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Short Story Analysis a Television Drama

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Global Issues | Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
Gender equality is a human right,1 but our world faces a persistent gap in access to opportunities and decision-making power for women and men.2 Globally, women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, less access to basic and higher education, greater health and safety risks, and less political representation.2 Guaranteeing the rights of women and giving them opportunities to reach their full potential is critical not only for attaining gender equality, but also for meeting a wide range of international development goals. Empowered women and girls contribute to the health and productivity of their families, communities, and countries, creating a ripple effect that benefits everyone.
The word gender describes the socially-constructed roles and responsibilities that societies consider appropriate for men and women.17 Gender equality means that men and women have equal power and equal opportunities for financial independence, education, and personal development 3 . Women's empowerment is a critical aspect of achieving gender equality. It includes increasing a woman's sense of self-worth, her decision-making power, her access to opportunities and resources, her power and control over her own life inside and outside the home, and her ability to effect change.4 Yet gender issues are not focused on women alone, but on the relationship between men and women in society.5 The actions and attitudes of men and boys play an essential role in achieving gender equality.6
Education is a key area of focus. Although the world is making progress in achieving gender parity in education, girls still make up a higher percentage of out-of-school children than boys.7 Approximately one quarter of girls in the developing world do not attend school.8 Typically, families with limited means who cannot afford costs such as school fees, uniforms, and supplies for all of their children will prioritize education for their sons.7 Families may also rely on girls' labor for household chores, carrying water, and childcare, leaving limited time for schooling. But prioritizing girls' education provides perhaps the single highest return on investment in the developing world.8 An educated girl is more likely to postpone marriage, raise a smaller family, have healthier children, and send her own children to school. She has more opportunities to earn an income and to participate in political processes, and she is less likely to become infected with HIV.
Women's health and safety is another important area. HIV/AIDS is becoming an increasingly impactful issue for women.9 This can be related to women having fewer opportunities for health education, unequal power in sexual partnership, or as a result of gender-based violence . Maternal health is also an issue of specific concern. In many countries, women have limited access to prenatal and infant care, and are more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth. This is a critical concern in countries where girls marry and have children before they are ready; often well before the age of 18.10 Quality maternal health care can provide an important entry point for information and services that empower mothers as informed decision-makers concerning their own health and the health of their children.
A final area of focus in attaining gender equality is women's economic and political empowerment. Though women comprise more than 50% of the world's population, they only own 1% of the world's wealth.11 Throughout the world, women and girls perform long hours of unpaid domestic work. In some places, women still lack rights to own land or to inherit property, obtain access to credit, earn income, or to move up in their workplace, free from job discrimination.11 At all levels, including at home and in the public arena, women are widely underrepresented as decision-makers. In legislatures around the world, women are outnumbered 4 to 1, yet women's political participation is crucial for achieving gender equality and genuine democracy.12
The World Economic Forum recently ranked the United States as 19 th in the world on its gender gap index.15 With women comprising less than one fifth of elected members of Congress,13 the report identifies political empowerment as the greatest gender equity issue for the United States. The U.S. ranked higher in economic empowerment, but women's earning power remains approximately 20% lower than men's.14 Women in the United States have a very high ranking of educational attainment, though, with high levels of literacy and enrollment in primary, secondary, and university education. At present, there are more U.S. women attending college than men.15
Globally, no country has fully attained gender equality.15 Scandinavian countries like Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden lead the world in their progress toward closing the gender gap.15 In these countries, there is relatively equitable distribution of available income, resources, and opportunities for men and women. The greatest gender gaps are identified primarily in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. However, a number of countries in these regions, including Lesotho, South Africa, and Sri Lanka outrank the United States in gender equality.15
Around the world, Peace Corps Volunteers are working with communities to address gender equality and empower women and girls. In 1974, Congress signed the Percy Amendment requiring Peace Corps Volunteers to actively integrate women into the economic, political, and social development of their countries.16 Many Peace Corps Volunteers implement the Camp GLOW program, or Girls Leading Our World, to help girls develop self-esteem and leadership skills. Recognizing that men and boys must be equal partners in achieving gender equality, Volunteers also teach leadership and life skills to boys through Teaching Our Boys Excellence (TOBE) camps. Peace Corps Volunteers promote gender equality and women's empowerment through health education, business development, and by raising awareness of women's rights and contributions to their communities. Learn more about how Peace Corps Volunteers are working with communities by visiting World Wise Schools' Global Issues page.

