Features

How the Shin Bet Got Unlimited Power to Decide Which Palestinians Are Allowed Into Israel

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Israel’s rules for issuing work permits to Palestinians are a mystery, but sociologist Yael Berda asserts it’s not about security at all, but about controlling the local population Shany Littman – Haaretz Why these Palestinians are desperate to be declared ‘clean’ by Israel Israel condemns hundreds of Palestinians to unemployment – due to their last name The Israeli army snatched a Palestinian boy from his bed and arrested him – then realized it’s a mistake How the Shin… Read More »

Why remembering matters for healing

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April 12 marks Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each year communities and schools plan various events such as reading the names of Holocaust victims and survivors, forums of Holocaust survivor speakers, or panel discussions with historians. Nancy Berns The Conversation These events run through an entire week of remembrance. Such formal days of remembrance are important. As a sociologist who studies grief and justice, I have seen how these events and permanent memorials can be both healing and inspirational. I will share ... Read More »

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bans oil exploration

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is defending her Government’s dramatic ban on offshore oil exploration, saying the transition to a zero-carbon economy “must start somewhere” and promising that no jobs will be lost. Isaac Davison NZ Herald “Unless we make decisions today that will essentially take effect in 30 or more years’ time, we run the risk of acting too late and causing abrupt shocks to communities and our country,” she said at a press conference in Wellington this morning. “I ... Read More »

James Comey Has a Story to Tell. It’s Very Persuasive.

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A HIGHER LOYALTY Truth, Lies, and Leadership By James Comey 290 pages. Flatiron Books. $29.99. Michiko Kakutani The New York Times In his absorbing new book, “A Higher Loyalty,” the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey calls the Trump presidency a “forest fire” that is doing serious damage to the country’s norms and traditions. “This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey writes. “His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.” Decades before he ... Read More »

The U.S. Has Accepted Only 11 Syrian Refugees This Year

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The Trump administration has condemned a suspected chemical weapons strike in Syria and is considering military action. Deborah Amos Parallels “We are very concerned, when a thing like that can happen, this is about humanity,” President Trump said earlier this week. But humanitarian organizations are challenging the president’s commitment to humanity when it comes to Syrian civilians — particularly those seeking refuge in the United States. In 2016, near the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. resettled 15,479 Syrian ... Read More »

Look at Syria, and you can see all the elements that have led to world wars

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It’s hard to believe the west’s leaders are letting this escalate. Have we learned nothing from history? What on earth are we doing? Simon Jenkins The Guardian I have not heard a single expert on Syria explain how dropping missiles on that country will advance the cause of peace or lead its dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to back down. It will merely destroy buildings and probably kill people. It is pure populism, reflected in the hot-and-cold rhetoric of Trump’s increasingly whimsical tweets. ... Read More »

How Beethoven’s ‘mistake’ became one of our most famous tunes

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Without question, the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony contains one of the most famous tunes ever written. Scott Davie The Conversation Since its first performance in 1824, the “Ode to Joy” has been repurposed in endless ways, both reverential and exploitative, from performances at the Berlin Wall to its use in tawdry advertising. This final movement, which combines voices and orchestra, is based on Friedrich Schiller’s 1786 poem extolling a humanist theme of universal joy. Beethoven started sketching ideas ... Read More »

Berlin to change street names over brutal African colonial past

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Berlin is poised to strip the names of streets linked to atrocities committed during its occupation of Namibia and dedicate them to liberation fighters, part of a late reckoning with Germany’s brutal colonial history in Africa. BERLIN – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet After more than a decade of debate, the three biggest parties in the Berlin Mitte district assembly voted Wednesday night to recommend new names for streets in the so-called African Quarter in the northwest of the German capital, spokeswoman ... Read More »

