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This week's editor


Our guest editor, Valsamis Mitsilegas, director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of London, introduces this week’s theme: Privacy and Surveillance in 2016.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Is the end of cheap food just an agricultural problem

Food is getting scarce - and expensive. This is no longer news. But can we really confine ourselves to thinking about the agricultural end of this problem?


The IMF loan to Egypt, and why we reject it

The proposed $4.8bn IMF loan to Egypt sparked a heated controversy. While the Government claims the funds are absolutely necessary to rebuild the country's economy, opponents warn against potentially disastrous, far-reaching consequences. Their arguments are summarised here.

Fidite Nemini, trust no one

The big banks seem to have come out of the financial meltdown relatively undamaged, if not stronger than ever. But could they have irretrievably lost an asset more precious than money, their consumers' trust, in the process?

The United Arab Emirates: frontiers of the Arab Spring

The United Arab Emirates has yet to face Arab Spring street protests, as have Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and its other neighbours. Nonetheless its seven ruling families are now finally being challenged directly by a number of brave citizens, some of whom are publicly calling for regime change. 

Ed Miliband finds the buzzword, but will it sting?

In his speech at the Policy Network conference Miliband continues to build a strong analysis of Britain's economic predicament but do his proposed solutions go far enough?

Ethiopia ahead of the curve: the green legacy of Meles Zenawi

It is surely better now to concentrate on Meles’ positive achievements rather than dwell on negatives from the past. His legacy will be decided by what happens next. But the “develop now and clean up later” approach enjoyed by the west for a while is no longer an option - for anyone.

This week's window on the Middle East - September 3, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: The FSA: how to lose support and alienate people in no time

Making sense of the riots in Assam, India

The recent riots in the northeastern state of Assam between Bodo tribespeople and ethnic Bengali Muslims are creating a dangerous situation for the central government of India. There might be various solutions to this recurring conflict in Assam, but we must understand that at heart this is not a Hindu-Muslim conflict.

Taking stock in Somalia

After twenty years of failed statehood, Somalia shows the first signs of a new political conjuncture that could bring about peace. Yet Islamist militant group al-Shabaab will continue to play a role in shaping the country's future.

A rich man's toy: train toffs and the politics of the UK rail fare

As train fares across Britain look set to rise 6.2% by January, the government faces the growing wrath of the thousands of commuters increasingly being priced out of public transport. But what might an alternative look like? And how might this bequeathing of the rails to ‘train toffs’ bite back in the next election? 

This week's window on the Middle East - August 27, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Traffic, trash and training: building Libya’s future

The pornography of equality

The silence of our politicians on women’s security in public spaces is in striking contrast to their tremendous responsiveness to the sight of brown men insulting white women. The real problem is that in western society women’s equality and women’s pornographization have gone hand-in-hand.

The paradox of Meles Zenawi

He embodied the eternal paradox that is Ethiopia: a land of ‘great abundance’ where so much poverty exists; a Garden of Eden whose potential has never been fulfilled.  

Bubbling up: is there strife ahead for UK homeowners?

Proclamations as to the stability of the UK housing market overlook worrying discrepencies between household debt and income. With statistics suggesting that prices are being motivated by forces outside of those fundamental to the housing market, there is clear evidence that the UK is sitting on a bubble. 

Egypt: the IMF loan

Today, especially after a civilian has been elected president in Egypt, the deal’s chances of being sealed are even greater

This week's window on the Middle East - August 20, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Syria, two sides of the same coin?

The Spanish dilemma: a blessing in disguise?

Spain’s crisis is not one of public debt per se. It is of private debt being transformed into a national burden.

A complex conflict constellation : distributional conflict in the euro crisis

Beyond its political and economical ramifications, the euro crisis has had a profound impact on European society. From a distributional conflict perspective, these turbulent times redefine who gets into conflict with whom.

