Features

It is now beyond question that the Tory party is institutionally Islamophobic

There is a very serious problem of anti-Muslim bigotry inside the Conservative Party and the problem gets deeper all the time. Peter Oborne Middle East Eye It’s just under two weeks since I last wrote in Middle East Eye about the noxious anti-Muslim bigotry that infests Theresa May’s Conservative party. I make no apology for doing so again in light of the eruption of two more very serious problems. Toxic Islamophobia The first of these concerns last night’s very troubling revelation by ... Read More »

Third time lucky for Theresa May’s Brexit vote?

(CNN) – UK Prime Minister Theresa May will be hoping the third time’s the charm when she tries to get the House of Commons to back her Brexit deal this week after two previous defeats — but she’ll need more than just luck to get lawmakers to change their minds. By Jane Merrick, for CNN The question being posed in Downing Street this week is: What will it take for more than 70 lawmakers to back her and get her deal ... Read More »

No Choice and No Exit for the UK

The outcome of the simple binary choice given to UK voters in the June 2016 Brexit referendum has proved almost impossible to implement. Robert Skidelsky Project Syndicate The main obstacle is not the complications of negotiating new treaties, but rather the judgment by those in charge of Britain’s political life that the costs of an emphatic withdrawal are too great. LONDON – The United Kingdom’s protracted attempt to leave the European Union has upended the two illusions by which the ... Read More »

Political forces unite to reject far right and deny One Nation preferences

A series of powerful political campaigns will seek to defeat far-right candidates at the federal election as major parties and activist groups warn against the… David Crowe The Sydney Morning Herald Australians will be urged to reject Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and controversial Queensland senator Fraser Anning amid accusations they have inflamed… The fortunes of the far-right have depended in the past on preference deals with the major parties, but similar arrangements are now off the agenda ahead of the… ... Read More »

Bolton slams Turkey over refusal to abandon S-400 deal with Russia

Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton has blasted the S-400 deal as one of several major stumbling blocks in US-Turkish relations. AMNnews “We’re concerned about their purchase of the Russian air defence system called the S-400 – that’s a big problem,” Bolton said, speaking to AM 970 radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday morning. Asked directly by Catsimatidis whether Turkey was a “friend or foe” to the United States, the top Trump foreign policy adviser cited a host of other problems affecting relations. “Well you know they’re still a NATO ally; ... Read More »

Brexit: Europe has changed UK food culture for the better – leaving could turn back the clock

When the UK joined the Common Market in 1974, the country’s restaurants had a total of 26 Michelin stars, the industry standard restaurant rating, in Britain. Richard Tresidder The Conversation In 2019 there are 163, including five restaurants with three stars – the highest honour awarded. Is this a coincidence or has membership of the European Union enabled the development of the UK’s vibrant contemporary food scene? Despite what John Cleese might think, food culture in the UK is booming ... Read More »

The Brief – Replacing Turkey in NATO

A global geopolitical shift has taken place without the wider audience noticing. Turkey has drifted apart from the US and NATO, it has got much closer to Russia, and… By Georgi Gotev with Sam Morgan | EURACTIV.com Turkey is still a NATO member. But it has repeatedly said it is committed to buying Russian missile defence system, despite warnings from the United States that the S-400s cannot be integrated into the NATO air defence system. Missile defence is not a… ... Read More »

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk who introduced mindfulness to the West, prepares to die

Thich Nhat Hanh, the monk who popularized mindfulness in the West, has returned home to Vietnam to enjoy the rest of his life. Brooke Schedneck The Conversation Devotees from many parts of the world are visiting the ailing 92-year-old, who has retired to a Buddhist temple outside Hue. This thoughtful and accepting approach to his own failing health seems fitting for the popular Buddhist teacher, whose followers include a thousand Buddhist communities around the world and millions more who have ... Read More »

Why Emmanuel Macron’s plan for a European agency to fend off fake news makes sense

