On Wednesday, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization formally invited the former Yugoslav nation of Montenegro to join the ranks of the 28 member alliance, despite Russian protests to the contrary.
Montenegro has been a partner of the alliance for a long time leading up to this offer of admittance into the alliance, starting with membership with the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program in 2006, and being awarded a Membership Action Plan (MAP) in 2009.
As such, this offer was seen by most observes as not a matter of if but when.
As a former Yugoslav country, Montenegro has traditionally been within the Soviet and later Russian sphere of influence.
Despite the 1999 bombing campaign by NATO, which included targets in Montenegro, the small country on the Adriatic coast has consistently sought integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.
Russia’s general antipathy to expansion of NATO, in addition to a continued loss of influence likely motivate the resentment to this announcement.
Montenegro’s ascension into the alliance would further seal the Adriatic Sea from Russian warships, and further its ability to project into the Mediterranean Sea.
In keeping with NATO’s values, Secretary General Stoltenberg has reiterated that: “on defense adaptation, on domestic reform, especially rule of law, and to continue to make progress in demonstrating public support for Montenegro’s NATO membership”.
This mirrors earlier calls by the Secretary General in June to bolster public support for membership, before becoming a member of NATO.
According to the New York Times, current public support in Montenegro for alliance membership is at 47 percent and opposition at 39 percent, though there are also fears that the Kremlin could pump money into parties opposed to NATO membership as they have with France’s National Front.
Cover Photo Credit: U.S. Army Europe Images/Flickr (CC by 2.0)
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About the Author"John Massey has a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Alabama. His primary interest is in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but he also finds time to study French and political theory. "
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The Department of Justice is investigating the North Miami Police Department for possible violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act stemming from the shooting of Charles Kinsey in July.
The DOJ notified the North Miami PD on Monday of their decision to investigate the police force and asked for a series of documents to be handed over to them within three weeks.
According to the Miami Herald, the DOJ has requested the following from North Miami:
“-The names of each police officer that responded to the incident
-Any documents showing disciplinary actions against police staff
-All investigative records in the case
-All excessive force complaints filed against the city’s police officers that were filed in the last five years
-Several other documents showing the department’s policies on force, crisis de-escalation and dealing with people with disabilities”
In an email sent to constituents, North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin said that the city would be pushing to have all officers wear body cameras by March of 2017 and that the police has purchased 18 “bean bag rifles”, which can be used in situations where “less-lethal” force is needed.
North Miami will issue an RFP for body cameras next month. It is expected the City Council will choose a vendor in January 2017 and the cameras will be in place by March 2017.
The investigation started in the aftermath of the shooting of unarmed therapist Charles Kinsey by a North Miami police officer.
Kinsey was shot three times in the leg, but the Miami-Dade Police Union President said that Kinsey’s autistic patient was the intended target of the bullets.
The officer who shot Kinsey, Jonathan Aledda was apparently aiming at Kinsey’s autistic patient according to the Miami-Dade police union president.
The shooting made national headlines and brought the issue of racial bias and violence against disabled people into the fore.
A public records request from RISE NEWS found that the North Miami police department does not have any “specific policies” in terms of how its officers interact with people with disabilities, including autism.
Read the full letter sent to the North Miami PD from the DOJ
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Cover Photo Credit: Rich Robinson/ RISE NEWSPost Views: 928
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Campbell Erickson is a connector of young people.
Campbell Erickson is resourceful.
Campbell Erickson embodies entrepreneurialism.
Campbell Erickson is 16 years old.
Last summer, Erickson sent out a call to action to fellow Austin, TX teenagers who follow him on his Instagram account. The call was for people who wanted to make an impact and to change a particular narrative around the nascent nation of South Sudan.
But this isn’t just about Erickson. In response to his call, six Austin based teenagers, attending different high schools and varying in age have come together to start a project they call “A Youth Mind.”
“‘A Youth Mind’ comes from the idea that literally the minds of youth, I feel personally, aren’t recognized as much as they should be this day and age, especially when it comes to documentation and recognition of places, people and culture,” Erickson said. “The mind of a kid who is growing up is so open and so creative.”
But that’s just the name. It was the end goal of changing the conversation around different parts of the world that attracted the others to the project.
“Ignorance, to me, is my greatest fear. If you have resources and have things available to you, you have to choose to be ignorant. If you can choose to understand people and choose just to know things, why would you choose not too? Team member, Sophia Alami-Nassif, 17, said.
“People think you’re doing this cute little project. It made me want to work harder to make people understand. To almost prove to people we are not that little kid project.”
The goal of A Youth Mind is to combat ignorance through education. Through an Indiegogo campaign that raised $1,700, the A Youth Mind team is set to purchase disposable cameras that they will send through their NGO Austin-based partner, Lone Star-Africa Works, to South Sudan.
Once the cameras make it to the young people in South Sudan communities, they will use the cameras to shoot raw footage of their homes, their schools, their families and their friends.
Then they will send the photos back to Austin to the A Youth Mind team. The goal will be to distribute the photos as print books made through a platform called Weeva that will be sold to buy more cameras. The photos will also be distributed to various traditional and social media channels for maximum exposure.
After South Sudan, the team’s hope is to expand to other countries.
“We want to increase awareness using the raw image of a country like South Sudan instead of the Western media taking the photo.” Erickson said. “The final goal is to create an exchange between communities because we want young people all over the world to grow up with this awareness of other young people, this awareness of other cultures, of other places.”
As young people trying to combat ignorance in other young people, the A Youth Mind team is receiving a different kind of education outside of traditional schooling.
