TEA LEAVES UNDER STONES

“Je Suis Charlie” – “I Am Charlie” : Which Way France After the Big Demo? France’s and the World’s Take Away From This Tragedy


Last Sunday Paris saw a truly extraordinary outpouring of solidarity shown by the French people, following the tragic events a few days earlier, when seventeen were so brutally killed by three terrorists. Watching it left me, perhaps like you, wondering how the French government and France as a nation can best respond in coming days to the major challenges they now face. Continue reading

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Sharing the Spirit of Christmas Where Can It Take Us in the New Year?


We are swamped in commercialism at Christmas time – even more so this year when Americans are spending more than ever since 2007. But, perhaps, like me, you have paused to ponder that this is a time for giving, sparing a thought for the needy. Also, in a time of goodwill and good cheer, it is a time for sharing – particularly with those we are seemingly much at odds with in the world. If we look around us far enough, we will see that surprising things often happen at this time of year. Continue reading

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Recession in Japan : Abe’s Arrows Hitting Wide of Mark ? Lagging Innovation and Youth in Crisis in Now Aging Society


Last week Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, suddenly called for advanced general elections to be held this December. Like me, you may be wondering what brought about this sharp change. For, until recently, Abe appeared to be on a roll. His “three arrows” major reform program launched in 2012 was proceeding steadily, if with some setbacks. But, the election announcement came hard on the heels of news that Japan’s economy had slipped back into recession in 2014, after achieving in 2013 the strongest period of sustained growth and rising inflation in over a decade, dashing hopes Japan was finally in recovery. Continue reading

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Ebola Epidemic in West Africa : Wake-Up Call for Us All or Isolated Outbreak?


Watching the alarm here in America and across the world about the expanding ebola epidemic in West Africa has left me with decidedly mixed emotions.
I am a survivor of a 1987 severe tropical virus infection – contracted in West Africa. So, I know all too well how easy it is for such viruses – like ebola and the one I caught – to spread rapidly across borders and around the world. I know their life-threatening severity. Continue reading

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Salman Rushdie, Bill Maher and Islamophobia – Is It Religion or Politics Driving Conflict in the Middle East?


In recent days, as the U.S. led crusade against ISIS has moved into high gear, like me, you have probably become increasingly troubled by the rising tide of renewed Islamophobia it has sparked off in the mass media here in America and in Europe. A range of high profile media personalities – notably Bill Maher, Chris Cuomo and Salman Rushdie (see above quotes) Continue reading

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The Real Fight Against ISIS – Does America Need a Different Strategy?


In recent weeks, the rallying cry put out by the U.S.A. and its allies to attack and eliminate ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – has come to totally dominate the news in foreign policy in the Middle East. It has quite displaced attention on other major ongoing crises and conflict in that sorely afflicted region. Coverage is sparse now concerning the ongoing Syrian civil war, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as other conflicts and crack-downs in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain or Tunisia. Continue reading

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Scotland’s Hour of Decision: Rising Tide for Independence As Angry Rhetoric Confronts Desire for Change


Here in London, all the talk – and a lot of establishment politicians’ nail-biting! – is about the impending referendum in Scotland. On September 18, the Scots could vote for full independence from the United Kingdom. This would break up a union that has endured over three hundred years – since the Act of Union in 1707. In the run-up to the vote, in recent months, establishment politicians in the U.K.’s major parties have alternated between threats and complacency. Few have taken the Scottish people seriously – even as they have actively and passionately debated the pro’s and con’s of independence in an amazingly broad-based show of grass-roots democracy. Continue reading

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No Time for a Holiday In Europe Continuing Austerity Cuts Deep Into Society and Families -What Lessons for Our Future?


On holiday in Sicily, southern Italy, I am struck how deeply five years of “austerity” policies in the Eurozone countries have cut into the economies, and into families’ lives and prosperity in all the eighteen nations of the Eurozone. August traditionally has been a holiday month when most Europeans take time off for summer vacations. In these long extended troubled times, since the 2009 Great Crash, far fewer Europeans are taking a break. Continue reading

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The Coming Digital Age Is It the End of Work as We Know It, or a New Beginning?


As we come out of the Great Recession, unemployment appears to remain stubbornly high. Many millions of Americans and Europeans are still out of work or in lower paying jobs. Meanwhile, many businesses are reducing their labor through automation and off-shoring. A growing number of recent studies suggest this is part of a major irreversible shift in how our economies run that will Continue reading

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South China Sea Challenge


In the past year or two there seemingly has been a sudden rise of fiery tensions between several South-East Asian nations – notably Philippines and Vietnam – and China over their competing claims to the Spratly (Nansha) Islands – a large group of over 230 islands and other rock formations (shoals, reefs, banks and cays) covering a vast area of over 800,000 square kilometers across the South China Sea (SCS). Meanwhile, Vietnam and China have engaged in aggressive skirmishing over competing oil rigs and fishing grounds around the Paracels (Xisha) Islands that lie between northern Vietnam and the southern Chinese island of Hainan. Continue reading

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