South Sudan

Where is South Sudan?

It is located in central Africa, bordered by 6 countries, and is the newest nation on Earth after gaining independence in 2011. Despite being a country rich in oil it is a very poor and underdeveloped country.

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Tensions in South Sudan

South Sudan gained independence through a referendum which saw the public vote by a large majority (98.8%) to break away from Sudan. Since gaining independence there has been a lot of unrest and border battles between Sudan and South Sudan. The death toll continues to increase daily. Fortunately, conflict has not yet reached the capital, Juba.

One issue the government wants to fix quickly is the oil business. Production had been put on hold for a while, which proved damaging for the country’s already brittle economy.

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A coup plot

This month the South Sudan government announced there had been a coup d’etat (a seizure of power). The Sudan Liberation People’s Army, a group loyal to the President Kiir, fought with another group loyal to the former vice President, Riek Machar. This has resulted in the death of at least 500 people.

Civil war?

Gerard Araud (President of UN Security Council) has sent warnings of a “fully-fledged war throughout the country”. Refugee camps have been set up by the UN – currently, there are 20,000 people who have taken refuge in Juba. There is a lot of conflict and tension and that is set to continue.

Is war inevitable? Should South Sudan give in to Sudan or should they fight to support the will of the people?

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Nigerian Students Shot Whilst They Slept

The Boko Haram group in an attempt to overthrow the government has launched numerous attacks on schools in Nigeria leaving North-Easter Nigeria in a state of emergency.

Boko Haram was founded in 2002 which was initially set up to oppose western education. In 2009 the group set up military operations to create an islamic state in Nigeria.

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The attacks happened at the College of Agriculture in Yobe state whilst the students slept and it is suspected approximately 50 students have been killed and another 1000 students have run away from the campus. After shooting and injuring many students the gunmen also set fire to some of the classrooms.

Although the government had previously tried to stop Boko Haram’s operations, which did have temporary success, the group soon came back for revenge against the Nigerian government. 

Other attacks they have committed include a shooting a school on the outskirts of Maiduguri and another in the village of Mamudo in Yobe state. 

How do you think the government should ‘crack down’ on extremist groups such as Boko Haram?

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Guns In America

Gun policy has been a very contentious issue in recent years, especially in the light of the incidents at Sandy Hook and Aurora. As a result Obama has made some key proposals:

  • Reintroduce an expired ban on “military-style” assault weapons
  • Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
  • Background checks on all gun sales
  • Ban on possession and sale of armour-piercing bullets
  • Harsher penalties for gun-traffickers, especially unlicensed dealers who buy arms for criminals
  • Approve the appointment of the head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

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Here are some statistics on guns in America which sparked Obama’s desire to propose such changes”

  •  9,960 people were killed by a gun in the USA in 2010, a rate of 3.2 per 100,000 people.
  • They have the 26th highest death rate by guns annually in the world
  • Gun ownership is declining – In 1990 46% of households and 29% of individuals said they owned a gun, today this has fallen to 32% and 21

The second amendment of the constitution gives American citizen the right to “bear arms”. As a result, the reforms proposed by Obama has created arguments, feeling that he is becoming ‘imperial’ in manner, taking the law into his own hands and becoming to dominant – something the Founding Fathers wished to prevent through their implementation of a series of checks and balances on the executive.

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Obama’s Gun Control Proposals

Obama has unveiled his gun policy proposals despite a lot of opposition from those on the right of the political spectrum. The proposals were released on Wednesday after receiving urgent cries for changes to the constitution and laws surrounding gun control. Obama announced that “we have an obligation to try” to reduce violence and called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and wider background checks on gun buyers.The National Rifle Association (NRA), a very powerful US gun lobby group, declared their rejection of Obama’s proposals,  saying that “attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation”.

The president urged Congress:

– to reintroduce an expired ban on “military-style” assault weapons, such as those used in several recent mass shootings

– limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds

– introduce background checks on all gun sales; currently private sales and some sales at gun shows, constituting about 40% of the national total, are exempt

– pass a ban on possession and sale of armour-piercing bullets

– introduce harsher penalties for gun-traffickers, especially unlicensed dealers who buy arms for criminals

– finally approve the appointment of the head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

However, it is clear that the propositions would encounter stiff opposition in Congress with “politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty”. The US has one of the highest rates of civilian gun ownership in the world. The second amendment of the US constitution states, with qualifications, that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Yet Obama, it has been argued, appears to be taking the law into his own hands by implementing strict gun controls. Although the meaning of the clause is still debated, many gun-rights advocates read it absolutely and oppose any curbs on access to weapons.

What are your views on Obama’s gun control policy?

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A Digestible Week – Week 1

Sunday 6th January 2013 is the first week of ‘A Digestible Week’. This is a weekly video of the new and politics of the past week in an easy-to-understand and digestible format! Please watch the video below:

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Gun Law in the USA

In the wake of the Aurora, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania shootings in 2012, the debate over gun law in the USA has been sparked, and whether citizens of the USA should have a ‘right to bear arms’ as seen in the second amendment of the constitution.

President Barack Obama has made his stance for firmer gun control clear stating that there needs to be “change” and would he would “use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this”. Here is what he had to say:

The National Rifle Association (one of the largest pressure groups in the USA), however, is a keen supporter of guns. In a statement after the Newtown shootings the NRA stated that “the only thing that can stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.” Their stance is that there should be armed guards in school as to protect them from ‘a bad person’. They went on to say that if Adam Lanza (the gunman in Newtown) had been confronted by armed guards then “it’s possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared”.NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre had this to say:

In one supreme court case, District of Columbia vs Heller, the US Supreme Court found the second amendment to the US constitution protects an individual’s right to own guns for the purposes of self-defence. There seems to be little desire to amend the law…

What America should do is pass the Fix Gun Checks Act which would prevent the loophole that enables 40% of people to buy guns without passing a background check. This bill would also mean that states and the federal government would have to send all previous criminal records and mental illnesses to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. For America, getting rid of guns is a no go option, but there is most definitely room to address the deal and pass some form of gun control.

What are your views on the gun debate? Leave your comments below.

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