Newly elected People Before Profit MLAs Gerry Carroll (left) and Eamonn McCann outside  Stormont. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

‘You probably shouldn’t vote for anybody who doesn’t seem a bit uneasy about asking you to vote for them’

 Supporters of far-right Golden Dawn party outside the appeals court in Athens, Greece in 2014. The neo-fascist group recorded 500,000 votes in last September’s general election, seven per cent of the poll, returning 18 MPs. Photograph: Simela Pantzartzi/EPA

Greek crisis reflects growing notion of every country for itself which undermines union

Obama didn’t touch down in Havana with an apology in his pocket for the US having first slathered Cuba in sleaze, organised an invasion by far-right desperadoes, made at least five attempts on Fidel Castro’s life, imposed a blockade in an effort to impoverish the country into submission and erected an internment camp on its soil where perceived enemies of the US could be tortured, some to death. Alejandro Ernesto/EPA.

American anger – and the blockade – was about property rights not human rights

Leicester City’s N’Golo Kanté (centre)  is arguably the best player in the Premiership at the moment.  Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

The club’s trajectory runs counter to the assumption that economic clout is all that matters these days

 DUP First Minister Arlene Foster. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Fear of Sinn Féin leads the DUP to suppress issues that would split other parties

Pink sneakers: Fort Worth state senator Wendy Davis tried to talk out the bill restricitng abortion in Texas. She filibustered on her feet for 11 hours and 15 minutes, wearing pink sneakers which became a symbol of women’s struggle.

In four states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi and Missouri, there is only one provider left

Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness  walks with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams  and party colleagues Mary Lou McDonald  and Michelle O’Neill  outside Stormont. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Unionist and Nationalist MLAs had stood shoulder-to-shoulder until engulfed in public disapproval

Izzy Armstrong, played by Cherylee Houston, buys cannabis in an upcoming episode of Coronation St. Picture: ITV

Over recent months, there has been a series of reports from around the world of sufferers from serious illnesses benefitting from (...)

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders smiles as he waves to the crowd at his 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary victory rally in Concord, New Hampshire February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Despite being far from the hard leftist portrayed in sections of the US media, Sanders does represent something different

Both pro- and anti-choice sides were dumbfounded by the outcome. The accused had been acquitted, the accusers indicted. The spectacular backfire might have been less of a surprise (although would still have been surprising) in Manhattan or San Francisco. But in Sheldon country?

Until just last week, the only thing many of us knew about Harris County is that it is located in east Texas, where Sheldon Cooper(...)

State agents appear to have played a part in the bombing of Frizzell’s fish shop on the Shankill Road in 1993 in which nine people died. Photograph: Pacemaker.

What justification can be offered now for the conflict that saw almost 4,000 killed?

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers. Photograph: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

There is nothing new about the dodging and delaying tactics of the British authorities in the North in relation to ‘dealing with t(...)

Edwin Poots: His remarks on Arlene Foster would not have gone down well in Sierra Leone. Photograph: Kate Geraghty/The Irish Times

Women of Sierra Leone no longer have to live in a world dominated by ideas from long, long ago

King Salman meeting US president Barack Obama in Washington last September. File photograph: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Western leaders have protected Saudi elite from scrutiny or sanction for half a century

“Mother Teresa’s statement to the UN conference was dishonest, manipulative opportunism for which it is hard to find adequate words.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Canonisation an exercise in propaganda – which is, of course, the salutary point

David Ford, NI Justice Minister: “I can only go on the evidence that I have...that it is possible to diagnose accurately fatal abnormalities of a foetus.”  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Much is made of the fact that doctors can never be 100 per cent certain of a diagnosis of fatal abnormality

Frank Sinatra with his mother Natalie “Dolly” Sinatra in 1976. “Dolly was a doughty campaigner for women’s rights. She was an open advocate of the right to choose and, free of charge, helped organise illegal abortions for women in desperate straits.”