Methane emissions in Arctic cold season higher than expected
The amount of methane gas escaping from the ground during the long cold period in the Arctic each year and entering Earth’s atmosphere is likely much higher than estimated by current carbon cycle models, concludes a major new study led by San Diego State University and including scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
The study included a team comprising ecologists Walter Oechel (SDSU and Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom) and Donatella Zona (SDSU and the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom) and scientists from JPL; Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado; and the University of Montana, Missoula. The team found that far more methane is escaping from Arctic tundra during the cold months when the soil surface is frozen (generally from September through May), and from upland tundra, than prevailing assumptions and carbon cycle models previously assumed. In fact, they found that at least half of the annual methane emissions occur in the cold months, and that drier, upland tundra can be a larger emitter of methane than wet tundra. The findings challenge critical assumptions in current global climate models. The results are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to atmospheric warming, and is approximately 25 times more potent per molecule than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Methane trapped in the Arctic tundra comes primarily from microbial decomposition of organic matter in soil that thaws seasonally. This methane naturally seeps out of the soil over the course of the year, but scientists worry that climate change could lead to the release of even larger emissions from organic matter that is currently stabilized in a deep, frozen soil layer called permafrost.
Over the past several decades, scientists have used specialized instruments to accurately measure methane emissions in the Arctic and incorporated those results into global climate models. However, almost all of these measurements have been obtained during the Arctic’s short summer. The region’s long, brutal cold period, which accounts for between 70 and 80 percent of the year, has been largely “overlooked and ignored,” according to Oechel. Most researchers, he said, figured that because the ground is frozen solid during the cold months, methane emissions practically shut down for the winter.
“Virtually all the climate models assume there’s no or very little emission of methane when the ground is frozen,” Oechel said. “That assumption is incorrect.”
The water trapped in the soil doesn’t freeze completely even below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), he explained. The top layer of the ground, known as the active layer, thaws in the summer and refreezes in the winter, and it experiences a kind of sandwiching effect as it freezes. When temperatures are right around 32 degrees Fahrenheit — the so-called “zero curtain” — the top and bottom of the active layer begin to freeze, while the middle remains insulated. Microorganisms in this unfrozen middle layer continue to break down organic matter and emit methane many months into the Arctic’s cold period each year.
Just how much methane is emitted during the Arctic winter? To find out, Oechel and Zona oversaw the upgrade of five sampling towers to allow them to operate continuously year-round above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. The researchers recorded methane emissions from these sites over two summer-fall-winter cycles between June 2013 and January 2015. The arduous task required highly specialized instruments that had to operate continuously and autonomously through extreme cold for months at a time. They developed a de-icing system that eliminated biases in the measurement and that was only activated when needed to maintain operation of the instruments down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius).
After analyzing the data, the research team found a major portion of methane emissions during the cold season were observed when temperatures hovered near the zero curtain.
“This is extremely relevant for the Arctic ecosystem, as the zero curtain period continues from September until the end of December, lasting as long or longer than the entire summer season,” said Zona, the study’s first author. “These results are opposite of what modelers have been assuming, which is that the majority of the methane emissions occur during the warm summer months while the cold-season methane contribution is nearly zero.”
Surprisingly, the researchers also found that during the cold seasons they studied, the relative methane emissions were higher at the drier, upland tundra sites than at wetland sites, contradicting yet another longstanding assumption about Arctic methane emissions. Upland tundra was previously assumed to be a negligible contributor of methane, Zona said, adding that the freezing of the surface inhibits methane oxidation, resulting in significant net methane emissions during the fall and winter. Plants act like chimneys, facilitating the escape through the frozen layer to the atmosphere. The highest annual emissions were observed in the upland site in the foothills of the Brooks Range, where warm soils and a deep active layer resulted in high rates of methane production.
To complement and verify the on-the-ground study, the University of Montana’s John Kimball and his team used microwave sensor measurements from the AMSR-E instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite to develop regional maps of surface water cover, including the timing, extent and duration of seasonal flooding and drying of the region’s wetlands.
“We were able to use the satellite data to show that the upland tundra areas that appear to be the larger methane sources from the on-the-ground instruments, account for more than half of all of the tundra in Alaska,” Kimball said.
