Analysis

Syria, Sarin and Cyprus: An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

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Syria, Sarin and Cyprus: An Open Letter to the Right Honourable Theresa May MP, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Klearchos A. Kyriakides[1]  Published in Agora Dialogue at http://agora-dialogue.com/ on 9 May 2018 OPEN LETTER[2] Date: 9 May 2018  Dear Prime Minister Re: Syria, Sarin and Cyprus Introduction I refer to your first statement on Syria of 14 April 2018,[3] your second statement on Syria of the same date[4] and your subsequent statement on Syria of 16 April 2018.[5] ... Read More »

Enough is enough: s44 needs to go to a referendum as soon as possible

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It’s time for section 44 of the constitution to be put to the people with a view to amending what has turned out to be an outdated and cumbersome citizenship requirement that is out of step with who Australians are in the 21st century. Editorial The Canberra Times It is even out of step with who Australians were in the 19th century given any citizen of the British Empire, regardless of whether they had been born in New Zealand, Canada, ... Read More »

Saving the Iran Nuclear Deal Without the U.S.

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President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on 8 May 2018. This unilateral act deals a serious blow to the accord, but Europe and Iran can still work together to salvage it. ICG President Donald J. Trump has unilaterally withdrawn the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and announced the reimposition of sanctions against Iran. Since January, when President Trump declared that he would pull the U.S. out of the nuclear agreement with ... Read More »

Libya’s Unhealthy Focus on Personalities

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The surprise electoral defeat of one Libyan leader and the hospitalisation of a rival show the error of relying solely on individuals to achieve national reconciliation in Libya. All sides in Libya’s conflict should focus instead on making institutions more representative and improving governance. ICG What’s new? Two events have shaken up Libyan politics: the election of Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Khaled Mishri as president of the Tripoli-based High State Council, replacing Abderrahman Swehli, who had held the post since 2016, ... Read More »

Need an urgent medical transfer from Nauru? Forget it.

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The former Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Roman Quaedvlieg, made a remarkable admission last week. It occurred in an exchange on Twitter with a former senior medical officer who had worked with refugees on Nauru. In a tweet, Quaedvlieg admitted that during his tenure the ABF had deliberately obstructed and thwarted the… Spencer Zifcak John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations “It’s true to say that the threshold for medical repatriation to Australia is high. It’s an issue which ... Read More »

Spotting the political calculus behind some acts of corporate charity

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Over the past few years, I have teamed up with fellow economists Marianne Bertrande, Matilde Bombardini and Francesco Trebbi to look into one underappreciated way that businesses may attempt to influence politicians: corporate philanthropy. Raymond Fisman The Conversation We found that what we call “politically linked charities” get more money from corporate foundations in general. We also find that when politicians gain leverage on issues tied to a company’s interests, charities in their districts get more gifts from that company’s ... Read More »

Most successful entrepreneurs are older than you think

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The romanticized image of entrepreneurs is a picture of youth: a 20-something individual with disruptive ideas, boundless energy and a still-sharp mind. Silicon Valley has bet on this image for years. But is this right? Authors: The Conversation Far from it, according to our recent research with Javier Miranda of the U.S. Census Bureau and Pierre Azoulay of MIT. Our team analyzed the age of all business founders in the U.S. in recent years. We found that the average age ... Read More »

Donald Trump can unilaterally withdraw from treaties because Congress abdicated responsibility

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The constitution provided for the separation of powers to save us from autocrats. But the legislative branch undermined that. Russell Feingold NBC During this administration, everyone has to be alert and watching for potential misuses or abuses of power. Unfortunately, due to decades of executive aggrandizement and congressional acquiescence — coupled with judicial timidity — the ability to unilaterally withdraw the United States from every last treaty the Senate has ever ratified has been left solely in the hands of ... Read More »

U.S. Looks Beyond Iran Nuclear Deal Deadline to What Comes Next

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign secretary, gestures during a news conference at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 20 - 23. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Mohammad Javad Zarif

