Archive for the ‘World current affairs’ Category

A review of the fascinating book “Enlightenment Now” by Steven Pinker (2018)

May 11th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

The Enlightenment took place from the mid 17th century to the late 18th century but, 300 years later, the triumphs of Enlightenment thinking and values, with their emphasis on reason, science and humanism, still need explaining and defending to a world in which populism and so-called post-truth are seeking to challenge the fruits of progress. […]

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In short, what is the nuclear deal with Iran?

May 9th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

“Iran and a six-nation negotiating group reached a landmark agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in July 2015. It ended 12 years of deadlock over Tehran’s nuclear programme. Struck in Vienna after nearly two years of intensive talks, the deal limited the Iranian programme to reassure the rest of the world that […]

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The continuing tragedy of Syria’s civil war

May 8th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I spent two hours this Bank Holiday weekend watching a double programme about the civil war in Syria. It was broadcast by the BBC and presented by its Canadian-born chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet. You can check it out here. The seven-year Syrian civil war is a conflict which has now lasted longer than the Second […]

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What does the Korea summit actually mean?

April 28th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

A few months ago, war on the Korean peninsula looked dangerously likely, but incredibly on Friday President Kim Jong-un of North Korea and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea met, talked, and signed the Panmunjom declaration. The BBC has highlighted five key moments in the programme and provided access to the full text of the agreement […]

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Is the state of the world really as bad as we think?

April 16th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I’m currently reading a fascinating book titled “Enlightenment Now” written by the American professor of psychology Steven Pinker. The theme of the work is that, if you follow the trend lines rather than the headlines, you will see that we are making spectacular progress on every measure of human well-being. But most people don’t know […]

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Could China invade Taiwan?

April 4th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

As if the world needed any more to worry about, the “Guardian” today has an article which begins: “China could do to Taiwan what Russia did to Crimea if Beijing’s relations with Washington, strained by an expanding trade war and military rivalry in the East and South China seas, deteriorate further. The warning from maritime security […]

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Congratulations to Andria Zafirakou, the best teacher in the world

March 19th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I am delighted by the news that Andria Zafirakou has become the first British winner of the Global Teacher Prize, beating teachers nominated from more than 170 countries. The prize of $1million (£720,000), launched in 2015 by an education charity, the Varkey Foundation, was created to give more status to the teaching profession, with an Oscars-style awards […]

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Encouraging news on North Korea – but beware of false dawns

March 9th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

The most encouraging world news in a while is the surprise revelation that North Korea is willing to negotiate giving up its nuclear weapons programme and that the presidents of North Korea and the United States will meet in the next couple of months. There have been no significant negotiations between the US and North […]

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Stumbling Block and Last Address – remembering the past and its victims

March 8th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

In the 1990s, an initiative started in Germany called  the Stolpersteine project. Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) are brass plaques the size of a cobblestone laid into the pavements of German towns and cities, outside the houses where the victims of Nazi atrocities had lived. Each plaque bears the name of the victim as well as the […]

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How would one summarise the current Chinese political system?

March 2nd, 2018 by Roger Darlington

In my recently updated short guide to the Chinese political system, I conclude: The Chinese Communist Party is almost schizophrenic in its economic policies. On the one hand, China is still a communist society but, on the other hand, its economy is more capitalist than most European countries. This contradiction is blurred by language with […]

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