News & Features

Recent Hazing Deaths in S. Korea Shed Light on Increasing Homegrown Violence

Kim Tong-hyung

There is enormous anger over the two horrific hazing deaths, which continue to dominate headlines, social media conversations and political speeches. However, the emotional outbursts and bureaucratic vows for quick fixes are an admission of our reluctance to ask harder questions: should we approach these deaths as isolated incidents or view them as symptoms of a deep cultural disease that we have allowed to take hold and which we so proudly defend?

Africa Activists Urge Obama to Act on Extractive Industries Law

Jim Lobe

As the three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit got underway here Monday, anti-corruption activists urged President Barack Obama to prod a key U.S. agency to issue long-awaited regulations requiring oil, gas, and mining companies to publish all payments they make in countries where they operate.“The companies need to be held accountable, and we would ask President Obama to also support us in this message,” said Ali Idrissa.

Can You Trust This App?

Sonia Fernandez

Smartphone hacking is one of the fastest-growing issues in terms of cybersecurity, he said, especially with the advent of cloud storage. In Europe, and increasingly in the United States, hackers are able to bypass two-stage identification, whereby a text message is sent to one’s smartphone bearing a private code for entry into account websites. It is a problem that Vigna, computer science professor Christopher Kruegel and researchers from Northwestern University are getting ready to tackle with funding from a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The Many Casualties of LBJ’s Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Leonard Steinhorn

Fifty years ago, on August 10, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed what is known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. It is a day that should live in infamy. On that day, the President gave himself the power “to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed forces,” to fight the spread of communism in Southeast Asia and assist our ally in South Vietnam “in defense of its freedom.” Or as former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara put it decades later, it gave “complete authority to the president to take the nation to war.”

Study Links Wildlife Decline to Human Trafficking

Ngoc Nguyen

A new report highlights a hidden social cost of fish declines: It drives up human trafficking and child labor. The conservation policy report, led by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, appeared last week (July 25) in the journal Science. Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the United Nations, researchers illustrate how decreasing fish stock fuels labor abuses. According to the report, a world with less fish means that fishers have to search farther out, go deeper, endure harsher conditions and fish for longer to attain the same yields they did a generation ago. 

General Motors and the Breakdown of Corporate Social Responsibility

Rebekah Frank

Corporations not only have the power to effect our natural environment, but also our cultural norms and expectations.  They provide us, for a price, access to the goods and services that we require in order to successfully get through our days.  We place expectations concerning the proclaimed levels of quality and safety on those products and trust that what we are getting in return is in keeping with those expectations.  Occasionally, corporations do not hold up their end of the bargain.  Such was the case over the past few months with General Motors and its recall of over 28 million cars in the year 2014 alone.

Lawsuit Brings to Light Discrimination Tactics at 7-11 Corp.

Sunita Sohrabji

On July 11 — as 7-Eleven (also known as 7-11) stores across the nation were giving away free Slurpees to celebrate the company’s birthday – the Franchise Owners Association of Greater Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against the giant, multinational corporation, alleging racism, ageism, and unscrupulous business practices. The suit said it represents 1,200 franchisees in the area, the majority of whom are South Asian American.

How Billionaires and Businesses Buy Forgiveness for Bad Behavior

Mark Goebel

Maybe money can’t buy love, as the saying goes, but if recent trends in the world of philanthropy are any indication, it can, in many cases, buy absolution from a host of sins. How so? When oil companies such as BP or Exxon create environmental havoc, their go-to response is usually to donate money to pliant conservation organizations.  They then take ads out in national newspapers such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or USA Today touting their donations. 

Facing Severe Drought, Californians Support Cutbacks

Ngoc Nguyen

Californians rank the drought as their number-one environmental concern, according to a new statewide survey. The poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found three out of four residents favor mandatory curbs on water use. “They want the local district to do something -- mandatory reductions -- and they want the state government to do something,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “They recognize that it is a problem and the most important issue.”


The ‘Sister Wives’ Effect: Can the U.S. Rebrand Polygamy?

Stephanie Stark

Earlier this month, TLC brought back "Sister Wives," a reality show featuring the Utah-based polygamist Brown family of four wives and 17 children, for another season. Since last season, the Browns struck down a major piece of state legislation that may pave the way for the legalization of polygamy under the guise of “religious freedom.” In a nod to anti-gay marriage advocates who warned the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to other kinds of sexual freedoms, such as polygamy, the ruling is deemed a watershed moment for the rights of polygamist families— of which there is estimated to be around 45,000. 


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