Articles in English

People leave floral tributes for victims of the knife attack at the Westfield shopping center in Sydney, Australia, on April 16. Steven Saphore/AAP/Reuters

When news broke of a stabbing, and mass killing, at a Sydney shopping mall in which a baby was attacked, right-wing commentators overseas were quick to falsely diagnose the motive.

“Another day. Another terror attack by another Islamist terrorist. Six dead, others seriously injured, including a baby”, tweeted the British right-wing commentator Julia Hartley-Brewer.

But Hartley-Brewer was wrong. And she later acknowledged the post was incorrect.

The motive was not Islamist but an everyday threat for women: gendered violence.

It was “obvious” said the New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb, that now-deceased attacker Joel Cauchi, a diagnosed schizophrenic according to his family, had a specific kind of victim in mind when he entered the beach suburb of Bondi’s busy Westfield shopping center on Saturday.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of Senior Women for Climate Protection celebrate the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, eastern France, on April 9, 2024. (Photo by FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has set an important precedent through its 9 April judgment in the Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland case.

In its ruling, the Court states that Switzerland has a responsibility under the European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR) to combat climate change effectively to protect the human rights of their citizens – and as a result can be held accountable for inadequate climate policies and mitigation measures.

The judgment drew on existing national and international human rights instruments on climate change, including domestic jurisprudence in countries who are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).…  Seguir leyendo »

At first glance, Xi Jinping seems to have lost the plot.

China’s president appears to be smothering the entrepreneurial dynamism that allowed his country to crawl out of poverty and become the factory of the world. He has brushed aside Deng Xiaoping’s maxim “To get rich is glorious” in favor of centralized planning and Communist-sounding slogans like “ecological civilization” and “new, quality productive forces”, which have prompted predictions of the end of China’s economic miracle.

But Mr. Xi is, in fact, making a decades-long bet that China can dominate the global transition to green energy, with his one-party state acting as the driving force in a way that free markets cannot or will not.…  Seguir leyendo »

The spring meetings of the boards of governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) took place in Washington, DC from 17-19 April 2024. (Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images).

One of the most important topics at this week’s spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank is how to close the enormous climate finance gap.

More than $1.7 trillion was invested in clean energy alone in 2023, according to the IEA. But this compares poorly with a total estimated climate finance need of $8 trillion a year today, rising to $10 trillion a year after 2030.

Moreover, less than 3 per cent of total global climate finance in 2020/21 went to or within least developed countries (LDCs) and only 15 per cent went to or within emerging and developing economies (EMDEs) excluding China.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is no accident that Israel and Iran are on the precipice of war. It is the result of long-standing agendas devised by misguided policymakers on both sides.

Start with Iran. For decades its declared hatred of Israel and determination to erase the country from the map has been all-consuming. One struggles for a metaphor: Captain Ahab and the white whale?
Iran’s policy towards Israel has been geared towards two things it feels it needs to stand nose-to-nose with its adversary. The first is the ability to strike from territory adjacent to Israel. Iran wants to be able to threaten Israel with a broad spectrum of attacks, from nuisance strikes to massive ground and missile assaults.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man in Tehran holds a local newspaper reporting on its front page the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, signed in Beijing on 11 March 2023. Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images.

The drone and missile attacks launched by Iran against Israel on 13 April, and the subsequent Israeli response, have thrown into doubt the stability of the Saudi–Iran reconciliation facilitated by China last year.

The attacks have dramatically altered the strategic landscape, casting uncertainty over regional security and testing China’s recently earned reputation as a credible mediator.

After the Iranian drone attack, Beijing promptly initiated emergency phone diplomacy to prevent the Saudi–Iran agreement from being undermined by the volatile situation. Following calls with his Saudi and Iranian counterparts, Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, applauded ’ Iran’s stress on not targeting regional and neighbouring countries’ – a tacit reference to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.…  Seguir leyendo »

A hospital volunteer from Estonia crafted this monument in Kostiantynivka to honor those who died on his watch. It is made of their photos, parts of their uniforms, tourniquets and equipment. (Anna Husarska)

There was something surreal in discussing the possibility of a wider Middle East war while outside, in the most exposed of Ukrainian towns, the air-raid sirens were wailing, signaling a threat of a wider European war.

