Multimedia Journalist


The real story behind Japan’s drone boom

He definitely wants to rearm the country and remove pacifism, but will probably be mostly stymied in these efforts by a reluctant public
— Noah Smith, an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University and an expert on Japan

Japan is the third largest economy in the world, and the implications for both global peace and commerce could be widespread.

The country will invest ¥3 billion (approx $372 million) in the coming decade to drastically expand its virtually non-existent military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, according to a senior analyst at IHS Jane’s, the leading defense and security agency.

Read full story here.

In Ferguson, the fervor of the street is moving to the ballot box

I believe people had something akin to an epiphany after Michael Brown
— John Gaskin III, spokesperson for the St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP

As protesters took to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, one of their central demands was more equal representation in local government. Though more than two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are African-American, 94% of the city’s police force is white. Only one of its six city council members is African-American.

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton addressed the city government’s skewed racial makeup in a speech at Brown’s funeral, calling on Ferguson residents to begin a movement that would “turn our chants into change, our demonstration into legislation.” That movement, he said, would begin at the ballot box.

Read full story here.

Why gay marriage has had more success than marijuana legalization, and what it tells us about America

In order to reach the mainstream, you need people within your movement who have influence, who are politically connected, who have the chance to put the message in the ears of those in elected office
— Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance

Nearly two decades ago, Americans’ support for both marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage was virtually equal. About one-quarter of US citizens was in favor of each, according to Pew Research Center polling at the time.

But that year, 1996, the two movements seemed to be at very different crossroads. In September, US president Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Two months later, California passed Proposition 215 and became the first state in the US to legalize medical marijuana.

Read the full story here.

In Ethiopia, how foreign investors secure land grabs

 Photo by: Alberto Bini/Cosmos

Photo by: Alberto Bini/Cosmos

When someone calls it ‘land grab,’ we call it ‘land development
— Birinder Singh, executive director of Karuturi Global in Ethiopia

It’s been called by some to be a new form of colonialism. Others say it is outright theft.

Since 2000, over 37 million hectares of land, mainly in the world’s poorest nations, have been acquired by foreign investors “without the free, prior, and informed consent of communities” in what, according to Oxfam and other organizations, constitutes a “land grab.” It’s a portion of land twice the size of Germany, according to researchers.

Read full story here.

Read all my work at Quartz here.