Features

‘Lost’ ancient Mexican city had as many buildings as Manhattan, laser map shows

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‘If you do the maths, all of a sudden you are talking about 40,000 building foundations up there’ Jeff Farrell The Independent A “lost” Mexican city built by rivals to the Aztecs has as many buildings as Manhattan and was home to around 100,000 people, according to new research. The sprawling urban centre of Angamuco which was part of the Purépecha empire that peaked in the 16th century was detected by an aerial laser mapping technique called the Lidar system. An aircraft beamed out laser pulses and experts ... Read More »

Munich Security Conference: Europe’s elusive common security policy

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European leaders have failed to display cohesion on what type of common security policy the EU needs. Lewis Sanders IV DW Without a holistic approach, the bloc will never fully realize a “security-union,” writes DW’s Lewis Sanders. European leaders appear to agree on the need for a common EU security policy. At the Munich Security Conference, ministers and senior officials from across the continent offered their proposals and visions to secure the bloc in an ever more insecure world. But the ... Read More »

Theresa May warns EU not to block post-Brexit security deal

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Theresa May has warned EU leaders that public safety will suffer if they allow “political doctrine and ideology” to hamper post-Brexit security arrangements. BBC The prime minister said she wants a new partnership of unprecedented “depth and breadth” when the UK leaves the EU. In a speech to the Munich Security Conference she said this would require “real political will”. New security arrangements have yet to be negotiated for after Brexit. The prime minister said that “rigid institutional restrictions or ... Read More »

Pushing back: why it’s time for women to rewrite the story

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Poe, Updike, Roth, Mailer: many male authors have contributed to a culture in which the credibility of women is undermined. It’s time to put a stop to the gaslighting, writes Sarah Churchwell The Guardian In 1938 a play debuted at the Richmond theatre, which opens with a Victorian husband telling his wife that though she has been “very good lately”, she mustn’t “read meanings into everything” or “imagine things”. “Is it possible you’re beginning to see my point of view?” she ... Read More »

UK Government-backed investment bank needed for small business lending, think tank urges

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A new report says a new national investment bank could address the lack of long-term investment in SMEs Ravender Sembhy The Independent Britain should set up a state-backed investment bank to focus on small business lending as part of efforts to tackle poor productivity, a think tank has urged. A new report by Civitas argues that the creation of a new “national investment bank” will address the “market failure” that has led to a lack of long-term investment in SMEs. The new lender ... Read More »

Registered independents may soon outnumber Republicans on California’s voter rolls

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As the June 5 primary election approaches, Democrats still dominate California’s voting rolls and the percentage of independent voters continues to rise, according to new figures provided by the secretary of state’s office. Phil Willon LA Times Just shy of a quarter of the state’s voters now forgo any party label, registering as “no party preference,” a slight increase from last year. If the trend continues, as expected, California’s pool of independent voters could soon surpass the number of Republicans in ... Read More »

Myanmar says it’s ready to take back Rohingya Muslims

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A Myanmar minister told Bangladesh’s president that Myanmar is ready to take back Rohingya Muslims who fled violence, though Bangladesh said it wanted the hundreds of thousands of refugees to have a safe and dignified return. DHAKA – The Associated Press Hurriyet Myanmar’s Home Minister Kyaw Swe, on a three-day visit to Bangladesh, told President Abdul Hamid that Myanmar was ready to take back Rohingya under a deal the countries signed late last year, presidential spokesman Joynal Abedin said on ... Read More »

Kosovo is still locked out of the EU ten years after declaring independence – why?

