Democracy

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 »

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 »

Why North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses are Being Ignored

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Despite the reactions of the United States and South Korea to the North’s human-rights abuses, North Koreans are left behind. Min hee Jo, Quinn Marschik The National Interest Human rights form a pillar of most democratic countries’ foreign policies and play a major role in their international relations. When it comes to totalitarian North Korea, which is among the worst human-rights abusers in modern history, the United States and South Korea under the Trump and Moon administrations respectively have employed similar but ... Read More »

Marketing and the Delegitimization of Elections

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The core issue is not one of marketing but of citizenry. George Friedman GPF Last week, I wrote about the use of marketing in elections. This week, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faces a congressional hearing on how Facebook data was used during the 2016 presidential election, I will address one of the critical consequences of marketing. It is a tool used on a global basis to delegitimize elections and, with it, democracy. As I argued last week, the use ... Read More »

Kosovo does not aim to start conflicts or armed attacks, Thaçi tells Bulgarian PM

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In an April 10 telephone conversation, Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi assured Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov that his country does not aim to start any conflicts or armed attacks, a Bulgarian government statement said. Clive Leviev-Sawyer ibna Borissov, whose country is the current holder of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, had said earlier in Mostar, after talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, that he intended phoning Thaçi to discuss the situation between Belgrade and Priština. At their ... Read More »

EU Council President brands Brexit ‘one of the saddest moments’ in recent European history

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EU top dog Donald Tusk said Britain’s departure made him “furious”, adding bluntly: “I don’t like Brexit” Michael McHugh & Dan Bloom Mirror Brexit is “one of the saddest moments” in recent European history, the President of the European Council has declared. EU top dog Donald Tusk said Britain’s departure made him “furious”, adding bluntly: “I don’t like Brexit .” In a speech in Dublin today, he called on Europe to unite and warned it would take little time for its structures of ... Read More »

Identity crisis in Lithuania’s bohemian republic

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Gentrification threatens the artists’ colony where ‘a dog has the right to be a dog.’ By GINGER HERVEY Politico VILNIUS — In Užupis, Lithuania, a gate is not just a gate. A gate, you see, is a symbol — of barriers, of impossibilities, of divisions between people and of outdated ideas about property. A symbol that might belong in oldLithuania, but is unwelcome in Užupis, a bohemian self-proclaimed republic in the center of the former Soviet country’s capital. Not that Užupis ... Read More »

Viktor Orban victory in Hungary: German minister warns EU

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A key German minister says the EU must drop its “arrogance and condescension” towards Hungary, where Eurosceptic PM Viktor Orban has just won re-election. BBC Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wants curbs on Muslim migration to the EU, and Mr Orban sees himself as a defender of “Christian” Europe. It is a tense time in EU-Hungary relations, as Mr Orban is defying EU migration and rule-of-law policies. Anti-EU politicians, including France’s Marine Le Pen, also welcomed his win. Mr Orban, 54, ... Read More »

Democracy Comes at a Price in the Western Balkans

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For the first time in a publicly released document, the EU has painted a realistic picture of the dismal state of democracy in the Western Balkans. Vuk Jeremić The National Interest Political extremism and radicalization in liberal democracies are not new phenomena. For the past several hundred years, Western thinkers have struggled to determine how far a citizen of a liberal democracy could legitimately go in expressing his or her beliefs and, more importantly, acting on them. They have also ... Read More »

I lived through Saddam Hussein’s fall – and the horror that came next

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I was a senior university student in Baghdad, Iraq. It was March 2003, and over the past few months, my classmates had whispered to each other about the possibility of a US-led invasion and the likelihood that 35 years of dictatorship and tyranny could be brought to an end. Balsam Mustafa The Conversation We could not dare to speculate on Iraq’s future, but many were longing to see Saddam Hussein fall. And soon enough, the war came. An intense and ... Read More »

Moroccan government lashes out at protest organizers in mining town

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RABAT, Morocco — Morocco’s Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit accused the Justice and Charity Party (Al Adl Wal Ihsane), Democratic Way Party (Annahj) and the Moroccan Association for Human Rights of standing behind the ongoing protests in the northeastern city of Jerada near the… Abdelfattah Naoum Al-Monitor The protests broke out following the death of two brothers in one of the unlicensed coal mines in the city at the end of December. Speaking April 2 at the meeting of the parliamentary Committee of the Interior ... Read More »

Hungary’s war on democracy is a war on democracy everywhere

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As Hungarians vote on Sunday, Britain is shamefully courting the Orbán regime as it tries to get a favourable Brexit deal Owen Jones The Guardian Is Hungary still a democracy? It was a question I posed to Nóra Köves, an activist with the pro-democracy Eötvös Károly Institute, in the Castro Bistro café in central Budapest. “I wouldn’t say that, no. Not, I think, any more. We are heading to a kind of dictatorship, but we are not there yet. We are ... Read More »

Puigdemont urges dialogue with Madrid after leaving German jail

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Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont called for immediate “political dialogue” to end the row with Madrid as he left a German jail on bail on April 6 after judges rejected his extradition to Spain on a rebellion charge. NEUMNSTER – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “The time for dialogue has arrived,” Puigdemont told reporters outside the Neumuenster prison, after he walked free on a 75,000-euro ($92,000-) bail while judges mull whether to extradite him on a lesser charge of corruption. “We have ... Read More »

Could America’s Big Tech Industry Create Free Speech Problems?

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The courts or Congress should clarify that the legislation amends Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act cannot be used to restrict political speech. Mark Epstein The National Interest Last week, the Senate passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. The legislation amends Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, which holds that online platforms cannot be responsible for their users’ content, to exclude sex trafficking. Big tech companies warned that the bill could inadvertently ... Read More »