BY ISHAAN THAROOR* – The Washington Post
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban seeks to win reelection for a third consecutive term this Sunday. His ruling Fidesz party is widely expected to secure enough seats to give Orban a fresh mandate, although a fragmented vote could deprive him of a decisive majority.
In power since 2010, Orban is Europe’s second-longest-ruling leader after Germany’s Angela Merkel — and he’s become just as influential.
By Miroslav Laj?ák*
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Apr 6 2018 (IPS) – I am honoured to pay a visit to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to address this Ministerial Meeting. I would like to use this opportunity to commend the role of the Non-Aligned Movement in promoting peace, security and development around the world.
I also want to start by acknowledging the commitment of Venezuela, as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement. I also thank Azerbaijan for welcoming us all to Baku, as the host of this conference.
By António Guterres *
GENEVA, Apr 2018 (IPS) – Thank you all for being here today to show your solidarity with the women, men, girls and boys of Yemen. And I want to thank my co-chairs, the Governments of Sweden and Switzerland, for hosting this conference for the second year and for their continued humanitarian commitment.
Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. As the conflict enters its fourth year, more than 22 million people – three-quarters of the population – need humanitarian aid and protection.
Kim Sengupta* – The Independent
‘We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions’
Accusations and recriminations between Britain and Russia are set to escalate with the news that scientists at the Porton Downmilitary research facility have been unable to establish exactly where the novichok nerve agent used to carry out the Skripal attack was manufactured.
By Boaventura de Sousa Santos*
In memoriam: Marielle Franco
The German word Zeitgeist has come to be used in different languages to designate the cultural, intellectual and moral climate of a given moment – literally, the spirit of the times, or the combination of beliefs and ideas that make up the specificity of a given historical period. In the modern age, and as a result of the persistence of the notion of progress, one of the greatest challenges in capturing the spirit of a given period lies in identifying the continuities in relation to earlier times, since most often than not they come disguised as discontinuities, innovations and ruptures. To make one’s analysis even more complicated, whatever is left from earlier periods is invariably metamorphosed into something that at once gives away and hides its provenance, and therefore invariably remains as something different from, and yet identical to, what it was. The categories we use to describe a given period are too crude to capture this complexity, as they themselves are part and parcel of the very spirit-of-the-time they are supposed to describe from the outside. They always run the risk of being either anachronistic – from the weight of inertia – or utopian – from the lightness of anticipation.
BY SIMINA MISTREANU – FOREIGN POLICY
The party’s massive experiment in ranking and monitoring Chinese citizens has already started.
RONGCHENG, CHINA — Rongcheng was built for the future. Its broad streets and suburban communities were constructed with an eye to future expansion, as the city sprawls on the eastern tip of China’s Shandong province overlooking the Yellow Sea. Colorful billboards depicting swans bank on the birds — one of the city’s tourist attractions — returning there every winter to escape the Siberian cold.
Cas Mudde*- The Guardian
Their views, from Iran and Israel to hard power in a dog-eat-dog world, are aligned – and their personalities are startlingly similar
‘The vast majority of the Trump electorate doesn’t care much about foreign policy and largely supports Trump’s instinctive ‘America First’ agenda. Just like John Bolton.’
Even after more than a year in power, President Donald Trump is still able to take the punditry by surprise. When he appointed John Bolton as the new national security adviser, liberal publications were quick to declare that Trump’s alleged far-right isolationist base would deem this a betrayal. After all, Bolton was one of the figureheads of George W Bush’s interventionist, nation-building administration. But the backlash, if there is any, is overstated – and it shows how little we understand Trump’s supporters.
By Olga Tomilova and Edlira Dashi (*)
WASHINGTON DC, Apr 3 2018 (IPS) – For the first time in over a decade, Sub-Saharan Africa is a top priority for international funders investing in financial inclusion, with 30 percent of all active projects focused on the region.
Ten years ago, the 23 largest international funders who reported to the CGAP Cross-Border Funder Survey committed $1.73 billion to financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2016, the year covered by our latest survey, that figure had climbed 270 percent to $4.7 billion.
By Robert Leonard*
KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Donald Trump won over 60 percent of the 2016 vote in rural Iowa, where I live, and I haven’t heard much concern from Republicans over the president’s alleged infidelities with a porn actress, his ties to Russia or Jared Kushner’s real estate shenanigans.
Or, for that matter, much concern about the administration scandals about wife beaters, Saudi princes, Ben Carson’s table or Scott Pruitt’s soundproof room. Many people don’t even know these scandals exist — they generally don’t lead in Sean Hannity’s or Tucker Carlson’s world.
By David Scott Mathieson * – Asia Times
Aung San Suu Kyi shuns erstwhile Western allies to embrace China, Russia and others unperturbed by her regime’s rampant rights abuses
When former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi and her long persecuted National League for Democracy party won election in 2015, Western nations that maintains sanctions against the previous rights-abusing military regime cheered the democratic result and hoped for transition.
Suu Kyi was subsequently feted in various European capitals, including Oslo, where she received her Nobel Peace Prize two decades late, and embraced by the United States as a champion of non-violent struggle and civil courage. The West, it seemed, had finally won Myanmar.
