Daily Archives: January 17, 2014

Geoff Dyer

Getty Images

First things first. Everything that happened on Friday, from President Barack Obama’s long-awaited speech on the National Security Agency to the long list of reforms published by the White House, would not have taken place without Edward Snowden.

When he first started leaking documents, the former NSA contractor said that all he wanted to do was initiate a debate. “I’ve already won,” he said last month. “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished.” Read more

By Toby Luckhurst
  • David Gardner explores the rebirth of the security state in Egypt, expressing fears that the west will once again support the governments that foster “Islamist delirium”.
  • James Fontanella-Khan interviews Romanian labour minister Mariana Campeanu, who warns that the exodus of the young and the skilled is beginning to seriously affect the economy. While net migration has balanced, the government is attempting to encourage home young workers with business incentives and mortgage subsidies.
  • Syrian architect Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj and his wife Syndi have opened their Beirut home to Syrian refugees, in an attempt to provide advice on practicalities of life in Lebanon but also to “keep the idea of the country alive”.
  • A Q&A with the filmmakers behind Oscar-nominated documentary “The Square”, chronicling over two years of Egyptian protests in Tahrir Square.
  • Anne Barnard writes in the New York Times that government promises of ceasefires are viewed with suspicion by Syrians, due to the army habit of using ceasefires to establish authority over rebel towns.

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(CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

By Toby Luckhurst
There seems to be no end in sight to the protests that have engulfed Bangkok since late last year. Anti-government demonstrators are demanding the resignation of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the suspension of democracy, to be replaced by an unelected “people’s council”, while Ms Yingluck seeks to avoid a repeat of the political violence of 2010 while holding on to power.

Similarly bloody protests have erupted throughout the region – notably in Bangladesh and Cambodia. Yet Thailand stands out for the contradictions of its mass-action anti-democracy opposition, the influence of exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on his sister’s government, and because of the country’s economic and military importance.

These articles explore the contradictions at the heart of the protests and the divisions that inspired them, as well as the outlook for Thailand and the region. Read more

Geoff Dyer

On Friday, seven months after Edward Snowden began leaking documents about the National Security Agency, President Barack Obama will give a speech in Washington outlining his plans to reform US electronic surveillance. Here are five issues to watch out for: Read more