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Archive for the ‘Eurasia’ Category

Roundup of Recent CRS Reports About the Middle East and the Arab World

May 18, 2015 Comments off

Roundup of Recent CRS Reports About the Middle East and the Arab World (PDFs)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

 

Governance of Online Intermediaries: Observations from a Series of National Case Studies

May 4, 2015 Comments off

Governance of Online Intermediaries: Observations from a Series of National Case Studies
Source: Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University

This project examines the rapidly changing landscape of online intermediary liability at the intersection of law, technology, norms, and markets, and is aimed at informing and improving Internet policy-making globally. It is a first output of a larger initiative on the governance of online intermediaries and represents a globally coordinated, independent academic research project by the Network of Interdisciplinary Internet & Society Research Centers (NoC) consisting of a case study series exploring online intermediary liability frameworks and issues in Brazil, the European Union, India, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam, and a synthesis paper.

EU — Technology And Education: Opportunities And Side-Effects

April 27, 2015 Comments off

Technology And Education: Opportunities And Side-Effects
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Technology arouses great expectations as far as its impact on learning and teaching is concerned; yet to date these are only partially satisfied. Although there has been huge public investment and progress has been made, the pace of integration of technology in education is slower than expected. This may be due to the fact that evidence of its benefits remains elusive. The Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) study on Teaching and learning technology options, spotlights technology options for education in Europe, presenting both the opportunities and the risks involved. Lead Panel Member for the study is Paul RÜBIG, Chair of the STOA Panel.

Education technology encompasses a wide range of tools, services and methodologies that, when used correctly and in combination, help develop the potential of the education environment. The study identifies four underlying trends affecting this environment. Firstly, enabling technologies improve broadband internet access for European households and schools, thus promoting full and fair access to online educational resources. Secondly, cloud technologies, allow delivery of on-demand services through the network by third parties, encouraging information and content sharing, and collaborative working environments. Thirdly, mobile devices facilitate a more dynamic and user-friendly use of technology by shifting the focus from fixed connectivity, based on shared personal computers, towards mobile and multimedia personal connectivity. Lastly, technical support is a core issue for the long-term availability of technological improvements, which require constant maintenance.

The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security: Implications for the United States and U.S. Army

April 13, 2015 Comments off

The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security: Implications for the United States and U.S. Army
Source: RAND Corporation

Vladimir Putin’s decision to annex Crimea and attempt to destabilize eastern Ukraine have sparked widespread concern among Western policymakers that Russia has embarked on a confrontational national security policy that could have far-reaching implications for Russia’s relations with the United States and for European stability. The annexation of Crimea challenges two basic assumptions underlying U.S. policy toward Europe in the post–Cold War era: (1) that Europe is essentially stable and secure, thereby freeing the United States to focus greater attention on other areas, particularly Asia and the Middle East, and (2) that Russia had become more of a partner than an adversary. The annexation of Crimea and attempt to destabilize eastern Ukraine suggests that both these assumptions need to be revisited because Russia can hardly be viewed as a partner. The requirement that NATO may now have to build a much more robust deterrence and defense posture in Eastern Europe would require the Army and the Air Force to revisit their planning assumptions that have minimized U.S. military commitments to the region since the end of the Cold War.

FALQs: Soviet Investigation of Nazi War Crimes

April 1, 2015 Comments off

FALQs: Soviet Investigation of Nazi War Crimes
Source: Law Library of Congress

Recently, people all over the world remembered how the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated 70 years ago on January 27, 1945. Our readers might be interested to learn about the legal basis for the Soviet authorities’ involvement in the collection of evidence, investigation of crimes committed in the camp, and the prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators of these and other crimes. While the most notorious Nazi war criminals were tried in Nuremberg, and those accused of murdering people in Auschwitz were prosecuted later in separate trials in Poland and Germany, the collection of evidence and prosecution of war crimes had started well before the Soviets liberated Auschwitz.

The Russian economy: Will Russia ever catch up?

March 31, 2015 Comments off

The Russian economy: Will Russia ever catch up?
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

Over the past 25 years, Russia has undergone dramatic economic changes, with the difficult reforms and catastrophic economic collapse of the 1990s, the boom years of the new century, the global economic crisis and the current downturn. Despite all these developments, many of the structural economic challenges faced by Russia remain unchanged since Soviet times. Bountiful natural resources have helped to fuel growth, but at the cost of an unhealthy dependency, as the current situation so clearly illustrates. This problem is acknowledged by the Russian government, which under Dmitri Medvedev’s presidency in particular, declared its intentions to diversify and modernise the economy. However, the continued flow of gas and oil money has removed the incentive to undertake serious economic reforms, and these have faltered as a result. Many of Russia’s structural problems are inherited from Soviet and even Tsarist times. Large swathes of the economy remain under state control, and there are numerous barriers to both domestic and international competition. Businesses struggle with red tape and ubiquitous corruption. Despite Medvedev’s stated objective of developing an ‘intelligent economy’, and the country’s traditional strengths in research, development, innovation and education, Russia continues to underperform in these areas. Over the past few years, the Russian government has simplified bureaucratic procedures, launched a high-profile anti-corruption campaign, privatised state-owned companies, overhauled the education system and invested in innovation. However, such initiatives have brought measurable improvements in only a few areas. Aggravated by these structural issues, falling oil prices and economic sanctions have led to a rapid deterioration in the economic situation. The rouble has lost half its value, inflation has shot up, formerly sound public finances look increasingly shaky, and the economy is forecast to tip into recession in 2015. How quickly Russia recovers from its current difficulties will depend on whether or not oil prices pick up and sanctions are eased. Regardless of these, however, structural problems are likely to continue hampering the process of economic modernisation for the foreseeable future.

Open Data in the G8

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Open Data in the G8
Source: Center for Data Innovation

In 2013, the leaders of the G8 signed an agreement committing to advance open data in their respective countries. This report assesses the current state of open data efforts in these countries and finds substantial variation in their progress. Moving forward, countries have many opportunities to enhance their open data capabilities, such as by increasing international collaboration, better educating policymakers about the benefits of open data, and working closely with civil society on open data initiatives.

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