Afghan Child Rape Case Brings Hope, Call for Action

by Ahmad Shuja Added 29.10.2014
On Saturday, something rare occurred in Afghanistan: a Kabul court convicted a man of raping a 10-year-old girl. Rapes are  rarely reported  and even less frequently tried in Afghan courts. But the victim, Hamida (her real name withheld to...

Children hit hardest by global recession – UNICEF report

by Jonathan Bradshaw Added 29.10.2014
Children have suffered the most as the effects of the global financial crisis have been felt in the Western world, a report from children’s charity UNICEF has found. And it is children that will suffer the longest as a result of the financial...

American Wellbeing Since 1979

by J. Bradford DeLong Added 29.10.2014
BERKELEY – The story goes like this: Since 1979 – the peak of the last business cycle before the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as President – economic growth in the United States has been overwhelmingly a rich-only phenomenon. Real...

Delusional Victory Holds The Promise Of Change

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 29.10.2014
Although the expected resumption of indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas in Cairo was postponed, it will likely take place in the next few weeks as the two sides appear to seek a new and more sustainable ceasefire. Should Israel and...

Why people without symptoms aren't going to give you Ebola

by Stephen Goldstein Added 28.10.2014
Fear of Ebola has put many on high alert and there is increasing anxiety about the possibility of individuals with minimal exposure and no symptoms introducing the virus into communities – people such as Craig Spencer, the doctor who contracted...

Britain’s Last EU Straw?

by Harold James Added 28.10.2014
LONDON – Is £1.7 billion ($2.7 billion) a lot of money for the British government to fork out? It is when it is a European Union budget demand that comes out of the blue. But the impact of the EU’s unexpected budget invoice is not just...

The Era of Disorder

by Richard N. Haass Added 28.10.2014
This article is adapted from a longer article appearing in the November/December 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs. NEW YORK – Historical eras are difficult to recognize before they end. The Renaissance became the Renaissance only in retrospect; the...

The Moment of Truth in North Korea

by Param-Preet Singh Added 24.10.2014
“Rule #1 in the camp: you should never ask why you were there. Many of those who asked were publicly executed.” Listening to Mrs. Kim Hye-sook share the horror of life as an inmate in one of North Korea’s notorious political prison camps at a...

The spread of Western values and institutions is what Putin fears most

by Ghia Nodia Added 24.10.2014
TBILISI – The Ukraine crisis has shattered key Western assumptions about Russia, and many analysts and policymakers have fallen back on the belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be acting irrationally. But it is Western assumptions...

Are tech shares undervalued or is there a bubble that’s about to burst?

by Benjamin Dean Added 24.10.2014
No need to beat about the bush. There is another tech bubble in the United States. The relationship between the share prices and profits of US tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is at unsustainable levels and something has to...

Terrorism, Ottawa, and the New Normal

by Daniel Wagner Added 23.10.2014
As shocked as many Canadians, and much of the world, are about the shootings that occurred in Ottawa yesterday, they really shouldn't be. Given the call to arms that al Qaeda and the Islamic State have made to their devotees, the rise of acts of...

A New Macroeconomic Strategy

by Jeffrey D. Sachs Added 23.10.2014
NEW YORK – I am a macroeconomist, but I dissent from the profession’s two leading camps in the United States: the neo-Keynesians, who focus on boosting aggregate demand, and the supply-siders, who focus on cutting taxes. Both schools have tried...

Europe’s Fiscal Wormhole

by Guntram B. Wolff Added 23.10.2014
BRUSSELS – The International Monetary Fund now estimates a 30% risk of deflation in the eurozone, and growth figures within the monetary union continue to disappoint. But policymakers seem trapped in a cat’s cradle of economic, political, and...

How much did our ancestors drink – and are we drinking more?

by Beat Kümin Added 23.10.2014
Autumn is awash with alcohol, and not just because of the new vintage. Oktoberfest plays a part, too, the 16-day festival in Munich that we associate with massive beer mugs and plenty of debauchery. Its success has prompted copycat events around...

China’s Great Leap Backward

by Xia Yeliang Added 22.10.2014
WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders are meeting in Beijing for a plenary session centered on one topic: the rule of law. Yet, in recent days, several groups on WeChat (a popular Chinese social network) have...

Europe’s Brush with Debt

by Hans-Werner Sinn Added 22.10.2014
MUNICH – French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and his Italian counterpart, Matteo Renzi, have declared – or at least insinuated – that they will not comply with the fiscal compact to which all of the eurozone’s member countries agreed in 2012;...

The Moral Economy of Debt

by Robert Skidelsky Added 22.10.2014
LONDON – Every economic collapse brings a demand for debt forgiveness. The incomes needed to repay loans have evaporated, and assets posted as collateral have lost value. Creditors demand their pound of flesh; debtors clamor for relief. Consider...

