Tunisian security officers hold back protesters outside the parliament building in the capital Tunis on July 26, 2021, following a move by the president to suspend the country's parliament and dismiss the Prime Minister. - Tunisia was plunged deeper into crisis as President Kais Saied suspended parliament and dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi late July 25, prompting the country's biggest political party to decry a "coup d'etat". LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Since the 25th of July 2021, the eyes of many people are on Tunisia. That day, the President of the Republic, Kais Saied, invoked the emergency article of Tunisia’s constitution, dismissed the Prime Minister, froze the activity of the Parliament and lifted the immunity from its members.

A few hours before these decisions, many Tunisians took to the street under an excruciating 40°C midday sun and in violation of the COVID 19 restrictions to express their anger, dismay and dissatisfaction calling for the dissolution of the Parliament.

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Climate change demands a global response

There are many obstacles to the reform of the current world order. Counter-perceptions and ingrained thoughts are so strong that many simply do not care to deal with the problem. The globe is too fragmented, the nation states are strong, and the great powers will never give up their privileges.

The nation states do not disappear, but they should, in their own interest, agree to new rules of the game.

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Min. Pär Stenbäck, with one of his books on salvation of democracy published in spring 2019

Today is International Youth Day. It should be celebrated as such, but like many of the days designated by the UN, it passes by rather unnoticed. For me, the day, the month and the year have a personal meaning. Thirty years ago, a couple of American friends and I founded the International Youth Foundation, which over the years has become a major player in preventive youth work.

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Human languages family tree, 2014.

When community meetings are held to determine priority development projects in villages, in neighborhoods, in schools, in agricultural fields—wherever they may take place—we want to speak the language that is spoken there, spoken every day. The idea of a person or a community of people exploring what they most want in their lives should be as real and as connected to their notion of "self" as possible.

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The pandemic has led to a serious relapse of pure nationalism. This is the diagnosis that now seems to apply. Closed borders, lack of solidarity in the distribution of vaccines, suspicion of nations perceived as `guilty` of the origin and spread of the virus. Maybe all this will disappear when the pandemic is over (when?), Maybe not.

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This photo taken on June 9, 2021 shows students leaving a school after finishing the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), known as Gaokao, in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province. Life has been back to normal in Wuhan for month, while shutdowns continue in the rest of the world. (Photo by STR / AFP) / - LEHTIKUVA

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hanging around in the world for more than one year. Although we have seen some signs of relief, yet it is far from being over. While the whole world is trying to control the disease, everyone is also thinking about and planning for the blueprint for a post-pandemic era economic recovery. 

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Running for municipal elections as a foreigner in a small city near Helsinki, without mastering the language, seems like a bad idea. It isn't if your goal is to improve stuff and not simply to get votes. This might seem like a detail, but it isn't. Professional politicians are obsessed with votes, it guarantees their relevance and salaries. And of course everyone needs to feel relevant, but politics should not be a job. It should be a civic duty and a right, and this must be changed fast if we are to improve politics itself.

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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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