Global Issues

Carl Sagan on why he liked smoking marijuana

Carl Sagan liked to smoke weed. His essay on why is facsinating. Scotty Hendricks big think The patron saint of nerds everywhere, Carl Sagan was an awesome human being. He wrote and hosted Cosmos, helped select the playlist of the Voyager Golden Records, had a distinguished academic career, and inspired both Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson to become the… Sagan wrote on a wide variety of topics, including astronomy, the need for truth in public discourse, world peace, and climate change. His brilliance is evident even in articles outside his ... Read More »

Cultural heritage has a lot to teach us about climate change

Museums, archaeological sites and historical buildings are rarely included in conversations about climate change, which tend to focus on the wider impact and global threats to our contemporary world. Authors: The Conversation Yet these threats impact everything, from local cultural practices to iconic sites of outstanding universal value. In light of this, it’s worth exploring the relationship between our heritage and the changing global climate in more detail. More powerful storms, flooding, desertification and even the melting of permafrost are ... Read More »

‘It’s OK to be white’ is not a joke, it’s careless politicians helping the far right

The far right lies, sows confusion, and hides its intentions in order to mainstream its messages Jason Wilson The Guardian The Australian Senate almost passed a motion affirming that “it’s OK to be white”. This probably sounds innocuous enough to the casual or incurious observer — and that’s exactly what the white supremacists who devised the slogan intended. To understand how and why the slogan came to be voted on by the Senate, you need first to engage with the ... Read More »

I have made no false promises on Brexit – I’m free to tell you the truth

Those who persuaded a deceived population to vote to be weaker and poorer will never be forgiven John Major The Guardian Until now, every US president I have known has considered [the UK’s] relevance to America to be enhanced by our membership of the European Union. Yet very soon – on our current course – we will no longer be able to argue from within the EU for Anglo-American beliefs in free trade, open markets and strong defence. Our friends, the ... Read More »

The Revenge of Hard Power Politics

The liberal world order was never an inevitability. Only five years ago, the world still looked like a liberal internationalist’s dream. Andrew A. Michta The American Interest Although jihadist terror periodically tested the resilience of governments and societies across the globe, open borders and free trade were widely touted as the way forward. In the context of post-Cold War unipolarity, many in academia, think tanks, and the media wanted to believe that the “first universal nation” could shape world politics ... Read More »

U.S. Destroyer, Coast Guard Help Pacific Island Nations Patrol their Waters

As Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG-86) steams through the Oceana region on an independent deployment, the crew is assisting small Pacific island nations with protecting their… Ben Werner USNI News Shoup is engaged in an Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) deployment, which has the ship working with several Pacific island nations to offer training on how to protect crops. A nation’s territorial waters extend 12 miles from shore, but countries can claim exclusive economic zones – controlling access ... Read More »

Russia’s grand strategy: how Putin is using Syria conflict to turn Turkey into Moscow’s proxy

Turkey, Russia and Iran have actively involved themselves in the Syrian conflict, each with their own divergent interests. Mustafa Demir The Conversation Moscow and Tehran have put their support behind the regime of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, hoping it retains its influence over the strategic Syrian region. Meanwhile, since the very beginning of the crisis in 2011, Turkey has been obsessed with removing Assad. So far, the three countries have managed to accommodate their various aims. And the meetings ... Read More »

The Eastern Mediterranean ‘may face a serious crisis’

On 29 October, on the day of the Republic Day of of Turkey, Ankara will take a step towards its fully fledged participation in the energy game that is underway in the Eastern Mediterranean. Nefeli Tzanetakou This move, according to the former head of the National Intelligence Service of the Republic of Cyprus, Andreas Pentaras, will mark the beginning of a period of absolute diplomatic instability in the region in question. As Sputnik has reported, it has not yet been clarified the exact ... Read More »

Isis kidnaps dozens of women and children as it makes desperate last stand in Syria

Around 90 women and their children were among the hundreds of civilians captured from a camp for displaced people in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Richard Hall Independent Isis fighters have kidnapped dozens of women and children in the eastern Syrianprovince of Deir ez-Zor, where the group is making a desperate last stand. The captives were among some 250 civilians taken from the al-Bahra displacement camp, near the town of Hajin, after Isis fighters stormed the area on ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan drops bombshell twist in the Khashoggi case as Trump appears to side with Saudis

While US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was meeting with Saudi Arabia’s leaders on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped a bombshell of a new twist in the investigation into the… Alex Lockie Insider According to Erdogan, Turkish investigators who searched the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul found surfaces there newly painted over. Previous news reports have cited anonymous Turkish officials suggesting that a hit team of 15 Saudis killed and dismembered Khashoggi, a… “My hope is that we can ... Read More »

Xinjiang top official defends Uighur ‘internment camps’

The top official in China’s Xinjiang region has given the most detailed description yet of the alleged use of internment camps for Uighur Muslims. BBC In an interview with state media, Shohrat Zakir said the “vocational education” centres were proving effective in staving off terrorism. He said “trainees” were grateful for the opportunity to change their ways and make their lives more “colourful”. China’s massive security crackdown in Xinjiang has sparked widespread alarm. Rights groups say Muslims are being detained ... Read More »

More than three million Australians living in poverty, Acoss report reveals

Peak welfare body calls for overhaul of employment services and at least two days a week of subsidised early childhood care Gareth Hutchens The Guardian Poverty has become a consistent feature of Australian life, with millions still living below the breadline despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the Australian Council of Social Service says. A vital circuit-breaker is needed, including a complete overhaul of Australia’s employment services, a commitment to “full employment” and a guarantee of at least two days ... Read More »

Yemen on brink of ‘world’s worst famine in 100 years’ if war continues

UN warns that famine could overwhelm country in next three months, with 13 million people at risk of starvation. Hannah Summers The Guardian Yemen could be facing the worst famine in 100 years if airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition are not halted, the UN has warned. If war continues, famine could engulf the country in the next three months, with 12 to 13 million civilians at risk of starvation, according to Lise Grande, the agency’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen. She told ... Read More »

Why did Turkey Choose the S-400?

Turkey has chosen the S-400 over the Patriot. The S-400 is considered to be one of the most advanced systems in the world but it is incompatible with NATO systems. What does this mean for Turkey? Debalina Ghoshal Defence IQ Why didn’t Turkey Choose the Patriot?  For years, Patriot air and missile defence systems have proved their mettle as a defence against enemy threats. They are combat-proven and, hence, have found a market for themselves worldwide. NATO countries use Patriot ... Read More »

Washington Think Tanks Still Divided On Whether To Return Saudi Donations Over Journalist’s Disappearance

The Middle East Institute, a prominent Washington think tank, said it would no longer seek donations from Saudi Arabia, but the Center for Strategic and International Studies said it was undecided. Emily Tamkin BuzzFeedNews The Center for Strategic and International Studies, one of Washington’s most prominent think tanks on international affairs, still has not decided whether to return funding from Saudi Arabia in the… But another influential research center, the Middle East Institute, said it would stop taking Saudi donations ... Read More »

We need a new human right – to protect our freedom to live without threat from the skies

In little more than 100 years, humans have radically transformed the sky: chemically, territorially and militarily. Authors: The Conversation In this increasingly contested space, technological developments are accelerating the transformation. New forms of military and commercial exploitation are increasing the disparity of power between those who dominate airspace and outer space, and the billions of people on the ground affected by the… People are increasingly vulnerable to being tracked, watched and targeted from above. The use of combat drones is ... Read More »