Features

The secret to Germany’s scientific excellence

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With a national election this month, Germany proves that foresight and stability can power research. Alison Abbott Nature  Ask any German researcher why the country’s science base is blooming, and they are bound to mention Chancellor Angela Merkel. The world’s most powerful woman, they say, has not forgotten her roots as an East German physicist. During a decade of global financial turbulence, her government has increased annual science budgets in a stable, predictable, quintessentially German way. It has spurred competition ... Read More »

Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us

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The victims of Hurricane Harvey have a murderer—and it’s not the storm. Mark Hertsgaard The Nation The horrors hurled at Houston and the Himalayan lowlands in late August were heartbreaking—but also infuriating. How many times must we see this disaster movie—titled Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, along with many lesser-known foreign releases—before we intervene and change the ending? And how long before we hold the ultimate authors of such climate catastrophes accountable ... Read More »

India Should Learn the Right Lesson from China Standoff

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Why the India-China standoff near the Sikkim border happened at all and how it ended on August 28 after seventy one long and anxious days will never be fully known MELKULANGARA BHADRAKUMAR Strategic Culture The Indian government maintains cryptically that «following diplomatic communications, expeditious disengagement of border personnel of India and China at the face-off site at Doklam» took place. It falls far short of claiming any mutual agreement or understanding – or of any mutual withdrawal as such. And ... Read More »

World must act to halt genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

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World must act to halt genocide of Rohingya Muslims in MyanmarPersecution of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s security forces has escalated to its worst level in years, becoming one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises. Editorial The Age So extreme is the systematic brutality against this stateless, downtrodden and demonised minority of 1.1 million people in a nation of 54 million, 90 per cent of whom are Buddhists, that the United Nations is suggesting it is tantamount to ethnic cleansing ... Read More »

What I saw when I went undercover

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The 21-year-old whistleblower at the immigration removal centre Callum Talley was so shocked by the chaos, violence and abuse he saw as a detainee custody officer in an immigration removal centre, he decided to become a whistleblower. Alison Holt BBC Putting on hidden cameras for a BBC Panorama investigation, the 21-year-old exposes a toxic, brutal and failing environment, where self-harm and drug abuse are commonplace. Ten staff and former staff have been suspended as a result of his allegations. Callum ... Read More »

Liar, liar, pants on fire! Groups lie more than individuals, according to new research

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Key Takeaway: Something as simple as communication within groups, even if each group member has previously behaved honestly, can be the key to triggering collaborative, dishonest behavior. EurekAlert! CATONSVILLE, MD, September 6, 2017 – Do you pride yourself on being an honest person? Even individuals who have a proven track record of honest behavior are no match for the potentially negative influences present in a group dynamic, especially when money is at stake, according to a new study, published in ... Read More »

Rohingya crisis: Suu Kyi says ‘fake news helping terrorists’

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Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has claimed that the crisis in Rakhine state is being distorted by a “huge iceberg of misinformation”. BBC In her first comments on the latest Rohingya crisis, she said tensions were being fanned by fake news promoting the interests of terrorists. Ms Suu Kyi made the comments in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, her office said. More than 123,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh in two weeks. The latest ... Read More »

The Kurds Are Not Children

Iraqi Kurdish demonstrators wave the Kurdish flag during a protest demanding for the independence of Kurdistan outside the United Nations offices in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region, on August 23, 2014. About 700,000 Iraqis have gathered in the Kurdish north after being driven from their homes by jihadist Islamic State (IS) fighters, the UN said as it stepped up a massive aid operation to the region. AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED        (Photo credit should read SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

They have earned their independence, and the West must get out of the way By Bernard-Henri Lévy  Foreign Policy The timidity of the international community in the face of the Sept. 25 referendum on an independent Kurdistan is a trifecta of shame, absurdity, and historic miscalculation. We are talking about a people who have been deported, Arabized by force, gassed, and pushed into the mountains where, for a century, they have mounted an exemplary resistance to the tyranny their Baghdad ... Read More »

Brutality of British immigration detention system laid bare

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An exposé of an immigration removal centre has uncovered shocking levels of violence and abuse directed at detainees awaiting potential deportation from the UK. Victoria Canning Monish Bhatia The Conversation While some staff at the Brook House centre for men near Gatwick Airport, run by the company G4S, tried to control the “chaos”, others were clearly seen mocking and assaulting detainees. In one incident caught on undercover camera as part of the BBC Panorama documentary, an ill and vulnerable man ... Read More »

Buddhism and State Power in Myanmar

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Extreme Buddhist nationalist positions including hate speech and violence are on the rise in Myanmar. Rather than ineffective bans on broad-based groups like the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion (MaBaTha), the government should address underlying causes and reframe the debate on Buddhism’s place in society and politics. ICG Executive Summary The August 2017 attacks by al-Yaqin or Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which the Myanmar government has designated a terrorist organisation, have pushed Rakhine state into renewed ... Read More »

Turkey Can Forget About EU Membership

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Turkey will never become a member of the European Union, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally said so in public. Michael J. Totten World Affairs Journal “The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU,” she said in an election debate with her opponent, Martin Shulz. “I’ll speak to my colleagues to see if we can reach a joint position on this so that we can end these accession talks.” The only thing surprising here ... Read More »

Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries

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The centuries-old texts were erased, and then written over, by monks at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt Brigit Katz Smithsonian Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. Thousands of manuscripts and books are kept there – some of which contain hidden treasures. Now, as Jeff Farrell reports for the Independent, a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that ... Read More »

US-China clash of civilisations is being played out in the South China Sea

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Mark Valencia says the hard and soft power confrontation between the two has all the makings of an existential contest because both see it as their right and destiny to dominate and shape the international order. A clash may be inevitable. Mark J. Valencia South China Morning Post The struggle between the US and China for control of the South China Sea is symptomatic of a much deeper “clash of civilisations”. According to Samuel Huntington, the originator of this theory, ... Read More »

Kenya: A Historic Decision, A Tough Road Ahead

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Kenya’s Supreme Court decision to annul the 8 August presidential election is bold and historic, but the path ahead will be fraught. A successful rerun within 60 days will need compromise on a better electoral commission, more accountable policing and more effective management of the high-stakes vote. ICG The 1 September decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to annul the results of the 8 August presidential election and order a fresh vote was at once unexpected, historic, bold and – by ... Read More »

North Korea Nuke Tests Show Need for New Policy Response

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North Korea’s sixth nuclear test heightens regional anxieties and is dangerous for populations living nearby. But in itself it does not fundamentally alter the situation nor should it raise the risk of military conflict. Instead, it should spur the U.S., South Korea and China to forge a stronger, more effective and more united diplomatic approach. ICG In a season of repeated North Korean provocative steps, the 3 September underground nuclear test ranks as the most serious to date. Not only will ... Read More »

A new multilateral world without the US

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A global consensus is emerging without the US. Canada and other countries that rely on a liberal world order must reinforce key multilateral institutions. Colin Chia Policy Options Can multilateral cooperation keep the international order going with the most powerful country acting as dead weight? Canada is adopting a broad foreign policy posture that presumes the answer is yes. With the US taking a hard line in NAFTA negotiations and seeing the bilateral relationship in “win-lose” terms, upholding a broader ... Read More »