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After six tests, the mountain hosting North Korea’s nuclear blasts may be exhausted

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Tokyo: Have North Korea’s nuclear tests become so big that they’ve altered the geological structure of the land? Anna Fifield Washington Post The Sydney Morning Herald Some analysts now see signs that Mount Mantap, the 2200-metre-high peak under which North Korea detonates its nuclear bombs, is suffering from “tired mountain syndrome”. The mountain visibly shifted during the last nuclear test, an enormous detonation that was recorded as a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in North Korea’s northeast. Since then, the area, which is not ... Read More »

Pollution Is Killing 50,000 People In The UK Every Year

File photo dated 10/04/15 of air pollution over London, as a major study has found exposure to man-made chemicals killed more than 50,000 Britons in 2015, giving the UK one of the worst records of pollution death in Europe.

UK is fairing much worse than Europe and the US Sara C Nelson HuffPost  9 million deaths worldwide in 2015 caused by pollution Dirty air and polluted water were biggest contributors Greatest number of deaths occurred in India and China Deaths caused by diseases including heart conditions, cancers and strokes In 2015 pollution was responsible for x3 as many deaths as AIDS, TB and malaria Pollution is killing 50,000 people a year in the UK, a report in the Lancet ... Read More »

Xi Jinping’s Message to the World: China is Back

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The hallmark of China’s foreign policy under Xi has been the abandonment of the “lay low” doctrine China’s 19th Party Congress, which opened this week in Beijing, is a landmark event for the world’s second-largest economy. Scott Moore The National Interest  In China’s one-party state, these congresses determine the country’s leadership, and are held every five years. But this one is special. It’s the first to be held since China’s current top leader, Xi Jinping, took power in 2012, and much ... Read More »

Colombia’s Armed Groups Battle for the Spoils of Peace

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Colombia’s 2016 peace accord has brought over 10,000 FARC fighters to the cusp of civilian life, but in their wake rival armed groups are battling for control of vacated territory and lucrative coca crops. ICG In order to roll back booming drug production and expanding non-state groups, the Colombian government should provide local farmers with alternative livelihoods while developing grassroots security and local governance. Executive Summary The peace process with Colombia’s largest and longest standing guerrilla group has defied its ... Read More »

How Money Became the Measure of Everything

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Two centuries ago, America pioneered a way of thinking that puts human well-being in economic terms. Eli Cook The Atlantic Money and markets have been around for thousands of years. Yet as central as currency has been to so many civilizations, people in societies as different as ancient Greece, imperial China, medieval Europe, and colonial America did not measure residents’ well-being in terms of monetary earnings or economic output. In the mid-19th century, the United States—and to a lesser extent ... Read More »

As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. We must return the Parthenon marbles

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Now Amal Clooney has reignited the debate over the Parthenon’s crowning glory, it’s time we rectified a historic wrong. Reunite these ancient sculptures with their home Helena Smith The Guardian As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/3655c9d83f27ad523e8bc2649f6bf2d4/content.css”/> Almost every day I take a walk around the Acropolis. “Around” is the operative word, because the Greeks have gone to great lengths to unite their Athenian antiquities with a pedestrian path. At the centre of this ... Read More »

The Church’s child abuse record doesn’t disqualify it from opposing same-sex marriage

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Author Anna Krien’s recent condemnation of the church’s apparent hypocrisy (The Age, 17/10) in arguing that heterosexual marriage is best for children while being guilty of failing to address historical child abuse appears convincing Kevin Donnelly Brisbane Times A closer reading, though, reveals it for what it is. While Krien’s argument is emotionally persuasive she fails to provide a rational argument linking the two. Yes, the church clearly opposes same-sex marriage but to simply dismiss its arguments because of its ... Read More »

Australia’s “chronic non-compliance” “completely off the charts” says UN

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Overnight Australia was slammed by the UN Human Rights Committee for its “chronic non-compliance” with, and disengagement from, that Committee’s work. Australia’s record on human rights was found lacking as part of the Committee’s review into Australia’s protection of civil and political rights HRLC Professor Yuval Shany, Vice Chair of the Committee, said Australia’s track record was “incredible” for a country that claims to be a leading voice on human rights. Mr Shany directly contradicted Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s previous ... Read More »

Fintan O’Toole: The lie that poverty is a moral failing was buried a century ago. Now it’s back

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George Bernard Shaw knew that the rich are no better than the poor. But though the argument seemed settled then, it now rages more fiercely than ever. Fintan O’Toole The Irish Times If you know Alfred Doolittle only from Stanley Holloway’s infinitely lovable portrayal of him in My Fair Lady, you might not realise that he’s a bit of a monster. In George Bernard Shaw’s original play, Pygmalion, he arrives in high dudgeon at the home of Henry Higgins, who ... Read More »

‘It’s able to create knowledge itself’: Google unveils AI that learns on its own

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<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/282073db076992a654b86d39036af719/content.css”/> In a major breakthrough for artificial intelligence, AlphaGo Zero took just three days to master the ancient Chinese board game of Go … with no human help Ian Sample The Guardian Google’s artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go-playing program, AlphaGo – an AI so powerful that it derived thousands of years of human knowledge of the game before inventing better moves of its own, all in the space of three ... Read More »

Have 20 Years of NATO Expansion Made Anyone Safer?

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Since 1997, the world’s perhaps most powerful corporation and lobbyist has created more insecurity than security. Stephen F. Cohen The Nation Nation Contributing Editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at TheNation.com.) Cohen notes that 20 years ago, in 1997, President Bill Clinton made the decision to expand NATO eastward. That same year, in order to placate post-Soviet Russia, then weak and heralded ... Read More »

Sex harassment report author was driven from the CFA by bullies

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When word began to spread that she was inquiring into bullying, harassment and sexual assault at the Country Fire Authority, Professor Caroline Taylor began to sense something was terribly… Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker The Age Employees, both male and female, began calling her seeking guarantees that they could tell their stories without facing retribution. Several seemed… Taylor, a senior CFA advisor, assured these staff they could trust her. She was a long-time researcher in these issues – a foundation chair of ... Read More »

582,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar: UN

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Some 582,000 Rohingya refugees have fled their homes in Myanmar and arrived in Bangladesh since late August, the United Nations said on Oct. 17, warning that thousands more were stranded at the border. Hurriyet The U.N. said 582,000 members of the Rohingya community had crossed into Bangladesh since Aug. 25, marking a jump of 45,000 from the 537,000 figure given at the weekend. Marixie Mercado, a spokeswoman for the U.N. children’s agency, told reporters in Geneva though that the hike ... Read More »

China vs. Japan: Asia’s Other Great Game

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Beijing and Tokyo will undoubtedly compete long after U.S. foreign policy has evolved. Asia’s Other Great Game Michael Auslin The National Interest THE SPECTER of the world’s two strongest nations competing for power and influence has created a convenient narrative for pundits and observers to claim that Asia’s future, perhaps even the world’s, will be shaped, in ways both large and small, by the United States and China. From economics to political influence and security issues, American and Chinese policies ... Read More »