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Is Japan’s Peace Constitution Dead?

By John Feffer in Politics, July 24, 2014

Despite its peace constitution, Japan boasts one of the largest militaries in the world. Over the last several decades, after repeated “reinterpretations,” the peace constitution has become increasingly enfeebled

Rethinking African Solar Power for Europe

By Emanuele Massetti - Elena Ricci in Environment, July 23, 2014

Concentrated solar power generation in North Africa and the Middle East deserts could supply up to 20% of European power. But only if geo-political challenges can be overcome

Encounter at the crossroads of Europe

By Will Stone in Arts and Culture, July 22, 2014

Stefan Zweig was one of the most famous writers of the 1920s and 30s. Will Stone explores the importance of the Austrian’s early friendship with the oft overlooked Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren.

The BRICS bank

By John Weeks in Economics and Finance,

Professor Emeritus, John Weeks, at the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London on the BRICS nations intention to create their own bank. “They say it’s going to be nothing like the World Bank. But don’t bank on it. Much better than a project bank for the ‘South’ would be an institution providing long-term loans in foreign currencies.”

Long-term damage of the Argentinian debt ruling

By Jeffrey Frankel in Economics and Finance,

Jeffrey Frankel, the Harpel Professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government explains that the US court ruling forcing Argentina to pay its hold-out creditors has big implications.

German Brazilians in Southern Brazil

By Ekrem Eddy Güzeldere in Travel Writing, July 19, 2014

German immigration to Rio Grande do Sul is celebrating its 190th anniversary this summer. Despite the ban on German schools and institutions during World War II, German or rather, the Hunsrückisch dialect is still spoken in many villages around Novo Hamburgo.

Civilisation

By Geoffrey Heptonstall in Arts and Culture, June 24, 2014

“It is easy to confuse sophistication with civilisation. Sophistication can be a soulless exercise in superiority rather than an appreciation of cultivated taste for its life-enhancing qualities.” The ability of art to transcend context, to become Art, cannot be a matter of chance. Nor can it can be simply a question of personal taste. There must be rules.

Sweet Talking in Ukraine

By Sergii Leshchenko in Politics, June 23, 2014

President Petro Poroshenko is not an ideal Western-type politician, and certainly not the answer to Maidan’s dreams. But could he be the answer to Ukraine’s many problems? Society’s main demand is the eradication of corruption, if not at the very top, then on the lower level that citizens have to deal with, every day of their lives.

Jonathan Faces the North

By Africa Confidential in Politics, June 20, 2014

After two months in the global spotlight, the insurgency in northern Nigeria is fast turning into a national political crisis. President Jonathan has not convinced his own people that the government has a strategy to rescue the Chibok girls or contain, let alone defeat, Boko Haram.

Low interest rates, secular stagnation and debt

By Claudio Borio - Piti Disyatat in Economics and Finance,

Real interest rates have fallen to historic lows, and some economists are concerned that an era of secular stagnation has begun.