Crooner’s mother was one a of generation of strong, unafraid women without whom the world would be a less enlightened place

Members of the Free Syrian Army.  Cameron believes there are 70,000 pairs of suitable Syrian boots on the ground. Robert Fisk reckons 70 might be nearer the mark. Photo: Tomas Munita/The New York Times

A spooked House of Commons voted for war in 2002 and it is happening again

Algerian migrants in a bus after they were arrested by French police during a brutal police crackdown on October 17th 1961. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images/Archives

Deadliest violence to strike France since 1945 was probably the mass killing of Algerians by Paris police in 1961

Iraqi Yazidi people fleeing IS in August 2014. More than a thousand women and girls were kidnapped. Younger girls were shared out among fighters, older women murdered. One mass grave held the bodies of around 80 women, all apparently over the age of 40.  (Adam Ferguson/The New York Times)

Refusing to acknowledge the religious basis of the Paris attacks is to refuse to face facts

Jeremy Corbyn: Was accused by Gen Sir Nicholas Houghton of undermining “the credibility of deterrence”. Photograph: PA

Military’s default ‘deterrance’ position on nukes more to do with prestige than defence

  Same sex marriage campaigners (from left) Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty International, same sex couple Jayne Robinson and Laura McKee, and John O’Doherty from LGBT organisation the Rainbow Project,   celebrate on Monday outside Parliament Buildings in Belfast after a majority of Stormont Assembly members voted to legalise same sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  Photo: David Young/PA Wire

Main unionist parties increasingly out of kilter with their ‘own’ communities

In Colorado, tax revenue from marijuana is ring-fenced for the upgrade of schools run down as a result of spending cuts.  Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Oireachtas committee on justice may recommend that Ireland follow the example of Portugal which 14 years ago decriminalised all dr(...)

A paramilitary mural is seen on a wall in East Belfast in Northern Ireland. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Contradictions preventing a durable peace have been sharpened rather than resolved

 A young boy walks past a loyalist paramilitary mural  in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Proposed deal with banned loyalist groups shows the difficulties of ‘conflict resolution’

Kate Nash: “You look at the way the whole thing is being handled and you know it’s all more about politics than finding the truth.” Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Legislation for new investigatory mechanisms to start this month

A soldier looks at smoke billowing from the site of a Saudi-led air strike on a Houthi position in the Yemeni frontline province of Marib on September 15th, 2015. Photograph:  REUTERS/Stringer

‘Desperate people seeking safety for their families will press up against barriers erected against them by Europe, and continue in(...)

Police officers attempt to negotiate with people taking part in a protest to block the arrival of military vehicles to the upcoming arms fair at the ExCel centre in east London. Photograph: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

‘London arms fair: Protesters from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Amnesty International and others are unlikely to breach t(...)

First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson  and DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds arrive at Downing Street, London, for a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA Wire

‘If a party in any other jurisdiction were involved in such a variety of controversial matters, it might be thought unsuitable for(...)

Ripples from the China crisis: markets everywhere have been afflicted by a bad case of the vapours. Photograph:  EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

‘One of the reasons the reality of the markets can still seem mysterious is that their workings remain obscured behind distorted c(...)

‘It is a measure of the cynicism surrounding policing and justice in the North in cases which are politically sensitive or can be made to seem so that speculation is widespread that the matter will never reach court.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Cynicism surrounds policing and judicial system in Northern Ireland

Jeremy Corbyn during a rally in London earlier this month. Photograph:  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Blair’s sidekick Alastair Campbell has lately decided that things have become so fraught that he must intervene to save the party (...)

The Hiroshima atomic bomb blast, photographed by the US military on  August 6th,  1945. Photograph: EPA/Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Strong evidence exists that Japan prepared to surrender before the bomb was dropped

Pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick,  Co Mayo, on Reek Sunday, July 26th.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘The last pilgrimage I took part in was of the low-tech kind – a three-hour walk along Tóchar Phádraig’

Gaye Edwards at the launch of the Amnesty International Ireland report ‘She Is Not a Criminal’, in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

HSE consultation paper on bereavement and pregnancy uses ‘life-limiting condition’, not ‘fetal fatal abnormality’

Pro-choice ...  members of the Bolivian feminist group ‘Mujeres Creando’ (‘Women Creating’) dressed as nuns protest  outside the Cathedral of La Paz ahead of the recent visit of Pope Francis. Photograph:   EPA/ABI Handout

17 El Salvador women serving 30 years or more for allegedly ending pregnancies by using abortion pill

Out of this desperation will IS find a base? .... Palestinian children play in the rubble of houses destroyed during the  Gaza  war between Israel and Hamas militants in the summer of 2014 Photograph: Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images

Abbas appears to be repudiating idea of right of return

Jobseekers queue to enter an employment centre in Athens. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

Lagarde and others uninhibited in warning Greeks they will be cast out from respectable company

Finucane family hoped David Cameron (above) would tell them face-to-face that he had given the go-ahead for the public inquiry promised by Tony Blair. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Unaccountable body consorted with terrorists and indulged in perjury

‘The US Supreme Court will decide before the end of this month whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. If the court says yes, all state laws against equal marriage will fall. The outcome would represent another major step towards the vindication of LGBTI rights generally (and, as a trivial aside, would allow us to congratulate American friends on their judiciary having caught up with the plain people of Ireland). Supporters of same-sex marriages  outside the US Supreme Court on April 28th, 2015. Photograph:  MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

‘Hatred of homosexuals in Uganda, as in much of the rest of Africa, has little to do with local tradition, a lot to do with the in(...)

