Analysis

Climate change: Report warns of growing impact on US life

Unchecked climate change will cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars and damage human health and quality of life, a US government report warns. BBC “Future risks from climate change depend… on decisions made today,” the 4th National Climate Assessment says. The report says climate change is “presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth”. The warning is at odds with the Trump administration’s fossil fuels agenda… Sounding an alarm By James ... Read More »

How an EU citizens’ assembly could help to renew European democracy

There’s an urgent need to reduce the distance between citizens of EU member states and the EU’s political institutions, to challenge the rise of populism and to renew citizen engagement in the way those institutions make decisions. James Organ The Conversation An EU citizens’ assembly – a representative group of randomly selected citizens, brought together to learn about and deliberate upon an issue, and then make a policy recommendation – would be a major step towards achieving… That’s the recommendation ... Read More »

Friendly Fire: Venezuela’s Opposition Turmoil

As Venezuela’s socio-economic woes deepen, so do the fissures in the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. ICG Bridging these rifts is vital if the country’s crisis is to end through a negotiated transition. Outside powers should back opposition unity and stop hinting at military intervention. What’s new?  The Venezuelan opposition is split into seemingly irreconcilable factions that cannot settle on a strategy for ending their country’s crisis. They disagree over whether, and when, to take part in elections, whether to ... Read More »

Why Canada’s immigration system has been a success, and what Australia can learn from it

Immigration policy will be a critical issue in forthcoming state (Victoria, NSW) and federal elections. Jock Collins The Conversation The disproportionate impact of immigration on population growth and public infrastructure in Sydney and Melbourne is the key issue. If we look to the example of another immigrant-friendly country, Canada, however, we can see how giving states and territories a greater role in immigration target setting and selection can help take the pressure off major cities without drastically… Immigration certainly impacts ... Read More »

Why I’m sick of Turkey

Washington continues to claim Ankara as ‘strategic partner.’ Let’s stop pretending it is. Steven A. Cook Politico I am already sick of Turkey. I suspect that many Americans feel this way, about the bird and the country. Yet a small group of Washington foreign policy hands — at the State Department, at the Pentagon and in congressional offices — continue to make the case for Turkey as a “strategically important” partner to the… On paper, the country looks good: It ... Read More »

George Papadopoulos spreading disinformation to Australia

George Papadopoulos, a one-time adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, is promoting disinformation aimed at Australia, using tactics “in the same vein” as other public figures linked to… Chris Zappone WAtoday Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty in a US court to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian intermediary in September, has since initiated a public relations war against Australia’s former… After Papadopoulos told Downer in 2016 that Russia possessed damaging material about then-US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, ... Read More »

Men and women experience happiness differently – here’s why

One researcher explores why men and women experience happiness differently. Lowri Dowthwaite, University of Central Lancashire SBS Who’s happier, men or women? Research shows it’s a complicated question and that asking whether males or females are happier isn’t really that helpful, because essentially, happiness is different for women and men. Women’s happiness has been declining for the past 30 years, according to recent statistics. And research shows that women are twice as likely to experience depression compared with men. Gender ... Read More »

Study sheds light on scourge of “fake” news in Africa

Concerns about “fake news” have dominated discussions about the relationship between the media and politics in the developed world in recent years. Authors: The Conversation The extraordinary amount of attention paid in scholarship and in public debates to questions around truth, veracity and deception can be connected to the role of “fake news” in the 2016 US presidential election, and… The term “fake news” itself is controversial because it’s poorly defined. The panic created by the spread of misinformation in general has led to introspection by journalists ... Read More »

Britain must ditch post-imperial fantasies for a shot of sober realism – just as it did in 1975

God forbid that a leading Brexiteer should have to own the mess he has helped create. Fintan O’Toole NewStatesman As Robert Saunders reports in his fine book Yes to Europe!, the popular mood in 1974, a year after Britain joined the Common Market, was nicely captured by an official at the Department of Trade and Industry. He likened the British public, in its attitude to its European adventure, to “a crowd of holidaymakers who, after much doubt and expense, have made ... Read More »

Why bigotry is a public health problem

Over a decade ago, I wrote a piece for a psychiatric journal entitled “Is Bigotry a Mental Illness?” Ronald W. Pies The Conversation At the time, some psychiatrists were advocating making “pathological bigotry” or pathological bias – essentially, bias so extreme it interferes with daily function and reaches near-delusional proportions – an official psychiatric diagnosis. For a variety of medical and scientific reasons, I wound up opposing that position. In brief, my reasoning was this: Some bigots suffer from mental illness, and ... Read More »

How to Halt Yemen’s Slide into Famine

A Saudi-led coalition attack on the city of Hodeida risks plunging millions of Yemenis into famine and will meet fierce resistance from Huthi rebels. ICG The U.S. should stop enabling coalition offensives and international stakeholders must quickly place Hodeida under UN control. What’s new?  At the end of October, fighting reached the outer edges of the city of Hodeida, a gateway on Yemen’s Red Sea coast for trade that is a lifeline for some two thirds of the country’s population. ... Read More »

This Is How Social Media Is Being Used in the Middle East

Governments are using social media to rally domestic and foreign support for their policies. Caroline Caywood The National Interest Social media has played an increasingly important role in Middle East politics ever since the 2011 Arab Spring. State actors such as Iran and Saudi Arabia have sought to use social media to influence discourse at home and… As ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen have dominated news from the Middle East in recent years, international public opinion has taken on ... Read More »

As the Euro-show rolls on, where do we now fit in with our neighbours?

It’s on, it’s off, it’s on again — the Macron-Merkel relationship has the affection and froideur of a grand screen romance. ANNE MCELVOY EveningStandard The final throes of Brexit agony, deficit-laden Italy busting the eurozone’s fragile rules and the first date of the German Chancellor’s farewell tour have combined to reconcile the duo after a… But the effulgent displays of mutual affection were timed to follow the Armistice commemorations. A vast tragedy of the past was summoned to broadcast a message for ... Read More »

Breaking Algeria’s Economic Paralysis

Political paralysis in oil-dependent Algeria has blocked much-needed economic reform. ICG To avoid a new era of instability, the government should increase transparency and accountability within state institutions and the private sector, as well as improve opportunities for the country’s burgeoning youth. What’s new?  Since the 2014 oil price drop, Algeria’s economic model, which emerged from the civil war in the 1990s, appears increasingly unsustainable. Despite repeated reform promises, the political system remains paralysed, led by an… Why does it ... Read More »

Guide to the classics: Euripides’ Medea and her terrible revenge against the patriarchy

The Athenian poet Euripides was the last of the three great Greek tragedians (after Aeschylus and Sophocles) and also the least successful. Paul Salmond The Conversation Greek tragedies were performed competitively at religious festivals in Athens in honour of the god Dionysus. While 18 of his 90-odd plays have survived, Euripides claimed only four festival victories. One prize was awarded posthumously, indicating that at the Dionysia, as with the Oscars, death could be a handy avenue to success. It’s not ... Read More »

The royal commission is about to grill the chiefs of the big four banks. Here’s why soon they mightn’t exist

It will be worth watching the final round of hearings at the banking royal commission, which begin on Monday. Pat McConnell The Conversation The chief executives of each of the big four will be recalled for reexaminations. It might be the final time they appear in the same room. It might even be the last time there’s even such a thing as the big four. Not only are the so-called four pillars under attack from the Commissioner Kenneth Hayne, but ... Read More »