Features

Turkey’s Sweeping “Educational” Penetration into the Balkans

As part of its expansionist neo-Ottoman agenda, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been building mosques and setting up Islamic educational institutions around the world. Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The mosque that Ankara is currently constructing in Tirana, Albania, will reportedly be the largest of the dozens of its mosques in the Balkans. Through the Maarif Foundation — established in 2016 by means of a law enacted by the Turkish parliament, which gave it the authority to ... Read More »

Tutankhamun’s tomb restored to prevent damage by visitors

A nine-year project has been completed to restore the tomb of ancient Egypt’s boy king, Tutankhamun, and address issues that threatened its survival. BBC Experts from the Getty Conservation Institute repaired scratches and abrasions on the wall paintings caused by visitors to the burial chamber. The paintings were also affected by humidity, dust and carbon dioxide introduced by every person who entered. A new ventilation system should reduce the need for future cleaning. New barriers will restrict physical access to ... Read More »

The whitewashing of Japan’s Naomi Osaka was no accident

This week, Naomi Osaka became the face of Japan to the world. By capturing the 2019 Australian Open, she has raced to No. 1 in the tennis world rankings, becoming the first Asian to ever achieve that honor. Baye McNeil The Washington Post But even as this exceptionally talented biracial, multinational and (as she phrased it) obviously tan woman was displaying why she’s a champion, one of her sponsors, the Japanese food brand Nissin, released an anime-style advertisement portraying Osaka ... Read More »

China calls for harmony as it welcomes Qatar emir amid Gulf dispute

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a return to “unity and harmony” on Jan. 31 as he welcomed gas-rich Qatar‘s emir to Beijing, amid a festering dispute that has seen some Arab states lead by Saudi Arabia severing… BEIJING – Reuters Hurriyet Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017. They accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and cultivating ties with Saudi Arabia’s regional foe, Iran. Qatar, which denies the charge, says the boycott seeks to curtail its ... Read More »

Hakeem Al-Araibi’s case is a test of world soccer’s human rights credentials. Here’s why

Hakeem Al-Araibi is a refugee from Bahrain who plays semi-professional soccer in Melbourne for Pascoe Vale. Sarah Joseph The Conversation He is a former member of the Bahraini national football team. He is currently detained in Thailand, the subject of an extradition request by Bahrain. His extradition to that country would breach his human rights against refoulement (the forcible return of refugees) and torture. Al-Araibi’s case has become a crucial test of world football’s commitment to human rights. Is this ... Read More »

NATO Starts Building Its First Western Balkans Air Base in Kucova, Albania

TIRANA, Albania (BulgarianMilitary.com) – The Ministry of Defence of Albania announced on Thursday (24th January 2019) that NATO has officially launched works in Albania’s Kucova for building its first air base in the Western Balkans, learned BulgarianMilitary.com The beginning of the unique for the Western Balkans Project was marked by a meeting in Tirana between the Defence Minister Olta Xhacka and the Commander Allied Air Command, General Tod D. Wolters. General Tod D. Wolters commented, “Kucova Air Base has unique ... Read More »

MPs have united around a fantasy Brexit plan in yet another act of national hubris

After months of disagreement and a historic defeat in parliament, MPs have finally given Theresa May a lifeline in what is being hailed as a “mandate” to go back to Europe and renegotiate the… Chris Stafford The Conversation Even the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has agreed to enter talks with the prime minister to set out his party’s position. He has previously been hesitant to do so and, it should be noted, was initially ignored by Number 10. However, while ... Read More »

China puts up ‘rescue center’ in West Philippine Sea

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 30) — China has established a “maritime rescue center” in the West Philippine Sea, state-run media said Tuesday. By CNN Philippines Staff Quoting China’s Ministry of Transport, Chinese news outfit Xinhua reported that the rescue center was opened Tuesday in Fiery Cross Reef or Kagitingan Reef, one of the Beijing-occupied artificial islands in the Spratlys in the disputed South China Sea. “The center will offer better support to maritime rescue operations in the southern part ... Read More »

Persecution of Christians across the Globe independent review: Foreign Secretary’s launch speech

Speech Jeremy Hunt made remarks at the official launch of the review that will be conducted by the Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen. From: Foreign & Commonwealth Office and The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP Archbishop, bishop, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, a very warm welcome this morning to this very important occasion and very significant launch. Last Sunday, many people here will have been going to church, as indeed was the case in the Philippines at the Cathedral of ... Read More »

Europe’s refugee crisis explains why border walls don’t stop migration

President Trump has long called migration a security crisis, but in recent weeks he has also referred to the situation along the southern border as a humanitarian crisis. Eleanor Paynter The Conversation As he ended the government shutdown in a televised speech on Jan. 25, Trump reiterated his claim that a border wall between the United States and Mexico would save the lives of Central American migrants, many of whom are women and children. “Walls work,” he said. “They save ... Read More »

Catholic Church orders nuns who protested Indian bishop accused of rape to leave state

Catholic nuns who protested against an Indian Bishop accused of rape have been ordered to leave the state of Kerala and serve the community from others parts of the country. Salvi Manish SBS A group of nuns who led a historic protest in the southern Indian state of Kerala that made the headlines worldwide last year have been issued with transfer notices by the Catholic Church. In response, the nuns have produced a letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala ... Read More »

‘Worse than last time’: Darling fish kill strikes again at Menindee

Hundreds of thousands of fish have died in the Darling River at Menindee, the second such event in three weeks, in what Niall Blair, the fisheries minister, described as “an environmental catastrophe”. Peter Hannam The Sydney Morning Herald Graeme McCrabb, a Menindee resident who was again among the first to raise the alarm, said the latest die-off could be “worse than last time”. “It’s started off bigger than three weeks ago,” Mr McCrabb told the Herald on Monday. While the ... Read More »

‘I pay taxes, I play football, I love Australia’: Hakeem al-Araibi speaks

Bangkok: Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi has begged the Australian government to “keep fighting for me” and stop his extradition to Bahrain on what supporters say are politically-motivated charges. James Massola The Age Sixty-three days after arriving in Thailand for a one week honeymoon with his wife, the Melbourne man – who remains in detention pending an extradition request to his birth country – says “I am not good, I am afraid and alone and I miss my wife”. In an ... Read More »

Iranian parallels hanging over US-North Korea negotiations

With Washington focused on Pyongyang’s nuclear arms while overlooking missiles, it may be setting up a future Iran-style conundrum Stephen Bryen Asia Times In advance of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, planned for next month, Vice President Mike Pence said the US will not require a complete list of missile sites from North Korea. Instead, the US plans to focus first on nuclear policy. But omitting a discussion on missile sites and missile ... Read More »

Interpreting the U.S. Talks with the Taliban

Talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha have raised hopes that the U.S. could end its involvement in Afghanistan’s war. ICG Our Asia Program Director Laurel Miller and Afghanistan analysts Borhan Osman and Graeme Smith break down what was achieved and what remains unresolved. How significant were the U.S.-Taliban talks? Last week’s six-day talks between the U.S. and Taliban were the clearest sign yet that the U.S. is intent on withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, and that the ... Read More »

Not another online petition! But here’s why you should think before deleting it

Online petitions are often seen as a form of “slacktivism” – small acts that don’t require much commitment and are more about helping us feel good than effective activism. Sky Croeser The Conversation But the impacts of online petitions can stretch beyond immediate results. Whether they work to create legislative change, or just raise awareness of an issue, there’s some merit to signing them. Even if nothing happens immediately, petitions are one of many ways we can help build long-term ... Read More »