Topic: International relations

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Senate IP linked to edits in Snowden's wikipedia page

United States/U.S. Government United States Biography International relations Human rights Mass surveillance Espionage United States/North Carolina

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.

In 2013, Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, after previous employment with Dell and the CIA. Snowden says he gradually became disillusioned with the programs with which he was involved and that he tried to raise his ethical concerns through internal channels but was ignored. On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii, and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other publications including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

On June 21, 2013, the United States Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property, following which the Department of State revoked his passport. Two days later, he flew into Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, where Russian authorities noted that his U.S. passport had been cancelled, and he was restricted to the airport terminal for over one month. Russia later granted Snowden the right of asylum with an initial visa for residence for one year, and repeated extensions have permitted him to stay at least until 2020. In early 2016, he became the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization that states its purpose is to protect journalists from hacking and government surveillance.

On September 17, 2019, his memoir Permanent Record was published. On the first day of publication, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against Snowden over publication of his memoir, alleging he had breached nondisclosure agreements signed with the U.S. federal government. Former The Guardian national security reporter Ewen MacAskill called the civil lawsuit a "huge mistake", noting that the "UK ban of Spycatcher 30 years ago created huge demand". The memoir was listed as no. 1 on Amazon's bestseller list that same day. In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on September 26, 2019, Snowden clarified he considers himself a "whistleblower" as opposed to a "leaker" as he considers "a leaker only distributes information for personal gain".

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Wikipedia: The 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak

United States International relations Disaster management Medicine Viruses Canada Death Agriculture Mexico

The 2009 flu pandemic or swine flu was an influenza pandemic that lasted from January 2009 to August 2010, and the second of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus (the first being the 1918–1920 Spanish flu pandemic), albeit a new strain. First described in April 2009, the virus appeared to be a new strain of H1N1, which resulted from a previous triple reassortment of bird, swine, and human flu viruses further combined with a Eurasian pig flu virus, leading to the term "swine flu". According to WHO, the laboratory confirmed death toll is more than 18,036. Meanwhile, some studies estimated that 11 to 21 percent of the global population at the time – or around 700 million to 1.4 billion people (out of a total of 6.8 billion) – contracted the illness. This was more than the number of people infected by the Spanish flu pandemic, but only resulted in about 150,000 to 575,000 fatalities for the 2009 pandemic. A follow-up study done in September 2010 showed that the risk of serious illness resulting from the 2009 H1N1 flu was no higher than that of the yearly seasonal flu. For comparison, the WHO estimates that 250,000 to 500,000 people die of seasonal flu annually.

Unlike most strains of influenza, the Pandemic H1N1/09 virus does not disproportionately infect adults older than 60 years; this was an unusual and characteristic feature of the H1N1 pandemic. Even in the case of previously very healthy people, a small percentage develop pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This manifests itself as increased breathing difficulty and typically occurs three to six days after initial onset of flu symptoms. The pneumonia caused by flu can be either direct viral pneumonia or a secondary bacterial pneumonia. A November 2009 New England Journal of Medicine article recommended that flu patients whose chest X-ray indicates pneumonia receive both antivirals and antibiotics. In particular, it is a warning sign if a child (and presumably an adult) seems to be getting better and then relapses with high fever, as this relapse may be bacterial pneumonia.

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2009 flu pandemic in the United States

United States International relations Disaster management Medicine Viruses Death

The 2009 flu pandemic in the United States was a novel strain of the Influenza A/H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as "swine flu", that began in the spring of 2009. The virus had spread to the US from an outbreak in Mexico.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that from April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, there were 60.8 million cases, 274,000 hospitalizations, and 12,469 deaths (0.02% infection fatality rate/Mortality rate) in the United States due to the virus.

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ACTA will force border searches of laptops, smartphones for pirated content

United States/U.S. Government United States International relations Law Law Enforcement United States Public Policy Pirate Politics International relations/International law United States/U.S. Public Policy Trade

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was a proposed multilateral treaty for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. The agreement aims to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet, and would create a new governing body outside existing forums, such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the United Nations.

The agreement was signed in October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. In 2012, Mexico, the European Union and 22 countries that are member states of the European Union signed as well. One signatory (Japan) has ratified (formally approved) the agreement, which would come into force in countries that ratified it after ratification by six countries.

Industrial groups with interests in copyright, trademarks and other types of intellectual property said that ACTA was a response to "the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works". Organizations such as the Motion Picture Association of America and International Trademark Association are understood to have had a significant influence over the ACTA agenda.

Organisations representing citizens and non-governmental interests argued that ACTA could infringe fundamental rights including freedom of expression and privacy. ACTA has also been criticised by Doctors Without Borders for endangering access to medicines in developing countries. The nature of negotiations was criticized as secretive and has excluded non-governmental organization, developing countries and the general public from the agreement's negotiation process and it has been described as policy laundering by critics including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Entertainment Consumers Association.

