Discussion highlights conflict in Ukraine

first_imgThe Hesburgh Center for International Studies hosted the event “Dinner and Discussion: The Crisis in Ukraine,” a discussion that focused on Russia, Ukraine and the political and ideological motivations that encompassed them on Tuesday evening.The discussion was led by Russian scholar Alexander Martin and leading international relations scholar Dan Lindley, who are both fellows of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. The pair attempted to explain the historical, political and ideological relationship Russia has with Ukraine, Europe and NATO.Martin said while there are similarities between the crisis in Crimea and the Cold War, there exists a failure to understand the Russian political system.“Russia is not a dictatorship in the sense that you might assume,”  Martin said. “The Russian government is a political machine. It’s a system in which multiple groups have to work together, but that is dominated by a small number of people, particularly Vladimir Putin”.Martin said Russia’s political system is largely influenced by people who occupy positions in the military, police and other occupations relating to defense and security, which is influential in international relations.“The people who dominate the Russian political system are people whose careers have mostly been spent in what Russians call the ‘power ministry,’ [where the] people’s number one concern has been national security. That leads them to view international affairs in terms of threats,” he said.Russia’s history and ideological viewpoint is crucial to understanding the events in Crimea, Martin said, for Russia is not just a nation, but a multinational empire.”[Russia] is a state with a unique purpose and a unique destiny,” Martin said. “Russians see themselves as having a special role or mission that is reflected in Russian orthodoxy and Soviet socialism.”Lindley mainly discussed the relationship between Russia and NATO. NATO created part of the problematic relationship between the U.S and Russia, Lindley said, due to its role in the fall of the Soviet Union.“The U.S looks at events in Crimea and the Ukraine from two main perspectives: liberal internationalism and conservative primacy,” Lindley said.Lindley defined liberal internationalism as an ideology centered on spreading western values and democracy to other countries, while conservative primacy places more importance on America’s relative position of power in the world.  Both views support NATO expansion in countries bordering Russia, yet fail to understand the implications, he said.“Both are wrong and both are dangerous in their approach and explanations to what’s going on.” Lindley said. Tags: alexander martin, Cold War, Crimea, dan lindley, dinner and discussion, Hesburgh Center for International Studies, nanovic institute fellows, nato, power ministry, Russia, russian political system, the crisis in ukraine, Ukrainelast_img read more

The renovating bug took hold for the owners of this former ugly duckling house

first_imgMore from newsNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by Parks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours ago14 Victoria Ave, Chelmer“What you look for is the ugliest property in the best street and you try and turn it into a nice property,” he said.They bought 14 Victoria Ave in Chelmer four years ago with the goal of turning it into a home that they would feel proud of.“The layout was pretty bad, it had a really small kitchen and the space in the dining room was sort of wasted,” he said.They expanded the kitchen, built a walk-in pantry and a fourth bedroom and renovated the bathrooms.The home was retiled and recarpeted and the backyard was landscaped with a new garden.“It was a pretty big piece of work,” he said. Dan and Keri van Eck with their son Kyle, 2, are selling their home at 14 Victoria Ave, Chelmer. AAP image, John GassFor Dan van Eck a house is more than a home — it is the hobby he sinks his teeth into when he’s not at his desk job.The native New Zealander is an IT worker by day, but by night and weekends he turns unloved homes into modern masterpieces.This Chelmer home is the fifth house that he and his wife Keri have renovated in their spare time to earn some extra cash.Having never learned a trade, he caught the renovation bug when he bought his first unit a decade ago in Auckland and needed to make it more animal friendly for his pet dog.“Then we went from one DIY job to the next and it just grew from there,” he said.Soon the couple realised that this new-found passion could be a tidy little earner in what was a booming Auckland real estate market. 14 Victoria Ave, ChelmerThey did intend to finish the renovation much earlier, but he said the birth of their first child, Kyle, caused a few delays.The home will be auctioned at the Queensland Tennis Centre on Tuesday, February 20 at 6pm by Cameron Crouch and Douglas May from Ray White Sherwood.last_img read more

Pygmies’ small stature evolved many times

first_img“Small is beautiful,” argued the British economist E. F. Schumacher back in the 1970s; although he was referring to ecologically appropriate technologies rather than people, the same might be true for humans living in tropical rainforests. Pygmies, small-statured hunter-gatherers such as this woman from the Batwa people of Uganda pictured above, live in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and many researchers have suggested that their diminutive size is an evolutionary adaptation to the rigors of rainforest life. But scientists have not been sure to what extent Darwinian natural selection is actually responsible for the Pygmy body type and how many times it has arisen over the course of human evolution. In a new study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international research team reports on its analysis of the DNA of 169 Batwa people from east central Africa, identifying genetic variations that appear to be closely associated with small size and that were apparently under strong natural selection. But when the team compared the Batwa genomes with those of 74 Pygmies from the Baka people of west central Africa, it found that the two groups had very different genetic profiles, even though they were equally small. The team concludes that the Pygmy body plan probably evolved independently multiple times within Africa, rather than having a single origin that then spread across the continent. And the strong signs of natural selection suggest that being small probably was indeed a specific evolutionary adaptation to life in the tropical rainforests. Leading hypotheses for why a small stature could have been advantageous range from downsizing to deal with food scarcity, better resistance to tropical heat, ceasing growth earlier so they can start reproducing sooner—or a combination of all of these factors.last_img read more