Powerless power in the age of nuclear renaissance

The great Indian electricity grid failure hailed as the worst blackout in history, has brought several issues to light, which could have and should have been confronted earlier. 

'Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War' by Stephen Platt. Book review.

The central message of the book is that foreign intervention in the struggle between the Qing Dynasty and the Taipings, though rationalised (often sincerely) on humanitarian grounds, had disastrous consequences during and after the war.

Letter from an unapologetic alarmist

These are our last unhurried moments to make all haste, to prepare for the worse, to make sure the climate change lifeboats are all stocked, and more importantly, that there are enough to go around for all. 

An HIV-free generation: human sciences vs plumbing

The top down medical bio-fix behind the new Global Plan for an AIDS-free generation will not work without shifting the status quo to include human rights and the science of phenomenology: that means talking to us, funding us and involving us, says Alice Welbourn

This week's window on the Middle East - August 13, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: diary of an Egyptian schizo

Sports for people who don't like sports

With the selection of the politically extreme Paul Ryan as his VP candidate, Romney will energize Obama’s base as well as his own, making it a watchable race for those who enjoy political blood sports.

In the new NHS, what the private sector wants, it gets

Monitor, the lead regulator of NHS, is already easing the ‘regulatory burden’ borne by private companies enjoying the new market for healthcare in England. How does this square with the body's primary remit to "protect the interests of patients"? 

Why local power and self-interest can be good for transparency

Think of your local Indian, South African, Mexican or Russian investor looking for guaranteed profits; pool them all together and you could have community of millions to leverage for demanding transparency in the extractive industries. It would be hard for their respective governments and companies to ignore the calls of seven million shareholders who have investments in the firms.

The eurozone crisis and the Marshall Plan metaphor

Until the summer of 2012 I cannot find any use of the Marshall Plan as an analogy for understanding and resolving the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. The Marshall Plan had at its centre a massive sovereign debt relief programme that was particularly propitious for the new West Germany.

Debating “the commons” in post-socialist Bulgaria

The absence of solidarity with other causes and the persistence of neoliberalism in Bulgarian protests against the Forestry Act underline the need to adapt our understanding of "the commons" to new contexts. Neoliberal discourse and developmentalist ideology still control the imaginations of the majority of people from across the class spectrum.

Olympic winners and losers

Adidas has good reason to celebrate Team GB’s success. It is the main sponsor of the Games and the official sponsor of the British team. But while the sports group bathes in reflected glory, the workers who stitch their gear work in conditions that fall far short of Olympic ideals of “human dignity”, says Valeria Costa-Kostritsky

'The town the Poles took over’ — Peterborough, behind the headlines

The routine demonisation and vilification of migrant workers is underpinning the spread of racist violence into new areas in the UK. But it is rarely politically acknowledged.

This week's window on the Middle East - August 6, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Refused, confused or pleased to be sectarian in Syria?

The UAE: holding back the tide

As a deeply-tribal and largely homogeneous society that has also engaged heavily both in state-branding and institutional partnerships in recent years, the security crackdown in the UAE holds particular resonance, calling into question the judgement of international institutions that bought into the benevolent ‘images’ so carefully promoted by ruling elites.

Debt as power

Every single one of us holds the key to power - debt. Just as coal miners in England used their access to coal to flip the balance of power, so debtors can use their access to credit by declaring a 'debt strike', to force a revaluation of the bank stranglehold on the economy. 

The politics of crime and the financial crisis in Greece

The exasperation of the domestic public has placed significant pressure on Greek politicians to put a halt to treating elite corruption with impunity. Unfortunately this has been pressure which they have proved overwhelmingly able to resist, notwithstanding the indictment of a former Minister of Defence in 2012. As a result the blame has fallen elsewhere

Romania’s rule of law is everybody’s business

The ease with which the current Government has unravelled the law in just a matter of weeks, should be of concern to every citizen, every entrepreneur and investor, in Romania and abroad.

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