Congo’s evolution from political crisis to humanitarian emergency


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No end to these man made crises.

In recognition of the severity of the crisis, Congo has been categorised a “Level 3” emergency by the international relief community, to galvanise the aid response. The measure will last for an initial six months and is focused on the situation in the greater Kasai region, as well as Tanganyika and South Kivu, where conflict and displacement have soared this year.

The complete article

IRIN

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For the last time: Tax cuts don’t pay for themselves


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We all hate taxes but they don’t pay for themselves. Or do they?

How do they come up with such optimistic numbers? Easy: by making optimistic assumptions. That, as former Obama economic advisers Larry Summers and Jason Furman point out, appears to be what they’re doing. They simply seem to assume the best and then say that if this scenario played out over the next 10 years — which it almost certainly wouldn’t — then these tax cuts really would add 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points to growth, which would cover $1 trillion lost in cuts. Although, as bad as that sounds, it’s actually even worse than that, since the Republican economists also seem to have misstated or misunderstood some of the studies that they claim show the economy would grow as much as they say.

The complete article

Matt O’Brien — The Washington Post

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Weighing 75 years of the nuclear age


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What is it like to sit for 75 years with the capability to destroy earth many times over?

No deliberate nuclear attack has taken place since the bombings of Japan, in part because of the sheer horror of those events. But the threat never goes away. “The risk of a nuclear weapon being used somewhere in the world in these next years is probably higher than it’s been since the Cuban missile crisis,” Moniz said. “We see concerns in North Korea, India-Pakistan. Russia of course remains, with a large arsenal, and we do not have a very constructive relationship right now with Russia.” North Korea launched a missile test just this week, the latest in a string of tests that have moved it steadily towards the goal of being able to hit the continental United States with a nuclear weapon.

The complete article

Elisabeth Eaves & Julian HaydaBulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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#DemocracyDefeated: How Indian Right-Wing Groups Stalled A Bollywood Period Drama


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A big budget Bollywood movie’s release was stalled recently. A detailed article on the same.

The current objection to the film is taken by Shri Rajput Karni Sena, a Rajput caste group at the forefront of those who condemn the content of the movie. Their argument against the film is that Padmavati, who was considered to be a Rajput queen, would be portrayed in a bad light and that would mean deferring from the historical account of her description. Additionally, this would distort the culture and religious practices and could possibly indicate a romantic relationship between the Rajput queen and Sultan Alauddin Khalji. Ironically, after the release of the trailer of the movie, only the Rajput and the Hindu have taken to the streets to contest the release of the movie while the Rajputs in the movie have been shown as regal and royal, and Sultan Alauddin Khalji has been portrayed as somewhat barbaric in nature. If the extreme criticism is to be believed, then it should be a reflection on the overall content of the period drama and not just certain aspects of it.

The complete article

Global VoicesVishal Manve & Devika Sakhadeo

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CONFRONTING MANHOOD AFTER TRUMP


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People are still trying to figure out what Trump presidency means.

The quaint balance of masculinity and femininity that the metaphor promised is no longer desirable, if it ever was. Instead of advocating that women compete with men on masculine terms and men mix in just enough femininity to distance themselves from the most toxic versions of masculinity, we need to start being honest about what being a man has come to mean. Trump’s rise has made it terrifyingly clear that his toxic version is not at all peripheral to 21st-century modern masculinity. It is central. It is authoritarian. And it is lethal.

The complete article

Lisa Wade — Public Books

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Countering Russian Information Operations in the Age of Social Media


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Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have an important role to play in mitigating the effects of Russian messaging, but their primary objective is generating profits, not defending Western political systems. Attempts to introduce legislation or regulations to restrict online speech, even if they were targeted at Russian disinformation and trolls, could mirror Russian constraints on free expression and could be interpreted as running counter to the values Western societies seek to defend. Nevertheless, tech platforms have an interest in taking firm steps to prevent, for example, the hijacking of profiles of legitimate organizations and individuals for the purpose of disinformation. They also have an interest in cooperating with Western intelligence agencies, as this could provide them with greater understanding of how their systems are abused to systematically deceive their users, as well as of software bugs and other technical vulnerabilities in their products.

The complete article

Council on Foreign Relations

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Who benefits from the military coup in Zimbabwe?


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So what happened? If this coup was about the economy and social issues then it would have likely happened in 2008 and or at the very least in 2016 when the President announced that US$15 billion has gone missing. Over the last year the economic situation severely deteriorated. Whereas between 2005 and 2008 there was some semblance of functioning industry the backbone for working class Zimbabweans by 2016 most industries had shut down. In 2016, I spent months driving around the country taking stock of the status of various industry and it was depressing. The once bustling Willoville neighborhood in Harare was a skeleton of its former self. Zimbabweans have always supported the local industry by purchasing locally made products – everything was made in Zimbabwe, however, today nothing is made in Zimbabwe. People are resorting to buying used underwear on the streets smuggled in from Mozambique.

The complete article

Chipo Dendere — Africa is a Country

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