Pope Benedict was a revered teacher, a theologian, and a resolute conservative. His shock resignation in 2013 was an extraordinary act of humility, which humanized the papacy. Not only will he be remembered as the first pope to step down, but also the first pope who tackled sexual abuse scandals in the church. After his resignation, Benedict remained a powerful conservative influence and continued to give his soul to a legacy that would forever stand.
Pope Benedict's death could reshape the Catholic Church. The Vatican has had a pope and an ex-pope since Benedict retired in 2013. With Benedict's passing, a sitting pope will preside over his predecessor's funeral, and the Church will not elect a pontiff — a first. Eventually, the Church may have to normalize the resignation of a pope and set new protocols in the event of an ex-Pope's demise.
Lula's controversial comeback threatens Brazil's democracy and the rule of law. His return to power is concerning because he intends to increase public spending, stop privatization, and reverse anti-corruption reforms. Moreover, Brazil's increasingly politicized Supreme Court — which arranged his release from prison — is overstepping its authority toward Congress. When the left's hype about the country's self-proclaimed champion of the poor fades, Brazilians could be in for a rude awakening.
Lula owes his return to power to millions of Brazilians who elected him to combat poverty and hunger, resurrect the dwindling political system, and reverse Bolsonaro's unpopular policies that plunged the country into a deep democratic crisis. Though it may be difficult for the leftist government to implement its populist social and environmental policies since the extreme right dominates the National Congress, Lula has the will and the mandate to find solutions to the real-life problems that afflict most Brazilians.
You can’t blame Kim Jong Un for flexing North Korea’s military muscle when Biden is recklessly saber-rattling with Taiwan and China — how does he know the US won't also team up with South Korea for an invasion of the North? Trump's relationship with, and policies towards, North Korea maintained stability in the Korean Peninsula.
Kim Jong Un's geopolitical actions have been erratic, and his missile launches are destabilizing the Peninsula. Instead of provoking a confrontation, the leader should take the Biden administration up on its offer to meet without preconditions, and settle any grievances peacefully. Biden is showing strength and prudence in the region.
The US has threatened to nuke North Korea, which has the right to defend itself. The US should stop playing "GloboCop" and prioritize solving its domestic problems.
There's a 50% that at least 2 countries will increase the number of nuclear weapons they possess by at least 10% by 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
A deep, protracted recession will manifest thanks to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, soaring food and energy costs, a catastrophic debt crisis in the developing countries, sky-rocketing inflation, and visible cracks in longstanding geopolitical certainties. Policy actions that could deter the inevitable would worsen inflation — setting the stage for an even worse downturn. While no one can predict how severe and how long it may last, the next 12 months are likely to be difficult.
Despite many grim forecasts, a crippling global recession can be avoided with the right fiscal policies. While 2023 may be tougher than 2022 for the global economy, the upcoming slump does not qualify as a recession. Despite the slow growth rate, many economies have handled the economic pressures better than anyone thought possible six months ago. Positive growth among developing economies may outweigh advanced economies' negative growth, enabling the world to thwart the downturn's effects.
There's an 8% chance that the first United States recession before 2032 will lead to a Depression, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
It's up to the US to put an end to mutual provocations and threats, but it has instead strengthened alliances and boosted joint military drills around the Korean Peninsula while Western propaganda machines spread misinformation to raise suspicion and distrust against Pyongyang. The only way to prevent an open conflict is for the US to cease hostilities and address North Korea's calls for sanctions to be dropped.
The US has sought for years to strike a deal with Pyongyang to contain North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, but all viable options have been exhausted as Kim's regime refuses to engage in dialogue. Now, it's time for Washington to increase defense cooperation with regional partners Japan and South Korea to focus on deterring Pyongyang from using its weapons to launch attacks against them.
There's a 15% chance that North Korea and South Korea will be recognized as a single sovereign state by 2045, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
This is another law that strips the human body of its innate metaphysical aspects. Even before the Christian Church, ancient civilizations understood the idea of the human soul to some extent. Only very recently have governments decided to forego these ideas and treat the deceased as mere pieces of garbage to be carelessly disposed of. This is immoral on religious and humanist grounds and should be vehemently opposed.
Eco-friendly burial is a positive move for those who care about the environment. This act of devotion to future generations will not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions but instead will help to grow trees and grasses that capture carbon dioxide. Those who choose this alternative can save one metric ton of carbon from entering the environment for a similar or cheaper cost than a traditional burial.
Putin's New Year's Eve statement shows he remains unwilling to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, contrary to past remarks. He lashed out against the West and said it was Russia's duty to fight in this war, indicating he is prepared to lead Russia in a conflict that could last years.
For years, the West has lied about its intentions in the Donbas region and deceived Russia by militarizing Ukraine. Putin had to make difficult decisions surrounding the special operation in order to ensure the security of all Russians.
There's a 31% chance that there will be a large-scale armed conflict in Russia before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
More strikes loom, the crisis in adult social care continues to escalate, and junior NHS doctors are ready to quit their roles en masse. With the safety of the nation at stake, Rishi Sunak's government seems committed to intentionally maximizing conflict and disruption. The conservatives' stubbornness in the face of reasonable demands — amid spiraling inflation — is putting lives at risk.
While Sunak's government can pursue long-term reforms to the NHS — such as providing equipment, funding, and enacting repairs — few of such interventions will have any impact on the situation before the next election. Sunak will need to devise an inventive and politically astute plan to respond to this situation while protecting conservative interests in the lead-up to the next general election.
Many studies show that increased water intake is good for one's health. However, the recommendation of eight glasses of water daily is not based on scientific facts and excludes considerations based on activity level and outdoor conditions. It would be better to publicly say that water is the best option for hydration and that other drinks should be consumed in moderation — this study should be taken with a metaphorical grain of salt.
This study proves that hydration and health are intimately linked, yet the US neglects to provide clean drinking water for many. Between 2013 and 2017, 1.1M Americans reportedly had insecure water access. Subpar housing conditions and systemic social and racial divisions have led to this crisis. We may not even understand the true scale of the problem, because the US Census Bureau tends to undercount people in rental units, homeless individuals, and people of color. More must be done to address this.
While the GOP establishment wants members to just get in line for Kevin McCarthy, principled conservatives must take the lead and not allow McCarthy to become Speaker of the House. He has no conviction and will do whatever his wealthy donors ask of him. A Republican majority isn’t a victory if no meaningful change comes along with it, and McCarthy is the status quo politician.
The group of Republicans trying to thwart Kevin McCarthy’s speaker bid is only causing division within the party and are hurting their GOP colleagues. The overwhelming majority of House Republicans want McCarthy as their speaker, and a handful of conservative insurgents are causing problems with no rational reasoning.