Columnists

Opinion: Acts of Repression

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Nadine Finch looks at New Labour's latest 'anti-terror' laws.

Historically anti-terrorism legislation has sought to both suppress open debate about the political causes of this phenomenon and isolate communities thought to be suspect, as well as protect the civilian population. The Prevention of Terrorism and Emergency Provisions legislation in the 1970s and 1980s was a response to a very serious threat to those living in London, Birmingham or elsewhere in England.

The Science News

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Climate change may act more suddenly than we have expected till now.

The genesis of two Category 5 hurricanes in a row (Katrina and Rita) over the Gulf of Mexico is an unprecedented and troubling occurrence. But for most tropical meteorologists the truly astonishing 'storm of the decade' took place in March 2004. Hurricane Catarina - so named because it made landfall in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina - was the first recorded South Atlantic hurricane in history.

Mirror Images

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The idea of "community" can be dangerous.

'The Muslim community must deal with the extremist elements within it.' Such has been the message of the media and mainstream politicians since the London bombings in July. It amounts to putting some responsibility for the bombings onto the million and a half people in Britain who happen to accept versions of Islam. As some left liberal commentators have pointed out, it is like blaming all Christians for the Nazi Holocaust or all atheists for Stalin's gulags.

It's Good to Talk

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Communication via the internet could one day replace that by the phone.

For a long time instant messaging has allowed computer users to communicate over the internet using a text-based chat service. Both Yahoo! and Microsoft's messenger services are used by millions of people - one report from last year in Wired News said that over 250 million users sent over 7 billion messages every year.

Marching Separately

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The rise of the new left in Europe opens up new opportunities for revolutionaries.

Is a new mass left emerging across Europe? This seems a very real possibility after a summer which has seen the emergence of the Left Party in Germany, the central role played by the LCR and the Communist Party in the victory for the 'No' vote in the French referendum, and the electoral breakthrough for Respect in England.

New Orleans, Old Prejudices

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Mike Davis finds that every aspect of the response to Hurricane Katrina disaster was shaped by race and class.

The tempest which destroyed New Orleans was conjured out of tropical seas and an angry atmosphere 125 miles offshore of the Bahamas. Labelled initially as 'Tropical Depression 12' on 23 August, it quickly intensified into 'Tropical Storm Katrina'. Making landfall near Miami on 24 August, Katrina had grown into a small hurricane - 'Category 1' on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Crossing over Florida to the Gulf of Mexico where it wandered for four days, Katrina underwent a monstrous and largely unexpected transformation.

Not a Level Playing Field

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Andrew Stone considers the politics of cricket.

Exhilarating - not an adjective often applied to test match cricket. But it was a fitting description of England's two-run win in the second test against Australia, and indeed of the entire Ashes series to date. A surge of interest greeted that nailbiting finish, and I'm sure I wasn't the only cricket lover suddenly called upon by previously uninterested friends to explain the finer points of the LBW law. It might seem wilfully perverse, therefore, for socialists to turn up our noses at the wave of sporting patriotism, to take an 'anyone but England' line.

We Know Where You Live

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Google's new software makes the world smaller.

Just like any other industry, the computing world is continually on the lookout for the next big thing - whenever you get geeks, programmers and industry watchers together you will hear them talk about the 'killer app' - 'app' being the 'cool' shorthand term for application. The idea is that those behind the next such 'app' will take the world by storm and get bucketfuls of cash. What it means is that every new programme, however limited its innovation, is hailed as the 'killer app'.

Global Faultlines

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Chris Harman identifies three problems facing global capitalism.

The ruling classes of mainland Europe are now trying to recover from the shock which hit them in the early summer. Their central project of pushing through neo-liberalism was thrown into crisis by the No vote in the French and Dutch referendums.

Since the referendum all leaders of the European Union's mainstream parties have repeated the same refrain. Europe's economies, they say, have no future unless the mass of people are prepared to work harder, and for lower wages and pensions in order to cope with 'the challenge from India and China'.

Evil Paradise: An Artist's Vision of Dubai in the Future

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Mike Davis asks if the road to the future ends at Dubai.

The narration begins: As your jet starts its descent, you are glued to your window. The scene below is astonishing - a 24 square mile archipelago of coral-coloured islands in the shape of an almost finished puzzle of the world. In the shallow green waters between continents, the sunken shapes of the Pyramids of Giza and the Roman Coliseum are clearly visible. In the distance are three other large island groups configured as palms within crescents, and planted with high-rise resorts, amusement parks and a thousand mansions built on stilts over the water.

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