Archive for the ‘World current affairs’ Category

Coronavirus: nine reasons to be reassured

March 11th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

The “Guardian” newspapers has pulled together material to show that, while coronavirus is a serious challenge, there are reasons to be reassured: We know what it is. We can test for it. We know that it can be contained (albeit at considerable cost). Catching it is not that that easy (if we are careful) and […]

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Word of the day: occultation

February 24th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

I’m reading a new book on the recent history of the Middle East with particular reference to the rivalry between Sunni Islam Saudi Arabia and Shia Islam Iran. The work is called “Black Wave” and it is written by the Lebanese Emmy award-winning journalist Kim Ghattas In one of the early chapters, there is an […]

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How has democracy fared in the last 30 years? Some rough times, but some causes for hope.

January 18th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

If you have a bit of time for a read this weekend, this article from the “Journal of Democracy” is well worth your attention. The piece concludes: “It would be wrong to end this overview on a purely pessimistic note. Over the past century, democracy has gone through many ups and downs. The current crisis […]

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What kind of country is Iran?

January 3rd, 2020 by Roger Darlington

For reasons which I don’t have to explain, the country of Iran is now in news headlines around the world. But what do you actually know about this powerful yet opaque nation? There are two ways of looking at Iran. First, we can look at the history and politics of this complex country. I have […]

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How many countries have a name beginning with ‘The’?

December 17th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Wikipedia tells us: According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States Department of State, the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use, The Gambia is one of only two countries whose self-standing short name for official use should begin with the word “The”, the other being The Bahamas. Habitually, the definite […]

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The crisis in the older democracies

December 6th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Democracy is not so much a stable political system as a work in permanent progress. It takes decades, even centuries, to embed in a society – but, even then, it is never settled and never totally secure. Indeed the distinction between democratic countries and non-democratic countries is a blurred one and it is better to […]

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It’s World Toilet Day – and that’s no joke

November 19th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation – more than half the global population. 673 million people still practise open defecation worldwide. Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 432,000 diarrhoeal deaths every year and is a major factor in diseases […]

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The Spanish political system, general election and constitutional crisis

November 18th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Spain has just had its second general election in seven months and its fourth in four years. Once again, no political party secured anything like an overall majority. So, what’s going on? Read my updated guide to the Spanish political system here.

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How could an animation film for children cause an international row?

October 21st, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This weekend, I took my two granddaughters (aged 8 and 3) to see the new animation movie “Abominable” and they loved it. They were able to identify with the young Chinese girl Yi, who lives in Shanghai, when she discovers a yeti on the roof of her apartment block and endeavours to return him to […]

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Which nationalities are the tallest and the shortest?

October 14th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I’ve just returned from a week’s holiday in Montenegro and Serbia. I was surprised at how tall both the men and women were in both nations, so I’ve done a little research and I find that these are the 10 tallest countries: The world’s 10 tallest countries Netherlands – 1.838m Montenegro – 1.832m Denmark – […]

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