Features

A history of loneliness

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Is loneliness our modern malaise? Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says the most common pathology he saw during his years of service “was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.” Amelia S. Worsley The Conversation Chronic loneliness, some say, is like “smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” It “kills more people than obesity.” Because loneliness is now considered a public health issue – and even an epidemic – people are exploring its causes and trying to find solutions. While ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia’s Leader Could Tell a Better Story if He’d End His Vicious, No-win War

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who arrives in Washington this week, is a man on a mission with a story to tell. Originally published in The Washington Post ICG It’s an appealing if slightly embellished narrative: about his economic vision, desire to promote a more moderate form of Islam, recognition of women’s rights and empowerment of a younger generation. But it’s a narrative that should not silence the other, far less rosy story of Saudi Arabia’s military ... Read More »

The U.S. Alliance With Turkey Is Worth Preserving

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Elephants in the Room Ankara is a difficult friend. That doesn’t mean the United States should cut it loose. By Michael Singh & James F. Jeffrey | FP If the United States didn’t already face enough troubles in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently threatened American troops with an “Ottoman slap” if they interfered with Turkey’s military incursion into northwestern Syria. The threat, coming two days before a visit to Turkey by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, underscored just how contentious relations between ... Read More »

Climate change soon to cause movement of 140m people, World Bank warns

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Tens of millions in three regions of the developing world expected to migrate before 2050 unless environment is improved Fiona Harvey The Guardian Climate change will result in a massive movement of people inside countries and across borders, creating “hotspots” where tens of millions pour into already crowded slums, according to the World Bank. More than 140 million people in just three regions of the developing world are likely to migrate within their native countries between now and 2050, the ... Read More »

Reviewing The Southern Flank of NATO: Strategy-Making on Rocky Ground

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The Southern Flank of NATO takes a historical excursion off the beaten path, exploring the initial attempt to mount a political and military defense against the Soviet Union in Greece, Turkey, Italy, and at times, Yugoslavia. Dave Blair The Strategy Bridge The Southern Flank of NATO, 1951-1959: Military Strategy or Political Stabilization. Dionysios Chourchoulis. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2015. For this reason alone, this work is of value—this is an under-researched topic, and this study closes a gap in the ... Read More »

Cambridge Analytica: Warrant sought to inspect company

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The UK’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says she will seek a warrant to look at the databases and servers used by British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. BBC The firm is accused of using the personal data of 50 million Facebook members, amassed via a personality quiz app created by an academic. Former employee Christopher Wylie claims the company used the data to influence the US presidential election. The firm denies the allegations. Ms Denham had demanded access to Cambridge ... Read More »

24 March: Global Action Day for Afrin

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The international campaign in defense of Afrin declared 24 March as Global Action Day for Afrin and urged all supporters to protest Turkish invasion. AFN The signatories of the campaign released a statement entitled “Supporting the resistance is an historical imperative” and called all to join the first Global Action Day for Afrin on 24 March 2018. The statement read as follows: “The criminal assault on Afrin constitutes a new phase in the Turkish state’s war on the Kurdish people. ... Read More »

Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Sclerosis May Revolutionize Care for One Million Americans

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Updated | People with multiple sclerosis may be able to “reset” their immune system and potentially reverse their symptoms with an infusion of blood-based stem cells. Kate Sheridan Newsweek The finding is based on a randomized clinical trial with 110 patients who’d been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. According to the data, stem cell transplant may be an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). The study built on work by Dr. Richard Burt, a stem cell specialist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, ... Read More »

What Putin’s Reelection Means for Russia and the World

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Putin is staying—but he is likely to take the initiative to shape both Russia’s domestic politics and its international position to his liking. Nikolas K. Gvosdev The National Interest No one should have been surprised by the results of Sunday’s presidential election in Russia. Official figures maintain that nearly 60 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, with incumbent Vladimir Putin cruising to an easy victory with more than three-quarters of the votes. Even assuming that the figures were massaged—note the ... Read More »

Steve light phenomena spotted in Scottish skies

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A colourful new celestial phenomenon has been spotted in skies over Scotland Known as Steve, the spectacle was initially discovered by a group of citizen scientists in Canada in 2016. Ilona Amos The Scotsman But keen-eyed stargazers in the Highlands and Islands spotted the mysterious spectacle during displays of the better known northern lights, or aurora borealis, in recent days. The new natural wonder, another kind of aurora, consists of long spurts of mainly purple and green light that appear ... Read More »

Saudi women should have choice whether to wear abaya robe, crown prince says

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Women in Saudi Arabia need not wear headcover or the black abaya – the loose-fitting, full-length robes symbolic of Islamic piety – as long as their attire is “decent and respectful”, the kingdom’s reform-minded crown prince has said. RIYADH – Reuters Hurriyet With the ascent to power of young Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the kingdom has seen an expansion in women’s rights including a decision to allow women to attend mixed public sporting events and the right to drive cars ... Read More »

‘You Will Not Destroy America’: A Trump Battle Is No Longer One-Sided

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WASHINGTON — Usually, top intelligence and law enforcement officials withdraw to lives of tight-lipped relative anonymity after their careers end. (Suffice it to say, they are not exactly known for viral Twitter battles.) Katie Rogers The New York Times But as President Trump has voiced his grievances against the F.B.I. with a series of insult-laden tweets, his targets have responded nearly in kind, turning a conflict that would in the past have stayed behind closed doors into a brawl for ... Read More »

Developing countries at risk from US rate rise, debt charity warns

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Jubilee Debt Campaign says 126 nations spend more than 10% of revenues on interest Larry Elliott The Guardian The expected rise in US interest rates will increase financial pressures on developing countries already struggling with a 60% jump in their debt repayments since 2014, a leading charity has warned. The Jubilee Debt Campaign said a study of 126 developing nations showed that they were devoting more than 10% of their revenues on average to paying the interest on money borrowed – the ... Read More »

The only thing keeping Maduro in power is the opposition

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If Venezuela’s opposition really wants to remove Nicolas Maduro, it must unite behind renegade candidate Henri Falcon. Asa Cusack Al Jazeera Can anyone win in an illegitimate election? This is the big question in Venezuela today, as commentators and citizens alike debate whether to participate or abstain in upcoming elections, where one candidate, Henri Falcon, has defied the opposition coalition’s decision not to take part. In short, the answer is “yes”. Paradoxically, the very lack of legitimacy that undermines these elections has ... Read More »

Why Pompeo may not be good news for Ankara

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The diplomatic reshuffle in Washington may be the harbinger of a new era of further confrontation with Ankara. Yavuz Baydar The Arab Weekly Regardless of the rosy expectations of some, US-Turkey relations may enter a critical phase if CIA Director Mike Pompeo takes over the US State Department from Rex Tillerson. Pompeo and Tillerson have very little in common. Tillerson represented a “softer” American approach to issues and the notion that Washington needs to take its allies into account. Pompeo ... Read More »

Somalia clans secure peace with death sentences and hefty fines

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Two rival Somali clans have signed up to a groundbreaking peace deal which aims to end the cycle of revenge killings. Will Ross BBC Following three weeks of mediation, the rival Sa’ad Yoonis and Ba’iido clans in the disputed Sanaag region reached an agreement on harsh new rules. Now, anyone found guilty of carrying out a revenge killing or vendetta will face a death sentence. The family of the perpetrator will also have to pay fine a $100,000 (£72,000). There ... Read More »