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Ten key facts about Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico, this year’s Place of the Year, has been in the media spotlight in the last year for several reasons. First, the island is undergoing its most severe and prolonged economic recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Between 2006 and 2016, Puerto Rico’s economy shrank by nearly 16 percent, and its public debt reached more than 73 billion dollars in 2017. Second, the island is experiencing a substantial population loss, largely due to emigration.

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Communities can prevent violence

Every day the news is flooded with stories of different types of violence. On what seems like a daily basis, we’re bombarded with relentless reports of violence in this country. Our register of national tragedies keeps growing: hate crimes, mass shootings, and #Metoo headlines are only the most recent outbreaks of an epidemic of violence in our homes, public spaces, and communities.

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Human Rights Day: a look at the refugee crisis [excerpt]

Human Rights Day, held on On 10 December every year, honors the UN’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – a document which details the rights that all human beings, regardless of race, religion, nationality, or religion, are entitled to. The following excerpt from Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World takes a look at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, an agency tasked with protecting the human rights of stateless people throughout the world.

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The philosopher of Palo Alto

Apple’s recent product launch on 12 September has cast into the mainstream technologies that were first envisioned by Mark Weiser in the 1990s, when he was Chief Technologist at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Though Weiser died in 1999, at the age of 46, his ideas continue to inspire cutting-edge smartphone innovations. Now is a good time to revisit Weiser’s ideas.

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Brexit versus UK higher education

Higher education has generally been reckoned to be one of the UK’s success stories, competing with the best American universities and setting the standard against which universities in other European countries measure themselves. UK universities receive roughly €1bn a year from European programs, as well as scooping up many of the brightest students from around Europe who want to study in Britain.

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Labour unions and solidarity in times of precarity

=Labour unions have traditionally been at the forefront of the struggle to improve job security, pay, and working conditions. The widely observed growth in precarious work in recent decades is a result of union weakness, as they are increasingly likely to lose these battles. Many have argued that unions often promote the job security of their ‘insider’ core members at the expense of more precarious ‘outsiders.’

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Open access: reflections on change

Sally Rumsey shares her reflections on the changing open access environment and experiences from the University of Oxford. Cast your mind back 15 years to the earlier days of open access. In 2002 the University of Oxford contributed to the SHERPA project, with a collaborative pilot between the then OULS (Oxford University Library Services) and OUP. In 2006 we set up a new institutional repository service that launched very quietly in early 2007.

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The Oxford Place of the Year 2017 is…

Our polls have officially closed and the results are in: our Place of the Year for 2017 is Puerto Rico. Although it was a tight race between Catalonia and Puerto Rico in both the long- and shortlist polling, the events that have occurred in this Caribbean Island in the past year have truly resonated with our followers who partook in voting.

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POTY 2017 nominee Spotlight: the sun [excerpt]

How big is the Moon in the sky? What is its angular size? Extend your arm upward and as far from your body as possible. Using your index finger and thumb, imagine that you are trying to pluck the Moon out of the sky ever so carefully, squeezing down until you are just barely touching the top and bottom of the Moon, trapping it between your fingers. How big is it?

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The Great Terror in Soviet Ukraine: a timeline

Between the summer of 1937 and November 1938, the Stalinist regime arrested over 1.5 million people for “counterrevolutionary” and “antisoviet” activity and either summarily executed or exiled them to the Gulag. This was Stalin’s “Great Terror” and, contrary to popular belief, the largest number of victims were not elites or “Old Bolsheviks,” but common people. Below is a timeline of The Great Terror in Soviet Ukraine.

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Place of the Year nominee spotlight: North Korea

Today Northeast Asia confronts the world with a volatile mix of geopolitical competition and nuclear threats unseen since the beginning of the Cold War. The imbroglio over a nuclear armed and very dangerous Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) involving the United States, China, Republic of Korea (ROK), and other actors epitomizes this peril.

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Is “food waste” really wasted food?

Food waste has become a major cause for concern in the United States. Or at least, that’s what some prominent organizations suggest. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that the United States wastes 103 million tons of food. The statistics suggest that food waste is a problem, but how do these organizations calculate them? And what, exactly, is food waste?

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Understanding secularism [excerpt]

“The separation of religious institutions from state ones had also been a feature of societies elsewhere, and at other times in history.” What is secularism? In the following extract from Secularism: Politics, Religion, and Freedom, Andrew Copson breaks down 3 different parts of the definition of secularism, its history, and how its meaning has developed over time.

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Historical Commemoration and Denial in Australia

Last month a statue commemorating Captain James Cook in Hyde Park in Sydney, Australia was attacked, the words ‘Change the date’ spray-painted on it. This act continues recent protests by indigenous people and their supporters which have called for the changing of the day upon which Australia celebrates its founding: 26 January 1788.

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Place of the Year nominee spotlight: Catalonia

The Catalan independence movement was frequently in the news in 2017, earning Catalonia its place among the nominees for Oxford University Press’s Place of the Year. While tensions seemed to come to a head this year, the independence movement has a long history of clashes with the Spanish government, beginning with the separatist movements of the mid-19th century.

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The problem with a knowledge-based society

In the last few decades, few concepts have spoken to the imagination of economists like the ‘knowledge based economy’ or ‘knowledge economy’ within Western policy circles. There has been a consensus that Western economies have entered a phase in economic history called the ‘knowledge’ or ‘knowledge-based’ era. The brains of the workforce are thought to be the most important contributor to today’s wealth creation.

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