Chapter 13 Blog

http://www.charismanews.com/world/42311-us-evangelicals-work-to-end-prostitution-in-thailand

The sex trade (prostitution) in Thailand is a booming part of the growing economy. Granted this is not a legal career, it is one that is tolerated and produces about seven percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Prostitution in Bangkok is seen all around the city in massage parlors, karaoke venues, and go-go bars with veiled fronts. Around here made-up women stand waiting for Western tourists. So what does this all mean in a lifestyle context for the women providing these services? Well, most of these women find that the money can’t be beat, and many are working to send money home to another country. The city, police, and foreign leaders have tried to impose their good nature and money towards healing this issue, but they have mostly failed. The Thai government has not been good in enforcing laws, and when women get out of jail they generally go back to the job anyway. Nowadays there are some alternative approaches to solving this problem. One company called Nightlight has employed women to make jewelry and crafts for $250 a month plus benefits. Another place called the Can Do bar in the sex district of Chang Mai has approached the issue by paying at or above minimum wage teaching women how to have safe sex, and how to handle violent situations. This being said, while governments like the U.S. may provide funding to help trafficking, the only real viable options that are making a difference so far are the alternative solutions.

In my opinion, prostitution cannot be solved in Thailand, and I really believe that this is okay. All through time we have seen prostitution throughout the world. I do agree that it is a sad career, but sex sells and can make money fast. In America such a thing is not tolerated, yet it occurs around us all of the time. For Thailand to try and prevent this would be a waste. Instead they should work to find alternative solutions like the ones stated above. Teaching about safe sex, or providing safe places for prostitution would be the best idea for a country such as Thailand. Rather than trying to stop the women from doing this, the police should just regulate what goes on with an easy hand. There does not need to be direct supervision, but there does need to be a safe atmosphere provided. The best response for Thailand is to tolerate and accept, and all we need to do is realize that what one country relies on for income is not always like the rest.

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Chapter 12 Blog

http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=67554

Nepal, a developing country in South Asia is adopting the use of e-governance within their government. Here the use of Information Technology (IT) will help to service the general public, the business sector, and day-to-day government needs. One example of success in e-governance is that citizens or businesses can pay taxes online to the Department of Inland Revenue. One major disadvantage to the program is the fact that people are not aware of everything it entails. The citizens of Nepal think this is just email, websites, and the use of computers, when in reality the software will allow for good efficiency in the government and eventually all businesses. The use of computers allows for a paperless environment as well. Guidelines have been established for the future growth of this technology so that the government systems will be secure, structured, and able to communicate fluidly with one another. Once the government has fixed the use of IT, then the business arena will follow suit. The only thing left once these programs are created in both sectors is to educate the citizens of Nepal who fear the loss of jobs when computers come into play. With adequate training and education the people of Nepal will be able to work faster and increase their productivity, hence leading to a better economy in the country.

Nepal, a slow growing country is now taking steps to improve their place in this world. In my opinion Nepal is making a valiant effort to change the way their economy is being run. It is a very good thing that they are starting in the government because once this is sorted out businesses can follow much easier. If they were to start with businesses, the system would most definitely fail. The reason for this is because most citizens of Nepal see the computer world as foreign and need a good example in front of them before they are willing to understand it themselves. If this IT sector does indeed work, Nepal has a great chance to develop their society and get in touch with the rest of the world. Once communications are developed and people are educated, new ways of living will evolve in this beautiful South Asian country and the economy will flourish.

Chapter 11 Blog

http://www.voanews.com/content/china-sets-clean-air-targets/1825676.html

Beijing has reach international acclaim! However, this is because they had a record high year of air pollution. In the next three years China has set new goals to lower their pollution that has been blamed for nearly 500,000 premature deaths a year. Each province will need to cut their emissions based on the level of pollution and their economic needs. To get a quick start they are breaking it down to a local level, rather than just a regional level. One of the biggest issues China is facing is their need for coal to supply their energy. The need for coal is increasing yearly and it is one of biggest polluters of the air today. For China to reduced their emissions they would need to start by finding a diversity of power production. This energy could come from resources such as wind, solar, or natural gas. China has not already used these options because as a developing country the prices of these resources is much more costly and would require a complete restructuring of their economy. With these pollutants we are seeing the growth of the GDP in country go down, which means a change needs to be made in the coming years. This being said, officials in each area are now responsible for the quality of the air in their respective areas. With each person being held accountable we will hopefully no longer see businesses or schools being shut down for record high pollution. Instead we will be hoping for a clear sky and a new means to produce energy in a growing economy.

