Global Issues

SNP ‘will help block Brexit’ for new independence vote

A government of national unity is needed to halt Brexit, a leading SNP MP has argued – but the Nationalists should only take part if the right to hold a second independence referendum is granted. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman Joanna Cherry said a temporary cross-party government would be required to extend the Article 50 process to allow a second EU referendum to take place. But the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West said the Scottish Government “must be granted the ... Read More »

Rights of prisoners with intellectual disabilities must be respected

Study exposes shortcomings in treatment of prisoners with IDs, treatment they are entitled to George Winter The Irish Times In 2006, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted, promoting autonomy, choice, independence, equality and participation. The CRPD includes provision for those with intellectual disability (ID). This is typically diagnosed if individuals have an IQ below 70; an impaired ability to effectively interact with society on all levels and care for themselves; and have had developmental ... Read More »

European Parliament is failing on transparency

Voters have to be reassured MEPs are being held accountable. Heidi Hautala Politico When it comes to transparency, the European Parliament’s motto has become: Do as I say, not as I do. Members of the key European institution are fighting crucial reforms to ensure MEPs act by a shared set of public spending rules. As a relatively new member of the European Parliament Bureau — where decisions regarding the Parliament’s administration and budget are made — I have experienced first hand how ... Read More »

Erdogan’s $2 Billion Reason to Thank the Saudis

Turkey shrewdly took advantage of the spillover demand from Riyadh’s bond sale this week. Investors may well be underpricing the economic risks. Marcus Ashworth Bloomberg There are opportunistic financing deals, and then there’s Turkey. A $2 billion 10-year bond sale appeared out of nowhere for the country on Wednesday, with no roadshow and… But there was one big helping hand. Saudi Arabia had just launched $7.5 billion of new 10- and 30-year notes and had elected for tighter pricing rather ... Read More »

Tumor-free flounder are just 1 dividend from the cleanup of Boston Harbor

Thirty years ago, during the 1988 presidential campaign, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush took a boat ride across Boston Harbor and derided the environmental record of his rival, Massachusetts… Michael Moore The Conversation Bush was right. For decades Boston had been dumping barely treated sewage into the harbor, although a court-ordered cleanup was just starting. Since 1986 colleagues and I have studied tumors in Boston Harbor flounder, which were a major driver of public outcry over the state of the ... Read More »

The Damage of Demographic Misinterpretations

The way demographers treat Hispanics is both out of date and incorrect. Amitai Etzioni The National Interest The New York Times recently repeated an often cited misleading figure on demographics, that by 2044 “white Americans [are] projected to fall below half the population and lose their majority status.” This claim has unusually wide-reaching implications for America’s polarized politics. It is leading many whites, especially among those who have not been to college and who live in rural areas, to fear that they will be ... Read More »

The US could lose its crown as the world’s most powerful economy as soon as next year, and it’s unlikely to ever get it back

The United States of America could lose its position as the world’s biggest economy as soon as next year — and once that happens, it is unlikely to regain the top spot as developing Asian economies power… Will Martin Business Insider According to research released this week by Standard Chartered Bank, China is likely to become the world’s biggest economy at some point in 2020, when measured by a combination of purchasing-power-parity exchange rates and… Using PPP alone, China is ... Read More »

The art of distraction: Sebastian Smee’s Quarterly Essay

Guilty as charged. Yes, I spend too much time on social media. Yes, I have become more easily distracted. Yes, I have given up too much personal information to various apps and websites over the years. And yes, I have read a number of articles that articulate precisely how foolish, or at least, misguided this… Stephanie Trigg The Conversation And so when I opened up Sebastian Smee’s Quarterly Essay, Net Loss: The Inner Life in the Digital Age, I was ... Read More »

How Big Is Turkey’s Stick? #TurkeyUS

The strained relationship between Turkey and the U.S. appears unlikely to improve any time soon. Semih Idiz Sigma Insight Turkey There is simply too much of a backlog of unresolved issues for the situation to change for the better. The visit to Ankara by the high level delegation, headed by President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, did little to ameliorate tensions between the two capitals. To the contrary, it seems to have aggravated the… The atmosphere was already ... Read More »

The End of Likability Politics

The nasty women of America are delivering on their promises—and they don’t care what their conservative male colleagues think. Katha Pollitt The Nation Last month, Politico asked how Elizabeth Warren could “avoid a Clinton redux—written off as too unlikable before her campaign gets off the ground.” The piece (written by a woman, sigh) ran the day the Massachusetts senator announced she was “exploring” a run for the White House. No time to lose, apparently, when it comes to setting the ... Read More »

Rahaf and Hakeem: why has one refugee captured the world’s attention while another is left in jail?

When it comes to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun and Hakeem al-Araibi, the reasons are varied but likely include the age-old non-science of what makes news and what doesn’t Helen Davidson The Guardian Australia, Thailand and the Gulf states have been inextricably linked in two global news stories lately, when two young people faced being forcibly returned to the places and people they fled simply because they happened to step foot in Bangkok. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman, was on ... Read More »

Older, conservatives are the most likely to share fake news, study finds

People aged over 65 were more likely to share fake news on Facebook than younger people according to a new study. AFP – SBS Facebook users aged 65 plus and conservatives are more likely to share fake news on the platform than younger or more liberal counterparts, according to a new study published Wednesday. During the 2016 US presidential campaign, researchers from Princeton University and New York University surveyed over 2,711 Facebook users, of whom 49 percent agreed to share ... Read More »

Don’t Blame Everything on Erdogan

The Turkish government doesn’t have a soft spot for the Islamic State, and Ankara stands to lose more than anyone if the terrorist group makes a comeback. Selim Sazak FP Washington’s Turkey experts were left working overtime during the holidays when a routine conversation between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan ended with the announcement that the… Trump’s maneuver had raised worries that a premature withdrawal risks reversing the gains that have been made against the Islamic State. Indeed, on ... Read More »

Picturing Baghdad

Despite their traumatic history, Iraqis are finding individual and civic solutions to their country’s political failures. Julie David de Lossy ICG Crisis Group photographer Julie David de Lossy visited Baghdad in October-November 2018 and returned with portraits of its people’s search for normalcy. Iraq has endured decades of sanctions, war, invasion, regime change and dysfunctional government. These span Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, a devastating eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s and crippling UN sanctions throughout the 1990s. Those difficult years ... Read More »

Why Australia should not have a public register of child sex offenders

To many, “sex offender” conjures a specific image: stranger abduction, child victim, sexual assault, murder. Danielle Harris Brisbane Times Such horrible things do happen but’s it extraordinarily rare. It’s so horrible that it makes the news. And it happens so rarely that it makes the news every time it happens, and when it happens it shakes us to our core. As a child, I was keenly aware of the fates of Sian Kingi and then of Ebony Simpson, and of ... Read More »

Journalist Pelin Ünker sentenced to jail in Turkey over Paradise Papers investigation

Journalist was found guilty of ‘defamation and insult’ for writing about companies owned by former PM Julian Borger The Guardian A Turkish journalist has been sentenced to more than a year in jail for her work on the Paradise Papers investigation into offshore tax havens, because it revealed details of the business activities of the country’s former prime minister and his sons. Pelin Ünker, a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was found guilty in an Istanbul ... Read More »