Countries of the World

Will deposing moderate Malcolm Turnbull as Australia’s PM finally lead to Australian Republic of his dreams?

Aug 24th, 2018 | By | Category: Countries of the World

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. REPORT FROM GREG BARNS. Australians used to laugh at Latin American nations like Argentina and Ecuador, which in recent decades turned over their leaders with astonishing regularity. But now the boot is well and truly on the other foot. Today saw the demise of Australia’s fifth Prime Minister in 11 years. The Liberal […]



Does anyone in Canada today really care what happens with Brexit in the UK? (& why we should, sort of .. )

Jul 20th, 2018 | By | Category: Countries of the World

Nowadays not even anglophone Canadian political junkies follow the domestic politics of the United Kingdom with anything like the interest that was common enough 100 years ago (judging from early 20th century newspapers). And the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)’s old role as a distributor of British TV programming to North American audiences, going back only […]



Australia asylum seekers face a refugee policy to condemn, not replicate, despite what PM says

Sep 24th, 2016 | By | Category: Countries of the World

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. REPORT FROM GREG BARNS AND ANNA TALBOT. This past Tuesday Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, stood in front of world leaders and claimed his government’s refugee policy was the best in the world. But many people in Australia will tell you that Mr Turnbull’s boasting was misplaced. Australia’s policy is based on deterrence, […]



And now for something not completely different : blaming it on Rio for the 2016 Olympics

Aug 3rd, 2016 | By | Category: Countries of the World

[UPDATED AUGUST 4]. Does anyone really think the US presidential campaign of Donald Trump is the only weird thing going on in the global village right now ? Whatever else, the start of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this coming Friday will confirm that this is a bizarre year across the planet. See, […]



Citizen X reports on Amsterdam, Bruges, and Berlin, Spring 2016 .. more to come later (well, maybe)

Jun 4th, 2016 | By | Category: Countries of the World

As previously noted, the managing editor assigned me the task of reporting on the recent offshore conference, “Northern Europe (and Russia) in the spring of 2016” — from which everyone on the counterweights staff returned safe and sound, late last week. It is a task I have accepted in the past. But this year I […]



100th anniversary of Easter 1916 Rebellion in Ireland .. one view from Toronto, Canada

Mar 27th, 2016 | By | Category: Countries of the World

In the 1930s the local historian (and private school Latin teacher) Percy Robinson — author of the still invaluable Toronto during the French Regime, 1615–1793 — called Toronto, Ontario, Canada (all North American indigenous words) “the citadel of British sentiment in America.” On a somewhat earlier and more extreme, possibly even exaggerated variation on the […]



Is there a case for Grace of Monaco as what George Orwell might have called a good bad movie ??

Jul 12th, 2015 | By | Category: Countries of the World

A few days ago my TV viewing partner and I caught up with the more or less new Grace of Monaco movie (aka Princess Grace on some listings), which in our part of the world apparently debuted on cable at the end of May this year. It’s directed by Olivier Dahan (from France) with a […]



Down and out in London, Paris, La Rochelle, and the Basque country in Bilbao : notes on Western Europe today

Oct 12th, 2014 | By | Category: Countries of the World

What if you had already figured out that our earlier post here (“At the Berkeley Square-Bilbao Conference — our staff hard at work in Western Europe, last half of September”) was really just about another sordid case of that early 21st century mass middle-class tourism scourge known as the cruise? Taken by three remarkable senior […]



Does centenary of First World War bring prophesies of World War III?

Jul 24th, 2014 | By | Category: Countries of the World

[UPDATED JULY 27, 28]. Maybe it’s just the summer heat going to my head (tho it hasn’t been all that hot where I am). But lately I’ve been thinking about how we are now just over a week away from the 100th birthday of The Guns of August that started the First World War. On […]



Mon pays c’est l’hiver.. notes on Ukraine Crisis from frozen city on Lake Iroquois

Mar 2nd, 2014 | By | Category: Countries of the World

It was warmer here yesterday, but now the cold and even some snow have returned. This past week, when records for low temperatures were broken in some places nearby, I  took a certain solace from “Man found ‘frozen solid’ on Highway 401 transported to hospital.” It reminded me of a sentence composed 45 years ago […]