The signature of the EU and many of its member states resulted in widespread protests across Europe. European Parliament rapporteur Kader Arif resigned. His replacement, British MEP David Martin, recommended that the Parliament should reject ACTA, stating: "The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties". On 4 July 2012, the European Parliament declined its consent, effectively rejecting it, 478 votes to 39, with 165 abstentions.

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Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues

United States Biography International relations Technology Chess Philosophy Politics Philosophy/Social and political philosophy Biography/science and academia History of Science Philosophy/Philosophers Philosophy/Modern philosophy Cooperatives Philadelphia Biography/politics and government Writing systems Fire Service Biography/Core biographies United States Constitution Politics/American politics Citizendium Porting University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania United States/U.S. governors

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – April 17, 1790) was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading writer, printer, political philosopher, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.

Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, "In a Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat." To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."

Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this and Poor Richard's Almanack, which he authored under the pseudonym "Richard Saunders". After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of British policies.

He pioneered and was the first president of Academy and College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 and later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized and was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society and was elected president in 1769. Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France.

He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years, and this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the revolution, he became the first United States Postmaster General. He was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. He initially owned and dealt in slaves but, by the late 1750s, he began arguing against slavery and became an abolitionist.

His life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and his status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, have seen Franklin honored more than two centuries after his death on coinage and the $100 bill, warships, and the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, and corporations, as well as countless cultural references.

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Chicken tax

United States International relations Finance & Investment Economics Politics Trade Automobiles Taxation

The Chicken Tax is a 25 percent tariff on light trucks (and originally on potato starch, dextrin, and brandy) imposed in 1964 by the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson in response to tariffs placed by France and West Germany on importation of U.S. chicken. The period from 1961–1964 of tensions and negotiations surrounding the issue was known as the "Chicken War," taking place at the height of Cold War politics.

Eventually, the tariffs on potato starch, dextrin, and brandy were lifted, but since 1964 this form of protectionism has remained in place to give U.S. domestic automakers an advantage over competition (e.g., from Japan, Turkey, China, and Thailand). Though concern remains about its repeal, a 2003 Cato Institute study called the tariff "a policy in search of a rationale."

As an unintended consequence, several importers of light trucks have circumvented the tariff via loopholes, known as tariff engineering. Ford (ostensibly a company that the tax was designed to protect), imported its first-generation Transit Connect light trucks as "passenger vehicles" to the U.S. from Turkey, and immediately stripped and shredded portions of their interiors (e.g., installed rear seats, seatbelts) in a warehouse outside Baltimore. To import vans built in Germany, Mercedes "disassembled them and shipped the pieces to South Carolina, where American workers put them back together in a small kit assembly building." The resulting vehicles emerge as locally manufactured, free from the tariff.

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Doomsday Clock at the shortest distance to midnight ever

United States International relations Politics Cold War

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Clock is a metaphor for threats to humanity from unchecked scientific and technical advances. The Clock represents the hypothetical global catastrophe as "midnight" and the Bulletin's opinion on how close the world is to a global catastrophe as a number of "minutes" to midnight, assessed in January of each year. The main factors influencing the Clock are nuclear risk and global warming (climate change). The Bulletin's Science and Security Board also monitors new developments in the life sciences and technology that could inflict irrevocable harm to humanity.

The Clock's original setting in 1947 was seven minutes to midnight. It has been set backward and forward 24 times since then, the largest-ever number of minutes to midnight being 17 (in 1991), and the smallest 100 seconds (1 minute and 40 seconds) in January 2020.

The clock was set at two minutes to midnight in January 2018, and left unchanged in 2019 due to the twin threats of nuclear weapons and the increasing effects of global warming. On 23 January 2020, it was moved forward to 100 seconds (1 minute 40 seconds) before midnight, based on the increased threats to global stability posed by "a nuclear blunder", exacerbated by the rate of climate change.

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Edward Snowden

United States/U.S. Government United States Biography International relations Human rights Mass surveillance Espionage United States/North Carolina

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.

In 2013, Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, after previous employment with Dell and the CIA. Snowden says he gradually became disillusioned with the programs with which he was involved and that he tried to raise his ethical concerns through internal channels but was ignored. On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii, and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other publications including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

On June 21, 2013, the United States Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property, following which the Department of State revoked his passport. Two days later, he flew into Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, where Russian authorities noted that his U.S. passport had been cancelled, and he was restricted to the airport terminal for over one month. Russia later granted Snowden the right of asylum with an initial visa for residence for one year, and repeated extensions have permitted him to stay at least until 2020. In early 2016, he became the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization that states its purpose is to protect journalists from hacking and government surveillance.

