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Yemen: Is Peace Possible?

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Brussels EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Nearly a year on, there is no end in sight to Yemen’s war. ICG Middle East Report N°167 The conflict pits Ansar Allah (Huthi) rebels and military units allied with ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh against a diverse mix of opponents, including what remains of the government of President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by a Saudi-led coalition supported by the U.S., the UK and France. Ending the war requires negotiations leading to an interim settlement that must include ... Read More »

Peshmerga needs $300M a month to fight ISIL: Official

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Kurdish peshmerga forces need a short-term emergency fund of $300 million a month from the U.S. to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a Kurdish Iraqi official said on Feb. 8. Hurriyet – WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency The money is needed “for their salaries, and the logistics and the transportations for these efforts against ISIS [ISIL],” said Hemin Hawrami, foreign policy advisor to northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani. Speaking at the Washington Institute ... Read More »

Child protection workers urged to consider adoption in forums across NSW

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NSW government aims to boost adoption numbers National adoption rates to an all-time low Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard​ is challenging the state’s “anti-adoption sentiment”, encouraging child protection caseworkers to give greater priority to adoption. The Sydney Morning Herald – Social Affairs Reporter ””” It’s about providing children with a family for life as opposed to carers until they turn 18. Lisa Vihtonen ””” A series of forums around NSW directed at caseworkers will emphasise the benefits of adoption ... Read More »

Zimbabwe pleads for cash to stop mass starvation

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HUMANITARIAN CRISES Harare seeking $1.5bn to help save more than a quarter of the population from starving to death, as drought worsens. Zimbabwe has appealed to local businesses and charities for more than $1.5bn aid to save more than a quarter of the population from starvation due to drought. “The government of Zimbabwe requires a total of [$1.57bn] with effect from February to December 2016,” Zimbabwe’s vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa said at a news conference in the capital Harare on Tuesday, adding ... Read More »

Why the West is standing by amid Russia’s campaign in Syria

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SEARCH FOR A PATH FORWARD – Russia’s airstrikes on Aleppo, Syria, have killed hundreds and sent a fresh wave of tens of thousands of civilians north to the border with Turkey. The Christian Science Monitor – By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer WASHINGTON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “horrified” by the impact that Russia’s relentless airstrikes on Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, are having on civilians. And as Russia’s bombing campaign has killed hundreds and sent a fresh wave of tens ... Read More »

When silence falls: NSW art exhibition exposes hidden violent chapters in Australian, world history

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Visions of war and conflict may be all too commonplace in the news media, but it is not often that we are given the space to really contemplate what the long-term legacy of violence is for our society. ABC – By Rachel Robinson Cara Pinchbeck, curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW), made it her mission to carve out just such a space with the exhibition, When silence falls. “There’s so much conflict ... Read More »

Melbourne priest Paul Grasby moves to Malaysia to pursue ‘young Asian men’ while on paid leave

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EXCLUSIVE A Catholic priest stood down amid child sexual abuse allegations has moved to Malaysia, where he is using a gay dating website to seek the company of “young Asian men” while on paid leave. The Age – Nino Bucci, Crime reporter for The Age Father Peter Grasby, who is suspected of abusing boys from at least two Melbourne parishes during almost 40 years as a priest, also propositioned a former parishioner on a gay dating website, it can be revealed. Father Grasby, ... Read More »

Syrian government is ‘exterminating’ its population: UN

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Turkey steps up its involvement in Syria to help refugees Aleppo’s underground schools face burnout and bombardment Syria’s battle for Aleppo backed by Iranian proxies Geneva: Detainees held by the Syrian government are dying on a massive scale, amounting to a state policy of “extermination” of the civilian population, a crime against humanity, United Nations investigators say. WAtoday – Stephanie Nebehay * The UN commission of inquiry on Monday called on the Security Council to impose “targeted sanctions” on Syrian officials ... Read More »

Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches

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The civil war in Syria and Iraq and the rise of Islamic State (Isis) has brought the 30 million Kurds in the Middle East new terrors and fresh opportunities. CounterPunch – by Patrick Cockburn In Syria, the conflict has led to the creation of a Kurdish quasi-state between the Tigris and Euphrates that fields a powerful army supported by US air power. In northern Iraq, the defeat of the Iraqi army by Isis in 2014 enabled the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to seize territory long ... Read More »

Turkish forces accused of ‘massacre’ over Cizre raid

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Conflicting reports about death toll and identities of victims in raid on building by Turkish security forces #TurkeyAtWar Middle East Eye – Alex MacDonald Scores of people are reported to have been killed in the southeastern Turkish town of Cizre following a raid by security services on a building allegedly harbouring Kurdish separatist fighters. State-run TRT reported late on Sunday that 60 “terrorists” had been “neutralised” following the raid on the building in the Cudi neighbourhood of Cizre. News sources in ... Read More »

Dealing With Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program

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A diplomatic effort to cap missile development is the next necessary step. The National Interest – William LuersThomas PickeringGreg Thielmann Building on the momentum from the successful pursuit of the nuclear deal with Iran, the P5+1 should now combine pressure and diplomacy to deal with Iran’s missile program. Missiles became an essential component of Iran’s military posture during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, in which Iran received intensive Iraqi missile and air bombardments. Tehran started to build a missile arsenal ... Read More »

UN Security Council holds emergency session on North Korea after rocket launch

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Defiant North Korea launches ‘space rocket’ ‘Successful’ nuclear bomb test a strategic move Was North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test a deliberate distraction? New York: The United Nations Security Council began an emergency meeting on North Korea’s rocket launch on Sunday, with diplomats expecting the 15-nation body to condemn Pyongyang and redouble efforts to agree on new sanctions. The Canberra Times – Louis Charbonneau * Speaking to reporters ahead of the closed-door session, France’s UN ambassador, Francois Delattre, described North Korea’s launch of a long-range ... Read More »

Sri Lanka, not Sri Lankans, the OHCHR agenda

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There is a continuum in the unfolding of events in Geneva. If we fail to comprehend the bigger picture, underestimate Sri Lanka’s strategic importance, and refuse to see ourselves as Sri Lankans, we will find ourselves, again, in a fratricidal war that will provide fertile ground for marauding invaders. It is urgent that the people of Sri Lanka regain their sovereign right to govern themselves from those who, in Geneva, betrayed their trust by surrendering the authority accorded to them ... Read More »