Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Essential Question: How stable was the post-WWII World?
Play the Cuban Missile Crisis game:
- Cuban Missile Crisis SBQ & answer review
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
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BABIES with shattered knees, women whose eyes had been hit by blast fragments and teenagers who died from shock emerged in video footage from the palm-fringed killing fields in Sri Lanka's north, where Tamil rebels are making their last stand.
As the Tamil Tigers ignored the government's 24-hour deadline to surrender yesterday, some 9,000 civilians fled the no-fire zone, adding to the 30,000 who escaped on Monday.
The video shot by the Sri Lankan Red Cross also showed many of the civilians clutching whatever meagre possessions they could grab, and wading through the knee-deep waters of a lagoon to reach safety.
However, aid groups estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 people remained trapped with the rebels.
Many Tamil civilians had been held by the rebels to act as human shields, and their escape was possible only because Sri Lankan army troops had penetrated an embankment to give the hostages a way out.
Yesterday, as the Sri Lankan army prepared for its final ground assault on the last Tiger redoubt, both sides exchanged charges of extreme brutality.
The rebels said more than 1,000 civilians had been killed and many more injured by army shelling.
'Sri Lankan forces have deployed three types of internationally banned weapons - cluster bombs, napalm and phosphorus - causing heavy civilian casualties,' said Mr B. Nadesan, who heads the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The military denied the LTTE's claims, accusing the Tigers of forcing civilians to stay behind or be killed if they tried to leave.Meanwhile, an Agence France-Presse report said that Sri Lankan troops had captured more ground and that the last strip of coastal jungle held by the Tigers had been sliced in two.
The agency quoted the Tigers as saying the coastal village of Puttumatalan, which was used as a key port for supplies to the rebel-held territory, had fallen to government forces.
The area was also used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to operate a ferry to evacuate wounded civilians from the remaining rebel-held territory.
The Tigers said they had suggested an alternative landing place for the ICRC to operate and called for urgent supplies of food and medicine. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
How stable was the post-WWII world?
1. How did the Cold War start?
- Division of Berlin: Reparation vs. Recovery
- Dispute over Eastern Europe: Democracy vs. Security
- Displeasure over the Pacific War: Land invasion vs. atomic bomb
- Political Dimension: Truman's Doctrine vs. Cominform
- Economic Dimension: Marshall Plan vs. Comecon
- Military Dimension: NATO vs. Warsaw Pact
- Korean War
- Cuban Missile Crisis
Monday, April 13, 2009
For the next 20 years, China will have increasingly more men than women of reproductive age, according to the British Medical Journal.
'Nothing can be done now to prevent this,' the researchers said.
Chinese government planners have long known that the desire of couples to have sons was skewing the gender balance of the population.
But the study, by two Chinese university professors and a London researcher, provides some of the first hard data on the extent of the disparity and the factors contributing to it.
The trend towards more male than female children intensified steadily after 1986, they said, as ultrasound tests and abortions became more available.
'Sex-selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males,' the paper said.
Professor Wei Xingzhu from Zhejiang Normal University, Prof Li Lu from Zhejiang University and University College London lecturer Therese Hesketh analysed data from a 2005 census.
In 2005, they found that births of boys in China exceeded births of girls by more than 1.1 million.
There were 120 boys born for every 100 girls. The finding, they wrote, was perhaps unsurprising in the light of China's one-child policy. The disparity was widest among children of ages one to four, a sign that the greatest imbalances among the adult population lie ahead, according to the researchers.
They also found more distortion in provinces that allow rural couples to have a second child if the first one is a girl, or in cases of hardship. Those couples were determined to ensure that they had at least one son, the researchers noted.
Among second-born children, there were 143 boys for 100 girls, the data showed.
The Chinese government is openly concerned 'about the consequences of large numbers of excess men for social stability and security', the researchers noted.
The researchers said that enforcing the ban against sex-selective abortions could normalise the sex ratio in the future. New York Times
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
|By Sim Chi Yin|
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Folding his arms across his chest as he delivered a brief history lesson at the start of his testimony, former mathematics teacher Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, said that the Khmer Rouge would have been 'demolished' if not for US support for a coup led by General Lon Nol to oust Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1970.
'Mr Kissinger and Richard Nixon were quick (to back coup leader General Lon Nol), and the Khmer Rouge noted the golden opportunity,' Duch said, referring to then US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and the president.
