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14 August 2017 |
The ongoing talk of war with North Korea and the threat of nuclear weapons has everybody dusting off their copies of Dr Strangelove and rewatching that classic black farce of innuendo, misunderstanding and paranoia in an age of Mutually Assured Destruction.
09 August 2017 |
The Turnbull-Trump tapes took one back. For some, it was back to the Watergate Tapes and the innocent years of Richard Nixon. For those of us of a certain age and faith, it was back to the primitive and unenlightened world of Abraham.
06 August 2017 |
Today’s highly technological era amazes us with possibilities for human growth and innovation, but in our amazement we often forget to tackle various pitfalls. Arguably, the biggest risk is the emerging military technology, about which there are many unanswered questions. We are faced with many uncertainties: security risks due to loss of competitiveness, potential control over advanced weapons by terrorists and, most importantly, reduced comprehension by the wider society—let alone any participation in the decision making process, as the frenzied pace of technological development increases.
22 July 2017 |
Obamacare, although imperfect, was soundly constructed and thoughtfully implemented. It has withstood constitutional challenges and survived endless Congressional votes to repeal and amend it. Republicans talk only about its problems and the Trump Administration has worked hard to sabotage it further, but the fact is that Obamacare is not in a 'death spiral'. It is working surprisingly well.
19 July 2017 |
Speak out against Israeli policies towards Palestinians and you are betraying fellow Jews. This narrative is common, and we see it today in relation to human rights organisations in Israel. It is not new. The same thing occured decades ago, when scholar Gershom Scholem accused Hannah Arendt, the author of Eichmann in Jerusalem, of lacking 'love of the Jewish people'.
13 July 2017 |
With ongoing celebrations in Baghdad and scenes of devastation in Mosul, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the 'liberation' of Iraq's second-largest city from ISIS. This moment, after an umbrella force of military units fought for nine months to relieve Mosul of the ISIS yoke, represents a victory for the people and government of Iraq. However, many challenges loom, among them reconciling conflicting interests amongst Iraq's peoples and restoring the ravaged landscape.
11 July 2017 |
Revered for her groundbreaking study of chimpanzees in Tanzania's Gombe Stream, Goodall has spent the past three decades travelling the world in an effort to alert its human inhabitants to the alarming news: we are destroying the planet. The message seems to have been lost on those in a position to halt the change, for research scientists have just reported that a mass extinction is currently underway, a biological annihilation in which billions of regional or local populations have already been lost.
09 July 2017 |
The DPRK's options in terms of defending itself against the US and its allies were always limited, leaving the way open for an assortment of pantomimes. The arsenal of the threat became normal: that, for instance, of incinerating Seoul, the possibility that Tokyo or Alaska might be targets. The show seems to be moving beyond the next boundary of what is deemed acceptable, largely because Trump deemed it impossible Pyongyang would have a viable ICBM option that could reach the US.
27 June 2017 |
The Lancaster West Estate, which contains Grenfell Tower, is among the top ten per cent of the most deprived areas in England, but is located within the wealthiest local authority. As a former resident of the area the disaster has validated what I knew all along: that events such as these bring out both the best and the worst in people, and that this little corner of West London is a microcosm for greater society and an increasingly unequal world where the poor suffer while the rich increasingly prosper.
18 June 2017 |
In 15th Century Japan a young man named Murata Shukou, who was studying for the priesthood, began to practice Zen philosophy. His teacher explained that the spirit of Zen was also present in the practice of tea-making, so Shukou began a journey of discovery into making and serving tea. There are almost 40 steps involved in this ancient ritual; time stops and I am mesmerised by the rhythm and the silence, as if I am separated from the world and nought exists save for the movement.
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