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This week’s front page editor

“Francesc”

Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

In the Philippines, political trolling is an industry – this is how it works

A new study uncovers elite ad and PR strategists as chief architects of disinformation.

Ellecer “Budit” Carlos: We are going through a revival of the Marcos dictatorship

What appeared to have been a people's revolution was in fact a revolution of the bourgeois, hijacked by élites. Another elite simply took the place of Marcos and his cronies.

“Is Populism a Problem”? – a story for the World Forum for Democracy 2017

If you’ve ever shared a room with an elephant… you know what matters isn’t the presence of an unpredictable beast – what matters is the fragility of that room.

The silencing of Leila de Lima – Duterte’s “first political prisoner”

The Philippines senator’s detention is emblematic of ‘sneaking authoritarianism’ amid the president’s bloody war on drugs. From jail, she says: “My case is a test”. 

Inciting soldiers to rape in the Philippines

Duterte offered immunity to soldiers that commit rape in the current anti-terror campaign in Mindanao. It could make him liable for indictment for war crimes.

Belated tourists of a postponed-revolution

A close look at the KMU Trade Union Centre in the Philippines suggests that joining the ITUC has buried any alternative labour internationalism of the kind dreamed of in 1990.

Making whistleblowing safe: a view from the Philippines

New technologies that help human rights defenders are coming to developing countries, but those who blow the whistle need better protection.

Women in prison: the particular impact of prison conditions

On life in prison generally, the most common complaints across five countries were about hygiene and space.

Peacebuilding: The factor that makes a difference

Donors funding in conflict affected environments would be wise to focus on women’s leadership in conflict rather than women as victims of violence in conflict. This is key to changing the power structures which underlie violence, and to supporting sustainable peace efforts.

Extending a hand or raising a fist to the state?

From mobile phones to crowdsourced election monitoring, an in-depth look at how communication technologies are transforming citizen engagement and societal accountability in Southeast Asia.

Typhoon Haiyan: natural disaster meets armed conflict

The huge destruction in the Philippines in the November typhoon hit a poor region already long affected by violent conflict. The two are deeply related, says Colin Walch, who was conducting research in the area when the typhoon struck.

When anarchism goes pop

In current protest culture the estranged ideologies of anarchism and progressive populism are coming together around a critique of the neoliberal “corporate state” and a new imaginary of mass insurgency.

Playing nice: disputes in the South and East China Seas

Maritime disputes in East Asia have been hugely detrimental to accessing the energy-rich reserves in the South and East China Seas. China needs to move beyond its wariness over sharing security responsibilities in order to solve the resource problem.

Investing in food security? On philanthrocapitalism, biotechnology and development

Africapitalism and philanthrocapitalism represent a progressive convergence of business principles with social philanthropy. But vigilance is needed to ensure long-term success amid shifting debates about GM crops and their regulation.

The Philippine peace agreement: let’s maintain diligence

Last year, the Philippine government struck a historic peace deal with the Islamist rebels. But the devil is in the details, which have yet to be agreed upon. Who will make sure they create a just and lasting peace, and how?

Philippines Peace Agreement – why this one is different

Nonviolent Peaceforce has not just been ‘monitoring’ the ceasefire in Mindanao. NP teams have been out there every day actually ‘peacekeeping’ in the true sense of that word: addressing concrete problems on the ground, de-escalating tensions, preventing displacement and disruption of normal life

What now for the Philippines' Communist insurgency?

The New People's Army has intensified its activities in the past months. Local governments should be able to effectively deal with the insurgency, but improvement rests on politically sensitive developmental issues, and there is an urgent need for Security Sector Reform to end the use of paramilitary forces.

Indonesian church bombing sparks fears of escalation in religious violence

Indonesian church bombing sparks fears of increasing religious violence. Guangdong riots over ‘landgrabs’. US drone crashes in Kismayo, Somalia. Fresh clashes hit southern Philippines . Shooting at ‘CIA station’ in Kabul. All this and more in today’s security briefing...

China’s first aircraft carrier begins sea trials as tensions in the South China Sea rise

China’s first aircraft carrier made its maiden voyage from Dalian port. The United States has refused to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. Indian anti-corruption activist, Anna Hazare has been arrested. Russia’s S-500 system could be included in NATO’s missile defense in Europe. All this in today’s security briefing…

Pakistan and India revive peace process after meeting of foreign ministers

Pakistan and India have revived the peace process after the foreign ministers of the two countries met in New Delhi. North Korean envoy is in New York to hold nuclear talks. Russian navy to commission eight Graney class nuclear submarines by 2020. Powerful bomb blast rocks Cotabato City, Southern Philippines. All this in today's security briefing...

