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Updated: 17 hours 19 min ago

Tariffs miss the mark, Protectionism favors powerful nations, Children should not be targeted for taking a stand, Five Star Movement’s win in Italy continues a populist trend, Better avenues needed for reporting sexual harassment

March 17, 2018 - 4:00am

“The cost of The Donald’s policy of imposing heavy import tariffs on steel and aluminium continues to rise, with the resignation of ... Gary Cohn, his top economic adviser...,” writes Richard Harris. “Steel and aluminium are poor targets for an American trade war.... [T]hey miss the fundamental issue of seeking to rebalance trade with China. Targeting steel allies would hammer Canada, the European Union (EU) and South Korea, who export something like 13 times more steel to the US than China.... Western companies complain that business always seems to be on China’s terms.... You cannot blame the central government for wanting to ‘make China great’.

White House turnover: the appeal and the risks for Trump

March 16, 2018 - 3:41pm

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is about to lose his White House job. It’s Chief of Staff John Kelly who is on the way out, perhaps as soon as today. As Mr. Trump heads into his second year in office, widespread and conflicting reports about upheaval among top White House and executive branch staff have created an air of turmoil and uncertainty in Washington as important decisions on tariffs, North Korea, and other big issues loom ahead.

South Africa sings in the anti-corruption chorus

March 16, 2018 - 12:13pm

On March 16, Jacob Zuma of South Africa became the latest current or former leader of a democracy to be charged with corruption. Mr. Zuma, who was forced to step down as president last month by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), faces charges related to a government arms deal in the late 1990s, before he was elected.

No, the Irish were not slaves in the Americas

March 16, 2018 - 11:42am

You might hear, for instance, that St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland (they were never there in the first place), that the color historically associated with him is green (it's actually blue), that he evangelized with a four-leaf clover (three leaves, to represent the Trinity), or that an Irish monk “discovered” America 500 years before Columbus (utter bollocks). It’s the claim that Irish people were slaves in the Americas, particularly the British West Indies, and that they were treated just as badly as – or worse than – their African counterparts. “I conservatively estimate that tens of millions of people have been exposed to ‘Irish slaves’ disinformation in one form or another on social media,” says Liam Hogan, a research librarian in Limerick, Ireland, who has led efforts to debunk this myth.

Global decline in democracy? The lesson from India may be 'Not so fast.'

March 16, 2018 - 11:12am

When the Indian filmmaker Sanjay Bhansali announced the nationwide release early this year of his film “Padmaavat” – a historical drama based on the legend of a 14th century Rajput queen who along with 16,000 women of the Rajput caste chose to die by self-immolation rather than bow down to the Muslim sultan of Delhi – it enraged India’s Rajput community and other conservative political forces. As the governments of four conservative states enacted bans of the film in the interest of public safety, some rights activists and proponents of freedom of expression warned that the rage was nothing less than an attack on India’s democracy. Recommended: How well do you know India?

For Putin, an election win will be easy. The next six years, a lot harder.

March 16, 2018 - 10:22am

After nearly two turbulent decades in power, Vladimir Putin on Sunday will be overwhelmingly handed another six-year term by Russian voters, one that may prove his most challenging yet and which – under Russia's current constitution – should be his last. Few Russian leaders have lasted as long or more radically changed the face of this gargantuan and unwieldy country than Mr. Putin. Today's Russia, with all of its strengths and flaws, is very much the product of Putin's priorities.

'Chief Wahoo' out: the mascot debate

March 15, 2018 - 2:07pm

The announcement in January that the Cleveland Indians will remove the  “Chief Wahoo” logo from use on the field has invited a reexamination of sports teams’ use of Native American-inspired names and imagery. Research presents arguments against the use of Native American sports mascots, so why does the practice persist? Q: What was behind the decision to remove Chief Wahoo?

The race to be a start-up nation

March 15, 2018 - 1:49pm

 One way to gauge the world’s pace of innovation is to measure how many people fear failure in business. In a just-released survey of 44 countries by Amway, about half of 50,000 people interviewed said they would be willing to risk failure if they were to start a business.

To revitalize poor suburbs, Paris taps underused resource: women entrepreneurs

March 15, 2018 - 1:43pm

Weaving through her childhood cité – or social housing block – in the Parisian suburb of Villemomble, Hafida Guebli passes a gaping hole where the library used to be. It burned down during the 2005 riots that spilled over from nearby Clichy-sous-Bois and left numerous Paris banlieues in ruin. Ms. Guebli remembers the violence, police brutality, and skepticism of those days.

