Inequality in the Twenty-First Century

Kaushik Basu * – Project Syndicate

As inequality continues to deepen worldwide, we do not have the luxury of sticking to the status quo. Unless we confront the inequality challenge head on – as we have just begun to do with another existential threat, climate change – social cohesion, and especially democracy, will come under growing threat.

MUMBAI – At the end of a low and dishonest year, reminiscent of the “low, dishonest decade” about which W.H. Auden wrote in his poem “September 1, 1939,” the world’s “clever hopes” are giving way to recognition that many severe problems must be tackled. And, among the severest, with the gravest long-term and even existential implications, is economic inequality.

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Domestic violence: still a hidden problem for many migrant women

Mirela Sula* – The Guardian

Women who come to the UK as migrants are at higher risk of abuse, but shame and isolation prevents them receiving the support they need

With no family support, no friends, no finance, no confidence, and often feeling isolated, many migrant women feel totally alone and do not know where to go for help. One woman who came without her husband’s permission to a workshop I ran on domestic abuse told me she was not allowed to go out on her own, even to buy food for her three-year-old son. She had to wait for her husband to come back from work and go with him.

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Halle Jørn Hanssen*

The beautiful beginning

On 9th of July 2011 the people of South Sudan gathered to celebrate their new won independence and freedom. State leaders from many African countries, heads of governments, foreign ministers, UN top officials and other dignitaries from all over world were gathered in Juba to take part in the celebrations.

Statements of well wishes and international support for the development of the newest state in Africa came in abundance. Hardly ever were so many statements of goodwill for a new state heard.

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Donald Trump is Succeeding Where Hillary Clinton Failed—In Uniting Democrats

By Nicole Goodkind  - NEWSWEEK

It’s been a good year for Democrats, and they have one man to thank for their success: President Donald J. Trump.

Even as activists fight over the direction of the party and relitigate the 2016 election, the left is riding high on its first Senate win in ruby-red Alabama in a quarter century as well as two gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia. Democrats say single-digit losses in Republican strongholds like Georgia and Kansas also bode well for the strength of their party as it heads into next year’s midterm elections.

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Jerusalem – for Christians, Jews and Muslims – is both a city and an idea

Giles Fraser* The Guardian

It’s the object of overwhelming projection, a place of dreams and longing. There can be no political peace there until Jerusalem the golden is understood

Trying to organise parish pilgrimages to the Holy Land, I have often come across church people who refuse to travel to Israel, and to Jerusalem in particular, because they do not want the reality of the place to interfere with their idea of it. “Jerusalem the golden / With milk and honey blest…,” they have sung in church, “I know not, O I know not /What joys await us there, / What radiancy of glory, / What bliss beyond compare.”

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Shedding Diplomacy, Roberto Savio Speaks about Fear as a Tool to Gain Power

By Roberto Savio*  

 This op-ed by Roberto Savio, is adapted from a statement he made as a panelist on Migration and Human Solidarity, A Challenge and an Opportunity for Europe and the MENA region held on 14 December at the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue

ROME, Dec 14 2017 (IPS) – At the outset my thanks to Dr Hanif Hassan Ali Al Kassim, and Ambassador Idriss Jazairy who lead the Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue for organizing this panel discussion at a critical moment in history. The Centre, is one of the few actors for peace and cooperation between the Arab world and Europe. As a representative of global civil society, I think it will be more meaningful if I speak without the constraints of diplomacy, and I make frank and unfettered reflections.

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The High Cost of Denying Class War

By Yanis Varoufakis*

The rise of populism on both sides of the Atlantic is being investigated psychoanalytically, culturally, anthropologically, aesthetically, and of course in terms of identity politics. The only angle left unexplored is the one that holds the key to understanding what is going on: the unceasing class war waged against the poor since the late 1970s.

ATHENS – The Anglosphere’s political atmosphere is thick with bourgeois outrage. In the United States, the so-called liberal establishment is convinced it was robbed by an insurgency of “deplorables” weaponized by Vladimir Putin’s hackers and Facebook’s sinister inner workings.