Finally, to test whether their site-specific sampling was representative of methane emissions across the Arctic, the researchers compared their results to measurements recorded during aircraft flights over the region made by NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE).
“CARVE flights were designed to cover as much of the year as feasible,” said CARVE Principal Investigator Charles Miller of JPL. “It was a challenging undertaking, involving hundreds of hours of flying in difficult conditions.”
The data from the SDSU sites were well aligned with the larger-scale aircraft measurements, Zona said.
“CARVE aircraft measurements of atmospheric methane show that large areas of Arctic tundra and boreal forest continue to emit methane to the atmosphere at high rates, long after the surface soil freezes,” said Róisín Commane of Harvard University, who helped acquire and analyze the aircraft data.
Oechel and Zona stressed the importance for modelers to have good baseline data on methane emissions and to adjust their models to account for Arctic cold-season methane emissions as well as the contributions of non-wetland areas, including upland tundra.
“It is now time to work more closely with climate modelers and assure these observations are used to improve model predictions, and refine our prediction of the global methane budget,” Zona said.
It is particularly important, Oechel added, for models to get methane output right because the gas is a major driver of atmospheric warming. “If you don’t have the mechanisms right, you won’t be able to make predictions into the future based on anticipated climate conditions,” he said.
Steven Wofsy of Harvard University added, "Now that we know how important the winter is to the methane budget, we are working to determine the long-term trends in greenhouse emissions from tundra and their sensitivity to winter warming."

Fleeing Terror, Finding Refuge
Millions of Syrians escape an apocalyptic civil war, creating a historic crisis.
By Paul Salopek
Photographs by John Stanmeyer
What happens when you become a war refugee? You walk.
True, in order to save your life—for example, as militants assault your village—you might first speed away by whatever conveyance possible. In the family car. Or in your neighbor’s fruit truck. Aboard a stolen bus. Inside a cart pulled behind a tractor. But eventually: a border. And it is here that you must walk. Why? Because men in uniforms will demand to see your papers. What, no papers? (Did you leave them behind? Did you grab your child’s hand instead, in that last frantic moment of flight? Or perhaps you packed a bag with food, with money?) It doesn’t matter. Get out of your vehicle. Stand over there. Wait. Now, papers or no papers, your life as a refugee genuinely starts: on foot, in the attitude of powerlessness.
In late September near the Mürşitpınar border crossing in Turkey, Syrian refugees came pouring across the fallow pepper fields by the tens of thousands. They were ethnic Kurds. They were running from the bullets and knives of the Islamic State. Many came in cars, in sedans and hatchbacks, in delivery vans and pickup trucks, raising clouds of fine, white dust from some of the oldest continuously farmed fields in the world. The Turks would not allow such a motley caravan to pass. A parking lot of abandoned cars grew at the boundary. One day black-clad Islamist fighters came and got the cars, stole them from right under the noses of Turkish soldiers. The soldiers watched. They couldn’t have cared less.
So it begins. You take a step. You exit one life and enter another. You walk through a cut border fence into statelessness, vulnerability, dependency, and invisibility. You become a refugee.
“They burned the city twice,” Atilla Engin said, standing atop Oylum Höyük, a barren man-made hill in southeastern Turkey. “We don’t know who or why. There were many wars back then.”
Engin is a Turkish archaeologist from the University of Cumhuriyet. He stared into a square pit being dug into the mound’s summit by villagers working under the direction of his graduate students. The hole was 30 feet deep, and the mound was among the biggest in Turkey: 120 feet high and 500 yards long, a lopsided layer cake of time. Its oldest evidence of occupation dated from the Neolithic, some 9,000 years ago. But above that—built, abandoned, and long since forgotten—lies the debris of at least nine human eras. Copper Age masonry. Bronze Age cuneiform tablets. Hellenistic coins. Roman and Byzantine brickwork.
Many empires had seesawed back and forth across the often embattled heartland of Asia Minor. Engin was focused on a walled Bronze Age settlement, possibly a powerful city-state called Ullis, that was mentioned in ancient Hittite records and Iron Age papyri. To reach this lost city, his team had shoveled through strata that looked like cardiograms of upheaval—rumpled horizons of soil, ash, and rubble, 9,000 years of systole and diastole, construction and destruction.
