Opinion


Lebanon’s Agony Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

Last week, a warehouse stocked with nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate blew up, laying waste to the port of Beirut and ripping through much of the rest of the Lebanese capital. At least 137 people were killed, thousands were wounded, and hundreds of thousands were rendered homeless. For a..

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Avoiding the Trump Trap Monday, August 10th, 2020

With Joe Biden’s lead in the polls, many Democrats and Republican Never-Trumpers are increasingly optimistic that US President Donald Trump will lose in November. But it would be a mistake to count Trump out. He has formidable advantages that will become more salient as the election nears. These..

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The High Cost of a Strong Euro Saturday, August 8th, 2020

Europe is experiencing a “good” crisis. Despite the damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing recession, its response has minimized the damage and bolstered confidence in the economy. Yet even this positive news carries risks. From Latin America’s lost decade in the 1980s to the..

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Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities Thursday, August 6th, 2020

When US President Harry S. Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, followed by another on Nagasaki a few days later, he was not acting as an agent untethered from history.  In the wheels of his wearied mind lay the battered Marines who, despite being..

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China’s Great Wall of Water

The East Asian monsoon is pummeling China this summer. As of late July, flood alerts had been issued for 433 rivers, thousands of homes and businesses had been destroyed, and millions of people were on the verge of becoming homeless. The water level of Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater..

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Big Tech Antics: The Data Robber Barons Appear Before Congress Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Silicon Valley continues to sprawl in influence, and its modern robber barons bestride the globe with a confidence verging on contempt.  The technology giants that mark that region of California are praised as “virtuosos of ingenuity,” to use Steve Forbes’ words, “creating and supplying..

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State of Pandemic Disaster: Melbourne Moves to Stage Four Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Being in control of a sinking ship is not enviable. Regulations previously passed have a museum feel to them, distinctly obsolete. Directions, once dictated with confidence, lack timbre. Coronavirus is serving as that most wily and cheeky of agents, with the most appropriate of accomplices: Homo..

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The Other Putin on Europe’s Doorstep

Is Turkey the new Russia? That question is increasingly being asked in European capitals as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan adopts a more aggressive foreign policy. In addition to using migration to threaten and finagle the European Union, Erdoğan has also been deploying military power to..

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Crossing the Creepy Line: Google, Deception and the ACCC Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

Belief in Google’s promises is much like believing in virgin births. For a company so proud of its pursuit of a transparent information environment, it has remained committedly opaque about informing customers on the way it gathers user data. Statements from the company over the years have not..

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Nature by the Numbers Saturday, August 1st, 2020

When Cyclone Amphan came barreling up the Bay of Bengal this past May, South Asia’s first named storm of the year appeared to pose a massive threat to the people who live on the coastal floodplains and to the animals and plants – including many endangered species – that rely on these..

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Tech Titans at Bay? Friday, July 31st, 2020

Big Tech is back in the spotlight – and not in a good way. On July 29, the chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook spent more than five hours fielding tough questions about their overwhelming market power from a bipartisan antitrust panel in the US House of Representatives. Is the..

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China Plays the Iran Card

Earlier this month, Iran announced that it is negotiating a 25-year agreement with China encompassing trade, energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, and even military cooperation. For Iran, the prospect of a strategic partnership with China comes at a critical time. The Iranian government has..

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The Challenges of the Post-Pandemic Agenda Monday, July 27th, 2020

There is a growing possibility that the COVID-19 crisis will mark the end of the growth model born four decades ago with the Reagan-Thatcher revolution, China’s embrace of capitalism, and the demise of the Soviet Union. The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of human societies and..

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Health-Tech Snake Oil Saturday, July 25th, 2020

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, David Feinberg, the head of Google Health and a self-professed astrology buff, enthused that, “If you believe me that all we are doing is organizing information to make it easier for your doctor, I’m going to get a little..

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Climate Change Litigation: The Australian Government Gets Sued Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

While coronavirus ravages life, dominates policy and clouds debate, that other pressing issue of addressing climate change has moved into a more modest gear. That has not prevented some bubbling activity from taking place on the matter of litigation. While climate change law suits remain in their..

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China’s Five-Finger Punch

As the world struggles to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, which first emerged in China, Chinese President Xi Jinping is pursuing his quest for regional dominance more aggressively than ever. From the Himalayas to Hong Kong and Tibet to the South and East China Seas, Xi seems to be picking up where..

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How to Change People’s Minds About Science Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

On some issues, the majority of scientists agree, but large segments of the public are not convinced, resulting in consensus gaps. Unfortunately, many of the most important gaps today relate to sustainability. For example, there is a long-standing scientific consensus about the reality of climate..

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