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Latest in Opinion


G20 or G2?

By John Defterios ABU DHABI: The good news is that the G20 represents 85 percent of global output. The bad news is that it is functioning more like the G2 with the current superpower (US) and the future superpower (China) dominating the agenda. US President Barack Obama is facing intense political heat at home and as …

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A recovery for all

By Isabel Ortiz NEW YORK: Over the last two years, the majority of countries in the world chose to expand public spending in order to buffer the impact of the global financial crisis on their economies and populations. But, this year, with signs of economic recovery emerging, advanced countries have quickly shifted from fiscal stimulus to …

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America’s employment and growth challenges

By Michael Spence NEW YORK: For many, if not most, Americans, the crisis that befell them in 2008 — leading to slow growth, rising unemployment, and high anxiety among voters — appeared to spring from nowhere. Certainly, the vast majority of economists, investment analysts, financial firms, and regulators failed to see the growing risk. In fact, …

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Muslims and Jews visit each other’s holy places this November

By Habeeb Alli TORONTO, Canada: I can see your stares! I get them every time I say we are twinning our mosques and synagogues this month. “Really?” people ask, jaws dropping. For the third year, this exercise of interfaith exchange has progressed in good faith. Synagogues agree to twin with nearby mosques, with congregants visiting each …

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Multiculturalism isn’t dead in Germany

By Lewis Gropp BONN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently declared that multiculturalism is “dead”. This statement has no basis in reality, because the word “multiculturalism” means nothing more than the functioning coexistence of various cultures within a community, which means that multiculturalism is in fact a universal, timeless concept. And in a globalized world, this concept …

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Late, but not too late, for Sudan

By George Clooney and John Prendergast STANFORD: Well, we’re in it now. What we do best. Diplomacy. The White House has dispatched Senator John Kerry to Sudan with a proposal for peace between the North and South. It’s a giant step toward avoiding the kind of bloodshed that killed more than two million people in Sudan’s …

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An independent Palestine might upset the status-quo

By Ghanem Nuseibeh LONDON: Many people view the prospect of creating an Arab state in the land of Palestine as nothing short of a political earthquake. The “Question of Palestine” has had tremendous influence across the region, and an independent Palestine would have a profound impact on regional politics, taking away one of the prime reasons …

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A return to reason

By Bjørn Lomborg COPENHAGEN: Common sense was an early loser in the scorching battle over the reality of man-made global warming. For nearly 20 years, one group of activists argued — in the face of ever-mounting evidence — that global warming was a fabrication. Their opponents, meanwhile, exaggerated the phenomenon’s likely impact — and, as a …

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The power of education to transform stereotypes of the West

By Inayah Rohmaniyah YOGYAKARTA: Extremism in Indonesia appears to be on the rise amid recent news of attacks against police headquarters in West Java and North Sumatra. Some members of the groups responsible for these attacks and a recent bank robbery are linked to Indonesia’s Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant religious group whose name is Arabic for …

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Clarity about diamonds

By Peter Singer PRINCETON: Diamonds have an image of purity and light. They are given as a pledge of love and worn as a symbol of commitment. Yet diamonds have led to gruesome murders, as well as widespread rapes and amputations. Charles Taylor, a former president of Liberia currently facing war crimes charges at a special …

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Don’t count on global governance

By Dani Rodrik CAMBRIDGE: Everybody agrees that the world economy is ill, but the diagnosis apparently depends on which corner of it you happen to inhabit. In Washington, accusing fingers point to China, blaming its currency policy for causing large trade imbalances and “destroying jobs” in the United States. Go to Seoul or Brasilia, and you …

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Rejoice, it’s election season

By Rania Al Malky CAIRO: Some crimes are just unforgivable, no matter who committed them. In Shubra El-Kheima a few days ago, according to news reports, two 14-year-olds were arrested for raping and castrating a 10-year-old child. Both the horror of the crime and the age of those who committed it seem beyond the reach …

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EU and Israel-Palestine

By Rory Miller LONDON: It is not difficult to understand the European Union’s determination to play a constructive role in solving the Israel-Palestine conflict. Generations of European policy-makers have believed that a permanent settlement of this conflict on the basis of a two state solution is not only vital for the Middle East but is, in …

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The Big Blink

By Raghuram Rajan CHICAGO: World growth is likely to remain subdued over the next few years, with industrial countries struggling to repair household and government balance sheets, and emerging markets weaning themselves off of industrial-country demand. As this clean-up from the Great Recession continues, one thing is clear: the source of global demand in the future …

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Students must pay for their education

By David B Roberts DURHAM: Some time ago, a tiny island called the United Kingdom ruled the world. Somehow an auspicious confluence of events transpired that meant that the sun never set on the British Empire. Its navy was the greatest and largest ever seen, its industries cornered the world’s markets, its political power reached …

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We the People: restoring sanity in America

