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Western Sahara: hope for change?

By Anna Theofilopoulou in Politics, May 20, 2011

April 2011 marked the 20th anniversary since the U.N. assumed responsibility to resolve the conflict in Western Sahara. There have been scant results so far with no hope of an early resolution. The ‘Arab Spring’ offers some opportunities for progress. Will the Council and ‘Friends’ take them?

Killing Osama: Justice Done?

By A. B. Qazi M. Shafique in Politics, May 19, 2011

In early May, Barack Obama announced to the world the end of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. But now the world needs to face the question: is this justice? This article, written by two PhD fellows from Pakistan, tackles a number of wrongs committed during the ‘War on Terror’.

Commodities Chaos

By Amy Trendle in Economics and Finance,

The massive commodities sell-off stumped everybody. Financial analysts are still looking for clues as to what caused it. Oil and silver were hardest hit, seemingly without reason. Has the bubble burst or was the market just clearing out the “froth”?

Omara Portuondo and Chucho Valdés

By Allston Mitchell in Arts and Culture,

On tour in Europe to promote their new album, simply entitled “Omara and Chucho”, the legendary Cuban musicians had the audience jumping out of their seats when they performed at Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica.

Devouring Venice

By Allston Mitchell in Travel Writing,

Fleeing the rapacious hordes of Attila the Hun, refugees from nearby Roman cities took refuge on the islets of the Venetian lagoon during the 5th century, laying the foundations of what was to become the great and powerful city of Venice. These days the “Serenissima” is overrun by hordes of a different kind.

Wicked Company

By Allston Mitchell in Arts and Culture,

Philipp Blom’s new book “Wicked Company” recounts the life of Baron d’Holbach’s intellectual salon of free thinkers, the “epicenter of intellectual life in Europe”, in 18th century Paris. His salon was regularly attended by Diderot, Rousseau and a steady stream of eminent visitors from the 1750s right up until the French revolution.

Banking on Rural India

By Lina Sonne in Economics and Finance,

A new breed of financiers is offering alternatives to micro – and bank – finance to rural India’s entrepreneurs. These financial organisations are innovating in the way they provide finance and integrated start-up support including incubation, mentoring and management training.

The Scramble for China

By Allston Mitchell in Arts and Culture,

Interview with Robert Bickers, the author of the recently published “The Scramble for China, Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire 1832-1914”. In 1832, British ships sailed into forbidden Chinese waters, thus beginning China’s century of national humiliation.

Fukushima and Nuclear Politics

By Massimiliano Bianconcini in Environment,

The tragedy that we all saw unfolding recently in Japan has obliged the world to rethink its nuclear policy. At Fukushima we witnessed one of the most catastrophic nuclear accidents that has ever taken place.

ECB and the Fed: Parting Company?

By Allston Mitchell in Economics and Finance,

The European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank appear to have parted company on policy. Europe has decided that inflation is the real danger, while the US is still struggling with sluggish growth and unemployment. Different banks, different demons to fight?