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The Tragic Murder of a Licensed Fool: Extremism, Freedom of Expression, and the Fight For “European Values.”

Edwin Landseer - Scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Titania and Bottom

At midday on the 7th of January 2015, three masked gunmen forced their way into the offices of a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and ruthlessly executed ten members of staff, including the editor, Stephane Charbonnier, and his police bodyguard. The men then fled the scene into the Paris streets, killing another policeman on their way out. The motivation for this ... Read More »

The Crossroads: The Modernization of the Roman Catholic Church

Photo by Tânia Rêgo/ABr - Agência Brasil. CC-BY-3.0-br.

As one of the world’s oldest institutions still alive today, the Roman Catholic Church has been at the intersection of traditional versus contemporary many times before. The most recent example of this occurred in October, when Pope Francis called on leading clergy to discuss the Church’s approach on family values. Among the topics discussed at the synod, a meeting of ... Read More »

Put Away the Umbrellas in Hong Kong Streets

A picture taken during the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong (Photo Credit: Pasu Au Yeung)

Will the “pan-democrat” camp of Hong Kong (HK) settle for anything short of “democracy” and “political sovereignty” from mainland China? Can there be a fair compromise? What influence still remains of the slogan “one country, two systems,” in 2014? These and other unsettling questions have been propagating within pan-democrat HK residents, setting fire to pro-democracy movements referred to as the ... Read More »

Haiti’s recovery: Don’t give them the fish, teach them how to fish

Haiti - search and rescue by  IFRC

Almost five years have passed since the devastating earthquake in Haiti that cost at least 200,000 individuals their lives and left many more injured. The country was in ruins after this tragic event. Since then, valuable international collaborations have been initiated to put Haiti back on its feet, and have assisted Haiti with reviving agriculture, importing pharmacological drugs, and rebuilding ... Read More »

The Walking Brain Dead

Zombie interstate sign via manuscriptreplica/flickr. Creative Commons 2.0 license.

  In every modern version of the “Zombie Apocalypse” narrative, small bands of plucky survivors fend off endless hordes of infected, shambling, braindead individuals. The zombies have no appreciation of community, shared responsibility,  or collective security. Instead they are driven by base instincts and a complete disregard for anything other than their own immediate self-interest. The irony in this narrative ... Read More »

Google’s Juggling Act: The politics of mapping borders in geo-politically sensitive areas


By Lillianne Thomas Google, as a ubiquitous modern-day supplier of digital maps found in many common applications, has (whether the company desires it or not) a key role in depicting boundaries between states on their maps. Google’s innovative (albeit controversial) strategy to make their maps universally satisfying has thus far allowed the company to pursue its mission to map the ... Read More »

European Elections: A Step Backwards?

Eu Europe Parliament Demokratie Strasbourg Union. Photo by M. Cruetten

As Europe’s economic condition remains stagnant, racism is increasing to a frightening degree reminiscent of the continent’s darkest period in modern history. While the Nazi era is long gone, there has been a considerable resurgence of anti-Semitism and intolerance that seems to be fueling the success of some European political parties. The outcomes of the recent European Parliament elections only ... Read More »

State of the (Student) Union – 2014


by James Walker – Editor in Chief Summer has begun, and life at UCLA has taken on the gentle ambiance of a half empty campus, basking in the glorious SoCal sunshine. Nervous freshmen and transferees can be spotted exploring the buildings in anticipation (or perhaps dread?) of the Fall, half the faculty have vanished to do research, and the other ... Read More »

Brazil’s World Cup, a Reflection of Flawed Priorities?

São Paulo’s 8th “Não Vai Ter Copa” World Cup Protest, May 24, 2014. 
Photo by Ben Tavener

By Emily Milstein International sporting events provide platforms for host countries to broadcast their national glory. With the world watching, a host nation can showcase its achievements and further dazzle audiences with its ability to successfully organize a massive undertaking. The world watched this story play out with the Olympics in Athens, Beijing, London, and Sochi, as well as the World ... Read More »