Features

Apple, Google, Facebook line up to pay homage to EU privacy rules

Tech executives and global regulators promise to boost privacy rights. But not everything is what it seems. Mark Scott Politico Top executives from Facebook, Google and Apple heaped praise on Europe’s revamped data protection standards Wednesday, just as these companies face ever tighter scrutiny over privacy and the prospect of similar restrictions in the… Apple’s Tim Cook — the only U.S. CEO to appear in person — spoke in the strongest terms, calling for a federal U.S. privacy law to match ... Read More »

After the royal commission, how will the aged care industry respond?

A recent US survey found that three out of every four people said they would like to live to be 100, if they could do so in good health. Julie Hare The Mandarin Yet the same number of people said they ate too much, didn’t exercise enough and were likely to retire at the age of 65. This growing collision between longevity, chronic health conditions and aged care services reflects a familiar narrative and one that is driving new thinking ... Read More »

Saving Guatemala’s Fight Against Crime and Impunity

Next year, President Jimmy Morales vows he will end the mandate of the UN-backed Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. ICG Hugely popular, the commission has helped reduce the country’s terrible murder rate. To keep it going, its supporters should refocus on fighting the worst violent crime. What’s new?  Research by International Crisis Group has for the first time quantified the positive impact of the UN’s Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CI-CIG). This report shows how CICIG’s justice reform activities since ... Read More »

Migrant caravan members have right to claim asylum – here’s why getting it will be hard

Roughly 5,000 people, mostly from Central America’s violent and unstable “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are reportedly making their way through Mexico with the intention of claiming asylum at the U.S. border. Abigail Stepnitz The Conversation The so-called “migrant caravan” is attracting intense social and political attention, with U.S. President Donald Trump declaring it a “national emergency.” He has also claimed, erroneously, that the migrants “have to” claim asylum in Mexico first. Migrants aren’t obligated to claim asylum in ... Read More »

China’s hidden camps

What’s happened to the vanished Uighurs of Xinjiang? BBC China stands accused of locking up hundreds of thousands of Muslims without trial in its western region of Xinjiang. The government denies the claims, saying people are willingly attending special ”vocational schools” which combat ”terrorism and religious extremism”. Now a BBC investigation has found important new evidence of the reality. Detention in the desert On 12 July 2015 a satellite swung over the rolling deserts and oasis cities of China’s vast ... Read More »

European Parliament votes to ban single-use plastics in bid to tackle pollution

Ambitious proposal will see plastic cutlery, straws and cotton buds phased out across continent Josh Gabbatiss Independent The European Parliament has voted for an extensive ban on single-use plastics to stop pollution entering the world’s oceans. Products including plastic plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds will all be eradicated from 2021 under the plans. The ban is intended to affect items for which valid alternatives are available, which are estimated to make up over 70 per cent of marine… In a far-reaching set of ... Read More »

The Double Battle

Frederick Douglass’s moral crusade. Eric Foner The Nation Let me begin on a personal note. Over half a century ago, my uncle, the historian Philip S. Foner, rescued Frederick Douglass from undeserved obscurity. Beginning in 1950, he edited four volumes of Douglass’s magnificent speeches and writings, each with a long biographical introduction that chronicled his rise to international renown as a… It is difficult to believe, given his prominence during his lifetime, but Douglass was virtually unknown outside the black ... Read More »

Universal credit stops parents returning to work, MPs told

Group of mothers tell Commons committee that upfront childcare costs and unfathomable system make return to work difficult Patrick Butler The Guardian Having to pay upfront monthly childcare costs of hundreds of pounds while dealing with slow and unfathomable universal credit bureaucracy is preventing single parents from returning to work, MPs have heard. Giving evidence to the Commons work and pensions committee on Wednesday, a group of mothers said accessing childcare support through the new benefits system – a key part of ... Read More »

China Expands Its Peace and Security Footprint in Africa

At the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and China-Africa Defence and Security Forum, Beijing showcased an increasingly strategic approach to its defence relations with African countries and its role in managing challenges to peace and security on the continent. Michael Kovrig ICG China’s growing engagement with African countries got a publicity boost on 3-4 September with the latest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The triennial event brought leaders and officials from 53 African countries and the African Union (AU) to Beijing for ... Read More »

Beyond Short-Term Solutions in the Middle East and North Africa

The United States and Europe should pursue a strategy of long-term civil society development in the MENA. They should also seek stability and an end to conflicts in the short term. Richard LeBaron The National Interest In the final months of 2018, seven years after historic change swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), countries in the region still face significant political, economic and security challenges. In most countries that underwent a transition, the situation is worse than before: ... Read More »

What is the greatest challenge to the future of human rights? We the people are

When considering the future of human rights and whether they will be viewed as more, or less important in the years to come, many potential challenges come to mind: climate change, nationalism, inequality, growing… Stephen Hopgood The Conversation Ultimately, many of these different threats are linked to one another in complex ways – for example, inequality has fomented nationalism, and climate change can increase inequality. But they also depend on the answer to a deeper question: “How important are the ... Read More »

The EU Has Rejected Italy’s Budget. That’s Just What Rome Wanted.

The EU’s move comes amid growing economic problems in Italy, but the country’s ascendant populists will flaunt Brussels’s decision as a victory. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic Since it came to power in May, Italy’s coalition government has always been a marriage of convenience. The Five Star Movement won the economically struggling Italian south with its campaign pledges of a universal basic income, and the right-wing League party won the economically prosperous north with its pledges of tax cuts. That fundamental ... Read More »

Academic Affirmative Action Is a Really Bad Idea. Here’s Why.

If professors like Elizabeth Warren want to be taken seriously, then they should admit what every academic knows: race matters. Salvatore Babones The National Interest In 2003, with my doctoral dissertation approved and my PhD certificate in the mail, I went on the academic job market looking for an assistant professor position in sociology. I applied for more than eighty jobs and got just three interviews. One of them was at the sociology department of the University of Pittsburgh. It ... Read More »

European elections ‘face growing threat of manipulation’

Commission says Facebook scandal is ‘wake-up call’ as it calls for monitoring network Daniel Boffey The Guardian EU governments cannot treat the next year’s European parliamentary elections as “business as usual” given the growing risk of foreign and corporate manipulation, according to the European commission. The scandal over the misuse of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica and the growing evidence of illegal interference in elections were described by the commission as a “wake-up call” to which national governments had to… Věra Jourová, the ... Read More »

World’s oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea

Archaeologists say the 23-metre vessel has lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years Kevin Rawlinson The Guardian Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the world’s oldest intact shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years. The 23-metre (75ft) vessel, thought to be ancient Greek, was discovered with its mast, rudders and rowing benches all present and correct just over a mile below the surface. A lack ... Read More »

Cartoonists can be an important voice of dissent: but they can also be divisive

Rwanda has introduced legislation which criminalises the public humiliation or insult – through gestures, writings or cartoons – of national authorities, public service officials or foreign state and international organisation representatives. Daniel Hammett The Conversation This is a clear restriction to the freedom of political and editorial cartoonists. Political cartoons are powerful spaces in which negotiations of power and resistance are expressed. They provide insights into power relations, key social issues and events. By mocking or ridiculing the excesses and… Cartoonists can be… Read More »