Netanyahu is picking the wrong friends in Europe

TOPSHOT - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Muni World conference in Tel Aviv on February 14, 2018. 
Netanyahu said today his government was "stable" and criticised the police investigation against him after detectives recommended his indictment for corruption, prompting calls for him to resign. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Siding with Hungary over Brussels undermines Europe’s positive anti-Semitism efforts. Here’s something for Benjamin Netanyahu to consider: The Israeli prime minister should spend less time in Europe praising nationalists like Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and more time listening to people in Brussels, like European Commission Vice President Frans… William Echikson Politico Look at the recent Hungarian election. During his campaign, Orbán blamed his country’s problems on a Jewish financier, George Soros — and won, big time. After his victory, Orbán spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, ... Read More »

UK to challenge Scotland’s Brexit bill in Supreme Court

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The UK Government will launch an unprecedented legal challenge against Scotland’s emergency Brexit legislation early next week in the country’s highest court. Chris Green The Scotsman The Attorney General and the Advocate General are expected to lodge a formal application over the legality of the Continuity Bill at the Supreme Court on Monday or Tuesday. The legislation, which is designed to plug any gaps in Scottish laws on the day of Brexit, was passed by MSPs at the Scottish Parliament ... Read More »

Labour’s plan for free bus passes for young people would be transformative and life-changing

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Young people have never been unhappier, according to research released by the Prince’s Trust last week. The survey found three out of five young people are regularly stressed about concerns over jobs and money. Liam Young i News One in four said that they felt “hopeless”. Thanks to eight years of failed Tory policy, an entire generation has had to limit itself to getting by rather than getting on. Fortunately, young people have an ally in the Labour leader Jeremy ... Read More »

Secrets of the sea bed: Hunt for Stone Age site in North Sea

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British and Belgian scientists are exploring the sea bed off Norfolk hoping to find evidence that Stone Age people lived there when it was still dry land. Laurence Peter BBC In recent years, some trawler crews and researchers have found prehistoric animal bones and basic stone tools in North Sea sediment. The team on the Belgian ship RV Belgica aims to map the Brown Bank area, a sand ridge about 30km (19 miles) long. Mesolithic people are thought to have ... Read More »

Preventing Boko Haram Abductions of Schoolchildren in Nigeria

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Four years after the abductions in Chibok, and months after more kidnappings in Dapchi, over 100 schoolgirls are still missing. Nigeria must act to make schools safe – beefing up security, learning from past mistakes and, ultimately, working to end the Boko Haram insurgency. What’s new? In February, a faction of the jihadist Boko Haram movement, seized 113 children from Dapchi in north east Nigeria. ICG It later released 107 of them. Five reportedly died; one remains captive. This comes ... Read More »

Politicians need to know that republican sentiment is deeply felt

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Prince Charles, the Royal Tourist, and Kim Beazley, the new Governor of Western Australia, illustrate both the status quo and the potential for constitutional change. John Warhurst Brisbane Times The role of the British monarchy in Australia delivers weird moments like Charles opening the Commonwealth Games flanked by two beaming but straight-jacketed republicans, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Queensland Premier… Every Australian political leader, including Liberal leaders, is now a declared republican. Royal visits inevitably generate publicity around the republic ... Read More »

Lose Newspapers and You Lose Your Democracy

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Without independent journalism, Trump and other charlatans will thrive. Eric Alterman The Nation I had a different column when I woke up on deadline day, but I wrote this one, not because any major news had broken—yes, the FBI raided the office of President Trump’s personal lawyer—but because our country and our democracy are in the midst of an ongoing emergency, and our embattled media is unable or unwilling to explain it. What inspired my switch was Politico’s publication of ... Read More »

Eight Big Questions on War and Peace for Mike Pompeo

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With a dizzying range of international crises and conflicts facing the U.S., the confirmation hearing of incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday 12 April is a chance to gauge the administration’s future tack. Crisis Group’s U.S. Program Director Stephen Pomper identifies eight critical issues that are likely to dominate Pompeo’s incumbency and… Stephen Pomper ICG When Mike Pompeo sits down on 12 April before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there will be plenty to talk about. Mr Pompeo has ... Read More »