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Results 1 - 25 of 13,324
1. Four questions for Boehner, Bibi, Barack, and Biden

Tomorrow night’s appearance before a joint session of Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu raises four important questions. 1. Should Speaker John Boehner have invited the Israeli Prime Minister to speak without first consulting with President Obama? Answer: No. As a matter of law, the Speaker had the authority to extend this invitation to the Israeli Prime Minister without consulting with the President. As a matter of policy, however, this was a bad practice.

The post Four questions for Boehner, Bibi, Barack, and Biden appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Happy Read Across America Day! Oh The Place’s We’ve Gone

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”

Dr. Seuss Birthday

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss. I’ve always felt him to be a personal friend. Green Eggs and Ham was the first book I ever read, well recite. I probably could recite it before I could read it.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go when you read! March 2, 2015 is NEA’s Read Across America Day and this year, the book is the Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You’ll Go.

NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

A Look At Our Friend Dr. Seuss

Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped millions of children learn to read.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to acquire a doctorate in literature. At Oxford, Geisel met Helen Palmer, whom he wed in 1927. Upon his return to America later that year, Geisel published cartoons and humorous articles for Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at the time. His cartoons also appeared in major magazines such as Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. Geisel gained national exposure when he won an advertising contract for an insecticide called Flit. He coined the phrase, “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” which became a popular expression.

Geisel developed the idea for his first children’s book in 1936 while on a vacation cruise. The rhythm of the ship’s engine drove the cadence to And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

During World War II, Geisel joined the Army and was sent to Hollywood where he wrote documentaries for the military. During this time, he also created a cartoon called Gerald McBoing-Boing which won him an Oscar.

The Cat in the Hat Is Born

In May of 1954, Life published a report on illiteracy among schoolchildren, suggesting that children were having trouble reading because their books were boring. This problem inspired Geisel’s publisher, prompting him to send Geisel a list of 400 words he felt were important for children to learn. The publisher asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and use them to write an entertaining children’s book. Nine months later, Geisel, using 225 of the words given to him, published The Cat in the Hat, which brought instant success.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and three Academy Awards, Geisel authored and illustrated 44 children’s books. His enchanting stories are available as audio cassettes, animated television specials, and videos.

While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.

(Courtesy of Random House)

Oh,The Places We’ve Been

We do a whole lot of global reading around here as well as take some incredible reading adventures. To celebrate one of our favorite authors today we’re reading around the world and sharing all the places we’ve been. Here are some of our most popular book reviews and book jumps that have taken us all over the world.

China

Thailand

Scotland

Wales

Africa

Native American lands

Australia

Kenya

France

So read loud, read strong but mostly Read together Across America!!! Or a very special place of your choosing. Happy Read Across America Day

Seuss-quotes-1

READY GO! ‪#‎readyourworld‬ ‪#‎readacrossamerica‬

Take the pledge http://www.nea.org/grants/ReadAcrossAmericaPledge.html

More info from NEA about Read Across America http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm

Read Aloud.org launches their big campaign too this month Join us! http://www.readaloud.org/

The post Happy Read Across America Day! Oh The Place’s We’ve Gone appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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3. Let’s finally kick the habit: governance of addictions in Europe

More than a century ago, on 23 January 1912, the first international convention on drug control was signed in The Hague. A century later, despite efforts made at all levels and vast quantities of evidence, our societies still struggle to deal effectively with addictive substances and behaviours. Reaching a global consensus has proved harder than kicking the worst drug-taking habit.

Nonetheless, the meeting of the Global Commission on Drug Policy held on 9 September 2014 in New York might be a turning point.

The post Let’s finally kick the habit: governance of addictions in Europe appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. How do Russians see international law?

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was a watershed in international relations because with this act, Moscow challenged the post-Cold War international order. Yet what has been fascinating is that over the last years, Russia’s President and Foreign Minister have repeatedly referred to ‘international law’ as one of Russia’s guiding foreign policy principles.

The post How do Russians see international law? appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Now You Can Get Your Ebooks Signed and Personalized!

Did you know you can get your ebooks signed and personalized? I didn’t until about an hour ago (thank you, BH!). There’s a service called Authorgraph that allows you to request and collect signatures and messages from your favorite authors.

So cool.

I’m on there now if you’d like one from me. Here’s my page!

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6. Does marijuana produce an amotivational syndrome?

