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Category: Humanitarianism

“Mosaic” versus “Melting Pot”: Passing the Mantle of “A Nation of Immigrants”

Written by Francesca Speed.

On November 8th, the United States elected Donald Trump as its forty-fifth president. Just six days earlier, the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series, ending a record-setting 108-year drought. The last time the Cubs won the World Series, Israel Zangwill’s The Melting Pot had just made its theatre debut, and with the election of Trump, one must ask whether the era of using “the melting pot” as a metaphor for the multiculturalism of American society has come to an unceremonious end.

What are the UN sustainable development goals?

Written by Asghar Zaidi.

At the end of one of the largest summits at the United Nations headquarters in New York, government representatives from all over the world will sign a commitment to new global development goals. These will replace the millennium development goals, setting objectives for bringing peace and prosperity, and reducing the impact of climate change.

UN member states have agreed on a list of 17 broad goals and 169 more specific targets. These goals are not legally binding but they will be important. They are aimed at eradicating hunger and poverty, while at the same time promoting peace, prosperity, health and education and combating climate change.

The SDGs come into effect at the end of 2015, following the completion of the millennium development goals (MDGs), and cover the period 2016-2030. Unlike the MDGs, which were aimed largely at poorer countries, the SDGs are designed to be universal. The idea is to involve the whole world in taking responsibility for development.

Typhoon in Philippines reveals underlying political failings

By Pauline Eadie

On Friday 8 November super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) traversed the Philippines leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The Philippines lies in the western Pacific and is the first major landfall above the equator before continental Asia. The Philippines is an archipelago comprising of thousands of islands. It is directly in the path regular typhoons that roll in from the Pacific. The capital Manila often bears the brunt of the typhoon season but this time the weather system struck land further south in the Visayan region. The storm came hot on the heels of a 7.2 earthquake in the same region in October. The earthquake demolished many historic buildings, left over 200 dead and many of the survivors were still living in tents when the typhoon hit.

The Eastern Visayan town of Tacloban has become the poster town for Yolanda in the international media. Over 10,000 are feared dead although there is no immediate prospect of an official death toll given the chaotic situation on the ground across a wide area. Despite the warnings many people in Tacloban were unable to find adequate shelter as the storm hit. People were advised to head for concrete structures. One of those chosen as a refuge, the airport, was completely destroyed by the strength of the storm. The images coming out of Tacloban are reminiscent of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The devastation to the city is near complete. Dead bodies litter the streets and virtually no structures are left standing.  A similar although less extreme picture is emerging from other areas in the region.