‘Some might say there are other organisations which could more appropriately have been scrutinised for evidence of crimes touching directly on US interests. Banks, for example. HSBC, for instance.’ Above, Fifa officials are escorted out behind sheets following their arrests by Swiss authorities  in Zurich  last week.  Photograph: Pascal Mora/The New York Times

Why does such scrutiny not extend to banks?

‘Any decision can be declared “key” by 30 of the 108 Northern Assembly members. Only the DUP, with 36 MLAs, can trigger a petition on its own. Sinn Féin has 28 seats and needs the signatures of at least two others.’ Photograph: Paul Faith

‘Petition of concern’ stymies decisions on social issues

  ‘Sepp  Blatter’s executive will now be in deeper dread than ever at the prospect of the Palestine conflict being reproduced within the organisation – particularly in its present fragile state.’ Photograph: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

International football is no longer only a game but has become, in Orwell’s phrase, ‘mimic warfare’

‘On the steps of the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in Hyde Park, the infant had worn her bonnet back to front, in the style of a hip hop artist’s baseball cap.’ Above, Princess Charlotte with her parents  the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Photograph:  Dominic Lipinski/PA

‘Prince Charles’s insolent self-importance have been nowhere more evident than in his “Black Spider” letters to ministers’

‘A number of “moderate” commentators have meanwhile argued that while Kelly’s formulation was ill-judged, he was simply reflecting one of the unfortunate facts of Northern political life – that, by and large, religion does shape political loyalties and that only the hopelessly naive can imagine things ever being different.’ Photomontage: Premedia (including, left, photograph by  Lesley Anne McKeown/PA)

‘One remarkable aspect of the affair has been the intervention of a number of party members expressing dismay’

‘It is right and proper that all those killed in the first World War should be remembered. But they should be remembered with rage against the obviously predictable futility of the enterprise and of the crime which it represented against humanity, not with reverence for a sacrifice well made.’ Above, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (right) and Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin at  the Australian National Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux, France, April 26th, 2015. Villers-Bretonneux was the site of fighting of allied forces against German forces in April 1918. Photograph: REUTERS/Brad Hunter

Like the Kiwis and the Aussies, the Irish too, were flung to their deaths like fistfuls of chaff

‘On December 13th 2012, a news team from the US network NBC was kidnapped by armed men in northern Syria.’ Above,  the aftermath of an artillery mortar shell attack  in  Aleppo, on December 3rd, 2012.  Photograph:  Javier Manzano/AFP/Getty Images

Journalists’ abduction and release was big news in US, but story was a bit too neat

Above, Louis Olivier Bancoult, chairman of the Chagos Refugees Group, celebrates outside the High Court in central London, in 2007 after it upheld a ruling letting families return to their Indian Ocean island homes, from where they were forced out 30 years ago to make way for a US military base. Photograph:  ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

UN court finding may open the way for Chagos Islanders’ to return home

‘In the minds of many who took part in the Rising, the fight was for faith as well as fatherland.’ above, Most Rev Dr Donal McKeown, then Bishop of Down and Connor, led relatives of the participants of the 1916 Rising, between a guard of honour formed by members of the Eastern Brigade, at the 1916 Commemoration Ceremony, at Arbour Hill, Dublin in 2005. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Freedom to be Catholic had become an important component of national freedom’

‘The “letters of comfort” which have now been the subject of two British inquiries are separate from the Gerry Kelly pardon by 20 years and common sense.’  Photograph:  Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

‘It matters little that Gerry Kelly and Sinn Féin are not only right on this one but publicly on-the-record right’

‘Protesters accused Bishop Barros of having thwarted investigations into the actions of Fr Fernando Karadima, one of the best-known and most respected priests in Chile until a spate of serious allegations emerged against him about 10 years ago.’ Above, Msgr Juan Barros Madrid is escorted after being attacked by demonstrators during his appointment as Bishop of Osorno, at Cathedral of Osorno, Chile. Photograph:  EPA/FELIPE TRUEBA

Eamonn McCann: ‘Ushers were needed to protect Bishop Juan Barros from jostling by the angry congregation’

‘None of these criticisms is likely to dent Blair’s belief in his own righteousness. He is doubtless buoyed by regular, gushes of praise for his involvement in the making of the Belfast Agreement.’ Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

‘As was evident in the begorrah antics at the White House on Tuesday, the Northern Ireland peace process just keeps on giving, alb(...)