Germany may be the biggest loser if it doesn't start spending

by Joerg Bibow Added 22.10.2014
There’s growing pressure on Germany to spend more to support Europe – and for good reason. But it’s proving to be a hard sell to the country’s leaders. Germany’s budget is balanced and the government insists that its current policy stance is the...

Ukraine’s Vote, Russia’s Fate

by Carl Bildt Added 22.10.2014
STOCKHOLM – When Ukraine’s voters go to the polls on October 26, not only the fate of their country will be at stake; so will the future of a significant part of Europe. To put it simply: the future of Ukraine will decide the future of Russia,...

High hopes rest on 800 vials of experimental Ebola vaccine shipped from Canada

by Connor Bamford Added 21.10.2014
The world has been warned that the current Ebola epidemic may not end without the use of a vaccine – and no licensed vaccines exist yet. That may soon change, because scientists are making swift progress. This week, 800 vials of an experimental...

GOP Plan on Ebola: Cry Fire in a Crowded Theater

by Robert Creamer Added 21.10.2014
Here’s the bottom line.   If your idea of leadership is a guy who cries fire in a crowded theater, then vote for the Republican candidate nearest you (or at least most of them) in the November election – and help make Mitch McConnell Senate...

Ebola’s Greatest Ally: Lack of Courage and Common Sense

by Daniel Wagner Added 21.10.2014
Unless someone in this country [the U.S.] doesn’t understand English, read a newspaper or have regular conversations with others about what is happening in our country and/or the world, it is difficult to believe that any adult in the United...

Ebola in America

by Abdul El-Sayed Added 20.10.2014
NEW YORK – Until Thomas Eric Duncan brought Ebola into the United States, the disease was largely dismissed as an exotic pestilence of concern mainly to impoverished West Africa, and those who dared to volunteer there. And its transmission to...

We need to know more, but the “experts” aren’t helping

by James J. Zogby Added 20.10.2014
With the US currently engaged in an air-war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and with voices now calling for deeper engagement in both conflict zones, the American public is being bombarded with commentary and analysis about ISIS, Syria and Iraq,...

Ukraine steels itself for winter as Novorossiya forges ahead

by Stefan Wolff and Tatyana Malyarenko Added 19.10.2014
The EU-Asia Summit in Milan, Italy, delivered little, if any, tangible progress to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Relations between Russia and Ukraine’s major European allies remain just a few degrees above a new Cold War-style ice age. And with...

Europe’s Broadband Battle

by David Abecassis and Andrew Kloeden Added 18.10.2014
LONDON – Among the many challenges facing the new European Commission is determining how to provide ultra-fast broadband Internet access to all 500 million European Union residents without raising taxes or bankrupting Europe’s telecommunications...

Panic over Ebola echoes the 19th-century fear of cholera

by Sally Sheard Added 16.10.2014
On October 19 an inspector sent north from London to Sunderland reported a long-awaited arrival: the first British case of cholera. It was 1831 and as part of a second pandemic cholera had again progressed from its Bengal heartland through...

Why Ebola wasn’t stopped by huge investment in African healthcare

by Uli Beisel Added 16.10.2014
Despite it being nearly six months after the Ebola outbreak was confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), we are still hearing stories of severe shortage of gloves in health facilities in West Africa. Many nurses have been asked to reuse...

The Palestinian Refugees: Ending Their Lingering Plight

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 16.10.2014
During the donor conference held in Cairo a few days ago, the US, EU, and other countries pledged $2.7  billion  for reconstruction in Gaza. It is undoubtedly necessary to make such a humanitarian effort to rebuild the shattered lives of...

Are Services the New Manufactures?

by Dani Rodrik Added 15.10.2014
PRINCETON – The global discussion about growth in the developing world has taken a sharp turn recently. The hype and excitement of recent years over the prospect of rapid catch-up with the advanced economies have evaporated. Few serious analysts...

Republican Right Embraces Its Long, Hypocritical Tradition of Pandering to Fear

by Robert Creamer Added 15.10.2014
They’re back.  Like the fourth sequel to a bad horror movie, the Republican Right has once again chosen to embrace its long ignoble, hypocritical tradition of pandering to – and stoking -- fear.   As the election nears, their ads are filled with...

What happens to your body if you get Ebola?

by Derek Gatherer Added 14.10.2014
This morning you woke up feeling a little unwell. You have no appetite, your head is aching, your throat is sore and you think you might be slightly feverish. You don’t know it yet, but Ebola virus has started to attack your immune system,...

