Sub-Saharan Africa and China: A Fairy Tale Match?

Sub-Saharan Africa and China: A Fairy Tale Match?

It seems that 2015 has been the year of Africa: Africa rising and Africa not rising. Yet, as the public is hearing more about the continent from news outlets, the discourse often centres on China and its role in Sub-Saharan African countries (Table 1). Although this conversation tends to split...
The Battle for Afghanistan: a New Contender?

The Battle for Afghanistan: a New Contender?

Just as the term of US ambassador James Cunningham was coming to a close in Afghanistan, ISIS announced the start of theirs. In the summer of 2014, ISIS trumpeted their arrival by hanging 12 Taliban commanders in Nuristan Province. A 17-minute video soon after appeared online, confirming the validity of...
Love Won? LGBT Rights in 2015

Love Won? LGBT Rights in 2015

‘If you all agree with the question then we’ll have nothing to discuss.’[1] Thus spoke a bemused David Dimbleby on BBC’s Question Time in Belfast in January when faced with the exceptionally rare occurrence of a studio audience applauding in support of an issue almost unanimously. The topic in question...
War and Terror: The Removal of Dictators in the Twenty-First Century

War and Terror: The Removal of Dictators in the Twenty-First Century

10 September 2001 was a relatively normal day. The Mayor of Campinas in Brazil, Antônio da Costa Santos was murdered as he drove home,[1] American rapper DJ Uncle Al was shot dead,[2] and Charles Ingram cheated his way to winning £1 million on the British quiz show Who Wants to...
Myanmar: Where to go from here?

Myanmar: Where to go from here?

The image of a crossroads in current affairs journalism is perhaps a little tired and stale. Despite this, the importance and potential of the juncture at which Myanmar now finds itself cannot be over-emphasised. The seeming success of the election in November is complicated by the socio-economic situation. The two...
The Donald

The Donald

He is a real estate tycoon, reality TV sensation, married to a supermodel, and now a presidential candidate. Looking back at 2015 would not be complete without discussing the impact of Donald Trump. The man who coined the catchphrase ‘You’re fired’ is now in the running for the highest office...
Justice in Colombia Redefined

Justice in Colombia Redefined

Justice in Latin America is no longer as black and white as putting the guilty behind bars, especially when impunity and corruption is rife. Across Central and South America unionists, victims and international human rights agencies have endured years of long suffering and neglect in a painful search for the...
Climate Security for Whom?

Climate Security for Whom?

From 30 November to 12 December, the eyes of the world were on Paris as international leaders negotiated a strategy to address climate change. The resulting agreement, signed by all the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was widely hailed as a success. Tim Palmer, Royal...
Birds of a feather? Burundi and Rwanda: the dangers of ignoring Africa’s Great Lakes Region (again)

Birds of a feather? Burundi and Rwanda: the dangers of ignoring Africa’s Great Lakes Region (again)

In 1994, the world stood and watched as Rwanda burned. Granted, there was little that the international community could have done to stem or prevent the violence, short of travelling back at least several years, if not several decades, to avert the pre-cursors of the violence. The international community vowed...
The South China Sea – An Asian Flashpoint?

The South China Sea – An Asian Flashpoint?

One hundred and twenty nautical miles from the coast of the Philippines lies a thorn for the newly developing Chinese naval beast. It is a three hundred foot, seventy-year-old former tank ship of the United States Navy. She now serves as an outpost for the Philippine Marine Corps and is...
War of the Words: Reconsidering ‘Terror’ in 2015

War of the Words: Reconsidering ‘Terror’ in 2015

Terrorism succeeds by instilling fear and mass hysteria within targeted populations. In the contemporary world, ‘terror’ is ubiquitous. Daily headlines and news feeds are dominated by fears of outsiders and terrorists seeking to disrupt normal life. Rather than tangible threats, however, it is largely the perception of terror that consumes...
A Black Banner Year: ISIS’ 2015 Rise to Global Power

