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Afghanistan, then and now

By Anatol Lieven in Politics, February 17, 2014

Modern urban versus traditional rural Afghanistan, then and now. Time may have moved on, but the problems are big enough to be extremely concerning. The positions of the Afghan state in 1989 and 2014 are in certain respects very similar – too similar for comfort.

Why Japan’s Debt Hasn’t Wreaked Havoc Yet

By Charles Yuji Horioka, Takaaki Nomoto, Akiko Terada-Hagiwara, in Economics and Finance,

Japan’s sovereign debt-to-GDP ratio is higher than any country in Europe and more than twice the OECD average.

The Spanish Numbers Game

By Allston Mitchell in Economics and Finance, February 13, 2014

A positive spin can clearly be put on recent financial data coming out of Spain but many Spaniards are cynical about the “success story” being trumpeted by the government. This enthusiasm for the “tough decisions” of austerity comes at a high price for ordinary Spaniards.

The Subaltern Can Speak

By L K Sharma in Arts and Culture, February 12, 2014

The Jaipur Literature Festival has not just grown; it has evolved into an Indian show. The global meets local will be one way of describing this transformation. The literature in Indian languages, the culture of the state of Rajasthan and even the endangered languages figured prominently in the event this year.

In Hollywood with Nathanael West

By Marion Meade in Arts and Culture, February 10, 2014

Marion Meade, author of Lonelyhearts, a biography about West, takes a look at his life in Hollywood and the story behind his most famous work, The Day of the Locust, which remains the gold standard for Hollywood fiction.

Homage to Asturias, Aragon and Catalonia

By Nick Lalaguna in Politics, February 9, 2014

2014 is the 80th anniversary of the workers uprising in Asturias, Spain and its subsequent brutalisation. But it was an uprising that led to a revolution on a massive scale across the country.

GDP turns 80. Time to retire!

By Lorenzo Fioramonti in Economics and Finance, February 8, 2014

As GDP systematically disregards key sectors in the economy and neglects critical costs, no reasonable businessman would use it to run a company. GDP has come to represent a model of society, influencing not only economic, but also political and cultural processes.

Can “Peace” Last in the Philippines?

By Daniel Wagner and Edsel Tupaz in Politics, February 7, 2014

When the Moro National Liberation Front declared independence in August last year, many thought that President Aquino’s latest peace deal with the Moro insurgents in Mindanao would need to be scuttled.

Scotland 2014 : Getting the Sovereignty Habit

By Peter Arnott in Features, January 29, 2014

As the political heat increases in the UK over Scotland’s independence referendum, Scottish playwright Peter Arnott takes an impassioned look at the issues involved.

Is the world recovery really strengthening?

By Olivier Blanchard in Economics and Finance, January 28, 2014

The global economy seems to be on the mend. IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard provides a quick overview of the likely developments.