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TOPIC: ireland

This Happened

This Happened—​November 21: IRA Strikes The Pubs Of Birmingham

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out numerous terrorist acts against Britain through the 20th century, but among the bloodiest were the Birmingham Pub Bombings in 1974 at the height of The Troubles.

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Putin’s New Doctrine, BoJo Bids Farewell, First COVID Inhaler

👋 Ko na mauri!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Vladimir Putin unveils a new “Russian World” foreign policy doctrine, Liz Truss officially takes over from Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister, and Instagram gets slapped with a hefty fine. Meanwhile, Spain’s Agencia SINC looks at how the distorted and often negative portrayal of women in medicine is being challenged by the research community.

[*Gilbertese, Kiribati]

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Overcoming My Pākehā Family's Historical Amnesia

New Zealand politics professor Richard Shaw comes to terms with how his family's silences finds roots in the historical amnesia surrounding the acquisition of lands by Irish settlers in Taranaki, a region in the south west of the Aotearoa's North Island.

The day my great-grandfather Andrew Gilhooly was buried at Taranaki’s Ōkato cemetery in early February 1922, Jas Higgins played the Last Post. Neither man had seen active service in the “great war” with which that ritual is most closely associated. Rather, both had served in the New Zealand wars, an earlier series of conflicts fought across the mid-to-late 19th century as part of the colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand.

In New Zealand and Australia it’s a mark of honour to have ancestors who fought on the Dardanelles or at the Somme or Passchendaele. A national origin myth has been constructed around the Anzacs, replete with a day of remembrance, outsized monuments, and a rich tradition of rituals that are rehearsed annually “lest we forget”.

Nothing like the same emotional (or financial) investment is made in remembering the wars that took place at home. Our own colonial violence, in Taranaki and at Ōrākau, Pukehinahina/Gate Pā and elsewhere, has been relegated to the margins of the national consciousness. It’s an ongoing process of selective historical amnesia that we’re only slowly beginning to address – not so much lest we forget, as best we forget.

This might explain why I grew up knowing next to nothing about my maternal great-grandfather. Yes, there were plenty of stories about his wife (roundly condemned as having been a “difficult” woman) and six children (farmers, priestly prodigies and musical spinsters). However, other than the bare facts that he was born into a poor farming family in County Limerick in Ireland and had served in the New Zealand Armed Constabulary (AC), about Andrew there was only silence.

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Northern Ireland: Born Of Strife, Erupting Again In Violence

After a century-long history of political strife, Brexit risks undoing the hard-earned two decades of reconciliation.

Sectarian rioting has returned to the streets of Northern Ireland, just weeks shy of its 100th anniversary as a territory of the United Kingdom.

For several nights, young protesters loyal to British rule – fueled by anger over Brexit, policing and a sense of alienation from the U.K. – set fires across the capital of Belfast and clashed with police. Scores have been injured.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling for calm, said "the way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality."

But Northern Ireland was born of violence.

Deep divisions between two identity groups – broadly defined as Protestant and Catholic – have dominated the country since its very founding. Now, roiled anew by the impact of Brexit, Northern Ireland is seemingly moving in a darker and more dangerous direction.

The island of Ireland, whose northernmost part lies a mere 13 miles from Britain, has been contested territory for at least nine centuries.

Britain long gazed with colonial ambitions on its smaller Catholic neighbor. The 12th-century Anglo-Norman invasion first brought the neighboring English to Ireland.

In the late 16th century, frustrated by continuing native Irish resistance, Protestant England implemented an aggressive plan to fully colonize Ireland and stamp out Irish Catholicism. Known as "plantations," this social engineering exercise "planted" strategic areas of Ireland with tens of thousands of English and Scottish Protestants.

Plantations offered settlers cheap woodland and bountiful fisheries. In exchange, Britain established a base loyal to the British crown – not to the Pope.

England's most ambitious plantation strategy was carried out in Ulster, the northernmost of Ireland's provinces. By 1630, according to the Ulster Historical Foundation, there were about 40,000 English-speaking Protestant settlers in Ulster.

Though displaced, the native Irish Catholic population of Ulster was not converted to Protestantism. Instead, two divided and antagonistic communities – each with its own culture, language, political allegiances, religious beliefs and economic histories – shared one region.