“Things don’t change,” Engin said. He had the tired half smile of a man who thought in millennia. “Outside powers still fight over this area—the Mesopotamian plain. It is the meeting place of Africa, Asia, and Europe. It is the center of the Middle East. It is a gateway of the world.”
From a ladder that he used to photograph his sprawling dig, Engin could almost see the refugee camp near Kilis, a nearby Turkish town on the Syrian border. Some 14,000 people who had fled Syria’s apocalyptic civil war have been stewing for two and a half years in the camp, stupefied by boredom. An additional 90,000 Syrians have thronged the ramshackle town, doubling its original population and driving up the rents. (The previous week an anti-Syrian mob had attacked refugees and smashed their cars.)
There are about 1.6 million Syrian war refugees in Turkey. Another eight million or more are internally displaced within Syria or eke out a hand-to-mouth living in such fragile way stations as Lebanon and Jordan. The war has bled into neighboring Iraq too, of course, where the zealots of the Islamic State have uprooted another two million civilians. All told, perhaps 12 million souls are adrift across the larger Middle East. Like the refugee crisis that festered during and after the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s—a Cold War contest that displaced and then utterly ignored millions of angry, hopeless people, spawning years of transnational Islamist terrorism—the political fallout in the region is unfathomable and will be lasting.
“This isn’t just about Turkey or Syria anymore,” Selin Ünal, a spokeswoman for UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, told me in the Kilis camp. “This is a problem that will affect the entire world. There is something historic going on here.”
I had trekked to the Oylum mound in southeastern Turkey as part of the Out of Eden Walk, a seven-year journey that is retracing the first human diaspora out of Africa to our species’ land’s end at the tip of South America. Along my trail through the Middle East, I had encountered desperate men and women cast up everywhere, like flotsam, by Syria’s many-sided war. They picked tomatoes for $11 a day in Jordan. They begged for pocket change on Turkish street corners. Some I discovered squatting under tarps on the Anatolian steppe, escapees from the wrath of nationalist mobs in the cities. Their ragged children tracked my movements with hard, appraising eyes.
The Oylum mound knuckles up from the heart of the Fertile Crescent—the ancient Levantine temperate zone where modernity was born. It was here that humankind first settled down, founded cities, invented the idea of a fixed home. Yet for months I had been stumbling across a vast panorama of mass homelessness. I asked Engin what had befallen the pioneering urban dwellers at Oylum once their citadel had been breached and torched by some invader 3,800 years ago. He was unsure. “They went back into the countryside,” he said. He placed a palm on the frail wall of his pit. “They forgot cities. They got poorer.”
And, doubtless, some regrouped. Perhaps they even conquered their conquerors. Forced migration begets empire.
The United Nations calculates that by the end of 2013, more than 51 million people worldwide were displaced because of warfare, violence, and persecution. More than half were women and children. Among Syrian refugees in Turkey, the proportion of women and children zooms to 75 percent. The men stay behind to fight or protect property. The women and children become destitute wanderers. Journalists rarely follow these women’s fates into urban slums, crowded camps, plastic lean-tos pegged in watermelon fields. Into brothels. Their woes are not telegenic. There are few dramatic explosions. There are no flags or front lines to be contested by the dictator Bashar al Assad, by the countless rebels. Syria’s women suffer their wars alone, in silence, in alien lands.
“It is a huge hidden issue,” said Elif Gündüzyeli, a social worker with Support to Life, a Turkish relief organization. “And these women’s vulnerability is transforming society.”
In secular Turkey a tidal wave of unaccompanied Syrian women is reviving banned Islamic traditions such as polygamy. In Jordan refugee families marry off daughters as young as 13, hoping to leverage them out of camps, off the streets, out of poverty.
“Nobody protects you,” said Mona (not her real name), a young Syrian woman stranded in the Turkish city of Şanlıurfa. “You get harassed constantly. Three men tried to pull me into a car. They grabbed my arm. I screamed. The people on the sidewalks did nothing. They did nothing. I want to leave this place. Can you help me? Where can I go?”
In other Turkish cities teeming with refugees, anti-Syrian protests have erupted. The spark in one case was the knifing of a Turk by a Syrian neighbor. So corrosive are the sexual politics of refugees in Turkey that a false rumor attributed the killing to the Turk’s demand for sex with the Syrian’s wife in return for rent.
