5 Steps on the Study of Law in the U.S. for Professional Practice

October 18th, 2019

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If you are thinking about studying law in the United States and want to practice as a lawyer in this country, it is important to know that requirements for the study of law are different compared to other countries. Here are five quick facts about the study of law in the U.S.:

Professional Field
In the U.S., law is a professional field and admission to the degree of Juris Doctor (JD) which is the credential needed to practice law, requires completion of an undergraduate bachelor’s degree. In most countries, students can enter a law program at a university immediately after graduating high school. In the U.S., it is offered at the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Some exceptions may exist, depending on the State.

Law School Admissions Test
The  Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is another requirement for students planning to be admitted to law school. Most students will sit for the LSAT exam immediately after finishing their undergraduate studies and earning their Bachelor’s degree. The LSAT exam is a standardized test administered four times a year testing student’s analytical and logical reasoning skills.

Law Schools
The American Bar Association recognizes over 200 accredited institutions in the U.S. Admission to a law school is highly competitive and will take into consideration the students overall grade point average and scores on the LSAT.

Juris Doctor Degree
Once admitted to law school, students study for three years (full-time) to earn the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. The first year of law school is known to be the most rigorous, includes a set curriculum developed by the institution and provides the foundation of the skills students need to continue their legal education.

Bar Examination
To practice law in the U.S., students have to pass the Bar Examination. Each state board of bar examiners in the U.S. has its own licensing requirements. Students need to contact the board of bar examiners in the state they are interested to practice to learn about their requirements, register and sit for the test. Once they pass the exam, they can enter professional practice as a lawyer.

Helpful links:
https://www.internationalstudent.com/study-law/


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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10 Fun Facts about Finland

October 11th, 2019

finland_1011

Not only has Finland been in the news recently, with its President visiting the US but the 2019 meeting of EAIE (European Association of International Educators) was also held last month in Helsinki, the country’s capital. We’ve decided to put the spotlight on Finland in this week’s blog post and share some fun facts about this Nordic country. We’ve also invited ACEI’s President and CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, who was in Helsinki for the EAIE conference to share her perspective.

1. Happiest Country in the World

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Image: REUTERS/Petr Josek

The latest World Economic Forum report ranks Finland as the happiest country in the world. Finland has climbed from number 5 to number 1.
Jasmin: “I can vouch for this ranking. During my recent visit to Helsinki where I was attending the EAIE conference, not once did I experience an unpleasant encounter with a Finnish person. Every person I met, whether at the hotel, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, shop keepers, and even locals, greeted me with smiles and genuine hospitality. I always felt welcomed. On my first evening in Helsinki, my hotel recommended my husband and I who was also traveling with me, to check out a restaurant known for its authentic Finnish cuisine. It was clearly a popular venue as there were quite a few people lined up ahead of us waiting for a table. As we inched our way closer to the host, a young man approached us and invited us to join him and his party rather than stand in line. We gladly accepted his invitation and joined his party which included a number of Finns and Italians. They were in Helsinki to attend the “No Labels, No Walls” event that weekend. We spoke at length with our new Finnish friends about life in Finland and they had nothing but positive things to say. They all agreed that in order to coexist as they did, some compromises had to be made, but overall they followed the Finnish ethos where taking care of one another is embraced as an important aspect of their social construct.”

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The top 20 happiest countries 2019 Image: World Happiness Report 2019

2. Minimum Wage and Average Salary

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The minimum wages in most professions in Finland is among the highest in the Eurozone. The average salary in Helsinki is around net € 2,500 euros per month. Although Helsinki has the highest salaries in Finland it also has the highest cost of living when it comes to property and rent prices. But, compared to its Nordic neighbors such as Sweden and Norway, its cost of living is considerably lower.

Jasmin: “When I asked my taxi driver if Uber (the ride sharing service) is popular in Helsinki, he said “no.” When I asked him why, he said that people in Finland make a good living thanks to the living wage and don’t need to have a second job.”

3. The Sami (Lapp) People

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Image: stock photo Google images

The first inhabitants of Finland were the Sami (Lapp) people who were there when the first Finnish speakers migrated in during the first millennium B.C. The Lapps moved north into the section that is today known as Lapland.

Jasmin: “I took a taxi from my hotel in the City Center of Helsinki to the convention center or locally known as Messukeskus. When I asked the driver if she was from Helsinki, she told me she was from Lapland. How great is that?! It’s not every day one meets someone claiming to be from this enchanting place where, as children, we were told Santa Claus lived!”

Spanning 30% of Finland’s land area, Lapland is home to just 3% of its population. Lapland’s far north is known as Sápmi, home of the Sámi, whose main communities are around Inari, Utsjoki and Hetta. Rovaniemi, on the Arctic Circle, is the most popular gateway to the north.

Jasmin continues: “In the 15-minute drive to the convention center, my driver took me on a virtual journey of her idyllic birthplace. She spoke of the midnight sun, the Sámi peoples, the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) and roaming reindeer, the magical snowy winters, the sense of space, big skies and pure clean air.”

4. Saunas: “The poor man’s pharmacy”

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Image: stock photo Google images

Finns are fanatic about their saunas. With a population of 5.4 million, Finland has over 3 million saunas. It is said that there are more saunas than cars in Finland. Dubbed the “poor man’s pharmacy,” the sauna is not a luxury but a substantial part of Finnish culture and national identity. The only Finnish word to make it to the English language is ‘sauna.’
Jasmin: “Yes, I did enjoy a few minutes of heat and serenity at the hotel’s sauna. We heard that even a Burger King in Helsinki has a sauna which gives a burger, fries with a side of sauna, a whole new meaning!”

5. Free Education

Finland offers free education at the elementary, secondary and even university levels. This free access is also offered to students from the EU/EES. It is no wonder that Finland is ranked number one as the happiest country in the world.
And one more thing, non-EU students can also benefit from free education if they take classes that are taught in Finnish or Swedish or complete doctoral studies in any language. Oh, by the way, in Finland, when someone earns this PhD, they receive a top hat and a sword!

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Image: stock photo Google images

6. First European Country to Give Women the Right to Vote

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Thirteen of the 19 women elected to Parliament in 1907. Photo: Helsiniki City Museum

In 1906, Finland became the first country in Europe that gave women from all levels of society the right to vote and stand for parliament. Finland had its first female prime minister (Anneli Jäätteenmäki) in April 2003 which made it the only country in Europe with both a female president (Tarja Halonen) and prime minister.

7. Prohibition and Consumption of Alcohol

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Image credit: Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

Just like the U.S., Finland had its own temperance movement that led to the prohibition of alcohol from 1919-1932. Of course, this didn’t stop the Finns from making their own brew and households were known to have perfected moonshining. Smuggling of alcohol into the country was also par for the course. Today, you can only purchase beer and cider in supermarkets throughout Finland. Wine and other spirits can be purchased at state-sanctioned stores. In restaurants, if you order anything but beer by the glass you need to specify the size in terms of liters. There are several speakeasies in Helsinki.

Jasmin: “On a boat ride around the islands near Helsinki, the Captain told us the story of one famous smuggler who during WWII had turned to smuggling about 150 Jewish people from Nazi Germany to safety.”

8. Finnish Language is Unique

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Source: Pixabay

The Finnish language is part of the Finno-Ugric language group and is said to be similar to Estonian than the Scandinavian languages such as Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. It is not even an Indo-European language but belongs to the Uralic language family. Finnish uses gender-neutral words in their language.

Jasmin: “I made it a point to learn the 3 basic words of saying hello, goodbye and thank you in Finnish. The word for hello is hei or moi, and goodbye is hei hei or moi moi, and thank you is kiitos, though everyone we met in Helsinki was fluent in English and would respond with a pleasant smile when I’d say any of these words in Finnish.”

The Finns love their language so much that they celebrate it each year on the 9th of April. To learn more about this special day, click here

9. The Land of the Midnight Sun and Aurora Borealis

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Image: Stock photo Google images

A quarter of the country is in the Arctic Circle which puts Finland’s Lapland and other northern sections in what is known as the “Land of the Midnight Sun”. The sun in this area doesn’t set for 73 consecutive summer days annually while it doesn’t rise at all for 51 days during the winter (known as polar night). Except for the summer, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are seen regularly in every season in Lapland and other parts of Finland

Jasmin: “My taxi driver who was from Lapland said that she loved the long nights and long days. She said that to her these were what made her region so special and unique.”