Over the next two centuries, Ulster's identity divide transformed into a political fight over the future of Ireland.

"Unionists' – most often Protestant – wanted Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. "Nationalists' – most often Catholic – wanted self-government for Ireland.

These fights played out in political debates, the media, sports, pubs – and, often, in street violence.

By the early 1900s, a movement of Irish independence was rising in the south of Ireland. The nationwide struggle over Irish identity only intensified the strife in Ulster.

The British government, hoping to appease nationalists in the south while protecting the interests of Ulster unionists in the north, proposed in 1920 to partition Ireland into two parts: one majority Catholic, the other Protestant-dominated – but both remaining within the United Kingdom.

Irish nationalists in the south rejected that idea and carried on with their armed campaign to separate from Britain. Eventually, in 1922, they gained independence and became the Irish Free State, today called the Republic of Ireland.

In Ulster, unionist power-holders reluctantly accepted partition as the best alternative to remaining part of Britain. In 1920, the Government of Ireland Act created Northern Ireland, the newest member of the United Kingdom.

In this new country, native Irish Catholics were now a minority, making up less than a third of Northern Ireland's 1.2 million people.

Stung by partition, nationalists refused to recognize the British state. Catholic schoolteachers, supported by church leaders, refused to take state salaries.

During the Troubles in Belfast in 1970 — Photo: Fribbler

And when Northern Ireland seated its first parliament in May 1921, nationalist politicians did not take their elected seats in the assembly. The Parliament of Northern Ireland became, essentially, Protestant – and its pro-British leaders pursued a wide variety of anti-Catholic practices, discriminating against Catholics in public housing, voting rights and hiring.

By the 1960s, Catholic nationalists in Northern Ireland were mobilizing to demand more equitable governance. In 1968, police responded violently to a peaceful march to protest inequality in the allocation of public housing in Derry, Northern Ireland's second-largest city. In 60 seconds of unforgettable television footage, the world saw water cannons and baton-wielding officers attack defenseless marchers without restraint.

On Jan. 30, 1972, during another civil rights march in Derry, British soldiers opened fire on unarmed marchers, killing 14. This massacre, known as Bloody Sunday, marked a tipping point. A nonviolent movement for a more inclusive government morphed into a revolutionary campaign to overthrow that government and unify Ireland.

The Irish Republican Army, a nationalist paramilitary group, used bombs, targeted assassinations and ambushes to pursue independence from Britain and reunification with Ireland.

Longstanding paramilitary groups that were aligned with pro-U.K. political forces reacted in kind. Known as loyalists, these groups colluded with state security forces to defend Northern Ireland's union with Britain.

Euphemistically known as "the troubles," this violence claimed 3,532 lives from 1968 to 1998.

The troubles subsided in April 1998 when the British and Irish governments, along with major political parties in Northern Ireland, signed a landmark U.S.-brokered peace accord. The Good Friday Agreement established a power-sharing arrangement between the two sides and gave the Northern Irish parliament more authority over domestic affairs.

The peace agreement made history. But Northern Ireland remained deeply fragmented by identity politics and paralyzed by dysfunctional governance, according to my research on risk and resilience in the country.

Violence has periodically flared up since.

Then, in 2020, came Brexit. Britain's negotiated withdrawal from the European Union created a new border in the Irish Sea that economically moved Northern Ireland away from Britain and toward Ireland.

Leveraging the instability caused by Brexit, nationalists have renewed calls for a referendum on formal Irish reunification.

For unionists loyal to Britain, that represents existential threat. Young loyalists born after the height of the troubles are particularly fearful of losing a British identity that has always been theirs.

Recent spasms of street disorder suggest they will defend that identity with violence, if necessary. In some neighborhoods, nationalist youths have countered with violence of their own.

In its centenary year, Northern Ireland teeters on the edge of a painfully familiar precipice.

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ABC

The Latest: Myanmar Embassy Trouble, N. Ireland Violence, Superman Record

Welcome to Thursday, where Myanmar turmoil reaches London, violence flares in Northern Ireland, and Superman sets a super record. Meanwhile, Italian weekly magazine L'Espresso uncovers how criminals, mafias and hackers are finding new ways to profit from the pandemic.