The Age of Vulnerability

by Joseph E. Stiglitz Added 13.10.2014
NEW YORK – Two new studies show, once again, the magnitude of the inequality problem plaguing the United States. The first, the US Census Bureau’s annual income and poverty report, shows that, despite the economy’s supposed recovery from the...

Ebola and National Security

by Daniel Wagner and Ian Wilkie Added 11.10.2014
A growing chorus of health experts are expressing concern that the Ebola virus may be able to spread through droplets suspended in the air, which would explain the exponential risk in Ebola infections and deaths this year. Over the summer, the...

The Right to Sex - Criminalizing Consent?

by Sarah Hawkes and Ken Buse Added 11.10.2014
LONDON – Canada’s Parliament is debating a new anti-prostitution bill. Entitled the “Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act,” the proposed legislation would criminalize the purchase of “sexual services.” For those who are uncertain...

Leaving No Escape Route For ISIS

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 09.10.2014
The gruesome and tragic beheadings of innocent US and UK citizens is excruciatingly painful, especially for the families of the victims. Other than making supreme efforts to free current prisoners held by ISIS by any means available, no...

Ebola won’t gain a foothold in Western countries – here’s why

by Peter Barlow Added 09.10.2014
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the worst in recorded history. There have been in excess of 7,400 cases and 3,439 deaths, primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. More recently, the spread of the deadly virus has extended across...

Lebanon’s Gathering Storm

by Michael Young Added 08.10.2014
BEIRUT – With all eyes focused on sectarian violence in Iraq and Syria, little attention has been paid to Sunni-Shia relations in Lebanon. Yet the potential for a perfect storm is brewing. In the Bekaa Valley town of Arsal, a Sunni enclave in a...

Make Your Own Silicon Valley

by Ross Buchanan Added 07.10.2014
SEATTLE – California may be the world’s largest and best-known technology hub, but it is not alone in fostering innovative startups. In fact, such firms are emerging – almost unnoticed – everywhere, from Asian megalopolises like Singapore and...

Hippocampus explained

by Mike Stewart Added 07.10.2014
This year’s Nobel Prize in medicine recognises work on “cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.” Those cells are found in the hippocampus. It is just one tiny part of the brain, but this structure gets at least its fair share of...

Why Revolutions Fail

by Ian Hughes Added 07.10.2014
During Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972, the Chinese premier, Zhou Enlai, was asked about the impact of the French Revolution. He famously replied that he thought it was too early to say. Although it appears that Zhou may have...

Hong Kong's Moment in History

by Daniel Wagner Added 07.10.2014
The stunning events of the past week in Hong Kong are a reminder that the desire for basic freedom and liberty is a powerful aphrodisiac. The protestors appear mesmerized by what they have thus far accomplished -- and they should be. What is at...

America’s Overrated Decline

by Joseph S. Nye Added 06.10.2014
CAMBRIDGE – With the approach of the US Congressional elections, questions about the health of America’s political institutions and the future of its global leadership have become rampant, with some citing partisan gridlock as evidence of...

You are what you eat: how diet affects mental well-being

by Felice Jacka Added 06.10.2014
Over the last half century, the global food industry has profoundly changed the way we eat. While we understand how these dietary changes have impacted physical health, their effect on mental well-being is only now being realised. Big business...

The Rise of the Robots

by J. Bradford DeLong Added 06.10.2014
BERKELEY – For decades, people have been predicting how the rise of advanced computing and robotic technologies will affect our lives. On one side, there are warnings that robots will displace humans in the economy, destroying livelihoods,...

The Smoking Crater Theory of Civil Liberties

by Michael Levin Added 04.10.2014
After 9/11, the U.S. Congress put together a bill called the Patriot Act, a grab bag of goodies the intelligence community had long craved. The intent was to remedy problem areas in the gathering and use of intelligence on our enemies at home...

The Way Ahead in Hong Kong

by Chris Patten Added 02.10.2014
LONDON – It is not wholly true to say that the eyes of the entire world are on Hong Kong. They would be, of course, if people in mainland China were allowed to know what is happening in their country’s most successful city. But China’s...

Who Loves China?

by Ian Buruma Added 02.10.2014
NEW YORK – Tens of thousands of people have been “occupying” the tear-gas-filled streets of Hong Kong’s Central district to fight for their democratic rights. Many more may soon join them. Though some businessmen and bankers are annoyed by the...

The Battle Cry of the Non-Oppressed

by Shlomo Ben-Ami Added 02.10.2014
TEL AVIV – Nobody should be surprised that Scotland’s recent referendum on independence left the United Kingdom intact. In the past, regions or communities have achieved statehood almost exclusively after a struggle against colonial subjection...

