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  • Author: Noel Sharkey, Amanda Sharkey
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Would you like to be left exclusively in the care of robots in your old age? Robots have been working in our factories, painting cars, assembling tiny components and mixing dangerous chemicals for decades. In the new era, service robots have begun working alongside humans in cleaning, medicine, farming and policing. Now robots are being given the intimate jobs of care and companionship for our elderly. Should we welcome such developments? Could a robot empathize and care for us in the way that a human could? Can we trust robots and robot manufacturers with such important and life–defining roles?
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Robert Plant
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: When people think of robots, the image that comes to mind is of machines—sometimes in humanoid form—doing manual labour, and sometimes even behaving in something like a human way. The real changes in the world of work, though, are due to something less visible and more pervasive—the rise of connectivity. Connectivity is the ability to link data and things, which in this case means machines and processes—and people too.
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In the Middle East today there are armed groups that have no respect for the humanitarian imperative. What challenges does this present to the Red Cross? I see two key challenges. The first one is very basic. We want to maintain a very close relationship with people affected by conflict, and access these days is more complex because we are in a very polarized environment. Look at the Iraq front–the problem is not new but it is exacerbated. The second issue is to be able to engage governments and non-state armed groups on a very pragmatic basis on issues related to people under their control. That normally works rather well. What I have found more complex these days is to engage them on issues related to international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Islam
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Paola Subacchi
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The 1970s were years of high inflation in Italy. As the price of goods increased and the lira, a high denomination currency, was debased, the country faced a chronic lack of small change. Those were the years when coins were used to operate all sorts of devices, from pay phones to launderettes, vending machines and jukeboxes.
  • Political Geography: Italy
  • Author: Keir Giles
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: As recently as November 2012, I was able to write in The World Today that although 'the Russian authorities already possess extremely strong legislative tools for controlling internet content, they ordinarily apply these with a very light touch'.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Alan Philps
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: From the window in Neil MacGregor's office you can see the swirling crowds of visitors in the courtyard of the British Museum. Seven million people a year squeeze through the Museum's narrow door–almost double the number in 2000.
  • Political Geography: Britain, Germany
  • Author: Ana Stanic
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Diversification of gas supply has been a strategic priority for the European Union since its dependence on imports began to grow in the early 2000s. The crisis in Ukraine has heightened concerns that the flow of Russian gas passing through this country may be interrupted and has reignited calls for dependency on Russian gas to be reduced. As a new European Commission takes over energy policy in Brussels, it is worth examining the lessons the EU ought to learn from the Southern Gas Corridor project, which for a decade was seen as key to enhancing energy security.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: Andrei Kurkov
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: What would you like to see happen to your country? The Ukraine that existed before the events of last year was very peaceful, very tolerant, very quiet–maybe a bit too tolerant to hopeless and corrupt politicians. But now, we have a society that has been radicalized, and in the next parliamentary elections, we will have a lot of new radicals in the parliament. This is partially good because they will fight against corruption, and they will put pressure on the government and the president to carry on the reforms that were promised.
  • Topic: Corruption, Reform
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Denmark
  • Author: Hayder al-Khoei
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani emerged as one of the most powerful men in Iraq. Sistani was already known to Shia Muslims worldwide as the somewhat reticent leader of the religious establishment in Najaf. The fall of the Ba'ath regime thrust him on to the national and international stage.
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Gerard Russell
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Iraq is being denuded of its ancient communities, and both it and the world are the poorer for it. As the jihadists of Islamic State try to entrench their rule, it is an open question whether Iraq's religious minorities will survive, and if so, how they can be protected. There is another, deeper question, however. How did Iraq come to have so much religious diversity in the first place, and what does this this say about the type of Islam that prevailed there until the 21st century?
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Nicholas Westcott
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Summits with Africa are in fashion: in August, President Obama hosted America's first; in April, the European Union staged the fourth EU-Africa summit in Brussels; the BRICS countries–Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa–held one in Durban in March last year; and in June 2013 Japan hosted its five-yearly conference on African development in Yokohama. Next year will see the sixth China-Africa summit. South America, South Korea and Turkey, which have all held summits with African leaders in recent years, have pledged return matches in Africa.
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Europe
  • Author: Richard Gowan
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Imagine a dystopian future in which NATO, struggling against Islamist terrorism, has to deploy troops on a constant basis across Africa and the Middle East. Then all of a sudden it is struck by a series of calamities: more than 40 personnel are taken hostage in the Middle East, soldiers start dying on a weekly basis on the edge of the Sahara and an operation to handle an outbreak of ebola begins to spiral out of control. NATO, you might expect, would give up in exhaustion. After Afghanistan, western powers have little appetite for quagmires.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Middle East
  • Author: Thomas Raines
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: British attitudes to the European Union have become generally more favourable over the past two years, according to a YouGov poll for Chatham House. Those who say they would vote to stay in the EU now have the narrowest of leads–40 per cent to 39 per cent. Two years ago, 49 per cent said they would vote to leave, against 30 per cent to stay.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikael Oez
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: If you want to hear the language spoken by Christ, all you need to do is to take a short bus ride from Stockholm to the town of Södertälje. There you will find thousands of Syriac Christians speaking Aramaic as it was spoken in the time of Jesus.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Michael Keating
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This has been a roller-coaster year for Afghans. It has included vigorous presidential and provincial election campaigns, a protracted political crisis, the formation of a government of national unity, the inauguration of a president with big new ideas, a financial crunch, devastating natural disasters, widening Taliban attacks and a surge in the number of Afghans being killed. Meanwhile, the US-led International Security Assistance Force is winding down and will conclude in December.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Alan Philps
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Two items from the exhibition tell revealing stories about life in Germany in the 20th Century. Both have a link to the Weimar School of Architecture and Design, called the Bauhaus, which pioneered modern design in the 1920s. Because of its socialist and internationalist outlook, the Nazis set out to destroy it.
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Christian Wolmar
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The opening of the first high-speed line, the Japanese Shinkansen, ushered in a new era of rail travel but it has taken a surprisingly long time for the concept to spread. Indeed, 50 years later, there are still barely a dozen countries that boast trains that can be described as high-speed. And while there are lots of schemes in the offing, the huge cost and long lead times are proving a barrier for their rapid spread.
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Burhan Wazir
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Middle East is a landscape littered with unrealized peace treaties, broken promises and failed intentions. In the four years since uprisings and reprisals took hold of Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Oman and Tunisia, two diplomatic constants have dominated: The limited influence of American power, and a dearth of leadership in the region. Political intransigence and sectarian violence weren't always the norm in the Middle East. Lawrence Wright's new book, Thirteen Days in September, chronicles an era, almost four decades ago, when compromise was considered an asset. Over 13 days at Camp David in Maryland in 1978, US President Jimmy Carter was able to extract a peace treaty from Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. The accord is still the most lasting achievement to emerge from the Arab-Israeli conflict of the 20th century.
  • Topic: Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, Oman
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: C K Scott Moncrieff was born into a well-to-do Scottish family in the late 19th century. While a schoolboy, he received an entree into the gay literary coterie centred on Robbie Ross, Oscar Wilde's lover, leading to a lifelong friendship with Wilde's son, Vyvyan Holland.
  • Political Geography: Italy, Scotland
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Danny Dorling's book is presented as an opportunity to explore the cost of the growing disparity between the very richest in society and the rest. What results, however, is an attempt to correlate facts and figures to much broader societal trends, but not always with justification.
  • Political Geography: Europe