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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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An absence of fairness: the Trade Union Bill

According to Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Trade Union Bill currently before Parliament is ‘not a ban on strike action. This is about ensuring that our rules are modern and right and fit for today’s workplace’. As the Bill progresses through the House of Lords, Mr Javid’s rosy view has been challenged by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

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Trump that: the failure and farce of American politics

There is something very odd and bizarrely impressive about Donald Trump’s approach to democratic politics: it is quite obviously undemocratic. Indeed, if anything, his campaign is fuelled by anti-political sentiment and populist slogans. It’s strong stuff. So strong that it deserves to be recognized in the form of a new political ideology: ‘Trump-ism’. Eponymous…and yet also synonymous with the failure and farce of American politics.

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The future of climate change in Africa

In December 2015 the international community gathered in Paris for the twenty-first yearly Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The first universal agreement was signed that ‘all parties’ (not just the developed countries or historic emitters) would take action to achieve the global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions, and pursue measures which would hold global temperature rises to 1.5°C.

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And the lot fell on… sortition in Ancient Greek democratic theory & practice

Some four decades ago the late Sir Moses Finley, then Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge University, published a powerful series of lectures entitled Democracy Ancient and Modern (1973, republished in an augmented second edition, 1985). He himself had personally suffered the atrocious deficit of democracy that afflicted his native United States in the 1950s, forcing him into permanent exile, but my chief reason for citing his book here, apart from out of continuing intellectual respect, is that its title could equally well have been Democracy Ancient Versus Modern.

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Why Rajapakse smells an opportunity

‘Yahapalana’ is a term that has been much in use in Sri Lanka’s political discourse ever since the present government came to power early last year. ‘Yahapalana’ is a Sinhala word, and means ‘good governance’. The Sirisena government was voted into office in the January 2015 election on a promise of ‘good governance’.

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Oxford Dictionaries

Word in the news: Mastermind

In a speech made after the November terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama criticized the media’s use of the word mastermind to describe Abdelhamid Abaaoud. “He’s not a mastermind,” he stated. “He found a few other vicious people, got hands on some fairly conventional weapons, and sadly, it turns out that if you’re willing to die you can kill a lot of people.”

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Jones-Societies under siege

The questionable logic of international economic sanctions

Whatever the international crisis – whether inter-state war (Russia-Ukraine), civil strife (Syria), nuclear proliferation (North Korea), gross violations of human rights (Israel), or violent non-state actors on the rampage (ISIS, al-Qaeda) – governments, pundits and NGOs always seem to formulate the same response: impose economic sanctions. In the mid-20th century, only five countries were targeted by sanctions; by 2000, 50 were.

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Meeting Helmut Schmidt: the man behind the statesman

15 October 2015. Another cold, grey afternoon in Hamburg-Langenhorn. My last research visit to Helmut Schmidt’s private archive next to his home, a simple bungalow in the northern suburbs of the city. I was there to check some final references before sending my book off to press. But unexpectedly there was a chance to say hello to the former Chancellor, now ailing and housebound, before I took a taxi to the airport.

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Five years after: The legacy of the Japanese anti-nuclear movement

This month marks the fifth anniversary of 3.11–the moniker for the earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear disaster that struck northeastern Japan on 11 March 2011, killing nearly 20,000 and displacing as many as 170,000 people. In addition to mourning for lost souls, the anniversary was marked by loud anti-nuclear protests all over Japan.

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African studies: a reading list

frican Studies focuses on the rich culture, history and society of the continent, however the growing economies of African countries have become an increasingly significant topic in Economic literature. This month, The Centre for the Study of African Economies annual conference is taking place in Oxford. To raise further awareness of the growing importance of the study of African economics, we have created this reading list of books, journals and online resources that explore the varied areas of Africa and its economy.

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JHRP

Exposures from the dark side

Julian Assange is an unusual figure in the world of hacktivism. He embraced his notoriety as leader of Wikileaks, and on 4 February 2016, he appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy holding a copy of a UN panel report that declared that he has been “arbitrarily detained” while avoiding extradition to Sweden for alleged rape for almost six years (British and Swedish prosecutors still seek to detain him).

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Shaping Israel’s military nuclear doctrine

Notwithstanding the July 2015 P5+1 Vienna diplomatic agreement with Iran, Israel will soon need to forge a more comprehensive and conspicuous strategic nuclear doctrine, one wherein rapt attention is directed toward all still-plausible nuclear enemies.

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14682621 african affairs

Jacob Zuma’s endgame and the state of South African politics

It is possible that events in recent months may have signalled the beginning of the end for South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma. True, Zuma has proved to be a resilient politician in the face of relentless criticism, ridicule and scandal, which began long before he came to power and premature predictions of his demise abound.

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99 years after the Jones Act: Austerity without representation

Ninety-nine years ago this week, Puerto Ricans became citizens of the United States. What does this anniversary signify? That depends a lot on who you ask (and be careful who you ask, since most Americans have no idea how or why Puerto Ricans became US citizens, or if they’re even citizens at all).

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Who should be Scalia’s new successor?

Article III of the Constitution gives the President the right to “nominate…Judges of the supreme Court.” Article III also gives the Senate the right to grant its “Advice and Consent” to such nominations—or not. Both President Obama and Senate Republicans are settling into a protracted political struggle over the appointment of Justice Scalia’s successor.

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How filling the Supreme Court vacancy will affect public health

Who is selected to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court will profoundly affect key public health issues, including gun control, access to reproductive health services, and climate change. In recent years, the Court has ruled, usually by 5-to-4 decisions, on these issues and will likely continue to do so by narrow margins.

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