A Dangerous Retreat from Anticorruption Aid

GAB | The Global Anticorruption Blog

The US government’s drive to cut foreign aid in favor of increased military spending is shortsighted, even if one focuses only on national security objectives. This is especially true for aid devoted to supporting anticorruption efforts, which can act as a powerful tool for improving regional stability without direct, overbearing involvement in a region. The past decade has shown how difficult on-the-ground involvement can be, and anticorruption-focused aid can help secure dangerous regions and allow the US to withdraw some of it physical presence abroad.

One striking example of the danger that corruption poses to security and stability can be seen in the context of land use and land rights. When corrupt officials deprive people of their land, destroying both their livelihoods and often their local communities in one move, they may push those affected into a situation where violence may seem like the only option. For example, recent land…

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Galatians 6

Arlin Sorensen's Thoughts on Scripture

Paul wraps up his letter to the church at Galatia by focusing on the interaction between people and the church.  He begins by reminding them that we need to hold each other accountable, but to do it God’s way.  “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness”.  That seems simple enough, but is actually far from it.  The easy part is catching another in sin.  We’re all guilty, so it’s just a matter of watching and waiting.  But first realize that this verse applies only to Christ Followers – not the world at large – when Paul begins with ‘brothers’.  Secondly, the sin has to be caught, not something heard about or assumed.  Third, restoration should only come from a fellow Christ Follower who is spiritually mature and walking consistently with Christ.  Restoring another is not…

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South Korea, Japan welcome U.S. relisting North Korea as sponsor of terrorism

Kopitiam Bot

(Source: sg.news.yahoo.com)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang October 8, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS.

By Christine Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea and Japan on Tuesday welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism, saying it will ramp up pressure on the reclusive regime to get rid of its nuclear weapons.

The designation, announced on Monday, allows the United States to impose more sanctions on North Korea, which is pursuing nuclear weapons and missile programmes in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

“I welcome and support (the designation) as it raises the pressure on North Korea,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo…

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Forgiveness is difficult but a necessary way of life: Matthews Otalike

One of the most difficult subjects to write about is forgiveness; yet it is what is most desirable and necessary in everyday life and in society. It is the most talked about virtue but least practised. Most religions and society call for forgiveness. It is echoed by all but practised by few.


Since forgiving is divine as enunciated by the British Poet Alexander Pope, it takes divine love to know how to pardon and forget, a lot which knows how to remedy things and start over again. It is vital to inner peace and true quality of character. In Mt.6:15, Jesus makes the forgiving of others a requisite for divine forgiveness. Some people find this Jesus” statement difficult to understand and accept. They don’t see that reception of forgiveness inclines the redeemed individual to be forgiving as freely as he has been forgiven. The statement “freely you have received, freely give” applies here. For us to be receiving instruments, our souls must also be transmitters because forgiveness is both receptive and emissive. We take in and give out and one act is dependent upon another.


God’s forgiveness is not earned or deserved. It is His free gift flowing from heaven through Christ. In many cases, the wounded, unforgiving spirit may habour feelings of resentment, anger and even hatred that are buried deep within the subconscious regions of the mind and act as an obstacle to the infilling of the Holy Spirit.


Just as cloud or other obstructions can hold back the life-giving sunbeams, so does determined wrong-being close off from God’s forgiveness and an unforgiving attitude is total wrong-being. The wounded becomes the wounder and blocks receptivity to God’s forgiving love.


As it is, both forgiveness and forgiving are constant needs. There is no person who does not stand in deed of another’s forgiveness. Nor is there any, upon whom the demand for forgiveness is never laid. It can therefore be said that forgiveness is a rare phenomenon in human experiences because it is divine. So if forgiving is divine (God-like), Christians who are God’s children should be enabled to forgive.


In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, i.e. over-coming the rebellious creatures, not counting their trespasses against Him. God is the reconciler of the world to Himself, even though God is the one against whom humanity has set itself.


The Gospel of the crucified Christ reveals the gravity of the human situation. The imagery of enmity and reconciliation runs parallel in Paul’s thought in 2Cor.5:18ff to his imagery of guilt and justification i.e. acquittal. This is explicitly shown in Rom.5:11. While applying the legal figure of justification by grace, Paul emphasizes the wonder of divine forgiveness. In the development of this image of personal relations, the reconciliation of those who are estranged, Paul emphasises the gracious quality of divine love. God’s unconditional forgiveness and gracious act of reconciliation were shown to involve great costs.


To Paul, to be reconciled is the same as to be justified. His usage always implies our need to be reconciled to God, not God’s need to be changed at all in the divine attitude toward us. Justification is not a judge’s acquittal so much as a parent’s welcome (like the story of the prodigal son). Reconciliation brings in the idea of reunion with the life of the family.


What then is the nature of forgiveness: How does one offer forgiveness to another who has offended him/her and asked for forgiveness and even those who have not asked for forgiveness? Why is it so difficult or proves difficult to forgive? Speeches and teaching on forgiveness “being very hard” have been given by many people at different fora. What is responsible? Answers to these and other questions have been attempted in this book.

Data storytelling done right: 8 easy tips to avoid bad visualisation

Online Journalism Blog

tesselationIn a guest post for OJB, Steve Carufel interviews Dutch data journalist Thomas de Beusabout visualisation, storytelling — and useful new tools for data journalists.

