21 November 2017   Leave a comment

About a dozen US State Department officials have charged Secretary of State Tillerson with violating the Federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from using Child Soldiers.  The Child Soldier Prevention Act (CSPA) was passed in 2008 and requires that countries that conscript children for the military be excluded from US military assistance.  An Action Memo for the Secretary dated 21 June 2017 identified the following countries as using children under the age of 18 in their military:  Afghanistan, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Burma, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  Secretary Tillerson decided to ignore the unanimous recommendations of his staff and excluded Iraq, Burma, and Afghanistan from the prohibited list.  The decision triggered off the use of what is known as a “dissent channel” for the State Department officials who opposed Tillerson’s decision.   The dissent channel memo can be accessed here.  The dissent memo indicates a high degree of opposition to Secretary Tillerson’s decision.


Researchers at the University at Oxford and the University of Leeds have come up with a very interesting index which purports to show rising global temperatures in real time.  The researchers spell out the assumptions of the model and what exactly they measured to come up with the index.   I lack the credentials to verify the legitimacy of the index, but the data underlying the model seem solid.  Its accuracy, however, is probably less important than its ability to remind us that climate change is real.


President Mugabe has apparently resigned, although one cannot be sure that his decision to resign is final.  Now the question is what is next for Zimbabwe?  According to the constitution, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa should succeed Mugabe, but, given that Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, it is not clear if he is still the legal Vice-President.  If he does become President, it is doubtful that the economic situation in Zimbabwe will improve.  Mnangagwa is reputed to be as corrupt as Mugabe.  There are not any real good choices for the upcoming election in 2018 if those elections are actually held.

Joy in the Streets of Harare After News of Mugabe’s Resignation

President Mugabe resigns

Posted November 21, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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