World

Insight: The Scots investors in the Bitcoin boom

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Some Scots investors in the cryptocurrency can barely believe their luck, writes Dani Garavelli Around 18 months ago, Norman, a pensioner from Inverness, was contacted about an investment opportunity: bitcoin. Dani Garavelli The Scotsman A financial dabbler, he had once been defrauded out of quite a large sum of money, so he was reticent about getting involved. But eventually he was persuaded to take the risk. He bought just over six bitcoins at just under £500 each, through a London-based ... Read More »

The Rise of the Flesh-Avoiders

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Modern vegetarianism is concerned largely with issues of animal welfare but its roots are to be found in the early-modern desire to promote spirituality by curbing humanity’s excessive appetites Erica Fudge History Today Published in Miscellanies. An English translation of the essay De esu carnium, written by the first-century Greek philosopher Plutarch, was published in 1603. Translated by Philemon Holland, the text was given the title ‘Whether it be lawfull to eate flesh or no’ and opens with a bang: ... Read More »

Pope Francis: fake and sensationalised news ‘a very serious sin’

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Pontiff calls on journalists to report precise, complete and correct information, not one-sided reports or ‘old news that has been dealt with’ Associated Press The Guardian Pope Francis has criticised journalists who dredge up old scandals and sensationalise the news, saying it’s a “very serious sin” that hurts all involved. Francis, who plans to dedicate his upcoming annual communications message to “fake news”, told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most “fundamental” to democratic… ... Read More »

Sonia Gandhi Leaves the Stage

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With Hindu nationalism ascendant, what does the future hold for India’s first family and its pluralist legacy? Raghu Karnad The Atlantic  In 1994, Sonia Gandhi published a book of photographs from her private life with her late husband, Rajiv Gandhi. It included a dozen pictures from their trips to Italy, where she had grown up in the suburbs of Turin. Here she was in a speedboat in 1980, wearing crimson-framed sunglasses and a matched paisley shawl. Here was their son ... Read More »

Tony Blair says stopping Brexit more important than Labour winning next election

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‘I think this principle’s too important … I would put it above everything else right now for the country’ Chris Baynes The Independent Labour should prioritise stopping Brexit ahead of winning the next election, Tony Blair has said. The former Prime Minister said the party would “be saying what’s right” if it came out in opposition to the UK leaving the EU, and suggested the stance would also expose divisions within Conservative ranks. He added he believed that “stopping Brexit is the route to win ... Read More »

Tributes pour in for late Kenyan scholar Calestous Juma

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Prominent Kenyan academic Calestous Juma has died in the United States at the age of 64, prompting an outpouring of grief and tributes on social media. AlJazeera “Intellectual giant”, “innovator”, “tireless champion of the world’s poorest” – these are just some of the words used to describe the Harvard University professor after news of his death broke out on Friday. Juma, whose research and writing focused on science and the environment, was a passionate advocate of the role of technological innovation in… Earlier this ... Read More »

Don’t Just Thank Black Women. Follow Us.

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When I joined the 470,000 other women who walked down Constitution Avenue toward the National Mall on Jan. 21, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, I carried a sign saying, “Don’t Forget, White Women Voted for Trump.” Angela Peoples The New York Times My message stood in stark contrast to the theme of togetherness that dominated the Women’s March — the pink “pussy hats” and “girl power” placards, and chants about how women would lead the resistance. This was exactly ... Read More »

Melbourne archbishop says he’d rather go to jail than report child abuse heard in confession

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Denis Hart says ‘communication with God is of a higher order’ after child sex abuse inquiry calls for failure to report to become a criminal offence Melissa Davey and agencies The Guardian The archbishop of the archdiocese of Melbourne, Denis Hart, said he would risk going to jail rather than report allegations of child sexual abuse raised during confession, and that the sacredness of communication with God during confession should be above the… He was responding to a report from the child ... Read More »

Japanese business to start paying workers in bitcoin

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Workers at the Japanese tech firm are free to choose whether or not they want a part of their salary to be paid in virtual currency Shafi Musaddique The Independent A Japanese business will begin paying its workers partially in bitcoin, in a bid to gain a better understanding of how the digital currency works, Agence France-Presse reports. Tech firm GMO Internet said it will pay up to 100,000 yen (£660) a month to approximately 4,000 employees via bitcoin from February next year, ... Read More »

Pesco makes us choose defence spending over housing homeless

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EU army requires fivefold hike in Irish military spending on machines of death Kieran Allen The Irish Times A major decision about Ireland’s role in a common European defence has been rushed through the Dáil On Thursday, 7th December, the national parliament voted to enter a new military arrangement known as Permanent Structured Co-operation (Pesco). The Cabinet took a decision to propose this at their meeting on November 21st but deliberately withheld notification until the very last moment. One can ... Read More »

Scotland set to lag behind UK with growth below 1% until 2022

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A gloomy outlook for Scotland’s economy over the next five years has been unveiled by the new Scottish Fiscal Commission SCOTT MACNAB The Scotsman Growth will lag behind the rest of the UK at less than 1 per cent between now and 2022, according to the body which was set up by the Scottish Government to provide economic forecasting. Its first report was published yesterday to coincide with the Scottish budget. “Scottish economic growth has been slower over the last ... Read More »

Can Peacekeepers Break the Deadlock in Ukraine?

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Implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement remains deadlocked Russia’s first proposal of a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine’s breakaway eastern regions cannot work, but it opens a much-needed window for diplomacy. ICG What’s the issue? In September 2017, Moscow proposed the deployment of UN peacekeepers along the line dividing Ukrainian from separatist and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Such a mission would not help end the conflict. To do that, peacekeepers would need a greater role, including helping secure the Ukraine-Russia ... Read More »

An Introduction to Crisis Group’s Iran-U.S. Trigger List

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The risks of a direct, indirect, deliberate or inadvertent clash between Iran and the U.S. are rising to new highs. Our Iran-U.S. Trigger List is a unique interactive map and early warning tool that monitors and analyses the many flashpoints between the two countries, and shows how they are linked to the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal. ICG Tensions between the U.S. and Iran, as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia, are reaching a critical level, as are risks of ... Read More »

US presents ‘undeniable’ evidence Iran arming Yemen’s rebels with missiles

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Segments of projectiles launched at Saudi Arabia bear markings proving origin in Islamic Republic, UN ambassador Haley says By AGENCIES The Times of Israel US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the United Nations unveiled Thursday what she said was “undeniable” evidence proving that Iran is funneling missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen in violation of international law. At a news conference in a hanger at a military base in Washington, Nikki Haley presented recently declassified evidence including segments of missiles launched at ... Read More »

Uzbeks Feel Challenged by October Terror Attack

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As more Central Asians become U.S. citizens and voters, their impact and influence on domestic American political dynamics will inevitably grow. Navbahor Imamova The National Interest Immigrant communities in America have grown cohesive—and sometimes even powerful—by organizing themselves into civically aware and politically active diasporas. But for immigrants from Central Asia, one of the youngest communities in the United States, growing numbers have yielded little in the way of political cohesion. Some 350,000 immigrants have arrived from these former Soviet ... Read More »

How Washington Lost Its Status as an Arab-Israeli Mediator

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The Trump administration has abdicated Washington’s role as a responsible custodian for Arab-Israeli affairs Evan Gottesman The National Interest Much has been made of the immediate ramifications of President Trump’s Wednesday announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiating the relocation of the U.S. Embassy: namely, the specter of Palestinian violence in Israel and the occupied territories and implications for a future two-state… Yet, perhaps the most underappreciated impact will be on the United States’ standing in the Middle East, ... Read More »