By Amar C. Bakshi, CNN
I recently sat down for an interview with U.S. Ambassador for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer, who came out strongly in favor of family planning even as a political battle is heating up within the U.S. about those very same rights. Ambassador Verveer insisted:
"Family planning is one of the best public health interventions that can be made. It makes such a difference in a woman's life for her to be able to have the wherewithal - the family planning contraceptives available - so that she can decide the size and the spacing of her children....It is just unfathomable that women can't get the access that they need."
Below is an edited transcript of the interview where Ambassador Verveer speaks about the affect of the Arab Spring on women, the great costs of gender discrimination, the role of religion and culture in repression and much more.
I recently sat down for an interview with U.S. Ambassador for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer, who came out strongly in favor of family planning abroad even as the Texas legislature and the U.S. Congress considered measures that many say would restrict those very rights here in the U.S.
Watch the video above for an excerpt. The full video interview will go up on Tuesday.
Below is an edited transcript of the full text interview where Ambassador Verveer speaks about the affect of the Arab Spring on women, the great costs of gender discrimination, the role of religion and culture in repression and much more. FULL POST
The following is an edited transcript of an Uncommon Ground episode. Uncommon Ground is an interactive online show hosted by Amar C. Bakshi that connects people from around the world who are otherwise unlikely to talk in conversation about the main issues of the day. Using Cisco Technology, Uncommon Ground also enables the live audience to ask questions directly of the guests.
On February 15th, the following guests came online from around the world to discuss the unfolding situation in Syria:
Editor's Note: The following is an edited transcript of my interview with Abu Fares, a Syrian protester in Homs (identity withheld), Muna Jondy, a human rights attorney and president of United for a Free Syria based in the U.S. and Khaled Saleh, a Syrian National Council (SNC) Foreign Relations Official also based in the U.S. In the video above, the guests focus on the question of whether the international community should impose a humanitarian corridor on Syria.
Civil war in Syria? And life in Homs
Amar C. Bakshi (CNN world producer; host): Muna, from your vantage point, what is taking place in Syria right now? Is it a civil war?
Muna Jondy (human rights attorney): It’s not a civil war. With a civil war you’re talking about two relatively equal forces fighting. That’s absolutely not the case. It’s government aggression against protesters.
Many of the Free Syrian Army members defected - generally at the lower midlevel but nothing in terms of high-level defections. But the military force that the Free Syrian Army has is not enough to even defend itself. So I definitely wouldn’t describe it as a civil war. But I do think that the longer the international community takes to take serious action to protect civilians, the more likely this is going to spiral out into a full-armed uprising.
Amar C. Bakshi: What is life like in Homs? Could you give a sense of what the day-to-day is like where you are?
Abu Fares (protester in Homs): We live a catastrophe here. Everyday we are exposed to the random killing of the al-Assad forces. Everyday we have dozens of murdered and wounded civilians. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Ambassador Stephen Bosworth was United States Special Representative for North Korea Policy from March 2009 to October 2011. He has also served as U.S. ambassador to South Korea, the Philippines and Tunisia. Currently, he serves as Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.
Amar C. Bakshi: What do you make of Kim Jong-un?
Stephen Bosworth: He is an unknown quality. We don't know exactly how old he is. He spent a couple of years in Switzerland, studying at a middle school there where he was portrayed as the son of the embassy chauffeur.
I can’t believe that he’s going to have any real authority within the system in North Korea without the concurrence of all senior military and civilian leaders. They’re not engaged in some sort of a suicide mission. They’re not about to turn their fate over to a 28-year-old or 29-year-old untested person, even if he is Kim Jong-il’s son and Kim Il-sung’s grandson. FULL POST
Editor's Note: The following is an edited transcript of my interview with Sheldon Garon, a professor of history and East Asian studies at Princeton University and author of the new book, Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves.
Why Americans don't save
Amar C. Bakshi: U.S. household saving rates peaked in the 1980s at around 11 percent, and by 2005, they had plummeted to near zero. How did America go from a nation of savers to a nation of consumers?
