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Politics is the process and method of gaining or maintaining support for public or common action, the conduct of decision-making for groups. Although it is usually applied to governments, political behavior is also observed in corporate, academic, religious, and other institutions. Political philosophy is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever. Political science is the field devoted to studying political behavior and examining the acquisition and application of power, or the ability to impose one's will on another. Its practitioners are known as political scientists. Political scientists look at elections, public opinion, institutional activities, the ideologies behind various politicians and interest groups, how politicians achieve and wield their influence, and so on.

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Flag of the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization established on 24 October 1945 to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was created following the Second World War to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN Headquarters is situated in Manhattan, New York City and enjoys extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict. During the Second World War, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated talks on a successor agency to the League of Nations, and the United Nations Charter was drafted at a conference in April–June 1945; this charter took effect on 24 October 1945, and the UN began operation. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN's work. The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and a number of its officers and agencies have also been awarded the prize. Other evaluations of the UN's effectiveness have been mixed. Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, corrupt, or biased.

Featured picture

Great presidential puzzle2.jpg
Credit: Artist: James Albert Wales; Lithography: Mayer, Merkel, & Ottmann; Restoration: Jujutacular

An 1880 political cartoon depicts Senator Roscoe Conkling over a "presidential puzzle" consisting of some of the potential Republican nominees as pieces of a newly invented sliding puzzle. Conkling held significant influence over the party during the 1880 Republican National Convention and attempted to use that to nominate Ulysses S. Grant, only to lose out to "dark horse" candidate James A. Garfield.

Selected quote

Barack Obama
Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-El, to save the planet Earth.
Barack Obama, Political fundraising dinner in New York, October 2008

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Selected biography

Phạm Ngọc Thảo (1922–1965), a major provincial leader in South Vietnam and infiltrator of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), was a communist agent of the Viet Minh and later the Vietnam People's Army. As the overseer of Ngô Đình Nhu's Strategic Hamlet Program in the early 1960s, he deliberately forced the program forward at unsustainable speeds, constructing poorly equipped and poorly defended villages, in order to foster rural resentment against the regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem, Nhu's elder brother. Thao was posthumously promoted by the ARVN to the rank of one-star general and awarded the title of Heroic war dead (Vietnamese: Liệt sĩ). After the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, the communist government awarded him the same title and paid war pensions to his family, claiming him as one of their own.

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