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This week's editor

Tom Rowley is editor of oDR.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Democratic wealth: exploring ideas for a citizens’ economy

Could republicanism provide the model for a political economy that belongs to us all and works for the common good? OurKingdom and Politics in Spires’ new series explores this question, introduced here by its editor.

This week's window on the Middle East - November 26, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week on the democratic rollback which has ignited Egypt's streets: The President and the fatal trilateral logic of US, Egyptian and Israeli relations

Syrian refugee camps and conflict in Turkey

Now that the short term crisis has transformed into a long term stalemate, the inadequacy of the temporary protection regime of camps in Turkey is revealed. Turkey is a party to international treaties arising from the basic obligation to open its border to refugees. But the international community also has responsibilities.

The Chinese Communist Party takes a line from the Catholic Church

The notion of an end to corruption under the current system of government is a logical impossibility. Corruption is riven into the fabric of Chinese society.

New platforms, new paradigms, old newspapers

Newspapers have not yet found a sustainable business model because although they have embraced the new technologies, they have not fully taken on board the new paradigm.

The US-Iran dialogue and how it can affect the Iranian democratic movement

President Obama’s re-election for a second term has afforded him much more manoeuvrability on foreign policy issues, including Iran. What are the prospects for the US-Iranian dialogue in the next four years - and how will it affect the Islamic Republic's local pro-democracy forces?

The geopolitics of drug trafficking in Afghanistan

%22Bordering"In Afghanistan, opium is not clandestinely traded on some back alley black market. Opium is the market.

The trouble with Fortress Europe

To prevent illegal immigration, the EU has built a set of far-reaching border control and enforcement policies. But it doesn't work: today's 'Fortress Europe' is an inefficient, immoral and costly bureaucratic construction that should be urgently reformed.

This week's window on the Middle East - November 19, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: A non-violent 24-year-old gets Sudanese intelligence mobilising

The British betrayal: some inconvenient truths about children’s health services

Leading politicians and health professionals meet in London tomorrow to discuss the future of child health in the UK. Ahead of the Westminster Health Forum seminar — ‘Improving children’s and young people’s health: towards a health outcomes strategy and meeting public health challenges’ — OurKingdom presents a challenge from internationally renowned paediatrician, England’s former first children’s commissioner, Prof Sir Al Aynsley-Green.

Child poverty in Britain — redefine it, or reduce it?

The UK government claims today that current measures of child poverty fail to tackle the “root causes of poverty. . . worklessness, educational failure and family breakdown”. A paediatrician asks: what’s really behind the urge to redefine? 

Foreign aid to local NGOs: good intentions, bad policy

International solidarity is a wonderful idea, and the notion of transferring resources from North to South for good causes is morally attractive. The mechanics of doing this properly, however, are far more complex. 

Who are the Finns? Ask The Finns!

Combining support for the welfare state with xenophobic populist sentiments, The Finns have clouded and shaken the traditionally straightforward Finnish political landscape. Beyond this textbook example of mainstream recognition for a previously radical faction, what do the Finns really stand for?

Corrupt and ‘reckless’ Kellogg Brown & Root still in the running for UK police contracts

Ahead of Police & Crime Commissioner elections in the UK, a negligence verdict in Oregon intensifies pressure to keep tainted contractor KBR out of UK policing.

From the people to the people, a new constitution

What the future holds in store and what will be the fate of the bill for a new constitution is hard to say at this point in time. But what is evident is that the battle of “who owns Iceland” is being fought and is at its high water mark. There is much at stake.

The Sicilian blow to Italian politics

Nearly 20 percent of Sicily’s electorate voted for Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S) – an alternative “clean hands” party that has recently gained momentum in Italian politics. Their candidate, the comedian and blogger Giancarlo Cancelleri, seduced Sicilian voters with a fresh - and anti-establishment - approach to politics.

Child health at risk in the economic crisis: what can we do?

