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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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Regulating Cyber Warfare: Why International Law Might Need a Refresh

When we typically picture warfare, we think of military grade weaponry associated with large-scale collateral damage. When we hear the term cyberwarfare, we may think of computer viruses, technological jargon, and elusive hackers shutting down IT systems. Despite their differences cyberwarfare’s regulations in international law are far more closely related to traditional warfare than one might expect. This poses new challenges for International Humanitarian Law have left many legal scholars and policy makers questioning whether conventional rules regulating armed conflicts can actually be extrapolated to cyberspace.

The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence stands behind this approach through drafting the Tallinn Manual 2.0. This document makes use of extensive legal theorising to prove how current international legal norms can be applied to cyberwarfare. For this reason the Tallinn Manual 2.0 intends to only describe the lex lata, the law as it exists, rather than acting as a binding document or treatise. Other nations, most notably Russia and China, have instead pushed for more regulations on cyber warfare as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2009 and the International Information Security Code of Conduct in September 2011

But which approach is the right one? Do we work with the established international laws we have or do we need to create succinct laws?

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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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The Impact of Covid-19 School Closures on Children and Parents’ Mental Wellbeing

With schools having reopened their doors on March 8th, concerns have been raised that Britain’s school children now face a serious mental health crisis. British paediatricians have warned that they are witnessing an “acute and rapid increase in mental health and safeguarding cases”, with anxiety, depression and self-harm amongst young people rising to worrying levels. Parents have also been reported to be suffering psychological stress and breakdowns due to the pressures of managing their child’s remote learning whilst trying to sustain their own jobs. The Lancet has found that single parent families in particular, have the highest levels of self-reported stress. Gingerbread, the UK’s leading charity for single parents, stresses that the impact of dealing with the financial and practical pressures of Covid, whilst also having the sole responsibility for managing their child’s physical and mental health can be very overwhelming. 

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Event Review: International Climate Policy in the Global South

On 18th February 2021 the Energy and Environment Policy Centre at King’s Think Tank and King’s College London Climate Action society hosted a panel discussion on international climate policy and loss and damage in the Global South as a part of the policy centre’s theme for this semester “Governance and the environmental emergency: who takes accountability?”. The event took place as part of King’s College London’s university-wide Sustainability Month. 

Environmental inequality, injustice and disproportionate climate-related impacts in the Global South are accelerating in tangent with climate breakdown, causing irreparable loss and damage in the world’s least developed countries (LDCs). This event explored the environmental injustice and inequality that the Global South faces, and the relevance of loss and damage schemes in international climate policy as a coping mechanism and means of compensation and justice for LDCs.

To discuss these important issues, we had the honour of welcoming Dr. Ian Fry, Ambassador for Climate Change and Environment for the Government of Tuvalu; Ms. Hadika Jamshaid, Climate Change specialist supporting the Ministry of Climate Change for the Government of Pakistan; and Dr. Guy Jackson, postdoctoral fellow at Lund University who carried out the project Recasting the Disproportionate Impacts of Climate Change Extremes.

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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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