Features

UN: Russia must free Ukraine ships, crew

A United Nations maritime tribunal has ruled that Russia must immediately release three Ukrainian naval vessels captured in November, and the 24 sailors it detained. Geir Moulson Australian Associated Press The Canberra Times The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea issued its order at its Hamburg headquarters following a hearing earlier this month. Russian representatives did not attend. The confrontation in the Kerch Strait, which links the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea, marked a flashpoint in ... Read More »

Logging ravaging the Solomon Islands’ forests

The Solomon Islands is the biggest exporter, after Papua New Guinea, of round logs to China, where they are processed and sold as tropical hardwood products around the world. By Louise Hunt, Honiara Asia Times To sate this demand, logging companies are clearing Solomon Islands forests at nearly 20 times the sustainable rate, according to an investigation by watchdog NGO Global Witness, published last October. The Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Finance has also suggested its commercially viable natural forest will be exhausted ... Read More »

‘Unrelentingly partisan’: Did the Murdoch press sway the election?

The day after the election, a fuming Kevin Rudd took to Twitter. “In all the election commentary last night, not a single word on the elephant in the room,” the former prime minister wrote. Bianca Hall The Sydney Morning Herald “Murdoch, with 70 per cent control of Australia’s print media, ran the single most biased campaign in Australian political history. Reason for the silence? People are in fear of Murdoch’s power.” Rupert Murdoch’s papers, which actually account for about 60 per ... Read More »

EU anti-fraud body considering investigation into Nigel Farage

Former UKIP leader allegedly received gifts worth £450,000 from insurance tycoon and Brexit campaigner Arron Banks. Lili Bayer Politico Former UKIP leader allegedly received gifts worth £450,000 from insurance tycoon and Brexit campaigner Arron Banks. OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud agency, is in the process of determining whether to open a formal investigation into allegations that British politician Nigel Farage received £450,000 from a businessman. The U.K.’s Channel 4 News program reported last week that Farage had received gifts worth £450,000 from ... Read More »

Trump move to declassify Russia intel draws sharp criticism

President Donald Trump is defending his unprecedented decision to give his Justice Department chief unfettered access to the country’s deepest foreign intelligence secrets amid an… WASHINGTON- Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The president said Attorney General Bill Barr needed unilateral power to declassify any top secret material to get to the roots of the 2016-2018 investigation into whether his election campaign colluded with… Barr “will be able to see how this hoax, how the hoax or witch hunt started, and why it started,” Trump said. ... Read More »

Ian Bailey case heading towards miscarriage of justice

The Government has shown an exceptional willingness to cede the prosecution of Irish crime to other states Dermot Walsh The Irish Times The Ian Bailey case is surely the most bizarre and unprecedented case in the history of Irish criminal law. He is about to be tried in his absence in France for a murder in west Cork 22 years ago. The victim was Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a French woman who was resident in west Cork at the time. ... Read More »

Trump approves $8bn Saudi weapons sale over Iran tensions

US President Donald Trump is approving the sale of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, citing Iranian threats to its arch rival. BBC Mr Trump invoked a rarely used aspect of federal law to push through the $8bn (£6bn) deal – bypassing Congress. He did so by declaring that ongoing tensions with Iran amounted to a national emergency. The move has angered those who fear the weapons may be used against civilians in Yemen by Saudi-led forces. ... Read More »

Watch: Theresa May Admits Failure, Announces Resignation in Emotional Address

Theresa May announced the end of her turbulent three-year reign as U.K. prime minister, saying she would resign as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7. Brendan Cole Newsweek In a tearful speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street, May said she had done her best to honor the result of the 2016 EU referendum. She described her tenure as the U.K.’s second female premier as being “the honor of my life.” With her voice audibly cracking, she ... Read More »

I feel free: Lawyer Nyadol Nyuon’s journey from horror to hope

Nyadol Nyuon is a commercial litigator at the prestigious Melbourne law firm, Arnold Bloch Leibler. She was born in the Itang refugee camp in Ethiopia, in 1987. Hannie Rayson WAtoday When Nyuon was four years old, there was conflict in Ethiopia. Her mother gave birth to her little sister, Nyanhial, and just two weeks later the family was forced to walk back to South Sudan. Her mother carried the baby in a bucket on her head. That journey took 40 ... Read More »

Boris Johnson Is the EU’s Worst Nightmare

Europe’s top civil servant once described his potential leadership as a ‘horror scenario.’ Ian Wishart Bloomberg For European leaders watching Theresa May’s political death throes, a sense of inevitability has been replaced by one of fear. Rather than break the deadlock over Brexit, the departure of the British prime minister raises the prospect of what they’ve long considered their worst nightmare: a U.K. run by Boris Johnson, the… If May was predictable and her strategy clear, albeit flawed, many EU ... Read More »

US Bill introduced to deter China in South China, East China Seas

WASHINGTON – Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Party Senator Ben Cardin on Thursday (May 23) formally reintroduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act that would “impose… Nirmal Ghosh The Straits Times The bipartisan Bill is intended to put the brakes on China’s consolidation or expansion of its claims of jurisdiction over the sea and air space in disputed zones in the South China Sea – claimed by Taiwan and… Experts said the Bill was overdue. ... Read More »

‘Vote in your own country’: EU citizens tell of UK poll chaos

Admin errors mean people are being denied right to vote at European election polling booths Emma Graham-Harrison The Guardian EU citizens in the UK are being denied their democratic right to vote in the European elections because of administrative errors by local councils. EU nationals across the country have been reporting that they arrived at polling booths only to find their names crossed out with officials confirming they were not eligible to vote. Astrid Hampe-Nathaniel, a German and Italian citizen, who has lived in ... Read More »

2040: hope and action in the climate crisis

It was framed as “the climate election”, but last week Australia returned a government with climate policies that make the task of building a zero-emissions, safe climate Australia even harder. John Wiseman The Conversation This result comes at a time when international studies are raising the real and imminent spectre of a mass extinction crisis and many communities are already struggling with the consequences of the climate emergency now unfolding around us. Amid the growing strength of movements like Extinction ... Read More »

Could a lack of humility be at the root of what ails America?

There are a lot of reasons behind the political polarization of the country and the deterioration of civic discourse. Frank T. McAndrew The Conversation I wonder if a lack of humility is one of them. In his recent book, “The Death of Expertise,” national security expert Tom Nichols described a type of person each of us probably knows: “They are young and old, rich and poor, some with education, others armed only with a laptop or a library card. But ... Read More »

Thai dissidents living in exile fear for their lives after a string of disappearances and murders

A string of mysterious murders and deportations across South-East Asia has Thai dissidents fearing for their lives and members of a controversial folk band say they may be targeted next. Liam Cochrane ABC The band Faiyen, which means “cold fire” in Thai, fled the country after the 2014 coup and has written songs criticising the military government and the monarchy. Late last week, the band posted a chilling message on Facebook. “We … fear for our lives. Many trusted people ... Read More »

Moïse Katumbi’s Return Portends Shifting Alliances in Congolese Politics

On 20 May prominent opposition leader and businessman Moïse Katumbi returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo from exile. Nelleke van de Walle ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Deputy Project Director for Central Africa Nelleke van de Walle discusses the possible impact on Congolese politics, five months after Felix Tshisekedi’s controversial election as president. Who is Moïse Katumbi, and why has he returned? Moïse Katumbi is one of the richest persons in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – ... Read More »