A Black Banner Year: ISIS’ 2015 Rise to Global Power

New York City’s Times Square on the night of 31 December, 2015 was, as it is every year, a predictable extravaganza of drunken revelry and universal optimism. Yet, amongst the carousing, resolving, and Auld Lang Syne-ing lurked a sober reminder of the times and what the waning year had seen....
Japanese Prisons

Japanese Prisons

Kazuo Ishikawa spent the majority of his adult life behind bars. Convicted of murder in 1964, he has since been granted parole in 1994 and is fighting to redeem his name. The reason? Ishikawa is reasonably considered a victim impacted by a justice system overly reliant on confessions. Ishikawa was...
2015 Saudi Arabian Municipal Elections: Human Rights in Action?

2015 Saudi Arabian Municipal Elections: Human Rights in Action?

On 12 December 2015, the world witnessed Saudi Arabia fulfilling the promise of its late king, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. For the first time ever, Saudi women were granted the right to vote and even run as candidates in the country’s only recently implemented municipal elections. Whether or not...
Chaos in Calais – The Value of Bare Necessities in the Jungle

Chaos in Calais – The Value of Bare Necessities in the Jungle

2015 was undoubtedly the annus horribilis of the modern-day migrant crisis. Epitomised by the harrowing image of three-year old Alan Kurdi, who drowned alongside his family on their way to Europe in September, the desperation to flee war-torn countries has reached an all-time high. Increasingly violent fallout from the Arab...
The EU in Duress: How the Refugee Crisis is Generating a Trend of Isolation

The EU in Duress: How the Refugee Crisis is Generating a Trend of Isolation

Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War thousands of Syrians have fled their war torn country in search of peace in a democratic Europe.[1] Between January and November 2015, more than 886,000 people reached Europe via the Mediterranean, a significant increase from previous years. This journey for refugees is...
Dangerous Year in Reproductive Health

Dangerous Year in Reproductive Health

When China renounced its notorious one-child policy in October, it seemed like draconian family planning rules were a thing of the past.[1] One of the most powerful countries in the world had finally decided to relax its tight grip on family planning and women’s health, relinquishing a policy that had...
Year in Review: Social Media in the Spotlight

Year in Review: Social Media in the Spotlight

In 2015, the number of active Twitter and Facebook users grew to 320 million and 1.5 billion respectively[1]. Over the course of the year, politicians, news outlets, members of the public and even terrorist organisations relied heavily on these and other social media platforms in order to break news, share...
Smoke and Mirrors: Deconstructing Russian Foreign Policy Objectives in 2015

Smoke and Mirrors: Deconstructing Russian Foreign Policy Objectives in 2015

‘We all know that after the end of the Cold War – everyone is aware of that – a single centre of domination emerged in the world, and then those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that if they were strong and exceptional,...
Year in Review: The European Defence Industry

Year in Review: The European Defence Industry

Successively monopolised by the Greek debt crisis and massive migrant influx, the European Union (EU) had little time in 2015 for important announcements concerning its defence policy and weapons industry. Nevertheless, recent terror attacks in Paris combined with external pressure on France’s southern and eastern borders should remind European Union...
A Deal Gone… Well? The Past, Present, and Future of Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions

A Deal Gone… Well? The Past, Present, and Future of Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions

Representatives from with P5+1 powers (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States) settled 14 July 2015 on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in Vienna regarding Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technologies. This plan was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 20 July...
Latest entries
Closing its Doors? A Look At The Recent Release of Prisoners From Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre

Closing its Doors? A Look At The Recent Release of Prisoners From Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre

It is no secret that President of the United States, Barack Obama, has been desperately trying to close down Guantanamo Bay, the American military prison and detention centre in Cuba, since taking office in January 2009. The first detainees arrived at Guantanamo Bay on 11 January 2002 under the command of former U.S. President George...
The Problem with Germany’s Healthcare

