For those of you who don't subscribe to the bimonthly print edition of Foreign Policy, you're missing a great feature: the FP Quiz. It has eight intriguing questions about how the world works.
The question I'd like to highlight this week is:
Which country has the most special operations forces?
a) Russia b) North Korea c) Israel
Answer after the jump...
JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images
"Ahmadi bye-bye." That's one of the chants that supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi were yelling Monday when they decked out in green and formed a stunning human chain along a 12-mile-long arterial road that runs through Tehran.
Many Iranians are fed up with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- the man who has presided over a crumbling economy and damaged Iran's international standing. They head to the polls Friday to select one of four candidates, and if the outcome is "Ahmadi bye-bye," the most-likely new president would be Mousavi, a relative unknown until recently.
FP has an Iran package to keep you in the know. Check it out:
Iran's Presidential Wannabes: Meet the four men vying to lead the Islamic Republic and learn where they stand on foreign policy and domestic politics.
Iran's Potato Revolution: Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi has spent the past two decades out of the public eye, pursuing his interests in architecture and painting. Now he's the man most likely to dethrone Ahmadinejad.
Who's Winning Iran's Google War? To understand Iranian politics, ask a search engine. Over the past 90 days, Farsi-language Google searches for "Mousavi" have increased 1,300 percent.
Iran's New Revolution: Candidate Mousavi may have less charisma than Michael Dukakis, but the rock star has Iranian youth screaming.
Ahmadi Bye-Bye in Iran? A photo review of the best moments from Iran's wild campaign.
Photo: Majid/Getty Images
The Olympics torch for the 2010 winter games in Vancouver is officially supposed to evoke "the cool, crisp and modern lines that are left behind in the snow and ice from winter sports." But a lot of people are saying the 37-inch white torch, with crimped ends and twist in the middle, resembles a hand-rolled marijuana joint, especially when it's lit (and viewed in the horizontal position).
It doesn't help that Vancouver is a major marijuana-producing area. The Olympic torch has now been dubbed the Olympic Toke.
Photo: © VANOC/COVAN
"We should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu," Israeli deputy health minister Yakov Litzman -- an ultra-Orthodox Jew -- said April 27. He stated that the reference to pigs is offensive to Jews and Muslims, whose respective religions prohibit consumption of pork. Pork producers -- likely worried about their product's image -- also have reservations about the name "swine flu."
Of course, Mexicans probably find "Mexican flu" offensive, but the name does seem to fit with the tradition of naming flu pandemics after the places where they were originally identified. On the other hand, there's debate about whether the current swine flu even originated in Mexico. "It was a human who brought this to Mexico," the Mexican ambassador to China told the New York Times, saying that the person was from someplace in "Eurasia." (The virus contains part of a swine flu virus of Eurasian origin.)
Meanwhile, "North American influenza" is the name suggested by the World Organisation for Animal Health. Additionally, "H1N1 virus" was the term used by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at an April 28 news conference. They avoided using "swine flu" because they didn't want to mislead people into thinking they could get the illness by eating pork.
RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images
Navjot Sidhu (in pink turban), Indian cricketer-turned-politician and member of Parliament for the right-wing nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, flexes his muscles with bodybuilders during his campaign in the northern Indian city of Amritsar on April 26.
India is currently holding the world's biggest election ever. It involves 714 million eligible voters, more than 7,000 candidates at last count, 1,055 political parties, 830,000 polling stations, and 1,368,430 electronic voting machines. The parliamentary general elections are being held in five stages -- April 16, 23, and 30, and May 7 and 13. The results will be announced May 16. (Learn more about the elections in FP's recent photo essay: "The World's Biggest Election.")
Sidhu is a colorful character on India's political scene. The former cricketer won a seat in Parliament in 2004, resigned in 2006 after being convicted for manslaughter in connection with a 1988 parking dispute, and won back his seat in 2007 after the Supreme Court stayed the conviction. Unfortunately, criminality among Indian politicians isn't especially unique. Of the 543 politicians returned to the lower house of Parliament in the last election in 2004, 128 had charges against them, including 84 with murder charges.
NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images
Pakistan has engaged in its own "war on terror" against Islamist militants in the northwest part of the country. The collateral damage: at least 450,000 Pakistanis forced from their homes, according to the UNHCR. In Swat Valley, meanwhile, the Taliban effectively controls the region (sharia courts started operating last week), prompting many to flee to camps for internally displaced persons. Increasingly, the people of Swat are having to choose: Taliban or tents.
The fighting and the plight of displaced Pakistani civilians are the subject of this week's FP photo essay: "Pakistan's New Homeless."
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that U.S. government sources say that the Taliban in Afghanistan is getting "direct support" from members of Pakistan's military intelligence agency. A spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, however, dismissed the report as "sensational journalism."
For other FP photo essays, check out:
Photo: TARIQ MAHMOOD/AFP/Getty Images
Today, March 20, marks the six-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The war sparked a bloody insurgency, but in Baghdad today, normal life is cautiously reemerging. Scenes of daily life in Baghdad are featured in this week's FP photo essay, "Baghdad's Back, Six Years After the Invasion."
Above, a vendor cleans a cowboy boot at his shop in central Baghdad's Karada district on March 9. George W. Bush may have had shoes thrown at him in Iraq, but the former U.S. president's invasion left behind one footwear trend: cowboy boots, or "boose" as the locals call them. They're a must-have for young men who want to look macho.
Check out other FP photo essays:
Last week, my colleague Greg and I prepared a photo essay, "Spring Break Gone Wrong?" about how a recent U.S. State Department travel alert about drug-related violence in Mexico might have some college students rethinking their spring break plans.
But, really, how worried should Americans and other tourists be? The violence is limited to specific areas of Mexico, and the victims have primarily been people involved in the drug trade (which, by the way, exists to feed Americans' demand for drugs). In fact, it appears that in Mexico, the biggest danger young American college students face is themselves -- and their poor judgment. The State Department's travel information about Mexico states:
Alcohol is implicated in the majority of arrests, violent crimes, accidents and deaths suffered by U.S. citizen tourists.
(It also states that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death, but doesn't say what fraction involve alcohol.)
The video above, Spring Break 2009: Have Fun/Stay Safe, made by the U.S. Consulate in Mérida, Mexico, has an employee saying, "Ninety-five percent of the injuries that we see involve impaired judgment, reduced ability to respond to a situation because of drugs or alcohol."
So really, people, behave yourself around alcohol, and follow these seven pointers from the video:
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