News & Politics

Daily Visual 18.06.15: Pope Francis’ Environmental Encyclical

Today Pope Francis issued his eagerly awaited encyclical on the issue of the environment, ‘Laudato Si’ (Be Praised), On Care for Our Common Home’. Its opening passages read: ‘1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with…

Daily Visual 14.06.15: Heavy Flooding Devastates Tbilisi Zoo

Devastating flooding in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, has killed at least 12 people. An uncertain number remain missing, while several dozen were admitted to hospital suffering minor-to-moderate injuries. Thousands more have been left without water and electricity. The floods have effectively destroyed the Tbilisi Zoo, with three bodies – including those of two employees – found within the zoo grounds, and…

Daily Visual 09.06.15: New York City’s Oldest Bridge Reopens

Today the High Bridge in New York City reopened after 45 years. With a total length of 1,450 feet, spanning 1,200 feet shore to shore at a height of 138 feet above the Harlem River, the bridge crosses between Highbridge Park in the Washington Heights neighbourhood of Manhattan, and the Highbridge neighbourhood in the Bronx. Offering exceptional views over the…

Daily Visual 08.06.15: Turkey’s Election Results

The Turkish general election of 2015 took place yesterday. In what many outside Turkey have viewed as a surprising result, the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) took only 40.9% of the vote; leaving them still the largest party in the Grand National Assembly, Turkey’s unicameral legislature, but representing a drop of nearly 9% upon their taking…

Daily Visual 04.06.15: Tiananmen Square Remembered

Today marked the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. On this day in 1989, after weeks of student-led demonstrations – calling for democratic reform, greater political transparency, an end to press censorship and restrictions on the right to protest, and increased funding for education – the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army, opened fire on unarmed civilians in Beijing….

Daily Visual 02.06.15: The Death of Charles Kennedy

The death of Charles Kennedy, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, was announced this morning. He was fifty-five years old. He died sometime late on Monday; the cause of his death has not been given at this stage, but he endured a long and often publicised struggle with alcohol. Kennedy served as Member of Parliament for the constituency of Ross,…

UK General Election 2015: Roundup and Analysis

The United Kingdom general election of 2015, held last Thursday, 7 May, saw David Cameron and the Conservative Party elected to form a majority government. Winning 331 seats in the House of Commons, an increase on the 306 they took in 2010, the Conservatives will be able to govern alone, beyond the confines of the coalition partnership they have led…

Thoughts Upon UK General Election Day 2015

With the last general election in 2010 fought in the midst of the financial crisis, after five years of ideologically-driven austerity the UK general election of 2015 ought to have focused first and foremost on the issues of living standards – narrowly conceived as indicating real wages, which immediately implicates employment opportunities, tax rates, and welfare payments – and housing. Real wages have…

The Open Letter and the UK General Election

The open letter is hardly an innovation as a means to publicise a message. The art of the epistle – letters bound by formal gestures, often written for some didactic purpose, and frequently sent to groups of people rather than individuals – flourished in ancient Egypt and on into ancient Greece and Rome. Cicero’s De Officiis, considered for much of Western…