Analysis

The ‘stolen babies’ trial in Spain finally shines a light on a scandal that cannot be forgotten

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It is June 6 1969 and Spain is living through the final years of Franco’s dictatorship. At a clinic in Madrid, a woman gives birth to a baby girl she will never see again. Federico López-Terra The Conversation Little is known about what happened to that mother – but almost 50 years later, her daughter Inés Madrigal has just given evidence in… In the dock was Dr Eduardo Vela, an 85-year-old former gynaecologist accused of stealing Inés from her biological ... Read More »

Adul Sam-on: the stateless boy who survived the Thai cave – and helped with the rescue

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The dramatic rescue of the 12 boys trapped in Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand captured the world’s attention. Derina Johnson The Conversation But one young person in particular stood out: 14-year-old Adul Sam-on, who, as the only English speaker in the group (he also speaks Chinese, Burmese and Thai), greeted the British divers who found them, and… Adul is stateless. According to reports, he was born in Wa state, an unrecognised state within Myanmar which is unable to issue ... Read More »

Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen

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A recent European Council summit in Brussels was meant to articulate a united policy on the burgeoning refugees and migrant crisis. Instead, it served to highlight the bitter divisions among… Ramzy Baroud CounterPunch Considering the gravity of the matter, Europe’s self-serving policies are set to worsen an already tragic situation. True, several European leaders, including Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, went home to speak triumphantly of a ‘great victory’, achieved through a supposedly united European position. Italy’s Interior Minister, Matteo ... Read More »

The Missing Peace: Colombia’s New Government and Last Guerrillas

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Talks in Havana with the ELN, Colombia’s last insurgency, are advancing at a slow pace. ICG Backed by international actors, the current government and guerrilla negotiators should aim for rapid progress in negotiations to minimise the chance of a… What’s new? Peace talks with Colombia’s last guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), could be under threat after the election of Iván Duque as the new president. Tangible short-term results are essential to ensure negotiations continue when Duque… Why does ... Read More »

Why the case of Jahi McMath is important for understanding the role of race for black patients

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California teenager Jahi McMath, who suffered catastrophic brain injury as a result of a routine tonsil surgery, died on June 22, 2018. Yolonda Wilson The Conversation Her death came after four years of her family fighting in court to continue her care in California. Eventually, they moved her to a facility in New Jersey, a state that accommodates religious views that don’t recognize brain death. Much of the popular discussion in the case centered on the family’s refusal to accept ... Read More »

Is Facebook the future of the national census?

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Every ten years, governments around the world conduct their national census: a count of the resident population. Francisca Grommé The Conversation This is no easy task. The 2011 Chinese census, for instance, was a vast operation relying on six million enumerators taking census questionnaires from door to door. Knowledge of a population’s composition is crucial for government planning, for example in terms of investing resources in elderly care. In some countries, it is the basis for dividing parliamentary seats over ... Read More »

It’s Time to Disrupt NATO

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But not for the reasons Trump gives. Benjamin Schwarz The Nation NATO summits customarily amount to public-relations lovefests, in which sonorous communiqués declaring the vitality of the “Atlantic community” obscure what has become the increasingly dangerous moves of the… But President Trump, no surprise, promises to make this summit uncharacteristically uncomfortable and potentially rancorous. The issue for progressives is that, mostly inadvertently and largely for the wrong reasons, Trump will be disrupting an established pattern sorely in need of disruption ... Read More »

Voices of Idlib

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Humanitarian Fallout of Conflict ICG The Syrian war grinds lethally on, as regime forces move to recapture rebel-held areas. In our first-ever illustrated commentary, Crisis Group explores one holdout, Idlib, where three million Syrians – many already displaced – chafe at jihadist rule but dread the coming onslaught. Voices of Idlib… Read More »

A Strategic Reset for NATO

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Donald Trump’s criticism that the alliance isn’t fit for form is valid. NATO needs an overhaul. Zalmay Khalilzad The National Interest At the NATO summit this week, President Donald Trump will undoubtedly criticize allies for not spending enough on defense and for pursuing their own economic wellbeing, in part at the… The president has been lambasted for criticizing U.S. allies and indeed, our alliances are important and represent some of the greatest achievements of U.S. foreign policy. However, Trump’s criticisms ... Read More »

Game changing game changes

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‘Stochastic games’ can resolve Tragedy of the Commons Harvard University All it took for rewriting the rules of understanding evolution of cooperation was a series of chance encounters between Martin Nowak, Krishnendu Chatterjee and Christian Hilbe. Chatterjee, a computer science professor at IST Austria, mentioned the idea of stochastic games – games which can change based on players’ actions – during his first visit to Harvard in 2008, and the idea sent Nowak down a… “People who study evolution of ... Read More »

Erdogan’s New Dynasty Makes Turkey Uninvestable

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The president has given investors every reason to turn away. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unfortunately is a man of his word. Marcus Ashworth Bloomberg He promised to take greater control of monetary policy during the election campaign, and he has wasted no time in doing so. He has snipped the last threads in Turkey’s safety net — and he has made his nation all but uninvestable. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek and Finance Minister Naci Agbal have both departed. They were the kinds ... Read More »

What it’s like to be trapped in a cave

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The experience can be harrowing, even when you know what you’re doing By Laura Demarest — Washington Post Gulf News I’d been swaddled in a cold, sopping-wet trash bag for approximately 20 hours, listening to six other cavers shivering and breathing quietly. We were huddled close on the hard ground of a muddy crawlway, a space barely tall enough for sitting up, in an Indiana cave system. Despite my cosy wetsuit socks and the light of a tiny tealight candle, ... Read More »

Happiness helps football players do better, and it could help economies too

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World Cup football teams with a higher proportion of players smiling in their official portraits have scored more goals on average in all group phases since 1970. Authors: The Conversation The authors of this study argue that smiling is a reflection of confidence. Greater confidence results in a greater capacity to overcome complex situations and score more goals. We decided to explore whether this same smiling-creativity link holds for entire societies by looking at the relationship between happiness and creative… ... Read More »

Who is more powerful – states or corporations?

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Who holds the power in international politics? Most people would probably say it’s the largest states in the global system. Authors: The Conversation The current landscape of international relations seems to affirm this intuition: new Russian geopolitics, “America First” and Chinese state-led global expansion, among others, seem to put state power back in charge after decades of globalisation. Yet multinationals like Apple and Starbucks still wield phenomenal power. They oversee huge supply chains, sell products all over the world, and ... Read More »

A turning point for Europe’s military spending

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This week’s NATO summit in Brussels will be pivotal to the future of the Atlantic alliance. Will European countries spend more in the context of NATO, or try to go it alone with European defense? By Raytheon Politico As European and North American leaders converge on Brussels on 11-12 July for a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the amount each spends on their militaries is bound to be one of the most controversial topics. With global threats ... Read More »

Abortion and the human person

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The fall of Christendom and the rise of secularism has profound consequences for our understanding of the human person. Peter Sellick OnLineOpinion The latter would have it that humanity is but a species among species. This is so because nature is taken as the primary source of our being. Evolutionary theory and the discovery that we share a large amount of our DNA with other species underlines the point. Human beings are biological. The other view of humanity is that, ... Read More »