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Why Authoritarian Regimes Love Social Media and Smart Phones?

The use of ‘advanced’ technology to suppress dissent can be seen as far back as Britain’s Licensing of the Press Act of 1662, specifically targeted at “frequent Abuses in printing seditious treasonable and unlicensed Books and Pamphlets” or German Volksempfänger radios, designed only to receive those messages pre-approved by Goebbels. However, since the widespread adoption of the internet, and more recently the smartphone, repressive authorities have increasingly had the means not just to control the message, but to stymie any activists trying to promote one.

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China’s Growing Influence: The Role of its Soft Power

Global public opinion surveys continue to show that China is perceived fairly favorably by large swathes of the world’s populace, from the Asia-Pacific to Africa and Europe. China has garnered cooperation from a diverse group of states in areas such as trade, tourism, education and infrastructure development, and Chinese statesmen are sure to be given a warm welcome in almost any foreign capital. These developments are both causes and effects of Chinese soft power.

Scottish Independence: A British Perspective

Unfortunately, there is a belief among some Scots that ‘if you are English, you are bad’. This attitude is sometimes manifested through verbal, physical and emotional abuse, coupled with giving Scottish nationals preference over English nationals in the job sector. A perhaps accepted behaviour in Scottish society is to use racist language against the “English people”; and anti-English sentiment is quite openly displayed.

Motherhood: How It Changed My World?

I remember before having a baby I thought that stories about babies born in the frontline or in the midst of disaster were stories of “triumph over tragedy”. Now I know the reality must be more nuanced. I wonder how pregnant Syrian women in Zaatari camp in Jordan cope with the summer heat and what is like to raise a child so far from your own home. The Syrian death figures reported in the media are all someone’s daughter or someone’s son. I knew that before, but now I feel it with much greater intensity.