By PETER S. GOODMAN * – The New York Times
LONDON — History was not supposed to turn out this way.
In the aftermath of World War II, the victorious Western countries forged institutions — NATO, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization — that aimed to keep the peace through collective military might and shared prosperity. They promoted democratic ideals and international trade while investing in the notion that coalitions were the antidote to destructive nationalism.
By Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie (*) – The Nation
The disinformation campaign—and massive radiation increase—behind the 5G rollout.
Things didn’t end well between George Carlo and Tom Wheeler; the last time the two met face-to-face, Wheeler had security guards escort Carlo off the premises. As president of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), Wheeler was the wireless industry’s point man in Washington. Carlo was the scientist handpicked by Wheeler to defuse a public-relations crisis that threatened to strangle his infant industry in its crib. This was back in 1993, when there were only six cell-phone subscriptions for every 100 adults in the United States. But industry executives were looking forward to a booming future.
By Micah L. Sifry – The Nation
The problem is bigger than Facebook
In the summer of 2012, a group of scholars at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania led by Joseph Turow put out a national survey on public attitudes toward targeted political advertising. The results were stark. Nearly nine in 10 Americans said they didn’t want political ads tailored to their personal interests. Eighty-five percent agreed with the statement, “If I found out that Facebook was sending me ads for political candidates based on my profile information that I had set to private, I would be angry.”
By PATRICK KINGSLEY* – The New York Times
BUDAPEST — Billboards. TV campaigns. Radio programs. The anti-immigrant government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban uses different levers to influence public opinion, particularly on the subject of the European refugee crisis.
Even school textbooks.
On page 155 of the latest 8th-grade history textbook, students are told that Mr. Orban thinks refugees are a threat to Hungary — and then encouraged to believe he is right. “It can be problematic,” the book concludes, “for different cultures to coexist.”
It is a testament to the scope of Mr. Orban’s controversial program for remaking Hungary that part of the far-right leader’s message is now woven into the school curriculum.
By Jim Jatras*
The expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats from the US, along with dozens of others from various other countries, should be a sobering moment for all of mankind. It’s a sign of how close to the brink of a major war the world is coming.
To start with, this current episode is not comparable to the 55 Soviets expelled by Ronald Reagan in 1986 or the 50 or so thrown out by George W. Bush in 2001. Those actions were directly related to spying activities – which all governments engage in, directed against their friends as well as enemies. The Russians do it, the Americans do it, everybody does it. There’s nothing remarkable about cutting the numbers down now and then, particularly after a major embarrassment like the 2001 Robert Hanssen scandal.
By Seth Binder and William D. Hartung – LobeLog (+)
This week’s presidential election in Egypt offers an opportunity to rethink the amount and purpose of U.S. military aid to that nation, which has totaled over $40 billion since the signing of the Camp David peace accords in 1979. Is U.S. aid helping Egypt to effectively combat a growing terrorist threat while maintaining good relations with Israel? Or is it bolstering a corrupt, undemocratic regime whose human-rights abuses have undermined its ability to unify the nation in the fight against terror?
By Katrina vanden Heuvel* – The Nation
Trump’s presidency has taken a foreboding turn—from madcap farce and unending melodrama toward grim tragedy
With the appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser, President Trump has put the finishing touches on his war Cabinet, with bellicose Mike Pompeo heading the State Department and Gina Haspel, who ran a torture site under President George W. Bush, heading the CIA. With Bolton’s appointment, Trump has broken another campaign promise — and it is surely his most dangerous betrayal yet. The candidate who promised to get us out of stupid wars is now loading up for war. With Congress having surrendered its national security responsibilities, the United States, already mired in endless wars across the broad Middle East, seems on the verge of even greater military catastrophe.
By DR. HANIF HASSAN ALI AL QASSIM
A tropical Srebrenica in the Land of the Golden Pagodas
The massacre of Srebrenica will enter human history as one of our darkest chapters. From 11 to 22 July 1995, Bosnian Serb military forces massacred approximately 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks. It became the largest massacre committed on European soil since the end of the Second World War. In November last year, the Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic was convicted of war crimes and of genocide. This constituted relief for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide and a victory for international justice after 22 years.
By Marlene Cimons – Nexus Media
At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, the Greenland ice sheet hosted a number of clandestine U.S. Army bases whose job it was to get an estimated 600 medium-range ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads ready for deployment. The largest of these sites was Camp Century, which had the public facade of a science station.
The Army never finished what it started at Camp Century. It abandoned the base in 1967, scrapping Project Iceworm, as its secret mission was called. But the Army left behind a nasty legacy buried under all that ice and snow?—?tons of toxic waste that military officials assumed would stay frozen forever.
By Kwamboka Oyaro
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 26 2018 (IPS) – When a woman rises to the top rung of the traditionally all-male corporate ladder in Africa, it’s front-page news because women’s progress in business leadership on the continent continues to be achingly slow.
According to a groundbreaking 2015 study by the African Development Bank (AfDB) titled “Where Are the Women?