Why central banks are getting into the crypto game

From bitcoin to ethereum, digital currencies have been heralded as a new dawn for money. They allow for faster, cheaper transfers, promote financial inclusion and offer greater privacy, according to their proponents. However, the promise of anonymity has also made them a favoured financial medium for fraudsters and criminals. And beset by explosive volatility, they fall far short of being a viable payment method. But what if that wasn’t the case? For monetary authorities worldwide, this is the trillion-dollar question. Spurred by the crypto sector’s meteoric rise, dozens are looking at launching their own central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) — virtual money that replaces cash with electronic tokens. Done correctly, this could democratise finance, clamp down on criminality and offer far greater efficiency. Yet deep in CBDCs’ digital DNA are concerns around state surveillance and individual privacy and the prospect of a cashless society that might not work for all.

This Country Is Finally Teaching Students About Its Ugly Colonial History

Demands to tackle discrimination through education have grown globally over the last 12 months, energised by the murder of George Floyd and wave of racial equality campaigning that followed. In the UK, a petition calling for the compulsory teaching of Britain’s role in colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade got 268,772 signatures – well over the 100,000 needed for the topic to be debated in Parliament. Scotland has an ugly colonial past. It was a ready participant in Britain’s blood-soak

From Indigenous Communities to Faith-Based Organisations, Collaboration is Needed to Tackle the Climate Crisis

There is no greater equalizer than the environment. Regardless of race, religion, gender or geography, we’re all facing a climate crisis — a man-made catastrophe that can only be tackled with collective action. Faith-based organisations and indigenous communities are key actors in this endeavour. With their moral capital and spiritual resonance, they can call for restorative action and greater sustainability, guiding policymakers onto a path that better protects the planet. This was the centra

Scottish Independence Back In The Limelight As Country Votes In Pivotal Parliamentary Election

Constrained by coronavirus restrictions, there’s an eerie quietness to Scotland’s parliamentary election campaign. No raucous street activism, no mass rallies. Just a peculiar sense of calm before the impending constitutional storm. On May 6, polling day, that storm makes landfall. Voters face a stark choice. Plump for a pro-independence party, and they’re saying yes to ‘IndyRef2’: a second ballot on Scottish independence. Deny the nationalists a majority, and dreams of secession fade away (fo

Scotland’s risky route to a new independence vote

GLASGOW — Despite being on course to win next week’s Scottish parliament election, pro-independence parties face a perilous path to secure a new referendum on breaking away from the U.K. The first major obstacle is U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who says he will refuse to grant a second referendum even if the Scottish National Party (SNP) retains power and the broader pro-independence camp wins an overall majority of seats in the election on May 6. If Johnson sticks to that stance, the ind

Scotland’s leadership ‘undermined’ system of government, says Alex Salmond

Former Scottish National Party leader and former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond is sworn in before giving evidence to The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints at Holyrood | Andy Buchanan via AFP The actions of senior ministers are “undermining the system of government in Scotland,” former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond claimed Friday. Addressing a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of sexual harassment complaints against him, Salmond accus

Scottish National Party chief executive accused of misleading inquiry

Peter Murrell rejected claims that he had given contradictory answers | Pool photo by Andy Buchanan/Getty Images GLASGOW — The chief executive of the Scottish National Party was accused on Monday of misleading an inquiry into the handling of harassment complaints against former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Peter Murrell — who is also the husband of current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon — had been hauled before a parliamentary committee to clarify comments made during a previous sessi

Scotland fails to curb spiraling drug death epidemic

It’s a distinction that would shame any government, let alone one chasing the dream of self-rule. Scotland, by a dizzying margin, is the drug death capital of Europe, new figures reveal — a tragedy and a blot on the record of Nicola Sturgeon’s pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) government; but one that's unlikely break her country's political fixation with Brexit, nor derail plans for a second say on separation from the United Kingdom. More than 1,200 Scots died in drug-related cas

Brexit: Scottish independence back in the spotlight | DW | 15.12.2020

With Brexit talks sputtering, though not quite dead, the specter of tariffs, travel restrictions, and towering economic uncertainty looms large over Europe. From Berlin to Brussels, Belfast and beyond, leaders are scrambling to shore up no-deal contingencies, finessing plans many hoped would never see the light of day. Yet, in one corner of the continent, a quiet sense of satisfaction simmers. Officially, Scotland's pro-independence government wants an agreement: The country's exporters are as

What Dominic Cummings’ Departure Means For Brexit

He is the man who vowed to “Take Back Control” and “Get Brexit Done”, but as Dominic Cummings stalked out of Downing Street for the final time yesterday, Britain’s EU departure was far from resolved. Boris Johnson’s chief aide cultivated a poisonous and pugnacious aura around the prime minister, critics say, and few people — particularly among Conservative MPs — will be sorry to see him go. But now, as the dust from a bombastic week in Westminster settles, minds will be focusing on the future,

President Biden: Bad News For Britain, Brexit And Boris?

