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New Statesman

The world responds to the crisis in Beirut

How much can a people take? That was what many around the world must have thought on watching footage of the vast explosion rip through Beirut earlier this week. How could one not?

Lebanon, as my colleague Ido Vock wrote after the event, was already mired in its worst economic crisis ...

yesterday 13:53 open_in_new
Ten ways to ensure a more geopolitically active and relevant Europe

On the morning of Tuesday 21 July, the European Council president Charles Michel issued a one-word tweet: "Deal". This marked the conclusion of four days of intense negotiations resulting in the EU’s €750bn Covid-19 recovery fund – an imperfect but significant achievement, proving ...

yesterday 10:44 open_in_new
Why Bertrand Russell's argument for idleness is more relevant than ever

We are used to thinking of idleness as a vice, something to be ashamed of. But when the British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote “In Praise of Idleness” in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, idleness was an unavoidable reality for the millions who had lost their jobs. Russell ...

2020-08-06 11:23 open_in_new
Pandemic brinkmanship: the geopolitics behind the race for a vaccine

When news broke in July that Western intelligence agencies had identified Russia as the likely culprit behind the hacking of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by Oxford University, Moscow’s denial was swift.

“I don’t believe in this story at all,” Andrei Kelin, ...

2020-08-05 18:35 open_in_new
Trump’s Axios interview isn’t The Thick Of It – it’s nothing Americans haven't seen before

When The Thick Of It first premiered in 2005, it felt like something different. Going against the grain of slick political dramas like The West Wing and the UK’s House of Cards, it satirised British politics as being low-budget, dour, and out of control; incompetency abetting incompetency. ...

2020-08-05 12:17 open_in_new
How Israel’s violent protests risk going beyond Covid-19 unrest

On Saturday 1 August, around 10,000 people rallied outside the Jerusalem residence of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in protest at his government’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis. Across the country, hundreds more also took to the streets against the premier, who is still ...

2020-08-05 12:17 open_in_new
A tragedy in Beirut comes at a moment of crisis for Lebanon

A huge explosion ripped through central Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 78 people and injuring thousands of others as seismic shockwaves rocked the Lebanese capital. Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab has attributed the source of the explosion to an estimated 2,750 tonnes of ammonium ...

2020-08-05 09:08 open_in_new
British Muslims are being scapegoated for the government's coronavirus failures

Are the United Kingdom’s BAME communities failing to take lockdown seriously enough? That’s the eyebrow-raising claim made by Craig Whittaker, the Conservative MP for Calder Valley, who went on to specifically single out British Muslims for blame, a claim Boris Johnson opted not to disown ...

2020-08-04 18:26 open_in_new
How I fell in love with a fake football team – and learned to love myself

Has Franco Vázquez been a good signing for Arsenal? That’s the question I’m debating with myself at the moment. Yes, he’s brought much-needed depth in the No 10 position, adding a creativity to the Arsenal side we badly lacked last season. And he has played a starring role in the ...

2020-08-04 17:23 open_in_new
Why should CNN tweet about "individuals with a cervix"?

There’s a new iteration of the bitter public debate in the UK over trans rights, and it all began with a single tweet by CNN. The American news broadcaster tweeted on Thursday evening (30 July) that new guidance by the American Cancer Society recommends that “individuals with a cervix” ...

2020-08-04 17:23 open_in_new
Of course Russia interferes in British politics. The question is: what do we do about it?

In the early hours of 13 December, after I had thanked all those who needed to be thanked at the count for administering the general election and those who helped my own campaign, I congratulated my Conservative opponent on his victory. I reminded him and those who were there what I always ...

2020-08-04 17:23 open_in_new
How Silvio Berlusconi became Italy’s kingmaker

This summer just isn’t the same. In the build-up to the long August break, Italy’s big cities normally start to empty — of locals, at least. But in 2020, locals are still hanging around while the foreign tourists are not. After 35,000 deaths and a two-month economic shutdown, Italians ...

2020-08-04 16:20 open_in_new
The best new children’s books for the coronavirus crisis

Coronavirus has touched everything, and children’s literature reflects this sooner than other forms. Many have been gripped by JK Rowling’s online children’s novel, The Ickabog (ages 6+), published in print this autumn by Little, Brown. With King Fred’s country in the grip of lies, ...

2020-08-03 20:23 open_in_new
Why time is running out for TikTok in the United States

One of the many quirks of Donald Trump’s presidency is the conflation of matters of national security with business interests and personal or party politics.

Until recently, the most obvious example was Nord Stream 2, a new gas pipeline running from Russia across the Baltic Sea to ...

2020-08-03 20:23 open_in_new
The sexual politics of Twilight

Imagine for a moment you’re in a town in a North-Westerly corner of the US. The vibe is not quite Twin Peaks, though not far off — the taste is more blackened steak than cherry pie, the smell more petrol than hot coffee, but there’s pine in the air and it rains often and hard. Everything ...

2020-08-02 12:53 open_in_new
Why the actions of authoritarian leaders are an urgent political issue for the UK

Alexander Lukashenko is about to win the presidential election in Belarus by a landslide. The election isn’t until 9 August, but I can predict this with certainty – despite the ban on independent and online opinion polls – because his two main rivals are in jail.

Sergey ...

2020-08-02 12:53 open_in_new
Podcast: The Evolution of Anglo-German Relations

On this bonus episode of World Review, Jeremy Cliffe speaks to Mark Damazer, former controller of BBC Radio 4, about his personal history with Germany, and the evolution of Anglo-German relations since the Second World War.

Send us your questions for future episodes via Twitter ...

2020-07-31 19:56 open_in_new
Why the anti-Putin protests in Russia’s eastern city are something new

Anti-Vladimir Putin protests are often presented, in Russia and abroad, as phenomena relegated to the urban intelligentsia of large millioniki, the cities of over a million people located overwhelmingly in European Russia. But the massive demonstrations that have rocked Russia’s far eastern ...

2020-07-31 18:53 open_in_new
Who will stand up for the rule of law in Hungary?

Last week, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán declared a “huge victory”. He hadn’t won an election, but, in a sense, he could claim to have won something equally important: scope to maintain the additional power he’s amassed.

The various EU countries had been in a long ...

2020-07-31 14:41 open_in_new
The music press isn’t dead

News that Q, the self-titled “world’s greatest music magazine”, is closing after 34 years has renewed conversations about the UK print music press. For many, the closure of Q confirms it: the music press is dying.

It’s a narrative that has been on the tips of tongues since ...

2020-07-31 10:29 open_in_new
The rape gap: why are convictions plummeting as reports rise?

“He got away with all of it.”

When Gail* finally reported her sexually abusive husband to the police three years ago, after two and half decades of a violent relationship, nothing came of it. He was originally arrested and released on bail without charge, and eventually allowed ...

2020-07-31 10:29 open_in_new