Features

Bill Shorten: ‘We’ve got to end the climate change war’

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Exclusive: Marking five years as opposition leader, Shorten tackles thorny topics – energy, offshore detention and trade Katharine Murphy The Guardian Bill Shorten has signalled Labor will keep the national energy guarantee and maintain subsidies for households and businesses to install small-scale renewable energy until 2030, as the shadow cabinet prepares to deliberate on energy policy. In a wide-ranging interview marking five years as opposition leader, Shorten also revealed Labor was in talks with the Australian Medical Association about conditions ... Read More »

Philippine, Vietnam Leaders Discuss Disputed Sea Boundaries

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MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnam’s prime minister have discussed efforts by their countries to delineate their maritime boundaries in the disputed South China Sea, most… The Associated Press The New York Times Duterte said Friday, without elaborating, that he told Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in a meeting in Indonesia that such boundary talks may take longer because the Philippines is still establishing its… “I told him that in due time, but we will take a ... Read More »

Religious freedom not under threat, but we should debate limits

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The immediate eruption of controversy over the selective leaking of recommendations from the Ruddock report on religious freedom shows both why the government has sought to avoid releasing the report, and… Simon Cowan Brisbane Times It is a major issue, notwithstanding that marriage equality has been one of the few direct challenges to freedom of religion in Australia in recent years. And, while there have been major court cases in the US and the UK testing the limits of free ... Read More »

What would it take for North Korea to join the IMF?

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At the recent UN General Assembly, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in was discussing North Korea’s strides to build relations and open up to the world. Ana Nicolaci da Costa BBC He said Kim Jong-un had even said he would be “willing to join the IMF and the World Bank and other international agencies”, Reuters reported. Those ambitions, if vague for now, cast a light on the challenges North Korea will face as it tries to become part of the global ... Read More »

Commentary: Saudi First foreign policy comes back to bite Trump

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Mounting evidence that Saudi Arabia is behind the disappearance of regime critic Jamal Khashoggi has laid bare the risks of a US Middle East policy aligned closely with Riyadh. Julian Pecquet Al-Monitor From the war in Yemen to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Washington has invested heavily in a relationship built largely on the personal bond between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and presidential son-in-law and… With Prince Mohammed widely suspected of having ordered Khashoggi’s murder inside a diplomatic facility on NATO ... Read More »

As doctors working on Nauru, we thought we were helping. Now I know we were not

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The ongoing human rights travesty that is indefinite mandatory offshore detention is antithetical to medical ethics Nick Martin The Guardian When I worked on Nauru as a medical officer for refugees and asylum seekers, I never saw myself as part of the problem. But since I returned to Australia I have increasingly come to question my role in a system that is antithetical to medical ethics. The ongoing human rights travesty that is indefinite mandatory detention and the treatment of asylum seekers there never ... Read More »

Brussels casts pall over Tunisia’s desert jewel

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New environmental rules in the EU threaten the country’s phosphate mines, which have spluttered since the revolution. Emmet Livingstone Politico REDEYEF, Tunisia — In the desert, far from Tunisia’s bustling ports, tourist beaches and sprawling olive plantations, lies a colossal state company that was once the beating heart of the national economy. Brought to its knees by inefficiency and social unrest, it is now threatened with extinction — by an obscure bit of legislation making its way through the Brussels machinery. The Compagnie ... Read More »

Turkey Frees U.S. Pastor in Move Long Sought by Trump and Pence

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A Turkish court set free U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson after holding him in prison for almost two years, removing a key source of tension between Turkey and the United States. By Cagan Koc, Onur Ant, and Nick Wadhams Bloomberg The court in Izmir convicted Brunson, 50, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina, and sentenced him to three years, 1 month and 15 days in jail, but lifted all judicial controls and released him after accounting for penalty reductions and time served. Brunson had ... Read More »

