Europe

The Roma are yet again scapegoats for society’s ills

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Lurid claims of child sexual abuse have emerged just as they are becoming free of the grip of predatory landlords Kevin McKenna The Guardian In Govanhill, a little network of streets and avenues on Glasgow’s South Side, the besmirching of another immigrant community is in full spate. A century ago, it was the poor Irish, fleeing famine and persecution by the British government, who were being demonised. Now it’s the turn of the Roma people. Britain’s largest concentration of Roma ... Read More »

What life is like for asylum seekers and refugees in Northern Ireland

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Astur lives in Belfast, a city divided by long looming peace walls, one legacy of the Northern Ireland “Troubles”. Fiona Murphy Ulrike M Vieten She comes from Somalia, a country riven by conflict, war and torture and took many months to reach this place of barricades and reconciliation, of hope and gaiety – a place of enduring confusion and ongoing division. The Conversation Successive cataclysms of political authoritarianism and ethnic conflict in Somalia forced her to flee with her two ... Read More »

Why we must broaden the Brexit debate

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This is the type of moment that gave rise to the cliché – every crisis is an opportunity Denis Bradley The Irish Times It is foolish for Irish politicians to patronise Ulster unionists by claiming that the union is not endangered by Brexit negotiations. Keir Starmer, Labour’s spokesman on Brexit, took an opposite position in Westminster when saying “if the price of the prime minister’s approach is the break-up of the union and the reopening of bitter divide in Northern Ireland, then ... Read More »

No Turkish President Had Gone to Greece in 65 Years. So Why Now?

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first Turkish president to visit Greece in 65 years when he arrived on Thursday and met with the Greek prime minister and president Iliana Magra The New York Times He immediately affronted his hosts by raising the prospect of changes to the treaty that defines their borders. On Friday, he repeated the same comments in Thrace, in northeastern Greece, home to the country’s Muslim minority, which Turkey has long referred to as a Turkish minority. ... Read More »

Political funding rules should not curb civil society bodies

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Law incorrectly classifies certain bodies as ‘third parties’ to election campaigns Deirdre Garvey The Irish Times As anyone paying attention to current affairs will be aware, there are very good reasons why we should all be concerned about the issue of outside parties seeking to influence the democratic election processes that we hold dear. However, it is increasingly clear to us in The Wheel that there is now a real risk that existing laws, designed to prevent such abuse in ... Read More »

Poland’s Macron? Morawiecki takes the helm

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Poland’s soon-to-be Prime Minister Morawiecki has two years until the next elections to show if he will go down as another Jaroslaw Kaczynski puppet or a modernizing force. Jo Harper The ex-banker has his work cut out for him. DW The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party – led by founder and head Jaroslaw Kaczynski – on Thursday picked Mateusz Morawiecki, currently finance minister, to replace incumbent Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. Two years after coordinating the election campaign that saw ... Read More »

Catalans Can’t Agree on What Independence Means

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But whatever it is, those seeking it are more committed than ever. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic BARCELONA — Alfred Bosch, a member of the Barcelona City Council from the left-wing, pro-independence Esquerra Republicana party, sees Catalonia’s referendum on independence in dramatic terms.“The legality of the whole process is not the main issue,” he told me when we met last month.“Was apartheid legal? Yes. Was it legitimate? No.” he continued. “Was the lack of women’s rights legal? Yes. Does that mean ... Read More »

‘Death spiral’: half of Europe’s coal plants are losing money

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Air pollution and climate change policies are pushing coal-fired electricity stations to the brink, says a new report. Closing them would avoid €22bn in losses by 2030 Damian Carrington The Guardian More than half of the European Union’s 619 coal-fired power stations are losing money, according to a new report. As a result, the industry’s slow plans for shutdowns will lead to €22bn in losses by 2030 if the EU fulfils its pledge to tackle climate change, the report warns. ... Read More »

Poorest men in Scotland die 10 years before richest, report finds

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Men living in Scotland’s poorest areas can expect to die 10 years before those living in more well-off places, official statistics have confirmed. CHRIS MCCALL The Scotsman The life expectancy gap between the 20 per cent most and least deprived areas of Scotland was 10.5 years for males and 7.8 years for females, a report by the National Records of Scotland found. The country has one of the lowest life expectancies in western Europe for both genders, at 77.1 years ... Read More »

Obama invokes Nazi Germany in warning about today’s politics

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Washington (CNN) – Former President Barack Obama urged voters this week to stay engaged in democracy, warning that complacency was responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany. Miranda Green  “You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we’ve seen societies where that happens,” Obama said at the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday, according to video of the event. “Now, presume there was a ballroom here in Vienna in the late 1920s or ’30s ... Read More »

Confrontational Erdoğan stuns Greek hosts on Athens visit

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Turkish leader jettisoned diplomatic niceties during meetings that were supposed to cement ties between the rivals Helena Smith The Guardian What had been billed a groundbreaking visit to Greece, the first by a Turkish president in 65 years, turned into a verbal theatre of war as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, flouting the niceties of diplomacy, crossed an array of red lines. Disputes that had lain dormant – not least the 1923 Treaty of Lausannedelineating the borders between the two nations – were prised ... Read More »

Kathy Sheridan: Finns show Ireland what small country can be

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State aged 100 near top of world rankings for education, innovation and quality of life Kathy Sheridan How was it for you? The Irish Times Did we not man that “bearna baoil” and get the upper hand on “the Saxon foe”? For the first time in 800 years. Without a squeak of a cannon’s roar or rifles’ peal. So how do we feel? Will this do: “Stunning victory for Irish diplomacy: drew the concession from May, split her coalition, kept ... Read More »

Aristotle’s Timeless Advice on What Real Friendship Is and Why It Matters

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At age 17, Aristotle enrolled in the Platonic Academy. Zat Rana He would stay there for 20 years. Personal Growth – Medium Founded by the father of Western philosophy, the Greek philosopher Plato, Aristotle was the most promising student around. He asked many questions and answered even more. The exact time of his departure from The Academy is disputed, but it’s said that he left soon after Plato died due to his dislike of the direction that it subsequently took. ... Read More »

Brexit: SNP minister wants united Holyrood voice for single market bid

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Scotland’s Brexit minister has called on rival parties to unite and “speak with one voice” in a bid to keep the UK in the single market as political turmoil continued over Britain’s departure from the European… Russel Jackson The Scotsman Mike Russell said there was “overwhelming support” for this both at Holyrood and among the public as he urged Labour and the Tories to back the whole UK remaining in both the European single market and customs… He spoke out ... Read More »

Turkey jails activist couple of Armenian origin for social media posts

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Two political activists of Armenian origin have recently been arrested by Turkish police due to social media posts that were critical of the Turkish government Uzay Bulut Providence An author and environmental activist, Cemil Aksu, was arrested on October 25 in the city of Artvin for allegedly “praising crime and criminals” in his social media posts. Aksu is the local co-chair of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and is one of the editors of the Gor-Hemshin cultural magazine. His wife, Nurcan Vayiç Aksu, ... Read More »

State home-building scheme only way to tackle crisis

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Housing crisis: Time ripe for cost-rental plan in the interests of all our Republic’s citizens Nessa Ní Chasaide The Irish Times Budget 2018 confirmed the continuation of the Government’s failing housing strategy: that of supporting private developers and landlords as the main providers of housing. How so? Significant funding in Budget 2018 will not go toward new builds but be channeled to subsidising escalating rents to private landlords through the Housing Assistance Payment. Where the Government is establishing loan funds ... Read More »