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A Slightly Better World Volume VI

EndarkenedRationalist
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4/22/2016 9:09:04 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Hello, one and all! It's been awhile, but we're back with a new volume of ASBW! Let's see what's been happening in the world since our last update.

Let's rewind about a month, back to when the Nigerian army rescued nearly 1,000 hostages held by Boko Haram militants. Most of them were rescued from the Islamist terrorist group in the village of Kusamma, although several others came from a number of other villages which had been under Boko Haram's control. As the conflicts against fundamentalism and extremism continue, it's nice to know that for some, at least, salvation can still be found.

Along similar lines, many of the Islamic world leaders recently concluded a summit in Istanbul in which they pledged to combat terrorism and strongly condemned the Islamic State. The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, lamented that Muslim countries which had once been "the heirs of a civilization that was built on columns of peace and justice" are now being remembered for "wars, armed conflict, sectarianism, and terrorism." Erdogan also confirmed plans for establishing an international arbitration body in Istanbul.

Other prominent leaders attending the summit include King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. Saudi Arabia and Iran clashed in Syria and Yemen, so seeing them come together here speaks volumes. Turkey and Saudi Arabia also agreed to create a bilateral cooperation council. Such measures weaken the anti-Islamic critiques of those who condemn Saudi Arabia and other Islamist nations as terrorists, ISIS sympathizers, or enemies to peace.

Heading back (forward?) to the present, we learn that 175 states signed a landmark bill in Paris on climate change. I wrote about this previously in an earlier volume, but today, we have an update. The climate agreement is now widely expected to become active well before the original 2020 deadline, though the actual requirement is for 55 countries representing 55% of global emissions to ratify the Paris Agreement domestically. China has promised to have this done before September, and the United States has expressed its intent to ratify the agreement prior to the end of 2016. Maros Sefcovic, energy chief of the EU, has stated that the EU has already begun working on it, as it wishes to be the first wave of ratifying countries. The world is, at long last, uniting to combat climate change.

Finally (yup, you get 4 this time), the number of people in the US filing for unemployment fell to levels not seen since 1973. Despite the sluggish economy, the labor market continues its trend of recovery. The number of people still on unemployment benefits also declined by 18,000 in a single week, bringing the total number of people drawing unemployment benefits down to 2.17 million - the lowest this number has been since October. With the rising senses of cynicism and insecurity in the US economy, it's nice to see that it is, in fact, continuing to improve.

These four instances shine like candles, reminding us that, despite all the negativity, all the drama, all the conflict, all the hatred - the world continues turning, moving on. And that all of us can work, if we try, to create a slightly better world.