A doctor urges fellow child health practitioners to speak up for the benefits of social protection policy, and to measure, evaluate and bear witness to the impact of NHS 'reform' on child health.

Real democracy in Iceland?

After the crash that destroyed Iceland's economy, Icelanders started to take an interest in new forms of political and economic governance. So - what can we learn from the country's experiments?

Iceland: direct democracy in action

The Icelandic experiment raises many intriguing questions: how do citizens of a country get called to this office? How do they draft a new constitution? What sort of political forces do they have to balance? An insider view from a former member of the Constitutional Council.

This week's window on the Middle East - November 12, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: The Revolution will not be eroticised

A response to my critics on child benefit

A piece on the proposed limits to child benefit prompted a vigorous comment thread. Its author responds. 

Art and Property Now: Room 5, Redrawing the Maps

Art and Property Now is an exhibition exploring John Berger’s life as storyteller, artist and critic. Visit the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House, London, until November 10, 2012. We have celebrated Berger’s 86th birthday with a guided tour of some of the exhibition’s contents and themes. Today, Room 5 and several invitations.


Burning cars in the banlieues as acts of citizenship

The worlds of concrete, the car and masculinity are ways to delve into acts which have only so far attracted attention for their violence and destructive capability. 

Kanak Attak: discursive acts of citizenship in Germany

Kanak Attak in Germany is an anti-racist collective of people with mixed ethnic backgrounds who aim to turn the dominant discourse on migration upside down. They invite us to consider the role of intellectuals in migration regimes.

G4S loses contract. Handing prisons to any commercial contractor is a grave mistake

The big news story is that G4S, the shambolic security company that botched the London Olympics, has today lost a major prison contract (HMP Wolds, in Lincolnshire), and failed to win any new ones. A hard blow for G4S and its shareholders. The bigger issue is that the UK government continues to privatise prisons, and commercial confidentiality shields the process from public view and democratic accountability.

Four more years - but what will Obama do with them in the Middle East?

Will Barack Obama finally deliver on his promises of peace and better relations with the Middle East? His re-election certainly offers him a second chance - don't waste it this time Mr President!

Forced evictions, racist attacks. Meet the new landlord, security company G4S

The UK government has created a new profit source for security giant G4S and its partners: managing housing for asylum seekers. John Grayson reports on a reckless experiment whose result is human misery.

Writing as resistance in postcolonial India

The Indian government has justified the construction of the Sardar Sarovar megadam as a national instrument of democratization, potentially supplying drinking water to millions of people. Activists claim that dams form part of a biopolitical apparatus, causing displacement and relocation for indigenous people. Their fightback questions ‘modernity’, ‘development’ and ‘justice’.

Global agreements must be built on the real participation of the poor

If the post-2015 process to agree a future framework for development does not get right the participation of those most affected, it will fail. 

A call for an end to 'progress'

We're all 'progressives' these days. But what does it mean? It's time to ditch this warped and empty notion, and re-invigorate a movement for the common good in Britain and the world.

Once more, without passion?

In a few hours, the world will finally know if Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States. Our 'How it looks from here' series concludes with a tour d'horizon around the globe - what are people thinking as they await the outcome?

Shaking the 'foreign hand': a view from India

India has had a complicated relationship with the United States for most of its independent history. Things are better now - but Indians still do watch the election closely, fearing a return to old tensions.

Mills replies to Skidelski: without more devaluation nothing will turn round the UK economy

In this thoughtful reply to Robert Skideslky, John Mills examines the UK's trade performance post-crash and argues that, though requiring a more rounded industrial policy as a whole, any measures taken without further devaluation will fail to turn the economy around. 

The US 2012 Election and China: why a real dialogue about human rights will never happen

Despite a prominent presence in the campaign, US policy towards China is very unlikely to change - especially on the hyper-sensitive topic of human rights.

The American election: a view from Down Under

As a somewhat reluctant member of the American orbit in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia carefully watches the election – amused but slightly worried by its "cranks and crazies" (as the Australian treasurer recently called the Tea Party).

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