Restrictions on  domestic water use have been introduced in California, but their impact is limited as the state’s  agriculture industry uses 80 per cent of its water.  Photograph: Michael Nelson/EPA

Ireland’s recent experience of the politics of water introduces us to a worldwide trend which is set to become one of the defining issues of the 21st (...)

‘The AIIB will address the need for investment in Asian transport, energy and telecommunications.’ Jin Liqun (left), Secretary-General of the Multilateral Interim Secretariat for Establishing Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, talks to Khalid A Al-Falih, President and CEO of Saudi Arabian Oil Company, during the China Development Forum  in Beijing this week. Photograph:  EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

The changing balance of power in Asia has been dramatically highlighted in recent weeks by jostling between the United States and its allies on whethe(...)

“ ‘We are not seeking a grand bargain’, said John Kerry in Riyadh after his nuclear talks with Iranian ministers in Switzerland.”  Photograph: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

‘We are not seeking a grand bargain”, said United States secretary of state John Kerry in Riyadh after his nuclear talks with Iranian ministers in Swi(...)

‘While the single currency needs to be strengthened, this may not be politically feasible. Macroeconomists such as Yanis Varoufakis bring a new politics to bear on this question.’ Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg

That was a nice remark about macroeconomics by Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, in his interview with this newspaper on Thursday. Togethe(...)

‘Angela Merkel has seemed this week to be deeply informed by the realist school of international relations when she repeatedly insisted there is no military solution to that conflict but only a political and diplomatic one.’ Above, German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the presidential residence in Minsk on February 11th. AFP PHOTO /HO / PRESIDENTIAL PRESS-SERVICE/ MYKOLA LAZARENKO

Theory and practice in international relations are normally kept even more separate than in economic policy. That is a mistake, as recent debates on V(...)

‘Other governments will recognise the imperative to fulfil a democratic mandate. They may also understand Tsipras’s argument that the alternative to dealing with radical left governments is to deal with far right ones.’ above, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (front row centre) and members of his government after the first meeting of the new cabinet in the parliament building in Athens. Photograph: REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

The new Syriza-led Greek government has started with a bang. Pledging not to repudiate its debts, stopping privatisations, restoring the minimum wage,(...)

  Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan with EU High Representative for Foreign   and Security Policy and vice-president of the European Commission Federica Mogherini,  at Iveagh House this week ahead of the conference of ambassadors which she addressed.  – Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Ireland’s foreign service is relatively small, with 80 representations, and comparatively thinly spread, with an average of one to two people in each (...)

 British prime minister David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Stormont House with Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister of State Seán Sherlock. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

‘Out! Out! Out!” Margaret Thatcher’s summary dismissal of the New Ireland Forum’s options for a unitary, federal/confederal or jointly administered Ir(...)

‘Water becomes a symbol of more general disenchantment with the political system and how it works.’ Above, an anti water charges protest march, in O’Connell Street, Dublin, earlier this year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Why has it taken so long for Irish people to protest in public against austerity? How do the latest street protests here against water charges and oth(...)

‘Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian profile has been sharply ratcheted up this year, pursuing critics and opponents into an expanding gulag of political prisons.’  Above, Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, at the Kremlin in Moscow, this week. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

It’s been a very bad week for Vladimir Putin. The rouble recorded its biggest recent fall against the dollar, the tumbling price of oil further squeez(...)