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Release Peace: THe Magazine

The Big Stories

This section is made for those who want to see the bigger picture. We cover the challenges of the twenty-first century for you. We connect the dots. From great power politics to cyberspace.

The Big Stories: Geopolitics & Global Trends

The Congolese Mine Where the Uranium for the U.S. Atomic Bombs Came From

It was the Shinkolobwe mine in that part of the DRC that provided two-thirds of the uranium used in the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The mine's legacy for the local population lives on. This is a story few will have heard about.

An emerging ‘new Cold War’ appears to pit the West, led by the US, against autocracies. To reduce economic, there is growing pressure to engage in so-called 'decoupling'. Past instances of decoupling show that such processes often exacerbate global conflict. A cautionary tale.

The Anthropocene, which is the most recent period of Earth’s history, where human activity is significantly impacting the climate and ecosystems, has highly impacted our planet. Indigenous practices could help alleviate some truly large scale challenges the human race is facing.

A group of Swiss women won a landmark case against their government at the European Court of Human Rights. National courts in The Netherlands, Belgium, and the US likewise forced governments to address climate change. Will the courts shape the 21st century in this way?

The euphemisms that are meant to refer to menstruation are abundant, encapsulating how a woman’s menstrual cycle has always been enshrined in taboo. From hunter-gatherer to religious influences and advertising, this articles looks at a taboo topic that should not be one.

A human right is a universal standard for how every person ought to be treated or what they ought to have access to. Human rights are inherent. A cantilever argument is used in human rights discourse to argue for the recognition of a new human right because of its similarities with an existing human right. That is, the same moral logic can be used for both.

Every year, CIVICUS published the State of Civil Society Report. It highlights the role civil society (CSO) plays around the world, as well as the challenges CSOs and the communities they are part of face. We picked three countries that have almost disappeared from the global radar to shed light on underreported stories.

The space programme has civilian and military dimensions. It is about more than just shooting satellites into space. However, it also presents a lifeline for Russia in light of the heavy sanctions the latter is under since its 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Throw C4ISR into the mix and the space race is on.

Whilst growing US-China tensions have been in the spotlight, the relationship between the United States and India is no less significant. India has long tried to balance a security relation with the US with its economic one with China. Over the past few years, this balance may have shifted.

Stigma and poor sanitary conditions lead to the phenomenon of period poverty in many parts of the world. Anyone, men or woman, should learn about it.

Some 1 in 5 terrorist acts may be funded with the help of cryptocurrency channels. In 2021, around $7.7 million in assets were subject to Israeli seizure notifications on cryptocurrency accounts reportedly linked to Hamas. Social media likewise play a significant role in soliciting funds.

There is currently no effective cure against AIDS. In the 1980s, the disease was stigmatised as a “gay plague” by many commentators in Europe and the US. This led to a profound lack of research on AIDS and HIV. An approximate 36 million people have tragically died since the epidemic peaked. But there is hope.

Still to this day, many North Koreans who live in Japan struggle to create a sense of belonging on the island they moved to decades ago. To provide its people with a cultural saturation and to pass on the Korean cultural heritage to future generations, the North Korean regime established ethnic schools across Japan. This is a story with two faces.

Deep in the Indo-Pacific a security dialogue between the US, India, Australia, and Japan is being re-born to keep a certain rising dragon at bay. Though originally established for the purpose of maritime cooperation after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the coalition now has a much broader agenda and one specific goal.

Almost 95% of all space technology that currently resides in Earth’s orbit can be classified as dual-use, meaning it can be used for both civil and military purposes. And the majority is. Most satellites have the capability to perform various military actions, be that reconnaissance or surveillance or any other form of information gathering. But some other developments in space are less expected, yet just as lethal.

Female genital mutilation or ‘FGM’ is defined by the World Health Organisation as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. Consideration of the long-term implications of FGM provokes a lump in one’s throat, devastation over the treatment of women and girls in today’s world, and sombre admiration for the resilience of FGM survivors.

