2016, Human Rights, Bernie Sanders, Art Restoration, Middle East

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Forecasting The World In 2016

James Blitz et al | Financial Times | 1st January 2016 | | Read with 1Pass

Hillary Clinton will win the US presidential election. Britain will vote to stay in the European Union. Bashar Assad will remain president of Syria. Jeremy Corbyn will remain leader of the Labour Party. Angela Merkel will step down as German chancellor. Belgium will win the Euro 2016 football tournament. Some G20 countries will need IMF aid. China will devalue the Renminbi. The oil price will end the year higher (2,360 words)

Human Rights Law & The Erosion Of Politics

Noel Malcolm | New Criterion | 4th January 2016

The "constant expansion" of international human rights law in Europe threatens the proper workings of democracy. The European Court of Human Rights exists to protect individuals from tyranny, not to tell well-functioning governments how to organise the everyday lives of their citizens and residents. The Court pretends that its decisions are objective; but there is no science behind them. It makes things up as it goes along (4,100 words)

Bernie Sanders: The Quiet Revolt

Simon Head | New York Review of Books | 23rd December 2015

Like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders learned his politics at the feet of the left-wing Chicago activist Saul Alinsky. Unlike Obama, Sanders stayed true to Alinsky's ideals and methods, extending his coalition-building work successfully from local to national level. Sanders's quiet rise to the status of radical yet plausible presidential candidate is as much challenge to establishment Democrats as Donald Trump's upsurge is to Republicans (2,260 words)

An Operatic Pilgrimage

Norman Lebrecht | Standpoint | 5th January 2016

Thumbnail sketches of great opera houses from Sadler's Wells to La Scala. "The old Wells was a medieval bear-pit where singers stepped on stage at their own risk. English was sung with queenly precision. I saw The Marriage of Figaro twice before grasping it was a comedy. Everything at the Wells felt existential, an edginess that persists at the English National Opera". La Scala used to be impossible to get into; now it is "access all arias" (1,030 words)

The Custodians

Ben Lerner | New Yorker | 4th January 2016

Art in the age of digital reproduction. Issues of conservation and restoration can be philosophical as much as technical or aesthetic. When all the parts have been replaced, is the work still original? What if the object was designed to fall apart, or never to be made? The Whitney Museum's Replication Committee, the first of its kind, decides when art "cannot be restored" and "must be replicated" (Metered Paywall) (6,300 words)

America Can Afford to Side With Iran

Noah Feldman | Bloomberg | 4th January 2016

The rapidly escalating conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran plays out along Sunni-Shiite lines; but the proximate cause is the shifting of America's regional sympathies away from Saudi Arabia towards Iran. Saudi Arabia is reacting with fear and anger; and by provoking conflict it hastens exactly the end that it dreads, giving America and Iran opportunities to find common ground and rebuild mutual trust (860 words)

Video of the day: Forty Years in The WIlderness

What to expect: Yiscah Smith talks to TEDx Jerusalem about growing up as an ultra-Orthodox man, and gender transition (11'40")

Thought for the day

Ninety percent of most magic consists of knowing one extra fact
Terry Pratchett

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