‘This is the first time trades unions have opposed a Stormont deal. On every previous occasion, the ICTU and individual unions have hailed the outcome as a welcome contribution to the consolidation of peace’. Photograph: Getty Images

The unions’ main concern is that the agreement involves the loss of 20,000 public sector jobs

 Mary Wollstonecraft: “How many women thus waste life away, the prey of discontent?” Image:   A drawing by A S Merritt after the painting by Opie. (Photograph by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Eamonn McCann: ‘There’s the connection, the tradition coming down, the river ever flowing, the women marching, marching’

‘We have been here before. At the UN General Assembly in September 2012, Binyamin Netanyahu held up a cartoon of a bomb with a red line drawn across it to illustrate his contention that Iran would be in a position to build its own nuclear weapons by, at the latest, the end of 2013. This turned out to be entirely untrue, as everybody who knew anything about the Middle East recognised from the outset.’ Photograph:  DON EMMERT/AFP/ GettyImages

Netanyahu expected to call for US intervention to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear bombs

Hosts Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone announce the movie ‘American Sniper’ as one of the Oscar nominees for Best Picture during the Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California on January 15th. Photograph:   MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

‘American Sniper will likely win a few gilded prizes on Sunday. Not that should matter much to lovers of movies’

‘Religion is a distorted reflection of social relations, emanating from the material world, to be eradicated only by transformatio(...)

Dr Alasdair McDonnell, SDLP. ‘Asked about pregnancy as a result of rape, McDonnell replied: “I know a number of people who are very good normal people...who were conceived as a result of what might be termed a crime”.’ Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

Political opposition to abortion changes in North doesn’t reflect polls

‘There’s nothing dishonest about the brilliant doggerel of “The Ballad of Scouse McLaughlin”, which says more about what happened in Derry 43 years ago tomorrow than the wonderfully subtle report by Lord Saville.’ Above, the remains of an Argentine trench from the war for the possession of the Malvinas/Falkland islands in 1982. Photograph: DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images

‘They should give Corporal Stewart “Scouse” McLaughlin the medal. He earned it doing what he reasonably believed they had sent him(...)

‘Prince Andrew is scheduled to tell a meeting at the annual World Economic Forum, of his ideas –  “my mission” –  for encouraging young entrepreneurs to go forth and multiply their money. It’s been suggested that Buckingham Palace would rather he maintained a lower profile at the moment.’  Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

‘Former footballer Ched Evans won’t be the only person to watch the news today and wonder at a world so ill-divided’

‘The Housing Executive can be seen as the most solid single achievement of the early civil rights movement. It is now at imminent risk.’ Photograph: David Sleator

Stormont House Agreement commits to redundancies and privatisation

Brenda Lee and her family must listen at least once to the song every holiday, there being no escape

At the  ‘Hooded Men’ Amnesty press conference in Dublin recently, from left: Micheal Donnelly, Patrick Mc Nally, Brian Turley, Gerry Mc Kerr, Francis Mc Guigan, Joe Clarke, Jim Auld. Front left, Kevin Hannaway, Liam Shannon and Colm O Gorman, Amnesty Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Hooded men case and Shannon stopover rendition accusations send mixed signals

‘One of the themes at Lima has been of the need to “learn from Kyoto”.’ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at  the opening of the High Level Segment of the UN Climate Change Conference  in Lima, December 9, 2014.  Photograph: Mariana Bazo /Reuters

There is a precedent for state economic planning: wartime United States

‘NI Water issued a statement on November 28th: “NI Water would like to categorically state once more that it is not installing meters to facilitate charging . . . Only the NI Executive has the power to introduce water charges”.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘It came as a surprise when it emerged 35,000 water meters had been installed in new-built houses across the North since 2007. W(...)

‘Gregory Campbell’s cackling performance two days earlier will have aggravated any unease felt by the activists Gerry Adams was directly addressing.’ Photograph: Eric Luke Staff Photographer

‘Both men were voicing opinions which have been held for generations but which in recent times have tended to be left unsaid in p(...)

