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...

Asia’s Invention Boom

by Edward Jung Added 01.10.2014
BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON – For more than a century, the United States has been the dominant global force for innovation. But China and other Asian countries are now testing that dominance, and the West should welcome the challenge. China’s move from...

Lebanon: The Forgotten Front

by James J. Zogby Added 01.10.2014
While the world's attention has been focused on the combined efforts of Arab and US forces attacking "Islamic State" (IS) positions in Iraq and Syria, there is unfolding in Lebanon, a third front in the war against this violent extremist group....

Hong Kong protests: Beijing is now face to face with universal suffrage promise

by Surya Deva Added 01.10.2014
After days on the streets, thousands of Hong Kong residents are still occupying several major streets of their city. Already nicknamed as the “umbrella movement” because of protesters' use of umbrellas to shield against the police’s pepper...

Markets’ Rational Complacency

by Nouriel Roubini Added 01.10.2014
NEW YORK – An increasingly obvious paradox has emerged in global financial markets this year. Though geopolitical risks – the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the rise of the Islamic State and growing turmoil across the Middle East, China’s territorial...

As America Fights Terror, it Loses More Than it Gains

by Daniel Wagner and Ian Wilkie Added 30.09.2014
As the United States ramps up its 'no boots on the ground' war against jihadists in Iraq and Syria, the stream of threats emanating from the region appear to grow ever wider and deeper. The emerging U.S. policy of containment and degradation in...

Europe’s Austerity Zombies

by Joseph E. Stiglitz Added 28.09.2014
NEW YORK – “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts – or so German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-austerity European leaders appear to...

Rumination and remedy: five ways to improve your outlook

by Peter Kinderman Added 28.09.2014
It is the events that happen in our lives that determine the state of our mental health, rather than some inherent personal inadequacy or genetic flaw. And psychological processes, such as rumination and self-blame, aren’t just symptoms of some...

Men, masculine pride and how to cope with depression

by Jason Spendelow Added 27.09.2014
Masculinity plays an important role in dealing with problems such as depression. Men often don’t feel able to reach out for assistance because both the symptoms of depression and the act of seeking help goes against a stereotypical view of how...

WHO suicide report shows we must stop seeing depression as a disorder of developed world

by Barbara Sahakian and Muzaffer Kaser Added 27.09.2014
Depression is a major, if not the major, cause of suicide. Every year, almost one million people die from suicide around the world. Depression is often seen as a disorder of the developed world; mental disorders – in particular depression but...

Reluctant England takes first step towards independence from Britain

by Robert Taylor Added 25.09.2014
“No taxation without representation”, cried Americans on their way to independence from Britain two and a half centuries ago. A similar cry is now heard throughout England’s green and pleasant land: “English votes for English laws”.   In the...

Vaccinations: An Epidemic of Misinformation

by Jeff Schweitzer Added 25.09.2014
Would you have your plumber perform brain surgery on your wife? Or have an accomplished Shakespearean actor with no flight training pilot the Boeing 747 you are taking across the Pacific? How about hiring a shark biologist to design and build...

The Future of Storytelling

by Beth Cardier and H. T. Goranson Added 25.09.2014
VIRGINIA BEACH – In October, a group of storytelling pioneers will gather in New York City for a future of storytelling summit. Their focus will be on new media, and the way it enables some surprising opportunities for interactivity. But a story...

Germany’s Economic Mirage

by Philippe Legrain Added 24.09.2014
LONDON – For 60 years, successive German governments sought a more European Germany. But now, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration wants to reshape Europe’s economies in Germany’s image. This is politically unwise and economically...

The Limits to Fighting the Islamic State

by Gareth Evans Added 23.09.2014
CANBERRA – There is a long history of misconceived and over-reaching foreign military intervention in the Middle East, and it is to be hoped that US President Barack Obama’s decision to wage war against the Islamic State will not prove to be...
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Letter from the Editor

Colm Herron's latest book published

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...

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...

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...

Mark Rothko in the Hague

by David W. Galenson Added 08.10.2014
Holland might seem an unlikely place to go to see the art of a great American artist, but I am here to tell you it is worth the trip. A retrospective exhibition of the art of Mark Rothko will be on display all fall at The Hague's Gemeentemuseum....

‘That final vowel’: reading Seamus Heaney's last poem

by Kate North Added 06.10.2014
Seamus Heaney’s final poem has been published just over a year after his death. Finished ten days before he died aged 74 in August 2013, the poem is a mediation on a painting of a canal by the French artist Gustave Caillebotte. It appears in a...

Hippocrates didn't write the Oath, so why is he the father of medicine

by Helen King Added 02.10.2014
Hippocrates is considered the father of medicine, enemy of superstition, pioneer of rationality and fount of eternal wisdom. Statues and drawings show him with a furrowed brow, thinking hard about how to heal his patients. And today, the...
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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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