October 2020

Seen and not Heard: Young Greens Cast Doubt Over the Party's Future

The Green Party/An Comhaontas Glas in government has been a contentious issue for many, including their own members, particularly those in the youth wing of the Green Party, the Young Greens/Glasa Óige. Frontier had the pleasure of interviewing five current members of the Young Greens to hear their views on a variety of issues, ranging from their opinions on the party’s role in the coalition government to whether or not they would vote Green in the next election. One thing that certainly became evident during this interview is that there is a real hunger and desire within the Young Greens to change the current trajectory of the party.

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The Race for a Covid-19 Vaccine

There are three core stages of testing that potential vaccines undergo before application to the FDA for approval. In the first phase, the vaccine is delivered to a small sample of people,, and its effect on the immune system is measured. This process is repeated with a larger number of people (hundreds) in phase 2. The process in phase 3 is slightly different. The vaccine is administered to thousands of people, with thousands of others receiving a placebo instead. The vaccine is delivered in two injections, at least  4 weeks apart. Then, sufficient time must be allowed for participants to become sick with Covid-19 and so to measure the vaccine’s ability to defend against the virus. This time is also necessary to identify side effects that might not have appeared during the other, shorter trials. A number of companies, such as Sinovac, Sinopharm, CanSinoBio, as well as the Russian Ministry of Health have been allowed to administer their vaccines in certain countries before the results and in some cases, before the beginning of phase three trials.

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What is #EndSars: Holding Nigerian Officials to Account

EndSars is a movement to terminate the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Nigeria. A few weeks ago, the Nigerian government made a statement that SARS is being dissolved. But Nigerians continue to protest for police force reforms on the streets and through various social media platforms.

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Last Chance: Final US Presidential Debate Review

With many Americans having already voted, the final US presidential debate was something of a formality. There are still some swing voters out there up for grabs, and both candidates knew a strong showing would shore up their support ahead of the final run in to election day. What transpired was a rather one-sided affair. 

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Ceasefire Broken as Violence Returns to Nagorno - Karabakh

A ceasefire broken, hundreds dead and two of the world’s largest military powers backing opposite sides, the conflict in the Nagorno – Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is quickly spiralling into one of the worst ongoing conflicts in the world. Nationalist sentiments and proxy scheming abound. A ballistic missile attack this week on civilian infrastructure shows the frightening potential of what is to come.

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New Zealand General Election Preview

On Sunday October 17th the People New Zealand will vote in the general election. The system in New Zealand for voting is mixed member proportional which gives Kiwi voters the option to vote for one candidate in their single seat constituency and one for a political party. Kiwis voted to maintain their voting system in November 2011. On October 17th the people of New Zealand will vote to elect all 120Mps in their parliament. This piece will give a description of all the main political parties contesting the election.

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September 2020

Lessons in Incivility: The First US Presidential Debate

The moment has finally come, the long-awaited first debate took place last night between US president Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. And what a debate it was. “Slugfest”, “utter chaos” and “caustic” have been used to describe the event but the main word that comes to mind is ‘uncivil’.

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A Critical Review of Coney Barret's Nomination to SCOTUS

On Saturday US president Donald Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the next US Supreme Court judge. The nomination follows the death of liberal stalwart, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18th after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Respect was paid from all sides to the late “titan of the law” who had amassed somewhat of a cult following in recent years. Left-wing grief over the passing of an icon soon turned to dismay however as Trump announced her replacement a week later, in the form of the rigidly conservative judge.

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SOUTH AFRICA ON NETFLIX

Earlier this year, the Chief content officer of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, and a team of executives traveled across the African continent. They met with local creatives to expand Netflix into areas with remarkable talent that has not been fully exploited. Through this journey, Netflix was able to bring to its audience two great South African series; Blood&Water and Queen Sono.

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Money For Nothing

As I sat in the newly arranged clubhouse student bar in UCD, over what must be called a substantial meal, and a pint of cheap lager, I reminisced about how nice it was to be back on campus, but couldn’t shake the feeling of being out of place. Maybe it was because we were the only ones there or simply because we yearned for a time pre COVID. The last time I’d seen friends from college was March 13th, the Friday before spring break. The time spent in the interim was mostly spent with my family or doing Zoom quizzes. Needless to say, everyone was in the same boat, the only thing getting us through was “by September everything will have cleared up.” In hindsight we were very wrong and overly optimistic. Students from around the country and across most of the world were presented with the bleak reality of online lectures for Semester One at least. Certainly, in the case of my university, there was no clear plan from the beginning, from either the faculty of the Student Union.