Does marijuana produce an amotivational syndrome? Whether the amotivational syndrome exists or not is still controversial; there are still too few poorly controlled small studies that don't allow a definitive answer. Most people who use marijuana don't develop this syndrome.

The post Does marijuana produce an amotivational syndrome? appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Democracy is about more than a vote: politics and brand management

With a General Election rapidly approaching in the UK, it’s easy to get locked into a set of perennial debates concerning electoral registration, voter turnout and candidate selection. In the contemporary climate these are clearly important issues given the shift to individual voter registration, evidence of high levels of electoral disengagement and the general decline in party memberships (a trend bucked by UKIP, the Greens, and the Scottish National Party in recent months).

The post Democracy is about more than a vote: politics and brand management appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Creating a constructive cultural narrative for science

The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH) is currently running a series of events on Humanities and Science. On 11 February 2015, an Oxford-based panel of three disciplinary experts — Sally Shuttleworth (English Literature), John Christie (History), and Ard Louis (Physics) – shone their critical torchlights on Durham physicist Tom McLeish’s new book Faith and Wisdom in Science as part of their regular ‘Book at Lunchtime’ seminars.

How can we understand the relation between science and narrative? Should we even try to? Where can we find and deploy a constructive cultural narrative for science that might unlock some of the current misrepresentations and political tangles around science and technology in the public forum?

In exploring the intersection of faith and science in our society, positive responses and critical questions at the recent TORCH Faith and Wisdom in Science event turned on the central theme of narrative. Ard Louis referred to the book’s ‘lament’ that science is not a cultural possession in the same way that art or music is, and urged the advantage of telling the messy story of real science practice. John Christie sketched the obscured historical details within the stories of Galileo and Newton, and of the Biblical basis beneath Frances’ Bacon’s vision for modern science, which serve to deconstruct the worn old myths about confrontation of science and religion. Sally Shuttleworth welcomed the telling of the stories of science as questioning and creative, yet suffering the fate of ‘almost always being wrong’.


What resources can Judeo-Christian theology supply in constructing a social narrative for science – one that might describe both what science is for, and how it might be more widely enjoyed? The project we now call ‘science’ is in continuity with older human activities by other names: ‘natural philosophy’ in the early modern period and in ancient times just ‘Wisdom’. The theology of science that emerges is ‘participatory reconciliation’, a hopeful engagement with the world that both lights it up and heals our relationship with it.

But is theology the only way to get there? Are we required to carry the heavy cultural baggage of Christian history of thought and structures? Shuttleworth recalled George Eliot’s misery at the dissection of the miraculous as she translated Strauss’ ‘Life of Jesus’ at the dawn of critical Biblical studies. Yet Eliot is able to conceive of a rich and luminous narrative for science in Middlemarch:

“…the imagination that reveals subtle actions inaccessible by any sort of lens, but tracked in that outer darkness through long pathways of necessary sequence by the inward light which is the last refinement of energy, capable of bathing even the ethereal atoms in its ideally illuminated space.”

Eliot’s sources are T.H. Huxley, J.S. Mill, Auguste Compte, and of course her partner G.H Lewes – by no means a theological group. (Compte had even constructed a secular religion.) Perhaps this is an example of an entirely secular route to science’s story? Yet her insight into science as a special sort of deep ‘seeing’ also emerges from the ancient wisdom of, for example, the Book of Job. In his recent Seeing the World and Knowing God, Oxford theologian Paul Fiddes also calls on the material of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes to challenge the post-modern dissolution of subject and object. Participatory reconciliation emerges for both theologian and scientist motivated to draw on ancient wisdom for modern need. Was Eliot, and will all secular thinkers in the Western tradition be, in some way irrevocably connected to these ancient wellsprings of our thinking?

An aspect of the ‘baggage’ most desirable to drop, according to Shuttleworth, is the notion that scientists are a sort of priesthood. Surely this speaks to the worst suspicions of a mangled modern discourse of authority and power? Louis even suggested that the science/religion debate is really only a proxy for this larger and deeper one. Perhaps the Old Testament first-temple notion of ‘servant priesthood’ is now too overlain with the strata of power-play to serve as a helpful metaphor for how we go about enacting the story of science.

But science needs to rediscover its story, and it is only by acknowledging that its narrative underpinnings must come from the humanities, that it is going to find it.

Headline image credit: Lighting. CC0 via Pixabay.