Cambodia became embroiled in the Cold War when the Nixon administration authorised secret bombings in the country in 1969 to disrupt an arms- and troop-supply route used by the Soviet-based North Vietnamese communists. Prince Sihanouk later joined forces with the Khmer Rouge and rallied Cambodians to fight Gen Lon Nol's regime, which fell to Pol Pot's army in 1975.
Duch, the 66-year-old former chief of the notorious S-21 prison, where more than 14,000 'enemies' of the revolution were tortured and killed, is the first of five detained Khmer Rouge leaders to be put on trial by a United Nations-assisted court helmed by Cambodian and international judges.
At the start of his trial last week, Duch became the first Khmer Rouge leader to publicly apologise for the atrocities of the regime, which killed at least 1.7 million Cambodians through starvation, overwork and execution before it fell in 1979.
But he yesterday cast himself as not just caught up in the revolutionary struggles of his time.
Speaking in a firm and confident voice, he described his journey from school teacher to chief of a prison code-named M-13 in central Cambodia, a predecessor of S-21, which under Duch's charge became the Khmer Rouge's largest execution centre.
Demonstrating his reputed photographic memory by rattling off a list of dates and cadres' names without once referring to his small stack of notes, Duch's personal account yesterday confirmed the man researchers and his former comrades had sketched previously as a meticulous perfectionist.
Duch, who had gone to the jungle to join the communist movement in 1967, told the court he had been chosen to head M-13 (in 1971 to 1975) because of his 'sincerity to the party'.
He took the job reluctantly, he said. 'The only thing I loved in my life was teaching. I hoped that once the revolution happened, they would allow me to continue teaching. I never thought about going on to do what I did.'
Duch, who confessed to the bulk of an account of mediaeval torture methods in the S-21 prison read out in court last week, readily admitted yesterday that M-13 laid the ground for a similar mission: 'detaining, interrogating and smashing' of 'spies'. 'Smashing' (a code word for killing) prisoners was the norm while releasing them was the exception, he said.
His testimonies this week cover his time running the earlier prison, laying the ground for the rest of his trial - which is slated to run till July. They also set the tone for his defence.
Duch, who faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and murder, is expected to argue that although he was S-21 chief, he merely executed orders from top leaders.
'I never thought of any other alternative but to follow orders because I was afraid to be killed.'
Monday, April 06, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
Preview: What were the problems of population planning in Singapore?
- Post-war baby boom + better healthcare/nutrition = longer life-expectancy = ageing population = high dependency ratio
- Education = Social-economic mobility = late marriages/singlehood = low fertility rate
- Incentives to promote larger families
- Foreign Talent schemes
- Pro-family policies
- What are some implications of the fall in replacement level of births in Singapore?
- How successful are Singapore's population policies in solving this problem?
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
How is governance practised in Singapore? What are the guiding principles of governance?
Review: Singapore: What are the challenges of being a nation?
- National Security: Diplomacy & Defence
- Economic Survival: Industrialisation & Trade
- Social Cohesion: National identity & inter-ethnic relations
- People's Needs: Education, Healthcare & Housing
Read Social Studies Textbook 3 pp. 32-39.
- Incorruptible Leadership (Leadership is key)
- Pragmatic & Forward-looking government (Anticipate change)
- Meritocratic Policies (Work for Rewards)
- Fairness & transparency in decision-making (Opportunities for all)
- Click here for your elearning performance.
Complete the following SBQ on comparison in the form provided below. All submissions must come in on 1 Apr 09 between 0800-1415. When have completed your answers, scroll down to click "submit".
Source A: A report by an American diplomat in German.
Looting of cash, silver, jewellery and other easily sold items is common. The main streets of the city were a litter of shattered plate glass. According to reliable testimony, the destruction was executed by SS men and Stormtroopers not in uniform. Each group was provided with hammers, axes, crowbars and incendiary bombs. Three synagogues were fired. No attempts were made to quench the fires. The fire brigade only sprayed water on the adjoining buildings. Jewish males aged between 16 and 60 were arrested and transported to concentration camps. All of the local crowds observing were obviously benumbed over the unprecedented fury of Nazi acts.
I feel the urge to present to you a true report of the recent riots, plundering and destruction of Jewish businesses, dwellings and burnings of synagogues. The German people have nothing whatever to do with these riots and burnings. Whilst the ‘angry and excited folk’, as the newspapers so well expressed it, still slept, the police supplied all available young and newly-enlisted SA men, strengthened by a mob of riff-raff, with axes, housebreaking tools and ladders at the police headquarters. A list of the names and addresses of all Jewish shops and flats was provided and the mob proceeded to their work under the leadership of SA men. The police had strict orders to remain neutral.