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Sport and International Relations - Intrinsically Linked

When we hear the phrase ‘International Relations’ we often imagine men in suits at diplomatic discussions negotiating trade deals or the normalization of relations between countries who share a turbulent history, as was seen last week as Bahrain announced it will normalize relations with Israel; following on from the UAE. However, we must look past diplomatic statements to truly see how countries feel about their neighbours; whom they often share a troubled past with. The world of sport offers us a comprehensive view of relations between nations in many different aspects; how sport can lead to the easing of tensions between countries and how bitter rivalries on the pitch are caused by ideological differences in governments.

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WHEN JUVENTUS RULED THE WORLD - A BRIEF HISTORY OF ITALIAN FOOTBALL GREATNESS AND DISGRACE

Italia 90' is one of the best remembered and reminisced world cups not least for its setting in Italy amid a football home nation, culturally significant to Europe and the BBC theme song by Luciano Pavarotti "Nessun Dorma". It would romanticise the tournament like no other, from Gazza's tears, Cameroon's stunning performance, Jacks Army marching to the quarterfinals only to be seen out by Schillaci, a summer wonder, the scrappy semi-final and finals between Germany & The Netherlands then Germany & Argentina. Cruel defeats would mark the romantic memory of this world cup.

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US-China Relationship: Is war inevitable?

It is 50 years on since the US rapprochement to China where President Richard Nixon met Mao Zedong on an eight day trip in China which began the first stage of  relations between the two countries and then in 1979 both countries officially established diplomatic ties. Since that time the US-China relationship has been relatively benign and one that was underpinned by strategic and economic engagement. In those 50 years the US-China relationship has become increasingly interdependent, according to James Kynge of the Financial Times it has been “the most important commercial relationship in history”. In that time US companies have invested billions in China and has been vital in China’s economic growth and poverty alleviation. Since 1980 China has seen its economy grow at breakneck speed at 10% a year and has successfully lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty and increased average per capita incomes from $193 to $8,100 today.  China was a country that was once sequestered from the world  has now insinuated itself so much into the depths of the global economy that last year it contributed 30% of global economic growth, making China crucial for the overall stability and wellbeing of the global economy. As former Prime Minister of Australia and China Watcher Kevin Ridd once noted  “It is like the English Industrial Revolution and the global information revolution combusting simultaneously and compressed into not 300 years, but 30”. Moreover he claims it was the  “embodiment of the great global transformation” and one which “the collective west is woefully unprepared for”.

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Mairéad McGuinness

European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen has today announced Mairéad McGuiness as her choice for the Irish seat on the Commission vacated by Phil Hogan two weeks ago. Hogan resigned as trade commissioner on August 26th, a week after the disastrous Oireachtas golf society dinner in Clifden. His departure sparked debate on possible replacements from John Bruton and Simon Coveney to Bertie Ahern. However European stalwart McGuiness has emerged as the foremost candidate.

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Malicious Mali - Another Coup D’état Shakes The Nation!

Corruption, election fraud, insecurity, and economic problems have defined the African state of Mali since the reelection of President Ibrahim Keita. On August 18, 2020, a group of military leaders in Mali decided to bring an end to the corrupt government of Keita by staging a coup d'état. On the afternoon of the 18th, soldiers invaded the presidential palace and arrested president Keita and his prime minister Boubou Cissé. They were taken to a military base, and moments later, the president resigned in a national television address. President Keïta was quoted saying, "If today certain elements of our armed forces want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice?”

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August 2020

Welcomed with Open Arms, or Arms in Hand? – Mustapha Adib Announced as The New Prime Minister of Lebanon

The recent explosion in Beirut, Lebanon signalled to the world the dire state that the country was in. Ridden with political corruption and vested interests from both Shia and Sunni Muslims, the country was a pressure cooker ready to explode. And that’s exactly what happened in the nation’s capital, after ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive substance was left unattended in a storage facility in the capitals port. An explosion on the 4th of August shook the world and drew attention to the poor condition of the Middle eastern country. With widespread damage to both homes and food supplies, the country was sent into a state of emergency, and mass protests from locals. The government soon resigned. What followed was a wave of support from around the world, most notably from French president Emmanuel Macron who vowed to help rebuild the country. 

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Chinese Foreign Policy in the Era of Xi Jinping

John King Fairbank of Harvard University and founder of modern Chinese studies in the United States has described Classical Chinese foreign policy of consisting of three key tenets: which was demand for regional "dominance", insistence that contiguous states recognize and respect China's inherent "superiority", and willingness to use this dominance and superiority to orchestrate "harmonious coexistence" with its neighbours". Understanding China's historical foreign policy is crucial for understanding Xi's Jinping’s “China dream”, which aims to build a “moderately well-off China” by 2021 which marks the centenary of the CCP and to be “rich and powerful” by 2049 which is the centenary of the PRC.

