Europe Needs to Wean Itself From Russian Oil and Gas: The economic crisis and the resulting decline in energy prices has created an opportunity for Western powers to deal with Russia's use of its oil and gas reserves as a means to exert influence, a new report by the Council on Foreign Relations concludes. The report, "Eurasian Energy Security," notes that for two weeks in January, a dispute over gas prices between Russia and Ukraine left homes and businesses across Europe without heat. "Ensuring reliable access to Eurasia's energy at a reasonable price is therefore among the most crucial strategic imperatives for Europe and, by extension, for Europe's allies in the United States," the report says. It calls for a two-prong strategy of "integration and diversification" to accomplish this. The report says the European Union should promote a pan-European regulatory framework and a network of interconnected gas pipelines while diversifying its energy sources by moving to such sources as liquefied natural gas and nuclear power to lessen dependence on Russia.
Women: Human Trafficking's Victims and Perpetrators: When it comes to human trafficking, women make up the bulk of the victims—and many of its perpetrators as well, a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reveals. The "Global Report on Trafficking in Persons" finds that "women play a key role as perpetrators of human trafficking," and in Europe, female convictions for human trafficking offenses exceed most other female convictions. Women make up some 66 percent of victims, followed by girls at 13 percent, men at 12 percent, and boys at 9 percent. In 30 percent of the countries where gender was known, women make up the majority of offenders. As of November 2008, of 155 countries and territories, 63 percent have passed laws against the major forms of trafficking in persons. Many have set up special police units to deal with the problem. The report acknowledges that "far more knowledge is needed before the true size of the market for human beings can be estimated."
Juvenile Suicide in Confinement: Fifteen-year-old white males are most likely to kill themselves in prison, a first-ever national survey of juvenile suicides in confinement has found. The report, "Juvenile Suicide in Confinement: A National Survey," comes from the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The office analyzed 79 juvenile suicides between 1995 and 1999. According to the report, 68.4 percent of victims were white, 79.7 were male, the average age was 15.7, and 69.6 percent were confined for nonviolent crimes. More than 40 percent of suicides that took place in detention centers occurred within the first 72 hours, 98.7 percent were by hanging, 50.6 percent were on "room confinement status," and 74.7 percent of the victims were assigned to single-occupancy rooms. The study recommends that juvenile facilities have comprehensive suicide prevention policies and training programs and says research efforts "should be directed at determining additional precipitating factors to juvenile suicide, the perceived relationship between suicide and room confinement, and the effect, if any, of prolonged confinement on suicidal behavior."
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