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Vol 106 / Issue 8

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COMMENTARY T H E M O N I TO R' S V I E W Domesticating drones mesticating dro M ilitary drones bring to mind an angry Zeus, the Greek god who hurls his lightning bolts from the sky at enemies below. But 2014 may be the year that drones take on more of the image of Hermes, the messenger and friend of commerce. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos helped kick-start an ongoing conversation about a softer side of drones Dec. 1 when he introduced TV viewers to a delivery drone on CBS's "60 Minutes" news show. Amazon's "octocopter" could be delivering small packages to homes within a few years, he predicted. On Dec. 30 the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it had approved six sites around the United States to begin testing commercial drones and exploring just what technological, legal, and logistical challenges they present. The FAA expects its test drones to be in the air by mid-2014. Many questions still need an- T swers. Can unmanned drones share airspace safely with both each other and manned aircraft, including airliners? Drones will need some level of artificial intelligence, in case they lose radio contact with the ground. And what about privacy? What restrictions should be made on the places drones can fly and the data they collect? Possible benefits to the US economy make drones more than a science-fiction curiosity and worthy of more research. One estimate predicts the drone industry will create 70,000 new US jobs by 2017. The US Department of Transportation projects that nearly 250,000 civilian and military drones will be in use in the US by 2035. Domestic drones could inspect high-rise buildings or power lines for problems or check on a farmer's field from above. They offer great promise – if these high-flying unmanned messengers can be controlled by strong rules that ensure safety and privacy. In 2014, watch India wo exceptional seeds were planted this year in India, the world's largest democracy. Each one is worthy of attention in 2014. The first is the coming to power of the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) party in the state that includes the capital, New Delhi. Led by anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal, the party was hatched only a year ago on the premise that India's poor would actually vote for clean government rather than trade their ballots for handouts. If Mr. Kejriwal can make progress in curbing graft for the state's 15 million people, he plans to field candidates in national elections next year. The other seed is a new law that creates an independent national agency to investigate and prosecute civil servants and elected officials for corruption. The measure was first proposed in 2011 after mass protests against corruption. But India's lawmakers only passed the bill in the wake of Kejriwal's electoral insurgency. Traditional Indian politics often divides people by category – caste, language, region, or religion. Once in power, politicians rely on patronage and the doling of benefits in order to stay in office. The Common Man party avoids that trap and advocates transparency and accountability in government. Kejriwal has tapped into India's rising middle class and disenchanted poor who know the world's second most-populous nation can succeed only with better governance. If India can make this critical course correction, it just might serve as a model for China and other nations that face similar challenges, and show that prosperity is best built on a foundation of openness, freedom, and honesty. EDITOR: John Yemma MANAGING EDITOR: Marshall Ingwerson SENIOR EDITOR: David Cook CHIEF EDITORIAL WRITER: Clayton Jones MANAGING PUBLISHER: Jonathan Wells CHIEF STRATEGY AND MARKETING OFFICER: Susan Hackney Founded in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy "First the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear." THE VIEW FROM ABROAD How the world press sees America Tel Aviv / Ynet Obama presidency still a work in progress "Many Israeli commentators have argued recently that the empire era is over and have given the American president a failing grade in foreign and domestic policy. Not only is this assertion surprising in its timing – after all, Obama still has three more years in office, which make up 40% of the total time he will have served as president – but it is far from being accurate," opines Udi Sommer. "After the two wars he inherited and his desire to leave his mark on the war on terror with the assassination of [Osama] bin Laden and the weakening of al-Qaeda, the president has only now reached the place he wanted to be in when he was elected in 2008 – in the diplomatic field." ToronTo / National Post The 'Clichémonger-in-Chief' "Even as his popularity wanes, Barack Obama holds onto his status as the most talkative human being in politics. He has also become a shameless employer of clichés. Those who study his speeches recognize his favourite line, 'Now let me be clear,' " writes Robert Fulford in an opinion piece. "But why does he insist on seeking permission to demonstrate his clarity? An innocent listener might assume he believes there's a plot to deny him his right to speak clearly. In fact, he's playing his role, the Clichémonger-in-Chief of the U.S." Seoul, SouTh KoreA / Korea JoongAng Daily The real face of the United States "Fatigue from internal affairs [resulting from a struggle with the Republican-dominated Congress over 'Obamacare' has] deprived the Obama administration of diplomatic influence," opines Park SeungHee. "The Syrian incident is a notable example. While the use of chemical weapons was defined as a red line, America did not punish the [Bashar al-] Assad regime and barely ended the crisis with the help of Russian President Vladimir Putin. About 2.2 million Syrian refugees disappointed by the U.S. inaction are currently in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. That is the real face of the United States." Abu DhAbi, uniTeD ArAb emirATeS / The National United States must clarify policy in Syria "The most difficult policy challenge facing both Arab governments and the US [in 2014] will be Syria," opines Hussein Ibish. "The self-fulfilling notion that the US has 'no good options in Syria' seems increasingly vindicated to its proponents.... This is a self-defeating, self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating policy mistake. And it could persist for years. Moreover, as long as the US insists that [President Bashar al-Assad] must go, while simultaneously working with him as a partner in destroying his chemical weapons, American policy will continue to seem at cross purposes with both itself and the interests of its Arab allies." THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEklY | January 13, 2014 33

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