On September 17, 2019, his memoir Permanent Record was published. On the first day of publication, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against Snowden over publication of his memoir, alleging he had breached nondisclosure agreements signed with the U.S. federal government. Former The Guardian national security reporter Ewen MacAskill called the civil lawsuit a "huge mistake", noting that the "UK ban of Spycatcher 30 years ago created huge demand". The memoir was listed as no. 1 on Amazon's bestseller list that same day. In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on September 26, 2019, Snowden clarified he considers himself a "whistleblower" as opposed to a "leaker" as he considers "a leaker only distributes information for personal gain".

Today Is International Day of Happiness

International relations Philosophy Psychology Philosophy/Ethics Holidays International relations/United Nations

The International Day of Happiness is celebrated worldwide every year on 20 March, and was originally conceptualized and founded in 2006 by Jayme Illien, CEO of the United Nations New World Order project, to advance happiness as a fundamental human right for all human beings, and happytalism, as new economic system, theory, and philosophy, which achieves the United Nations global goals, and the happiness, well-being, and freedom of all life on earth.

The next international day of happiness is March 20, 2021.

The 2020 International Day of Happiness campaign theme is ‘Happiness For All, Together'”. To celebrate, UNIDOHappiness, the UN secretariat for the International Day Of Happiness, is calling on all 7.8 billion people and all 206 nations and territories, to take the "Ten Steps to Global Happiness" challenge and call to action. The ten steps to global happiness are "ten easy steps any individual, organization, or country, can take on the international day of happiness, and throughout happiness week, to celebrate the international day of happiness, while also advancing the happiness, wellbeing, and freedom of all life on earth by 2050, when the United Nations forecasts global population to reach 10 billion". The first step is “Tell Everyone", which is designed "spread the word" to increase global awareness about the very existence of the international day of happiness, and the UN's unanimous recognition of happiness as a human right, as well as happiness as an approach to sustainable economic and human development.

The 2006 origin and inspiration for creating the international day of happiness initially came from founder Jayme Illien's belief that the happiness, wellbeing, and freedom of all life on earth is the ultimate purpose of every human being, nation, and society. Illien developed his vision for global happiness as humanity's ultimate purpose, through a life spent on the frontlines saving orphaned and abandoned children fleeing war, genocide, and extreme poverty, and theorizing about solutions to the human condition, and the great challenges facing humankind, after he himself was abandoned as an orphan, and rescued from a roadside in India in 1980, by missionaries of Mother Teresa, who first named him Adam, and sent him to live in America.

In 2006, Illien first presented the new economic theory, "happytalism", as a new economic system for the 21st century and beyond, to replace old world economic systems (from 5th to 20th century) such as capitalism, communism, socialism, mercantilism, colonialism, feudalism, racism, and sexism, among others - all created more than 150-1000 years ago. In 2006, Illien successfully demonstrated to prominent economists, academics, political scientists, philosophers, presidents, prime ministers, and heads of state, all in a position to advance happytalism as a solution to the great challenges facing humankind, that the new economic theory was the solution to the world's most pressing and greatest human development challenges and opportunities. However, despite Illien's successful proof of happytalism as a new economic system to replace capitalism and other old world, archaic, obsolete economic systems and models, this eminent multidisciplinary group of experts rejected the idea, and refused to further evaluate or consider the new economic theory due to what Illien, and co founder, Ndaba Mandela, believed were "old world and obsolete tyranny of the status quo, entrenched racist and sexist bias, mindset, incompetence, failed intelligence and intellectual vitality, and an archaic, potentially criminal world view that is a gross violation of global ethical norms, and implicit fiduciary responsibility to all humanity, incapable of seeing and doing what is right and necessary to advance humanity forward".

In 2008, in response to the rejection of Illien's concept of "happytalism" as a new economic theory, and convinced of happytalism as the solution to humanity's great challenges and opportunities in the 21st century and beyond, Illien launched the United Nations New World Order project with co founder Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, who led the revolution and movement that ended apartheid, and "gave birth to a new nation, a new political party, and a new era of democratic governance in South Africa, and the African Continent.". The United Nations New World Order Project launched in 2008 envisioned, among several UN based policy initiatives, the creation of a United Nations sanctioned "international day of happiness", as a global day of awareness that commemorates and recognizes happiness as a human right, and a fundamental, universal human goal, and calls for a new happiness centric human development paradigm which achieves the happiness, wellbeing, and freedom of all life on earth.

