International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses

International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Liana W. Rosen. March 16, 2015.

The global illegal drug trade represents a multi-dimensional challenge that has implications for U.S. national interests as well as the international community. Common illegal drugs trafficked internationally include cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. According to the U.S. intelligence community, international drug trafficking can undermine political and regional stability and bolster the role and capabilities of transnational criminal organizations in the drug trade. Key regions of concern include Latin America and Afghanistan, which are focal points in U.S. efforts to combat the production and transit of cocaine and heroin, respectively. Drug use and addiction have the potential to negatively affect the social fabric of communities, hinder economic development, and place an additional burden on national public health infrastructures.

[PDF format, 42 pages, 597.04 KB].

Divided Europe Mired in Crises

Divided Europe Mired in Crises. YaleGlobal. Chris Miller. March 17, 2015.
For a few short decades, Europe was viewed as a model for human rights and economic security. Many Europeans were eager for the continent to become an influential geopolitical actor, acting independently of the United States, notes Chris Miller. But polarization within the Union and the institutional failure to address a series of economic and security challenges tarnish that model. Former Soviet states were drawn to the European human-rights and trade model, and Europe was caught by surprise after Russia annexed Crimea and intervened in eastern Ukraine. Miller concludes that whether subduing dictatorships and extremism in the Middle East, organizing a bailout and austerity programs for struggling members like Greece, or imposing sanctions on Russia, big political goals require unified institutional capabilities with clear lines of responsibility. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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‘Mothers Schools’ to Working With Police: Women Prevent Violent Extremism

‘Mothers Schools’ to Working With Police: Women Prevent Violent Extremism. U.S. Institute of Peace. Viola Gienger. March 18, 2015
The helplessness pours out of a crying mother in India, so silenced by patriarchal traditions that she’s afraid to speak up about the risk that her son might be drawn to radicalism. Continents away in Nigeria, police officers are ashamed to admit the poor working conditions that weaken their ability and motivation to protect their communities. The seemingly disparate scenes are elements of the same puzzle – how to combat violent extremism. And in both countries, local women activists are putting the pieces together. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The Plight of Christians in the Middle East

The Plight of Christians in the Middle East. Center for American Progress. Brian Katulis et al. March 12, 2015.

Some of the world’s oldest Christian communities are disappearing in the very lands where their faith was born. The status of Christians in the Middle East is an important sign of broader regional trends in religious freedom, pluralism, and tolerance. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 35 pages, 411.41 KB].

Americans’ Privacy Strategies Post-Snowden

Americans’ Privacy Strategies Post-Snowden. Pew Research Center. Lee Rainie and Mary Madden. March 16, 2015.

It has been nearly two years since the first disclosures of government surveillance programs by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and Americans are still coming to terms with how they feel about the programs and how to live in light of them. The documents leaked by Snowden revealed an array of activities in dozens of intelligence programs that collected data from large American technology companies, as well as the bulk collection of phone “metadata” from telecommunications companies that officials say are important to protecting national security. The notable findings in the survey fall into two broad categories: 1) the ways people have personally responded in light of their awareness of the government surveillance programs and 2) their views about the way the programs are run and the people who should be targeted by government surveillance. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 37 pages, 864.1 KB].

Far More Interest Among Republicans Than Democrats in Clinton Emails, Netanyahu

Far More Interest Among Republicans Than Democrats in Clinton Emails, Netanyahu. Pew Research Center. March 9, 2015.
From news about the economy to controversy over Hillary Clinton’s emails and the trial of the Boston marathon bomber, no single story dominated the public’s news interest last week. Two stories drew far more interest from Republicans than Democrats: 34% of Republicans followed reports about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address as secretary of state very closely, compared with just 16% of Democrats. Similarly, about twice as many Republicans (34%) as Democrats (18%) closely followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last Tuesday. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Death Rates for US Women Ages 15 to 54

Death Rates for US Women Ages 15 to 54. Urban Institute. Nan Astone et al. March 5, 2015.

Recent trends in death rates among US women ages 15 to 54 reveal that rates among non-Hispanic whites are rising for many causes of death. These rising causes include accidental poisoning, suicide, and obesity- and smoking-related diseases. Specific changes in behavior might reduce some of these death rates, but the range of rising causes of death among white women suggests a need for a broader perspective on the social determinants of health. Unhealthy behaviors often arise and persist within certain social and economic contexts, and such behaviors resist improvement or are replaced by other unhealthy behaviors unless those contexts change. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 12 pages, 286.63 KB].