Sheldon Garon: Well, in fact, before World War II we weren’t a nation of great savers. We were a nation of OK savers. Those who did save, saved a lot. But as late as 1910, most Americans didn’t have a savings account. Unlike Europeans and Japanese, they lacked access to savings institutions that would accept very small deposits—such as savings banks and postal savings banks.
But then in the two World Wars, and particularly in World War II, the federal government intervened to encourage ordinary people to save in ways the Europeans and Japanese were doing at the time.
The U.S. government undertook two innovations. First, it introduced U.S. savings bonds right before World War II, and they became very popular and very accessible during and after the war. So that was one of the ways people saved and became good savers in America. FULL POST
Welcome to Uncommon Ground, a new discussion series on CNN Digital that brings people together from around the world for unlikely conversations.
Wednesday at 10:15a.m. EST, we’re discussing the ongoing violence in Syria with a panel of leading analysts from Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria and Russia.
Is Syria in civil war? Will the army splinter? Should the international community intervene? What would a post-Assad Syrai look like?
You can join the discussion directly and pose your own questions.
At 9a.m. EST today, I will be hosting GPS' first live online video discussion with three Syrians - two expats and one dissident in Homs, Syria.
We will discuss the ongoing violence in Syria, international efforts to halt it, and what the country could look like after Bashar al-Assad.
You can join the discussion here and submit questions in real time. Enter your name. The password is uncommon.
Email me at amar[dot]bakshi[at]turner[dot]com with any questions before the event.
Harvard Business School alumni offer up ideas in a new report based on nearly 10,000 responses to a survey of 50,000 HBS grads. The report’s authors, "project directors Michael E. Porter, Lawrence University Professor and a leader in the field of corporate strategy, and Jan W. Rivkin, Rauner professor of business administration," write that business and government have important roles to play in keeping jobs in America:
"America’s political system, especially at the federal level, is letting us down, in ways that cut across political parties and span Presidential administrations and Congressional sessions. But it would be wrong to place either the U.S. competitiveness problem or its solution at the feet of the government. Business plays a role in creating even those problems that seem to stem from public policy. Take, for instance, America’s corporate tax code. The code is convoluted in part because government authorities have allowed it to be, but also because corporate leaders have relentlessly pushed for loopholes and subsidies that serve narrow self-interest. Part of the business agenda for U.S. competitiveness is to stop taking actions that benefit one’s own firm but, collectively, weaken America’s business environment." FULL POST
Harvard Business School alumni offer up rationales in a new report based on nearly 10,000 responses to a survey of 50,000 HBS grads. Note, in particular, a third of respondents cite the need for skilled labor as driving their outsourcing decision.
According to the report:
"During the past year, more than 1,700 respondents were personally involved in decisions about whether to place business activities and jobs in the U.S. or elsewhere. In these choices, the United States competed with virtually the entire world and fared poorly, losing two-thirds of the decisions that were resolved. Facilities involving large numbers of jobs, high-end work, and groups of activities located together moved out of the U.S. much faster than they moved in."
The study found:
"Of the 1,005 location decisions about potentially moving out of the U.S., the most common alternatives considered were China (42 percent), India (38 percent), Brazil (15 percent), Mexico (15 percent), and Singapore (12 percent)."
So what can be done? The authors have some ideas here.
Apple employs 43,000 people in the United States and 20,000 overseas, a small fraction of the over 400,000 American workers at General Motors in the 1950s, or the hundreds of thousands at General Electric in the 1980s. Many more people work for Apple’s contractors: an additional 700,000 people engineer, build and assemble iPads, iPhones and Apple’s other products. But almost none of them work in the United States. Instead, they work for foreign companies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, at factories that almost all electronics designers rely upon to build their wares.
“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House.
“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.” FULL POST
European Union foreign ministers imposed fresh sanctions on Iran Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.
The sanctions come because of Iran's "defiance of six U.N. Security Council resolutions and its refusal to enter negotiations over its nuclear program," Hague said in a statement from Brussels, Belgium.
The chart above from WSJ gives you a sense of why this really hurts.