A protester is pushed  away from blocking Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s car outside the Mansion House, Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Opinion: ‘Incidents have been exaggerated to portray opponents of the current political order as little better than terrorists’ (...)

‘There are scores of other players who might resent their jerseys being used to promote British patriotism and sentimentalise war. But only James McClean (above) from Creggan Heights stood up and said so, explaining his refusal to wear a poppy playing for Wigan against Bolton on Friday night. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Opinion: ‘The underlying purpose of Remembrance is to soften the memory of futile slaughter the better to make the next generation(...)

‘Harrying Adams should not rule out hammering on the door of Theresa Villiers’s office.’ Photograph:   Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Opinion: A question of priorities means, in practice, wronged women must wait

‘Harrying Adams should not rule out hammering on the door of Theresa Villiers’s office.’ Photograph:   Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Opinion: A question of priorities means, in practice, wronged women must wait

‘Commentators who would never be seen dead at a demo came close to lamenting that the working class was letting the country down. Oh for the days of Jim Larkin, they sighed, relaxed that the preacher of discontent was safely entombed in Glasnevin.’ Above, an anti-water charges protest march, in O’Connell Street, Dublin, last month. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Opinion: ‘The idea of having to pay for a substance so natural that it falls from the sky and without which we’d die sparks a part(...)

‘The troops who left Afghanistan on Monday last after 13 years of war  were told by Downing Street and the White House, the MoD and the Pentagon, that, all things considered, their efforts had been worthwhile. I suppose they can say no other.’ above, US marines preparing to depart following  the end of operations for marines and British combat troops in Helmand on Monday. Photograph: /Omar Sobhani/Reuters

Opinion: More than $100 billion has been spent and thousands have died, yet it remains one of the world’s poorest and most corrupt(...)

A protest of Travellers and supporters protest outside the Dáil on Kildare Street, Dublin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Opinion: ‘It struck me that if we had taken this approach in the North, there might still be a government at Stormont, probably he(...)

‘Peter Robinson will not be attending today’s gathering on account of having “a very full diary as First Minister on Thursday”.’ Above, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, First Minister Peter Robinson and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a press conference after a meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council at Dublin Castle earlier this month. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Opinion: North talks include parades, the past, flags, welfare reform and the election of a new Assembly speaker

‘Back at the United Nations, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was explaining that any apparent differences between Isis, Hamas, Iran, Hizbollah, the Assad regime, the Palestinian Authority, etc, etc, were entirely illusory.’ Photograph: John Minchillo/AP

Opinion: Isis proclaims its disregard for national borders. Hamas, on the other hand, is a nationalist organisation par excellence(...)

‘Within 48 hours of Theresa Villiers’s optimistic projection, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) announced the closure of the historical enquiries team  by Christmas, due to a cut in the policing budget.’ Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA

Opinion: ‘The chances of Loyalist or Republican paramilitary groups making a clean breast of it are slim at best. The chances of t(...)

‘No golf writer or proper sports journalist has speculated that Paul McGinley’s sensational hint that he might “split” Northerners Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell for the doubles matches in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles this weekend was down to Rory being from a Catholic background and Graeme  from Protestant stock.’ Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Opinion: American fans, like the players, seem to be more fervent than their European counterparts

‘Would one among them urge English cities, towns and villages to drape themselves in the Ulster Banner, aka St Patrick’s Saltire, to send the message – “Stay”?’ Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivers a speech at Scottish Labour campaign headquarters in Glasgow. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Opinion: Miliband’s madcap flags proposal has been but one sign of panic in the No camp

‘The majority of people in Gaza and the West Bank believes that Hamas won the latest battle in the long-running war between Palestinians  and Israeli authorities.’ Above, Hamas supporters take part in a rally celebrating what organisers say was a victory by Palestinians in Gaza over Israel following a ceasefire, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.   Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

Opinion: The figures signal the failure of Israel and its allies to persuade the Palestinians by punishment

‘Understandably the DUP is ever alert for incidents which can be construed as evidence of bad faith by the Shinners’. Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: ‘Go On Home’ was originally recorded by the Wolfe Tones

‘In this context, all inhabitants of Gaza and indeed the entity itself can be – and have been – declared legitimate targets.’ Above, the Shejaia neighbourhood, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during an offensive, in the east of Gaza City on July 26th.   Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Opinion: The doctrine provides a basis for deploying massive force and showing reckless disregard for civilian life

‘Despite Ms Halappanavar’s death, far from being enhanced, women’s rights will be diminished.’ Above, a protest outside the Dáil about abortion legislation following the death of Savita Halappanavar. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: In both jurisdictions, a frantic ‘pro-life’ rearguard action has persuaded politicians to back off from meaningful change(...)