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9. Nineteenth and twentieth century Scottish philosophy

In the history of Britain, eighteenth century Scotland stands out as a period of remarkable intellectual energy and fertility. The Scottish Enlightenment, as it came to be known, is widely regarded as a crowning cultural achievement, with philosophy the jewel in the crown. Adam Smith, David Hume, William Robertson, Thomas Reid and Adam Ferguson are just the best known among an astonishing array of innovative thinkers, whose influence in philosophy, economics, history and sociology can still be found at work in the contemporary academy.

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10. Book Review: ‘The Anime Encyclopedia’

A new edition of "The Anime Encyclopedia" aims to cover anime more comprehensively than ever before. Does it succeed?

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11. Best Books of February 2015

February 2015: 42 books and scripts read

Picks of the Month
Beyond the Parallel (Parallelogram #4) by Robin Brande
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman
The Apartment screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

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12. Emily Brontë, narrative, and nature

Catherine’s removal from the plot (other than as a haunting presence in the background, much less potent hereafter than the waif-like child ghost whose wrist Lockwood rubs back and forth across the broken window glass till the blood runs freely (p. 21)) has seemed to some readers to weaken the second half of the novel. One modern critic has suggested, indeed, that the whole of the second-generation narrative was an afterthought.

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13. Wolf Hall: count up the bodies

Historians should be banned from watching movies or TV set in their area of expertise. We usually bore and irritate friends and family with pedantic interjections about minor factual errors and chronological mix-ups. With Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, and the sumptuous BBC series based on them, this pleasure is denied us. The series is as ferociously well researched as it is superbly acted and directed. Cranmer probably didn’t have a beard in 1533, but, honestly, that’s about the best I can do.

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14. Review: Canary by Duane Swierczynski

It’s been awhile between drinks for a Duane Swierczynski novel but as always it has been worth the wait. Straight away its like jumping on a runaway train with that instant pleasure of having no idea where Duane Swierczynski is going to take you this time. After the brilliant insanity of the Charlie Hardie series […]

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15. Where Do You Draw a Line?

So here’s a question for you. How much leeway do you allow books, especially those from earlier times, when they are sexist, racist, classist, condescendingly colonial, etc? It’s been rattling around my brain a bit since I finished Foundation. Given Asimov wrote the stories in the 1940s, I can forgive him a little for his lack of inclusiveness when it comes to women. But only a little because part of me thinks he should have known better. And when I read H. Rider Haggard’s She, the whole thing was so absurd and the book so terrible on so many fronts that I could only laugh. But the misogyny and anti-immigrant sentiments in Dracula horrified me in a way that I could not find funny. I could laugh off Haggard, get away with being annoyed at Asimov, but Stoker made me angry. I could probably pinpoint why if I sat and thought about it for awhile but my brain is tired and doesn’t want to expend that much effort at the moment.

Instead, it just knows that there are some books I can forgive their moral transgressions and some I cannot. Do you find that to be the case too? And if so, do you know why you can forgive some but not others?

I’m not talking about the authors themselves. If I had to like the authors in order to enjoy the books then there would be a lot fewer books on my TBR pile. I try to keep an author’s personal leanings, whether they be grade-A jerk or heavenly angel, out of my opinions of their books. Of course if an author whose books I like turns out to be a really nice person that makes me happy, but it is not a requirement.

I like to think when it comes to books I can be generous and understanding, but truth be told, I sometimes can’t make the effort. I’d like to say there is a definite line and if the book crosses it then it’s all over between us. But it’s actually a line in the sand that keeps shifting. Where the line ends up depends on my mood, what kind of story it is (adventure, romance, mystery, drama), when it was written, whether the issues (sexism, racism, etc) appear to be deliberate or unconscious (don’t ask me how to tell, I don’t know, but I still make the judgment), how much a part of the story it is (a page, a scene, a chapter, the whole book), and probably a few other things that aren’t coming to me at the moment. It’s probably not entirely fair to change the standards all the time but I also don’t think it’s fair to have one blanket standard either. It’s case-by-case.

My brain is running out of gas so I will leave my thoughts there for now. I’d really love to hear your thoughts on the matter.


Filed under: Books, Reading

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16. No Boys Allowed: School visits as a woman writer

I've been doing school visits as part of my tour for PRINCESS ACADEMY: The Forgotten Sisters. All have been terrific--great kids, great librarians. But something happened at one I want to talk about. I'm not going to name the school or location because I don't think it's a problem with just one school; it's just one example of a much wider problem.

