Region Archives: Global

Happy Christmas, intolerable Joyceans everywhere!

If you don’t know by now, it’s tradition!  And Brendan’s cryptic crossword in today’s Guardian nods in the general direction… Those of a sensitive disposition are duly warned, once again, that James Joyce enjoys the language in all its fecund nuttiness. Adds I should have also noted this brief history of the day that it’s in, also from the more…

#XSS16 – Participation, narratives, storytelling and the rocky road to ‘associative politics’

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Tomorrow I’ll be speaking at the Xchange Summer School on political participation. Now speaking as someone who has never been a serious member of any political party, I’m looking at it from an outsider’s pov. There are a bunch of conundrums facing politics. Participation in political parties is dropping across the board. In Northern Ireland more…

Bilderberg 2016: “If I were a member of a technocratic elite that wanted its influence on public policy kept under wraps…”

It’s that time again!  The 64th Annual Bilderberg Meeting, “like a corporate cross between Santa Claus and a big friendly squid“, has just ended in Dresden, Germany.  Charlie Skelton was there again for the Guardian, and his post on Bilderberg 2016 is well worth reading in full.  It’s a “tickle under the chin of the more…

The Radical Loser

Omar Mateen killed 50 people and wounded 53 more in the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history. It seems he pledged allegiance to ISIS in telephone calls made before being shot dead by police. You will see the following article quoted heavily over the next few days though rarely referenced beyond  the “radical loser”. more…

#SluggerReport: A good night on the media for Leave…

This morning’s #SluggerReport. It’s a longish one, but with the highest live viewer total yet. Key references include this report of last night’s ITV debate from The Times Red Box team giving thumbs down to Boris but thumbs up to Camp Leave. Even among Conservatives, Johnson was the choice of 12 per cent, behind Leadsom (33 more…

Why we need more sixth century historians

“All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.”  – Battlestar Galactica Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, Patrick Johnston, caused a furore this week with his comments claiming that “society does not need a 21-year-old that’s a sixth century historian”. Instead, he opined that “It needs a 21-year-old who really understands how to more…

What’s the matter with Hillary?

At last two pieces which go to the heart of why Donald Trump is rampant and Hillary Clinton is faltering. The plain fact is that people like their politicians to inspire or at least identify with their problem and fears.  Mrs Clinton is a poor speaker and comes across as an over-calculating policy wonk who more…

How Christians Can ‘Learn the Language’ of Islam

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Airmen and Soldiers take a moment to pray for each other's safety before heading out for another day of convoy duty in Iraq. The Airmen run the convoys into Iraq and the Soldiers, in their armored trucks, escort them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Campbell)

Over the past 30 years or so, I’ve done a lot of travelling in Africa, the Middle East, and all around Europe. Needless to say, this necessitated navigating my way through language barriers. One of my personal habits when I was travelling was to begin by learning how to say one phrase: ‘I don’t speak more…

Hundredth anniversary of Jutland

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Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Jutland. This was one of the largest naval battles ever fought and although a confused and indecisive battle of itself in some ways marked a major turning point in the First World War. In essence it was a tactical victory for the Germans against the more…

How little thought have ‘the Brexotics’ given to any form of risk from a putative #Brexit?

Is the EU a liability on the ballot papaer?

This morning’s #SluggerReport featured this great essay from Ferdinand Mount in the London Review of Books (h/t Ciaran!). Here’s  some of the highlights in the argument… Splendid isolation’. ‘Very well, alone’. ‘Fog in Channel – Continent Cut Off’. That is the name of the game, the only game that appeases the dreams and resentments of more…

EU referendum & Euro 2016

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So far it’s fair to say that EU referendum debate hasn’t inspired many. Both sides have often been accused of ‘scaremongering’ over the potential impacts on everything from immigration to border controls and increased terror threats to the price of a nice bottle of wine. Meanwhile many of us across the UK and Ireland have more…

Why mental health needs public champions not just information…

Siobhan O’Neill is a health psychologist and professor of mental health sciences at Ulster University. She is currently leading several studies on mental health and suicide in Northern Ireland. It seems that we can’t move nowadays with mental health awareness; the latest being Princes Harry and William, and Princess Katherine, all throwing their weight behind more…

Vatican spin-doctor criticises Catholic keyboard warriors…

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Interesting story over at the Catholic news site Crux… “Many of my non-Christian and non-believing friends have remarked to me that we ‘Catholics’ have turned the Internet into a cesspool of hatred, venom and vitriol, all in the name of defending the faith!” he said. “The character assassination on the Internet by those claiming to more…

The Ultimate Eurovision Song Contest Winner…

With Russia discovering the joys of the politics of the Eurovision Song Contest this year, here’s the undoubted highlight from Saturday’s Grand Final in Stockholm – the interval act!  Just in case anyone from the BBC, or from RTÉ, are looking for any tips for next year.  Let’s face it, on recent form they could more…

Mercury in motion

Mercury Transit 2016 via SDO

If you missed yesterday’s rare Mercury transit across the Sun – the last was in 2006, the next in 2019 – then where were you! [Busy… – Ed]  But even if you were paying attention you’re unlikely to have had as wondrous a view as that of Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. They’ve helpfully released a stunning time-lapse video more…

Hunger Striking as Political Resistance, Then & Now: QUB’s Institute for Conflict Transformation Spring Festival

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Are hunger strikes effective as a political strategy? This was one of the questions explored yesterday at a day-long conference on ‘Prisoner Hunger Strikers in Northern Ireland and Palestine: Examining the Long Term Effects.’ The event was part of the Spring Festival of Events at Queen’s Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social more…