Analysis

‘Crazy for books’: How Thomas Hardy understood the transformative power of reading

The English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy may be overshadowed in schools today by writers such as Shakespeare, Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling. Angelique Richardson The Conversation But in times of widespread education cuts it is worth remembering what he had to teach us about access to education – and his belief in the power of books to change lives. Writing in the American symposium-based journal Forum in 1888, Hardy outlined the benefits of reading as “alleviating the effects of ... Read More »

Why the daunting economics of elder care are about to get much worse

My sister Carol loves movies, but she hasn’t been out to see one in years. When she tries to watch one at home, she’s frequently interrupted. Patricia Smith The Conversation She shrugs this off, saying “Who needs to see movies when you’re living one?” You see, my sister is living the plot from the movie “Groundhog Day.” She takes care of our mother, who suffers from dementia. Our mom asks the same questions over and over and only wants to ... Read More »

We need to talk about peace again

We’re in an age when ambition is called for. And it just may come in the shape of a 32,000 tonne ocean liner Scott Ludlam * The Guardian A cruise liner is not the first place you’d go looking for conflict prevention, sustainability education, disarmament diplomacy and international collaborations on everything from disaster relief to low-carbon marine transport. From the outside, the Ocean Dream looks like any other 32,000 tonne ocean liner; a long, seafaring apartment block slung with lifeboats, ... Read More »

The Formal Economy as Patriarchy: Vandana Shiva’s Radical Vision

To achieve economic equality, activist and author Vandana Shiva says we need to recognize the value of women’s work and start counting production, not just profits. Jumana Farouky NewsDeeply LONDON – In the middle of a conference ringing with the latest development lingo, Vandana Shiva cuts a lonely figure. Anti-“empowerment,” anti-“jobs,” and anti-“formal economy,” she rejects many of the narratives that are usually used to promote the cause of women’s advancement. Yet she’s come to the Bond conference on international development in London to ... Read More »

Why does the UK deport North Korean asylum seekers?

The UK hosts one of the largest North Korean populations outside of North-East Asia. Since 2003, more than 1,300 North Koreans have applied for asylum in the UK – and 544 have been granted asylum. Markus Bell The Conversation The Home Office, which decides who stays and who’s turned away, has rejected almost one-third of applicants. Why? To be sure, the UK is far from the only country to which North Koreans migrate. High up the list, of course, is ... Read More »

Timor Leste Is an International Intervention Success Story

If the West truly believes in the power of democracy, it must commit to intervening where necessary and providing sufficient ongoing support to see success achieved. John Watts The National Interest As Western appetite for international intervention is eroded by growing nationalist and isolationist sentiment, Timor Leste presents a timely reminder of the value of defending the freedoms of the oppressed. It is one of Southeast Asia’s smallest, poorest and newest nations. But it is also its most democratic and, ... Read More »

How Russian networks worked to boost the far right in Italy

An analysis of social networks reveals how Kremlin-backed media outlets boosted xenophobic discourse DAVID ALANDETE DANIEL VERDÚ El Pais The Russian meddling machine has been focusing on Italy in recent months, conducting a disinformation campaign on the migration situation in order to drum up support for radical parties ahead of the general elections scheduled for Sunday. According to an analysis of 1,055,774 posts from 98,191 social media profiles to which EL PAÍS has had access, a network of anti-immigration and ... Read More »

Countering Jihadist Militancy in Bangladesh

With political polarisation reaching historic highs and local jihadist groups forging links with transnational movements, new forms of militancy threaten security and religious tolerance in Bangladesh. ICG The government should reinforce the capability of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, and build political consensus on tackling the menace. What’s new? Two groups, Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh and Ansarul Islam, dominate Bangladesh’s jihadist landscape today. Attacks since 2013 have targeted secular activists, intellectuals and foreigners, as well as religious and… Countering Jihadist ... Read More »

Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide

How do we make sense of today’s political divisions? In a wide-ranging conversation full of insight, historian Yuval Harari places our current turmoil in a broader context, against the ongoing disruption of our technology, climate, media — even our notion of what humanity is for. Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide ( Video ) This is the first of a series of TED Dialogues, seeking a thoughtful response to escalating political divisiveness. Make time (just over an hour) for ... Read More »

Why Turkey Wants to Invade the Greek Islands

There is one issue on which Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), are in complete agreement: The conviction that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered. Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute  So strong is this determination that the leaders of both parties have openly threatened to invade the Aegean. The only conflict on this issue between the two parties is in competing to prove which is more ... Read More »

Antisemitism: how the origins of history’s oldest hatred still hold sway today

Antisemitism is on the march. From the far-right demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, with their “Blood and Soil” chants and their “Jews will not replace us” placards to attacks on synagogues in Sweden, arson attacks on kosher restaurants in France and a spike in hate crimes against Jews in the UK. Gervase Phillips The Conversation Antisemitism seems to have been given a new lease of life. The seemingly endless conflicts in the Middle East have made the problem worse as they ... Read More »

Congress, State Department divided on sanctions against Turkey

As the US Congress continues to weigh potential sanctions against Turkey over its unremittingly hostile stance toward the United States, there is growing debate within the policy community about the merits of such action, with some arguing it could bow Turkey into submission and others insisting it will make the problem even worse. Amberin Zaman Al-Monitor Fury at what Washington calls the unlawful detention of US consular staff and US citizens, in particular that of North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson ... Read More »

Countering Jihadist Militancy in Bangladesh

With political polarisation reaching historic highs and local jihadist groups forging links with transnational movements, new forms of militancy threaten security and religious tolerance in Bangladesh. ICG The government should reinforce the capability of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, and build political consensus on tackling the menace. What’s new? Two groups, Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh and Ansarul Islam, dominate Bangladesh’s jihadist landscape today. Attacks since 2013 have targeted secular activists, intellectuals and foreigners, as… Countering Jihadist Militancy… Read More »

Five reasons why being kind makes you feel good – according to science

Everybody can appreciate acts of kindness. But when it comes to explaining why we do them, people often take one of two extreme positions. Jo Cutler Robin Banerjee The Conversation Some think kindness is something completely selfless that we do out of love and care, while others believe it is just a tool that we cunningly use to become more popular and reap the… But research shows that being kind to others can actually make us genuinely happy in a ... Read More »

How Europe’s Band-Aid Ensures Greece’s Bondage

All the happy talk about impending “debt relief” and a “clean exit” from Greece’s third “bailout” obscures an uglier truth: the country’s debt bondage is being extended to 2060. Yanis Varoufakis Project Syndicate Worse, by ossifying Greece’s insolvency, while pretending to have overcome it, Europe’s establishment is demonstrating its refusal to fix the eurozone’s flaws. ATHENS – Greece’s never-ending public-debt saga has come to signify the European Union’s inept handling of its inevitable eurozone crisis. Eight years after its bankruptcy, ... Read More »

North Korean “Cyber – Songun”

The main trends in the development of telecommunication technologies determine the continuous increase in the dependence of modern society on transnational network resources. International Security Forum The global information space consists of personalities as well as resources of civilian and military infrastructure. At the same time, today there is practically no legal regulation in this sphere. This situation creates ideal conditions for the work of “computer burglars” – the well-known hackers. Despite the constant perfection of means of protection, it ... Read More »