This was a small-ish school, and I spoke to the 3-8 grades. It wasn't until I was partway into my presentation that I realized that the back rows of the older grades were all girls.

Later a teacher told me, "The administration only gave permission to the middle school girls to leave class for your assembly. I have a boy student who is a huge fan of SPIRIT ANIMALS. I got special permission for him to come, but he was too embarrassed."

"Because the administration had already shown that they believed my presentation would only be for girls?"

"Yes," she said.

I tried not to explode in front of the children.

Let's be clear: I do not talk about "girl" stuff. I do not talk about body parts. I do not do a "Your Menstrual Cycle and You!" presentation. I talk about books and writing, reading, rejections and moving through them, how to come up with story ideas. But because I'm a woman, because some of my books have pictures of girls on the cover, because some of my books have "princess" in the title, I'm stamped as "for girls only." However, the male writers who have boys on their covers speak to the entire school.

This has happened a few times before. I don't believe it's ever happened in an elementary school--just middle school or high school.

I remember one middle school 2-3 years ago that I was going to visit while on tour. I heard in advance that they planned to pull the girls out of class for my assembly but not the boys. I'd dealt with that in the past and didn't want to be a part of perpetuating the myth that women only have things of interest to say to girls while men's voices are universally important.  I told the publicist that this was something I wasn't comfortable with and to please ask them to invite the boys as well as girls. I thought it was taken care of. When I got there, the administration told me with shrugs that they'd heard I didn't want a segregated audience but that's just how it was going to be. Should I have refused? Embarrassed the bookstore, let down the girls who had been looking forward to my visit? I did the presentation. But I felt sick to my stomach. Later I asked what other authors had visited. They'd had a male writer. For his assembly, both boys and girls had been invited.

I think most people reading this will agree that leaving the boys behind is wrong. And yet--when giving books to boys, how often do we offer ones that have girls as protagonists? (Princesses even!) And if we do, do we qualify it: "Even though it's about a girl, I think you'll like it." Even though. We're telling them subtly, if not explicitly, that books about girls aren't for them. Even if a boy would never, ever like any book about any girl (highly unlikely) if we don't at least offer some, we're reinforcing the ideology.

I heard it a hundred times with Hunger Games: "Boys, even though this is about a girl, you'll like it!" Even though. I never heard a single time, "Girls, even though Harry Potter is about a boy, you'll like it!"

The belief that boys won't like books with female protagonists, that they will refuse to read them, the shaming that happens (from peers, parents, teachers, often right in front of me) when they do, the idea that girls should read about and understand boys but that boys don't have to read about girls, that boys aren't expected to understand and empathize with the female population of the world....this belief directly leads to rape culture. To a culture that tells boys and men, it doesn't matter how the girl feels, what she wants. You don't have to wonder. She is here to please you. She is here to do what you want. No one expects you to have to empathize with girls and women. As far as you need be concerned, they have no interior life.

At this recent school visit, near the end I left time for questions. Not one student had a question. In 12 years and 200-300 presentations, I've never had that happen. So I filled in the last 5 minutes reading them the first few chapters of The Princess in Black, showing them slides of the illustrations. BTW I've never met a boy who didn't like this book.

After the presentation, I signed books for the students who had pre-ordered my books (all girls), but one 3rd grade boy hung around.

"Did you want to ask her a question?" a teacher asked.

"Yes," he said nervously, "but not now. I'll wait till everyone is gone."

Once the other students were gone, three adults still remained. He was still clearly uncomfortable that we weren't alone but his question was also clearly important to him. So he leaned forward and whispered in my ear, "Do you have a copy of the black princess book?"

It broke my heart that he felt he had to whisper the question.

He wanted to read the rest of the book so badly and yet was so afraid what others would think of him. If he read a "girl" book. A book about a princess. Even a monster-fighting superhero ninja princess. He wasn't born ashamed. We made him ashamed. Ashamed to be interested in a book about a girl. About a princess--the most "girlie" of girls.

I wish I'd had a copy of The Princess in Black to give him right then. The bookstore told him they were going to donate a copy to his library. I hope he's brave enough to check it out. I hope he keeps reading. I hope he changes his own story. I hope all of us can change this story. I'm really rooting for a happy ending.

