Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Under a War-Torn Sky

Under a War-Torn Sky is a young adult war novel on a young man flying a B-24 in World War II. When his plane is gunshot and he is trapped behind enemy lines, he is assisted by kind French citizens to run away and get back to his home. Written by American author L.M. Elliott, the novel was first available in 2001. It won a number of honors on publication and has sold more than 200,000 copies in the U.S. and abroad.

Elliott drew motivation for the novel from her father, who served in World War II. He was a bomber pilot in real life and was shot down behind enemy lines, much like the key character in the novel.

The follow-up to this novel, A Troubled Peace, came out in August, 2009.

Universal information on the author and specific information for students, teachers, and media center experts can be found on the author's website.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Under a War-Torn Sky

Under a War-Torn Sky is a young adult war novel about a young man flying a B-24 in World War II. When his plane is shot down and he is trapped behind enemy lines, he is helped by kind French citizens to escape and get back to his home. Written by American author L.M. Elliott, the novel was first published in 2001. It won a number of awards on publication and has sold over 200,000 copies in the U.S. and abroad. Elliott drew inspiration for the novel from her father, who served in World War II. He was a bomber pilot in real life and was shot down behind enemy lines, much like the main character in the novel. The sequel to this novel, A Troubled Peace, came out in August, 2009.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Volunteering in War-Torn Places: The Case of Invisible Children

Invisible Children is more than a volunteer organization: it’s a movement. The longest running conflict the African continent has ever known is happening now, led by one man named Joseph Kony. Invisible Children works to publicize the conflict while organizing support, maintaining education programs in the region, and establishing economic initiatives to rebuild. Their focus is on restoring a sense of normalcy while providing opportunities for people who have been solely focused on survival for a very long time. Understandably, this is a difficult mission in a place with such a complex social and political history.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Iraq War

The Iraq War (or War in Iraq) began on March 20, 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by the United States under the administration of President George W. Bush and the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Tony Blair. The war is also referred to as the Occupation of Iraq, the Second Gulf War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom by the US military.

Prior to the invasion, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom asserted that the possibility of Iraq employing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threatened their security and that of their coalition/regional allies. In 2002, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1441 which called for Iraq to completely cooperate with UN weapon inspectors to verify that it was not in possession of weapons of mass destruction and cruise missiles. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) was given access by Iraq under provisions of the UN resolution but found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Additional months of inspection to conclusively verify Iraq's compliance with the UN disarmament requirements were not undertaken. Head weapons inspector Hans Blix advised the UN Security Council that while Iraq's cooperation was "active", it was not "unconditional" and not "immediate". Iraq's declarations with regards to weapons of mass destruction could not be verified at the time, but unresolved tasks concerning Iraq's disarmament could be completed in "not years, not weeks, but months".

Following the invasion, the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its nuclear, chemical, and biological programs in 1991 and had no active programs at the time of the invasion but that Iraq intended to resume production once sanctions were lifted. Although some degraded remnants of misplaced or abandoned chemical weapons from before 1991 were found, they were not the weapons which had been the main argument to justify the invasion. Some U.S. officials also accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of harboring and supporting al-Qaeda, but no evidence of a meaningful connection was ever found. Other reasons for the invasion given by the governments of the attacking countries included Iraq's financial support for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, Iraqi government human rights abuse, and an effort to spread democracy to the country.

The invasion of Iraq led to an occupation and the eventual capture of President Saddam, who was later tried in an Iraqi court of law and executed by the new Iraqi government. Violence against coalition forces and among various sectarian groups soon led to the Iraqi insurgency, strife between many Sunni and Shia Iraqi groups, and the emergence of a new faction of al-Qaeda in Iraq. In 2008, the UNHCR reported an estimate of 4.7 million refugees (~16% of the population) with 2 million abroad (a number close to CIA projections) and 2.7 million internally displaced people. In 2007, Iraq's anti-corruption board reported that 35% of Iraqi children, or about five million children, were orphans. The Red Cross stated in March 2008 that Iraq's humanitarian situation remained among the most critical in the world, with millions of Iraqis forced to rely on insufficient and poor-quality water sources.

In June 2008, U.S. Department of Defense officials claimed security and economic indicators began to show signs of improvement in what they hailed as significant and fragile gains. In 2007, Iraq was second on the Failed States Index; though its ranking has steadily improved since then, moving to fifth on the 2008 list, sixth in 2009, and seventh in 2010. As public opinion favoring troop withdrawals increased and as Iraqi forces began to take responsibility for security, member nations of the Coalition withdrew their forces. In late 2008, the U.S. and Iraqi governments approved a Status of Forces Agreement effective through January 1, 2012. The Iraqi Parliament also ratified a Strategic Framework Agreement with the U.S., aimed at ensuring cooperation in constitutional rights, threat deterrence, education, energy development, and other areas.

In late February 2009, newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama announced an 18-month withdrawal window for combat forces, with approximately 50,000 troops remaining in the country "to advise and train Iraqi security forces and to provide intelligence and surveillance". General Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, said he believes all U.S. troops will be out of the country by the end of 2011, while UK forces ended combat operations on April 30, 2009. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said he supports the accelerated pullout of U.S. forces. In a speech at the Oval Office on 31 August 2010 Obama declared "the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country." Beginning September 1, 2010, the American operational name for its involvement in Iraq changed from "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to "Operation New Dawn." The remaining 50,000 U.S. troops are now designated as "advise and assist brigades" assigned to non-combat operations while retaining the ability to revert to combat operations as necessary. Two combat aviation brigades also remain in Iraq. According to the Associated Press, however, "combat in Iraq is not over," and "U.S. troops remain involved in combat operations alongside Iraqi forces, although U.S. officials say the American combat mission has formally ended."
However on October 21, 2011, President Obama announced that all U.S. troops and trainers would leave Iraq by the end of the year, bringing the U.S. mission in Iraq to an end.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Some countries hit hard

Some countries hit hard
The problem of child deaths is most acute in Sierra Leone, Angola and Afghanistan, all war-torn countries where sufficient health services are often unavailable for children to reach age five, said the report.

Sub-Saharan Africa, where the rate has dropped by only 14 per cent since 1990, is home to 28 of the 30 countries with the highest child mortality rates, and is the region of greatest concern, according to the study.

Some regions, such as East Asia and the Pacific, central and eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, have reached a roughly 50 per cent decrease in child mortality since 1990. In those places, the rate has dipped below 30 deaths per 1,000 births, the report said.

Some Sub-Saharan African countries have managed to achieve rates far better than the region's troubling average.

Mozambique, for example, has seen a 41 per cent drop in child mortality, largely as a result of government and aid agency training aimed at providing the country's rural population with inexpensive and effective health tips on topics like breast feeding, hydration and mosquito nets.