Features

EU split over expansion into Western Balkans

European Union foreign ministers disagreed on Feb. 15 over a proposal by the bloc’s executive to push for expansion into the Western Balkans, a region still scarred by ethnic wars fought in the 1990s and dogged by a reputation for lawlessness. SOFIA – Reuters Hurriyet Meeting in Bulgaria, the EU ministers discussed for the first time the plan by the European Commission that set out 2025 as a goal for Serbia and Montenegro to join the bloc. Hungary’s Peter Szijjarto ... Read More »

Is marijuana the world’s most effective treatment for autism?

It’s morning in Nahariya, a tiny Israeli town near the Lebanese border, and 4-year-old Benjamin is repeatedly smashing his head against the wall. BY DEBRA KAMIN Newsweek He spins wildly in circles, screeching at full volume. As his mother tries frantically to calm him, he pulls down his pants and defecates on the floor. When they leave their apartment, Benjamin wrestles free of her hand and nearly runs into oncoming traffic. Sharon attempts a trip to the supermarket but leaves before ... Read More »

Polish Ambassador: Why the Antidefamation Law is Justified

“Holocaust denial is not only denial of German crimes, but also other ways of falsifying history.” Piotr Wilczek The National Interest Over the past several days there have been many voices around the world commenting on Poland’s recently passed antidefamation legislation. Some unfortunately misinterpreted the wording of the legislation, others expressed concern, but almost all who spoke did so out of care for the memory of the Holocaust. This at its core, is Poland’s principle concern as well. The memory ... Read More »

Netherlands passes bill introducing opt-out organ donation

Vote ‘real breakthrough’, says Dutch Kidney Foundation Senators in the Netherlands have approved a new law making all Dutch adults organ donors after death, unless they opt out. Harriet Agerholm The Independent The bill narrowly passed in the upper house of the Dutch parliament, more than a year after MPs passed the legislation. Pia Dijkstra, who drafted the bill, said under the new system every person over 18 who is not yet registered as a donor will receive a letter asking if they want to donate their organs after… ... Read More »

Be realistic – demand the impossible: the legacy of 1968

The events of May 1968 in Paris and then France more generally still resonate as a graphic illustration of the potential for relatively peaceful and wealthy societies to explode in spontaneous anger. Simon Tormey The Conversation May 1968 was not an uprising against tyranny or manifest injustice of a kind that animated the civil rights movement. Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings quickly gathered momentum in a manner that almost defies explanation. Part ... Read More »

US position on artificial islands

CHINA’s artificial islands in the South China Sea (SCS) and their upgrades have been serving as tools to Filipino politicians who’ve been mobilizing anti-Chinese sentiment against President Rodrigo Duterte who has been generally congenial to Beijing. By SASS ROGANDO SASOT The Manila Times Yet have you ever wondered what’s the actual position of the US on building artificial islands within a coastal state’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ)? It’s necessary to ask this as the Americans have been positioning themselves as ... Read More »

US military leader warns on China

The head of US Pacific Command has issued a strong warning about China’s military buildup Admiral Harry Harris says China is trying to win dominance in the Indo-Pacific region as it issues a challenge globally. NHK He made the remarks at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday. Harris said he was most concerned about China’s activity in the South China Sea. That included the militarization of 7 outposts, despite a ruling by an Arbitral Tribunal under the Law ... Read More »

Japan thinks Brexit is an ‘act of self harm’, says former ambassador

Sir David Warren says Britain’s withdrawal from EU could have ‘grave’ consequences for bilateral relations Chris Baynes The Independent Japan sees Brexit as an act of economic and political “self-harm” that will weaken the UK as a world power, according to the former British ambassador to Tokyo. Sir David Warren, who served in the post between 2008 and 2012, said Britain’s withdrawal from the EU could have “grave” consequences for relations with Japan. His comments came after the Japanese ambassador to London warned Prime Minister Theresa ... Read More »

