Refugees & the U.N.

While there are many humanitarian agencies helping refugees around the world, the main organization is the United Nations Refugee Agency. One of the most important jobs has been to try to manage waste and provide clean water in an effort to prevent diseases like cholera (コレラ). Good news on that front:

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Refugees: The Rohingya

We are wandering animals. Our ancestors started walking out of East Africa some 50,000 years ago most likely due to changing climate and a rising population. By about 15,000 years ago, homo sapiens, us, had spread all over the planet all the way down to the tip of what is now South America. Except for Antarctica, human groups have established traditional homelands everywhere.

What happens, however, when large numbers of people are forced from those homelands, for months, years, and even decades? When this happens, we call it a refugee crisis. Right now around the world, there are several major refugee crises. Today we’ll look at one in Asia: The Rohingya people in Myanmar.

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Snowden, part one: recap

This movie is based on real events. It is not a documentary, but a biographical thriller.

The movie opens in 2013 in Hong Kong. Edward Snowden is meeting a hotel with reporters and a documentary filmmaker. He is giving the reporter a memory chip with lots of secret information from the United States National Security Agency (NSA), America’s top spy department. He wants a newspaper, The Guardian, to publish his story, but he is afraid of the US government.

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Technology, Privacy & Security

Information technology is truly amazing: our phones and computers are such a part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine life without them. (Have you ever panicked when you forgot your phone at home?) They are so convenient and powerful, but they also have a dark side: they open us up to control, manipulation and having our most private and important information stolen. This next section of the class will look several different issues related to information technology, privacy and security.

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Nuclear #3: Necessary?

The other day, we looked at the continuing problems caused by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. Though TEPCO is making good progress in the clean up, the people of Fukushima are still suffering. This situation will continue for many, many years, and will continue to be terribly expensive for Japanese taxpayers. Therefore, Nuclear Power is too dangerous and countries should not use it, right? Let’s consider this more carefully.

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