What are the major arguments in the abortion debate?

Thomas Fuller

Earlier this year the United States Supreme Court reversed their 1973 decision on Roe v Wade, removing the federal right to abortion. There are a variety of opinion on the subject. However, many of the arguments put forth by pro-choice activist often reside in the practical applications of the prohibition of abortion, arguing that a prohibition of abortion does not stop abortions, but rather makes them less safe. The argument rests in the legality of abortion, rather than the morality of the action itself. So, I thought it prudent to recap some of the formal arguments put forth by ethical thinkers, focusing on the consideration of whether a foetus has an alienable right to life.

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The Dilemma of Deepfake

Oli Tate

Widespread distrust, confusion and hysteria are just a few of the words used to describe the impact deepfakes could have on society if they are left unchecked and allowed to become more advanced. Deepfake is the use of a type of AI called “deep learning” to produce images of fake events, mostly by imposing someone’s face on another’s body or making someone say something they never did. The implications of this technology undoubtedly hold significant importance for truth, democracy and trust.

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Alexander Lukashenko: A Threat to EU Security.

Pasha Wilson

Since August 2020, the EU has imposed sanctions on Belarus in response to the ‘neither free, nor fair’ presidential election of Alexander Lukashenko, as well as his military’s violent suppression of peaceful protestors and journalists opposing the party in power. In retaliation, Lukashenko’s regime has aimed to destabilise the EU through fuelling illegal movement of migrants into the EU. Lukashenko is exploiting the desperation of migrants travelling from war-torn countries in the Middle East and using them as pawns in his political warfare with the EU. Belarusian soldiers are actively encouraging migrants to travel freely through Belarus, with the false promise of open borders into the EU bloc via Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Free travel is advertised through the ‘tourist’ packages being sold to migrants, which reportedly cost between $3,000 and $4,000 and include a Belarusian visa and flight tickets to Minsk.

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China in Africa: A Force for Good?

Joshua Mathew

Introduction

The rather low-profile Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, concluded recently, saw a reaffirmation of China’s commitment to the region. Africa provides a smorgasbord of economic benefits to China: it is a source of raw materials and agricultural produce, and is an external market for Chinese construction firms. With the demographics of Africa consisting of mostly young consumers, there are lucrative opportunities for Chinese private capital to conduct business in the region. In addition, in terms of political value, Africa is a key partner – as a crucial voting bloc in the United Nations, there is a strategic dimension to the relationship.

One aspect that deserves further attention is the development of telecommunications platforms in Africa. The main focus will be on the Chinese involvement in this area as well as its potential security implications. Some mitigating strategies to deal with the risks will also be provided. 

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What role can International Organisations play in cultivating a greener economy for developing nations?

Alainah Amer, Anahita Roy and Taqi Shah

Introduction

Establishing a greener economy within developing nations is an up and coming topic in policymaking, environment, and economics. The natural foundations that many developing economies possess could be utilised to produce economic benefits is appealing. But before introducing the potential benefits as well as potential drawbacks of encouraging green growth in these countries, it is important to define what a green economy is. Essentially a green economy possesses healthy characteristics such as “low carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive” environment (United Nations Environment Programme, 2018, p.1). A green economy contributes to an increase in employment and revenue as a result of investment from both the public and private sectors into economic activities that allow for reduced carbon emissions, green and efficient energy, preservation of biodiversity and the ecosystem as a whole (United Nations Environment Programme, 2018, p.1). 

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T-Levels: a much-needed step forward in the British education system

It has been a long-standing view that the UK’s provision of technical courses falls far short of European alternatives. Rishi Sunak’s Autumn Budget Review revealed the government’s revitalised intention to invest in upskilling, an increase of 42% (£2.8bn). Included in this figure are T-Levels – a new qualification set to provide an alternative route to the current dichotomy of A-Levels and apprenticeships.

T-Levels are 2-year courses entailing an 80:20 mixture of classroom and industrial placement, respectively. They were first introduced in the Careers Strategy in 2018, and were launched in September 2020. The planned trajectory of courses available is auspicious: digital production, health, construction, and education, shifting to industries such as finance, media, and law by mid-2023.

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History Repeating Itself: The Consequences of Poland’s De Facto Abortion Ban

The consequences of Poland’s recent near-total abortion ban are becoming increasingly clear after a 30-year-old pregnant woman, named Izabela, died in a hospital in Pszczyna in southern Poland after being denied a possibly life-saving abortion. In October 2020, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortions will only be legal in cases of rape, incest, and when a mother’s life is endangered, while terminating a pregnancy with fetal defects is against the Polish Constitution. Izabela’s is the first death publicly linked to the ban. Although Izabela died in September 2021, the story was only made public in early November.

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People or Pawns? The case of refugees at the crux of Greece-Turkey relations

The narrative regarding refugees and migrants has often been couched in negative terms, which has led in turn to the isolation of such individuals. This is partly a cause of the criminalisation of migrants perpetuated in the media, leading to xenophobia and racism, or top-down policies that do not take into account lived realities. This is clearly evident in the case of the EU-Turkey deal of 2016 – an agreement to discourage refugees from seeking asylum in Europe. It allowed Greece to send incoming ‘irregular migrants’ to Turkey instead – the latter would increase measures to stop illegal migration and would in exchange receive €6 billion in aid from the EU for its migrant communities; the agreement also included the possibility of resettling of one Syrian refugee in the EU for every one that Turkey let in. It is clear that this agreement is a political strategy benefiting EU countries at the expense of refugees’ rights, and despite being heavily criticised as such, it was still pushed forward. 

Turkey had essentially taken on the heavy burden of becoming Europe’s new buffer zone. The toll of this was not fully realised until February 2020 when Turkish authorities announced the reopening of the border shared with Greece amid accusations that the EU had not provided Turkey with the promised funding to support 3.6 million refugees within its borders. Following this, hundreds of refugee communities in the country rushed towards the border with the hopes of gaining entry into Europe, and according to interviews conducted on the ground by Amnesty International representatives, there were free buses ready to transport them to the border region. This political move to pressure the EU into more cooperation once again came at the expense of these migrants flooding the border, where they were pushed back violently by the Greek border security. 

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Strengthening Climate Policy in China’s Private Sector

At the UN conference in September 2020, President Xi Jinping announced that China will “have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060”. Details of how this target will be achieved will probably not be released until the 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP) is announced. Nonetheless, if China fully implements a strategy to reach this goal, it will have massive implications for reaching the global 1.5 degrees Celsius target. This is because China accounts for the highest percentage of CO2 emissions worldwide, with Chinese power plants burning 25% of the world’s coal reserves and with renewable energy output only accounting for 9% of the country’s total energy [1]. Paradoxically, despite its massive energy consumption, it is also the largest producer of solar and wind energy and the leading investor in clean energy technologies worldwide [2]. Not only does China have 47% of all electric cars in the global market [3], it also refines four-fifths of the world’s supply of cobalt, an essential component in lithium ion batteries, the most common storage of clean electricity [4]. In addition to investment and manufacturing of sustainable energy technology and following several regional pilot emissions trading schemes (ETS), the Chinese government implemented a National Emissions Trading Scheme (NETS) in 2017 and enforced it in 2020, initially covering 2,267 power plants [5]. 

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