As different as Germany and India are when it comes to, say, GDP per capita, they do face similar challenges. Both countries produce very little oil and gas and are therefore reliant on energy imports. Both countries rely heavily on coal to power their economies. Is that where the similarities end?

‘Indo-Pacific’ has almost become a buzzword. Whether on the economic, technological, or security issues –analysts never tire of stressing the region’s importance. Has Europe come round to acknowleding it?

Tetiana Pechonchyk is the head of the board of Kyiv-based Human Rights Centre ZMINA. We spoke with her about the flood of criminal proceedings in Ukrainian courts, Russian show trials, the case of Iryna Danylovych, and the emotional impact of ZMINA’s work on the own investigators

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a state visit to the White House in 2023, he and Biden released a joint statement.It was the US-India Comprehensive Global and Strategic Partnership. And it is now gaining traction.

It might seem perfectly logical to believe that having the high ground during a conflict means an ultimate victory. But what if we take outer space into account? Would the weaponization of outer space by a single actor necessarily mean their absolute domination over terrestrial matters? Surprisingly, controlling outer space may have a smaller impact than one might think.

Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) are a growing part of the toolkit of advanced militaries. They are distinguished by their capability to operate in “uncontrolled” environments in which they are triggered by their surroundings, not by humans. This brings with it questions beyond the simply ethical dilemmas that have been pondered before.

A few years ago Fiji's government was facing international isolation. The post-coup economy of the beautiful island, crippled by tough sanctions, was in chaos. But the vacuum did not last for long. Instead of lashing out at the international community, Fiji turned to an old friend to come to the rescue. What happened next tells something we should all know about the current global power struggle between China and the West.

The challenges facing trade multilateralism are several and affect all three pillars of the supposed guarantor of global trade, the World Trade Organization (WTO): negotiation, dispute settlement, and transparency are all up for discussion.

Nanotechnology exists on the nano-scale – between 1 and 100 nanometers, or an astonishingly tiny billionth of a meter. Breakthroughs on this tiny scale allow for improvements in various sectors including engineering, medicine, and biology. As has been true for most technology, there has been a growing interest in its weaponization.

With the internaional, rules-based order being increasingly in peril and the attention of the United States shifting from Europe and the Middle East to Asia, India will occupy a central role in 21st century geopolitics. Moreover, 2022 marks the year in which it will become the most populous country in the world. India's role in the global order certainly warrants a closer lok.

International Human Rights Law is aims at protecting the most vulnerable. A person who is both a refugee and LGBTQ+ person is positioned at the intersection of an insecure refugee status. Many will be surprised to hear how weak their protection is.

Originally called the UKUSA, a "communication agreement" between Britain and the U.S. was created one year after the second World War had come to an end to deepen the relationship between the two victorious countries. The agreement was shortly after extended to include Canada in 1948, and Australia and New Zealand in 1956, thereby creating what is today known as the Five Eyes network.

In the words of former US President Ronald Reagan, “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”. Asking a state to give up the most powerful weapon in existence may seem like a mammoth, or even impossible, task. Yet denuclearisation is not unheard of. Ukraine, South Africa, and Libya have given up their nuclear weapons programmes. We take a historical look at those cases.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 102 times since 1901 and the number of nominations has grown over the years. The current record for candidates was in 2016 when a total of 376 candidates were submitted. The Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in the world. But how is it determined and who can make submissions in the first place?

At the 2022 Boao Forum for Asia, China's President Xi Jinping unveiled what he termed a “Global Security Initiative” (GSI). The security initiative builds on the “Asian model“ of security. What is China's understanding of this model and how will it shape global security and its relations with the United States?

Many of the key minerals for building electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar plants can be found in Africa and South America. This opens promising opportunities for local economies. However, the world risks exploiting the resources of the future the same way as we exploited the resources of the past.

Watching a war movie can make you wonder how soldiers, who repeatedly experience life-threatening situations, still have determined and confident looks on their faces. Once the war is over, the heroes return home and live happily ever after. We walk out of the cinema or switch off the television, while the movie's happy ending radiates a glow of relief over us. But is it really that easy in real life?

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