From anti-mask to anti-state: Anti-lockdown protests, conspiracy thinking and the risk of radicalization

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared the attempt at violently occupying the Reichstag, the German parliament building, by far-right activists on 29 August 2020, as a direct attack on Germany’s very “heart of democracy,”. Demonstrations against state-imposed Covid-19 measures have been on the rise in many countries throughout the pandemic. Observers are now worried that extremist hate groups are using pandemic-related protests to advance their political goals – violently if necessary. Since December 2020, members of the Querdenken 711 group, the main organizer of nationwide anti-Covid restriction protests in Germany, are on an intelligence  “watch-list due to its increasing radicalisation”

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‘40,000 years still on my mind’: the marginalisation of Indigenous memory in Sydney

Burnum Burnum, an Aboriginal activist, stated that when the British settled in Sydney in 1788 ‘they landed in the middle of a huge art gallery’. In fact, in the Sydney region, there are more than 10,000 pieces of Aboriginal artwork. From fish painted on rocks in Broken Bay to footprints carved into the ground, the memory of Sydney’s Indigenous inhabitants is etched into the landscape. Yet there is a common perception that indigeneity in Australia only exists in remote outback locations. In reality, 76% of Aboriginal people inhabit urban spaces with over 52,000 living in urban Sydney

Tension between Indigenous and settler memory is an issue in many cities with a legacy of settler colonialism. As the region where British settlements were first founded, this contention is especially apparent in Sydney. This article will explore the ways in which the legacy of colonial dispossession has marginalised, misrepresented and erased Indigenous memory from Sydney. Despite claiming to be a multicultural city, the formal representations of Indigenous history in Sydney conform to dominant national narratives of settler superiority. 

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United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG): A Turning Point in Civilian Policing?

By the end of the Cold War, United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK) operations had entered a second generation. During the Cold War, UNPK had been largely military and “with the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, threats to peace have taken on a new character,” challenging the nature of peacekeeping. The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) was deployed to Namibia in 1989, during the “transformation of the international system”, a year after “the new readiness of the United States and the Soviet Union to work together, [which] created a renewed demand for peacekeeping.” The revival of relations, in some way, reflected the nature of the mission of UNTAG. It too marked a revival of its own, in which UNPK attempted to engage “in multidimensional conflict after the demise of the Congo operation (ONUC) in 1964.” 

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Seeking to become a leader in the electric battery industry: what is the EU’s strategy?

Introduction 

The international system is in the midst of a large-scale energy and technological transition to shift away from fossil fuels and move towards carbon neutrality. The electric battery industry is on the rise with major actors like Japan (major producer of electric vehicles) and China (with a battery cell production in 2017 of twenty-two times that of Europe) clearly displaying their ambitions. In this global race for green industrial leadership, how does the European Union (EU) seek to play its card right? 

Answering this question requires acknowledging two premises regarding EU characteristics that shape and condition its role in the future energy transition. On the one hand, the EU is first and foremost an economic power as the strength of its voice in international politics resides in its “material existence”, being the “largest advanced industrialized market in the world”. The energy transition is, therefore, an outstanding opportunity for the EU to foster long-term growth and create millions of jobs on the Old Continent. 

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Covid-19 Vaccines: Misinformation and Hesitancy

Despite the recent progress with the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination programmes, many mistruths circulating online have, in turn, had an impact on willingness to receive the vaccine. Unfortunately, this does not come as a big surprise. The ‘anti vax’ movement has been causing havoc for years by standing in opposition to vaccinating against disease, calling into question the safety of vaccines and circulating conspiracy theories surrounding the practice of vaccination itself. Although this kind of ideology has been around as long as vaccination itself, the accessibility of the internet coupled with the rise in use of social media in recent years provides the perfect breeding ground for such material. Vaccine hesitancy, a term which describes rejection or slow acceptance of vaccination, in relation to Covid-19 may not come as a surprise, but it is an issue worthy of attention as vaccination is our ticket out of the pandemic. 

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Why COVID-19 will drive fashion towards a sustainable future

Climate change has undoubtedly been a disruptive force that impacts industries in all sectors of the global economy, but the fashion industry is currently one of its primary instigators.    Widespread technological advancement, as a product of globalisation, has enabled new media to expose the impact of the fashion industry upon climate change. According to the World Bank, the garment industry accounts for just over 10% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the United Nations Environment Programme estimates that 3,781 litres of water are required to manufacture a single pair of denim jeans.

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Remnants of Soviet Imperialism in Russian Identity: Assessing the Annexation of Crimea Seven Years On

After the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the post-Soviet space faced both a political and an identity vacuum. While several of the newly independent states sought to redefine their foreign policies and forge new relations with the West, Russia struggled to redefine its identity as the successor of the Soviet Union. The new Russian Federation was simultaneously tasked with addressing geopolitical concerns of Western influence in the region as well as tackling Soviet nostalgia within its identity formulation. In fact, this Soviet nostalgia, coupled with the threat of Western interference, led Russia to adopt a strategy of maintaining deliberate control over the post-Soviet states. Ukraine, having both geographical as well as cultural significance for Russia, became crucial for the articulation of a post-Soviet Russian identity. Russia has, thus, adopted a two-pronged approach to its involvement in Ukraine: thwarting Western influence in the region and advocating an Eastern Slavic identity that premises a union between Ukrainians and Russians.

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Covid-19 and the BAME community: Does It Affect Us All The Same?

When asked in late September about what the end of the year may look like for the United Kingdom Professor Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical advisor, bleakly answered “we have a long winter ahead of us”. However, will this continue to be a long winter for all of us, or will this be disproportionately longer for certain groups within the UK? 

With a series of protracted lockdowns that have been on and off for the past few months, this question is increasingly relevant. It has been well documented that the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect all populations and communities equally. For example, the most significant findings from early reports during the first peak suggested that the BAME community had a greater proportion of hospital deaths compared to White British groups. Using reports by Public Health England (PHE) and by the Labour party, this article investigates whether the UK government has a plan to protect the BAME community during the remainder of the winter as previous evidence has shown gaps in the solutions proposed. 

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Fake News Legislation: Lessons Learnt from the Facebook News Ban on Australia

These past few weeks, Facebook has been showing off its firepower in a battle with the Australian government. On the morning of Thursday 18th February, Australians woke up to a Facebook with no news sources. Australian and international news sources on Facebook, including certain government websites, were blocked to users in the country, as well as Australian news outlets’ profiles being blocked for international users. 

This overnight wipe-out was a protest from the social media giant against the News Media Bargaining Code. This bill would require digital platforms, including social media and search engines, to pay news outlets for the news content they host on their site. This move follows attempts to revive journalism with the purpose of counteracting misinformation online and its interference in democratic processes around the world, which have ultimately led to much polarisation and the discrimination and exclusion of many groups.

This article will outline Facebook’s response and the consequences of the event’s actions, followed by policy recommendations for the United Kingdom in light of this and the growing impact of fast-spreading falsehoods online in our own country.

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The unseen challenges of refugee youth in the face of COVID-19

The lockdown period in the UK has variably affected different groups in the country. One group consistently overlooked has been refugees and refugee children, in particular. Official figures state that there are 126,720 refugees in the UK, of which 10,295 are children. Prior to the pandemic, refugee children were already in an unfavourable position in society that affected their access to education, with many schools unwilling to allow their enrolment over fears that they would have an adverse impact on schools’ academic performance and their positions in league tables.

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