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Category: Featured

Van Rompuy, Ashton appointments could boost French protectionism within Europe

 Not everybody will see it negatively though. As the realpolitik behind these moves becomes plainer, we can see that France and Germany have done a lot better than other countries – apparently at the expense of the United Kingdom. As part of the deal to install Lady Ashton, Britain has agreed to allow Michel Barnier, a centre-right French politician, to take responsibility for the internal market in the new EU Commission next year.…

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Middle East faces demographic timebomb

While all these kids are in school, there is no pressing socio-economic problem. But over the next decade as students graduate and want to enter the workplace, finding employment for them all will be difficult. Already the Middle East and North Africa have among the highest unemployment rates in the world at 9.4% and 10.3% respectively, according to an International Labour Organisation report.…

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The parsimony of rich governments starves the world’s poor

In fact there’s been a succession of crop-destroying droughts, typhoons, floods and earthquakes in Africa and south-east Asia this year at the very time that needs are greater because of the rise in unemployment and the fall in remittances to home countries from nationals working abroad.

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Should cultural clothing rules be imposed in age of globalisation?

Conversely, in France the authorities have talked of banning the burka and succeeded several years ago in banning the hijab in public offices and schools. Turkey has also done the same in the name of secularism.

Many argue that the French and Turkish are right to do so, to stem the tide of Islamisation and, moreover, for women – in most cases girls – to have the individual choice as to whether they want to wear a hijab, not decided upon by parents or family.…

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Lisbon treaty passed: now politicians must persuade citizens to think European

It should now come into force by the end of the year. So we will see a permanent president of the European Council of Ministers (albeit probably low profile Belgian prime minister Herman van Rompuy rather than pushy ex-UK PM Tony Blair); an EU foreign minister; and more power for the European Parliament.…

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Kidnapping and human trafficking – the seamy side of globalisation

The problem is getting worse. Just over a year since the collapse of the global market, countries around the world have reported a significant increase in cases of the exploitation of people for monetary gain. While cases of kidnapping and ransom continue to be common in African and Latin American countries, such as Nigeria and Venezuela, the majority of organized human trafficking cases are actually in Europe.…

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Sanctions could make flying more dangerous

Some argue they have had a spotty record since, while others prefer to pick-and-mix examples from embargoes through the ages to argue their case. The more pragmatic approach would be not whether sanctions “work,” but when and under what circumstances.

On one hand, those that are meant to oust a dictator but result in the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians – in Iraq for instance – can be considered counter-productive.…

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Submarine cabinet meeting highlights island nation’s plight as global warming raises the oceans

The 25 minute meeting, where whiteboard and hand signals were used to communicate, highlighted the plight of the country that might become uninhabitable within 100 years due to the rising sea levels.

“If it is Maldives today, you cannot save yourself tomorrow,” Nasheed said after emerging from the meeting for which he and his ministers scuba-dived three metres deep to the bottom of the sea off Girifushi island, about 35 nautical miles from capital Malé, itself an island set in the Indian Ocean.…

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New EU diplomatic service raises questions and confusion

She is the institution’s leaderene though hiding behind the good manners and discretion of a classic civil servant. Catherine Day is seldom heard and rarely seen.

In a few days, however, she will stand before a huge audience of colleagues to explain to them how the clumsily-titled ‘external action service’ is to be developed and how it will affect their working lives.…

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New EU diplomatic service raises questions and confusion

She is the institution’s leaderene though hiding behind the good manners and discretion of a classic civil servant. Catherine Day is seldom heard and rarely seen.

In a few days, however, she will stand before a huge audience of colleagues to explain to them how the clumsily-titled ‘external action service’ is to be developed and how it will affect their working lives.…

Read more