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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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The Urgenda decision: balanced constitutionalism in the face of climate change?

Over the coming months and years, much will undoubtedly be written about Urgenda v Netherlands, the decision by a District Court in the Hague ordering the Dutch Government to ‘limit or have limited’ national greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020 compared to the level emitted in 1990. A full analysis of the decision is due to appear in the Journal of Environmental Law before the end of the year, but given the myriad of legal issues thrown up by the case, it deserves the close and immediate attention of a wide community of scholars and practitioners.

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Publius_Blog

Marijuana legalization in the American states: recent developments and prospects

Although in the U.S. marijuana remains illegal under federal law, a number of states have legalized marijuana in some fashion. Sam Kamin, author of “The Battle of the Bulge: The Surprising Last Stand Against State Marijuana Legalization,” agreed to answer several questions from John Dinan, editor of Publius: The Journal of Federalism, about recent developments in this area and the future of marijuana law reform in the U.S.

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Chari-Life After Privatization

Let’s fly away: IAG and Aer Lingus

News has erupted of another potential merger and acquisition (M&A) in the Airline sector – the acquisition of Irish airline Aer Lingus by the International Airlines Group, IAG. IAG, the product of the merger in the early 2010s between ex-state-owned enterprises British Airways and Spain’s Iberia, has become one of the world’s global giants, ranked in the latest Forbes 2000 index of 2015 as the third largest airline in the world.

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9780199272334 oso

Contemporary Muslims and the challenge of modernity

In my 22 years of teaching and writing about Arabic and Islamic Studies, I have probably heard every kind of naive and uninformed comment that can possibly be made in the West about Islam and Muslims. Such remarks are not necessarily all due to ill will; most of the time, they express bewilderment and stem from an inability to find accessible, informed sources that might begin to address such widespread public incomprehension. Add that to the almost daily barrage of news and media commentary concerning violence in the Middle East and South Asia, two regions viscerally connected with Islam and Muslims.

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Mailks-Kant's Politics in Context

Was the French revolution really a revolution?

The French celebrate their National Day each year on July 14 by remembering the storming of the Bastille, the hated symbol of the old regime. According to the standard narrative, the united people took the law in its own hands and gave birth to modern France in a heroic revolution. But in the view of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the famous German philosopher, there was no real revolution, understood as an unlawful and violent toppling of the old regime.

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Modern Greece Cover

Greece’s uphill battle: a weekend roundup

With the world bracing for Greece’s exit from the Eurozone, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, miraculously announced that a deal with the debt-crippled country had been reached. After nearly 17 hours of negotiations at the Euro Summit, Eurozone leaders extended a $96 billion bailout to Greece in what has proved to be the third bailout since 2010. As rumors continue to circulate regarding Greece’s next steps, Stathis Kalyvas, leading expert and author of Modern Greece: What Everyone Needs, joined the international conversation, responding to the announcement of the recent bailout via Twitter.

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9780199570485

Did the League of Nations ultimately fail?

The First World War threw the imperial order into crisis. New states emerged, while German and Ottoman territories fell to the allies who wanted to keep their acquisitions. In the following three videos Susan Pedersen, author of The Guardians, discusses the emegence of the League of Nations and its role in imperial politics.

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9780199948796 - Modern Greece: What Everyone Needs to Know

Stathis Kalyvas imagines Alexis Tsipras’ speech to Greece

How does a leader address a country on the brink of economic collapse? In the wake of Greece’s historic referendum, many people around the world have engaged in fierce debate, expressing very different perspectives over its highly controversial outcome. Earlier today on Twitter, Stathis Kalyvas, leading expert and author of Modern Greece: What Everyone Needs to Know, swiftly responded to the political chorus, making a courageous foray into the world of social media. Here, he imagines his version of what Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ speech would have been using the hashtag #fauxTsipras.

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Ball

The US Supreme Court, same-sex marriage, and children

During the decades of debates over marriage equality in the United States, opponents centered much of their advocacy on the purported need to maintain marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution in order to promote the well-being of children. It was therefore fascinating to see the well-being of children play a crucial role in the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans in Obergefell v. Hodges, albeit not in the way opponents of marriage equality hoped.

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Rubenstein-Between Samaritans and States

What are the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of international donation?

The Nepal earthquake. The conflict in Syria. Malaria. More than two billion people in or near “multi-dimensional” poverty (Human Development Report 2014). While the world is getting better in some respects, massive needs and injustices remain. Many of us want to do something to help. For individuals in rich countries who lack personal ties to individuals or organizations in poor or disaster-affected countries, “doing something” often means donating to an international non-governmental organization (INGO).

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All life is worth saving

Just as in Clarence Darrow’s day, the death penalty continues to be practiced in many American states. Yet around the world, the majority of nations no longer executes their prisoners, showing increasing support for the abolition of capital punishment. Recently, in December 2014, when the United Nations General Assembly introduced a resolution calling for an international moratorium on the use of the death penalty, a record 117 countries voted in favor of abolition, while only 38 nations, including the United States, voted against it.

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9780199914081

The continuing benefits (and costs) of the Giving Pledge

The recent news about charitable contributions in the United States has been encouraging. The Giving Pledge, sponsored by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, Jr., recently announced that another group of billionaires committed to leave a majority of their wealth to charity. Among these new Giving Pledgers are Judith Faulkner, founder of Epic Systems; Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani Yogurt; and Brad Keywell, a co-founder of Groupon.

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9780199669042_450

DIY democracy: Festivals, parks, and fun

Wimbledon has started, the barbeques have been dusted off, the sun is shining, and all our newly elected MPs will soon be leaving Westminster for the summer recess. Domestic politics, to some extent, winds down for July and August but the nation never seems to collapse. Indeed, the summer months offer a quite different focus on, for example, a frenzy of festivals and picnics in the park. But could this more relaxed approach to life teach us something about how we ‘do’ politics? Is politics really taking place at festivals and in the parks? Can politics really be fun?

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9780190217266 - Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know (WENTK)

Five things to know about Al Qaeda and Bin Laden

Despite Bin Laden’s death in 2011, the extremist group Al Qaeda has since survived and, some argue, continued to thrive. The effort and resources Bin Laden invested into Al Qaeda fortified its foundation, making it difficult, if not impossible, to disband or weaken the group after his death. But how did the terrorist group come to be what it is today?

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