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  • Author: Jefferson Fox, Duong Nong, Miguel Castrence, James Spencer, Sumeet Saksena, Nguyen Lam, Tran Duc Vien, Michael Epprecht, Chinh Tran, Melissa Finucane, Bruce Wilco
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) continue to significantly threaten human and animal health. While there has been some progress in identifying underlying proximal driving forces and causal mechanisms of disease emergence, the role of distal factors is most poorly understood. This article focuses on analyzing the statistical association between highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 and urbanization, land-use diversity and poultry intensification. A special form of the urban transition—peri-urbanization—was hypothesized as being associated with 'hot-spots' of disease emergence. Novel metrics were used to characterize these distal risk factors. Our models, which combined these newly proposed risk factors with previously known natural and human risk factors, had a far higher predictive performance compared to published models for the first two epidemiological waves in Viet Nam. We found that when relevant risk factors are taken into account, urbanization is generally not a significant independent risk factor. However, urbanization spatially combines other risk factors leading to peri-urban places being the most likely 'hot-spots'. The work highlights that peri-urban areas have highest levels of chicken density, duck and geese flock size diversity, fraction of land under rice, fraction of land under aquaculture compared to rural and urban areas. Land-use diversity, which has previously never been studied in the context of HPAI H5N1, was found to be a significant risk factor. Places where intensive and extensive forms of poultry production are collocated were found to be at greater risk
  • Topic: Health, Infectious Diseases, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Dieter Ernst
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: China's new strategy to upgrade its semiconductor industry (outlined in the "Guidelines to Promote National Integrated Circuit Industry Development," June 24, 2014), seeks to move from catching-up to forging ahead in semiconductors, by strengthening simultaneously China's integrated circuit (IC) design industry and domestic IC foundry services.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Industrial Policy, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Palestinian refugee question, like the refugees themselves, has been politically marginalised and demoted on the diplomatic agenda. Yet, whenever the diplomatic process comes out of its current hiatus, the Palestinian leadership will be able to negotiate and sell a deal only if it wins the support or at least acquiescence of refugees – because if it does not, it will not bring along the rest of the Palestinian population. Refugees currently feel alienated from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which they regard with suspicion; doubt the intentions of Palestinian negotiators, whom they do not believe represent their interests; and, as one of the more impoverished Palestinian groups, resent the class structure that the PA and its economic policies have produced. As a result of their isolation, refugees in the West Bank and Gaza are making demands for services and representation that are reinforcing emerging divisions within Palestinian society and politics. There arguably are ways to address refugee needs, both diplomatic and practical, that are not mutually exclusive with core Israeli interests. This report examines what could be done on the Palestinian side to mitigate the risk that the Palestinian refugee question derails a future negotiation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Refugee Issues, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The situation in Rakhine State contains a toxic mixture of historical centre-periphery tensions, serious intercommunal and inter-religious conflict with minority Muslim communities, and extreme poverty and under-development. This led to major violence in 2012 and further sporadic outbreaks since then. The political temperature is high, and likely to increase as Myanmar moves closer to national elections at the end of 2015. It represents a significant threat to the overall success of the transition, and has severely damaged the reputation of the government when it most needs international support and investment. Any policy approach must start from the recognition that there will be no easy fixes or quick solutions. The problems faced by Rakhine State are rooted in decades of armed violence, authoritarian rule and state-society conflict. This crisis has affected the whole of the state and all communities within it. It requires a sustained and multi-pronged response, as well as critical humanitarian and protection interventions in the interim.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Post Colonialism, Religion, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Omer Ali Saifudeen
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The starting premise of this study is that internet-based communications possess unique characteristics that warrant the need to have a discrete pathway model to explain online radicalisation. This online radicalisation pathway model would especially apply to the growing communities of young netizens whose socio-psychological makeup is shaping a ―new normal‖ in the way we exchange information and interact. The proposed Cyber Extremism Orbital Pathways Model (CEOP) describes how online cognitive radicalisation can move towards real-world violent extremism. The model also elucidates the multitude of competing forces in cyberspace that promote or impede such radicalisation and what this means for online counter-radicalisation strategies. The CEOP model is based on inferences made from content and discourse analysis of extremist narratives on the internet and current studies about internet-based communications. The research took into account distinctive factors that made internet-based messaging more persuasive and this includes the effects of crowdsourcing. Finally, the CEOP model suggests how the same persuasive communication strategies used on the internet by extremists can be conversely used to counter online radicalisation.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Science and Technology, Communications, Sociology, Youth Culture
  • Author: Jeffrey Miron
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In November 2012, voters in the states of Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives that legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia are scheduled to consider similar measures in the fall of 2014, and other states may follow suit in the fall of 2016.
  • Topic: War on Drugs, Social Movement, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Colombia
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Under its “Greenlight Pinellas” proposal, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), which serves Pinellas County, FL, wants to switch its major funding source from a property tax to a sales tax at a rate that will more than double its local tax revenues, and use the added money to build a 24-mile light-rail line and expand bus service. This proposal is extremely and unnecessarily expensive given that buses can provide a superior service to light rail, carrying more passengers more comfortably to more destinations at a far lower cost.
  • Topic: Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark A. Calabria
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Empirical research on the causes of financial crises has grown in recent decades. Early work, such as that by Kaminsky and Reinhart, helped establish the link between asset prices and banking crises. While this initial research focused on equity prices, subsequent research expanded the analysis to include residential property prices. This subsequent research is briefly reviewed here. After establishing the link between residential property prices and banking crises, I discuss the role of various credit policies, both for their impact on property prices and for the stability of the financial system in the face of declining property prices. The role of specific loan characteristics, such as loan-to-value (LTV), will be discussed first, followed by the role of institutional leverage. Policy recommendations conclude.
  • Topic: Debt, Global Recession, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nigeria's presidential, parliamentary and state gubernatorial and assembly elections, scheduled for February 2015, will be more contentious than usual. Tensions within and between the two major political parties, competing claims to the presidency between northern and Niger Delta politicians and along religious lines, the grim radical Islamist Boko Haram insurgency and increasing communal violence in several northern states, along with inadequate preparations by the electoral commission and apparent bias by security agencies, suggest the country is heading toward a very volatile and vicious electoral contest. If this violent trend continues, and particularly if the vote is close, marred or followed by widespread violence, it would deepen Nigeria's already grave security and governance crises. The government, its agencies and all other national figures must work urgently to ensure that the vote is not conducted in an explosive situation as this could further destabilise the country.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Ethnic Government, Governance, Sectarian violence, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 22 May, for the twelfth time in Thailand's history, the army seized power after months of political turbulence. This is not simply more of the same. The past decade has seen an intensifying cycle of election, protest and government downfall, whether at the hands of the courts or military, revealing deepening societal cleavages and elite rivalries, highlighting competing notions of legitimate authority. A looming royal succession, prohibited by law from being openly discussed, adds to the urgency. A failure to fix this dysfunction risks greater turmoil. The military's apparent prescription – gelding elected leaders in favour of unelected institutions – is more likely to bring conflict than cohesion, given a recent history of a newly empowered electorate. For the army, buyer's remorse is not an option, nor is open-ended autocracy; rather its legacy, and Thailand's stability, depend on its success in forging a path – thus far elusive – both respectful of majoritarian politics and in which all Thais can see their concerns acknowledged.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Governance, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand