While climate change touches us all, its impacts — from heat waves and droughts to hurricanes and floods — disproportionately affect those least responsible for causing it. The elderly, the very young and other marginalized communities are the most at risk. In addition, climate-related disasters affect women disproportionately, throwing into sharp relief the existing societal inequalities between men and women.
Recently a powerful phenomenon has swept the globe. Women are speaking up and rising to leadership positions across business, government and civil society, to deliver urgent action to avert the looming climate crisis.
It was thanks to the tenacity of an exceptional group of women led by Christiana Figueres, former head of the U.N.… Seguir leyendo »
The EU’s straits have grown more dire, as polling shows Euroskeptic, far-right populist parties chalking up heady gains in the European Parliament elections, which take place in May.
The hard right’s numbers won’t be nearly enough to command the Brussels-based locus of European democracy, but its combined forces could throw another spanner into the Union’s already challenged machinery.
Thus, all the more urgent is the EU’s contorted mission to win back the trust of its citizens.
Obviously, its original narrative, one that powered it through the postwar decades — namely of peace through cooperation and economic integration on a united continent — no longer resonates with many Europeans, particularly the young.… Seguir leyendo »
Almost a week after Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif submitted his resignation over Instagram, it’s become clear that Zarif made a high-risk gamble — and it paid off handsomely. Calculating that both the public and many in the political elite would rally behind him, his wager compelled key Iranian leaders to renew their confidence in him.
And with the Iran nuclear deal facing existential challenges over the next few months, the boost for Zarif could not have come at a better time.
Zarif is not the first Iranian official to make this gamble. In 1952, Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh found himself curtailed by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.… Seguir leyendo »
«We will surprise you. Wait for that surprise» was the message Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the director general of Pakistan Inter-Services Public Relations, had for his neighbors in India on Tuesday evening. It was a testy moment after an even testier day, one that served only to heighten existing tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.
Even as President Donald Trump landed in Hanoi, Vietnam, for a landmark summit intended to tame nuclear-armed North Korea, the other side of Asia seemed poised for its own potential war — and without an intervening power, such as the United States, interested in calming things down.… Seguir leyendo »
After 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed by a suicide attack earlier this month in Indian-controlled Kashmir, a poignant cartoon started doing rounds on Indian social media: It showed an armed Indian soldier, pressed back-to-back with a group of civilians. The civilians, giggling over their phones, appear to be pushing the soldier into battle.
It was symbolic of the power being exercised on social media: calls for blood for blood, attack for attack. With elections a couple of months away, India’s ruling party BJP needs to show its strength.
Now, as tensions escalate between India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed states, even more pressure is being applied by commentators on both sides on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.… Seguir leyendo »
There were encouraging signs leading up to the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. For his part, Trump signaled a subtle but important shift in his approach toward North Korea’s denuclearization — repeatedly saying, «Speed is not important to me» and «I’m in no rush.» This indicated Trump finally was beginning to accept what most nonproliferation experts have been saying all along: That denuclearization of North Korea will be a long and complex process that may last over a decade.
The good vibes continued through the summit, as the usually reclusive Kim showed signs of opening up.… Seguir leyendo »
Since the end of the World War II, Western nations have shared the belief that international trade was a virtue. While progress has too often been lethargic, in the decades since, the United States and European nations have worked together to reduce barriers to trade.
This went hand in hand with a special bond between our two continents — culturally, militarily, as a broad alliance of free nations.
Together, progress has been achieved in the form of the institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the European Community — the forerunner to the European Union.
Trade-based agreements between the EU and the United States multiplied.… Seguir leyendo »
The fate of Shamima Begum, the British teenager who fled the UK to join ISIS, appears to more unclear than the fate of the so-called Caliphate itself.
Reduced to a fraction of the territory it once controlled, the group that once swept across Iraq and Syria now faces total territorial annihilation.
What once felt like a deluge of foreign fighters flooding from all parts of the world across the Syrian border to join ISIS eventually became a trickle. Now, the likes of Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana, the US citizen President Donald Trump says cannot return home after joining ISIS, represent an altogether different current.… Seguir leyendo »
«¡Juro!» exclaimed Juan Guaido, the 35-year-old leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as he declared himself the country’s acting president on January 23.
«I swear!» he said to the crowd in a definitive challenge to the regime of Nicolás Maduro, the ersatz President who has held office since the death of Hugo Chávez in 2013.
I swear, he repeated with a boldness seemingly unrealistic but clearly effective, as it was followed almost immediately by recognition from nearly every country in the region, plus more than a dozen members of the European Union, Canada and the United States.
Of course, this feat of garnering the approval of so many nations would deserve neither admiration nor support were it just another episode in the long tradition of power-grabbing pronunciamentos.… Seguir leyendo »
When a major government designates a business as a front for organized crime, the accused normally go into hiding and tell their lawyers to get ready.
But the Kings Romans Casino in Laos proves that normal rules of criminal behavior don’t always apply to Southeast Asia.
At the end of January last year, the United States Treasury Department sanctioned Kings Romans, its owner, Zhao Wei, and the «Zhao Wei Transnational Crime Organization,» alleging the casino was used to launder money and traffic drugs, among other serious crimes.
Zhao has been accused of operating with near impunity inside a Laotian special economic zone, a strategic location with limited oversight.… Seguir leyendo »
Theresa May, the UK’s Prime Minister, has nearly won.
Barring some last-minute intervention, Brexit will happen — with or without a deal — on March 29. It is the logical conclusion of May’s strategy to date.
Britain can get on with being an island, which it has managed moderately well through most of its history, ignoring the days of empire when it got tangled up with the rest of the world and mistook the colonies as an extension of itself.
So what place will the UK take in the world? And more to the point, what does the wider world even look like now?… Seguir leyendo »
After September 11, the United States justified deep engagement in Afghanistan in part due to the Taliban’s harsh repression of women. Now, after sustaining 2,351 deaths and more than 20,000 injuries, and spending north of a trillion dollars, the United States is negotiating peace with the draconian regime it once abhorred.
Like ISIS in the Middle East and al-Shabaab in Africa, the Taliban often uses ultra-conservative interpretations of the Quran to force women into cruel marriages with huge age differences where wives may be abused. Worse yet, women are barred from working outside the home, learning to read, or appearing in public without head-to-toe coverings.… Seguir leyendo »
The setting for the Queen’s comments were as homespun and genteel as could be imagined: Centenary celebrations of the Women’s Institute, a quintessentially English organization whose branches share recipes for jam and baking. Yet what she said was of huge significance — both for British politics and the Queen’s constitutional role as monarch.
Speaking to the branch of the WI at West Newton Village Hall near her country estate of Sandringham on Thursday, the Queen said: «Every generation faces fresh challenges and opportunities. As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture.»
While the Queen did not mention the word Brexit, she didn’t need to.… Seguir leyendo »
On Thursday night, Mariah Carey will perform on stage in Saudi Arabia. This concert is a pathetic attempt to show that the country is becoming more tolerant toward women.
But there are many women languishing in Saudi prisons, simply for campaigning for the better treatment of women.
Some of them have been brutally tortured and sexually assaulted. One of these women is my sister, Loujain Alhathloul. As a fan of Carey’s work, I’d like to see her ask for the release of my sister while she is on stage.
After eight months of praying that she’d be released, I am here to tell her story.… Seguir leyendo »
In 1956, András Gróf decided to start walking. At 20, he had survived Hungarian fascism, Nazi occupation, and the invasion of the Soviet Red Army. To escape the crossfire of a bloody counterrevolution, he walked from Budapest to Vienna, where he reached the offices of the International Rescue Committee (IRC): an organization founded by Albert Einstein to help people fleeing violence and persecution.
The IRC put Gróf on a boat to the United States. When he arrived at Ellis Island, he took the name Andy Grove.
Andy Grove went on to become co-founder and CEO of Intel. He is recognized today as one of the people who profoundly shaped Silicon Valley and the digital transformation of the world economy.… Seguir leyendo »
The Trump administration is considering a policy that is arguably the most significant federal attack on civil and political rights in at least a generation, one which, the New York Times reports, would define 1.4 million transgender Americans «out of existence.» The Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to legally define gender under Title IX as a «biological, immutable condition, determined by genitalia at birth,» removing federal recognition and thereby rights and protections for those who identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth
This proposed policy — along with a recent proposed ban on transgender individuals serving in the US military — stands in stark contrast to the pride many Americans have expressed over the country’s perceived world leadership on issues of LGBT rights.… Seguir leyendo »
Events in Venezuela may be heading toward a catastrophic conflict. Venezuelan society is deeply divided between President Nicolas Maduro and his supporters, backed by the military, versus an opposition led by self-declared president, Juan Guaido, leader of the National Assembly.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, which cited a senior administration official, the US promised it would back Guaido as part of a secret plan developed over several weeks. The US, along with Canada and several Latin American governments, quickly recognized Guaido as president, while China and Russia are backing Maduro. One spark could set off a civil war.… Seguir leyendo »
The death sentence imposed on Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg by the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in north-eastern China is an immense blow for the convicted drug smuggler and his family. China argues it is a simple matter of sentencing a felon according to the Chinese code.
But for the rest of the world, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the decision is far more sinister. Following the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in late 2018, Chinese state media warned Canada that Beijing may «take revenge» if she is extradited to the US.
Schellenberg’s death sentence, along with the detainment of two Canadians on suspicion of «activities that endangered China’s national security,» appears to confirm this theory.… Seguir leyendo »
Something nasty is happening on the grounds of London’s Palace of Westminster. And I don’t mean the latest horse-trading over Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit legislation.
No, the latest crisis to hit Britain’s political culture manifests in a much more tangible form. In recent weeks, an upsurge of «anti-elitist» protest has seen the violent harassment of members of Parliament and commentators while they film interviews outside Parliament. The activity is focused on a public strip of park, known as «College Green,» which lies just a few steps outside the main gates of the Houses of Parliament and is traditionally used for broadcast interviews.… Seguir leyendo »
There are times when working as a journalist provides a front-row seat to some of the most important events taking place on Earth. On the downhill slope to Brexit, Derry — also known as Londonderry — certainly fits the bill.
Since the end of The Troubles, Derry has become a vibrant cultural hub. It hosts Europe’s largest and most vibrant Halloween celebration each year, attracting thousands of tourists.
It was designated the UK’s City of Culture in 2013.
But a car bomb last weekend that blasted granite chunks off the street and through windows lifted the curtain on something darker going on in this city on the border with the Republic of Ireland.… Seguir leyendo »