In my opinion China is in the perfect place to restructure their economy right now. This country has been on the rise in production for quite some time, and before they get any bigger they need to make a change. For someone like the United States this would not be as easy, but since China is still being established they have the ability to set new ways of production. Granted it would cost them quite a bit of money to develop new ways of energy, they would at least benefit in the long run. If China makes these new uses of energy apparent they would see their death rates lower and their air cleaner. China is in a position to make changes, changes that would influence the economy of their own and those surrounding them as well.

Chapter 9 Blog

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russian-anti-gay-bill-passes-protesters-detained/

Russia may be a country that is rising economically, but politically they need some help. The anti-gay movement has been in full swing since last year, and it is only getting worse. A bill was passed by Parliament in June that stigmatizes the Russian gay community and bans the distribution of any homosexual related material. The country stated that these efforts are to promote Russian traditions instead of Western Liberalism. Before this bill was passed there were rallies outside the State Duma in Moscow. Gays even had a “kissing rally.” During this rally many people were detained, arrested or beaten up. Besides this being passed, Russia is considering the ban of same sex-marriage couples to adopt children from their country. The lawmakers of this country say that the gays have lowered their already low birthrate and that they should be denied medical treatment or government jobs. Involvement of the television network even occurred, saying gays should be denied the ability to donate blood, sperm, organs for transplant, and that their hearts should be burned after death.

All in all, this country is doing some horrible things to the citizens of their country. It baffles me that Russia thinks these motives will help to protect their traditions. Just because they are not allowing gays to be open doesn’t mean they aren’t still going to reside in their country. Russia does have a problem with their growth rate and their giant country does need a bigger population, but blaming this on the gay community is an outrage. The part that really got me was the burning of their hearts after death. Does Russia really think these people are not human and deserve this kind of treatment? All around the world people are coming to terms with the fact that there are communities of gay people and that they live their lives how they would like. For Russia to deny these basic human rights will not help their economy to flourish. If Russia wants to move up in the world they need to be open to the way our world is evolving. If they want to live in the past with this kind of nonsense, so will their economy.

Chapter 8 Blog

http://profit.ndtv.com/news/global-economy/article-many-jobs-in-europe-go-begging-for-skills-376766

Throughout the world, and since 2008 we have seen issues within the economies of countries like the U.S. and the EU. In Ireland they are not only facing issues with unemployment, but they are also finding that people are not skilled for the jobs available. With the base of available jobs being in the innovation-based and IT sector, positions have not been easy to fill. A growing number of jobs are available in these areas, but too few people are graduating with the degrees needed to adequately supply this arena.  Without the graduates or the population having the skills needed for companies like Microsoft, PayPal, and Fujitsu, Ireland has had to recruit for employment abroad. The article stated that half of the technology jobs had been filled with foreign workers and around 4,500 jobs were still unfilled due to lack of qualifications. In response, Ireland’s government has now started a series of retraining and higher-education programs that will help people learn the skills needed to fill the jobs available. While doing this they have also revamped the look of engineering, mathematics, and science degrees so that their growing innovation-based economy will be able to support itself.

In my opinion Ireland is going to have a lot of work to do in the next few years. With jobs mainly being in the technology sector, students and the rest of the population will not really have a choice in the work they want to do. However, if they do well in revamping the look of these degrees at universities, the economy should be able to sustain itself. The only sad part about this is that students don’t really have the ability to choose their dream career anymore. Granted, they may find something they love about this growing sector, they will not have the freedom to explore that creativity they were promised when they were younger. Like the rest of world, we are finding that money is starting to come first, second to satisfaction of doing what we love.