10. General Country Facts

  • Total Population: 5.4 million
  • Capital: Helsinki
  • Land area: 338,424 km2
  • Government: Republic, parliamentary democracy
  • President: Sauli Niinistö
  • Primary minister: Juha Sipilä
  • Currency: Euro
  • Official language: Official languages are Finnish (spoken by 88.9%) and Swedish
  • (5.3%). Sami is also recognized as a regional language.
  • Official Website: Finland.fi
  • Member of EU: Yes.
  • Member of NATO: No

Source: https://www.swedishnomad.com/facts-about-finland/

Bonus Fun fact:

11. Least Corrupt and Most Transparent

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When it comes to the reporting of the news, Finland is by far the most honest and transparent. This is mostly due to its commitment to equal rights and emphasis on transparency. Finland’s press has been rated the freest one in the world. Transparency International, based in Berlin, has rated Finland since 1998 as the world’s least corrupt country as is its reporting of domestic and international news. If you’re looking at alternative fact-based non-partisan reporting of international news, best you turn to the Finnish press, such as Helsinki Times.


jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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20 Fun Facts About Estonia

October 4th, 2019

DSC01156, Song Fest Grounds, Tallinn, Estonia

You may be wondering why we chose Estonia for this blog. We don’t receive too many academic documents from Estonia for evaluation and have not had the opportunity to visit this country, at least not yet! But when we asked one of our staff to pick a country, he chose Estonia. So, here are some non-evaluation related facts you may enjoy about this country in northeastern Europe.

Let’s get started with “tere” which means Hello in Estonian!

Fact 1:
While the official capital of Estonia is Tallinn, the country is unique because it has more than one recognized capital. In fact, it has several capitals that change throughout the year. Tartu is established as the “cultural capital of Estonia”, while Parnu is known as the “summer capital”.

Fact 2:

Estonia was the first country in the world to use online political voting.

Fact 3:
Estonia has two Independence Days. It first achieved independence from the Soviet Union on February 24, 1918 and again on August 20, 1991 after 51 years of occupation. The second date is known as the “Restoration of Independence Day.”

Fact 4:
Estonian is the official language. Russian is also widely spoken.



Fact 5:

The Estonian currency was the Kroon, but they have joined the Euro-zone and Euro is their official currency now.

Fact 6:
Even though Estonia is considered to be a part of the Baltic countries; Latvia and Lithuania, there is no real political alliance.



Fact 7:

Estonia is named after the “Ests” who inhabited the region in the first Century AD.

Fact 8:

Estonia is the least religious country in the world with only 14% of the population claiming any religious beliefs.

Fact 9:
Almost 50% of Estonia is covered by forest.

Fact 10:
Estonia has a population of 1.3 million and one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe.

Fact 11:
Estonia has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world.

Fact 12:
Estonia is the homeland of Skype, Hotmail and KaZaA.

Fact 13:
All Estonian schools are connected to the Internet.

Fact 14:
Chess Grandmaster Paul Keres was born in Estonia. When he died in 1975, over 100,000 people attended his funeral (10% of the country’s entire population).

Fact 15:
Out of the nearly 200 countries in the world, Estonia ranks in the second place with a literacy rate of 99.8%.

Fact 16:
In 1994, Estonia became the first country to institute the flat income tax.

Fact 17:
They have the biggest collection of folk songs in the world with written records of 133,000 folk songs.

Fact 18:
The Estonians invented Kiiking, which is considered a sport. It involves fastening yourself to an enormous standing steal swing (kiik means swing in Estonian) which has a full 360 degrees of rotation to it. To swing a kiiker the contestant must pump by squatting and standing up on the swing. The swing gains momentum taking the person in full circle by his skillful pumping.

Fact 19:
Estonia produces quality vodka and boasts Viru Valge and Saaremaa as its most popular brands.

Fact 20:
And, in case you are thinking of relocating, Estonia doesn’t accept dual citizenship.

Hope you enjoyed this. Head aega! (That’s “goodbye” in Estonian.)


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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12 Quick Facts on Kenya’s Temporary Operating Licenses for Universities

September 27th, 2019

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Here’s what you need to know about the proposal recommended by Kenya’s Ministry of Education eight-year limit for new universities to operate on a temporary license:

1. The proposed plan amends the University Act 2012, whereby the Ministry is suggesting that newly established universities will receive a letter of interim authority (temporary license) for four renewable (once) years.

2. The proposal was presented to the parliamentary Education Committee at the end of August 2019 that will allow universities to operate on temporary/interim licenses for only 8 years without the option for renewal.

