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What we can learn from Mexico

What we can learn from Mexico | Geo400 | Scoop.it

Earlier this month, the president told a newspaper the solution to partisanship is politics and more politics.


Via Seth Dixon, Meagan Harpin, Rebecca Farrea
Erica Tommarello's insight:

It is very impressive how far Mexico has come in what seems like such little time. I am very interested to see if there will be a great influx of American immigration into Mexico in the coming years. It is also interesting to think about NAFTA in this situation: so beneficial to Mexico; will this become a problem for the US? 

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Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, September 18, 2013 10:51 AM

I went on vacation to Cancun just before the fall semester began, and it is amazing how what I expected to see based on all that I had heard differed from the reality.  I also visited Cancun about five years ago, and the changes from then to now were enormous.  We always hear about the bad in Mexico, but we never hear about the good that is going on every day.  I can only comment in regards to Cancun, which I understand is probably one of the safer, more developed areas in Mexico due to the high volume of tourism, but even the lesser developed areas in and surrounding Cancun are improving.  I saw trucks filled with Mexican workers striving to clean the streets and neighborhoods and to build and repair roads and bridges and so forth.  Even in the tourist section where I spent most of my time, restaurant workers and hotel workers and store associates made such an effort to help others, residents and travelers, in any way possible.  It is amazing to see how far a place can come with dedicated, hardworking people at the forefront.  It is not surprising that Mexico's GDP is expected to grow by nearly 4 percent this year.

Marissa Roy's curator insight, October 23, 2013 9:46 AM

This article is particularly interesting. It is so common to hear about the drug wars going on in Mexico, but much less common to hear how the country is doing economically. It makes sense that their economy is growing, as the United States imports many goods and products from across the border. This goes hand in hand with how the Mexican government also pays their workers more than most Chinese workers recieve. Mostly it is their geographic location to the United States that is making their economy grow.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 4, 9:22 AM

The future of Mexico is starting to look better and better as President Enrique Pena Nieto increases taxes, competition and takes on the teachers’ unions. With these reforms, Nieto is looking to build a better Mexico and succeed other surrounding countries.

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Taming the City of God

Taming the City of God | Geo400 | Scoop.it
Years of hatred and mistrust are thawing in some of Rio's most violent slums.

 

This compelling video depicts some of the challenges that the police in Rio de Janeiro face in trying to bring more effective goverance into some of the more poverty-striken, drug-riddled neighborhoods in the city.  This slums, known as favelas, are receiving increased attention as Rio is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. 


Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

Rio has drastically changed since the introduction of a major presense of the Rio police force. Previously, the streets of Rio were a dangerous place for children and adults alike. Police have been a negative cultural icon for residents of Rio for a very long time, and there was much resistance to the presence. However, the police force took a very positive approach by establishing programs for the community to help improve younger generation's opinion of police. Some concerns are that after FIFA 2014 and the 2016 Olympics that the police presence will withdraw and the slums of Rio will revert back to its previous chaotic state. 

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Derek Ethier's comment, September 30, 2012 4:06 PM
This, like the previous articles, shows how Brazil is now finally trying to improve life for people in favelas. Unfortunately, it is not because they care much about them, but because they do not want the world seeing these horrific neighborhoods during the World Cup. They are also trying to eliminate violence so that people even want to visit their country for the cup. It is all about money and their image on the international stage.
Paige McClatchy's curator insight, September 29, 2013 1:22 PM

The people of the City of God favela and others are at a crossroads of power between gangs and the police. Each groups are trying to control the people who just want to live safely. Right now the police are fighting an uphill battle to gain the trust of the favela dwellers, but the specter of the World Cup is getting in the way. The people have no guaruntee that their faith is well placed and that the police will stay working there even after the cup.

Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 8, 11:00 AM

This compelling video depicts some of the challenges that the police in Rio de Janeiro face in trying to bring more effective governance into some of the more poverty-stricken, drug-riddled neighborhoods in the city.  This slums, known as favelas, are receiving increased attention as Rio is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

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Costa Rica celebrates 65th year without a military - Inside Costa Rica

Costa Rica celebrates 65th year without a military - Inside Costa Rica | Geo400 | Scoop.it
Republish this article December 2nd, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Costa Rica celebrated its 65th year without a military yesterday, December 1st.
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U.S. Travel To Cuba Grows As Restrictions Are Eased

The Obama administration has relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba, reinstating Bill Clinton's policy of allowing people-to-people travel.

Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

The fifty year ban on American travel into Cuba is slowly being lifted - but, how far? Americans are limited into only participating in what some call "propogandized" tours that boast of the successes of the government. Americans should be wary while visiting Cuba to try and look past the veil. 

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 8, 9:14 AM

This article is about relaxed travel restrictions for Americans visiting Cuba. The United States has restricted American tourism to Cuba as any money the US sends to Cuba is seen as supporting the Castro government. However, since Europe and Canada have no such restrictions there is not a shortage of tourist money being spent in Cuba. With the US relaxing its travel restrictions, Cuban-Americans wanting to visit family or their homeland and many who have long wanted to to visit the country are getting the chance to do so.

Amy Marques's curator insight, February 12, 8:05 PM

This article talks about how the Obama administration has begun loosening up its restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba. Cuba is the only country the US restricts its citizens to visiting. Even though Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba, there is a catch, one would have to go on a U.S. government approved tour, and would not be allowed to go to the beach or Havanas Cabaret at night. The groups goes to hospitals, schools and historic sites, all with a tour guide appointed by the Cuban government. So is this really considering "relaxing travel restrictions" or is it more of, sure you can visit Cuba, but you're only allowed to go where the US government wants you to go.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 10:58 AM

Traveling to Cuba has been a difficult journey to make in the past. With Obama's new rules in place, he has eased the process of travel to this country. These new restrictions will make traveling home to Cuba easier for those who want to visit their relatives.

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South Sudan: The World’s Newest Country

South Sudan: The World’s Newest Country | Geo400 | Scoop.it

Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

South Sudan secceded from Sudan in 2011. North Sudan is Muslim, while South Sudan is Christian. This difference alone causes one t think of what impacts and consequences this new border will cause.

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, March 17, 2:08 PM

South Sudan recently gained its independence from Sudan. South Sudan is now home to 10-12 million people and is the 193rd member of the United Nations. However, just because South Sudan became independent from Sudan does not mean it does not no longer carry some of the remaining issues.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 25, 10:26 AM

This infographic gives an idea of why South Sudan seceded from the rest of the country. Decades of civil war preceded the secession, and it is clear the cultural differences between the two areas were a contributing factor. South Sudan is a part of the fertile Sahel, with the majority of its people Christian, while Sudan is mostly desert, with the majority of its people Muslims. South Sudan, as a new nation, faces a number of difficulties. Its new government needed to remain stable to focus on nation building, but war has broken out between the government and a rebel faction. South Sudan, should it become stable again, should work to improve the education of its people, as the infographic explains, since the vote to secede needed symbols rather than words due to only 15% of its people being literate.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 1:05 PM

South Sudan has separated itself two years ago from the rest of Sudan. Its powers have become acknowledged by other countries and its messages to the outside world are ones of peace.

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Pumpkin Geography

Pumpkin Geography | Geo400 | Scoop.it

"After spending a month becoming familiar with the location of the seven continents and the major bodies of water, each student is given a pumpkin to turn into a globe. Students paint the entire surface of the pumpkin blue to represent water. Next, they use pushpins to position and trace the outline of each continent onto their pumpkins. They use actual globes as models and are careful to place the continents in the correct hemisphere. Then, they paint and label each continent a different color. They label the major bodies of water and use white paint to represent the North and South Poles."


Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

This is such a cool idea!

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Nigel Burke's curator insight, October 15, 2013 6:13 AM

Nice one!

Alison D. Gilbert's curator insight, October 16, 2013 4:51 AM

I love Halloween and all that goes with it, especially pumpkins. This is such a clever idea.

Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 21, 2013 10:16 AM

What a fun way to celebrate Halloween in the history/geography classroom.

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What we can learn from Mexico

What we can learn from Mexico | Geo400 | Scoop.it

Earlier this month, the president told a newspaper the solution to partisanship is politics and more politics.