This project is not a school project. It is not a charity. It is a global humanitarian partnership started by young people who are passionate and want to remain engaged with the world.
“I actually believe in this. We are receiving validation from the feedback we are getting, and I don’t necessarily feel like you always get that in school,” Alami-Nassif said. “I feel like you are just expected to show up and do a task. The thing about this project is that it focuses on humanity, and I think school is really lacking that.”
The experience in entrepreneurial leadership and global awareness that the team is gaining cannot be quantified in a grade.
Nor can the ‘real world’ aspect be quantified, which was apparent when the team found themselves representing A Youth Mind at a booth at SXSW Eco in October in Austin, TX.
“It was humbling. It was a step into reality,” Ori Green, 16, said. “It wasn’t necessarily condescending, but you could see how being a kid and trying to start something like this, you get those natural ‘arts and crafts’ kind of feels to it. People think you’re doing this cute little project. It made me want to work harder to make people understand. To almost prove to people we are not that little kid project.”
Some SXSW Eco conference-goers did understand. Using a whiteboard, dry erase markers and a goal to spark conversation, the A Youth Mind team engaged conference participants by asking them to write the first word that came to mind when they think of Africa.
“We were going for stereotypes and things you think of when don’t really think of Africa. But we got so many amazing ideas and people’s thoughts,” Joshua Tsang, 16, said.
SXSW Eco was a pivotal reality check for the team.
“Afterward, I had to take a step back and think, ‘Woah, this is kind of actually going somewhere big.’ It was the first real deep breath of actuality for this,” Green said.
While the future looks bright for A Youth Mind, the project is not without its challenges. But with true entrepreneurial resourcefulness and dogged determination, the A Youth Mind team is accepting challenges in stride.
“One challenge is how do we get cameras through customs in South Sudan? We have a solution and this is working with churches over there to help get the cameras through.” Erickson said.
Flexibility, determination and a collaborative team will get the first round of photos back from South Sudan in the early part of 2016.
The goal is for the first book to be published by the summer of 2016.
“Our plan is to execute this first project and see what went good and what went bad and how we can make it better,” Green said. “How can we do it cheaper, more efficiently. Then after we do that we have a world of options. Literally.”
Photo Credits: Submitted.Post Views: 1,216
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By Jasmin Ouseph
Here’s some breaking news. Sports are a pretty big deal to many people around the world.
Worldwide, football (or soccer, as we Americans have coined it) indisputably ranks as the most popular sport according to numerous sources.
In the United States, however, soccer comes in at a mere fifth place (based off TV ratings and revenue generated by league), preceded by ice hockey, basketball, baseball, and American football.
The premier soccer league in the United States and Canada is Major League Soccer (MLS), sanctioned by the US Soccer Federation, the official governing body of the sport in America.
The mission statement of US Soccer reads, “to make soccer, in all its forms, a preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels.”
While gridiron football, baseball, and basketball are the preeminent American sports by general consensus, with others like auto-racing and ice hockey being more regional in their popularity, there isn’t a very defining pattern among the MLS’ viewership.
Among fans of the sport in general, opinions on the MLS specifically are mixed. The league is growing popular with young adults especially.
Kenneth Nti, a student at the University of Florida, believes that the MLS has “grown magnanimously from its birth within the nineties” and has the potential to establish a “soccer platform similar to those in Europe or South America.”
Statistically, at least, the MLS is on the rise.
A lot of that potential comes from the attention of international superstars that settle in the MLS upon retiring from Europe. Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard now plays for the LA Galaxy while Premier League and Serie A wonders Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, respectively, both play for New York City FC.
Others, meanwhile, simply lack an interest in the MLS.
Leon Peter, a student at Nova Southeastern University, finds that although soccer is his favorite sport, he doesn’t pay much attention to the MLS.
“The play is just sloppy, not as clean,” Peter said. “The skill isn’t as apparent.”
It seems others with similar opinions would rather stick to the Premier League, La Liga, and other European tournaments that see more training, more funding, and more resources overall than the MLS does.
The possibility of a home MLS-member club to support would create a great addition to the league’s fan base.
Given the immense popularity of the sport in Latin America, and the rich Latinx presence in South Florida, David Beckham’s supposed proposition for a Miami-based MLS club would likely be met with big interest.
Statistically, at least, the MLS is on the rise.
According to Amy Rosenfeld, a Senior Coordinating Producer for ESPN who oversees all soccer content for the network (including broadcast of the UEFA Champions League, US Soccer games, and MLS), success for the league according to ESPN standards would physically look like higher ratings.
Given that the MLS is barely 20 years old (it was established in 1996, two years after the US first hosted the World Cup), its ratings are looking pretty impressive.
MLS national TV ratings have increased by 18% from the 2014 year average total.
Currently, ESPN2’s broadcasts are averaging 283,000 per game.
With the 2015 MLS Cup match last Sunday, featuring a 2-1 win for the Portland Timbers, ratings were up 4% for ESPN, 40% for Fox Sports and 3% for UniMas.
Soccer is the world’s sport, and it is slowly but surely on its way to becoming a bigger deal in the US.
While European league matches are still drawing on average three times the weekly viewers the MLS gets, that shouldn’t rule out the hope that the MLS will see a growing fan base and greater national interest in the years to come.
Cover Photo Credit: Ryan Knapp/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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Correction: 12-9-2015 1:37 AM EST- A previous version of this article had the wrong final score for the MLS Final. The Portland Timbers won 2-1.Post Views: 1,031
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