Peter Beaumont says of chemical weapons that “the idea that other weapons are equally deadly misses the point, which is that we have decided that this class of killing – like the wanton murder of civilians and shooting prisoners – is beyond the pale” (Poison gas has been taboo for a century. It must remain so, 19 April). However, he misses a wider context himself – that the world order is one in which stronger nations use their military and economic power to subdue weaker ones with impunity. As long as this is the case, less strong countries will use whatever means come to hand to try to level the playing field; much like a resistance movement does to a foreign occupier. We don’t, for instance, condemn the Maquis their second world war excesses in murdering captured German soldiers. The obvious answer to stopping the use of chemical weapons is to strengthen global multilateral bodies like the UN, and give them greater powers to regulate and … [Read more...] about If only the west’s motives for Syria strikes were more principled
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Michael Moorcock 21 April 2018 9:00 AM 21 April 2018 9:00 AM Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Email Whatsapp God Save Texas: A Journey into the Future of America Lawrence WrightAllen Lane, pp.337, £20 The subtitle of Lawrence Wright’s splendid God Save Texas (‘A Journey into the Future of America’) would be alarming if I found it entirely convincing. It’s hard to imagine a future where the Catholic Texan spirit of individualism would seriously overwhelm Yankee Puritanism, however mutated. In New England it’s about hard-earned old money shrewdly invested. In Texas it’s about striking it rich on a hunch, and new money rashly spent. There are contradictions in Texas which allow you to select almost any argument you like from her. She is beautiful and she is barren; corrupt and honourable. Whatever you want to say about her, she will supply abundant evidence. Texans are proud of their immigrant heritage, which includes … [Read more...] about Texas: the myriad contradictions of the Lone Star state
1755 English lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson publishes his Dictionary of the English Language. 1784 The first balloon is flown in Ireland. 1813 U.S. troops under James Wilkinson lay siege to the Spanish-held city of Mobile in future state of Alabama. 1858 At the Battle of Azimghur, the Mexicans defeat Spanish loyalists. 1871 'Wild Bill' Hickok becomes the marshal of Abilene, Kansas. 1861 President Lincoln mobilizes Federal army. 1865 Abraham Lincoln dies from John Wilkes Booth's assassination bullet. 1912 With her band playing on the deck, the ocean liner Titanic sinks at 2:27 a.m. in the North Atlantic. 1917 British forces defeat the Germans at the Battle of Arras. 1923 Insulin becomes generally available for people suffering with diabetes. 1923 The first sound films shown to a paying audience are exhibited at the Rialto Theater in New York City. … [Read more...] about Today in History April 15
Squeezing into a student apartment on a snowy Saturday evening in March, a group of Colombians, a Bangladeshi, an Algerian and an American mix salsa into a Mexican-inspired meal. It seems like a scene straight from Berlin and not Cottbus, a city in Brandenburg that has garnered a reputation as a gathering ground for right-wing rallies and violence. In the past three years, the number of foreigners in the eastern German city of 109,000 inhabitants grew from 4,500 to 8,000. The increase, mostly from refugees but also international students and employees, helped fuel tensions and suspicions in an area already anxious about its social and economic future. When Laura, a Colombian master’s student in Cottbus since October, stopped by the supermarket in search of ingredients with her international group of friends, “the guard asked us to leave our bags at the entrance,” said Laura. “Local people were going inside and he didn’t ask them to do the same.” … [Read more...] about A portrait of Cottbus, the German town that stopped accepting refugees
This article is available to Members of The Local. Read more Membership Exclusives here. Latest figures compiled by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) show that by the end of 2016, Germany had its highest ever population of foreigners (people who only hold a foreign passport) - 10 million people. This was a 23 percent increase compared to statistics from 2014. The country’s largest immigrant group is from Turkey (1.5 million), followed by nationals of Poland, Syria, Italy and Romania. Close to half of Germany’s foreign population - about 4.2 million people - come from within the European Union, according to the Central Register of Foreigners (AZR). Meanwhile Destatis figures indicate that the arrival of foreigners from non-EU countries has increased by almost 30 percent since the beginning of 2015. Syrians (440,000) form the largest group of non-Europeans that have come to Germany over the last decade, followed by Americans (324,000), Chinese (212,000), … [Read more...] about Who are Germany’s foreign population and where do they live?