Racial Preference on Trial as Harvard Goes to Court

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In 2003, the Supreme Court hoped the use of racial preferences would last no more than 25 years. They are becoming permanent. Stuart Taylor Jr. the weekly Standard The discrimination lawsuit against Harvard College that goes to trial in federal court on October 15 may well put a momentous choice before the Supreme Court, and the country, within the next few years. Should the Court allow racial preferences in university admissions to continue forever? Or should it ban them as ... Read More »

PACE expresses ‘deep concern’ over Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear plan

A view of the construction site of Turkey's first nuclear power plant 'Akkuyu', pictured during the opening ceremony in the Mediterranean Mersin region on April 3, 2018. - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin launched the construction of the $20 billion dollar Akkuyu nuclear power plant though a video link from Ankara where Putin is on an official visit. (Photo by Ibrahim MESE / DOGAN NEWS AGENCY / AFP) / Turkey OUT

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Thursday expressed “deep concern” on the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in an earthquake-prone region of Turkey, only 85 kilometers from the… TM At a session on Thursday, PACE discussed a series of steps governments should take to improve the safety of nuclear power stations in Europe and minimize the risk of accidents or terrorist attacks. In a resolution it adopted, the assembly expressed its deep concern regarding ... Read More »

Building Peace in Mexico: Dilemmas Facing the López Obrador Government

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With hopes for change sky-high, Mexico’s president-elect confronts endemic violent crime and state corruption. ICG To make good on his campaign promises, his team should pursue justice in killings by state personnel, reform the civilian police and give robust mandates to truth commissions with victim participation. What’s new?  Mexico’s left-leaning president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will take office on 1 December after a landslide win. He promises to fight graft and reverse the militarisation of public security. But he inherits ... Read More »

The Little College Where Tuition Is Free and Every Student Is Given a Job

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Berea College, in Kentucky, has paid for every enrollee’s education using its endowment for 126 years. Can other schools replicate the model? * * * There’s a small burst of air that explodes from every clap. And when hundreds of people are clapping in unison, it begins to feel like a breeze—one that was pulsing through the Phelps Stokes Chapel at… Adam Harris The Atlantic The students and staff that had gathered here were stomping, clapping, and singing along, as ... Read More »

Secret deal with Turkey paves way for American pastor’s release

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North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson is expected to be released in coming days after two years of detention in Turkey. Carol E. Lee and Courtney Kube NBC news WASHINGTON — The White House expects North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson to be released by the Turkish government and returned to the U.S. in the coming days, two years after he… Under an agreement senior Trump administration officials recently reached with Turkey, Brunson is supposed to be released after certain charges against ... Read More »

Decoding the music masterpieces: Debussy’s only opera, Pelléas and Mélisande

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Claude Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande holds a unique place in the repertoire of turn-of-the-century France. Madeline Roycroft The Conversation For his only completed opera, Debussy rejected the musical and dramatic conventions of the genre, crafting a work that is as captivating as it is perplexing. For years, Debussy had searched for the perfect text upon which to set his first opera. In 1899, he described his ideal librettist (the person who writes the words for an opera) as “a poet ... Read More »

Guy Verhofstadt stands his ground

The European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt arrives at Portcullis House to give evidence to Parliament's  Exiting the European Union Committee (BREXIT Committee) on June 20, 2018. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) / CORRECTING DATE
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As Rutte and Macron work toward new political alliance, the liberal leader targets nationalists. By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN Politico Guy Verhofstadt is fighting back — against nationalism. French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte are working toward a new political alliance that could oust Verhofstadt from his longtime post as leader of the Liberal group in the… The group, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), might even dissolve and be re-created under a new name, officials ... Read More »

Over 50 million child marriages could be prevented if girls finished school

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More than 50 million child marriages could be prevented by 2030 if all girls finished secondary school, the charity Save the Children said on Oct. 11 to highlight problems on the International Day of the Girl Child. London / Istanbul Hurriyet Campaigners say children married young tend to leave school, have limited economic opportunities, are vulnerable to abuse and mental health problems and are more likely to live in poverty than… According to UNESCO estimates, 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million girls of primary-school age —half of them in sub-Saharan Africa— will never enter ... Read More »