Standing in front of Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi on a recent trip, I couldn’t help but be in awe of this striking building. The new church is a work in progress, abuzz with activity, and well attended by the city’s residents, including many of its young people. While many of Georgia’s churches are of great historical significance, they are equally notable as living institutions with active congregations. But my interest in Georgia’s churches stems not from religious conviction but a belief in civil society.

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NATO must "find a political voice or collapse," says Times of London defense editor Michael Evans.  "It has become so multi-tasked, so desperate to get involved in everything from cyber warfare to anti-piracy and missile defence, let alone a hugely draining and complex campaign in Afghanistan, that it has lost its way."

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Global Governance Deficit

Once again, a crisis is brewing in Somalia, this time compounded by the global impact of piracy around its waters. And once again, it illustrates several dimensions of the global governance deficit arising from the challenge of weak and failing states, still, all too often, largely unmet.

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STOCK - Financial Crisis

"We are flying blind," the FT's editors declared after the Fed cut its federal-funds rate to a range of 0 to 0.25 percent on Tuesday.  Although Bernanke had indicated he was willing to employ unorthodox measures to lift the U.S. economy out of recession, few analysts expected such a dramatic cut. 

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The president of France today announced a plan to get more ethnic minorities into more prominent positions.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, impatient with what he said was the slow pace of promoting diversity in France, announced measures Wednesday to put more ethnic minorities on TV screens, in political parties and in elite schools.

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The EU has approved a sweeping bill to fight climate change.

The European Parliament approved on Wednesday a deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the final step in a year of talks to secure the world's broadest agreement yet to battle climate change.

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NPR's Rob Gifford asks, "Is Britain's Labour Party Back To Pre-Blair Ways?"

After Tony Blair was elected British Prime Minister in 1997, he blurred the line between the Labour Party and the usual opponent, the Conservative Party. But the global financial crisis has forced Prime Minister Gordon Brown to take the Labour Party back to a platform of nationalized banks, government assistance for industry and massive public borrowing.

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"Robust" is the word now being used to describe the EU's mandate for its new anti-piracy mission, Operation Atalanta, in Somalia's treacherous waters.  With NATO's Operation Allied Provider officially ending last Friday, news is beginning to leak about Atalanta's rules of engagement. 

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Secretary of Defense Bob Gates recently told an audience in Bahrain, “Under the United Nations Security Council resolution passed last week, members of the international community must work together to aggressively pursue and deter piracy.” This should not be interpreted as a new “war on piracy” or a call to wage war against pirates, a policy that would not bring stability to the Gulf of Aden.

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