Region Archives: Global

Antimicrobial (antibiotic) resistance

The control of infectious disease in the 20th century was very largely due to public health measures, such as vaccination programmes in the population, and to the use of antibiotics in the individual. In the past, lobar pneumonia was a major killer of otherwise healthy you adults; and the progression of this illness was often more…

“Yes” campaign may need 70% Dublin turnout to carry referendum

I support Marriage Equality and I’d vote yes in the Referendum this week if I weren’t a disenfranchised Irish citizen simply because I live in the north of the island.  That’s a column for another day though… It’s a safe bet that both the “Yes” and “No” sides in this Friday’s Marriage Referendum will agree more…

#Marref Soapbox: Séamas’s story – ‘Can we talk?’

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Séamas de Faoite writes in favour of the Marriage Referendum and relates his own experience to illustrate the ongoing anguish faced by young gay people in their decision in how and when and to whom they can ‘come out’.  ‘Can we talk?’ – it was the refrain of one of my preferred comedians, the ever polemic Joan Rivers, more…

One year on, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi remains behind bars

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Today marks a year since Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail. Raif Badawi received the sentence, along with a fine of 1 million riyals, from Jeddah’s criminal court on 7 May 2014 for setting up an online forum for public debate. He is an Amnesty International prisoner more…

Indonesia executes eight drugs smugglers

I have blogged previously about the death penalty. It is only fair to state at the outset that I am fundamentally opposed to it. The BBC are reporting that despite a chorus of international pleas for clemency the Indonesian authorities have executed eight drugs smugglers. They included two Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran (the more…

Foreign Policy row could favour Miliband

The developing spat over foreign policy between Ed Miliband and the Tories is interesting. It is very rare for specific parts of foreign policy to be debated in a partisan fashion during an election unless they relate to macro longterm issues such as Europe etc. From the BBC reporting Miliband: “David Cameron was wrong to more…

Raise a glass to Hubble! – Redux

Hubble Space Telescope 25th Anniversary Image - Westerlund 2

The Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 25th Anniversary in space today, 24th April, with the release of this wondrous image of the giant star-cluster, Westerlund 2, in the stellar nursery, Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina.  [Image credit: Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund more…

“…there is no debate because there can be no debate”

Charlie Hebdo

This from Belfast emigre Robert McLiam Wilson, via Henry McDonald: “I am feeling a touch of shame today. Cancelling such an event in the face of putative menace in a city that endured a 30-year torture of self-immolation seems worse than pusillanimous. Belfast? Seriously? This is not the city I remember. This cancellation says, with more…

Quote of the day: Having your future now *and* eating it later?

Just this from John Stewart on the Today Programme on BBC Radio Four this morning when questioned about Hillary Clinton running for the Whitehouse: I don’t think anybody knows who’s going to win. Wait. Do you know? Are you from the future? If so, I would like to bet on some games. What happens with more…

Queen’s Institute for Conflict Transformation’s Spring Festival of Events, 22 April-28 May – Featuring Senator George Mitchell and Baroness Nuala O’Loan

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Queen’s University’s Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice’s (ISCTSJ) Spring Festival of Events gets underway tomorrow with Senator George Mitchell delivering the third annual Harri Holkeri Lecture on ‘Reflections on Brokering Peace in Divided Societies.’ The former US Senator is best known in these parts for his role in chairing the more…

“Today, I hold fast to all tenets of mistrust…”

The novelist Howard Jacobson on the virtues of art and literature over politics and politicians… It doesn’t follow from what I say that we should hand over the reins of political power to artists. They wouldn’t make a better job of it. But we would all make a better job of thinking about politics – more…

NI Tourism Minister: “I recently had discussions with the chief executive of Tourism Ireland and expressed my disappointment about how the promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way stops at the border.”

Irelands Ancient East Map

Without wishing to undermine historian Hiram Morgan’s call for Irish Government action to preserve the cultural heritage in the seas off the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s worth noting the stated objective of that tourism initiative… The overall aim of the project is to develop a route that will achieve greater visibility for the west coast of more…

Will Hillary Clinton be the first female US President?

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After years of teasing and speculation, Hillary Clinton yesterday announced her bid for the White House. Barack Obama was the first black president, will Hillary be the first female? On the face of it the omens look good. Demographic changes of an increasing Hispanic vote mean many Republicans fear they may never reclaim the White more…

Women of Northern Ireland- we need our own political party

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The so called ‘trickle down’ effect is one of the most hallowed ideas projected onto social justice issues. But it’s also one of the most flawed.    Women in Northern Ireland have been told for years to bide our time and wait for gender equality to trickle down. Female representation at Stormont and Westminster has been more…

Game of Thrones vs real life: 5 ways fact is worse than fiction

Greyworm, leader of child soldier army called the “Unsullied” Photo: HBO / Sky Atlantic

Guest blog by Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research, Amnesty International The long-awaited fifth season of Game of Thrones begins on Sunday 12 April. Filmed in Northern Ireland (and elsewhere) and broadcast in 170 countries, the show shocks viewers and generates controversy with graphic violence, especially against women. Yet many aspects of real life around more…

Kit Harington on Belfast: “It’s wonderful for two or three days…”

As I said of similar comments by HBO’s Michael Lombardo last year, With so much of some Northern Ireland Executive ministers‘ time and effort [and other people’s money! – Ed] focused on exploiting the international success of HBO’s Game of Thrones to promote Northern Ireland overseas, it’s perhaps unfortunate, but refreshing, that HBO’s director of programming, Michael Lombardo, more…