The Philippines: a state of insecurity

Benigno Aquino's inauguration as the Philippines' president raised hopes of improvement in citizens' security. A year on the evidence of progress in this area is hard to find, says Jessica Evans in Manila.

Maritime disputes intensify in South China Sea

Long-standing maritime disputes between China and its neighbours intensify. Afghan President Hamai Karzai visits Islamabad. Departing US Defence Secretary Gates criticizes European reluctance to contribute to Nato efforts and Syrian troops move forward as the number of refugees to Turkey increases. All in today's security briefing.

Protecting civilians: too important to be left to the military

Civilian protection requires simple, straightforward dialogue and negotiation with the people who can control whether other people are safe or not. And it works. As soon as you bring guns, tanks and air support into the picture, you are talking about something which more often than not does not work

How the left is losing the war on trafficking

Based on her fieldwork research on Filipinas in the sex industries in Japan, the author examines the traps and contradictions government regulators encounter in their attempt to control trafficking

Vapor Trail (Clark): wastes of history

A cinematic project in the Philippines that began as an exercise in political documentary and ended as excavation of the toxic legacies of the country’s early-20th century war with America is a vital counterblast to global amnesia, says Graeme Hobbs.


New Philippine counter-insurgency strategy fails to address the causes of conflict

A new, purportedly human rights-orientated counter-insurgency strategy has little chance of success in the Philippines if the clientelism of a flawed political and economic system is not simultaneously addressed, argues Mark Dearn

China blocks UN report on the use of Chinese arms in Darfur

China attempts to block UN report on Chinese arms in Darfur. Ten killed in Mindanao bus bombing. Pre-election violence in Guinea rumbles on. Burma bans foreign observers from 7 November poll. All this and more in today's security update.

UN launches inquiry as Israel intercepts second peace flotilla

UN launches inquiry as Israel intercepts second peace flotilla. US identified as world’s greatest user of targeted killings. Philippine rebels interested in renewed talks. Sudanese president barred from African Union conference. US missiles used in Yemen raids. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Israel and Palestine re-enter peace negotiations

Indirect Israel-Palestine peace talks underway after four-month deadlock. Death toll rises as Thai peace plan stalls. Afghan peace draft considers Taliban exile. four killed as elections begin in the Philippines. All this and more in today’s security update.

Ambitious goals set at nuclear summit

Nuclear summit sets lofty goals for member nations. Interim Kyrgyz government asserts its authority. Fighting displaces 100,000 in Mogadishu, says UN. Thai red shirt protesters refuse talks. Mexico's drug violence kills 23,000. Hostilities erupt in southern Philippine island. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Eight magnitude earthquake leaves hundreds dead, millions displaced in Chile

Earthquake in Chile causes mass destruction and displacement. Islamist opposition orders the World Food Programme out of Somalia. Colombia’s election race begins as President Uribe denied third term. Northern Liberia under curfew following the outbreak of religious violence. Malaysian peace monitors arrive in the Philippines in an attempt to revive talks. All this and more in today's update.

France approves sale of high-tech warship to Russia

International concern about sale of French amphibious warship to Russia. US aims for new sanctions on Iran “within weeks”. 197 people indicted for murder over Philippine massacre. Sir Lankan opposition leader treated “like an animal”. All this and much more in today’s security briefing.

Detroit plot triggers US intelligence shake-up

President Obama unveils new reforms of the US security bureaucracy in the wake of a White House report criticising intelligence failures linked to the attempted Christmas Day bombing. A leading Iranian opposition politician is attacked by supporters of the regime. In the Philippines, fighting erupts between Muslim rebels and the armed militia thought to be behind the massacre of 57 people last November. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Rains fail again in east Africa

Repeated failure of rains in eastern Africa demonstrate the link between climate change and security. Yemeni security forces foil an al-Qaeda plot. Two Colombian rebel groups announce possibility of alliance against government. The end of much-criticised UN-backed Kimenia II operated in eastern Congo is announced. The Philippines prepares for evacuation ahead of predicted volcanic eruption. All this and more in today's update.

Chilean election sees revision of Pinochet legacy

Chilean elections see potential rightward swing. Iranian men don headscarves in protest. Mugabe reelected leader of Zanu-PF. Thailand intercepts North Korean arms shipment. 31 prisoners escape in Philippines jailbreak.
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