Via Seth Dixon, Meagan Harpin, Rebecca Farrea
Erica Tommarello's insight:

It is very impressive how far Mexico has come in what seems like such little time. I am very interested to see if there will be a great influx of American immigration into Mexico in the coming years. It is also interesting to think about NAFTA in this situation: so beneficial to Mexico; will this become a problem for the US? 

more...
Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, September 18, 2013 10:51 AM

I went on vacation to Cancun just before the fall semester began, and it is amazing how what I expected to see based on all that I had heard differed from the reality.  I also visited Cancun about five years ago, and the changes from then to now were enormous.  We always hear about the bad in Mexico, but we never hear about the good that is going on every day.  I can only comment in regards to Cancun, which I understand is probably one of the safer, more developed areas in Mexico due to the high volume of tourism, but even the lesser developed areas in and surrounding Cancun are improving.  I saw trucks filled with Mexican workers striving to clean the streets and neighborhoods and to build and repair roads and bridges and so forth.  Even in the tourist section where I spent most of my time, restaurant workers and hotel workers and store associates made such an effort to help others, residents and travelers, in any way possible.  It is amazing to see how far a place can come with dedicated, hardworking people at the forefront.  It is not surprising that Mexico's GDP is expected to grow by nearly 4 percent this year.

Marissa Roy's curator insight, October 23, 2013 9:46 AM

This article is particularly interesting. It is so common to hear about the drug wars going on in Mexico, but much less common to hear how the country is doing economically. It makes sense that their economy is growing, as the United States imports many goods and products from across the border. This goes hand in hand with how the Mexican government also pays their workers more than most Chinese workers recieve. Mostly it is their geographic location to the United States that is making their economy grow.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 4, 9:22 AM

The future of Mexico is starting to look better and better as President Enrique Pena Nieto increases taxes, competition and takes on the teachers’ unions. With these reforms, Nieto is looking to build a better Mexico and succeed other surrounding countries.

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This Pittsburgh restaurant only serves food from America's "enemies"

This Pittsburgh restaurant only serves food from America's "enemies" | Geo400 | Scoop.it
Conflict Kitchen is the only restaurant in the world that serves cuisine solely from countries with which the U.S. is in conflict.

Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

This restauarant serves a greater purpose then just serving food. What an interesting idea! Humanizing the "enemy" helps us realize that blind hate is irrational. 

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Lauren Jacquez's curator insight, October 3, 2013 1:26 PM

Any Ethnic conflicts here HUGGERS?

Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 20, 2013 12:04 PM

Initially I wasn't really sure what I thought about this resturant. My initial reaction was that I hated it and thought it was a bad idea. I to seemed like we were supporting another country by serving their food. However there is a cultural experience involved when we go out to eat. Many people go out to italian resturants to get the experience of italy and etc. However after really thinking about it the US is typically in conflict with another countries government, not the people who live there. By selling the food of countries we are in conflict with almost gives us an idea about what exactly the culture is there. I think it almost educates people in such a way. I think that might be the purpose on the resturant. By eating at this resturant it opens peoples eyes to what people of that particular country are consuming on a regular day basis. That experience can be good or bad, but either way it still opens up peoples eyes to the type of world other countries are living in. I think by eating there you open yourslef up to a new cultural experience, which I belive is exactly the point that the kitchen is trying to serve. Even if it is through food. 

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 11, 2013 9:06 AM

Conflict Kitchen serves foods from the countries the United States is in conflict with. They might be doing this to show Americans a little bit of how their culture is b eating their foods. 

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GeoGuessr - Let's explore the world!

GeoGuessr - Let's explore the world! | Geo400 | Scoop.it
GeoGuessr is a geography game which takes you on a journey around the world and challenges your ability to recognize your surroundings.

Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

A pretty cool activity to show a Geography 400 student exactly how much they have to learn.

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Eric Raposo's curator insight, September 11, 2013 11:28 AM

Very inteesting to see if on could guess where places are :)

Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 11, 2013 11:29 AM

Challenging but very fun!

Maegan Connor's curator insight, September 11, 2013 12:06 PM

This is the next best alternative to exploring the world right now.

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In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Geo400 | Scoop.it
An unfinished skyscraper occupied by squatters is a symbol of Venezuela’s financial crisis in the 1990s, state control of the economy and a housing shortage.

 

This skyscraper that was once a symbol of wealth, in an incredible paradigm shift, has now become is occupied by squatters. The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside. A complex web of geographic factors needs to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation. The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.


Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

Venezuela clearly can not take care of its people as the Tower of David is occupied by squatters in the middle of the city. The abandonment of construction of this tower openly symbolizes the financial and social crisises that Venenzuelans are enduring. The squatters do not want to live in the rural areas that boasts open lands. They insist that living in an essentially wall-less and water-less unfinished sky scraper is better then the rural areas and the street.

