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Melbourne archbishop says he’d rather go to jail than report child abuse heard in confession

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Denis Hart says ‘communication with God is of a higher order’ after child sex abuse inquiry calls for failure to report to become a criminal offence Melissa Davey and agencies The Guardian The archbishop of the archdiocese of Melbourne, Denis Hart, said he would risk going to jail rather than report allegations of child sexual abuse raised during confession, and that the sacredness of communication with God during confession should be above the… He was responding to a report from the child ... Read More »

Japanese business to start paying workers in bitcoin

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Workers at the Japanese tech firm are free to choose whether or not they want a part of their salary to be paid in virtual currency Shafi Musaddique The Independent A Japanese business will begin paying its workers partially in bitcoin, in a bid to gain a better understanding of how the digital currency works, Agence France-Presse reports. Tech firm GMO Internet said it will pay up to 100,000 yen (£660) a month to approximately 4,000 employees via bitcoin from February next year, ... Read More »

Pesco makes us choose defence spending over housing homeless

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EU army requires fivefold hike in Irish military spending on machines of death Kieran Allen The Irish Times A major decision about Ireland’s role in a common European defence has been rushed through the Dáil On Thursday, 7th December, the national parliament voted to enter a new military arrangement known as Permanent Structured Co-operation (Pesco). The Cabinet took a decision to propose this at their meeting on November 21st but deliberately withheld notification until the very last moment. One can ... Read More »

Scotland set to lag behind UK with growth below 1% until 2022

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A gloomy outlook for Scotland’s economy over the next five years has been unveiled by the new Scottish Fiscal Commission SCOTT MACNAB The Scotsman Growth will lag behind the rest of the UK at less than 1 per cent between now and 2022, according to the body which was set up by the Scottish Government to provide economic forecasting. Its first report was published yesterday to coincide with the Scottish budget. “Scottish economic growth has been slower over the last ... Read More »

Can Peacekeepers Break the Deadlock in Ukraine?

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Implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement remains deadlocked Russia’s first proposal of a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine’s breakaway eastern regions cannot work, but it opens a much-needed window for diplomacy. ICG What’s the issue? In September 2017, Moscow proposed the deployment of UN peacekeepers along the line dividing Ukrainian from separatist and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Such a mission would not help end the conflict. To do that, peacekeepers would need a greater role, including helping secure the Ukraine-Russia ... Read More »

An Introduction to Crisis Group’s Iran-U.S. Trigger List

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The risks of a direct, indirect, deliberate or inadvertent clash between Iran and the U.S. are rising to new highs. Our Iran-U.S. Trigger List is a unique interactive map and early warning tool that monitors and analyses the many flashpoints between the two countries, and shows how they are linked to the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal. ICG Tensions between the U.S. and Iran, as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia, are reaching a critical level, as are risks of ... Read More »

US presents ‘undeniable’ evidence Iran arming Yemen’s rebels with missiles

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Segments of projectiles launched at Saudi Arabia bear markings proving origin in Islamic Republic, UN ambassador Haley says By AGENCIES The Times of Israel US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the United Nations unveiled Thursday what she said was “undeniable” evidence proving that Iran is funneling missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen in violation of international law. At a news conference in a hanger at a military base in Washington, Nikki Haley presented recently declassified evidence including segments of missiles launched at ... Read More »

Uzbeks Feel Challenged by October Terror Attack

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As more Central Asians become U.S. citizens and voters, their impact and influence on domestic American political dynamics will inevitably grow. Navbahor Imamova The National Interest Immigrant communities in America have grown cohesive—and sometimes even powerful—by organizing themselves into civically aware and politically active diasporas. But for immigrants from Central Asia, one of the youngest communities in the United States, growing numbers have yielded little in the way of political cohesion. Some 350,000 immigrants have arrived from these former Soviet ... Read More »

How Washington Lost Its Status as an Arab-Israeli Mediator

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The Trump administration has abdicated Washington’s role as a responsible custodian for Arab-Israeli affairs Evan Gottesman The National Interest Much has been made of the immediate ramifications of President Trump’s Wednesday announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiating the relocation of the U.S. Embassy: namely, the specter of Palestinian violence in Israel and the occupied territories and implications for a future two-state… Yet, perhaps the most underappreciated impact will be on the United States’ standing in the Middle East, ... Read More »

6,700 Rohingya killed in first month of Myanmar violence: MSF

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“At least 6,700 Rohingya, in the most conservative estimations, are estimated to have been killed, including at least 730 children below the age of five,” MSF said Dec. 14. YANGON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The group’s findings come from six surveys of more than 11,426 people in Rohingya refugee camps and cover the first month after the crisis erupted. “We met and spoke with survivors of violence in Myanmar, who are now sheltering in overcrowded and unsanitary camps in Bangladesh,” ... Read More »

Bach: The Art of Fugue review – a striking, perfectly shaped performance

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Accademia Bizantina/Dantone (Decca) In The Art of Fugue, “Bach plays to God and himself in an empty church”, the critic and composer Wilfrid Mellers memorably wrote. Andrew Clements The Guardian The sequence of 20 fugues and canons, grouped according to the contrapuntal devices they employ, remains one of the most enigmatic works in the history of western music, not only left unfinished at Bach’s death in 1750, with its final fugue incomplete, but also lacking any indications as to how it might be ... Read More »

British troops breached Geneva conventions in Iraq, high court rules

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Court says soldiers subjected civilians to cruel and inhuman treatment, in cases that may determine handling of further claims Ian Cobain The Guardian British troops breached the Geneva conventions and subjected Iraqi civilians to cruel and inhuman treatment by hooding them and taking turns to run over their backs, the high court has ruled. Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) breached the conventions as well as the 1998 Human Rights Act in the way in which it detained civilians after the 2003 invasion, the ... Read More »

Why rights must trump politics if new global plans on refugees and migrants are to make a difference

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The world has a chance to strike a bold agreement in 2018 that could improve the lives of refugees and migrants, but only if world leaders put aside the politics that often plagues debate on these issues and focus on people’s fundamental rights. Heaven Crawley Katharine Jones It’s been more than a year since leaders came together in September 2016 at the UN to try and bolster international cooperation on migration and refugee issues. The Conversation The resulting New York ... Read More »

Pick up a book and share it with a child: it’s the key to success in an uncertain future

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Parents often ask me what they ought to do to prepare their children for a future they can scarcely imagine, in a world that’s changing before their eyes. Alan Finkel ABC I say that there’s a brilliant learning technology already on the shelf. It builds vocabulary, conveys knowledge, fosters creativity, improves concentration, develops skills of reasoning and pattern recognition, calms anxiety and opens discussions … all this, while nurturing love and… Pick up a… Read More »