Last weekend in Kharkiv, as in so many other places, Iran’s attacks on Israel were the talk of the town. Standing on the city’s empty Freedom Square, my friend Olga Shpak — a volunteer with Assist Ukraine — and I were weighing what the possible scenarios mean for Ukraine. The optimistic approach went: If Israel hits Iran, perhaps there will be fewer Iranian-made Shahed drones for Russia to use against Ukraine?…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian troops on a shooting range near Kyiv in April. (Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Critics of the proposed $60 billion package of U.S. aid for Ukraine in Congress, Mar-a-Lago and beyond ask what the beleaguered country could do with the money and associated ammunition and new weaponry. Would it give Ukrainian forces the wherewithal to beat Russia? It’s a good question.

The answer is a solid maybe. Given restored U.S. support and ongoing help from Europe, Ukraine might be able to turn the tide. It wouldn’t be easy, but the possibility is great enough that, before letting Vladimir Putin notch a partial victory in this war, the world should help Ukraine try once more to take its territory back — if that’s really what Ukraine wants.…  Seguir leyendo »

Emergency workers at a destroyed building after a Russian strike, Chernihiv, Ukraine, April 2024. Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters

After more than two years fighting one of the world’s most powerful armies, Ukraine has enacted a new mobilization law—a move hailed by the West as an urgent reform. Signed into law on April 16, the legislation comes at a time when Ukraine faces a series of growing challenges in its defense against Russia, from shortages of Ukraine’s soldiers and ammunition to wavering Western support. In this view, the new law could make it easier for the government to replenish its forces as it prepares for a major Russian offensive this summer.

For Ukrainians, however, the law also represents something else.…  Seguir leyendo »

At the National Army Day parade in Tehran, April 2024. Majid Asgaripour / West Asia News Agency / Reuters

Last night, Israel struck a military airbase near the city of Isfahan in Iran. Iranian officials also claimed to have shot down small drones near the northern city of Tabriz. Despite these strikes constituting a direct and overt attack on Iranian territory, the Israeli assault appears limited so far. Although Iranian leaders have promised retribution to “the tiniest act of aggression” on their soil, their response, for the time being, seems muted. The news of the bombings and their small scale sparked initial assessments that both sides might be seeking to climb down from their spiraling conflict.

Still, the latest episodes in this cycle of bomb-and-response represent a new, more troubling phase in the ongoing clash in the Middle East.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nasser hospital after the withdrawal of Israeli forces, Khan Younis, Gaza, April 7, 2024. Mohammed Talatene/Picture Alliance/Getty Images

I was born in the spring of 1999 in the village of Khuza’a, east of the city of Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip. My family comes from a village called Salama, near Jaffa on the Palestinian coast, from which they were displaced by Zionist forces in 1948. Khuza’a was a place of green fields and flowers, far from the city center and close to the border fence that separates Gaza from Israel. Most of its residents worked in agriculture or made traditional crafts, but our family ensured that us five siblings—three sisters, a brother, and myself—received a good education.

We grew up among wars: 2008, 2012, 2014, 2021.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Fantasy of Reviving Nuclear Energy

World leaders are not unaware of the nuclear industry’s long history of failing to deliver on its promises, or of its weakening vital signs. Yet many continue to act as if a “nuclear renaissance” could be around the corner even though nuclear energy’s share of global electricity generation has fallen by almost half from its high of roughly 17 percent in 1996.

In search of that revival, representatives from more than 30 countries gathered in Brussels in March at a nuclear summit hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Belgian government. Thirty-four nations, including the United States and China, agreed “to work to fully unlock the potential of nuclear energy”, including extending the lifetime of existing reactors, building new nuclear power plants and deploying advanced reactors.…  Seguir leyendo »

Modi’s Temple of Lies

The sleepy pilgrimage city of Ayodhya in northern India was once home to a grand 16th-century mosque, until it was illegally demolished by a howling mob of Hindu militants in 1992. The site has since been reinvented as the centerpiece of the Hindu-chauvinist “new India” promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In 2020, as Covid-19 raged unchecked across the country, Mr. Modi, the leader of the Hindu right, went to Ayodhya to inaugurate construction of a three-story sandstone temple to the Hindu god Ram on the site of the former mosque. Dressed in shiny, flowing clothes and wearing a white N95 mask, he offered prayers to the Ram idol and the 88-pound silver brick being inserted as the foundation stone.…  Seguir leyendo »

When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, newsrooms across the world scrambled to send their reporters to the front lines. Journalists gave the international public firsthand experience of the conflict. Air raid sirens blared during live on-air reports. Reporters flinched at nearby explosions. They brought the world to the heart of the fighting: “20 Days in Mariupol”, a documentary that showcased an Associated Press report on the attack on the city, won an Oscar last month. That report, among other things, helped debunk Russian claims that the bombing of a maternity hospital, in which three people were killed, was “staged”.

