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Behind the breakdown of political consensus

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Across Western democracies, the social cohesion that once sustained political consensus has severely eroded. Nathan Gardels The Washington Post A new segregation is emerging as a combined result of the collapse of socializing institutions and the rise of polarizing practices. Mandatory military or civic service is gone in most liberal societies. Universal public education, in which all classes, races and ethnicities mingled, has been relegated to less well-off communities while those who can afford it receive a private education from ... Read More »

Want to know your rights but only have 60 seconds?

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London barrister hopes to educate people about the law with bitesize Youtube videos Owen Bowcott The Guardian Christian Weaver likes to keep it concise. His video series ‘TheLawin60Seconds’ is pioneering legal advice for an age of supposedly limited attention spans. The 24-year-old lawyer has begun teaching people about their rights in online talks to camera that aim to simplify the complexity of legislation into a few basic principles. He may not be the first person to deliver consumer-friendly lectures over the… Weaver’s first ... Read More »

Europe’s two-faced migration reality

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Migration — like globalization — creates winners and losers. By MIGUEL OTERO-IGLESIAS Politico As European countries grapple with the backlash to immigration, it’s become clear that there’s a growing cognitive dissonance between the global elite and ordinary voters. Immigration has major benefits for both migrants and the host countries, but it’s important to remember that not everybody gains from the phenomenon. Like free trade and finance, migration creates winners and losers. If Europe’s political elite doesn’t come up with ways to compensate low-skilled ... Read More »

Far-right French leader Marine Le Pen refuses court-ordered mental health test after tweeting pictures of Isis executions

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‘I’d like to see how the judge would try and force me do it’, says former presidential candidate Chris Baynes The Independent French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has refused to undergo psychiatric examination that was ordered by a court after she tweeted graphic pictures of Isis violence. The National Rally leader told a judge to “try and force” her to undergo mental health evaluation, requested as part of an investigation into the dissemination of violent images. Ms Le Pen posted three graphic images ... Read More »

US imposes sanctions on China for buying Russian weapons

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The US has imposed sanctions on the Chinese military over its purchasing of Russian military jets and surface-to-air missiles. BBC It says such purchases contravene US sanctions on Moscow introduced over Russian actions in Ukraine and alleged interference in US politics. China recently bought 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles. Beijing has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US and its Western allies since 2014. Relations between the US and Russia deteriorated rapidly ... Read More »

Geologists Are Feuding About the Collapse of Civilization

A man rides his camel as he waits for tourists at the Giza pyramids area, south of Cairo, February 20, 2014. A militant Islamist group has warned tourists to leave Egypt and threatened to attack any who stay after Feb. 20, raising the prospect of a new front in a fast-growing insurgency in the biggest Arab nation. The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed two South Korean tourists and an Egyptian on Sunday, made the statement on an affiliated Twitter account. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih (EGYPT - Tags: TRAVEL CIVIL UNREST) - GM1EA2K1MMP01

The year’s most acrimonious scientific fight is a mega-drama over a mega-drought. Robinson Meyer The Atlantic This summer, the decree went out: We are living in a new geological chapter in the planet’s 4.5-billion-year history. For a certain corner of the world, this was big news. You have probably heard of the Jurassic period (when dinosaurs ruled the Earth) or the Cambrian explosion (when complex animal life arose). Now we had a new name for our own neighborhood in time: ... Read More »

A mogul and a PM’s fall

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It took several days for Malcolm Turnbull and Rupert Murdoch to set up a phone call in the middle of the week that gave Australia a new prime minister. David Crowe The Age The News Corp executive chairman had been in the country since Friday, August 10, when he flew into Sydney on the company’s Gulfstream jet, diverted from Canberra by the morning fog in the capital. This put Turnbull and his government on alert to watch for any shift ... Read More »

Yemen’s Hodeida Offensive: Once Avoidable, Now Imminent

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When the plan for consultations between Yemen’s warring parties, scheduled to begin in Geneva on 8 September, collapsed, the frozen battle for the Red Sea port of Hodeida resumed. Peter Salisbury ICG It could prove fatal for many of the millions already on the brink of starvation. Over the last two weeks, the latest attempt to set Yemen on the path to peace has collapsed, triggering what could become the bloodiest battle of a war approaching its fourth anniversary. In ... Read More »

Who Putin Is Not

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Falsely demonizing Russia’s leader has made the new Cold War even more dangerous. Stephen F. Cohen The Nation Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at Princeton and NYU, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.) This post is different. The conversation was… “Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds.” —Senator John McCain “[Putin] was ... Read More »

Woolf civil justice reforms have failed, says former judge

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Lord Woolf’s radical reforms to cut costs, delay and complexity in the civil justice system have failed, a former judge says today. The Times Charles Harris, QC, a retired senior circuit judge, says that the aim of the reforms in 1996 was to reduce the rules governing civil court procedures to make the system simpler and more user-friendly. Yet the so-called white book containing the procedure had increased by more than 60 per cent to 6,488 pages, writes Mr Harris ... Read More »

Should all Nobel Prizes be canceled for a year?

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If you ever meet someone who claims to have nearly won the Nobel Prize in mathematics, walk away: You’re dealing with a deeply delusional individual. Brian Keating The Conversation While there isn’t, and has never been, a Nobel in mathematics, the desire to claim Nobel-worthiness is sensible, for no matter the field, it is the world’s most prestigious accolade. The annual prizes are Sweden’s most sacred holiday, bringing out royalty in the arts and sciences and a worldwide audience of ... Read More »

Scott Morrison rejects AMA plea to bring children from Nauru to Australia

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Prime minister rebuffs letter as no confidence motion against Peter Dutton fails by one vote Scott Morrison has rebuffed a plea from the Australian Medical Association to change policy on Nauru, and bring families and children to Australia, saying he will not “put at risk any element of… Katharine Murphy The Guardian The prime minister told reporters on Thursday the government was already in the process of “getting families off Nauru” and had pursued a refugee resettlement deal with the… ... Read More »

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour could grant second independence referendum

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Jeremy Corbyn has refused to rule out granting permission for a second Scottish independence referendum if he became Prime Minister. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman The Labour leader said he would “decide at the time” whether to allow a new independence vote to take place if a request was made by the Scottish Government. Mr Corbyn said he is against a second referendum, and was “very clear on why we don’t think it’s a good idea”. Before the last Holyrood election, ... Read More »

Autistic children need the world to acknowledge the significance of the challenges they face

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Autistic children are increasingly being suspended or expelled from school, because of “behavioural problems” official figures show. Some regions in the UK have seen a 100% increase in these types of exclusions since 2011. Nick Hodge The Conversation Research carried out by myself and colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University demonstrates the devastating consequences these exclusions have for disabled children and their families. A landmark legal ruling in August stated that the exclusion of autistic children from school is a violation ... Read More »