 

Chapter 7 Blog

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/5049/21/Egypt’s-path-to-a-better-future-.aspx

Over the past year or so Egypt has experienced a state of constant turmoil. However, in June of 2013 when the citizens overthrew the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, things started to look up for the country. Unknowing to the government, the Rebel Tamarod Movement collected over 25 million Egyptian signatures and called for a mass demonstration on the date of June 30th. This demonstration called for the termination of the Muslim Brotherhood and their leader in power, Mohamed Morsi. Reasons for this were that Morsi had broken promises of what he would do during his first 100 days in office. The Muslim Brotherhood had a self-serving roadmap plan for Egypt and this plan divided the unity of the country and led to much civil strife. During the twelve months of the brotherhood rule, crises, clashes and strikes led to many casualties and a lowering of economic prosperity. With a country divided the economic growth rate fell below two percent, unemployment rose, tourism fell, there were shortages of food and gas, and there was an increase of imports from the Muslim Brotherhood tycoons. All of this together created a significant lowering of the Egyptian pound in relation to the U.S. dollar. The Brotherhood was tearing down everything Egypt stood for, so when June 30th came around, Egypt was ready to make a change. Granted after about six months things are still not back to normal, Morsi has been overthrown and the country is on a slow path to getting back to where they were. With Adli Mansour as their new interim president their new roadmap for recovery will promote more education, better healthcare, an energy and water plan, a population redistribution plan, a road transportation plan, and a defense plan to name a few.

In my opinion, Egypt is on a great road to recovery. Granted they have had quite a tragic year, they are on a path of unity and prosperity. I would not quite say that it was a good thing for the Muslim Brotherhood to be in control, but it made the country realize that they had to join together to save themselves. A country that can work together, can grow together. The fact that 25 million people signed a petition and over 30 million people took part in a mass public demonstration says a lot. This country believed in themselves to make a change, and this change is definitely paying off now. Could you imagine 30 million people standing at the White House doing this? I could not. Therefore this country is ahead of the game to me. Egypt saw what was happening and stood up for change, realizing that since they had already lost so much, they couldn’t really lose much more. The right people are now in office and the country is in a much better place to help their economy grow even more than they could in the past. This country is incredible for standing up to what matters, and should be admired for never giving up their rights to justice.

Chapter 6 Blog

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/12/senegal-shady-farmland-agreement-2013128163622616878.html

Senegal, a small country in the western part of the Sub-Sahara is facing some tumultuous times with foreign farmers. In the town of Ndiael a large agricultural project from Italy is taking place. According to the article, the land that was originally considered a nature preserve is now being used to grow sunflower seeds for export to Italy. Here foreign investors were granted 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres) of farmland. This project has affected over thirty villages, taking over animal grazing land and water resources. The people of the villages have been outraged, but there is not much they can do when the government is blocking access to what was previously theirs. What is even more interesting is that this land was so easily acquired by Italy. For years local farmers tried to gain full ownership rights to some of this land but were denied the right to do so. A non-profit published an article stating that private investigators were looking further into the matter. Here they found that investors are remaining legally and politically hidden and that no single person is taking full claim to the ownership of the project. Also, what was originally supposed to be an investment for agro-fuel production is now unclear. What is growing on the land has changed multiple times and local police block access to everyone.

My reflection of this article is that the governments are playing a mean game. It does not make sense for foreign countries to be able to access land that locals were not allowed to own. With investors being hidden and without the release of information on what is growing, things are getting suspicious. Somewhere within this scenario a lot of money is being pushed between the two countries. If Senegal is providing police to block this land, it means that the country itself is taking part in what Italy is exporting. The people of Senegal deserve to know what is going on around them, and the people of the villages deserve to have new access to the resources they lost. All in all something needs to change or someone needs to set the story straight.

