17 Stories

Like Harry Potter? You May Have Lower Opinion of Trump

'Fictional story may have implications for general election preferences'

(Newser) - The novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was believed to help turn the tide of public opinion away from condoning slavery after it was published in 1852, but even the most popular fictional works today aren't shown to impact political leanings on a mass scale. Now researchers at the University... More »

Elizabeth Warren: Donald Trump Is a 'Loser'

Massachusetts senator goes on the attack

(Newser) - Looks like Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump won't be getting cozy anytime soon. The Massachusetts senator today called Trump "a loser" on Facebook and Twitter, just days after he was quoted in an interview mocking her claim to Native American heritage. "Let’s be honest—Donald Trump... More »

China to North Korea: Loosen Up Those Markets

Powerful Pyongyang official visits Beijing

(Newser) - It's time for authoritarian North Korea to let in some free markets, urged Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today, following a rare meeting with a high-ranking North Korean official, reports Reuters . Wen and President Hu Jintao met yesterday with Jang Song Thaek, the powerful uncle of North Korea's young... More »

Belarus-Sweden Teddy Bear War Gets Nastier

Belarus closes its embassy in Stockholm, arrests 2

(Newser) - The great Belarus-Sweden teddy bear war continues to escalate, with Belarus booting Sweden's ambassador from the country and closing its own embassy in Stockholm, reports the BBC . Since a Swedish PR firm parachuted 879 teddy bears bearing pro-democracy slogans on July 4, Belarus' longtime President Alexander Lukashenko has reacted... More »

Ai Weiwei: China Will Never Beat Internet

Censorship only builds pressure in Internet age, warns famous artist

(Newser) - Authoritarian societies are all about propaganda and control, but the Internet has destroyed both of those pillars, writes the famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in the Guardian . Unlike Russia's glasnost, China never really opened ideologically to the West, only practically. Then came the Internet, and thanks to blogs and... More »

Stop Wasting $110B a Year on These Turkeys

As Arabs spread democracy, we prop up Afghan, Pakistan regimes

(Newser) - Democracy is on the march across the Arab world, so "What are we doing spending $110 billion this year supporting corrupt and unpopular regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are almost identical to the governments we’re applauding the Arab people for overthrowing?" asks Thomas Friedman in the New ... More »

Fix US Democracy or China Wins

Conservatives are a bad advertisement for American way

(Newser) - The conservatives chucking wrenches into the works of American democracy have apparently failed to notice that there's a rival superpower out there again, warns Harold Meyerson. The Senate's efforts to thwart majority rule, and the Supreme Court's decision to allow corporations to make unlimited election donations are fueling Chinese arguments... More »

Rising China Bucks the West

More prosperous Beijing isn't necessarily a friendlier one

(Newser) - Predictions that China would grow cuddlier as it grew more prosperous have turned out to be dead wrong; Beijing is tightening its authoritarian grip on the economy, and acting increasingly hostile to the West, the Washington Post reports. Hu Jintao has encouraged the forcible acquisition of private firms by state... More »

Thomas the Tank Engine Is Sexist: Prof

Show OK for kids to watch, just tell them about Orwellian overtones

(Newser) - Not that you shouldn’t let your kids watch Thomas the Tank Engine or anything, but the show exhibits a “conservative political ideology” that “sidelines” female characters and discourages individuality. At least that’s the opinion of a Canadian political scientist who undertook a study of the classic... More »

Today's Hot Topic in Syrian Blogosphere: Masturbation

Regime doesn't seem to mind as long as it doesn't challenge authority

(Newser) - Syria’s authoritarian regime has been quick to lock up bloggers who tweak it even slightly, but it seems to have turned the other cheek as a flame war over masturbation has erupted. One blogger’s call for a crackdown on the evidently widespread “secret habit” elicited a push... More »

Berlusconi Irate Over Pesky Media Questions

Italian PM walks out of interview when asked about teen model

(Newser) - Silvio Berlusconi owns nearly half of Italy’s television stations—but not La Repubblica, the Italian daily that has incensed the PM with questions about his connection to an 18-year-old model, the Guardian reports. When a reporter asked about Berlusconi's appearance at her birthday party, Berlusconi took offense, saying “... More »

Medvedev, Putin Move to Tighten Grip on Russia

Extending president's term would lock in power for a generation

(Newser) - Dmitry Medvedev's proposal yesterday to extend the Russian president's term from 4 years to 6 looks like another step in Russia's "alarming and rapid drift towards authoritarianism," the Guardian reports. The move came as a Russian newspaper, citing sources in the Kremlin, claimed that Medvedev could resign as... More »

Elisabeth Fritzl Describes Life Under Josef

Father would threaten to hurt kids if daughter resisted rape

(Newser) - Elisabeth Fritzl describes as horrific life under the control of father Josef in the Austrian cellar where she and her children lived, the Telegraph reports. "He was very brutal against me," the 42-year-old said of the man who fathered seven children with her. Elisabeth, discovered in April, detailed... More »

Modern Bullies Aren't World's Real Threat

Putin, Jintao no Stalin, Mao; today's rulers can't ignore democracy

(Newser) - The world's strong-arm autocrats are surging to the fore, ignoring human rights, denying election results, and barging into neighboring nations. But Hu Jintao, Robert Mugabe and Vladimir Putin are not Mao, Hitler, or Stalin, Francis Fukuyama writes in the Washington Post. That “sort of ideological tyrant no longer bestrides... More »

Slowly but Steadily, Rights Gaining in China

Dynamic economy means people's freedoms are slowly growing

(Newser) - With the Olympics casting an unflattering spotlight on the state of human rights in China, the New York Times takes a longer view, reporting that freedoms have gradually expanded over decades of economic reform. Repression remains in public expression and assembly, but Chinese people can now often live where they... More »

India, China Growth Breaks Western Mold

Essayist says market reforms are only part of the big picture

(Newser) - Conventional wisdom chalks up the economic booms in China and India to their moves toward global capitalism in the '90s. It's a comforting thought for the West, writes Pranab Bardhan in the Boston Review, but the truth is far more complex. The astounding growth in both countries started well before... More »

Critics Blast Bush on Pakistan

Bush team can't back up its talk of democracy, writers say

(Newser) - Bush is leveling only tepid criticism of Pervez Musharraf’s state of emergency, showing the same “hypocrisy” and “knee-jerk support for authoritarianism” that has always defined his relationship with Pakistan, argues Salon’s Juan Cole. Musharraf’s move shatters even the pretense of a commitment to democracy, but... More »

17 Stories