The Problem with Germany’s Healthcare

Despite its economic dominance in Europe, Germany, like many of its neighbours, suffers from a rapidly ageing population. It is estimated that one out of five German citizens today are aged sixty-five or older. This demographic has allowed for the rise of a lucrative healthcare sector with an economic output of 287.3 billion euros as...
In Welcoming Refugees to the Vatican, Pope Practices what he Preaches

In Welcoming Refugees to the Vatican, Pope Practices what he Preaches

Pope Francis has garnered quite the reputation as a ‘maverick’ Pope, from publically speaking about divorced Catholics receiving communion and practicing tolerance towards the LGBT community, to rather famously calling out Donald Trump. While both critics and supporters are quick to point out, albeit for different reasons, that he has not enacted any significant doctrinal...
Who is part of Modi’s India?

Who is part of Modi’s India?

Narendra Modi’s India has been praised for its efforts to open itself to wider markets and allow greater foreign investment. Although this may be more pertinent to those looking in on India from the outside, the internal struggles that have bubbled to the surface reveal a lot about Modi’s vision, or at least his ambivalence,...
The politics of the veil in France – a reflection on the shortcomings of western feminism

The politics of the veil in France – a reflection on the shortcomings of western feminism

A recent interview with French women’s rights minister Laurence Rossignol, in which she compared Muslim women wearing the veil to ‘American negroes who were in favour of slavery’ provoked widespread anger in France; a petition demanding that she face sanctions for her words highlights the irony in the fact that her government has just launched...
Violating Olympic Norms: A Timeless Tradition

Violating Olympic Norms: A Timeless Tradition

Since December 2014, the Russian state has been accused of administering a state-sponsored doping program to athletes competing in international competitions. A report compiled by the Independent Commission established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ‘[…] confirmed the existence of widespread cheating through the use of doping substances and methods to ensure, or enhance the...
Deportation Instead of Protection: The State of Child Migration in Central America

Deportation Instead of Protection: The State of Child Migration in Central America

In 2015, 170,000 child migrants were apprehended at the Mexican border. A majority of these children, both unaccompanied and accompanied minors, travelled from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras, collectively a region known as the Northern Triangle. The Northern Triangle is infamous for gang violence, which has plagued the region for more than a decade. Children...
Why We Should Remember Asad Shah

Why We Should Remember Asad Shah

In this world of blaring noise, where social media constantly shouts facts and statistics at us; where news has to be ‘breaking’ in order to be meaningful; where violent and sexual images have become so ubiquitous that people refuse to be shocked by deaths in far-off countries – in this world, it takes something very...
Drones and EU’s Defence Industry: A Case Study

Drones and EU’s Defence Industry: A Case Study

With 28 heads and frequently as many diverging opinions, the European Union should never provide enough of intellectual stunts to find some sense of community. Take for instance the so-called Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). EU member states agree on the need ‘to deepen defence cooperation by improving the capacity to conduct missions and...
France’s New Prostitution Law: More Problematic Than it Seems

France’s New Prostitution Law: More Problematic Than it Seems

After two years of internal parliamentary conflict, French MPs passed a controversial law on 7 April which makes paying for sex a criminal offence. First offenders are to be fined €1500, and second-time offenders will be charged €3750 and have the infraction marked on their criminal record. MP Maud Olivier, a proponent of the Bill,...
Impeachment: Solving or Creating Problems?

Impeachment: Solving or Creating Problems?

It’s official. Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted on 17 April to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, 367 to 137. Tensions in the country are so high the police built a temporary metal wall to separate protestors outside the government building. The scandal surrounding Brazil’s government, the state-run oil company, Petrobras, and Rousseff’s possible tampering with...
China: The World's Drone Superstore

China: The World’s Drone Superstore

China’s drone market is the one of the more recent pieces of fuel added to the fire that is the “Rise of China” debate. Over the past decade with its rapidly growing economy, the international community has heavily focused on what China’s ascendance means for the international system as a whole. Many in the United...