Features

‘Cartel deal’ legal challenge against internet ad ban grows

The Russian, Chinese and Korean battle against the Google, Twitter, Facebook and Yandex crypto-related advertisement ban has now been joined by groups in Switzerland, Armenia and Kazakhstan. Asia Times The legal challenge against Google, Twitter, Facebook and Yandex for not allowing crypto-related ads is growing. Initially, three organizations – the Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (RACIB), the Korea Venture Business Associations, and LCBT, a Chinese association of crypto investors – created the Eurasian Association of Blockchain in March to ... Read More »

Identity crisis in Lithuania’s bohemian republic

Gentrification threatens the artists’ colony where ‘a dog has the right to be a dog.’ By GINGER HERVEY Politico VILNIUS — In Užupis, Lithuania, a gate is not just a gate. A gate, you see, is a symbol — of barriers, of impossibilities, of divisions between people and of outdated ideas about property. A symbol that might belong in oldLithuania, but is unwelcome in Užupis, a bohemian self-proclaimed republic in the center of the former Soviet country’s capital. Not that Užupis ... Read More »

Can the U.S. Respond to the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack without Risking Escalation?

After an apparent chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb Saturday, the United States and its allies are considering retaliatory strikes against the Syrian government. Sam Heller ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sam Heller lays out the Douma attack’s impact and the repercussions of a possible new U.S.-led intervention. What do we know about the 7 April chemical weapons attack? On the evening of 7 April 2018, the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma was subjected to an apparent chemical ... Read More »

Is a Modern Chinese Navy a Threat to the United States?

China’s rising presence in the Indian and Pacific oceans has far-reaching implications for our world order. Alfred W. McCoy The Nation Amid the intense coverage of Russian cyber-maneuvering and North Korean missile threats, another kind of great-power rivalry has been playing out quietly in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The US and Chinese navies have been repositioning warships and establishing naval bases as if they were so many pawns on a geopolitical chessboard. To some it might seem curious, even ... Read More »

Beijing’s South China Sea Military Bases Now Have Jammers That Can Block American Radar and Communications, U.S. Claims

United States officials claimed that China has installed military jamming equipment on fortified artificial islands in the South China Sea which will allow Beijing to block enemy radar and communications systems. David Brennan Newsweek This latest step in China’s militarization of its island bases signifies Beijing’s determination to assert its regional territorial claims, regardless of U.S. opposition. According to The Wall Street Journal, the jamming systems were installed within the last 90 days. The Journal quoted a U.S. Defense Department official who said ... Read More »

Less Than Meets the Eye

The Russia-Turkish-Iran Axis If an alliance is forming between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran, it’s a flimsy one at best. Dimitar Bechev The American Interest While the U.S. mulls how to calibrate its policy in response to the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad last week, a set of leaders are hoping that President Trump stays the course and decides to withdraw from Syria. The past week saw Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin sharing the stage in Ankara ... Read More »

Europe Caught in the Middle as Trump Threatens China

FRANKFURT — One is a good customer, a military ally and an old friend, although lately its behavior has been erratic. The other is also a good customer, and despite a few spats and some lingering mistrust, it’s getting to be a more lucrative and dependable business partner all the time. Jack Ewing The New York Times Which side would you choose? That more or less sums up the dilemma confronting Europe as it watches the escalating conflict between its ... Read More »

Fifteen years after looting, thousands of artefacts are still missing from Iraq’s national museum

On April 10 2003, the first looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq. Staff had vacated two days earlier, ahead of the advance of US forces on Baghdad. Craig Barker The Conversation The museum was effectively ransacked for the next 36 hours until employees returned. While the staff – showing enormous bravery and foresight – had removed and safely stored 8,366 artefacts before the looting, some 15,000 objects were taken during that 36 hours. While 7,000 items have been ... Read More »

The South China Sea Disputes: Will Taiwan’s Role Be Enhanced?

For many years, Taiwan’s interests and role in the South China Sea disputes have essentially been officially ignored. But with the election of US President Donald J. Trump and his appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor, its influence on and involvement in such issues may increase substantially. Mark J. Valencia IPP Review Bolton in particular has a long history of supporting Taiwan’s interests. He has urged the restoration of formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan and that Taiwan be ... Read More »

Viktor Orban victory in Hungary: German minister warns EU

A key German minister says the EU must drop its “arrogance and condescension” towards Hungary, where Eurosceptic PM Viktor Orban has just won re-election. BBC Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wants curbs on Muslim migration to the EU, and Mr Orban sees himself as a defender of “Christian” Europe. It is a tense time in EU-Hungary relations, as Mr Orban is defying EU migration and rule-of-law policies. Anti-EU politicians, including France’s Marine Le Pen, also welcomed his win. Mr Orban, 54, ... Read More »

“Terrorism” Turkish Style

On March 19, a group of students at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, Turkey’s leading institute of higher education, demonstrated against an event on campus. Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The event against which they were demonstrating, organized by the Society for Islamic Research, was to champion the Turkish soldiers who had participated in the Afrin invasion. While the pro-government students distributed Turkish delight sweets, the counter-demonstrators unfolded a banner reading: “Invasions and massacres are not [to be celebrated] with delights.” Turkish President ... Read More »

Democracy Comes at a Price in the Western Balkans

For the first time in a publicly released document, the EU has painted a realistic picture of the dismal state of democracy in the Western Balkans. Vuk Jeremić The National Interest Political extremism and radicalization in liberal democracies are not new phenomena. For the past several hundred years, Western thinkers have struggled to determine how far a citizen of a liberal democracy could legitimately go in expressing his or her beliefs and, more importantly, acting on them. They have also ... Read More »

How to be a giving person without burning out

When you hear someone say “She’s such a great parent. She does everything for her kids”, or “The CEO cares more about this company’s success than her own”, what’s your reaction? ABC Do you think about how selfless and committed that person is, and how successful they must be? Well, recent research suggests you might be wrong. When it comes to sharing your time and energy, giving selflessly (at the expense of your own goals and motivation) does not always ... Read More »

Gun theft doubled since 2007 as gun control lobby calls for regulation overhaul

The number of firearms stolen across Australia has almost doubled in the past decade, according to new figures. Exclusive by Lorna Knowles, ABC Investigations ABC The data, obtained by lobby group Gun Control Australia (GCA) under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, reveal that almost 27,000 firearms have been reported as stolen across the country between 2007 and 2017. The figures show that the number of gun thefts has increased from just over 1,700 in 2007-8 to nearly 3,300 in 2016-17. ... Read More »

Sukarno’s daughter in hot water over careless remarks

Islamic conservatives have targeted Indonesia’s Sukmawati Sukarnoputri over a poem she read to the audience at a Jakarta fashion show By JOHN MCBETH Asia Times If the downfall of former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama wasn’t enough, a moment of carelessness now has the youngest sister of ruling Indonesian Democrat Party for Struggle (PDI-P) leader and former president Megawati Sukarnoputri facing blasphemy allegations as well. With only one year to go before national legislative and presidential elections, Sukmawati Sukarnoputri’s misstep could have ... Read More »

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations

The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean. Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos BESA A rapprochement with Greece, traditionally at odds with Turkey, made theoretical sense but was practically difficult due to the Greek sympathy with the Arabs and the Palestinian cause. Careful diplomacy was thus required. While some discussions on the matter began in Athens in the spring of 2009, ... Read More »