Time for change: Anne Enright on Ireland’s abortion referendum

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In the coming weeks, voters in Ireland will have the chance to repeal the eighth amendment, which recognises the equal rights to life of a foetus and the mother during pregnancy. We must send a message to the world, the author declares Anne Enright The Guardian Recently I spoke to a reasonable, sane Irish woman who said that she was against abortion and because she was so reasonable and sane, I was curious what she meant by that. Was she ... Read More »

The people owned the web, tech giants stole it. This is how we take it back

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Social media gave the powerless a weapon but it was wrenched away by firms such as Facebook and Cambridge Analytica I blame the T-shirts. Jonathan Freedland The Guardian The casual wear favoured by those founding wunderkinds of tech – Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and the rest – lulled us into a false sense of security. Even after they’d begun making serious money, too many of us took the aversion to a collar and tie to mean the likes ... Read More »

Time running out to save the Earth’s plants and animals

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Five new reports unveiled at a UN biodiversity summit in Colombia are sounding the alarm over the rapidly deteriorating state of biodiversity on our planet. Dave Keating DW But they also provide the tools to fight back. Delegates at a major international summit on biodiversity in Medellín, Colombia have been rattled after being presented with stark new evidence about the state of the world’s biodiversity. The 750 delegates from 115 countries are meeting for the sixth plenary of the Intergovernmental ... Read More »

China regulator bans TV parodies amid content crackdown

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China’s media regulator is cracking down on video spoofs, the official Xinhua new agency reported, amid an intensified crackdown on any content that is deemed to be in violation of socialist core values under… BEIJING / SHANGHAI – Reuters Hurriyet The decision comes after Xi cemented his power at a recent meeting of parliament by having presidential term limits scrapped, and the ruling Communist Party tightened its grip on the media by handing control over film, news and publishing to ... Read More »

Catalan separatists face charges as key figure flees abroad

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Spain’s Supreme Court said on March 23 that it would prosecute 13 key Catalan separatists for “rebellion,” as Marta Rovira became the latest leading pro-independence figure to flee abroad to escape charges over the region’s breakaway bid. Hurriyet Among those prosecuted are Catalonia’s sacked president Carles Puigdemont and his designated successor, Jordi Turull. If found guilty, they face up to 30 years in prison. Judge Pablo Llarena accused Puigdemont – currently in self-imposed exile in Belgium – of organising the ... Read More »

“Global Britain” Is Already on Its Own

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British voters’ decision to leave the EU may have been motivated mostly by domestic issues such as political dysfunction and immigration, but the costs of departure are being felt first on the foreign-policy front. Mark Malloch-Brown Project Syndicate The international response to the recent nerve-agent attack in Salisbury, England, suggests that the costs will be high. LONDON – British Prime Minister Theresa May has finally had a good crisis. Responding to the nerve-agent attack on former Russian double agent Sergei ... Read More »

Opinion divided on including sexual harassment policy in budget

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ALBANY — Several Democratic Assembly members and a top Republican state senator say they still want to see new policies to address sexual harassment in the state budget, even though there are concerns about the negotiation process and disagreements over how best to tackle the issue. Marie J. French Politico “This is something that I think we can’t allow to fall off the table in budget negotiations,” said Assemblywoman Addie Jenne (D-Theresa), who is on the Assembly’s working group on ... Read More »

U.S. Warship Sails Past Disputed South China Sea Artificial Island in Freedom of Navigation Mission

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A U.S. guided-missile destroyer conducted a freedom of navigation operation past an artificial island controlled by China on Friday, a U.S. defense official confirmed to USNI News. Sam LaGrone USNI USS Mustin (DDG-89) came within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, an artificial island in the Spratly Island chain that is home to a major airfield, and conducted maneuvers near the Chinese base. Newswire Reuters first reported the…. “China holds indisputable sovereignty over the islands and their surrounding waters in ... Read More »

Brexit: A managed surrender

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London talks tough but gives Brussels what it wants. Forget red lines, bellicose declarations and rhetoric about the United Kingdom taking back control — Brexit so far has been a process of managed surrender. Paul Taylor Politico British officials acknowledge that Prime Minister Theresa May has mostly had to accept the European Union’s terms for the divorce and a transition period to avoid a cliff-edge rupture in economic ties that could have crippled business. However, the Brits insist, the real negotiation starts now and ... Read More »

Australia’s worst nightmare: to be caught in cross fire of trade war

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Beijing: Australia’s great fear of a trade war breaking out between its largest trading partner and closest security ally is unfolding, as China and the United State exchange threats and release multi-billion dollar punitive tariff plans targeting each… Kirsty Needham & Darren Gray The Age After US President Donald Trump signed a document to trigger $US60 billion ($A78 billion) in tariffs on Chinese technology products, China responded within hours with a $US3 billion plan to hit 128 US products including ... Read More »

EU plans tougher consumer laws for Facebook, Gmail

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The European Union is planning to apply tougher consumer laws to social media networks and email providers like Facebook and Google’s Gmail as scrutiny of data protection grows in the wake of an outcry over Facebook’s handling of data. BRUSSELS – Reuters Hurriyet Under the draft proposal first considered last year, authorities could levy fines of at least 4 percent of turnover. Currently, EU consumer authorities can only levy small fines and some lack power to sanction companies at all ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan warns Europeans ‘will not walk safely on the streets’ if diplomatic row continues

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It comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned war of rhetoric must stop Samuel Osborne The Independent Europeans across the world will not be able to walk the streets safely if they keep up their current attitude towards Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned. Turkey has been mired in a diplomatic row with Germany and the Netherlands after they banned Turkish officials from campaigning in support of an April referendum on boosting the… “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the… Turkey’s ... Read More »

Embracing multicultural voices can lead to a more democratic future

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One of the great moral challenges of our time is the rising tide of inequality in liberal democracies around the world. Duncan Ivison The Conversation This includes Australia, where both income and wealth inequality are increasing, especially the latter. There are arguments about the rise of China and other authoritarian regimes threatening the viability of liberal democracy. But a deeper problem is the persistent inability of liberal democracies to live up to their own moral promise. That promise is one ... Read More »

TEV-DEM: Method of resistance changed in Afrin, we will prevail

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TEV-DEM pointed out that the resistance continues with different methods in Afrin and stated that victory will be achieved. ANF TEV-DEM also stressed that the Turkish state is aiming to change the demographic makeup with their genocidal attacks. Movement for a Democratic Society TEV-DEM issued a written statement today regarding the Afrin invasion and the resistance. The statement is as follows: “The Resistance of the Age has displayed 58 days of uninterrupted sacrifice against the… TEV-DEM: Method of… Read More »

What Italy’s Election Means for the EU

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The EU – and the eurozone, in particular – are now facing a serious political challenge, exemplified by the outcome of Italy’s recent election. Lucrezia Reichlin Project Syndicate Are European institutions strong enough to confront that challenge, or must EU leaders rethink – and potentially recast – the pillars of cooperation? ROME – Italy’s recent election – in which voters rebuffed traditional parties in favor of anti-establishment and far-right movements, producing a hung parliament – should serve as a wake-up call for ... Read More »

If you’re a white English speaker and non-Muslim, welcome to Australia

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I have had a pen pal for the last two years, one actually write to by hand; yes, that’s right, that old-fashioned habit where we write to each other using a pen and paper. Nicola Philp The Canberra Times But it’s a little different to how I used to write to pen pals when I was a child because when I address the envelope to my friend instead of writing his name I have to write his code and instead ... Read More »