Society

Sisi aspires for greater African integration

The “Africa 2018” forum held in Sharm al-Sheikh comes amid aspirations to achieve greater regional integration and to facilitate intraregional trade as well as increase investments between African… Al-Masry Al- Youm Egypt Independent He explained that this would be achieved through the implementation of joint and cross-border projects, especially in infrastructure, energy and information technology in light of the launch of the… In his speech at the opening session of the forum, Sisi said that Egypt aspires to achieve these ... Read More »

Brexit: UK can unilaterally revoke article 50, says ECJ

Britain can stop Brexit process without approval of member states, court of justice says Soverin Carrell The Guardian The UK can unilaterally stop the Brexit process, the European court of justice has said in a ruling that will boost demands for a second EU referendum. The court concluded that any EU member state can revoke an article 50 process without needing approval from every other member state, but only before its withdrawal comes into force. “The United Kingdom is free to revoke ... Read More »

Human rights in 2018 – ten issues that made headlines

On December 10, the world marks 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Authors: The Conversation Regrettably, instead of the anniversary signalling the enduring impact of human rights, some are fearing the “end of human rights”. Here we highlight some of the rights challenges that captured the world’s attention this year, illustrating the struggle to secure human rights is far from over. 1. Australia’s first year on the UN Human Rights Council Australia took its ... Read More »

Group led by Thomas Piketty presents plan for ‘a fairer Europe’

Manifesto by progressive Europeans calls for €800bn of levies to tackle inequality, disillusionment, climate change and migration. Jennifer Rankin The Guardian A group of progressive Europeans led by the economist and author Thomas Piketty has drawn up a bold new blueprint for a fairer Europe to address the division, disenchantment, inequality and rightwing populism sweeping the continent. The plan, crafted by more than 50 economists, historians and former politicians from half a dozen countries, includes huge levies on multinationals, millionaires and carbon ... Read More »

US official opposes ditching support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

The United States strongly opposes discontinuing support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s war and will remain engaged in efforts to combat Iranian influence and Islamist militancy in the Arab state, a… ABC Reuters The US administration has come under pressure at home over the nearly four-year-old conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of starvation since the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at… The US Senate last month voted to advance a resolution to end military ... Read More »

Blowing up the Parthenon: the power of a symbol

The Parthenon is one of the most famous and recognisable buildings in the world. Bronwen Neil The Conversation Designed as a testimony to Athenian greatness, visible miles from the Acropolis (the citadel) on which it stands, the Parthenon still stands proudly among the remains of a massive complex of buildings that celebrated Athens’s deities. It is a witness to the lasting legacy of the ancient Greeks and their architectural ingenuity. But it is also a very good reminder of the ... Read More »

Adapt or become obsolete, lead candidate Timmermans tells European Socialists

Dutchman becomes center-left nominee for Commission presidency. By MAÏA DE LA BAUME Politico LISBON — European Socialists will need to adapt if they don’t want to “become obsolete,” European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans told a party congress in Lisbon on… Timmermans’ nomination as the European Socialists’ Spitzenkandidat was a formality after fellow Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, the only other contender, pulled out of the race last… The nomination makes the Dutch former foreign minister the Socialists’ official candidate to be the… Adapt or ... Read More »

Informer 3838: A web of deceit

In 2009, four Victoria Police officers would find themselves guarding their most valuable intelligence asset as she hid in the Hard Rock Hotel in Bali’s Kuta beach. Tammy Mills & Chris Vedelago The Age That year the lawyer-turned-informer, code-named 3838, had been receiving a stream of anonymous text messages and phone calls promising reprisals if she didn’t “stop telling lies” and “stop talking”. Police wanted to protect the lawyer until she could appear as a key witness in the most ... Read More »

Meet the first woman to contact one of the world’s most isolated tribes

Anthropologist Madhumala Chattopadhyay floated coconuts to the Sentinelese in an unusually friendly exchange with a tribe hostile to outsiders. Fehmida Zakeer National Geographic The recent death of an American missionary on North Sentinel Island has put the remote island in the Bay of Bengal, officially off-limits to most outsiders for decades, back in the news and raised questions about the… In the later 20th century, the Indian government, which administers the Andaman and Nicobar islands archipelago to which North Sentinel ... Read More »

Dying With Dignity Versus The Metastases Of Our Religious Heritage

Why do we let religion rule our lives, but in particular our deaths? Geoff Russell takes a look at the power of Churches to prevent people from making the most intimate of choices. Geoff Russell New Matilda The fingers that once skipped around the frets and strings of her guitar made hard work of rolling the little plastic wheel. But as it finally moved into place, the process began: drip, drip, drip. Clear sodium pentobarbital moved into the plastic intravenous ... Read More »

Economic hardship and nationalism are gutting climate action

What a difference three years makes. In December 2015, world leaders gathered in a historic display of species consciousness to sign the Paris climate accord to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Nathan Gardels The Washington Post Today, in December 2018, Paris is experiencing a winter of discontent, with a virtual uprising against a tax increase on fuel aimed at fulfilling France’s 2015 obligations. In a dramatic illustration of the battle between the present and the future, the mantra of ... Read More »

End the Innovation Obsession

Some of our best ideas are in the rearview mirror. TORONTO — A year ago I stepped into the Samcheong Park Library in Seoul, South Korea, and saw the future. David Sax The New York Times The simple building in a forested park had a nice selection of books, a cafe at its center and a small patio. Classical music played while patrons read, reclining on extra-deep window benches that had cushions to sit on and tables that slid over ... Read More »

Armenia’s Revolution: A Flickering Light in a Darkening Europe

This is the first insurrection in a post-Soviet state that legitimately boiled up from the streets, free of influence from outside forces. Marc Cooper The Nation Next Sunday, on December 9, Armenians are expected to further consolidate their unique and vastly underreported “Velvet Revolution.” On that day, acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s “My Step” alliance is expected to win a large governing majority in the… Though this has been barely reported, if it all, in most of the Western media, ... Read More »

The Planet Has Seen Sudden Warming Before. It Wiped Out Almost Everything.

In some ways, the planet’s worst mass extinction — 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian Period — may parallel climate change today. Carl Zimmer The New York Times Some 252 million years ago, Earth almost died. In the oceans, 96 percent of all species became extinct. It’s harder to determine how many terrestrial species vanished, but the loss was comparable. This mass extinction, at the end of the Permian Period, was the worst in the planet’s ... Read More »

‘Dark day’: migrant rescue ship Aquarius ends operations

Médecins Sans Frontières says ‘smear campaign’ by European governments hampered work in Mediterranean Reuters The Guardian Search and rescue ship Aquarius, which has saved tens of thousands of migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean, has ended its operations, said Médecins Sans Frontières, the charity that runs the ship. MSF and its partner SOS Mediterranee said they were forced to terminate its operations due to a “smear campaign” by European governments. The ship has been blocked at the French port of ... Read More »

A dying industry is displacing entire communities

KEYENBERG, Germany — Norbert Winzen remembers the winter they laid the cobblestones in the courtyard of his family’s farmhouse here in this small village. Peter Mellgard The Washington Post He was 12 years old, maybe 13. He and his brothers and sister scrubbed each and every one of the hundreds of heavy stones so their father could lay them in tidy rows. It was the kind of drudgery he despised as a kid but that he looks back on fondly ... Read More »