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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 2:34 PM

The video we watched of the squatters living in an unfinished skyscraper was unlike anything I've ever seen before. In a country with such high population rates and a housing shortage, people have gotten creative and made homes in this 45 story building where they share what would have been office spaces and bathrooms.  Over 2,500 people have moved into the dilapidated skyscraper and made a home out of it for their families. They have rigged electricity that the government does not provide for them and built small stores on almost every floor.  The people have not been evicted because the government of Venezuela knows of the housing shortages, yet does not fix it.  

I feel ashamed that a country with so many oil resources has such high rates of poverty and no one is fixing it.  It shows the corruption in the government through an extreme although innovative example.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 7:46 AM

The problems in Venezuela with housing and the lack of response to the problem by the government has led people to become squatters.  The using of the abandoned buildings was a good idea by the original squatters.  The vacant buildings can house many of the countries it is a shame that the government did not think of this solution to the housing problem and vacant building first, if they had, they could have made sure they were safer for the residence.  The idea of a vertical city springing up in this building is also an interesting one.  Not only are squatters living in these buildings but creating businesses and other services for the residence.

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 18, 10:02 AM

In life, I constantly find myself comparing situations with what I read and what I know. Imagine this skyscraper is the Prudential in Boston. How could something meant to be so great fall to its death (and to peoples literal deaths)? One day there is a massive financial building occupied with bankers and lavishness. The next day there is a skyscraper in the form of a house. Housing shortages are happening everywhere and Venezuela is being hit hard in this situation. Imagine visiting this country and asking where someone lives? "Oh, I live in the Tower of David, which used to mean a whole lot more."

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In Honduras, Police Accused Of Corruption, Killings

The Central American nation is the most violent country in the world, according to the United Nations. A mix of drug trafficking, political instability and history adds up to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico.

Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

This NPR podcast about Honduras' national security policy brings to light how badly the police force in Honduras is failing their country. The police "making people disappear" is woven into Haiti's cultural fabric. Those who take a stand against the corruption face threats and violence to unimaginable degrees. 

If Haiti can not keep it together internally and culturally, Haiti will face great trouble in progressing with the rest of the world. 

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Albert Jordan's curator insight, February 4, 3:31 PM

Although this is dated approximately two years ago, the issue is still relevant. Honduras is geographically located in the middle of heavy drug trafficking routes. A poor economy and a history of political corruption, as well as a history of United States involvement in paramilitary training and aid has created a country that is not set up for stability. The issues in Honduras are very similar to the issues of many third world nations that deal heavily with drug trafficking and political corruption. Those in power, receiving aid from the U.S. use those assets against their political foes while the common people find themselves turning to illegal means to make a living. The police, being corrupt themselves since corruption is a trickle down disease, probably have a number of officers working for various gangs, cartels, and other nefarious groups. Because they can hide behind the authority of the “law,” they are able to use their force to further the agendas for whoever is putting money in their pocket. Whether it be for greed or unfortunate economic necessity, or out of fear of reprisal for not conforming it is the locals who suffer from the overwhelming police presence. These are issues that are found across the globe in countries and regions that have unstable politics that are fueled by conflict, whether it be resources, illicit substances, or other illegal trade.As the police pressure continues to mount, it is only a matter of time before serious reform takes place or violent revolution transforms the political landscape.

Paige Therien's curator insight, February 11, 10:36 AM

Honduras' role in the drug trafficking industry has increased immensely which does not mix well with their already corrupt government and police force.  However, a history of U.S. aid and security "support" is what rooted this country in violence.  Honduras' situation is spiraling out of control because the drug trafficking industry has taken advantage of its already weak state.

Amy Marques's curator insight, February 12, 7:55 PM

In the news we sometimes hear about violence taking place at the border of the US and Mexico, but you never hear of the violence in Honduras. With a mix of drug trafficking, corruption, political instability and history has led to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico., which is pretty hard to think of since there Mexico already has a high muder right. The situation has gotten so bad that the Peace Corps has withdrawn its volunteers.

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Haiti: Legacy of Disaster

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster | Geo400 | Scoop.it

"Even before the earthquake Haiti's environment teetered on the brink of disaster. Brent and Craig Renaud report on the country's deforestation problems."

 

What about a disaster is 'natural' and what about the disaster is attributable to how people live on the land?  This video highlights the poverty, architectural and environmental factors that exacerbated the problems in the Haitian Earthquake of 2010.  This is a merging of both the physical geography and human geography.  


Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

This clip from the New York Times helps illustrate exactly why Haiti is in a constant state of decline and strife. Ninety-seven percent of Haiti's land has been deforested in effort to sell charcoal, which is apparently the only medium of currency many (or possibly most) Haitians use. Because the land has been so heavily deforested, Haiti suffers from constant flooding because their is nothing on the mountains to slow the water down. This physical geography therefore paves the way for the human geography: Haitains are poor, desparate, and have no other means to help themselves other then destroying the land they live on. 

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Tracy Galvin's comment, January 30, 11:54 AM
This is an example of how civilizations can be hovering on the brink of destruction. The earthquake was the final straw it caused collapse of the whole system. The environment became a wasteland because humans that so not have their basic needs met cannot think about long term consequences of their actions. Need is immediate. If we want to help the country it needs to be in very small doses over many years. Their situation wasn't created overnight and the solution won't happen overnight either.
Tracy Galvin's curator insight, February 4, 2:56 PM

This is an example of how civilizations can be hovering on the brink of destruction. The earthquake was the final straw it caused collapse of the whole system. The environment became a wasteland because humans that so not have their basic needs met cannot think about long term consequences of their actions. Need is immediate. If we want to help the country it needs to be in very small doses over many years. Their situation wasn't created overnight and the solution won't happen overnight either.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 10:49 AM

Natural disasters occur because of two things; the environmental reason and how people react to it. This earthquake was only half the reason Haiti is in a natural disaster state. The people who don't know how to respond to such "natural disasters" are the real reason of problematic changes.

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Brazil's disappearing favelas

Brazil's disappearing favelas | Geo400 | Scoop.it

Infrastructure demanded by the sporting world's most powerful corporate interests render families homeless in Brazil.


Via Seth Dixon
Erica Tommarello's insight:

FIFA 2014 is being hosted in Brazil. This article details the completely flawed and inhumane plan that Brazil has to get ready for the madness of FIFA. They seem to be too caught up in artificial aesthetic and have lost focus on development, while displacing thousands of poor Brazilians on the way.

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Matt Mallinson's comment, September 26, 2012 9:02 AM
Its good to see Brazil finally attempt to fix this mess, there are to many people living in poverty with no help. I hope things go well for the people of Rio.
Nick Flanagan's curator insight, December 12, 2012 6:34 PM

While I'm glad that they are dong something for their poor, it makes me wonder if they are only doing it for the upcoming world cup and olympics.  I just wonder if they are trying to hide some of what really goes on there from tourists so they will think everything in brazil is all good. 

Investors Europe Stock Brokers's curator insight, July 15, 12:21 AM

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For Mexicans Looking North, a New Calculus Favors Home

For Mexicans Looking North, a New Calculus Favors Home | Geo400 | Scoop.it
Economic, demographic and social changes in Mexico are suppressing illegal immigration as much as the poor economy or legal crackdowns in the United States.
Erica Tommarello's insight:

This article discusses the reasons why Mexicans are starting to look at Mexico as a land of opportunity. Growing up in the USA, I have always been told that people come here because the United States have the best schools in the world - it doesn't seem like that's a pull factor anymore for Mexicans.

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A Most Delightful Map : NPR

A Most Delightful Map : NPR | Geo400 | Scoop.it
What I'm going to say sounds ridiculous, but once upon a time it wasn't ridiculous at all. You could wake up one morning in North America and decide to walk to Morocco, have breakfast, and a few hours later, there you are — in Africa.
Erica Tommarello's insight:

This map pictures Pangea with present political boundaries and states. It's fascinating!

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Ashley Raposo's curator insight, September 20, 2013 11:34 AM

This article shows today's political bondaries set up like the ancient Pangea. It's an interesting look at how the climate and landscape would be very different in comparrison to today and the entertaining new possiblities of travelling to far away places -not being far away in those times-. Wouldn't mind hopping in my car and driving about an hour and be in Morocco.

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Chemical Disarmament Hard Even in Peacetime

Chemical Disarmament Hard Even in Peacetime | Geo400 | Scoop.it
Large numbers of foreign troops would almost certainly be needed to safeguard inspectors working in the midst of the civil war.
Erica Tommarello's insight:

This article reminds us that even a disarmament will cause bloodshed. Whichever country decides to "peacefully invade"and secure the chemical arms is "just the first nightmare of making this work," said President Obama. I think it will be interesting to see how organized this chemical disarmament will be, and how many lives will be lost in the pursuit of peace in Syria during a civil war.

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