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The British Press: Sensationally Eurosceptic

Inflammatory rhetoric by the British Press. Source: Duncan Hull, FlickrEuroscepticism in the United Kingdom is hardly a new concept. Ever since the UK joined the European Communities in 1973, British people have been particularly sceptical about the way cooperation with continental Europe impacts their country’s internal affairs. The UK has traditionally been characterised by a remarkable capacity to be unhappy fully inside the European Union, while also being unhappy to be completely outside. An instrument often used to convey this Eurosceptic sentiment is the country’s press. A large part of the British press has traditionally been in the habit of employing inflammatory rhetoric when reporting EU affairs.

by Nikolaos Tsitonakis

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Freedom of the Press in Burma: En route to democracy?

Photo: Wikimedia commons.After decades of an authoritarian regime dominated by military rule, Burma has seemingly begun to reopen its doors and welcome democracy. Most notably these changes have been marked by constitutional reforms, the release of political prisoners, and visits from prominent political officials for the first time in decades, such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011. However, even under a new constitution, the Burmese military is guaranteed a quarter of the seats in parliament and freedom of the press remains tied to policies from the 1960s.

by Sofia Murad

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Ciao Berlu! How does Berlusconi do it?

Berlusconi: immortal political survivor? Or boorish, manipulative clown? Photo: DonkeyHotey on flickr.The abuse of office, the soliciting of underage girls for sex, political blunders, alleged mafia connections, yet charismatic, energetic, brilliant and rich? During the course of his flamboyant political career, the phenomenon Silvio Berlusconi has been applauded and booed for his actions and character. It would seem that the inhabitants of Italy are intertwined with Berlusconi in a complicated, paradoxical love-hate relationship.

Berlusconi first entered politics in 1994, when the Italian parliament was severely fractured. Although Italian politics is often noted for its unstable nature, the opposite is true. After the Second World War, the Christian Democrats, representing the democratic centre, were in power for most of the time as the Italian Communist Party (PCI) was expelled due to external pressure from the United States. However, scandals concerning allegations of corruption at the end of the 80's ended the Christian Democratic party’s political dominance. After these events, a lack of unity was prevalent within Italian politics, opening the way for Berlusconi. By presenting his political party, 'Forza Italy' (Go Italy), as a fresh alternative to the existing political landscape, he earned the majority of the vote and became Prime Minister for the first time in 1994.

by Benny Wilbrink

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Forecasting in Politics – why statistics is more useful than gut feeling

The crystal ball of Nate Silver? Photo: Wikia.comHardly anyone can have missed the now famous statistician and New York Times blogger Nate Silver. By accurately predicting the outcome in 49 states in the 2008 American presidential election and in all 50 states in 2012, he is now considered a forecasting virtuoso with almost wizard-like status. He has outperformed all major traditional pundits despite only having done political predictions since late 2007. So how does he do it? What is his crystal ball made of, and what does he see when gazing into it?

by Hampus Ljungberg

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E-Government – Towards a Digital Single Market

Government by ICT - e-government is becoming increasingly popular around the world. Photo: alexis.mons on flickrThe whole world is undergoing a recession which is making us rethink our social, economic and political strategies in order to adapt to the new situation. The crisis made us realize how interconnected our world is, reaching all levels of societies. Our society is a knowledge-based one, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the base of this knowledge-based world. It allows us to instantly receive and share ideas, services, and technologies wherever they are located in the world. But its use does not have to be limited to private or business use; it can also be extended to the public sector. E-government is a new concept, developed in the early 2000s, that tries to make a connection between a government and its citizens. Now, more than ever, governments must foster this idea in order to take globalization to the next level.

By Christina Håkansson

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A Tsunami of Justice for Pakistanis?

On the world stage Pakistan is set as a land of contradiction, described as being “on the brink,” a nation where notions of the western and eastern worlds intersect and rule over one another, political elite over a socially conservative and religious populace. In Pakistan, a country where politics has been marred by corruption and foreign nations’ policy initiatives, politics is a dirty business.

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La Berlusconiada

In the longest interview since the collapse of his government, Silvio Berlusconi admitted defeat, but indirectly. "It is my fault because I was unable to persuade 51 percent of Italians to give me their vote. It is the fault of Italians for dividing their vote, spreading it among many little parties." 

The interview for "The Atlantic" does not bring anything new. The former prime minister did not admit to faulty economic policies at the time of his cabinet. What's more, he maintains his view that the Italians were living well (the restaurants are full) and the country was rich – same argument he brought in November 2011 at the G20 summit. But if he did everything right, what went wrong?

The chain of failures visibly started when Berlusconi lost the local elections in May last year. The previous center-right mayors representing most major cities in Italy had to give way to center-left candidates. The symbol of the electoral defeat of Berlusconi and his People of Freedom Party became Milan, his hometown and a longtime bastion of the Italian Prime Minister and his power.

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The European Student – Just Another Brick in the Wall?

When the British newspaper the Guardian let their readers vote for the person of the year 2011, the winner was not Angela Merkel or Aung San Suu Kyi, who were also nominated. Instead, the nominee who received the most votes was a 23 year old student and communist from Chile, named Camila Vallejo. She, together with other student leaders in Chile, led demonstrations with up to 200,000 students demanding increased financial support for public universities.

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Cecilia Uddén

Interview with Cecilia Uddén, correspondent working in Cairo for Sveriges Radio (Swedish Broadcasting)

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The Era of Putinism

Vladimir Putin has become a national symbol of Russia. Just like Josef Stalin and Vladimir Lenin before him, Putin’s persona will forever be engraved in the history of the Russian Federation. After serving two consecutive terms as President and one as Prime Minister, he is once again behind the wheel — although many would argue he never left it. It is time to remember how the story began and what the era of Putinism has brought to the Russian people.

 

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