The Birmingham Brief

Intelligent thought on policy issues.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Birmingham.

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Thursday 18th May 2017

Unprecedented: how the WannaCry cyber-attack brought thousands to a standstill

Description
Written by Conor McKenna, Doctoral Researcher in Cyberwarfare. WannaCry is ransomware on a level that has never been seen before. Predictions of its arrival have been long standing, but the rapid spread of infections caused frustration, anger and fear among the general public when it hit our computers last week. While in the UK the NHS was one of the organisations worst hit by the malware; over 200,000 victims have been logged across the globe.
Date:
Thursday 18th May 2017
Thursday 11th May 2017

Why the West Midlands is an electoral barometer for the country as a whole

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Written by Professor David Cutts, Professor of Political Science. Theresa May's visit to Wolverhampton last Saturday spoke volumes about the Conservatives emerging electoral strategy. Following their high-profile Mayoral win in the West Midlands and a strong local election performance across the rest of the country, the question is increasingly not whether May remains Prime Minister, but just how big a majority over Labour the Conservatives will get.
Date:
Thursday 11th May 2017
Thursday 27th April 2017

The quality of work and well-being: are we doing enough?

Description
In recent years, concerns over the quality of work have prompted debates surrounding methods of improving job quality, and the relationship between the quality of work and employee well-being. Existing research has attempted to identify the constituents of job quality and 'good work'. Factors argued as affecting the relative quality of jobs include pay (including relative income levels), skill, levels of autonomy, variety, work intensity, the length of the working day/week, job security, opportunities for training and development, and availability of flexible working arrangements.
Date:
Thursday 27th April 2017
Thursday 20th April 2017

Egypt faces rough times ahead: four points on the recent ISIS attacks

Description
In the most brutal attack against the Egyptian Coptic Christian minority in recent memory, ISIS bombed two churches on 9 April. At least 47 Egyptians were killed in Alexandria and Tanta, a small town in the Nile Delta. ISIS claimed responsibility for planting an explosive device under a seat at Tanta's Saint George's Church and for the suicide bombing at Alexandria's Saint Marks' Coptic Orthodox Cathedral – a few hours later. What does this mean for ISIS, the post-2011 Egypt, and its Coptic community, the largest Christian minority in the Middle East?
Date:
Thursday 20th April 2017
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