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As Kosovo prepared to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of its declaration of independence, it was hit with a bitter blow: on February 6, the EU Commission released its strategy for the accession of the Western Balkans, which made it clear that Kosovo’s prospects of joining the EU are remote. Dr Aidan Hehir The Conversation Reeling from high unemployment, perennial corruption and a series of recent crises, the people of Kosovo badly needed a boost – instead the EU’s strategy delivered ... Read More »

The strange link between the human mind and quantum physics

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Nobody understands what consciousness is or how it works. Nobody understands quantum mechanics either. Could that be more than coincidence? By Philip Ball BBC “I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there’s no real problem, but I’m not sure there’s no real problem.” The American physicist Richard Feynman said this about the notorious puzzles and paradoxes of quantum mechanics, the theory physicists use to describe the tiniest objects in the Universe. But he might as well have been ... Read More »

In long-secular Turkey, sharia is gradually taking over

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Over the past few weeks, Turkish officials have broken with decades of precedent in what is still, at least nominally, a secular republic: they have begun describing the country’s military deployment in Syria as “jihad.” By Soner Cagaptay The Washington Post During the first two days of the operation, which began on Jan. 20, the government’s Directorate of Religious Affairs ordered all of Turkey’s nearly 90,000 mosques to broadcast the “Al-Fath” verse from the Koran — “the prayer of conquest” — ... Read More »

Sweden steps up hunt for cobalt as electric cars boost demand

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The mineral-rich country has a history of mining copper, iron, silver and gold Niclas Rolander Independent Sweden will step up efforts to find precious minerals such as cobaltand lithium, key battery components that are increasingly in demand among makers of electric vehicles. The government will invest 10m kronor (£892,483) over the next two years to map the existence of minerals deemed important for future growth. While Sweden has a history of mining for base metals, the Geological Survey of Sweden, a government ... Read More »

EU split over expansion into Western Balkans

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European Union foreign ministers disagreed on Feb. 15 over a proposal by the bloc’s executive to push for expansion into the Western Balkans, a region still scarred by ethnic wars fought in the 1990s and dogged by a reputation for lawlessness. SOFIA – Reuters Hurriyet Meeting in Bulgaria, the EU ministers discussed for the first time the plan by the European Commission that set out 2025 as a goal for Serbia and Montenegro to join the bloc. Hungary’s Peter Szijjarto ... Read More »

Is marijuana the world’s most effective treatment for autism?

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It’s morning in Nahariya, a tiny Israeli town near the Lebanese border, and 4-year-old Benjamin is repeatedly smashing his head against the wall. BY DEBRA KAMIN Newsweek He spins wildly in circles, screeching at full volume. As his mother tries frantically to calm him, he pulls down his pants and defecates on the floor. When they leave their apartment, Benjamin wrestles free of her hand and nearly runs into oncoming traffic. Sharon attempts a trip to the supermarket but leaves before ... Read More »

Polish Ambassador: Why the Antidefamation Law is Justified

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“Holocaust denial is not only denial of German crimes, but also other ways of falsifying history.” Piotr Wilczek The National Interest Over the past several days there have been many voices around the world commenting on Poland’s recently passed antidefamation legislation. Some unfortunately misinterpreted the wording of the legislation, others expressed concern, but almost all who spoke did so out of care for the memory of the Holocaust. This at its core, is Poland’s principle concern as well. The memory ... Read More »

Netherlands passes bill introducing opt-out organ donation

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Vote ‘real breakthrough’, says Dutch Kidney Foundation Senators in the Netherlands have approved a new law making all Dutch adults organ donors after death, unless they opt out. Harriet Agerholm The Independent The bill narrowly passed in the upper house of the Dutch parliament, more than a year after MPs passed the legislation. Pia Dijkstra, who drafted the bill, said under the new system every person over 18 who is not yet registered as a donor will receive a letter asking if they want to donate their organs after… ... Read More »

Be realistic – demand the impossible: the legacy of 1968

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The events of May 1968 in Paris and then France more generally still resonate as a graphic illustration of the potential for relatively peaceful and wealthy societies to explode in spontaneous anger. Simon Tormey The Conversation May 1968 was not an uprising against tyranny or manifest injustice of a kind that animated the civil rights movement. Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings quickly gathered momentum in a manner that almost defies explanation. Part ... Read More »