Opinion

Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings.

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You can be sure that this weekend at the Golden Globes, Hollywood celebrities, not exactly known for their independent thinking, will turn the red carpet into a #MeToo moment replete with designer duds. Daphne Merkin The New York Times Many have promised to wear black dresses to protest the stream of allegations against industry moguls and actors. Perhaps Meryl Streep will get grilled — again — about what she knew about Harvey Weinstein. The rest of us will diligently follow ... Read More »

The negative side of positive thinking

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Study finds optimism may curb action Τwo Democratic fundraising emails were sent to supporters. HARVARDgazette Kennedy School Communications In one version, the candidate was leading a closely contested race; in the other, he was trailing. Which email got more clicks and coaxed more donations? Perhaps counterintuitively, the losing candidate’s message sparked the most action. The experiment was part of a study that explored how optimism can lead to inaction. Behavioral scientist Todd Rogers of the Harvard Kennedy School and colleagues conducted six related studies ... Read More »

We must help vulnerable people to make the best decisions

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New legal measures will bolster rights of those with diminished decision capacity Áine Flynn The Irish Times “Do you know where you are?” “Do you know what date it is?” “Can you name the Taoiseach?” “Can you spell ‘world’ backwards?” These questions are from the traditional mental status examination. They are an example of how not to assess the decision-making capacity of someone with an intellectual disability, mental illness, dementia or acquired brain injury. A person whose… We must help… Read More »

Earth Will Start Becoming a Desert by 2050 If Global Warming Isn’t Stopped, Study Says

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More than 25 percent of the Earth will experience serious drought and desertification by the year 2050 if the attempts made by the Paris climate agreement to curb global warming are not met, according to a new study by the journal Nature Climate Change. Leah Thomas Newsweek The study, which was published on Monday, claims that if the Earth’s average yearly temperature is raised by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the next 32 years, the areas of the world experiencing “aridification,” or ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2018

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From North Korea to Venezuela, here are the conflicts to watch in 2018. It’s not all about Donald Trump. Robert Malley ICG That’s a statement more easily written than believed, given the U.S. president’s erratic comportment on the world stage — his tweets and taunts, his cavalier disregard of international accords, his readiness to undercut his own diplomats, his odd choice of foes, and his even odder choice of friends. And yet, a more inward-looking United States and a greater ... Read More »

Palestinians are watching Saudi Arabia closely

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Palestinians have been carefully watching Saudi Arabia drawing closer to Israel. Adnan Abu Amer AlJazeera The past few months have seen not only a flood of Saudi statements on social media supporting normalisation with Israel (some saying that Saudi is “more important” than Palestine and others apparently dreaming of Israel becoming Saudi’s top vacationing spot), but also a flurry of diplomatic activity between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. Saudi and Israeli political leadership agree on a number of issues, the most important of which is the need ... Read More »

Yemen: Remaining Peaceful Was Their Choice – OpEd

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People living now in Yemen’s third largest city, Ta’iz, have endured unimaginable circumstances for the past three years. Kathy Kelly Eurasia Review Civilians fear to go outside lest they be shot by a sniper or step on a land mine. Both sides of a worsening civil war use Howitzers, Kaytushas, mortars and other missiles to shell the city. Residents say no neighborhood is safer than another, and human rights groups report appalling violations, including torture of captives. Two days ago, ... Read More »

Varadkar turns out to be a surprising believer in State Enterprise

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He has committed himself to Lemass’s concept of a mixed economy with strong state companies Paul Sweeney The Irish Times Looking back over the year, an interesting speech by the Taoiseach, which got lost in the confusion around Brexit, deserves attention for three reasons. It showed that maybe the leader of Fine Gael is not as right-wing as portrayed. Secondly, it indicates there may be a Plan B for enterprise policy, which is more complex than the low corporation tax ... Read More »

Why it makes good sense to have a rainy day fund

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Ireland’s position remains vulnerable, despite the enormous progress of recent years Cliff Taylor The Irish Times There is a long tradition of interviews with the Taoiseach and senior Government Ministers over the Christmas period This year a key message from the Government is that there may be a need for restraint in tax and spending policies next year, as economic growth continues apace. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was at pains to point out that expected tax cuts of €1 billion could not be ... Read More »

When it comes to refugees, Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison and Dutton are hypocrites

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They claim to be Christians but seem to forget the fundamental tenets of its teaching: compassion and treating others as you would want to be treated Julian Burnside The Guardian Ιn 1974 the parliament passed the Trade Practices Act which, by section 52, decreed that a corporation should not “engage in conduct which is misleading or deceptive”. But parliamentarians are not subject to similar restrictions. We accept without questioning that norms of conduct, which parliamentarians set for commerce, do not ... Read More »

Is humanity eating itself into an early grave?

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Despite advancements in science and medicine working to prolong our lives, our lifestyles offset their effects. * Tomasz Pierscionek * RT In the past infectious diseases caused millions of premature deaths, now an obesity pandemic threatens to do the same. The significant increase in life expectancy seen around the globe during the past century is primarily attributed to a reduction in child mortality, improved sanitation, the manufacture of new medicines and vaccines, and numerous other advancements in science and healthcare. Life spans ... Read More »

I once marched against tuition fees. Now I can see their worth

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Scrapping fees does nothing to help disadvantaged young people The money would be better spent helping all, regardless of their chosen path Sonia Sodha The Guardian There’s plenty to make me cringe when I reminisce about my university days, and it doesn’t stop with my dodgy sense of style. If I’m honest, I feel a little shame-faced about the narrower world view I inhabited back then. One of the ways that manifested itself was the enthusiasm with which I threw ... Read More »

The Human Dignity in the Face of Hypocrisy

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Judiciary in Turkey had always been an instrument of the regime from the Kemalists generals to the President Erdogan’s  “Neo-Ottomanist regime“ Costas Mavrides * Eyes on Europe & Middle East Courts in Turkey simply don’t exist anymore Currently there are only “President Erdogan’s Courts” that serve him while he considers that “the judiciary in Turkey is more fair than in any other European country”. Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt  who has been in exile in Sweden discloses dirty little secrets regarding Turkey, since kemalism until today, with ... Read More »

Sessions Says to Courts: Go Ahead, Jail People Because They’re Poor

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Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions retracted an Obama-era guidance to state courts that was meant to end debtors’ prisons, where people who are too poor to pay fines are sent. CHIRAAG BAINS The New York Times This practice is blatantly unconstitutional, and the guidance had helped jump-start reform around the country. Its withdrawal is the latest sign that the federal government is retreating from protecting civil rights for the most vulnerable among us. The Justice Department helped shine a light on ... Read More »

Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?

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Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, was recently arrested in a night-time raid on her home. Shenila Khoja-Moolji AlJazeera The Israeli authorities accuse her of “assaulting” an Israeli soldier and an officer A day earlier she had confronted Israeli soldiers who had entered her family’s backyard. The incident happened shortly after a soldier shot her 14-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, and fired tear-gas canisters directly at their home, breaking windows. Her mother and cousin were arrested later as well. All three remain in detention. ... Read More »

Albania’s Shotgun Wedding Proposal To The EU – OpEd

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To avoid seeing the Western Balkans “wooed” or even seduced by China, Russia, or radical Islam, it’s critical for the EU to move forward with accession talks with the Western Balkan states as soon as possible. Theodoros Papadopoulos Eurasia Review That’s according to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who made the remarks at a conference organized by Friends of Europe earlier this month in Brussels. The accession process for the Western Balkans had been largely shunted aside for roughly a ... Read More »