Amid Mideast Turmoil, What Does Russia Want?

Amid Mideast Turmoil, What Does Russia Want? YaleGlobal. Thomas Graham. August 20, 2013.

Russia has reasons to resist military intervention in Syria. “Moscow has been resolute in the defense of the principle of state sovereignty in the traditional Westphalian sense, of non-interference by outside powers in the internal affairs of another state, a principle it considers to be the foundation of world order and international law,” explains Thomas Graham. Arms sales, a Middle East alliance, Cold War rivalries are minor factors. Russia insists that the UN Security Council, not individual nations, should intervene in protecting civilians from atrocities. Russians suspect that the United States uses “responsibility to protect” to advance its own geopolitical goals and regard democracy-building as futile, even treacherous in areas where Islamists may take control. Syria’s destiny may be beyond the control of major powers. With Moscow supporting an international conference on political transition for Syria, Graham urges the U.S. to develop its own counterarguments and policies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Winners and Losers After Arab Spring

Winners and Losers After Arab Spring. YaleGlobal. Lindsay J. Benstead et al. August 27, 2013.

Each political transition underway since the Arab Spring has its own characteristics, reports a group of researchers who conducted post-election surveys in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The international community should resist applying stereotypical responses. “A one-size-fits-all approach to the transition processes – and particularly to development assistance aimed at fostering democratization – is unlikely to be effective,” explain the authors. Instead, government assistance should be applied on a case-by-case basis, including expanded focus on the less educated and rural classes and ensuring that increased participation in elections contributes to new voices on policies. Greater understanding of needs for many specific interests, both the sidelined and enfranchised, inside each country and beyond could help build compromise required for democratic process and prevent violent response. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Where Teens Seek Online Privacy Advice

Where Teens Seek Online Privacy Advice. Pew Internet & American Life. Amana Lenhart et al. August 15, 2013.

Many teens ages 12-17 report that they usually figure out how to manage content sharing and privacy settings on their own. Focus group interviews with teens suggest that for their day-to-day privacy management, teens are guided through their choices in the app or platform when they sign up, or find answers through their own searching and use of their preferred platform. At the same time, though, a nationally representative survey of teen internet users shows that, at some point, 70% of them have sought advice from someone else about how to manage their privacy online. When they do seek outside help, teens most often turn to friends, parents or other close family members. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages, 1.27 MB].

Abortion Viewed in Moral Terms: Fewer See Stem Cell Research and IVF as Moral Issues

Abortion Viewed in Moral Terms: Fewer See Stem Cell Research and IVF as Moral Issues. Pew Research Religion & Public Life. August 15, 2013.

Regardless of their views about the legality of abortion, most Americans think that having an abortion is a moral issue. By contrast, the public is much less likely to see other issues involving human embryos – such as stem cell research or in vitro fertilization – as a matter of morality. Asked whether abortion is morally acceptable, morally wrong or not a moral issue, only about a quarter of U.S. adults (23%) say they personally do not consider having an abortion to be a moral issue, according to the survey. Twice as many Americans (46%) say this about using in vitro fertilization. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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OPIC Unleashed: Strengthening US Tools to Promote Private-Sector Development Overseas

OPIC Unleashed: Strengthening US Tools to Promote Private-Sector Development Overseas. Center for Global Development. Benjamin Leo et al. August 14, 2013.

The US government has a large number of existing tools, policy options, and institutions to encourage entrepreneurship and commercial activity abroad. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a government agency created in 1971 to mobilize private capital in developing countries, is the core institution. However, these tools have not been deployed in an efficient or strategic manner. This underperformance is largely because OPIC is severely constrained by outdated rules and because many needed tools are spread across other federal agencies, according to the authors. The lack of authorization of necessary investment tools used by competing overseas peer institutions, fragmentation of effort, and lack of cohesion across multiple agencies means that the sum of these parts is far less than optimal for both American and developing country interests. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 11 pages, 362.55 KB].

Promoting Millennium Development Ideals: The Risks of Defining Development Down

Promoting Millennium Development Ideals: The Risks of Defining Development Down. Center for Global Development. Lant Pritchett and Charles Kenny. August 14, 2013.

The approach of 2015, the target date of the Millennium Development Goals, sets the stage for a global reengagement on the question of “what is development?” The report argues that the post-2015 development framework for development should include Millennium Development Ideals which put into measurable form the high aspirations countries have for the well-being of their citizens. Standing alone, low bar targets like the existing Millennium Development Goals “define development down” and put at risk both domestic and global coalitions to support to an inclusive development agenda. Measuring development progress exclusively by low bar targets creates the illusion that specific targeted programs can be an adequate substitute for a broad national and global development agenda. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 37 pages, 5.33 MB].

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at the One-Year Mark: A Profile of Currently Eligible Youth and Applicants

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at the One-Year Mark: A Profile of Currently Eligible Youth and Applicants. Migration Policy Institute. Jeanne Batalova et al. August 12, 2013.

Using an innovative new methodology to analyze Census Bureau data, the issue brief estimates that up to 1.9 million unauthorized immigrants under age 31 are potentially eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides a temporary reprieve from deportation, with 1.09 million currently meeting the age, education, length of residence, and other criteria; 423,000 appearing to fulfill all but the education requirements; and 392,000 who are too young to apply now but would become eligible once they reach age 15 if they stay in school or obtain a high school degree or equivalent. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages, 1.22 MB].

‘Hybrid’ Organizations a Difficult Bet for Entrepreneurs

‘Hybrid’ Organizations a Difficult Bet for Entrepreneurs. Working Knowledge, Harvard Business School. Julie Battilana and Matthew Lee. August 12, 2013.

Hybrid organizations combine the social logic of a nonprofit with the commercial logic of a for-profit business, but are very difficult to finance. So why would anyone want to form one? The authors investigate. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Size Matters: A Look at School-District Consolidation

Size Matters: A Look at School-District Consolidation. Center for American Progress. Ulrich Boser. August 8, 2013.

States, districts, and policymakers need to think of better ways to support small, nonremote districts and recognize that an education system designed 200 years ago may no longer be the right system today, according to the brief. [Note:contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 26 pages, 1.30 MB].

Great Expectations: Iran’s New President and the Nuclear Talks

Great Expectations: Iran’s New President and the Nuclear Talks. International Crisis Group. August 13, 2013.

In a region that recently has produced virtually nothing but bad news, Hassan Rouhani’s 4 August swearing in as Iran’s president offers a rare and welcome glimmer of hope, according to the report. There are still far more questions than answers: about the extent of his authority; his views on his country’s nuclear program, with which he long has been associated; and the West’s ability to display requisite flexibility and patience. But, although both sides can be expected to show caution, now is the time to put more ambitious proposals on the table, complement the multilateral talks with a bilateral U.S.-Iranian channel and expand the dialogue to encompass regional security issues. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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