What’s Actually Behind Cape Town’s Water Crisis

Blame austerity-obsessed technocrats, irresponsible development, and willful ignorance. RICHARD POPLAK The Atlantic The city of Cape Town was plonked by its founders onto a peninsula not far from where the Indian and Atlantic oceans merge, often violently, beneath the imposing banks of Table Mountain. To its north lie the fertile fruit and wine farms that weigh down the city’s restaurant tables with unimaginable bounty. Every day when the clock strikes noon, a cannon blast echoes from Signal Hill, a reminder ... Read More »

Turnbull announces sex ban – and signals Joyce should consider his position

Malcolm Turnbull has announced that, from now, sexual relations between ministers and their staff will be prohibited under a change he has made to the ministerial code of conduct. Michelle Grattan The Conversation Addressing a news conference late on Thursday, Turnbull also strongly hinted he would like to see Barnaby Joyce step down. Joyce had made “a shocking error of judgement in having an affair with a young woman working in his office”. In doing so he had set off ... Read More »

Alex Salmond blasts ‘shameful’ repeal of Offensive Behaviour at Football Act

Alex Salmond has slammed political opponents who voted to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act The controversial act, which was piloted by Salmond in 2011 was scrapped at Holyrood in January through a Member’s Bill. Angus Howarth The Scotsman However Salmond blasted those that voted to repeal accusing them of political point-scoring over principles. MSPs voted 65-61 to repeal the Act in January in a move that Salmond dubbed ‘shameful’. He said: “It is totally shameful. It is perfectly ... Read More »

Ai Weiwei on the project that awoke his political voice – The Start podcast

The artist and activist tells how investigating schoolchildren’s deaths in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008 spawned his mammoth installation, Remembering Produced by Eva Krysiak with sound design by Chris Wood and original music by Stephen Fiske The Guardian In 2008, an earthquake devastated Sichuan province in China, claiming the lives of more than 69,000 people. Following accusations from parents that substandard construction caused the collapse of schools across in the region, the artist Ai Weiwei set upon a political investigation that would name every missing student ... Read More »

Capitalism isn’t an ideology — it’s an operating system

Bhu Srinivasan researches the intersection of capitalism and technological progress. Today’s TED Talk Instead of thinking about capitalism as a firm, unchanging ideology, he suggests that we should think of it as an operating system — one that needs upgrades to keep up with innovation, like the impending take-off of drone delivery services. Learn more about the past and future of the free market (and a potential coming identity crisis for the United States’ version of capitalism) with this quick, ... Read More »

Guns and the British empire

Eighteenth-century Indian arms were as sophisticated as European. Then came the British Empire to drive industry backwards Priya Satia Aeon In the mid-18th century, advanced areas of northwest Europe and east and south Asia enjoyed roughly comparable life expectancy, rates of consumption, and potential for economic growth. But around 1800, in what scholars call the ‘great divergence’, the power and wealth of the West suddenly and dramatically eclipsed that of India, China and the Ottoman Empire. The British in particular ... Read More »

Churches unite to propose Religious Freedom Act

Major submission to Ruddock panel calls for a new legal “right” John Sandeman Eternity A wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches have spoken with one voice to the Ruddock panel on religious freedom, whose call for submissions closed today. They have received 13,500 submissions: “I think it is safe to say that people are concerned about religious freedom,” says Michael Kellahan, executive director of Freedom for Faith (FFF), a Christian legal think tank. The federal government has set ... Read More »

Israeli Knesset Rejects Bill Recognizing the Armenian Genocide

JERUSALEM (A.W.)—The Israeli Knesset (Parliament) rejected a bill on Wednesday, which would have recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Weekly Sponsored by Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid, the bill was rejected in a preliminary vote. “There is no reason that the Knesset, which represents a nation that went through the Holocaust, shouldn’t recognize the Armenian Genocide and have a remembrance day for it,” Lapid was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying. “The Israeli leadership diminishes itself by so ... Read More »