It is the most important news humanity has ever received: the general collapse of life on Earth.
The vast international assessment of the state of nature, as revealed on Monday, tells us that the living planet is in a death spiral.
Yet it’s hardly surprising that it appeared on few front pages of British newspapers. Of all the varieties of media bias, the deepest is the bias against relevance. The more important the issue, the less it is discussed.
There’s a reason for this. Were we to become fully aware of our predicament, we would demand systemic change.
For much of the 20th century, the most acute threat to democracy came from the barrel of a gun. When democratic systems collapsed, it was usually because tanks commandeered by the leader of an openly antidemocratic movement rolled up in front of the country’s parliament or presidential palace. Javier Cercas vividly describes such a coup attempt in the opening pages of The Anatomy of a Moment, his account of a failed putsch against Spanish democracy in 1981 …
Because it makes for such striking theater, the kind of open attack on democracy that Cercas describes has had a long-lasting hold on the political imagination. But in the 21st century, coups have become rarer.
From Russia to Venezuela, the strongmen who have destroyed democratic institutions won high office at the ballot box. Far from openly attacking democracy, they have tended to argue that they, and they alone, truly represent the people.
The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to deny an eight-year long bid from China Mobile, the largest Chinese telecom carrier, to provide services in the United States, citing risks that the Chinese government could use the approval to conduct espionage against the U.S. government.
The decision occurred amid an escalation of the trade war between the two countries that is centred around issues including market access. It also adds to a broader U.S. campaign to limit the role of Chinese telecommunications firms led by Huawei Technologies in the global build-out of 5G networks on national security grounds.
In 2015, Uber Technologies Inc went on a fundraising spree in China, tapping venture capitalists and state-backed corporations for cash and connections to try and navigate the Chinese regulatory environment.
Uber, more than almost any other Silicon Valley company, symbolizes the glut of foreign money that has helped fuel a tech investing frenzy.
But replicating its feat today would be an improbable task in the current regulatory climate, analysts and legal experts say.
Thyssenkrupp said it would embark on a fresh restructuring and list elevators, its most successful business, on Friday as regulatory opposition scuppered plans to hive off its steel division, unravelling a wider revamp.
Under pressure from activist investors, Thyssenkrupp had tried to merge its steel unit with Tata Steel’s European operations and split the rest of the German conglomerate in two, in an attempt to allow the value of its industrial businesses to shine.
Global equities have seen outflows of $20.5 billion in the past week as “trade deal trauma” pushed more money into bonds, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Friday, the latest sign of how growing global trade tensions are roiling financial markets.
The cash leaving stocks in the week to May 8 was the third biggest outflow so far this year, the bank said, and came as Trump threatened further import tariffs on Chinese goods, ratchetting up the prolonged trade spat between the world’s two largest economies.
Liars. Leakers. Criminals and traitors, willing to undermine democracy and the rule of law because of one man.
For members of a bitterly divided House Judiciary Committee, “contempt” was not limited to the formal action instigated against Attorney General William Barr for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena.
The legal term also defined the attitudes of the committee members towards the Trump administration, law enforcement officials and – most dramatically for a Congress already in its institutional power struggle with the executive branch – toward each other.
The first cities started as entrepreneurial places where manufacturers and traders could show off innovative wares every day without having to wait for the occasional fair or festival.
And customers enjoyed the ability to show off their savoir-faire while engaging in a constant cycle of upgrading and discarding clothing, ornaments and home décor.
Their ability to pay was directly tied to the expansion of employment in cities, where big populations and economies of scale came with a need for middle managers in the palaces, factories and temples that kept the city humming.
In the ancient Mesopotamian city of Nippur, for example, written documents reveal a temple inventory of 350,000 sheep and goats. Keeping track of them would have rivaled any modern corporation’s organizational chart!
The Finns Party doesn’t deny climate science. Instead, it says the solutions to fight it are too costly and place an unfair burden on Finns, particularly the rural and working-class voters that comprise its base.
“Their attitude got more extreme when they discovered they could win more votes by opposing climate policy,” explains Stella Schaller, a global-climate policy expert at Adelphi, a public policy think tank in Berlin that focuses on climate issues.
And while there is no empirical evidence beyond the Finnish election that arguing against policies to thwart climate change will be a vote-getter for nationalist parties around the European Union, many of them are likely to give it a go as electioneering ramps up ahead of the May 23 elections for the European Parliament.
As lawmakers, state elections officials and social media executives work to limit intervention in the 2020 elections by Russia and other foreign operatives, an unsettling truth is emerging.
Vladimir Putin may already be succeeding.
The troubling disclosures of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign – “sweeping and systematic,” special counsel Robert Mueller concluded in his report on the matter – have policymakers on guard for what intelligence officials say is a continuing campaign by Russia to influence American elections.
But even if voting machines in all jurisdictions are secured against hacking and social media sites are scrubbed of fake stories posted by Russian bots, the damage may already have been done, experts warn, as Americans’ faith in the credibility of the nation’s elections falters.
“This is Vladimir Putin’s game plan – sow distrust, discord, disillusionment and division,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, says about the Russian leader.