Can Artisanal Weed Compete with ‘Big Marijuana’?

United States (Conversation) – You’ve heard of Big Pharma and Big Tobacco. How about Big Marijuana? The drug’s growing legalization is raising concerns among small-scale marijuana farmers and retailers that the corporatization of weed may be right around the corner. For example, earlier this year NASDAQ became the first major U.S. stock exchange to list shares of a marijuana production company. And in August, Corona-maker Constellation Brands shocked Wall Street by making a US$3.8 billion investment in a Canadian marijuana producer, sparking a bull market in marijuana stocks industry-wide. Even…

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Texas Set to Approve Curriculum Some Say is Historically Inaccurate

Texas, United States (TexasTribune) – Approaching the podium, Dallas middle school teacher Ron Francis faced the circle of 15 large, wooden desks at the Texas State Board of Education’s September meeting. The board was discussing changes to the social studies curriculum standards, the result of a 10-month-long process to cut back on what teachers have to cover in the classroom. But Francis, a 6-foot-tall Army veteran who teaches in Highland Park ISD, was more concerned about what the board wasn’t cutting. The standards currently list slavery alongside three other causes for…

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Marie Colvin: Lindsey Hilsum’s Biography of Courageous War Reporter is Compelling Stuff

(Conversation) – For Marie Colvin, it was Lebanon’s War of the Camps that brought home the power of journalism. In April 1987 Burj al Barajneh, a Palestinian refugee camp, was besieged by Amal, a Shia militia backed by the Syrian regime. Colvin and her photographer Tom Stoddart paid an Amal commander to briefly hold fire while they ran into the camp across no-man’s land. The assault on the camp was relentless and women were forced to run a gauntlet of sniper fire to get food and water for their families. One…

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Americans Elected Mayors who Care About Climate Change

United States (Conversation) – Being pro-environment was a winning strategy for this country’s mayors. Twelve mayors in America’s 100 largest cities faced re-election battles during the 2018 midterms, and mayors – both Democrats and Republicans – who followed pro-environmental policies were rewarded. All six mayors who had demonstrated their commitment to the environment by signing the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy – including Stephen Adler of Austin, Texas, Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky, and Libby Schaff of Oakland, California – won re-election. The other big city mayors…

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World War I: the Forgotten Housewives who Helped Win the Battle on the Home Front

United Kingdom (Conversation) – As we wear poppies to mark the end of World War I, we should ask ourselves who we are being asked to commemorate. Despite four years of television programmes, exhibitions, art installations and local history projects, we still seem to find it easier to focus on the trenches than the home front, on men rather than women – and, among the women, on munition workers and nurses rather than housewives. The stories remain largely masculine – despite the large amount of money put into commemoration through…

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How Many Women Does it Take to Change a Broken Congress?

United States (Conversation) – The next United States Congress will have at least 123 women in the House and Senate, including two Muslim-American women, two Native American women and two 29-year-olds. Ten more women could still win in midterm races that remain too close to call. Starting in 2019, women will make up nearly a quarter of the 435-member House of Representatives – a record high. Currently, there are 84 women in the House. The female newcomers women will make waves in government – and not just because women legislators…

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Origins and Implications of the Caravan of Honduran Migrants

Honduras (Conversation) – Honduras is a wonderful place for a short visit, despite its reputation as one of the most dangerous places on the planet. It is a small, beautiful country with an abundance of natural resources and a warm, welcoming culture. But it is a very hard place to live. I first traveled there nearly 20 years ago to do volunteer work, meeting my Honduran husband in the process. I have visited multiple times since then, including living in Honduras for nearly a year while doing my PhD research….

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Women Candidates Break Records in the 2018 US Midterm Elections

United States (Conversation) – The 2018 midterms broke the records on female candidates in US elections. More than 20 women were on the Senate ballot, while more than ten times that number stood for the House of Representatives. If we also consider state elections for executive roles such as governor as well as state legislatures, the number of female candidates in 2018 rises by another 3,500. The results mean that several states (including Arizona and Tennessee) will now send their first ever women to the Senate, and more than 100…

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Women in Positions of Power Could Mark a Turning Point for Ethiopia’s Girls

Ethiopia (Conversation) – Within the last month Ethiopia has downsized its cabinet, named women to half the positions and, for the first time, appointed a woman as president. These are huge milestones in Ethiopian politics. They could also mark a turning point for the country’s girls as the women ministers are perhaps more likely to pursue policies that benefit girls. In addition, having women in positions of power will mean that girls have role models they can look up to, something that’s not common in the country. Girls in Ethiopia…

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While Politicians get Protectionist, More Businesses are Pushing Moral Agendas

United States (Conversation) – Donald Trump’s delayed reaction to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi shows how the US president’s “America First” campaign is shifting the government’s role towards a more pragmatic, rather than moralistic, approach to global affairs. By contrast, some major investors and businesses are filling the gap by taking over the role of moral compass. Many, for example, withdrew from Saudi Arabia’s recent investment conference in protest. The dramatic example of the Khashoggi case illustrates how rising nationalism and political polarisation forces politicians to oscillate between…

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