An air of anticipation, and anxiety, will hang heavy around 10 Downing Street this morning. Ears straining for the familiar chimes of the Prime Minister’s phone, awaiting feverishly the most coveted call in world politics: “Please hold for the President-Elect.” For Boris Johnson, unsure of where he stands with Joe Biden, America’s chosen man, it’ll be a nervy moment. On the face of it, he’s a more natural fit with Donald Trump: two populist showmen set on shaking up the established order. Scra

Brexit Turmoil As Boris Stands By Law Breaking Plan

There are rumblings of rebellion in Westminster this evening. The trigger: a breach of international law sanctioned at the very top. In an incendiary move, Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week set out plans to override a legally binding Brexit pact—one he brokered himself just eleven months ago. The British government’s proposed Internal Market Bill addresses a cornerstone of the last year's Brexit withdrawal agreement, one that ensured a hard border wouldn’t return to the island of Ireland

UK faces new surge in migrant arrivals | DW | 15.08.2020

When at last he arrived in Calais, a port town on France's north coast, Gulwali Passarlay felt a surge of hope long suppressed: safety and the promise of a new life was at hand. But his optimism soon faded. "I had a really, really inhumane experience in Calais. Several times I spent 18 hours in a cell in police custody. We didn't have any dignity or value whatsoever." Read more: Migrants in France up against pandemic, police abuse The Afghan, then just 13 years old, had first fled the horrors

Groundbreaking A.I. Robots Will Hold Conversations and Learn Users’ Personalities

This year, as coronavirus-induced panic caused public life to retreat behind closed doors, the fortunes of socially vulnerable senior citizens plummeted. For many, being forced to curtail visits from friends and family, keeping coronavirus out meant letting loneliness in. In the not-so-distant future, however, this painful trade-off may not be necessary. That’s thanks to advances in the realm of “socially intelligent” artificial intelligence, a phenomenon that a group of British scientists is

British Prisoners And Their Families—The Forgotten Victims Of COVID-19

In the frenzied first days of Britain’s coronavirus outbreak, as contagion fears reached fever pitch and public life retreated behind closed doors, the nation’s lockups locked-down. With little notice, prison visits were cancelled, exercise and education activities curtailed, and out-of-cell time cut to as little as thirty minutes a day. Such muscular measures were necessary, officials said, spurred by fears that a single super-spreader might bring down an entire institution. That COVID-19 has

UK: Fears of resurgent terrorism as COVID-19 lockdown ends | DW | 12.07.2020

On June 20, as Brits basked in the mid-summer sunshine, terror struck with little warning. Armed with a knife, 25-year-old Khairi Saadallah walked into a park in Reading and stabbed to death three friendsin a frenzied, indiscriminate attack, prosecutors allege. It was — in the words of Neil Basu, head of UK counter-terror policing — the "re-emergence" of one disease, extremism, as another, COVID-19, recedes. He is not alone in his concern. Deprived of social stimulation during lockdown, expert

UK-China Relations In Freefall Pose A Big Brexit Problem

In 2015, George Osborne - then the U.K.’s finance minister - crowed that Britain was China’s “best partner in the West”. What a difference five years can make. As Beijing mobilizes against Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, and London looks to lock Huawei out of its 5G future, Anglo-Chinese relations are in freefall. On Monday (July 6), things came to a head. The U.K. is guilty of “gross interference,” decried Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, Beijing’s man in Britain, in typically sharp-tongued fash

What Poland’s Presidential Election Means For European Unity

As Poles head to the polls today, a presidential race-cum-culture war reaches its climax. The incumbent Andrzej Duda - a man who plays fast and loose with press freedom and the rule of law - seeks re-election on a platform of Eurosceptic populism. His principle rival, Warsaw’s cosmopolitan mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, offers voters a very different vision, one that defends Poland’s beleaguered minorities, and endorses ever closer E.U. integration. In many ways, the contest is a microcosm of much de
Load More Articles
Close