Features

EDITORIAL: Liberals unethical pick for new ethics commissioner

Public sector integrity commissioner Mario Dion is shown in Ottawa on December 13, 2011. The Liberals are tapping a long-time public servant to be the ethics watchdog for the House of Commons. Government House leader Bardish Chagger says Dion is being nominated to become the next ethics and conflict of interest commissioner.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld ORG XMIT: cpt121

Talk about a bogus appointment process The Liberals have known for ages that ethics commissioner Mary Dawson was due to leave her post in early January Toronto Sun Postmedia News They were, after all, the ones who extended her appointment more than once by six month increments. So why then did they use such rushed, last-minute tactics to appoint Dawson’s successor? The whole process that unfolded this past week on Parliament Hill has opposition MPs and expert observers crying… On ... Read More »

Japanese business to start paying workers in bitcoin

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Workers at the Japanese tech firm are free to choose whether or not they want a part of their salary to be paid in virtual currency Shafi Musaddique The Independent A Japanese business will begin paying its workers partially in bitcoin, in a bid to gain a better understanding of how the digital currency works, Agence France-Presse reports. Tech firm GMO Internet said it will pay up to 100,000 yen (£660) a month to approximately 4,000 employees via bitcoin from February next year, ... Read More »

Royal commission recommends sweeping reforms for Catholic Church to end child abuse

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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been dominated by abuses perpetrated in the Roman Catholic Church. Timothy W. Jones Its final report bears enduring witness to abuse on a horrific scale. The Conversation The commission constitutes the most sophisticated and thorough investigation yet into abuse within the Catholic Church globally. Its recommendations are breathtakingly bold. They provide the most comprehensive pathway so far, to redress and prevent abuse in an institution that has had endemic ... Read More »

Scotland set to lag behind UK with growth below 1% until 2022

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A gloomy outlook for Scotland’s economy over the next five years has been unveiled by the new Scottish Fiscal Commission SCOTT MACNAB The Scotsman Growth will lag behind the rest of the UK at less than 1 per cent between now and 2022, according to the body which was set up by the Scottish Government to provide economic forecasting. Its first report was published yesterday to coincide with the Scottish budget. “Scottish economic growth has been slower over the last ... Read More »

Can Peacekeepers Break the Deadlock in Ukraine?

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Implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement remains deadlocked Russia’s first proposal of a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine’s breakaway eastern regions cannot work, but it opens a much-needed window for diplomacy. ICG What’s the issue? In September 2017, Moscow proposed the deployment of UN peacekeepers along the line dividing Ukrainian from separatist and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Such a mission would not help end the conflict. To do that, peacekeepers would need a greater role, including helping secure the Ukraine-Russia ... Read More »

An Introduction to Crisis Group’s Iran-U.S. Trigger List

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The risks of a direct, indirect, deliberate or inadvertent clash between Iran and the U.S. are rising to new highs. Our Iran-U.S. Trigger List is a unique interactive map and early warning tool that monitors and analyses the many flashpoints between the two countries, and shows how they are linked to the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal. ICG Tensions between the U.S. and Iran, as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia, are reaching a critical level, as are risks of ... Read More »

US presents ‘undeniable’ evidence Iran arming Yemen’s rebels with missiles

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Segments of projectiles launched at Saudi Arabia bear markings proving origin in Islamic Republic, UN ambassador Haley says By AGENCIES The Times of Israel US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the United Nations unveiled Thursday what she said was “undeniable” evidence proving that Iran is funneling missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen in violation of international law. At a news conference in a hanger at a military base in Washington, Nikki Haley presented recently declassified evidence including segments of missiles launched at ... Read More »

Uzbeks Feel Challenged by October Terror Attack

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As more Central Asians become U.S. citizens and voters, their impact and influence on domestic American political dynamics will inevitably grow. Navbahor Imamova The National Interest Immigrant communities in America have grown cohesive—and sometimes even powerful—by organizing themselves into civically aware and politically active diasporas. But for immigrants from Central Asia, one of the youngest communities in the United States, growing numbers have yielded little in the way of political cohesion. Some 350,000 immigrants have arrived from these former Soviet ... Read More »

