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  • New Look at Global Policy After “Failure” of War on Drugs

    For decades, an ongoing war has rivaled many of the longest-running conflicts in the world in terms of cost, casualties and time. It is the war on drugs. Here in the United States and worldwide, especially in Latin America, the consequences of the illegal drug trade, a multibillion dollar underground industry, have been severe. It has led to countless deaths, shattered families and neighborhoods, and even destroyed the fabric of entire cities.

    But some world leaders are now calling for a new approach to this war, an approach that focuses less on prohibition and more on regulating and even controlling the drug trade.

    More than 40 years ago, President Richard Nixon famously declared drug abuse "public enemy No. 1." A decade earlier, in 1961, a United Nations treaty set limits on narcotics for medical and scientific purposes, and also proposed international cooperation to combat drug trafficking. The U.S. took the lead in that war. Now, the U.N. General Assembly has voted to take a new

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  • Crises, Scandals, Celebrations: 2012 in Review

    While 2012 may not have had such defining movements internationally as the Arab Spring of the previous year, it was punctuated by significant events around the world, from crises to scandals to celebrations.

    Fighting between rebels and government forces continued in Syria, claiming more than 40,000 lives and exacerbating a humanitarian and refugee crisis. In September, a trailer for an anti-Islam film posted on YouTube led to massive protests worldwide. In an attack still under investigation, Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi. There was also saw a flare-up of tensions between Israel and Hamas, with eight days of violence along the Gaza border. Meanwhile, an economic crisis plagued Europe, with anti-austerity protests in several cities. And in Africa, rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo seized the eastern city of Goma, resisting calls to leave and threatening the capital, Kinshasa.

    Elections in several key regions

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  • U.S. Lagging in Modern-Day Space Race

    When the Space Shuttle Atlantis made its final landing at the Kennedy Space Center in July 2011, NASA's future plans to launch astronauts were left up in the air.  This, even as other countries, notably China, said they had concrete exploration plans and committed budgets.

    In the original space race of the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet Union launched the first human being, Yuri Gagarin, into orbit in 1961.  The United States gradually caught up; Neil Armstrong was first to walk on the moon in 1969.

    In the decades that followed, Russia concentrated on space stations while the U.S. tried to turn its space shuttle into an affordable way to launch astronauts and satellites.  But after the loss of the shuttle Columbia in 2003, the U.S. decided to wind the program down.   It is now trying to outsource some launches to private companies such as SpaceX, while NASA, working with a limited budget, develops plans for deep space exploration.

    Meanwhile, the Chinese space program moves slowly along. 

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