Abbas’ Dismal Failure At The United Nations

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 02.10.2014
As someone who has consistently advocated a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution, I was appalled to hear the speech  delivered by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations...
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Letter from the Editor

BBC: Forced child labour in Switzerland

Extracts from a BBC article in italics: “Thousands of people in Switzerland who were forced into child labour are demanding compensation for their stolen childhoods. Since the 1850s hundreds of thousands of Swiss children were taken from their...

Moral Ambiguity: Why We Make Art

by Mary L. Tabor Added 26.10.2014
Why attempt to create art, I ask, to make something “other” when faced with the dilemmas of existence, with, as I’ve said in one of my own short stories, “all the ways that life betrays the living?” I’ve written here on Facts and Arts three...

A Seventh Edition Of The Mother-Daughter Book Club?   If You Can Wait Until 2016, Author Says

by Michael Levin, with Chynna Bracha Levin Added 23.10.2014
Mother-Daughter Book Club fans, rejoice.  Heather Vogel Frederick, author of the erudite and beloved series of novels for and about girls who love to read, has reversed her decision to end matters after six volumes and will publish the...

Rendez-vous With Art by Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford - A Book Review

by Michael Levin Added 21.10.2014
Imagine if you had all the time, money, and knowledge of art to fly around the world, visit museums, galleries, and churches in the company of the world’s top art critics, and then describe what makes great works of art—ones with which most...

Why Does Bob Dylan Steal?

by David W. Galenson Added 20.10.2014
Bob Dylan likes to use other people's words, and images. Some people object to this. Robert Warmuth called him "Bob Charlatan." Joni Mitchell called him a plagiarist: "Everything about Bob is a deception." Michael Gray found Dylan's paintings...

Colm Herron's latest book published

by Olli Raade Added 17.10.2014
Colm Herron, a Facts & Arts columnist, has just published a new book: The Wake (and what Jeremiah Did Next) This is the introduction to the book on Amazon: Colm Herron, one of Ireland’s most gifted storytellers, brings wry humour and acute...

Why you hadn’t heard of Patrick Modiano until he won the Nobel, and why you must read him now

by Alan Morris Added 13.10.2014
To the English-speaking world at least, the awarding of the 2014 Nobel Prize for literature to French author Patrick Modiano will probably have come as a surprise. Many won’t even have heard his name. There is good reason for this. He is...

Why crowdfunding publisher Unbound poses a threat to literary prizes

by Gillian Rudd Added 10.10.2014
A novel written in an invented “shadow tongue” to give the feel of Early Middle English has a place on the shortlist for the Goldsmiths book prize for innovative fiction. But the odd style isn’t why Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake is being talked...
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What does your musical taste say about your personality and lifestyle?

by Adrian North Added 02.10.2014
Abba - Knowing me, knowing you I’m quite used to receiving abuse concerning the content of this column, but in contrast my previous post (about why fans of heavy metal shouldn’t have been banned from a pub) seems to have caused some interest in...

World No. 3 La Bohème scores in Bordeaux

by Michael Johnson Added 30.09.2014
In the hit parade of operas, Puccini’s La Bohème rates a solid third place after La Traviata and Carmen, so it was pretty much guaranteed a rousing reception as the opener of the new season in Bordeaux last week. Opting for a modern-dress...

Chills and thrills: why some people love music – and others don't

by Nikki Rickard Added 25.09.2014
Think of your favourite piece of music. Do you get shivers when the music swells or the chorus kicks in? Or are the opening few bars enough to make you feel tingly? Despite having no obvious survival value, listening to music can be a highly...

Mordecai Shehori: finding that special 'zing' in your piano

by Michael Johnson Added 18.08.2014
Pianist Mordecai Shehori’s prodigious output of CDs over the past few years must be setting some kind of record. Almost every piece of the piano repertoire he has studied throughout his long career is being preserved for posterity, now amounting...

Why Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem still resounds today

by Nicholas Ashton Added 14.08.2014
The past may be a foreign country, but in terms of war, they do not do things differently there; death is death at any time and in any language. No other work in the Classical repertoire could be more topical or appropriate in commemorating the...

Composer Scott Wollschleger: Painting with the Right Notes

by Ivan Ilic Added 19.07.2014
An interview by Ivan Ilic.  I first came across Scott Wollschleger as I browsed the Project Schott New York website.  Instantly, I knew that his Music Without Metaphor was the right piece for a new CD I was preparing. [1]   Wollschleger had...

Pianist Ernest So’s latest discoveries

by Michael Johnson Added 17.07.2014
Chinese pianist Ernest So’s eclectic tastes set him apart from the current run of young Asian keyboard superstars now filling concert halls around the world. He has the technical brilliance of the best of them but more importantly he is a...
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