Analysis

Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean Alliance

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Concrete steps over the past three years have set the foundations of an Eastern Mediterranean Alliance (EMA) comprising Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. John M. Nomikos BESA The convergence of the three nations is the natural outcome of close democratic similarities and a joint desire for stability and progress in a region tormented by perennial Middle East strife, radical Islamism, and the morphing of Turkey into a fundamentalist Islamic autocracy. The EMA is emerging at a time of increasing global instability. ... Read More »

Philippines: Addressing Islamist Militancy after the Battle for Marawi

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The Philippine city of Marawi, on Mindanao island, remains in ruins more than a year after a five-month jihadist takeover. ICG To avoid fuelling militancy, Manila must involve locals in reconstruction, implement a 2014 deal with Mindanao separatists and go beyond efforts to counter jihadist ideology. In May 2017, Muslim militants acting in the name of the Islamic State (ISIS) seized Marawi, a lakeside economic hub in the Lanao del Sur province of Mindanao, the second-largest island in the Philippines. ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Trade Troubles: China Is Poised to Bring Down the Global Economy

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Beijing is prepared to push the world into another recession. Gordon G. Chang The National Interest The Chinese economy is in distress, and the country’s currency and markets, reflecting unease, are tumbling. Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, has no solutions. The only thing he is doing is incurring more debt. That’s extremely unfortunate because an overly indebted Beijing is again set to push the world into recession. China, through predatory policies, precipitated the global downturn last decade, and it looks ... Read More »

Can democracy vote itself out of existence?

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Look at the state of the world’s democratic nations, and it is easy to see why so many are concerned for the future of democracy. Manjeet Ramgotra The Conversation Leaders such as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Vladimir Putin and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán have centralised political power by changing their countries’ constitutions, silencing dissent and controlling the media. Since 2016’s coup attempt in Turkey, Erdoğan’s government has used the subsequent state of emergency to incarcerate thousands without trial. Opposition politicians, judges, journalists ... Read More »

Rights not “fortress conservation” key to save planet, says UN expert

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Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples calls for a new, rights-based approach to conservation David Hill The Guardian The United Nations Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, has released a report highly critical of the global conservation movement and calling for indigenous peoples and other local communities to have a… What exactly is meant by that? It is “the idea that to protect forests and biodiversity, ecosystems need to function in isolation, devoid of people,” the Rapporteur told the Guardian. ... Read More »

These Are The Strongest Militaries In The World

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While an all-out battle may be the only way to truly determine which country has the strongest military, hopefully, we’ll never have to find out. PastFactory But battle aside, how does someone determine who has the most powerful military in the world? Is it the number of soldiers in a country’s militia? Or the types of technology a country has built to defend itself? Or perhaps their military spending budget? Considering the aforementioned… These Are The… Read More »

Europe’s dependence on the US was all part of the plan

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21:  The voting results are displayed on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly in which the United States declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was declared "null and void" on December 21, 2017 in New York City. The vote, 128-9, at the United Nations concerned Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate its embassy there. The Trump administration has threatened to take action against any country that votes against the United States decision to move its embassy.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Postwar US statesmen designed our world order as it is for a reason. They had lived through what happened without it. Claire Berlinski Politico As feared, the president of the United States arrived at last week’s NATO summit in a mood of preposterous spleen, profound contempt and shocking rudeness. He insisted on sharing before the cameras imaginary facts that hadn’t a thing to do with the summit agenda, and he refused to listen to anyone who tried, however gently, to ... Read More »

It’s impossible to lead a totally ethical life—but it’s fun to try

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You want to do the right thing. But in a world where it often seems impossible to eat, shop, drive, travel, or pretty much do anything without causing some measure of harm to others and the planet, leading an… Ephrat Livni Quartz It’s true that practically everything we do in life has ethical repercussions. “Any decision that has an impact on others now or in the future is an ethical choice,” explains ethicist Christopher Gilbert, author of the new book ... Read More »

Immigration decline costing UK economy billions, says think thank

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Meeting government targets on immigration means £12bn hit to public finances, say Global Futures Peter Stubley Independent The fall in immigration since Brexit is already costing the UK more than £1bn a year, according to new analysis by an independent think tank. Global Future, which promotes the benefits of openness, calculates that the loss to the public finances is the equivalent of more than 23,000 nurses or 18,000 doctors. It also claims that meeting the government’s immigration target of “tens of thousands” will also cost Britain ... Read More »