09H00 - mardi 14 octobre 2014

Weekly press review on the U.S. – October 14th


Human Rights & Individual Liberties

October 10th – MotherJones – The Supreme Court Just Blocked Scott Walker’s Voter ID Law   

walkerAs a consequence of two emergency orders issued by the US Supreme Court on Thursday, voters in Wisconsin and Texas won’t be required to present photo-IDs anymore at the November midterm elections.

In the past few years, several Republican States have passed restrictive voting laws to limit the vote of minorities on election day. Among them are the “voter ID laws” : by preventing registered voters without government-issued IDs to vote, they leave a large share of the electorate aside. In Texas alone, 600,000 people lack the document, most of them being black or Hispanic. 

The Supreme Court, whose decision highlights a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act, puts an end to a recent trend of high courts upholding voting restrictions in different States.

October 7th – Wired -Twitter Sues the Government For Violating Its First Amendment Rights  

TWITTERvsUSA-inlineLast week, Twitter filed a lawsuit against the US Government over its First Amendment right to disclose surveillance requests received from federal agencies, like the FBI and the NSA. In a bid to guarantee more transparency to its users, the San Francisco-based social network claims the right to release more details about how the federal Government surveils the platform. 

A year ago, a group of tech companies led by Google negotiated with Washington an expansion of the publicly available statistics on social-networks surveillance. However, the disclosure prerogatives granted by the White House are still vague and all the FISA-related requests remain classified. 

October 7th – The Wall Street Journal – Supreme Court allows Gay Marriage to Begin in 5 States 

GayLandscapeFollowing last week’s US Supreme Court decision, same-sex marriage is now allowed in 30 American States. After lower jurisdictions deemed gay marriage bans unconstitutional in Utah, Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, the 5 State governments decided to appeal to the federal Supreme Court for abrogation.

By declining to hear the appeals, the Justices effectively authorized same-sex union in these jurisdictions, bring up to 60% the proportion of Americans people living in States where gay marriage is legal. 

Environment and Sustainable Development

October 8th – The Guardian – US east coast cities face frequent flooding due to climate change

Tidal flooding and sea level rising on US East Coast : Floods in MiamiBy 2030, climate change could lead US east cost cities to face flooding up to 48 times a year, scientists say. In a report released last wednesday, the Union of Concerned Scientists raises awareness around the growing number of tidal floods, due the rising of sea level, that cities on the Atlantic coast will undergo in the future.

Although the number of flood days have already quadrupled since 1970, statistics are likely to keep increasing as wave crests grow higher. By 2045, half of the coastal towns “can expect to see more than 100 tidal floods a year”, the report says.

October 7th – The New York Times – In the U.S., a Turning Point in the Flow of Oil


08OIL-master675Last July, a tanker carrying 400,000 barrels of crude oil left Texas for South Korea to become “the first unrestricted export of American oil to a country outside of North America in nearly four decades”.

Despite Barack Obama repeating this shipment did not represent a change in Washington’s energy trade policy, environmentalists worry the country will turn into a major oil exporter and keep exploiting its sub-soil resources further.

Etudiant en journalisme à SciencesPo Rennes

A Canadian brings digital methods to Kosovar youths

Georges Labrèche is a social entrepreneur, computer engineer, and specialist in network and data. Canadian, more precisely a Franco-Ontarian, and globetrotter, he has settled for two years now in Kosovo. He co-founded…
Harold Hyman

Boko Haram: the Forgotten Nightmare

The death of over 2000 people in Nigeria over the last week shouldn’t be treated as second-class news. Boko Haram is successfully installing a climate of terror in the region in the context of the upcoming Nigerian parliamentary elections.
Maria Gerth-Niculescu

Kampala: Paying the Price of Rapid Urbanization

Kampala is being rapidly upgraded and organized at the cost of political stability and cooperation amongst authorities and what many of the poorer city dwellers - the very ones working to “re-build” the city - consider as abuses of...
Kalema Solomon

Torture: a response to devil’s advocates

Arguments in favor of torture, especially since the launch of the “war of terrorism”, have gained legitimacy in the eyes of many if it is carried out in the evasive name of security. These types of arguments, however, can be defused one by one...
Maria Gerth-Niculescu