3. Only institutions that meet the Ministry’s requirements will receive the temporary license.

4. The intention is to ensure that institutions meet standards and requirements within the established timelines.

5. The Commission of University Education (CUE), which is the regulator of higher education in Kenya, confirms that 14 universities operate on letter of interim authority.

6. In 2017, the CUE conducted a review of universities operating on a letter of interim authority which concluded in the denial of licenses that were issued to three of the universities previously assessed.

7. Currently, according to the CUE, there are 14 universities operating on temporary licenses

8. The following institutions had received temporary licenses more than eight years ago and could have their licenses revoked if the proposal is passed into law:

  • East Africa University
  • Gretsa University
  • Kiriri Women’s University
  • Management University of Africa
  • Pioneer International University
  • Presbyterian University
  • Riara University.
  • Aga Khan University (the oldest in the list as it received it temporary license in 2002)

9. The following institutions received their temporary licenses later than 2012 which will remain valid should the regulation be approved and enforced:

  • International Leadership University
  • Lukenya University
  • UMMA University
  • Zetech University
  • RAF University
  • Amref University.

10. The following institutions had their licenses revoked in 2017, after a review conducted by the CUE, but later were granted an extension to operate provisionally on the condition they confirm to the CUE standards:

  • East Africa University
  • Kiriri Women’s University
  • Gretsa University.

(Note: Despite a directive from the CUE to the above 3 institutions to not accept any new incoming students, it was overlooked.)

11. The following institutions have been allowed to continue teaching based on their temporary licenses:

  • Aga Khan University
  • Management University of Africa
  • Pioneer International University
  • Presbyterian University of East Africa
  • Riara University.

12. If the Ministry’s proposal is approved into law, it will reopen the debate as to whether universities that have been operating with temporary licenses for more than the proposed eight years will be allowed to continue as such or face closure.

Sources:

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2019-09-05-eight-varsities-risk-closure-in-ministrys-new-proposal/

http://cue.or.ke/index.php/status-of-universities

http://www.education.go.ke

https://sokodirectory.com/2019/09/list-of-universities-risking-shutdown-in-ministry-of-educations-proposal/


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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“In the war against fake news “white privilege” is losing.

September 20th, 2019

white_privelege

Some time ago, a friend replied to one of my Facebook posts where I had shared an article on the college admission scandal. My friend had simply written “white privilege.” In response, another friend wrote that she was “so sick of white privileged (sic) being thrown around.” I realized that she was correct in this case, in that the article didn’t really have much to do with white privilege. However, after a few more responses from her it quickly became clear to me that she didn’t understand what the term meant. She talked about how her father came as an immigrant and made his way to success. The fact that she wanted to make it clear that he had earned his money cemented in my mind, that she really didn’t understand what “white privilege” meant.

I decided to find the best definition I could, so I returned to McIntosh’s 1989 seminal article “White Privilege, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” then wrote my own Facebook-length precis. I was certain that once she understood the concept better, she would change her opinion. She did not. In fact, she insisted that that not all white people were rich, which made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t open to considering that this shameful sounding phrase could mean anything other than that white people were successful just because they were white. In fact, the concept of “white privilege” has little to do with money and success but more to do with the opportunities afforded white people just because they aren’t people of color (which can lead to money and success).

There’s a house in my neighborhood which I pass almost daily. Posted on the front is a hand-written sign that reads “All lives are equal therefore all lives matter.” Next to it a confederate flag with a middle finger sticking up in the center, proudly hangs. Each time I pass I am reminded of all the slogans various communities have come up with to try to gain acceptance and or understanding of their plight.

Black lives matter

Me too

Safe space signs

The rainbow pride flag

Diversity and Inclusion

And then I think of the backlash to all of these movements. I was recently staying at an Airbnb and was talking to the host, who wanted to joke about his “man boobs” but told me he felt he no longer could “because of that ridiculous Me Too movement.” Another example of a lack of understanding of the problem.