By Susan Koscis WASHINGTON, DC: “Hug a Muslim Today” was the first hand-held sign I saw upon arriving at the Rally to Restore Sanity, which was recently held on a beautiful autumn afternoon on the National Mall in Washington, DC. That sign set the tone for what was to come. I’m a child of the 1960s, …

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Bahrain: Economic freedoms

By Oxford Business Group A series of international surveys published recently point towards the kingdom’s open and conducive investment environment as a key competitive advantage. On November 2, the Canadian public policy research the Fraser Institute released its latest study on economic freedom in the Arab world, with Bahrain ranked the most liberal of the 22 …

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Funding the low-carbon revolution

By Trevor Manuel and Nicolas Stern PRETORIA: The two defining challenges of our time are managing climate change and overcoming world poverty. We cannot succeed on one without succeeding on the other. With international collaboration and sound policies, we can achieve that success by launching a new era of low-carbon economic growth while adapting to the …

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Dreaming of a new Edo era

By Guy Sorman SEOUL: In mid-November, all eyes will shift to Seoul, when G-20 leaders convene for the first time in the South Korean capital. The choice is long overdue, as South Korea is a remarkable success story: in one generation, the South Koreans, formerly pummeled by civil war, under constant threat from their Northern communist …

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Is America catching the ‘British disease?’

By Barry Eichengreen BERKELEY: In the United States, the scent of decline is in the air. Imperial overreach, political polarization, and a costly financial crisis are weighing on the economy. Some pundits now worry that America is about to succumb to the “British disease.” Doomed to slow growth, the US of today, like the exhausted Britain …

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Opportunity amid danger

By John Drake LONDON: Two attempted suicide bombings have hit Iraqi Kurdistan in just over a month but, amid a spate of violence across Iraq, including an attack on a church with repercussions in Egypt, both of these attacks were barely noticed: visitors and businesses still need safety measures in Kurdistan but the generally peaceful reality …

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The most interesting part of the story

By Mustafa Akyol ISTANBUL: Since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in Turkey in late 2002, the media have had a hard time finding an apt word to define it. While the AKP insists on calling itself “conservative” and emphatically underlines that it is “not a religious party”, popular definitions adopted by the …

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Burma: India’s bad neighbor policy

By Shashi Tharoor NEW DELHI: As stage-managed elections ratify the consequences of three decades of military rule in Burma, the perspective from its neighbor India may help explain why there is continued international acceptance of the country’s long-ruling junta. Burma was ruled as part of Britain’s Indian Empire until 1935, and the links between the two …

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Justice for Some

By Joseph Stiglitz NEW YORK: The mortgage debacle in the United States has raised deep questions about “the rule of law,” the universally accepted hallmark of an advanced, civilized society. The rule of law is supposed to protect the weak against the strong, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. In America in the wake of …

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Germany’s will to compromise

By Michael Bolle and Cordelia Friesendorf BERLIN: “Confront, then compromise” could well become Germany’s mantra for successful European Union negotiations. Germany is willing to bail out member states in exchange for tougher fiscal austerity and a suspension of voting rights, but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s demand for permanent crisis-resolution mechanisms, together with changes to the Lisbon Treaty, …

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Hamas and the social Islamization of Gaza

By Mkhaimar Abusada GAZA CITY: The Gaza Strip was known as a very traditional and conservative society long before Hamas seized control of it in June 2007. The densely-populated Strip is primarily inhabited by Palestinian refugees who have long suffered from poverty and negligence. But since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, it has intensified its …

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How Turkey is changing

By Soner Cagaptay, Hale Arifagaoglu and Cansin Ersoz WASHINGTON, DC: The Justice and Development Party (AKP) rose to power in Turkey in 2002, introducing new social, political and foreign policy currents throughout Turkish society. Reports indicate that under the AKP’s guidance, Turkey is becoming more conservative. While social conservatism is not in itself a problem, a …

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Austerity politics, then and now

By Harold James PRINCETON: Britain’s policy of fiscal consolidation, recently announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, sent shock waves around the world. Osborne argued that Britain was on the brink: that there was no alternative to his policy if the country was to avoid a massive crisis of confidence. Other countries, such as Greece, …

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The opportunity in Seoul

By Yoon Young-kwan SEOUL: Hubris usually gives birth to disaster. The root cause of the current global crisis was intellectual hubris in the form of the blind belief that markets would always resolve their own problems and contradictions. Thirty years after the Reagan-Thatcher revolution, the ideological pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction. Each …

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Diplomacy’s darkest hours

By Shlomo Ben Ami MADRID: Diplomacy is not having its finest hour nowadays. Quite the contrary: resistance to diplomatic solutions is a common thread in most of today’s major conflicts. Afghanistan will continue to bleed until the allies finally recognize that only by engaging the Taliban do they stand a chance of ending the war. But …

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