22 April 2019
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World Press Freedom Index 2015: decline on all fronts



rsf logoThe Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate.


2014 No Good. 2015 Any Better?


2015Here is a list of 15 current conflicts-violence relations, avoiding identifying conflicts with violent conflict arenas:


Remembering 2014 (Badly)

2014Considering the year that is about to end is a time to pause long enough to take stock of what went wrong. In the United States not much went right aside from Barack Obama’s surprising initiative to normalize relations with Cuba after more than 60 years of hostile and punitive interaction. Although the sleazy logic of domestic politics kept this remnant of the worst features of Cold War diplomacy in being for a couple of extra decades, it is still worth celebrating Obama’s move, which when compared to the rest of his record, seems bold and courageous. As well, Obama exhibited a strong commitment to doing more than previously on climate change, using his executive authority to circumvent Congressional unwillingness to act responsibly. Obama’s immigration reform proposals also seem on balance to be positive, although whether they will be implemented remains an open question.

Drifting Toward Cold War II: Remembering World War I

There are several signs of a worsening global setting that seemed to gain an ominous momentum during 2014. Perhaps, worst of all, is a steady drumbeat of anti-Russian rhetoric backed up by Western sanctions, that seems almost designed to produce Cold War II. No less a figure than Mikhail Gorbachev, speaking at the Brandenburg Gate an event observing the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, warned of a renewed Cold War, and wonder aloud as to whether it had already started. There is little reason to praise Vladimir Putin, but there is far less reason to transform the tensions generated by the confusing and contradictory happenings in the Ukraine into a renewal of high profile geopolitical rivalry, replete with crises and confrontations that pose world-shattering threats that could be actualized by accident, miscalculations, or the over-reactions of extremists bureaucrats and leaders. Read more...

I Am Not a Jew - Maung Zarni


zonistA poem in honor of the indomitable spirit of fellow humans who are being killed by Israel while being locked up in the Zionist concentration camp – called Gaza.


Letter from Gaza by a Norwegian Doctor

gaza treatDr Mads Frederick Gilbert (centre) at Al-Shifa hospital on July 17 2014, treating a wounded Palestinian child, after an Israeli air strike killed 4 children and wounded 5 others. Read more...

Hate Crime, Racism on the Rise in Southeast Asia

hate mianmarFor the ninth year running, Myanmar has ranked as one of the worst countries where minorities are most under threat, while other Southeast Asian nations including Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia were singled out for growing ethnic tensions.

Released today [3 Jul 2014], the annual State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples published by Minority Rights Group International presents case studies of 70 countries across the globe and ranks them based on the dangers faced there by minorities. Read more...

The Rise of Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws

prayDr. Paul Marshall on the rise of apostasy and blasphemy laws, and the threat they represent to religious freedom.

A number of Islamic and Muslim-majority nations impose brutal punishments for apostasy and blasphemy. Read more...

Ed Miliband’s speech on Europe

edward millibandIn a speech today at the London Business School, Ed Miliband set out Labour’s policy on an EU referendum: unless there are further transfers of powers, there won’t be one. Here’s what he said: Read more...

Britain should continue with EU


nick cleggFull text of Nick Clegg's speech

Since I became the Deputy Prime Minister I have had the privilege of spending a bit of time representing Britain’s interests in other parts of the world.


Natives and dogs not allowed


desmond tutuThe speech made  Rev. Desmond Tutu at Westminster Abbey


The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

In die naam van die Vader, en die Seun en die Heilige Gees.


May I first thank the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey and the Prime Minister and his Government for organising this memorial service.


What’s gone wrong with democracy

demo 1Democracy was the most successful political idea of the 20th century. Why has it run into trouble, and what can be done to revive it? Read more...

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