I recently saw another sign in a yard that read “we support our police. They work every day to save our lives.” I agree but I can’t help thinking this is the backlash against Black Lives Matter, which never meant to say that police lives didn’t

As a lifelong student of racism, homophobia, sexism, let’s just say all the isms; I am constantly in dialogue with people of all colors on issues of race and more so now that I work in diversity and inclusion. So, in an attempt to simplify the messages, I came up with the following:

White privilege ≠ White shame

Black Lives Matter ≠ White and Blue lives don’t matter

Safe space ≠ Coddling

Me too ≠ you can’t flirt with women or ask them out on a date anymore

Diversity and Inclusion ≠ you have to like all cultures

Though with the last one, I must add that I agree with Trevor Noah who, in his Netflix show, Son of Patricia said, “There should be a rule in America. You can hate immigrants all you want but if you do, you don’t get to eat their food.”

Helpful links:
https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf
https://www.vulture.com/2018/11/trevor-noah-netflix-special-son-of-patricia-best-jokes.html

Reading List:
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo

Informative Podcasts:
“1619” The New York Times
“Seeing White,” Scene on Radio


k_hylen
Kathleen Hylen, M.A. International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Graduated with honors from UC, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Community Studies, focus on anti-bias. Kathleen is also a member of ACEI’s Professional Consultancy Team. Her focus is on helping institutions and organizations develop and/or bolster their diversity and inclusion strategies. For more information, please contact ACEI at acei@acei-global.org.

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3 Quick Facts on Why the Demand for Military Education is on the Rise in Russia

September 13th, 2018

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In a recent post on University World News, Eugene Vorotnikov writes: “The demand for studying in military higher education institutions in Russia has doubled over the past six years and is continuing to grow while many traditional universities are being closed.”

During the USSR era, Military universities in Russia were very popular and deemed as prestigious institutions but dropped in popularity after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But, the situation is changing and the Military universities are enjoying a comeback. According to the Ministry of Education and Science (MOE), the number of applicants seeking admission to military universities has almost doubled since 2013.  Currently, the total number of students and cadets studying at such higher education institutions is estimated to exceed 70,000.

Here’s a quick recap of why Military universities are enjoying a resurgence and why Russians are choosing a military education over universities:

  1. Cost

A key factor is cost. The big difference between traditional universities and military universities is free tuition. Students enrolled at military universities have the cost of their tuition covered by the state.

  1. Employment

Securing a job after graduation is another key factor. University graduates are facing limited employment opportunities which according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Education shows 40% have difficulties with finding employment on graduation. Almost half of university graduates are unable to find jobs relevant to their specialty and end up in low-skilled jobs. On the other hand, according to Russia’s MOE and the Ministry of Defense, military universities graduates are seen as more employable,

  1. Guaranteed Income

On graduation from the military universities, graduates receive an officer position in the Russian army that offers them an entrance salary of RUB50,000 to RUB60,000 (US$760-$910) per month that is much higher than the average salary offered to a university graduate.

As the education reforms continue to be underway in Russia with underperforming traditional universities placed on list of closures, military universities are enjoying a renaissance and growing both in popularity and prestige.

Source: https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=201909051551435


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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8 Quick Facts about Canada’s New International Education Strategy

September 6th, 2019

canada_090619

If you haven’t heard, Canada has outlined a five-year CA$148 million plan to bolster its international student recruitment and study abroad. The government sees this as a valuable investment for a future work force that will have an international perspective with strong global networks and cultural savviness in new markets and regions that will only strengthen Canada.

What is Canada doing to diversify its global recruiting efforts in the tertiary sector?

  1. First, it’s the federal government’s financial commitment to the initiative and Canada is doing this by pledging nearly CA$30-million over the next 5 years for its diversification efforts.
  2. Targeting countries with a large and growing middle class which may have limited capacity to accommodate the higher education needs of their student population.
  3. Focusing on regions of the world where receiving a Canadian education in English or French is appealing.
  4. Brazil, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine, are the countries where the Canadian government will focus its marketing efforts.
  5. The government will also attract international students to attend schools in Canada’s smaller cities to bring economic benefits to regions that have received fewer immigrants.
  6. The government will make it possible for some of the international students who complete their studies in Canada to apply for permanent residency in an effort to retain their knowledge and networks.
  7. The government has also planned to allocate $95-million to encourage and support Canadian students to study abroad in countries in Asia and Latin America.
  8. The initiative will also dedicate financial support for study abroad opportunities for Indigenous and low-income students, and students with disabilities.

Sources:

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-trudeau-government-outlines-five-year-148-million-plan-to-attract/

https://thepienews.com/news/canada-federal-budget-millions/


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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