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Arms race beneath the Pacific

Large landing ships The Pacific Ocean and its neighboring seas are getting increasingly crowded these days as the countries that call those waters home try to keep up with China's growing naval presence in the region. As CNN's Charles Riley writes, Australia recently became the latest entrant to the arms race when they ordered twelve new submarines at a cost of $39 billion. The 4,700 metric ton Shortfin Barracudas will offer their navy better sensory and stealth performance without compromising the range and endurance of older models. Australia described them as the "largest and most complex" submarines it has ever employed. Their Pacific neighbors are likely to follow suit, with at least eight of the twelve nations in the area that currently utilize subs looking to upgrade their respective fleets.

Such expansion is merely the latest example of a recent trend in the region. Defense spending among Asian countries has risen steadily by an average of five percent each year at a time when military budgets in most of Europe have remained stagnant. While the region's growing economic power has enabled its countries to make such an investment, the primary cause is often thought to be China's aggressive territorial expansion through man-made islands in the Pacific and disputes with Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan, among others.

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Time’s 100 Most Influential Shows God’s Working

Time Magazine announces 2016 top 100 influential people and shows the six cover options (Credit: TIME Magazine)Yesterday, Time released their annual list of the most influential people. And as you might expect, the usual suspects were on the list. But there were some interesting absences from the list.

Leonardo DiCaprio is on it, due to his leading voice on climate change. Mark Zuckerberg found a position with his befriending desire to connect the entire world. Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, found herself on the list because of her courageous decision to come out and cross over. And Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is there, with his combination of likability, creativity, and business acumen.  

But what about religious leaders?

Pope Francis made the list, which was about as expected as the sunrise. Mussie Zerai, a Catholic priest who has been called the Father to Refugees, also made the list. But other than those two, there were no other religious leaders. No Billy Graham, nor Rick Warren types.

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Immigration in the Dominican: a glimpse of our future?

Haitians wait for the opening of the border between Jimani, Dominican Republic, and Malpasse, Haiti, on a market day, Thursday, June 18, 2015. As the Dominican Republic starts cracking down on migrants, the Dominican government is urging people to start carrying documents to prove they're residents and avoid deportation in case immigration agents stop them. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)"The influx from our poorer neighbor is overwhelming. They steal jobs. They are dangerous. They take advantage of our laws . . . They are seeking better lives. They do the labor-intensive jobs locals won't. They contribute to the economy."

It's a familiar debate, but from an unfamiliar source. As Mariano Castillo writes in a fascinating and troubling article for CNN (Rachel Nolan writes an even more detailed account for Harper's Magazine), such rhetoric comes not from America but from Haiti and the Dominican Republic—two neighboring nations with a common but troubled past that are still trying to find their way to a better future. In so doing, they offer a glimpse into what we in the United States might expect should the debate over immigration yield laws that are ill-equipped to address the larger concerns behind them.

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