(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump seems set on pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal next week, with U.S. officials suggesting that any initial diplomatic turbulence will be followed by negotiations for a new accord. Nicholas Wadhams There’s one big hang-up: Iran is ruling out new talks, calling the current agreement “non-negotiable.” And America’s European allies continue to back it, saying the deal has been essential to reining in Iran’s nuclear program. As markets, U.S. allies and the government in Tehran ... Read More »

Turkey’s Dangerous Game of ‘Hostage Diplomacy’

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters during a meeting of the ruling AK Party in Izmir, Turkey April 28, 2018. Picture taken April 28, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. - RC12A261D450

How an American pastor became a political pawn for Erdogan On October 7, 2016, Andrew Brunson, a 50-year-old American pastor working as a missionary in Turkey, received a call from the police requesting that he come in for a visit. Diego Cupolo The Atlantic Since 1995, Brunson had lived in the city of Izmir in western Turkey, serving as a Presbyterian pastor. When the police got in touch, he had been awaiting the renewal of his residence permit, and figured ... Read More »

As China leads the hunt for deep-sea minerals, environmental and financial concerns come to the surface

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David Dodwell says China is putting money into undersea mining in the hope of maintaining the supply of minerals that make much of today’s technology possible, but such endeavours may threaten marine ecosystems we know little about. David Dodwell South China Morning Post Nasa may be scouring deep space for signs of life. Elon Musk might be looking to Mars. China’s scientists have had an eye cast skyward too – but, at the same time, the country seems keenly focused on challenges much ... Read More »

Mirror Images: The Standoff between Moscow and Western Capitals

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Russia and the West are mired in mutual mistrust, sinking deeper with each contretemps in the post-Soviet space and every round of sanctions punishing perceived Russian malfeasance. Magdalena Grono ICG A rapprochement appears unlikely soon, so both sides must open channels to avert confrontations where their interests collide. Relations between Russia and the West are at a perilous juncture. The two sides’ narratives on major issues of the day – for instance, the future of Crimea or the wars in ... Read More »

Japan has a form of capitalism that works

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Japan deserves the Nobel Prize for applied economics. I say this not because Japan’s capitalism has no flaws, but because the overall outcome produced by the Japanese economic system is extremely… Jesper Koll The Japan Times Japan manages to balance income growth and income distribution so well that, unlike many other advanced economies, Japan’s society is resilient against the rise of popular nationalism a-la Donald Trump in America, Jean-Marie Le Pen in France or Xi Jinping in… The goal of ... Read More »

Daily Express: what a difference a new owner has made (especially if you are a migrant)

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Downright offensive and Islamophobic: these words were used to describe the Daily Express – not from the usual left-leaning critic but directly from the mouth of the newspaper’s latest editor. Paul Broster The Conversation Gary Jones pulled no punches when quizzed by MPs over the editorial stance of the right wing mid-market tabloid. “Cumulatively, some of the headlines that have appeared in the past have created an Islamophobic sentiment which I find uncomfortable,” Jones told the home affairs select committee, ... Read More »

The Challenge of Reinstating Sanctions Against Iran

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It’s Not as Simple as Withdrawing From the JCPOA Peter Harrell FP U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be on the brink of withdrawing the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with… He faces a May 12 deadline to renew waivers of key U.S. sanctions on Iran, and despite pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to do so, Trump seems set to deliver on his January ... Read More »

Socialising the losses and privatising the gains

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The case of Cyprus five years after the bail-in of bank deposits As pointed out in a recent IMF report,[1] “private sector indebtedness in Cyprus remains extremely high”. Savvas Savvides StockWatch Politicians and banks, however, continue to present the non-performing loans (NPLs) as being the core problem of the economy. They argue that reducing NPLs is basically the same as providing a cure to the economy’s woes. However, NPLs is only a symptom of the real problem of the economy which, ... Read More »