The coronavirus, which originated in China late last year, has begun its definite spread across the globe. Each day brings news of new infections, and new countries in which symptoms of the virus have been observed. But one surprising locus for the diffusing virus is now Iran, far from China. Continue reading
The world’s attention is fixated on Singapore, the venue for a summit that not long ago looked like it wouldn’t happen.
Discussion between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump was imperilled by the former’s intransigence and the latter’s rashness. Trump dictated an intemperate letter to Kim on May 24 cancelling the thing. It looked as though that was that. Continue reading
Review – War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by David Patrikarakos
The commercial internet changed the world. That much is conventional wisdom.
Similarly, its importance in the contemporary scene, largely in the form of social media, which features in what is termed ‘Web 2.0’, is sacrosanct.
It has altered the way billions of people communicate and has changed the nature of that communication. Its influence on politics is accepted to be vast, with some political figures practically defined by their use of one particular website: Twitter. Continue reading
Once again, Tony Blair is in the news. A merry-go-round of stories swirls around the former British prime minister. Many of them are luridly drawn, some nonsensical. A new story concerns the perpetual question of Blair being prosecuted for the Iraq war. Continue reading
In the West, North Korea used to be a punchline. The hermit state was known to be repressive and its leaders were seen to be deeply cruel. But amid stories of man-made famines and mass starvation, prison systems and summary executions, Western journalists found something else to write about. Continue reading
The people disappeared in Syria’s military prisons do not have graves, but they do have names. They may not have been accorded funeral rites, but they have faces and stories and their families have memories of their presence. The war which has destroyed much of Syria can be localised: to a family, to a single person, to a face. And within the wider war lurk stories of cruelty and barbarism which affect individuals but whose effects spiral outwards. These specific instances of savagery become institutionalised. Continue reading