“Four times—no, five,” a Syrian Kurdish woman named Rojin (also a pseudonym) told me, counting the number of marriage proposals she had received in Turkey over the past week. “Two,” her sister added. “Three,” said a third sister. The women sat cross-legged in a barren room decorated with a dandelion in a Coke bottle. They rarely left the room. A fourth relative had not been propositioned—their senile grandmother. The old woman sat blinking, lost in dreams. She was hard to watch. She did not understand what she had lost. She had been born in Aleppo when Syria was a French mandate. Her granddaughters were hoping for asylum in France.
In the charred ruins of his ancient city under the Oylum mound, Engin has discovered two bodies. Both these victims of the city’s mysterious destruction were female. We know next to nothing about them except perhaps the pathos of their social status. Their skeletons lay curled inside the kitchen of a grand mud-brick palace.
Jason Ur, an archaeologist at Harvard, studies the changing settlement patterns in ancient Assyria. “Population displacements have a long and sad history in the region,” Ur says. They happened “repeatedly over the last 3,000 years at least.”
Bas-relief carvings from Mesopotamia depict Iron Age armies prodding entire populations before them. In these ancient scenes the civilians are captive, harnessed. They wear chains. In this way whole communities were relocated, by violence, to work as agricultural labor for one of the world’s earliest empires. In a forthcoming paper, Ur and his colleague James Osborne suggest that settlements began to appear in eastern Syria between 934 and 605 B.C., in a “repeating pattern of evenly spaced small villages” laid out by the neo-Assyrian kings.
Saddam Hussein, the “butcher of Baghdad,” did much the same thing in northern Iraq, replacing “unruly” Kurds with obedient ethnic Arab farmers. A century ago the Turks cleaned out “disloyal” Armenians, killing up to 1.5 million people and giving away their lands to Turkish neighbors. This is a story that would be familiar to the Sioux, to the Apache. Ethnic cleansing, ruthless social engineering, “homesteading”—these are not new concepts. They arose with the city-state.
Inscriptions from a temple built by neo-Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II, who ruled Nimrud from 883 to 859 B.C., south of present-day Mosul, Iraq: “I captured many troops alive: from time to time I cut off their arms [and] hands; from others I cut off their noses, ears, extremities. I gouged out the eyes of many troops. I made one pile of the living [and] one of heads. I hung their heads on trees around the city.”
And: “I cleansed my weapons in the Great Sea and made sacrifices to the gods.”
Such primitive boasting sounds contemporary, like an Islamic State video posted on YouTube.
Anatolia—the sprawling Asian peninsula of eastern Turkey. A continental crossroads. The eternal frontier of empires. A palimpsest of forced migrations.
I walked its chalky roads past the broken foundations of Assyrian cities. I saw pediments of Greek columns swallowed in weedy gardens. I passed derelict Armenian churches turned to mosques. I trod on highways of stone buffed by endless processions of Roman feet. In antique Harran, an ancient center of learning under the Romans, Byzantines, and Arabs just a dozen miles from the Syrian border, thousands of Muslim scholars once experimented with physics and engineering. A minaret stood there on an empty plain—all that remains of the city that was leveled by the Mongols. And I passed the white tents of the Syrians. They were everywhere. Their doleful presence on the antique landscape seemed a sign of tectonic change, some unfathomable portent. Like the Palestinian diaspora. Or the Jewish diaspora. History shook underfoot. The tents of the refugees glowed yellow in the night, a new constellation.
“Everyone thought this would be temporary,” a Turkish baker named Mustafa Bayram told me in Kilis.
He threw up his hands. He wanted to be kind—Turkey had been kind, spending billions of dollars on housing and feeding refugees—but the Syrians were still coming. They were driving Bayram out of business. They worked for slave wages. They opened illegal shops, undercutting him. “I think,” he said, bitterly, “we should gather them up. We should put them all into one giant camp.”
The war in Syria boiled and boiled. Engin was losing his local workers. Each day a few didn’t show up for roll call. They abandoned his archaeological dig at the Oylum mound and slipped over the border. They may have joined the jihad.
I walked on through autumn. Temperatures dropped. I found myself stepping over columns of ants that crawled manically through brittle yellow grass. They shone glossy black, as if oiled, and vanished down their holes. They carried enormous quantities of seeds. It seemed a message, to lay in provisions like this. After a false Arab Spring, a hard winter was coming to the Middle East.…...

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