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Five human rights we should enjoy – while we still can

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In case warnings of impending fascism have merit, here’s a bucket list of rights to tick off Van Badham The Guardian Fascism is a political philosophy. It exalts the supposed supremacy of a particular national identity or racial group above individual freedoms, social equality and the collective social good. And these ideas seem frightfully trendy right now. I’m not saying that today’s Poland, America, Russia, Turkey or Hungary are fascist countries. I’m saying fascism seeks to establish an authoritarian government headed by ... Read More »

BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below

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The Durban rapper Ewok captured the spirit of progressive social forces in South Africa with his condemnation of elite politics at a March 2013 protest outside the Durban International Convention Centre: “You dropping BRICS from above? We’re throwing bricks from below!” Patrick Bond CounterPunch For the second time, the leaders of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-SA (BRICS) summit in South Africa, this time at Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre from July 25-27. The bloc has great potential to change the world in positive ways. But under ... Read More »

Lure of the race card too much for Turnbull to resist

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Malcolm Turnbull won’t mind a bit that he was “embroiled in a race row” on Tuesday There was puzzlement, anger and complaints of “racist dog whistling” on Tuesday after the Prime Minister went on Neil Mitchell’s 3AW program to carry on about “Sudanese gangs” when in the past he has left the… Noel Towell The Age Sure, nobody likes being called a racist, but in the end Turnbull and his senior Victorian MPs will be reflecting on a mission accomplished. ... Read More »

EU ‘positive’ on Russia-Ukraine gas talks

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Talks have taken place in Berlin with the EU, Ukraine and Russia over the transit of gas from Russia to Europe. The forthcoming Nord Stream 2 project has stoked Ukrainian fears of economic isolation. aos/kd (AFP, Reuters) DW The EU sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday following talks in Berlin with envoys from Moscow and Kiev over a dispute regarding future Russian gas shipments through Ukraine. According to European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, the three-way talks were “future-oriented” and “positive” although ... Read More »

EU and Japan say new trade deal is signal to the world that protectionism does not work

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European Commission said openness to trade and investment is ‘one of the best tools to… create more economic growth and jobs’ Caitlin Morrison Independent The EU and Japan have signed up to a “landmark” trade deal in a show of strength against protectionism among global economies. Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner after China and together the EU and Japan account for almost one third of global GDP. The deal was confirmed at a ceremonial signing in Tokyo on Tuesday, attended by ... Read More »

Forcing priests to report abuse not a breach of human rights: Watchirs

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New laws that will force priests to break the seal of confession to report child abuse are not in breach of the ACT’s human right laws, despite concerns about the impact on religious freedoms, the ACT’s Human Rights Commissioner says. Katie Burgess The Canberra Times Under the territory’s expanded reportable conduct scheme, priests in Canberra will be required to report allegations, offences or convictions related to children to the ACT Ombudsman within 30 days from March… But the Australian Catholics Bishops ... Read More »

Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse

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Recently NPR featured retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges who was the commanding general of NATO’s Allied Land Command in 2014. Daniel Falcone CounterPunch He remarked how he “was disappointed to see President Trump bring a wrecking ball to Brussels” after “publicly [humiliating] our most important allies.” He went on to explain, and I believe correctly that Trump “either doesn’t understand the concept of an alliance and allies or he doesn’t care” with the latter being the most accurate. I set ... Read More »

Vote Leave Referred To Police By Watchdog Who Found ‘Significant Evidence’ It Broke Electoral Law

A 'Vote Leave' sign is seen by the roadside near Charing urging people to vote for Brexit in the upcoming EU referendum is seen on the roadside near Charing south east of London on June 16, 2016. 
Britain goes to the polls in a week on June 23 to vote to leave or remain in the European Union. / AFP / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

The official Brexit campaign exceeded its legal spending limit, according to the Electoral Commission Nicola Slawson HuffPost Vote Leave has been fined £61,000 and reported to the police by the Electoral Commission for breaking electoral law. The Electoral Commission published the conclusions of its investigation into the campaign spending of Vote Leave and found “significant evidence” of coordination with another campaign group, BeLeave. The Electoral Commission found that the campaign group exceeded its legal spending limit of £7m by almost ... Read More »

Chart of the day: The Government hasn’t been very good at predicting population growth

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Australia’s population growth has outstripped official expectations for more than a decade, according to the Government’s own estimates. By political reporter Jackson Gothe-Snape BBC The Intergenerational Report provides “a projection into the future, giving us an estimate of the challenges we face as a nation”. But across the four reports stretching back to 2002, the Government has repeatedly underestimated how fast the population is growing. In 2002, the first report assumed net overseas migration would continue at 90,000 people per ... Read More »

Germany and France’s growth DOWNGRADED by IMF as Trump tariffs take hold

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GERMANY and France are to experience the worst economic slowdown among all major European economies over the next two years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said. Alice Scarsi Express In a series of shock downgrades in its newly published economic outlook for 2018, the IMF sees Berlin and Paris’ economy growth predictions shrink by 0.3 percent by the end of this year. Blaming the hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium exports imposed by US President Donald Trump, the IMF’s outlook reads: ... Read More »

The rescued Thai boys are considering becoming monks — here’s why

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After their dramatic rescue from Nang Non cave, 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach are mourning the loss of a Thai Navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, who died during the rescue efforts. Andrew Alan Johnson The Conversation The father of one of the boys said that in order to pay tribute to the Navy SEAL, many boys are considering temporarily becoming monks. Ordaining as a full monk – known as “bhikkhu” in Pali, the religious language of the Theravada Buddhism ... Read More »

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight: the science of beautiful sunsets

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“A red sky at night is a shepherd’s delight! A red sky in the morning is a shepherd’s warning.” Perhaps this saying came to mind if you caught a spectacular sunrise or sunset recently. Adam Morgan The Conversation Since biblical times and probably before, proverbs and folklore such as this developed as a way for societies to understand and foretell prevailing weather conditions. The “red sky” proverb has endured across cultures for centuries, and modern science can explain why this ... Read More »

Amlo: How often do world leaders take a pay cut?

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Mexico’s incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to take a 60% pay cut when he takes office in December. BBC The winning left-wing candidate will now earn a salary equivalent to about $5,707 (£4,310) a month and no other public official will be able to earn more than him. Mr López Obrador said the official residence, Los Pinos, will become a cultural centre. The Mexican politician is certainly not the first leader to make the statement of lowering his or ... Read More »

Decoding the music masterpieces: Rossini’s William Tell, and its famous overture

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Although it boasts one of the most famous sequences of music in existence, Gioachino Rossini’s William Tell is hardly a staple of the operatic repertoire. Madeline Roycroft The Conversation At five hours long in its original composition, and with a challengingly high male singing part, it is rarely heard in its entirety. Victorian Opera’s current production of William Tell, a three-hour abridged version, is the first in Australia in over 140 years. The opera is certainly most famous for its ... Read More »