife or husband they had lost when the eight-story factory building pancaked on April 24, crushing more than 1,100 people—most of them garment workers filling orders for Western brands. As the crowd swelled around me, faint pleas became full-throated demands, and I soon found myself backed against the barbed wire fence that fronts the disaster site, now a pool of dark water. My only way out was to write down the name and phone number of each and every person, with a vague assurance that something would be done. read more

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Conflicts Over Water Rise in Tanzania

Source: IPS News

(IPS) – Conflicts over water are increasing in the sprawling Pangani River Basin in northeastern Tanzania as farmers and herders jostle for dwindling water resources in the face of climate change.

Over the past decade, Maasai pastoralists from the northern areas of Moshi and Arusha have been streaming towards the basin with tens of thousands of their cattle in search of water and grazing pasture.

Hafsa Mtasiwa, the Pangani district commissioner, told IPS that the Maasais’ traditional land was strained by overuse of water resources and overgrazing. She said in the last three years 2,987 herders with 87,1321 cows and 98,341 goats moved into the basin’s low land, destroying arable land. read more

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Report: NSA spied on French citizens, Mexican government

Source: Al Jazeera

Newly released documents show the NSA accessed the emails and phones of French civilians and Mexican officials.

The National Security Agency (NSA) recorded 70.3 million French civilian telephone conversations in a span of 30 days, from Dec. 10, 2012 to Jan. 8 this year, French newspaper Le Monde reported Monday.

The agency also intercepted communications of the Mexican government for years, has read text messages and listened to phone calls of its current President Enrique Pena Nieto, and has hacked into the email servers of private companies in Latin America, according to a report published on Sunday by Der Spiegel, a German newspaper. read more