by Pier Washpon

In Oslo and ‘Oslo,’ Humanity is Key
July 27, 2017
The play ‘Oslo’ and the city of Oslo provide opportunities for negotiations to bring two unwilling sides together by building relationships. Humility and humanity foster long lasting peace.

Russia to seize US properties in retaliation over sanctions
July 28, 2017
After the U.S. senate passed legislation to hit Russia with new sanctions, Russia took action to reduce the number of diplomats, suspend the use of U.S. storage facility and a country house. Trump still has to sign or veto the bill, but Congress has enough of a majority to override a potential veto.

After North Korea Test, South Korea Pushes to Build Up Its Own Missiles
July 29, 2017
The United States is in negotiations with South Korea that will allow them to build more powerful ballistic missiles. North Korea launched another intercontinental missile that has the potential to reach the West Coast, Chicago, and New York. Washington is urging China and Russia to agree to a set of economic sanctions, including a reduction in oil supply.

On the Syrian frontline, the battle against ISIS is reaching its crescendo
July 28, 2017
Syrian troops and Hezbollah fighters are using the Qalamoun and Karra Mountains to defeat ISIS. They train together and share resources to push ISIS out of the area.

US hits Venezuelan ‘dictator’ Nicolas Maduro with sanctions after ‘sham election’
July 31, 2017
Nicolas Maduro held an election to rewrite the constitution which the opposition said was a power grab. General HR McMaster called the Venezuelan president not only a bad leader, but a dictator. The Trump administration threatened to impose sanctions on Maduro, but held off on sector sanctions, like the state-owned oil company.   

China Rallies Support for Four-point Israeli- Palestinian Peace Plan
August 1, 2017
China’s UN ambassador, Lui Jieyi, wants the international community to support President Xi’s four point proposal. The four points are advancing the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, ending Israeli resettlements, coordinating international efforts for peace-promoting measures, and promoting peace through development and cooperation between Palestine and Israel. Israel and Palestine are important for China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.

Peace Corps speaks: We only ‘lobbied senators,’ we didn’t bribe them
August 1, 2017
Dickson Akoh is accused of bribing lawmakers with cash rewards and job slots to get the Nigerian Peace Corps bill passed. The bill would make the Nigerian Peace Corps group a legal paramilitary organization.

Pentagon has plans to arm Ukraine against Russia- backed rebels
August 1, 2017
Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, supports sending anti-tank and antiaircraft missiles to Ukraine to deter Russia from trying to capture new territory. If Trump approves the plan, he risks further angering Russia and if he does not, it would be bring more scrutiny to the special investigation.

Pennsylvania school district to let transgender students use bathroom of their choice
August 1, 2017
A settlement was reached after a lawsuit was filed against the Pine-Richland school district claiming their policy mandating that students use restrooms matching their biological sex was discriminatory. Gender-identity inclusion and an undisclosed payment were also part of the settlement.

Afghan Mosque Suicide Bombing Kills Dozens
August 1, 2017
A Shiite mosque in western Herat was attacked by a suicide bomber, killing about 29 people and wounding over 60. The Taliban released a statement denying responsibility.

Liberia’s President Calls for Peace as Election Campaigns Begin
August 1, 2017
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf urges for peace as the third presidential election following the 14-year civil war-which ended in 2003- approaches. Standing vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, current senator and former soccer star George Weah, one-time rebel leader Prince Johnson, and human rights activist MacDella Cooper are all candidates for President.