Illien drew inspiration for the idea of establishing the international day of happiness from the founders of the United States of America, and authors of the US Declaration of Independence, as well as, the founders of the United Nations, and UN Day, and the authors of the United Nations Charter. Illien believed that an "international day of happiness", established with, and recognized by, a new UN resolution, with the support of all 193 UN member countries, would provide the essential, unique, and broad-based, wide-ranging democratic support, international credibility, and worldwide legal legitimacy, for a new global day of happiness for humanity, which in turn, would enable future generations to eventually, objectively consider the concept of happytalism as a new economic system to solve to the great challenges facing humanity, thereby placing the fate and future of happytalism directly in the hands of the people and future generations.

In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted UN resolution 66 281: International Day of Happiness with the unanimous consensus of all 193 Member States, and the support of then UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon, declaring March 20 as the international day of happiness. Illien chose 20 March for its significance as the March equinox, a universal phenomenon felt simultaneously by all of humankind.

In 2012, the United Nations also hosted the first high level meeting on Happiness and Well-being: Defining A New Economic Paradigm, at which UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon declared:

Later in 2012, then UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon stated in his closing remarks to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly:

On January 22, 2013, then UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon stated in an address to the UN General Assembly:


On March 20, 2013, the first ever international day of happiness was celebrated with the launch of UNIDOHappiness, and the "Ten Steps to Global Happiness" campaign theme, which has since become an annual tradition.

Every 20 March since 2013, the International Day of Happiness is celebrated in 193 UN Member states, 2 observer states, and 11 territories.

On the 3rd ever international day of happiness, UN Secretary Ban Ki moon said,

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Jewish Exodus from Arab and Muslim Countries

International relations Iran Syria Sociology Iraq Arab world Jewish history Egypt Israel Israel Palestine Collaboration Palestine

The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, or Jewish exodus from Arab countries, was the departure, flight, expulsion, evacuation and migration of 850,000 Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab countries and the Muslim world, mainly from 1948 to the early 1970s. The last major migration wave took place from Iran in 1979–80, as a consequence of the Iranian Revolution.

A number of small-scale Jewish exoduses began in many Middle Eastern countries early in the 20th century with the only substantial aliyah (immigration to the area today known as Israel) coming from Yemen and Syria. Very few Jews from Muslim countries immigrated during the period of Mandatory Palestine. Prior to the creation of Israel in 1948, approximately 800,000 Jews were living in lands that now make up the Arab world. Of these, just under two-thirds lived in the French and Italian-controlled North Africa, 15–20% in the Kingdom of Iraq, approximately 10% in the Kingdom of Egypt and approximately 7% in the Kingdom of Yemen. A further 200,000 lived in Pahlavi Iran and the Republic of Turkey.

The first large-scale exoduses took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from Iraq, Yemen and Libya. In these cases over 90% of the Jewish population left, despite the necessity of leaving their property behind. Two hundred and sixty thousand Jews from Arab countries immigrated to Israel between 1948 and 1951, accounting for 56% of the total immigration to the newly founded state; this was the product of a policy change in favour of mass immigration focused on Jews from Arab and Muslim countries. The Israeli government's policy to accommodate 600,000 immigrants over four years, doubling the existing Jewish population, encountered mixed reactions in the Knesset; there were those within the Jewish Agency and government who opposed promoting a large-scale emigration movement among Jews whose lives were not in danger.

Later waves peaked at different times in different regions over the subsequent decades. The peak of the exodus from Egypt occurred in 1956 following the Suez Crisis. The exodus from the other North African Arab countries peaked in the 1960s. Lebanon was the only Arab country to see a temporary increase in its Jewish population during this period, due to an influx of Jews from other Arab countries, although by the mid-1970s the Jewish community of Lebanon had also dwindled. Six hundred thousand Jews from Arab and Muslim countries had reached Israel by 1972. In total, of the 900,000 Jews who left Arab and other Muslim countries, 600,000 settled in the new state of Israel, and 300,000 migrated to France and the United States. The descendants of the Jewish immigrants from the region, known as Mizrahi Jews ("Eastern Jews") and Sephardic Jews ("Spanish Jews"), currently constitute more than half of the total population of Israel, partially as a result of their higher fertility rate. In 2009, only 26,000 Jews remained in Arab countries and Iran. and 26,000 in Turkey.

The reasons for the exoduses are manifold, including push factors, such as persecution, antisemitism, political instability, poverty and expulsion, together with pull factors, such as the desire to fulfill Zionist yearnings or find a better economic status and a secure home in Europe or the Americas. The history of the exodus has been politicized, given its proposed relevance to the historical narrative of the Arab–Israeli conflict. When presenting the history, those who view the Jewish exodus as analogous to the 1948 Palestinian exodus generally emphasize the push factors and consider those who left as refugees, while those who do not, emphasize the pull factors and consider them willing immigrants.