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Why France's 'gilets jaunes' protesters are so angry by Claude Poissenot, Université de Lorraine 12/04/2018


France's "gilets jaunes" protests of December 1 were marked not only by their anger and violence, but also by the variety of those taking part. The violence of the protests – named after the yellow vests worn by those on the streets – is partly the work of extremist, anarchist groups pursuing illusory political goals. Others involved are casseurs or "wreckers", who’ve inserted themselves in the movement to fight the police and loot stores for the appeal of doing damage and the lure of personal profit.

But it seems that some of the gilets jaunes themselves wanted to fight. Above all, they are expressing their anger out loud.

Many of those protesting feel neglected, oppressed and dominated. For the most part they're employed, but their incomes often don't meet their needs despite the exhaustion they feel from their work. The simple promise of being able to live off one's income is no longer being kept. It's no longer possible for somebody to lead their life as they please, or to make their own choices. How can the ideal of autonomy be achieved if the riches of society aren’t shared out more widely?


Michelle Obama’s Becoming is an insight into inequality, feminism and a FLOTUS who broke the mould by Clodagh Harrington, Associate Professor of American Politics, De Montfort University, 11/14/18


Michelle Obama

Time magazine described it as a tour “fit for a rock star”. This is not how book promotional outings are usually billed – but then this is no ordinary tome. The memoirs of Michelle Obama comprise one half of a US$65m joint publishing deal for the former first couple’s autobiographies.

One measure of predicted global interest is that Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, will be translated into 28 languages. The month-long tour plan is bold, taking in ten major arenas, with an all-star line-up of moderators including Oprah Winfrey, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, businesswoman Valerie Jarrett, actress Sarah Jessica Parker and more. One is left in absolutely no doubt that the legacy of this First Lady stands robustly alongside that of her husband. Very few of her predecessors can make this claim.

Before Barack Obama entered public life, Michelle was his mentor. When he was elected to the Senate, she earned more than him. Many said that she was smarter than him, and he was very smart indeed.


Secure Land Rights for Climate Resilience by Karina Kloos, 10 December 2018

Land Rights

The world’s attention this week has turned to Katowice, Poland, where leaders and advocates have gathered to discuss the global climate change agenda at the COP24 United Nations Climate Change convening. Coming on the heels of the grim report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is a profound sense of urgency not only to take more drastic measures to mitigate climate change, but also to bolster efforts to support the adaptive capacity of those most affected.

Worldwide, the consequences of climate change are increasingly evident, and the link to land rights is increasingly hard to ignore. In Central America, a hungry caravan of migrants have left their homes, seeking relief from a protracted drought that has consumed food crops and contributed to widespread poverty.

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