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Libya: Up to One Million Enslaved Migrants, Victims of ‘Europe’s Complicity’

By Baher Kamal

ROME, Dec 13 2017 (IPS) - “European governments are knowingly complicit in the torture and abuse of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants detained by Libyan immigration authorities in appalling conditions in Libya,” Amnesty International charged in the wake of global outrage over the sale of migrants in Libya.

In its new report, ‘Libya’s dark web of collusion’, Amnesty International (AI) details how European governments are actively supporting a sophisticated system of abuse and exploitation of refugees and migrants by the Libyan Coast Guard, detention authorities and smugglers in order to prevent people from crossing the Mediterranean.

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Donald Trump: A president swallowed by history

by Stanley L Cohen*

US President Donald Trump is a great impersonator. Not a day goes by without his desperate effort to masquerade as human. Surrounded by faux gold and fawning fools from his earliest days, Trump has stumbled from scam to scam, bank to bank, grope to grope, as he reached the absolute pinnacle of moral failure. His is a world of cheap thrills, empty rhetoric and intimidating context.

Few of knowledge would stop to challenge Trump’s unprecedented scorecard of international failure. Indeed, ad hoc chaos has become very much the executive order of his day.

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Coup in Africa: Zimbabwe Dumped Mugabe, But Will Other African Countries Do the Same To Their Dictators?

By Krista Mahr*  – Newsweek

In January 2016, Zimbabwe’s then-President Robert Mugabe gave a speech at the African Union in Ethiopia. As he railed against Westerners’ meddling in African affairs, the delegates repeatedly burst into delighted applause for the 91-year-old leader and laughed at his one-liners, as his audiences have for decades. “They are everywhere in Africa—if not physically, through [nongovernmental organizations], through spies, through pretenders who come to us and say they are here in Africa to assist us,” Mugabe said. “Africans shall no longer tolerate a position of slavery.” At the end of the speech, the elderly elder statesman received a standing ovation.

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The New Jerusalem of Brexit is revealing itself to be a mirage

Matthew d’Ancona* 

Talks in Brussels are inching forward on ambiguities and vague promises. Those hoping that Theresa May is carving out real change may be sorely disappointe

So, here’s an idea: let’s abolish the wheel. Let’s escape the tyranny of the circular device, and spend the money saved on axles, spokes and hubs on – oh, I don’t know – the NHS. Let’s take back control of rotation! But wait a minute. This can’t be done overnight. We shall still need some means of transporting ourselves and our goods until we have formally renounced the wheel, but before we have agreed on a new device. There’ll probably need to be an “implementation period” in which we remain “aligned” with the existing circular format.

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Defenders of the earth and the environment

By Francesco Martone*

“While managing our livelihood, day-by-day, we have to face reality, we have to involve in a real fight to keep our forest. We are alarmed and concerned over the increasing cases of human rights violations, violence to our communities, criminalization of our peoples and the murder of our leaders. (…) I have to tell you the fact, that the violence was gross. So, apologize, but I have to say this. To anyone involve directly and indirectly to the killings, the violence and the criminalization of our indigenous brothers and sisters, shame on you!”

The cry of alarm came from Mina Susana Setra, a Dayak indigenous woman from Indonesia, representative of AMAN, the Federation of the Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago, counting almost 17 million members.

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Trump-Mideast: Much More than a ‘Kiss of Death’ to Palestinians

By  Baher Kamal*

ROME, Dec 7 2017 (IPS) - US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not represent only a ‘kiss of death’ to the two-State solution, but also a strong blow in the face of 57 Muslim countries, let alone igniting fire in this easily inflammable region, providing more false arguments to criminal terrorist groups to escalate their brutal attacks, in addition to taking a step further in Washington’s new conflict with Iran and the ‘restructuring’ of the Middle East.

