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This week’s front page editor

Thomas Rowley

Tom Rowley edits oDR.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

New knowledge networks are attempting to make sense of a world dominated by tradition and belief, yet hungry for equity and justice. From Cairo to Islamabad via London, Ehsan Masood maps its emerging ideas, debates and institutions.

Biological annihilation and the sixth mass extinction

The sixth mass extinction is already here and the window for effective action is very short.

Heartfelt rationality

The side effects of good intentions and tolerance can be more suffering. We must let our hearts set our goals, but use the mind to pursue them. Our former Editor-in-Chief, reflecting on rationality and the fallout of a TV-series. Archive: This article was first published on October 1, 2012.

India Burning

When the rice harvest season finishes in a few weeks, fields in India will turn black as farmers burn thousands of acres. This practice shows one of the failures of the Green Revolution, with devastating regional and global consequences. A food-security-obsessed India cannot ignore these issues for much longer.

Tariq Ramadan's project

Tariq Ramadan's book "Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" is neither radical nor particularly reformist. But it will be eagerly read from Kuala Lumpur to Keighley, says Ehsan Masood.

The wages of punditry

The partnership between policy-makers and development specialists can endanger the latter's intellectual independence and increase the risk of bad outcomes, says Ehsan Masood.

Pakistan: The army as the state

Pakistan’s economy and institutions are deeply penetrated by the country’s army, a new book and documentary film reveal. Ehsan Masood reports for openDemocracy.

A German vision: greening globalisation

A plan to link climate-change policy with biodiversity loss renews the twenty-year-old idea of sustainable development, says Ehsan Masood.

Muslims and multiculturalism: lessons from Canada

Canada is tuning into Europe's debate on Muslims. But it doesn't want to abandon its own model for living with diversity – at least for now, reports Ehsan Masood.

"What do you think of the debate in Britain about Muslims who live in communities of extended families and friends?"

'National Geographic': the world in Arabic

The leading educational and scientific magazine "National Geographic" is launching an Arabic edition aimed at young readers. A perfect match, says Ehsan Masood.

Africans and climate change

The world’s leading climate scientists have spoken. But science on its own is not enough to convince Africa’s heads of state that they need to act on global warming, finds Ehsan Masood.

The world's thirst

A solution to the world's water crisis may lie in the sewers of 19th-century England and America, says Ehsan Masood.

Urdu's last stand

A new education policy in Pakistan signals a shift from the idea of Urdu as the country's everyday working language, says Ehsan Masood.

Pakistan's education gamble

Are private schools the answer to the crisis in Pakistani education? Ehsan Masood reports on a controversial reform proposal.

The upside of down

If the world is at last alert to global warming, it is thanks in part to a remarkable group of researchers. Ehsan Masood salutes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Which way home? Diasporas and development

How should developing countries relate to their diaspora communities? Ehsan Masood tracks a growing discussion with vital policy implications.

British Muslims: ends and beginnings

Muslim citizens bruised by the British government's punitive new tone towards them need to register the lessons of the last generation and not merely the last month, says Ehsan Masood.

Physics in revolution

Cosmology is hot, string theory is not. But wherever you hang your hat, the teaching of science must keep pace with the subject’s moving intellectual frontiers, says Ehsan Masood.

The cost of freedom in the digital age

Creative commons, open source and open access are becoming influential buzzwords of the digital age. But are they a just reward for creative endeavour, asks Ehsan Masood.

Pope Benedict XVI: science is the real target

A deeper reading of Pope Benedict's Regensburg speech suggests a message that Catholics and Muslims can share, says Ehsan Masood: that modern science must make room for theology.

The global politics of cricket

England gave the world cricket. But the power to shape the game's rules is moving to the nations of the developing world, says Ehsan Masood.

Big media, small world

The corporate media is worried about falling audiences among people of non-western backgrounds. It only has itself to blame, says Ehsan Masood.

Millennium Development Goals: back to school

A global target for all of the world's children to have a primary school education is within sight. But world leaders do not deserve the credit, says Ehsan Masood.

The aid business: phantoms and realities

A new Action Aid report on the negative aspects of technical assistance to developing countries tells only half the story, says Ehsan Masood.

Muslim Britain: the end of identity politics?

A survey of the British Muslim landscape one year on from the London bombs of 7 July 2005 suggests to Ehsan Masood that even the recent past is becoming another country.

Israel and the bomb: don't ask, don't tell

The declassified story of Washington’s 1969 deal with Tel Aviv over Israel's development of nuclear weapons casts fresh light on its current dispute with Iran, says Ehsan Masood.

A post-imperial diplomat

An innovative department within Britain's foreign office is attempting to win friends and influence by building bridges with the Islamic world, reports Ehsan Masood.

Ziauddin Sardar: paradise lost, a future found

Ziauddin Sardar is one of the most prolific and influential Muslim writers in Britain. He tells Ehsan Masood, who has edited a new collection of his writings, about his vision of pluralist Islam, the Qur'an as guide not manual, and the future of European Muslims.

The light of education: blind children's 'best buys'

As the international Biovision 2006 conference meets in Alexandria, Egypt to discuss the application of life sciences to human development, Ehsan Masood visits a school for blind children in the city where the commitment of voluntary staff to overcome perennial funding difficulties is unwavering.

Measuring miracles

Sceptical scientists and committed believers have one thing in common: they both desperately want science to unlock the mysteries of religion, says Ehsan Masood.

The rocky road to citizen rule

An empowered community of participating citizens is the ideal of much international development and public policy. But, asks Ehsan Masood, what happens if the people at its heart lack the resources needed to make it work?

Language: a toolkit for life on earth

The intimate link between linguistic and biological diversity makes the struggle to defend both essential to a sustainable human and planetary future, says Ehsan Masood.

The Islamic world's United Nations

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference is seeking to re-equip itself to play an active, engaged role in the global political arena. Ehsan Masood assesses the challenge facing the OIC's secretary-general, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

Alexandria's bridge

The director of Egypt's great new library, Ismail Serageldin, is shaping an educational project that is rooted in the neglected tradition of Islamic rationalism. Ehsan Masood meets him.

A post-Satanic journey

The contrast between the "Satanic Verses" affair of 1989 and the cartoon controversy of 2006 shows how far Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain have travelled, says Ehsan Masood.

Bush's "war on science" through the microscope

The American scientific elite is on a mission to make science a politics-free zone, but Ehsan Masood asks if the evidence of government "interference" in science is all it seems.
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