Commentary

A Future of Happiness, Tolerance, and Youth

DUBAI – Over the past two weeks, I have heard and read many questions, comments, and news stories regarding recent changes to the government of the United Arab Emirates. Why, everyone seems to want to know, did we establish a Ministry of Happiness, Tolerance, and the Future, and why did we appoint a 22-year-old Minister of Youth?

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A Years of Ocean Regeneration

OXFORD – The importance of the world's oceans cannot be overstated. They supply 50% of the oxygen we breathe, feed billions of people, and provide livelihoods for millions more. They are the great biological pump of global atmospheric and thermal regulation, and the driver of the water and nutrient cycles. And they are among the most powerful tools for mitigating the effects of climate change. In short, the oceans are a critical ally, and we must do everything in our power to safeguard them.

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The End of Cross-Border Surrogacy?

LONDON – The global trade in babies born through commercial surrogacy is slowly being shut down. India, Nepal, Thailand, and Mexico have introduced measures that would limit or ban foreigners from hiring locals as surrogate mothers. Cambodia and Malaysia look likely to follow suit.

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A Year of Ocean Regeneration

OXFORD – The importance of the world’s oceans cannot be overstated. They supply 50% of the oxygen we breathe, feed billions of people, and provide livelihoods for millions more. They are the great biological pump of global atmospheric and thermal regulation, and the driver of the water and nutrient cycles. And they are among the most powerful tools for mitigating the effects of climate change. In short, the oceans are a critical ally, and we must do everything in our power to safeguard them.

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Democracy or Bust in Europe

BERLIN – “Europe will be democratized or it will disintegrate!” That maxim is more than a catchphrase from the manifesto of the Democracy in Europe Movement – DiEM25, the group I just helped to launch in Berlin. It is a simple, if under-acknowledged fact.

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Islam Versus Islam

LAHORE – Turmoil has seized much of the Muslim world. In Syria, a brutal war has already taken 250,000 lives, displaced half of the country’s 21 million people, and sent a million refugees to Europe seeking asylum. In Yemen, the Houthi tribe has risen up against the government, and are now facing Saudi-led airstrikes. Conflicts like these reflect a number of factors, the most prominent of which are the conflicts between Islam’s two sects, Sunni and Shia, and between fundamentalists and reformists.

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Renewable Energy and Middle East Economic Renewal

FEZ – The global oil-price bust has devastated economies across the Middle East and North Africa. Having seen severe price declines in the past, many leaders in the region may be tempted to wait for prices to rise again. But this collapse is different, and governments need new energy and development strategies. Morocco’s drive to become a regional renewable-energy powerhouse offers a real option for economic development in other Arab countries.

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Zika and Reproductive Rights

NEW YORK – Mosquitoes know no boundaries, and neither does fear. As public-health experts grapple with the Zika virus, panic continues to spread around the world. Yet the crisis has brought to light two important truths.

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What’s Holding Back the World Economy?

NEW YORK – Seven years after the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, the world economy continued to stumble in 2015. According to the United Nations’ report World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016, the average growth rate in developed economies has declined by more than 54% since the crisis. An estimated 44 million people are unemployed in developed countries, about 12 million more than in 2007, while inflation has reached its lowest level since the crisis.

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Vaccines Versus Superbugs

LONDON – The outbreak of the Zika virus, like Ebola before it, has highlighted the risk that infectious diseases can pose to the health of entire countries – and the importance of vaccines to the fight against fast-moving epidemics. Indeed, efforts are already underway to find ways to inoculate people against both viruses.

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