In Kentucky, all sides agree on need for criminal justice reform. But how?

March 15, 2018 - 1:16pm

In 2009, both Tahiesha Howard and the state of Kentucky were looking for a fresh start. Ms. Howard’s childhood was such a blur of dysfunction and addiction she says she couldn’t remember her first drink of alcohol. Kentucky, meanwhile, had become a poster child for ineffective and unsustainable mass incarceration – its prison system growing at quadruple the national average despite a consistently low crime rate.

Russia-Lebanon deal? What the resurgent power sees in Syria's tiny neighbor.

March 15, 2018 - 6:16am

At first glance, it may seem unclear why resurgent world power Russia, flush with success after restoring its regional foothold in Syria, would show much interest in Lebanon. The tiny country on the eastern Mediterranean, once a vassal state of its far more powerful neighbor Syria, a former Soviet client, is grappling with a long list of political and economic woes. In addition, Lebanon seems forever perched on the edge of a potentially catastrophic war between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah organization, the dominant political force in the country.

Why web users are ‘norm entrepreneurs’

March 14, 2018 - 1:45pm

The inventor of the World Wide Web, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, issued a special plea this week on the 29th anniversary of his creation. In an open letter, he asked web users to “work together” to prevent the internet from being “weaponized” by countries or corporations and used to spread false information. In the web’s early days, entrepreneurs like Dr. Berners-Lee set the norms of the Digital Age.

In a Trump-country squeaker, some Democrats see a blueprint

March 14, 2018 - 1:06pm

President Trump’s surprise victory in the rust belt – and thus the presidential election – 16 months ago left many Democrats despondent that they had “lost” white working-class America. Democrat Conor Lamb’s apparent narrow win Tuesday in a special House election in western Pennsylvania, in a district that Mr. Trump had won by almost 20 points, shows that there’s a way for the party to win those voters back: Champion their issues. Workers’ rights, wages, and protecting pensions, Social Security, and Medicare – all played to Mr. Lamb’s advantage against Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone.

Is West winning in Afghanistan? Tide of displaced people suggests not.

March 14, 2018 - 10:59am

Taliban militants came to her town in central Wardak province in mid-2017, and during battle with the Afghan police, burned her home and killed her husband, a farmer who was out “doing his daily routine,” she says. The upheaval adds to an astonishing metric of the scale of on-going war, 16 years after American troops first arrived to oust the Taliban. Recommended: How well do you know Afghanistan?

Tillerson fired: Why top diplomat was never a good fit with disruptor-in-chief

March 13, 2018 - 1:08pm

In the end, Rex Tillerson was simply not enough of a disruptor to last as President Trump’s secretary of State. Time and again over the course of Mr. Trump’s first year in office, his chief diplomat sounded a cautious and conventional note on foreign policy matters that the president had chosen as issues on which he could stand apart from the traditional approach to American statecraft. The president who came into office on an anti-establishment wave seems to have realized fairly quickly that he had picked a solidly establishment secretary of State.  But it wasn’t until Tuesday, a little over a year into his presidency, that Trump announced that Mr. Tillerson was out – to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

For suburban GOP lawmakers, new pressure on guns

March 13, 2018 - 11:09am

Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman (R) is used to tough campaigns. Mrs. Clinton, in fact, beat President Trump in the district by 9 points – almost the same margin by which Representative Coffman beat his last Democratic challenger. Emotional participants confronted Coffman repeatedly over his stance on gun-control legislation and whether he would continue to accept campaign donations from the National Rifle Association.

Take the taint out of March Madness

March 13, 2018 - 11:04am

For some time the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking into illegal payments made to college basketball players and their families. By one estimate at least 50 college basketball programs eventually may be found to be compromised. To players interested in receiving a college education, an athletic scholarship does offer a sizable financial enticement.

Serving time with Mom in prison: cruel sentence, or a child's right?

March 13, 2018 - 9:21am

From the pint-sized toilets to the colorful bedrooms and backyard filled with overturned tricycles, there’s no question children live here. What’s less obvious is that the 38 babies and toddlers bunking with their mothers at the Vilma Curling Rivera Institutional Service Center are in prison.

US-North Korea summit? Shared language, expectations are key

March 12, 2018 - 3:00pm

President Trump’s acceptance of a summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un last week was a huge surprise for much of official Washington. It was almost as if Mr. Trump had decided to become a Democrat, or give up golf. After all, Trump has derided Kim as “Little Rocket Man.” He’s threatened North Korea with “fire and fury.” The way in which the agreement came about seemed impetuous.