When French president Emmanuel Macron sent an open letter to the people of Europe, he said their first freedom is democratic – “the freedom to choose our leaders as foreign powers seek to influence our vote at each election”. Alexi Drew The Conversation He went on to propose establishing a European agency to protect this right. The idea would be to provide European states with experts to help them fend off cyberattacks and other kinds of threats to their elections. ... Read More »

After Danske, Next Dirty Money Route Gets Scrutinized in Denmark

As one avenue for money launderers is shut, another one may be opening. Frances Schwartzkopff Bloomberg In Denmark, home to Danske Bank A/S, the authorities are now taking a closer look at companies that provide payment services. The worry is that the process is becoming so complex that criminals might be able to hide their illicit transactions. Danish Business Minister Rasmus Jarlov says the goal is “to all the time be ahead of the criminals.” Because they’re “trying to exploit any ... Read More »

Ardern is a leader for our times, and we should follow her example

This nation needs more leadership, across all levels, in all parties, like that provided by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the wake of Christchurch’s mosque massacres. Peter FitzSimons The Sydney Morning Herald With steely calm, with inclusive language, seeking to unite rather than divide, she told the world, “To the people who did this: you may have chosen us, but we UTTERLY reject and condemn you.” Ms Ardern is one out of the box, a leader for her ... Read More »

Housing Affordability Poll Finds Canadians Have Little Faith Government Can Solve The Problem

Only one in 10 respondents want to see 30-year mortgages. Daniel Tencer HuffPost The real estate industry is waiting with bated breath to see whether the federal budget landing Tuesday will offer any good news for first-time homebuyers struggling with historically bad housing affordability in Canada. It seems a good bet the pre-election budget will include something to address Canadians’ growing concerns about housing costs — but few actually believe it will make much difference. A new poll carried out for real ... Read More »

Anti-corruption candidate wins first round of Slovakia’s presidential election

Zuzana Čaputová will face Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič in final vote. By ANCA GURZU AND LAURA GREENHALGH Politico Lawyer Zuzana Čaputová won the largest share of votes in Slovakia’s presidential ballot Saturday, making her the frontrunner ahead of a second round later this month. Čaputová, a newcomer to politics who has run a campaign focused on tackling corruption, won 40.6 percent of the vote, ahead of government candidate and European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on 18.7 percent, according to the… The two will face off in ... Read More »

Serbia protests: President Vucic the target of Belgrade rally

Serbian police have used tear gas to clear thousands of protesters trying to blockade the residence of President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade. BBC The protesters – who are demanding greater media freedom and free elections – shouted “Resign!” But Mr Vucic refused to bow to the pressure, saying: “I am not afraid.” The opposition has been staging largely peaceful rallies for weeks. But tensions escalated on Saturday when crowds stormed the state TV station. Mr Vucic is a reformed extreme ... Read More »

From Aramoana to Christchurch: A Shorthand of New Zealand’s Relationship With Guns

Nearly 30 years ago, a mass shooting in a small town reshaped how New Zealand regulates gun ownership. The attack in Christchurch could have a similar effect. Chris Fitch The Atlantic On a Tuesday in November 1990, the sleepy town of Aramoana was burned into New Zealand’s collective consciousness. The 13 residents killed in a gun rampage that shocked the nation were, until Friday’s attacks in Christchurch, victims of the country’s worst-ever mass shooting, one that opened a widespread reevaluation of New ... Read More »

Why is Turkey’s presence in Afrin, Syria any different than the West Bank?

Turkey’s continued role in Afrin, a year after military occupation began in March 2018, is under spotlight as US State Department and UN highlight abuses. Seth J. Frantzman JPost Military occupation. Stolen olives. Checkpoints. Accusations of theft of property, land confiscation, demographic change and settlers. These are claims usually leveled at Israel’s role in the West Bank, but in the last year Turkey and Syrian groups it backs have been accused of similar violations in northwestern Syria. The area of ... Read More »