Myanmar ambassador locked out: Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn was reportedly locked out of his London embassy by representatives of the Myanmar military junta yesterday. He is now urging the British government to send the soldiers back to their home country. In Myanmar at least 11 pro-democracy protesters were killed in renewed clashed, taking the toll of civilians killed to over 600 since the Feb. 1 coup.

Biden to issue new gun restrictions: U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to disclose new gun restrictions — including on untraceable weapons — under pressure from Democrats and gun-control groups after a series of mass shootings hit the country.

Violence in Northern Ireland: British and Irish leaders are calling for calm after a group of youth set a bus on fire and attacked police with stones in Belfast, the latest in a series of violent riots that started last week amid rising tensions between political factions in the country.

Turkish failed coup sentences: At least 32 former Turkish soldiers have been sentenced to life in prison for their participation in the 2016 failed coup.

DR Congo's alarming hunger: UN agencies warn that over 27 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in western Africa, are affected by "emergency levels' of food insecurity.

Women more impacted by COVID: Two new studies show that many national governments are failing to consider sex or gender in their responses to the current pandemic. Previous studies have shown that women are disproportionately impacted by the sanitary crisis.

"Covering the Hate" with tattoos: Two Kentucky tattoo artists are being contacted from all over the world to cover up hate or gang-related tattoos for free. Their "Cover the Hate" campaign was inspired by the racial justice protests following the killing of George Floyd last May.

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blog
Bertrand Hauger

A Long Time Since Tipperary

Some photos speak for themselves, others can use a little explaining. Though I took this shot almost 40 years ago, seeing it brought back some vivid memories: For starters, our meal at "Chez Hans," housed in a former church in County Tipperary in the south of Ireland, was delicious.

Despite its Franco-German sounding name — and never mind the Swiss, American and German flags! — I remember feasting on traditional Irish delicacies. But rediscovering this slide in my archives brought back my recollection of that little boy in the foreground, staring directly at my camera: He was a spooky little lad!

blog

Lucky Chaplin

There is a well-known statue of Charlie Chaplin in Vevey, Switzerland, not far from my hometown, where the great American actor lived for 25 years. But what was he doing in Ireland? The quiet village of Waterville, County Kerry, happened to be a favorite vacation spot for the Chaplin family.

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Economy
Alexandre Counis

Inside Cork, Apple's Controversial European Headquarters

CORK — On a December morning, as my plane pierces the ceiling of clouds and begins its descent toward the airport of Cork, my eyes are drawn to the flocks of sheep spread across the green fields below. It's hard to imagine but this seemingly rural backdrop in southern Ireland houses the European headquarters of Apple, one the most important American companies in the world.

Cork has made headlines in recent months. Last year, the European Commission ordered Apple to pay 13 billion euros in back taxes to Ireland based on their operations in Cork. Apple employs 6,000 people in the city, and created an estimated 2,500 related jobs. The Commission accused Ireland of illegally helping Apple with tax breaks and denounced Dublin's tax incentives policy.

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Economy
Renaud Honoré

Juncker's Irony, EU Leads Fight Against Tax Evasion As Apple Gets Hit

The EU Commission is taking a tough stance on tax evasion, as shown with the 13 billion euro bill leveled at Apple.

-Analysis-

BRUSSELS — Jean-Claude Juncker had only spent four days as president of the European Commission in November 2014 when an enormous scandal erupted. "Luxleaks," revealed in several top European newspapers, detailed how Luxembourg had favored large-scale tax optimization while Juncker had been prime minister of the Grand Duchy for 18 years.

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Sources
Andrej Mrevlje

My Irish Holiday: Summer Winds And Whiskey

Our itinerant Slovenian-born New Yorker takes a long-awaited voyage to the land of Joyce and good drink, and a certain singular brand of modesty.

How does one decide to visit Ireland? I have friends who did it out of their newly discovered passion for golf. And I remember the late president of Italy, Francesco Cossiga, who went to Ireland every summer and praised Irish literature and Guinness.

Then there are my Slovenian compatriots who, when I asked them what Ireland was like, told me that it was very similar to our country. And last but not least, there are my Irish friends. But none of them — not a single one — ever told me that I should come and visit Ireland. The Irish are modest. They love their country and they want to keep it to themselves. And like all smart people, they are also inveterate gossips.

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