Europe/Americas update: May 29 2018

EUROPE RUSSIA Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who had to flee to Ukraine in 2016 in the face of death threats because of his criticism of the Russian government, died on Tuesday in Kiev of natural causes. Well, “natural causes” for a critic of Vladimir Putin–he was gunned down outside his apartment building. An investigation is underway… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: May 29 2018

Middle East update: February 8 2018

SYRIA Obviously today’s big story is the fallout from the overnight US airstrike that reportedly killed, well, some members (estimates are varying wildly, from seven to over 100) of a pro-Bashar al-Assad militia in Deir Ezzor province. The Syrian government, citing the highest estimates, is calling the strike a “massacre,” while the US says its… Continue reading Middle East update: February 8 2018

Middle East update: June 3-4 2017

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Hackers have apparently compromised the personal email account for Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the US, and leaked its contents to several media outlets including The Intercept and Huffington Post. There’s some serious stuff in this leak. Otaiba, for those who don’t know, is one of the most active ambassadors in… Continue reading Middle East update: June 3-4 2017

Conflict update: January 19 2017

The Gambia Private Citizen Yahya Jammeh, whose presidency still exists only in his own imagination, began his day by finding out that his vice president, Isatou Njie Saidy, had quit. He spent his day hearing about the inauguration of new Gambian President Adama Barrow in the Gambian embassy in Senegal (which is Gambian soil, technically)… Continue reading Conflict update: January 19 2017

It taunts us, precioussss

This is almost too silly to even mention, but it’s Friday and it’s late, so here you go: Now a Turkish court has summoned a group of experts in psychology, behavioral science, and other fields to help determine if — beyond being creepy, clammy, and possessed by his desire for the ring — Gollum is… Continue reading It taunts us, precioussss

This is how you do Free Speech

Days after millions marched through the streets of Paris, ostensibly to show their support for free speech, French authorities have arrested 54 people for, um, saying Bad Stuff: At least 54 people have been detained by police in France for “defending or glorifying terrorism” in the wake of last week’s attacks in Paris. Many of… Continue reading This is how you do Free Speech

Reacting to the reaction to Paris

Estimates on the exact size vary, but millions of people marched in Paris yesterday to show support for freedom of press and opposition to Islamic extremism. I guess. I mean, I don’t doubt the motives of the vast majority of the people who participated in that march. It was an inspiring show of strength in… Continue reading Reacting to the reaction to Paris