Shutting down the internet

Authoritarian governments all over the world have latched onto a great way of stopping unwelcome criticism and subversive thought – suspending data services, phone calls, texting and participation in social media.  As internet penetration has surged during the past decade, especially in the developing world, so have attempts to switch off the flow of information.  …

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Golden passports for a corrupt elite

For years people have been complaining about Cyprus’s “golden passport” scheme.  Launched in 2013, it offers citizenship to anyone investing €2m in Cypriot property, giving 4,000 members of the global mega-rich residency, voting rights and a back door into Europe. Earlier this year, President Nicos Anastasiades reacted angrily to claims Cyprus was abusing the practice …

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Graves destroyed

Xinjiang, China China has destroyed and built over scores of traditional burial grounds belonging to the Uighur people in the northwestern Xinjiang province, as part of what critics claim is a ruthless campaign to wipe out the history and cultural identity of the region’s indigenous Muslim population. Satellite images published last week showed flattened earth …

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Lawlessness in Mexico

 From The Guardian Last year Mexico registered 35,964 murders, an increase of three times the previous year. Only a tiny fraction of crimes committed are solved, and increasingly ordinary people are taking the law into their own hands, specifically, 174 times last year, lynching suspects wherever they can find them.  Citizens are frustrated by incompetent …

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The ultra-costly, underwhelming F-35 Fighter

From Tomgram, the site that comments on the  defence industry: “Lockheed Martin Remains Top Gun in the Pentagon’s Cockpit “How are you with numbers? I can deal with $1.5 million. I think I can even imagine $1.5 billion, a sum a thousand times greater. But how about a million times greater: $1.5 trillion? That happens …

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Kashmir: what happened

Indian-administered Kashmir remains under an unprecedented lockdown, subject to a curfew and without phone and internet links. It followed the announcement that India’s only Muslim-majority state would lose its autonomous status. Article 370 of India’s constitution, in force since 1949, guaranteed Jammu and Kashmir the right to make its own laws in all internal matters, …

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A hard border is simply unworkable

The Guardian, on 7 August,  ran an interesting article on the “border” between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The hard border is not currently there because of the terms of the Good Friday agreement, underpinned by the fact that both the UK and Ireland are EU states. If Britain leaves the EU with no …

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A humiliating way to treat an old warmonger

From the New York Times: Many of the people who have worked for President Trump have ended up “diminished” or humiliated in some way. To that long list we can now add a new name: John Bolton. Trump’s national security adviser won the role by impressing the president with his regular bellicose contributions to Fox …

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Dragging the Queen into the Brexit farce?

Senior members of the United Kingdom’s ruling Conservative party are so concerned about the country leaving the European Union without a deal that they are planning to go over the head of the new Prime Minister and appeal directly to the Queen. Fears are growing among politicians that if and when Boris Johnson becomes PM …

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Ambassador Darroch’s unresolved resignation

The shoddy, shabby treatment of the. British Ambassador to Washington raises the immediate question: who leaked his very accurate assessment of Trump? My favourite explanation is  that the Foreign Office computer system was hacked by an insider with a view of getting Darroch replaced  – by Nigel Farrage. Who would want this and why?  Principally, Boris Johnson (an …

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The crisis among conservatives

“In Britain and the US a deep crisis of conservatism has been building since the end of the Reagan and Thatcher governments. It is a crisis of competence, of intellectual energy and coherence, of electoral effectiveness, and – perhaps most serious of all – of social relevance.”.  (The Guardian, 28 May 2019). If this is …

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As we await the results of the EU Parliamentary elections…..

Support for remaining in the EU is above 80% in most EU countries. Asked how they would vote in an in-out referendum, 94% of people in Luxembourg said “in”, as did 92% of people in Portugal, and 91% in Ireland and the Netherlands. In the UK, the poll found that 55% want to remain, making …

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