‘Given the ideology he espouses, Bruton cannot acknowledge either that the Rising was a genuine strike against imperialism, whereas the Great War was a clash between rival robber gangs, with the proles as expendable fodder.’ Above, a British army soldier stands guard over Irish republican prisoners in a temporary hospital at Dublin Castle following the Easter Rising, 1916. Original publication: ‘The Graphic’, published May 13th, 1916. Photograph:  Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Opinion: There’s an overlap between views of John Bruton and cheerleaders for the IRA’s 1971-1998 campaign

‘Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had made the same point in a CNN interview seven days earlier. “All civilian casualties are unintended by us but actually intended by Hamas. They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can . . .They use telegenically-dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead the better’.” Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

Opinion: Netanyahu spokesman’s words closely follow pollster Luntz’s language

The Kincora boys’ home in Belfast

Opinion: Questions may arise about Hague’s judgment in accepting advice not to publish Welsh report

A member of the Orange Order wearing a sash and draped in the union flag marches in Belfast. Figures suggest  the order is a weak and declining organisation. Photograph: Reuters

Electoral politics in Northern Ireland plays out not between but within communities

Activists  outside the Supreme Court in Washington after the Hobby Lobby ruling.  Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Opinion: Principle of separation of church and state blurred

Gerry Conlon shows the letter of apology he received from then prime minister Tony Blair, in 2005.  Photograph:  Stefan Rousseau/PA

Opinion: It was plain that the Guildford Four, like the Birmingham Six and Judith Theresa Ward had been framed

Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave. ‘The film invited audiences to feel outrage against an aspect of history, then to savour the warmth that comes from the triumph of decency in the final reel. No prompt to face the fact of slavery remaining a reality for tens of millions today.’

Opinion: Thai authorities do a U-turn over forced labour

‘These things speak as eloquently of the harsh realities and beautiful romance of football as anything likely to emerge from Brazil over the coming month.’ Above,  an alley decorated in the Brazilian national colours to celebrate the World Cup. Photograph: Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

Opinion: These are the World Cup facts the ‘experts’ keep under wraps

First Minister Peter Robinson with members of Muslim community during his visit to the Belfast Islamic Centre where made a public apology for any offence caused to Muslims by his defence of a controversial preacher. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye /PA

Racism is a blight spreading across the terrain

‘Eamon Gilmore, Pat Rabbitte, Joan Burton and the rest made their choice and may never be forgiven.’ Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Opinion: The major unions’ leaderships likely to suffer reputational damage from the falling rubble of Labour principles

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends a Q & A session at an engineering company as joins his Conservative Party's election campaign for the European elections, in Woodchester, southern England May 8, 2014. Britain votes in local and European elections on May 22.    REUTERS/Andrew Winning   (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

Opinion: Both Conservatives and Labour have form when it comes to deals with the DUP in exchange for Commons votes

 Jean McConville (left)  with three of her children shortly before she disappeared in 1972.  Pacemaker Belfast

Opinion: Peter Hain’s intervention came amid a flurry of futile debate about dealing with the past

 ‘Representatives of thousands of victims of clerical child sex abuse from around the world had gathered in Rome in an effort to draw attention to their treatment at the hands of the imminent saint. By and large, their efforts failed.’   Photograph:  Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Opinion: Protests of clerical child abuse victims were drowned out

‘The mood was reportedly euphoric at a celebration on April 20th, the traditional day in the US for “free the weed” rallies and “smoke-outs”.’ Above, a man smokes marijuana during the 4/20 Rally  in Denver, Colorado, on April 20th, 2014. Photograph: Mark Leffingwell/Reuters

Opinion: Fears for decriminalisation ‘catastrophe’ unfounded

‘There is an island in the south Pacific whose people adhere to a cargo cult and – so it’s said – regard the queen’s husband as a god. We are not there yet, but it’s early days.’ Above,  the banquet held at Windsor Castle during the State visit of President Higgins. Photograph: Alan Betson

Opinion: Irish elite were celebrating their acceptance into a particular layer of society

 Chris Christie. Photograph: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Opinion: Battle for funding in Republican presidential campaign

‘It is this combination of economic advantage and community background that offers the most obvious explanation of the sharply different educational outcomes.’

Opinion: Poverty and community key issues in educational performance

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