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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Mexico: the war on drugs is becoming a war on women

Women human rights defenders in Mexico are increasingly targeted, often by government forces, since drug war violence and militarisation provide a cover for attacking leaders of grassroots movements, says Laura Carlsen

"Positive thinking" for the unemployed - my adventures at A4e

How to get Britain's unemployed back to work? Re-invigorate the job market? Skill them up? Or co-erce them into taking courses in 'motivation' and 'self-belief?' Tick 1,2 or 3... but just remember, you won't get the right answer if you don't have the right mental attitude!

Crisis in Mali: fundamentalism, women's rights and cultural resistance

In conversation with Jessica Horn, a leading Malian women’s rights activist identifies the roots of the crisis in Mali, and the opportunistic use of the crisis by Malian and international Islamic fundamentalists to gain a popular foothold in the north of the country

The UK Border Agency’s lack of speed is a problem. Lack of fairness is worse

To improve the quality of decision-making on asylum claims the government must first stop relying on the selective use of unreliable intelligence

Revolutionizing the Canadian social justice sector

Environmental groups seem to have attracted particular government ire. In other cases, officials have labelled civic groups unpatriotic… The Conservatives may have done Canadians a favour. Deprived of federal funding, independent activists will now have to learn new ways of ethically raising money from individuals, communities, and businesses.

Corporate Power stamps its brand on British Policing

The end of the British Bobby? Is policing by corporate power replacing policing by consent? Clare Sambrook exposes the insidious first steps of G4S, the world's largest security company, as it moves in on the police force of Lincolnshire (Margaret Thatcher's home county). 


Building stability overseas: shifts in UK strategy and suggestions for implementation

While the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review was visibly reported as a missed opportunity, the recent Building Stability Overseas Strategy (BSOS) has received little attention. Yet BSOS presents a unique opportunity to better understand and connect approaches across ‘civil society’, ‘development’ and ‘security’ actors. 

The price of independence: Scotland and Britain according to the Economist

The magazine 'The Economist' has declared its position on Scottish independence. Their warning to the Scots: 'it'll cost you'. Their stand-point typifies a market fundamentalist view of Britain that denies the vast potential of a Scotland free of the Union.

Crisis planning: what chance a ‘soft’ Putin?

In the second of his analytical articles, Dmitri Travin gives further consideration to Russia’s way forward under its new (or not so new) president, Vladimir Putin. Will he insist on keeping to his hard line or might he take the ‘soft’ option? That too is fraught with potential risk.

Patriots in the decent sense: rediscovering English nationalism

English nationalism has long been trapped between American-led globalisation and small-minded nostalgia. Can England rediscover its identity in its rich local, regional and radical movements?

Who should investigate murder — the police, or a private security company?

Security company G4S recruits "outstanding investigative officers" to run murder investigations in the UK for £25,000-a-year.

A global fair trade: Unctad's lesson

The global power-balance is being changed by the rise of the non-western "Brics" states. This makes the pioneering work of a body committed to linking trade and development in the interest of the world's poor more relevant than ever.

Like fathers, like sons: Ukraine’s untouchables

 The brutal rape and murder of Oksana Makar, apparently committed by well-connected children, has forced Ukrainians to reflect on power, elite privilege and impunity, writes Mykola Riabchuk 

Torture: Who are Britain's guilty?

It seems clear that British intelligence officers were complicit in torture and rendition. Who gave them their orders?

Oksana Makar: can her shocking death change anything in Ukraine?

The gruesome murder of Oksana Makar has sent shockwaves around Ukraine, with supporters of the death penalty calling for its reinstatement, and a public outcry that has brought the case to national and global attention. Aleksey Matsuka discusses the implications of Oksana Makar’s death and what it tells us about Ukrainian society.

Mobilising Outrage: campaigning with asylum seekers against security industry giant, G4S

A Yorkshire campaign deploys rigorous research to expose and resist the astonishing corporate takeover of Britain’s 'asylum seeker markets'

The rise of Dutch neo-liberal nationalism

Who gets the blame for the ongoing social effects of the coalition’s love for neo-liberal principles? The culprits are rather conveniently eastern European migrants, the Greeks, the leftists and of course those that dare to associate themselves with Islam.

The problem in Ukraine isn’t Svoboda, it’s Yanukovych: a reply to Ivan Katchanovksi

Many Ukraine observers have identified the far-right Svoboda party as the key source of racial conflict in the country. This represents a misunderstanding of Ukraine’s fake politics, its divisive president and the real far-right thugs of the Party of Regions, argues Taras Kuzio.

SCRAP-GDAMS: realising global disarmament

Governments and the military industrial complex continue to do business as usual and such business is fostering conflict and war around the world. The year 2011 was particularly conflictive and 2012 is reaching new alarming levels, particularly in the Middle East. Sino-American relations remain tense and the situation in North-East Asia is also fluctuating. SCRAP fights back…

Columnists, for Arab Awakening section

openDemocracy's Arab Awakening section is currently looking for individuals in the Middle East to join our 'Arab Awakening columnists' programme.