Data journalism is, among other things, the art of resisting the temptation to show spectacular visualisations that fail to highlight the data behind a story.

Insights and relevant statistics can get lost in visual translation, so Thomas de BeusColourful Facts is a great place to start thinking more about clarity and your audience — and less about spectacular graphic design (although you do not want to forego attractiveness entirely).

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The Leadership Triangle


Andy Cunningham

ARE LEADERS BORN or are they made? The underlying assumption here, of course, is that an individual is either a leader or not, whether by genetics or education. Period.

The elite of higher education would have us believe that leadership can be taught; especially if you are one of the privileged attending classes at a top tier university offering courses in leadership. But there are others who believe leaders come out of the womb with a mission to lead. Either way, we assume that leadership is dependent on personality traits and/or skills. That once a leader, always a leader.

But is this the case? Is the population to be divided simply into leaders who always lead and followers who always follow? Leadership is surely more complicated than that. Perhaps the question is not are leaders born or made, but rather, can leadership flourish in anyone when the circumstances for it are right? Does context matter?

We tend to remember leaders who seemingly made the impossible possible, but it was always in a particular context. Leaders like Martin Luther King defined by the civil rights movement, Margaret Thatcher defined by the Cold War, and Bill Gates defined by the burgeoning personal computer industry come to mind. For the most part, history doesn’t record how these leaders dealt with contexts outside their defining accomplishments. We examine their leadership and develop theories about their strategies, their skills, and their personality traits. But to understand a broader view of leadership, we must look beyond these historic figures and observe the anonymous trailblazers in our midst. A different picture of leadership emerges.

Hurricane Harvey in Texas demonstrated that “ordinary citizens” can step up to leadership when the situation is ripe for it. CNN captured a video of a local boat owner saying this: “We got eight people that done called for us already. So we’re going to go and get them eight, come on back, and try to save some more.” Crisis leadership in action!

The story of Todd Beamer, a sales rep for Oracle, still produces chills in anyone who hears it. He is the young man who called 911 during the hijacking of United Flight 93 on 9/11 and declared, “Let’s roll” as he and presumably a few others commandeered the airplane to prevent the hijackers from achieving their goal. They were willing to die for it.

Ordinary citizen leadership, however, need not be all about saving lives. Often it is about changing the status quo. Take Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, who took it upon herself to help women attain leadership roles in business, wrote a book about how to do it, Lean In, and started a foundation to promote it, Leanin.org. This was not part of her job.

I’ve had the opportunity in my life to interact and work with some of the most impactful leaders in their fields. Among them are Steve Jobs who returned to the company he co-founded after being ousted in 1985 having learned how to deal with adversity and turned it around with a vengeance. Audrey Rust gathered steam from a passionate group of homeowners in Woodside, California, who wanted to protect the natural beauty in the expanse beyond their backyards and preserved 53,000 acres in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties under her leadership of the Peninsula Open Space Trust. And Walter Isaacson, having established himself as a talented journalist and media professional in the business world, took the reins of the Aspen Institute during a period of severe decline and redefined it as a purveyor of rich and varied content for the intellectually inclined. Certainly all of these people led others to fulfill a very particular mission and in so doing, created something out of nothing, something that made a difference in the world. But their leadership occurred in a particular context where their competence was significant, their confidence secure and their commitment established.

The truth is, leadership is all around us, and it arises within a certain context in which the leader’s ability (competence) aligns with faith of accomplishment (confidence) and forms a mission (commitment). I call this the Leadership Triangle.

So rather than ask if leaders are born or made, perhaps we should change the paradigm of leadership examination. Perhaps we have given short shrift in leadership study to the myriad people who find their competence, confidence, and commitment aligning with a particular context and jump in with both feet because there is simply no other choice but to lead.

Two Men Strike Nassau Cops With Stolen Vehicle During Traffic Stop, Police Say — CBS New York

BALDWIN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two Hempstead men are facing a litany of charges after allegedly striking a pair of Nassau County police officers with a stolen vehicle during a traffic stop early Friday morning. Investigators say the officers attempted to conduct a stop on a silver 2007 Infiniti. When they approached the vehicle, both the…

via Two Men Strike Nassau Cops With Stolen Vehicle During Traffic Stop, Police Say — CBS New York

There Are 3 Types of Procrastinators. This Flowchart Will Tell You Which One You Are

Kopitiam Bot

(Source: www.inc.com)

In order to figure out what medicine to take you first have to figure out what you’ve got. Is it a brain tumor, a migraine, or a bad hangover? The answer will determine whether you opt for aspirin or surgery.

And what’s true for medical conditions, is equally true for day-to-day (and far less terrifying) productivity problems. Not all burnout is the same. And neither, apparently, are all forms of procrastination.

We don’t all waste time for the same reasons, insists Joseph Ferrari, a psychologist at DePaul University and author of Still Procrastinating? The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done

, and you need to know why you procrastinate in order to beat the problem.

In the book, Ferrari breaks down our time-wasting tendencies into three subtypes.

1. Thrill seekers. 

These are the ever-confident folks who firmly believe they “work better under pressure.” The…

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