Archive for the ‘World current affairs’ Category


How many covid deaths have there been now?

August 31st, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Each evening on the BBC’s News At Ten”, it announces the latest daily death toll but, for a long time now, it has failed to mention the total number of deaths. That figure for the UK, as of today, is 132,485. That’s almost twice the number of non-combatants killed in this country in the Second […]

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Statistic of the day: of 4.8 billion Covid vaccine doses delivered around the world to date, around 75% have gone to just 10 countries

August 26th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

The statistics are stark and shaming. During an exasperated intervention earlier this week, the World Health Organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pointed out that of 4.8bn Covid vaccine doses delivered around the world to date, around 75% have gone to just 10 countries. The level of vaccine donations from richer countries, he added with some understatement, has been […]

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How can one possibly understand the complex and tragic history of Afghanistan?

August 16th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

One way is to read these three magnificent novels by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini: “The Kite Runner” – my review here “A Thousand Splendid Suns” – my review here “And The Mountains Echoed” – my review here

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How do we make any kind of sense of the current cataclysm in Afghanistan?

August 15th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Seven years ago, I read and reviewed a book titled “Zone Of Crisis: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran And Iraq” by Amin Saikal (2014). These are extracts from my review as it related particularly to Afghanistan: Afghanistan and Pakistan are predominately Sunni states, while Iraq and Iran have a Shia majority population (the only such countries in the […]

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As the Taliban rush to complete their retaking of the control of Afghanistan, we should remember how this all started

August 15th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Twenty years ago, I read and reviewed the book “Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil And Fundamentalism In Central Asia” by Ahmed Rashid (2001). This is what I said: Rarely can a book have been so timely and so topical. Rashid is a Pakistani journalist who has been writing about Afghanistan for over 20 years. His book was […]

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Some people say that we live in a new age of identity politics. But what is identity and why has it become more complicated?

August 1st, 2021 by Roger Darlington

The question of identity has troubled humans throughout the 200,000 history of humankind. Just who are we and what makes us different from other humans and how important are those differences?  In evolutionary terms, for most of human history, identity has been a relatively simple matter. But, since the age of civilisations emerged some 5,000 […]

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A review of “The Power Of Geography” by Tim Marshall (2021)

July 9th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Following the (deserved) success of “Prisoners Of Geography” – sub-titled “Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics” – Marshall has now produced this companion work subtitled ” Ten maps that reveal the future of our world”. While it is true that there are 10 double-page maps, there are another […]

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Word of the day: the Sahel

July 2nd, 2021 by Roger Darlington

The term is derived from the Arabic word for coast or shore and here it is used in a figurative sense in reference to the southern edge of the vast Sahara. So the Sahel is a huge region of Africa between sands of the Sahara to the north and the savanna of Sudan to the […]

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10 years of death, destitution and devastation in the Syrian civil war

March 15th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

On 9 March 2011, I passed from Syria into Lebanon after a week touring the main sights of Syria. Just six days later and exactly ten years ago today, the Syrian civil war began – although, at the time, the first protests were barely reported and nobody would have imagined the resultant scale and duration […]

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Just how worried should we be by the threat of terrorism?

March 6th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

I am currently reading “21 Lessons For The 21st Century” by the Israeli writer Yuval Noah Harari. I am stunned by the breadth of his knowledge of different subjects, different nations and different periods of history. In a chapter of terrorism, he asks us to keep threats to life in perspective: “Since 11 September 2001, […]

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