A NEWLY PUBLISHED study from Oxford’s Jon Penney provides empirical evidence for a key argument long made by privacy advocates: that the mere existence of a surveillance state breeds fear and conformity and stifles free expression. Reporting on the study, the Washington Post this morning described this phenomenon: “If we think that authorities are watching our online actions, we might stop visiting certain websites or not say certain things just to avoid seeming suspicious.”
By Baher Kamal
ROME, May 2016 (IPS) – Just an ordinary citizen living in a Middle East and North of Africa country and requring a birth certificate for your new-born daughter? No problem—just take something with you, either some cash, a pack of cigarettes or buy a glass of tea with milk and a lot of sugar.
Saudi Arabia is in a mess. That conclusion seems to be common ground — the view of serious outside analysts and of the country’s own government. The only question is whether the problems can be corrected by shock treatment of the sort announced in Riyadh last week.
By Lyndal Rowlands
UNITED NATIONS, May 2016 (IPS) – High-level defamation, libel and sedition cases in Asian countries are sending signals to journalists that writing critical journalism can cost millions of dollars or years in prison.
“Increasingly we’re seeing countries, especially countries that call themselves democracies, (using) this more subtle approach within the means of the law to silence criticism,” Sumit Galhotra a Senior Researcher at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) told IPS.
By Josette Sheeran
NEW YORK, May 2016 (IPS) – Travel in many parts of Asia, as I do, and you are likely to find everyone looking at their smartphones – even in remote areas – hungry for information wherever they can find it.
Certainly it is true that access to information has increased dramatically in the last few decades across Asia, as many nations have risen out of abject poverty and a greater openness has taken a foothold in previously isolated and controlled areas. Social media, in places as disparate and different as China, Iraq and Indonesia, Afghanistan and Myanmar, to name but a few has revolutionized access to information.
Italy is resuming its historic role as a source of Europe’s best ideas and leadership in politics, and also, most surprisingly, in economics
As the European Union begins to disintegrate, who can provide the leadership to save it? German chancellor Angela Merkel is widely credited with finally answering Henry Kissinger’s famous question about the Western alliance: “What is the phone number for Europe?” But if Europe’s phone number has a German dialling code, it goes through to an automated answer: “Nein zu Allem.”
By Zubair Sayed
JOHANNESBURG, Apr 2016 (IPS) – Imagine a world without the media, where we have no verified information about what’s going on around us. Where everything is hearsay and gossip, where there are no trusted sources of information. It would be hard to operate in a world like that: to make decisions about what to do about the things that affect our lives.
Michael M. Thomas insisted, correctly, that we post on a wee bit of history unearthed by Daily Bail: a video showing the key actors in the passage of the bill that formally ended Glass Steagall patting each other on the back. Well, almost all of the key actors. Most of the speakers make a point of singling out former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin as a moving force, along with former New York Senator Al Damato.
When news broke two weeks ago of the harsh terms of a new bailout for Greece, many questioned whether the country still qualified as a sovereign state. “Debt colony,” a term long used by Syriza and its supporters, was suddenly everywhere in the press. Even theFinancial Times used the language of empire: “a bailout on the terms set out in Brussels,” as a 13 July editorial put it, “risks turning the relationship with Greece into one akin to that between a colonial overlord and its vassal.”
By Jomo Kwame Sundaram
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Apr 2016 (IPS) – International capital flows are now more than 60 times the value of trade flows. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is now of the view that large international financial transactions do not facilitate trade, and that excessive financial ‘elasticity’ was the cause of recent financial crises.
(ANTIMEDIA) Wilmington, DE — As it turns out, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump share something pertinent in common, after all — a tax haven cozily nested inside the United States.
By Roberto Savio
ROME, Apr 2016 (IPS) – The publication of the Panama Papers has now been digested, like any scandal, after just a few days. We are now getting so accustomed to scandals, that it is confusing, and the general public reaction often is: all are corrupt and politics is all about corruption.
Ian Leslie | | The Guardian
In 1972, a British scientist sounded the alarm that sugar – and not fat – was the greatest danger to our health. But his findings were ridiculed and his reputation ruined. How did the world’s top nutrition scientists get it so wrong for so long?
By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 2016 (IPS) – As the campaign for a new UN Secretary-General (UNSG) gathers momentum, there is one lingering question that remains unanswered: does the now-defunct Eastern European political alliance have a legitimate claim for the job on the basis of geographical rotation?
By Timothy Cama
Senate Republicans think they’ve found a powerful way to hobble President Obama’s participation in international climate diplomacy through the decades old Israel-Palestine conflict.
More than two dozen GOP senators told the Obama administration this week it has to cut off the hundreds of millions in contributions to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund.
By Baher Kamal
ROME, Apr 2016 (IPS) – “The objective of extremists is for us to turn on each other [and] our unity is the ultimate rebuke for that bankrupt strategy.”
This is what the UN chief Ban Ki-moon has recently said. “While it may be inevitable to draw on examples, such as Da’esh [also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL] or Boko Haram, “the phenomenon of violent extremism conducive to terrorism is not rooted or confined to any religion, region, nationality or ethnic group.”
By Jomo Kwame Sundaram*
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Apr 2016 (IPS) – Unlike Wikileaks’ exposes, the recent Panama revelations were quite selective, targeted, edited and carefully managed. Most observers attribute this to the political agendas of its mainly American funders. Nevertheless, the revelations have highlighted some problems associated with illicit financial flows, as well as tax evasion and avoidance, including the role of enabling governments, legislation, legal and accounting firms as well as shell companies.
Submitted by Eric Zuesse*
Saudi King & Princes Blackmail U.S. Government
Saudi Arabia, owned by the Saud family, are telling the U.S. Government, they’ll wreck the U.S. economy, if a bill in the U.S. Congress that would remove the unique and exclusive immunity the royal owners of that country enjoy in the United States, against their being prosecuted for their having financed the 9/11 attacks, passes in Congress, and becomes U.S. law.
Geneva, Apr (D. Ravi Kanth) -SUNS- India along with other developing countries
appear now to be facing an acid test in global climate change negotiations and at
the WTO on how to ensure that their efforts to build robust domestic industries
for manufacturing solar cells, solar modules and other products for renewable
energy takes precedence over profits-driven trade rules framed by the United
States and other developed countries, several negotiators told the SUNS.
By Roberto Savio*
ROME, Apr 2016 (IPS) – On the 17th of April, Italians were called to vote in a national referendum, on the extension of licenses to extract petrol and gas from the seas. The government, the media and those in the economic circles, all took a position against the referendum, claiming that 2000 jobs were at a stake. The proponents of the referendum (among them five regions), lost. Italy is following a consistent trend, after the Summit on Climate Change (Paris December 2015), in which all countries (Italy included) took a solemn engagement to reduce emissions.