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SIPRI Yearbook 2015

Oil, arms, and corruption: a poisonous nexus?

While world military spending has fallen slightly in recent years, some regions, notably Africa and the Middle East, have seen continuing rapid increases. When SIPRI published our annual military expenditure data for 2014 this April, we featured a list of the 20 countries with ‘military burdens’ – the share of military expenditure in GDP – above 4%. This compares with only 13 in 2005.

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Looking for God in the sociology of religion and in Game of Thrones

Religion has played an increasingly significant part in Season 5 of the HBO series Game of Thrones, with the ‘Faith Militant’ taking over the reins of power at King’s Landing, mostly unopposed. Yet internet discussions indicate that some viewers have found this storyline unsatisfying, as the Sparrows are depicted as crazed religious fanatics, piously obsessed with driving out vice and immorality from the city.

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A Q&A with Work, Aging and Retirement Editor, Mo Wang

Recently, we sat down with the Editor of Work, Aging and Retirement, Mo Wang, to discuss how he got involved with the journal and the plans he has in store for the journal in the future. Work, Aging and Retirement is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal that dedicates to publish evidence-based, translational research on worker aging and retirement, with the goal of enhancing understanding about these phenomena.

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Party games: coalitions in British politics

The general election of May 2015 brought an end to five years of coalition government in Britain. The Cameron-Clegg coalition, between 2010 and 2015, prompted much comment and speculation about the future of the British party system and the two party politics which had seemed to dominate the period since 1945. A long historical perspective, however, I think throws an interesting light on such questions.

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The 2015 General Rejection? Disaffected democrats and democratic drift

Political science and journalistic commentaries are full of woe about the abject state of modern politics and the extent of the gap that has supposedly emerged between the governors and the governed. In this context, the 7 May 2015 might have been expected to deliver a General Rejection of mainstream democratic politics but did this really happen? Is British democracy in crisis?

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Police9.1

Watching the true detectives

The media has a key role to play in the construction of our knowledge of crime and policing. In the post-war decades, they argue the representation of policing in the UK reflected the general social consensus. The dominant image here is Jack Warner playing George Dixon in the popular UK TV series Dixon of Dock Green that ran from 1955 to 1976. George Dixon came to represent the archetypal ‘British Bobby’, a pillar of the community who was widely respected. The homely and reassuring values that Dixon represented were summarized in his catchphrase ‘Evenin’ all’.

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9780199311255 - Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know

The cases for and against hydrofracking

The EPA recently released a report stating that while hydrofracking has not led to significant impacts on drinking water, contamination may occur with “potential vulnerabilities in the water lifecycle that could impact drinking water”. In this extract from Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know, Alex Prud’homme breaks down the cases for and against hydrofracking.

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Catholics and the torture chamber

Argentina, 1976. On the afternoon of 3 August, Fr. James Weeks went to his room to take a nap while the five seminarians of the La Salette congregation living with him went to attend classes. Joan McCarthy, an American nun who was visiting them, stayed by the fireplace, knitting a scarf. They would have dinner together and discuss the next mission in Jujuy, a Northwestern province of Argentina, where McCarthy worked. Suddenly, a loud noise came from the door. Before McCarthy could reach it, a mob burst into the house. Around ten men spread all over the house, claiming to be the police, looking for weapons, guerrilla hideouts, and ‘subversive fighters.’

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Progressivism, Presbyterianism, and the White House

Surely no President epitomized the Progressive Era like Theodore Roosevelt, from trustbusting to conservation. Oddly, we rarely remember him as his contemporaries often did: “the greatest preacher of righteousness in modern times” (Gifford Pinchot); “essentially a preacher of righteousness” (William Loeb); “a veritable preacher of social righteousness with the irresistible eloquence of faith sanctified by work” (Jane Addams); “always ready to appeal for justice and righteousness” (Henry Cabot Lodge).

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One-handed economics

Once again, one of President Obama’s major legislative initiatives is being battered by a hostile Congress. Only this time, it is not Republicans standing in the way of the Administration’s plans, but the Democratic minority in the US Senate holding up the president’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. The TPP is an ambitious trade deal currently being negotiated between eleven countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, United States, Singapore and Vietnam.

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President Obama, the Senate, and state private-sector retirement laws

In a letter addressed to President Obama, 26 members of the United States Senate expressed their support for the private sector retirement savings laws adopted in Illinois and California, and also being considered in other states. In particular, the senators asked that the United States Treasury and Labor Departments resolve three legal issues clouding the prospects of these adopted and proposed state laws.

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Has ISIS become the new pretext for curtailing our civil liberties?

A series of measures put in place in the years following 9/11 have now become a fixture of Western government: mass warrantless surveillance, longer periods of detention without charge, and greater state secrecy without accountability. The United States finds itself at the vanguard of this movement with its embrace of executive authority to authorize targeted killing of its own citizens.

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Will data privacy change the law?

It is customary to distinguish between three different forms of jurisdiction. As is well known, prescriptive (or legislative) jurisdiction relates to the power to make law in relation to a specific subject matter. Judicial (or adjudicative) jurisdiction, as the name suggests, deals with the power to adjudicate a particular matter. And, finally, enforcement jurisdiction relates to the power to enforce the law put in place, in the sense of, for example, arresting, prosecuting and/or punishing an individual under that law.

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The United States of Excess

Over-consumption in America: beyond corporate power

It is easy enough for critics to trace America’s over-consumption of things like food and fuel to the excess power of our profit-making corporations. Americans consume more food and fuel than Europeans in part because these companies in America are better able to resist taxes and regulations.

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9780199935376

Unequal at birth

Recent events in Baltimore, Ferguson, and other places have highlighted the explosive potential of discrimination and inequality. Much attention has been paid to police practices, the long-term effect of joblessness, and the trauma of the criminal justice system incarcerating large numbers of African-Americans. This focus on the present is understandable. It is also insufficient. There is a need to understand and address the huge disadvantages, and indeed disabilities, imposed on future generations by pre-natal conditions.

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Harris Wittels: another victim of narcotics and America’s drug policy

Harris Wittels, stand-up comedian, author, writer, and producer for Parks and Recreation — and generally a person who could make us laugh in these seemingly grim times — died of a drug overdose at the age of thirty. He joins the list of people who brought pleasure to our lives but died prematurely in this manner […]

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