6,700 Rohingya killed in first month of Myanmar violence: MSF

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“At least 6,700 Rohingya, in the most conservative estimations, are estimated to have been killed, including at least 730 children below the age of five,” MSF said Dec. 14. YANGON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The group’s findings come from six surveys of more than 11,426 people in Rohingya refugee camps and cover the first month after the crisis erupted. “We met and spoke with survivors of violence in Myanmar, who are now sheltering in overcrowded and unsanitary camps in Bangladesh,” ... Read More »

Bach: The Art of Fugue review – a striking, perfectly shaped performance

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Accademia Bizantina/Dantone (Decca) In The Art of Fugue, “Bach plays to God and himself in an empty church”, the critic and composer Wilfrid Mellers memorably wrote. Andrew Clements The Guardian The sequence of 20 fugues and canons, grouped according to the contrapuntal devices they employ, remains one of the most enigmatic works in the history of western music, not only left unfinished at Bach’s death in 1750, with its final fugue incomplete, but also lacking any indications as to how it might be ... Read More »

British troops breached Geneva conventions in Iraq, high court rules

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Court says soldiers subjected civilians to cruel and inhuman treatment, in cases that may determine handling of further claims Ian Cobain The Guardian British troops breached the Geneva conventions and subjected Iraqi civilians to cruel and inhuman treatment by hooding them and taking turns to run over their backs, the high court has ruled. Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) breached the conventions as well as the 1998 Human Rights Act in the way in which it detained civilians after the 2003 invasion, the ... Read More »

China’s CCTV surveillance network took just 7 minutes to capture BBC reporter

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It took Chinese authorities just seven minutes to locate and apprehend BBC reporter John Sudworth using its powerful network of CCTV camera and facial recognition technology Jon Russell TC This wasn’t a case of a member of the media being forcibly removed from the country. The chase was a stunt set up to illustrate just how powerful and effective the Chinese government’s surveillance system can be. It’s a stark example of the type of monitoring that China has invested heavily in over ... Read More »

The missing Alzheimer’s pill

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When it comes to some of the biggest diseases America faces in the future, our drug system is set up to fail. DAVID H. FREEDMAN Politico What needs to happen? If there’s a dream of what a new drug is supposed to do, it might look something like Kalydeco. In 2012, the new light-blue pill from Vertex Pharmaceuticals rocked the world of cystic fibrosis, a fatal disease that affects 30,000 people in the United State. It’s best known for its ... Read More »

3 myths about the poor that Republicans are using to support slashing US safety net

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Republicans continue to use long-debunked myths about the poor as they defend lower taxes for the rich and deep cuts to the social safety net to pay for them. Michele Gilman In so doing, they are essentially expressing scorn for working class and low-income Americans. The Conversation Sen. Chuck Grassley, for example, recently justified reducing the number of wealthy families exposed to the estate tax as a way to recognize “the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, ... Read More »

London theatre axes Rita, Sue and Bob Too amid harassment claims

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Play which had been due to run at Royal Court shelved after co-director steps down over misconduct allegations Alexandra Topping The Guardian The Royal Court theatre has shelved its planned production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too after the Guardian revealed its original co-director Max Stafford-Clark had been forced to step down after allegations of sexual harassment. The play, which tells the story of two teenage girls who have a sexual relationship with an older married man, has been on a UK tour and ... Read More »

When will Australian politics have its Weinstein moment?

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One year before the Weinstein allegations and the #MeToo phenomenon, political journalist Karen Middleton wrote an article about sexual harassment in Australian politics. Jane Gilmore The Canberra Times It was not so much a personal account of her own experiences as a description of an entrenched culture in Canberra’s hothouse of politicians and journalists. If her description of this culture is still accurate, politicians, and the profession supposed to hold them to account, are living in a culture that normalises criminal behaviour. ... Read More »