Chapter 5 Blog

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/03/puerto-rico-marijuana-reform_n_4537896.html

Puerto Rico is taking steps in the government for the decriminalization of marijuana. This re-proposed bill would allow for the possession of up to fourteen grams of the drug. Last year this was approved by the Puerto Rican Senate, but did not ever make it past the House. The reason why they are trying to get this passed again is because of the overcrowding in jails within the country. Currently, people can spend up to three years in jail for the possession of this substance. The government is starting to think that jail sentences such as these are not the way people who use marijuana should be treated. They feel that these small crimes can be taken care of in simpler ways. When this bill was originally proposed last year there were two options; one, to decriminalize weed, and two, to provide medicinal use of the drug. Surprisingly, the majority of the country was in opposition to either of these proposals. This year when the proposal goes through again, Senator Miguel Pereira will only fight for the decriminalization of the drug. In doing so he plans to set fines of one hundred dollars for the first offense and then increased fines for multiple offenses.

In my opinion, Puerto Rico is taking a step in the right direction. For a small country to take a leap like this is huge. In the United States marijuana is still considered a schedule one drug, but in comparison we see much more abuse from other substances. Puerto Rico is making a smart decision to try and get this bill passed. Marijuana is not a substance that should require time in jail unless there are extreme circumstances. Freeing up space in jail will not only help the economy’s tax dollars, but it will also give authorities the time to put those people in jail who are committing much worse crimes. A small step like this will allow for Puerto Rico to make liberal stances on other objectives in the country as well.  A country like this could benefit greatly, and maybe in the distant future we will see the legalization of marijuana to boost the economy as well.

Chapter 4 Blog

http://www.global-perspectives.info/index.php/international-edition/2013/quarterly-four/374-latin-america-female-share-in-labour-market-rising

In Latin America, the job market is not as equal as it is in the United States. Women in Latin America are still discriminated against and cannot find jobs as easily as men, nor do they get paid the same wages. Right now the employment rate of women is at about forty percent, compared to men at about sixty percent. One thing noted is that women who have a higher education are finding jobs easier than those without, but men regardless of education still can find jobs easier. Not only are women less likely to be in executive positions, they are also subjected to working more hours with less pay then men. Next is the fact that women who are in the household raising children are more likely to be in informal jobs with unstable working conditions and low pay. The gender gap in Latin America is of high discrimination, but it may also be due to the culture the people live in. Regardless of the culture, it is still the fault of the economy for not putting forward public policies to change this.

Reflecting on this article I am so thankful to live in a country where women are taught to work just as hard as men and that they are allowed to do so. Within Latin America women have to fight to be able to have a job, they have to consistently prove themselves. Throughout history we have seen women starting to take bigger leaps in the economy. In Latin America especially, they have been able to make themselves useful in greater society, and are able to acquire jobs that were originally considered male careers. If women in Latin America were taking a bigger place in the economy we might see a lowering of poverty levels because more income would be coming into a household. With more women in the workforce we would also see inequalities go down, as we would see men and women being treated fairly, as equals to one another.

Chapter 1 Blog

According to Webster’s definition, geography is a science that deals with the description, placement, and interactions of the physical, biological and cultural parts of the earth. Geography is a Greek word meaning “earth description,” and this can also be translated as, “to describe or write about the earth.” The study of geography has been going on since before the death of Christ, but it has evolved ever since. There are four historical traditions of study; spatial analysis, area study, man-land relationship, and Earth science research. These traditions not only study objects and land, but also the interactions of each other and how they have changed over time.

This winter course I expect to learn a lot about the world that I live in. Some days I am in conversation with people and realize that I do not even know the placement of the countries around me. I remember when I thought the Philippines were located where the Caribbean is! Last year during summer I took a European geography class and fell in love with it, hence the reason I am in this course now. Through these short weeks I hope to understand the placement of the countries in this world, and also where they stand in the economic realm. So far it seems that culture has started in Europe, but economics has originated (or has the most influence) from America. What is most fascinating to me is the interaction between the countries. No matter where one country stands, someone else is always affected.

Besides learning about the interactions of the countries, I am also excited to learn about the cultures and populations of each country. Considering I have a passion for traveling, everything I learn will help me to decide where I want to go next and what people I want to be around. Having the history and knowledge from this course will hopefully create desires in me to travel places I never once knew about.