No such international coverage has been possible a thousand miles away in Gaza, where war has claimed the lives of more than 33,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, since the Oct.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Five Futures of Russia

Vladimir Putin happened to turn 71 last October 7, the day Hamas assaulted Israel. The Russian president took the rampage as a birthday present; it shifted the context around his aggression in Ukraine. Perhaps to show his appreciation, he had his Foreign Ministry invite high-ranking Hamas representatives to Moscow in late October, highlighting an alignment of interests. Several weeks later, Putin announced his intention to stand for a fifth term in a choiceless election in March 2024 and later held his annual press conference, offering a phalanx of pliant journalists the privilege of hearing him smugly crow about Western fatigue over the war in Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iranian demonstrators reacting to the attack on Israel, Tehran, April 2024. Majid Asgaripour / West Asia News Agency / Reuters

In the immediate aftermath of Tehran’s spectacular, but almost entirely thwarted, attack on Israel, it appeared that the Middle East had dodged a bullet. Iran’s barrage of more than 300 drones and missiles enables its leadership to claim vengeance for Israel’s April 1 assassination of seven senior Revolutionary Guards commanders. Israelis, meanwhile, can revel in the extraordinary operational success of the country’s sophisticated air defense systems, reinforced by an impressive array of wingmen from the American, British, French, and Jordanian militaries, who helped ensure that Iran did not hit a single Israeli target.

Washington is certainly hoping that there will now be a lull in the Iranian-Israeli conflict.…  Seguir leyendo »

An employee of the public health care makes noise with a cooking pot as she takes part in a protest rally during a warning strike in Stuttgart, Germany, on March 13, 2023. THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images

The German word mitmachen has no exact English translation because the concept sits uncomfortably in the Anglo-Saxon mindset. It’s a verb that means “to get involved” or “do your bit”, and it depends on a sense of communitarianism, something deemed to be lacking in more individualistic societies.

The so-called economic miracle that defined postwar Germany was based in the concept of mutual responsibility. The army of family-run small- and medium-sized businesses, the fabled Mittelstand, was usually based in small- and medium-sized towns. The chief executive would sponsor the local soccer club or youth orchestra, helping out with community events on a Saturday morning.…  Seguir leyendo »

The plaque next to the "slave huts" near the Oranje Pan, on the Dutch Bonaire island: a romanticized, incomplete and outdated account of the colonial past. Photo: Anne Van Mourik

The plaque stands adjacent to the ‘slave cabins’ (kasnan di katibu, in Papiamentu, the local language on Bonaire’s island), shelters for enslaved individuals built from 1850 to 1863 as lip service to those criticising the living conditions of slaves. It depicts enslaved laborers toiling in the saltpans – vast, pink-hued pools where seawater evaporated, leaving behind crystallized salt. And it bears the following inscription:

“Captains on the salt exporting ships would describe the beauty of the island, the colourful salt ponds, blazing sunsets with pink flying flamingos and the singing women who looked like mermaids carrying the salt for the ships anchored off shore.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Case for Progressive Realism

This year, voters in the United Kingdom will head to the polls as Keir Starmer’s Labour Party seeks to win power from the Conservative Party for the first time since 1997. It is difficult to overstate how much the world has changed in the intervening years. When former Prime Minister Tony Blair entered Downing Street 27 years ago, the British economy was larger than India’s and China’s combined. The United Kingdom still administered a major Asian city, Hong Kong, as a colony. The increase in global temperatures from the long-term average was less than half what it is today. And American dominance was so striking that some people saw the spread of the liberal democratic model as inevitable.…  Seguir leyendo »

Palestinians stand near the site of an Israeli strike on a house, Rafah, April 2024. Mohammed Salem / Reuters

In the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel with hundreds of drones and missiles last weekend, Israel must decide how to calibrate its response. The spectrum of possible actions is wide and includes strikes on Iranian interests outside Iran and targets inside its borders.

Israeli leaders faced a similar decision after the Hamas attacks of October 7. Back then, the question was whether they should respond to the Hamas attack primarily by sending troops to Gaza with the goal of ending Hamas’s domination of that territory and its ability to threaten Israel militarily, or also (or instead) pursue Israel’s more powerful and dangerous adversary to the north, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah—even though it was not directly involved in the October 7 attacks.…  Seguir leyendo »