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Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

Daniel Gros- Project Syndicate

The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

BRUSSELS – Free trade seems to have few supporters these days. Though actual trade volumes are recovering from the post-crisis recession and drop in commodity prices, “globalization” has become increasingly contentious, as exemplified by the election of US President Donald Trump on the back of a promise to rip up international agreements and get tough on trade partners. What does this mean for the future of the rules-based trading system?

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Donald Trump’s Jerusalem statement is an act of diplomatic arson

Jonathan Freedland* – The Guardian

The US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel turns a naked flame on the single most combustible issue in the conflict

Not content with taking the US to the brink of nuclear conflict with North Korea, Donald Trump is now set to apply his strategy of international vandalism to perhaps the most sensitive geopolitical hotspot in the world. With a speech scheduled for later today that’s expected to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and reaffirm a pledge to move the US embassy to the city, he is walking into a bone-dry forest with a naked flame.

For the status of Jerusalem is the most intractable issue in what is often described as the world’s most intractable conflict. It is the issue that has foiled multiple efforts at peacemaking over several decades. Both Israelis and Palestinians insist that Jerusalem must be the capital of their states, present and future, and that that status is non-negotiable.

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Rohingya Exodus Is a “Major Global Humanitarian Emergency”

Byr Naimul Haq

IPS Correspondent Naimul Haq interviews WILLIAM LACY SWING, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Dec  2017 (IPS) – In less than four months, over 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled brutal persecution in Myanmar to seek safety across the border in Bangladesh. They are now crowded into camps across a stretch of 30 kms in Cox’s Bazar, a southeastern coastal region of the small South Asian nation.

The UN migration agency, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), has appealed to the international community for urgent funds. Over 344 million dollars was pledged recently at an international meeting to ramp up the delivery of critical humanitarian assistance. IOM stressed that the international community must work together to help to bring about a political resolution to the Rohingya crisis.

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Yes, the President Can Obstruct Justice

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD  of the New York Times

You know you have a problem when you’ve been president for less than 11 months and you’re already relying on Richard Nixon’s definition of what’s legal.

On Monday morning, Axios reported that Mr. Trump’s top personal lawyer, John Dowd, said in an interview that the “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer” under the Constitution and “has every right to express his view of any case.”

This will come as news to Congress, which has passed laws criminalizing the obstruction of justice and decided twice in the last four decades that when a president violates those laws he has committed an impeachable offense.

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When Medicines Don’t Work Anymore

By Martin Khor*

PENANG, Malaysia, Dec  2017 (IPS) - The growing crisis of antibiotic resistance is catching the attention of policy makers, but not at a rate enough to tackle it.

More diseases are affected by resistance, meaning the bacteria cannot be killed even if different drugs are used on some patients, who then succumb.

We are staring at a future in which antibiotics don’t work, and many of us or our children will not be saved from TB, cholera, deadly forms of dysentery, and germs contracted during surgery.

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Iran Reshapes the Middle East

By George Friedman* – Geopolitical Futures  

For the moment, Iran has been freed to assert itself.

Iran has always seen itself as being in competition with the Arab states for domination of the Persian Gulf. Its ambitions were put on hold in the late 1980s, at the end of an eight-year war with Iraq that cost Iran more than a million casualties. The war ended in a military draw, but strategically it blocked Iran’s hopes for expanding its power westward. The war against the Islamic State, particularly in Iraq, has opened that door again.

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South-South Cooperation Key to a New Multilateralism

By Baher Kamal

ROME, Dec 4 2017 (IPS) - “There are new challenges to all states: among them, the real threat to multilateralism… South-South and triangular cooperation can contribute to a new multilateralism and drive the revitalisation of the global partnership for sustainable development.”

This is how Liu Zhenmin, the UN under-secretary general for Economic and Social Affairs, underscored the importance of South-South Cooperation at an event marking the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation on 12 September, just few weeks ahead of the Global South-South Development Expo 2017 in Antalya, Turkey (27 to 30 November).

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