The CSS Blog Network

From 11 to 5

Nixie clock / Photo: Public domain, Wikipedia

Nixie clock / Photo: Public domain, Wikipedia

Russia is the largest country on the planet and as such faces special challenges. Who else has to organize such a vast territory that at the moment spans over 11 time zones? Did you know that the difference between Omsk Time and Magadan Time is exactly 5 hours?

To ease the burden of space and time, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed to actually reduce the number of time zones in the country from 11 to 5. Pointing to the economic advantages of the reduction, he underlined benefits for communication and traveling. It’s definitely an organizational challenge if a businessman in Kaliningrad in Russia’s far west is calling a business partner in Vladivostok, which is in the far east.

Yet, time is not only in Russia a political issue – also China decided after the Communist Revolution of 1949 to abolish the up until then existing 5 time zones in favor of only one zone, of course that of Beijing. Whether or not this has helped to strengthen the central leadership and to unify the national political movements no one can say, but one can imagine what that means for the inhabitants of western China.

Changing time and its measurement goes over the powers of most politicians, as the fate of the Soviet calendar as well as of its French Republican counterpart proves. So it remains to be seen how far Medvedev’s proposal will get.

ISN Weekly Theme: The Fog of Cyberwar

Photo: wokka/flickr

Photo: wokka/flickr


Nebulous at best, incomprehensible at worst: International norms surrounding cybersecurity have left some countries trailing in their efforts to secure their data and networks. We’re focusing on these issues and more in the ISN Weekly Theme: The Fog of Cyberwar.

And as always, feel free to follow us on Twitter.

Women on Top

Women are the nuts and bolts of politics / Photo: jfrancis, flickr

Women are the nuts and bolts of politics / Photo: jfrancis, flickr

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Granted, Switzerland has been taking some hits lately, but not everything happening in the hallowed halls of Bern garner controversy.

Starting next year, the top three positions in Swiss government will be held by women: Pascale Bruderer of the SP will be House speaker; Erika Forster will fill the Senate speaker chair; and current economics minister Doris Leuthard is expected to be chosen as next year’s president.

Not bad for a country that only granted women the right to vote nationwide in 1971.

Melting Expectations

Iceberg, Alaska, photo: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton/flickr

Iceberg, Alaska, photo: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton/flickr

With the Copenhagen conference on climate change only two weeks away, it remains doubtful whether a legally binding agreement on climate change will emerge.  Here a run-down of the (mostly vague) pledges made by key greenhouse gas emitters in the wake of the conference:

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Where Is Turkey Going?

Prime Minister of Turkey Erdogan, courtesy of the United Nations/flickr

Prime Minister of Turkey Erdogan, courtesy of the United Nations/flickr

Political relations between Turkey and its neighbors have significantly changed. We can distinguish six major shifts in Turkish foreign policy within the last three months that could be considered historic:
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