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17. Female Characters are Human Too

After reading Foundation and the absurdity of having only one woman in it and that only very briefly, it was serendipitous that I came across not just a great article at Tor deconstructing the strong female character in science fiction, but also a most excellent link from the always wonderful Ana to an article about why we need more unlikeable female characters (careful, this article has links to other articles discussing similar topics, you might fall down the rabbit hole like I did).

All these articles basically come down to saying the same thing: women characters should be allowed the full spectrum of humanness and not be pigeon-holed into a few types. And I bet you know what those types are so I’m not even going to bother listing them. It’s so bad that when Claire Messud dared to write a book with an unlikeable woman protagonist she got all kinds of grief about it. If Messud were a man and the protagonist male, I doubt there would have even been much discussion about it.

That this whole conversation about female characters has been going on for so long and continues to go on because it is still a problem is disheartening. Freud famously asked once what women want. My answer to his question: to be human beings. Because that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? Far too often female characters are defined solely by their being female. It sure would be nice to have characters who are human beings, and, oh yeah, also happen to be female. Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. We are all from Earth; we are all human; we all want to be treated as such in real life and in fiction.

So give me female characters who kick ass, who runaway in fear, who rule the universe, who are afraid to walk out the front door, who are lovable, who are hatable, who I want to hug, who I want to punch in the face, who are mothers, who have no children and aren’t sad about that, who are old, who are young, who are beautiful, who are ugly, who like men, who like women, who don’t know who they like, who are all the colors of the rainbow, who are smart, who are dumb, who are — you get the picture — human.


Filed under: Books

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18. Monthly etymology gleanings for February 2015

One month is unlike another. Sometimes I receive many letters and many comments; then lean months may follow. February produced a good harvest (“February fill the dyke,” as they used to say), and I can glean a bagful. Perhaps I should choose a special title for my gleanings: “I Am All Ears” or something like it.

The post Monthly etymology gleanings for February 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. Andrew Johnson: a little man in a big job

If it were not for his impeachment on 24 February 1868, and the subsequent trial in the Senate that led to his acquittal, Andrew Johnson would probably reside among the faded nineteenth century presidents that only historical specialists now remember. Succeeding to the White House after the murder of Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, Johnson proved to be a presidential failure [...]

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20. Mississippi hurting: lynching, murder, and the judge

Last week marked two important events in the unfinished story of southern racial violence. On February 10, the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative released Lynching in America, an unflinching report that documents 3,959 black victims of mob violence in twelve southern states between 1877 and 1950.

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21. Review: Maya Saves the Day, Trouble with Magic, and The Vampire Boy – 3 Early Reader ‘Hole Books’ from Duckbill

3 'hOle Book' early readers from Duckbill (India) - The Vampire Boy; Maya Saves the Day; and Trouble with Magic

Maya Saves the Day
written by Meera Nair, illustrated by Priya Kuriyan

Trouble with Magic
written by Asha … Continue reading ...

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22. Lecture at the Art Academy: Storytelling in Books and Comics

I will be doing a lunchtime lecture at the Art Academy tomorrow at 11:30 am as part of the Slam Bam Comic Jam.

It is called Storytelling in Books and Comics.

Here is the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1638524756380216

Hope to see you there!

From Why the Possum has a Large Grin by Johnette Downing

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23. The important role of palatable food in eating disorders

When we hear the term “eating disorder,” we often think of the woman at our gym who looks unhealthily thin or maybe a friend who meticulously monitors each calorie he or she consumes. Though anorexia nervosa (marked by low weight and a strong fear of weight gain) is a serious and harmful mental illness with one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness, the reality is that the most common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, both of which involve (and in fact, require for their diagnosis) binge eating.

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24. Inequality in democracies: interest groups and redistribution

We are by now more or less aware that income inequality in the US and in most of the rich OECD world is higher today than it was some 30 to 40 years ago. Despite varying interpretations of what led to this increase, the fact remains that inequality is exhibiting a persistent increase, which is robust to both expansionary and contractionary economic times. One might even say that it became a stylized fact of the developed world (amid some worthy exceptions). The question on everyone's lips is how can a democracy result in rising inequality?

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25. Questions about India’s environment and economic growth

Must economic growth be privileged over ecological security? Jairam Ramesh argues that this is the wrong question to ask; the two work in concert, not in opposition, and a bright economic and political future requires a safe, protected environment. As India grows as a global power, the nation has become a leader in progressive environmental policies.

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