A picture shows a child's shoe amidst the rubble of buildings, destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on May 21, 2021. - A ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, controlled by Islamist group Hamas, came into effect after 11 days of airstrikes and rocket fire. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

So, it has happened again. Riots in Jerusalem. Random rocket fire and precision bombings, both with civilian casualties. The parties are involved in a spiral of revenge with the goal of exhausting the opponent. The pattern is repeated year after year. The outside world demands a cease fire; mediators sign up. This has been the case throughout my adult life. No lasting peace for Israel, no solution for the stateless Palestinians. Cease fire is fine, but for how long?

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Generous social benefits aren’t enough to change the life prospects of kids from low-income families.

Nordic nations are proud of their social policies—justifiably so. As we know, high taxes fund social security, education, disability, housing and unemployment benefits that reduce inequality and increase social mobility.

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Turkey's opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) members of parliament hold a press conference, to protest against the withdrawal of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, at the parliament in Ankara on May 26, 2021. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

On March 20th, the Turkish government issued a presidential decree nullifying Ankara’s commitment to the Istanbul Convention, the landmark international treaty on the rights of women and girls.

 

"The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, shall be terminated on the part of Turkey.” read the decree, which was disseminated via run media.

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LEHTIKUVA / AFP

My approach to the future of the Middle East is not based on academic research or a long presence in the region. But I can say that the problems of the region never left me, they have always played some role in my life. It started with the Suez Crisis in 1956 when as a young man I was confronted in the news with the British-French invasion of the Canal zone, one of the last gasps of traditional colonial practice, in this and in other parts of the world.

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Image © Gina Sanders/Adobe Stock Photos

On 9 May, the Conference on the Future of Europe will get underway. Floated well before the COVID-19 outbreak, its timing in the wake of the seismic shifts precipitated by the pandemic, and its implementation alongside the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, means that the outcomes could be far-reaching. Coupled with the parallel forces of greater digitalisation and climate change, Europe (and indeed the world) has seen a shift in the current paradigm

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Face masks are mandatory or highly recommended in over 130 countries in the world, and over a hundred prominent academics, (including two Nobel prize winners) have signed a letter calling for masks to be required in public to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. Several studies suggest face coverings - when properly worn - help in limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

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Workers unload a container from a plane of Aeromexico airline carrying the second shipment of the Sputnik V vaccines against COVID-19 from Russian Gamalei laboratory, upon arrival at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City on March 10, 2021. - Mexico received a shipment of 200,000 doses. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

As the number of laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 infections peek in Finland, the country is going into another shutdown. Over 400k people have already received the first shot of a two-shot vaccine, but the rate of vaccination has altogether been disappointing. Finland, with 12.38 administered doses per 100 people is in 23rd place globally, after countries like Lithuania and Slovenia.

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It is pretty common for The Centre Party to be the target of malicious comments in “Etelän media”, the media in southern Finland. The party is antediluvian, an anomaly, a special interest party that always betrays, and a treacherous negotiator that introduces last-minute proposal that favor them, to force the other’s hand. Already twenty years ago, it was said that The Centre Party was past its prime, but the party still managed to hold the fort.

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A family wearing face masks pose for pictures next to the figure of an ox in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on February 10, 2021, ahead of the biggest holiday of the year, the Lunar New Year, which ushers in the Year of the Ox on February 12. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

COVID-19 pandemic hit hard the global economy in the past year. The international community are going through the worst recession since the end of the Second World War. Industries and businesses of all countries have been mired in difficulties of varying degrees. Stability and economic recovery have become a common task for us all.

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A nurse displays a vial of Covishield, AstraZeneca's Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine made by India's Serum Institute, as she prepares to inoculate her colleagues at the KC General hospital in Bangalore. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Background


It is a little more than a year that the coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan in China. The first case outside China of a woman who had arrived from Wuhan was reported by World Health Organization (WHO) in Thailand on 13th January. This development should have set alarm bells ringing but the WHO kept maintaining that there was no cause for concern nor was there any need to stop flights from Wuhan/China as this would be tantamount to stigmatizing a country and its people.

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A nurse prepares to administer a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine to health workers at the KC General hospital in Bangalore on January 16, 2021. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

TRIPS waiver proposal from India, South Africa and other members

A proposal by India, South Africa and eight other countries calls on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to exempt member countries from enforcing some patents, and other Intellectual Property (IP) rights under the organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, known as TRIPS, for a limited period of time.

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