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Chadwick Boseman

On the 28th of August, the world lost the first-ever black Marvel superhero, Chadwick Boseman. Boseman succumbed to colon cancer, which he battled for four years. He, however, managed to keep the cancer a secret while pushing forward his acting career.

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Fashionable Football: PSG Couture

In the 1973 Fashion designer, Danielle Hechter became president of the club and designed their home kit, the iconic blue jersey with red vertical stripe flanked by two thinner white lines. The design alone was iconic and is now part of PSG identity. Everything changed for PSG in 2011 when their new owners, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), purchased it. Overnight they become the richest club in France. Last year, they had the fifth-highest revenue of all football clubs, totalling €636m with a valuation for the club at €1.092B.

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GolfGate: Distractions Galore as Blame is Spread Wide While Cases Rise

If events of the last week have shown, public figures in Ireland have really figured out the knack of shooting themselves in the foot. Multiple resignations have devolved into a protracted struggle with an embattled EU Commissioner and Supreme Court Judge. In what are otherwise grim times, strange entertainment has appeared in the form of these side shows. But they are only side shows.

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Ireland's Relationship with the EU

As a small island nation on the western frontier of  Europe Ireland has an interesting relationship with the European Union. When Ireland first joined the European Economic Community in 1973, Ireland were regard as the “poor man” of Europe. It is also argued that Ireland joined at the right time. The mindset of other European states, was a general attitude that assistance should be given in order to raise the standard of living in less well off states, including Ireland. People’s lives soon became populated with signs dotted around various infrastructural projects, reading jointly funded by some European body or institution. In many ways, the Irish people have firmly backed the EU, with approval ratings among the highest in Europe. However, this is not a blind form of loyalty. 

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An Ghaeilge - i mbaol

  Gaeilge was once the mother tongue of the majority, nowadays its very existence and importance are being questioned is a sad reflection of our painful history, but also brings into question the actions taken in recent years to prevent the further decay of our native language. In addition to this, one must take valid concern from census figures and the downward trend they present. However, in the age of social media and relentless work from organizations, such as Údarás na Gaeilge, Conradh na Gaeilge, TG4, and Cumainn Gaelacha in colleges around the country, perhaps the future of Gaeilge is still yet to be determined.

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China: Peace and Power in East Asian International relations

David Kang Professor in International relations at the University of Southern California observes that, “Asian international relations has historically been hierarchic, more peaceful and more stable than that of the west”. Today in the 21st century the international system is witnessing the resurgence of a prolific and active China. This has sparked a debate in the international relations and security community over the future of the international and regional system as China continues in its economic and military ascendance.

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The UAE-Israeli Abraham Accord and The Palestinian Conflict

On 13th August 2020, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) confirmed stable and peaceful relations through the Abraham Accord. The agreement was administered by America, as stated by American President Donald Trump at a press briefing, “I hosted a very special call with two friends, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, where they agreed to finalize a historical peace agreement”. In summary, the agreement entails normalization of full diplomatic relations between the two nations, the exchange of embassies and ambassadors, and the cooperation on “areas including tourism, education, healthcare, trade and security”. But what does the agreement mean for the escalation of the Palestinian regional conflict?

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Self Exiled King

When General Franco died at the age of eighty-two in 1975 the Spanish monarchy was restored. Its new King Juan Carlos would play a critical role in the transition to democracy after Franco’s death. More recently the former monarch has faced several controversies ranging from elephant hunting in Botswana to financial scandles. Monarchs know the importance of public relations, one only needs to look across the Atlantic at the effect the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have had in renewing the public interest in the centuries old institution of the British Monarchy. In early August, the former Spanish King left Spain in what many have called a self-exile. It is yet to be seen will this latest development help improve the Spanish monarchy’s relationship with the public or has it cast doubt across its estate.  

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Three in a Bed – The UAE and Israel’s new relationship

The Israeli Arab conflict has existed mostly in the backdrop in the second half of the 20th and 21st century. There have been many attempts of peace in the region including the Camp David Accords, lead by US president Jimmy Carter which lead to the end of the Yom Kippur war. Tensions between Arab nations and the US backed Israel, has held a semi-permanent place in headlines for the last 50 years. Last week it emerged that President Donald Trump had brokered a new diplomatic relationship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

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Leaving Cert 2020: Pressure Mounting on Predicted Grading

As the clock ticks down to the release of calculated grades for the Leaving Certificate, results across the pond have ratcheted up the pressure. The recent shambles involving the allocation of predicted grades in Scotland and England have shown a massive flaw in the use of the system that poses serious questions for how things will pan out in Ireland.

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