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The Credit Rating Enigma

By Timothy J. Sinclair in Economics and Finance, December 18, 2012

Credit rating agencies are among the most puzzling institutions of our times. Formerly largely unknown, the raters have become a focus of political and media attention since the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98.

Israel’s legitimacy, Palestine’s UN bid, and the ICC

By Valentina Azarov in Politics, December 4, 2012

Palestine’s newly accorded observer status at the UN General Assembly is only the latest move in an ambitious gamble to maneuver the ICC in the quest for statehood.

The not-very-convincing victory of Mr. Yanukovych

By Sergii Leshchenko in Politics,

By means fair and foul, the ruling Party of the Regions came out top in Ukraine’s recent parliamentary election but President Yanukovych still needs a majority to control parliament. The concessions he will have to make will cost him dear.

Ghosts of Afghanistan

By Allston Mitchell in Features,

The single best book on modern Afghanistan. There have been a plethora of books about Afghanistan but few of their authors have the breadth of experience of Jonathan Steele who has been covering the country for the last thirty years.

Alaska and the Iditarod Sled Race

By Emanuele Equitani in Travel Writing, November 29, 2012

Photographer Emanuele Equitani followed the preparations for “The Last Great Race on Earth”, where mushers and their dogs race their sleds across 1,900 kilometres of frozen Alaskan wilderness from Anchorage to Nome.

Self-defeating Austerity

By Dawn Holland - Jonathan Portes in Economics and Finance, November 19, 2012

EU governments have individually embraced severe austerity programmes in an effort to avoid becoming the next Portugal. Keynes’ ‘paradox of thrift’ is in full swing since EU nations continue to act like small open economies while in fact they are a large closed economy.

Hamas in the New Middle East

By Giorgio Cafiero in Politics, November 18, 2012

As Hamas’s break with its longtime patron Bashar al-Assad illustrates, the Palestinian Islamist group is adapting to the new Middle East. The group is realigning its relations with Iran, Turkey, Syria, Egypt and Qatar.

France: licence to rape?

By Valeria Costa-Kostritsky in Features, November 2, 2012

A lenient gang-rape verdict has prompted outcry and a debate on France’s inadequate response to rape. The French media’s ambivalence towards rape victims also needs to be examined, says Valeria Costa-Kostritsky

America’s Global Election

By Joseph E. Stiglitz in Politics, November 1, 2012

Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz looks at why non-US citizens around the world favor an Obama victory and outlines the reasons why they are right to do so. “American “exceptionalism” may sell well at home, but it does poorly abroad”.

Hobsbawm as a Marxist Historian: an Appreciation

By Neil Davidson in Features,

Eric Hobsbawm was often described as the greatest living Marxist historian; now that he too is part of history, it may be appropriate to explore the relationship of his historical writings to his Marxism.