Features

UN slams Australia’s human rights record

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Last night, the United Nations Human Rights Committee released its recommendationsfrom its review of Australia’s compliance with a key human rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Anna Cody  Maria Nawaz The committee harshly criticised Australia for failures in key areas. The Conversation These included the treatment of refugees, Indigenous rights and inadequate protection of human rights, including the lack of a national human rights act. What is the UN Human Rights Committee? This is the treaty body for the… UN slams Australia’s… Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis, the Bad-Boy Former Finance Minister, Is Back

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In a new book, a star of the European left argues that Greek’s financial crisis prefigured the fissures afflicting Europe today. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic PARIS — In the often-dismal European landscape of technocrats and party hacks, few figures are as colorful and polarizing as Yanis Varoufakis. Remember him? The bad-boy Greek finance minister who, in a heated moment in the European debt crisis in 2015, showed up to meet the chancellor of the exchequer in a long black leather ... Read More »

Small EU states caught between France and Germany

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In Greek mythology, the hero Odysseus was sailing home from the Trojan War through the Strait of Messina (which separates Italy from Sicily) when he was beset by two monsters – Scylla and Charybdis – one on either side. Lisbeth Kirk EUobserver Odysseus had to figure out which was the lesser of the two evils as he passed through the strait to reach home. The old trope came up again when Nordic countries recently met in Helsinki for their annual ... Read More »

A Huthi Missile, a Saudi Purge and a Lebanese Resignation Shake the Middle East

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Volatility is rising across the Middle East as local, regional and international conflicts increasingly intertwine and amplify each other. ICG Four Crisis Group analysts give a 360-degree view of the new risks of overlapping conflicts that involve Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Israel. On 4 November 2017, Huthi/Saleh forces in Yemen fired a Burkan 2-H long-range ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh. It was intercepted and destroyed before reaching its target. The attack occurred during a profound political ... Read More »

‘We are not very caring’: Michelle de Kretser on Australian society

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In her new novel The Life to Come, the Miles Franklin-winning author critiques Australia’s character, and the boom that made us bad Brigid Delaney The Guardian Children of Australia’s long boom – who travel the world only to complain about lack of good coffee, who signal virtue by retweeting an asylum seeker story, who couldn’t imagine living in a house with only one bathroom, who are “really into food” – may find Michelle de Kretser’s new book an uncomfortable read. ... Read More »

‘It’s been a night from hell’: Homeless pushed out of Santa Ana River face uncertain futures

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Lisa Weber pushed her red-rimmed glasses higher on the bridge of her nose Thursday morning as she pondered how best to move her belongings off the dirt trail she has called home for months. Hannah Fry Los Angeles Times Her blue eyes seemed to show a glimmer of hope in contrast with her doleful expression. A friend living in a tent farther down the trail passed by and waved. ‘I’m not scared because I have a plan’ Back to sleeping ... Read More »

Xi’s up, Trump is down, but it may not matter

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(CNN) – On the face of it, summit meetings this week between China’s domineering leader Xi Jinping and the scandal-plagued, unpopular US President Donald Trump are shaping up as a massive mismatch of political fortunes. Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN Xi is fresh from a Communist Party Congress that enshrined him as the strongest Chinese patriarch since Mao Zedong. His personal prestige is mirrored in his nation’s soaring self-confidence: China is now stronger than at any time in the modern era ... Read More »

Jihadism in Southern Thailand: A Phantom Menace

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Thailand’s Malay-Muslim insurgency appears to some observers a potential seedbed for transnational jihadism, but the separatist fronts do not share ideologies or objectives with ISIS or al-Qaeda. ICG The future is uncertain, and a resolution of the conflict, based on political decentralisation, could help deter prospective jihadist expansion in southernmost Thailand. What’s the issue? Media reports and some observers suggest growing potential for Islamic State (ISIS) activity in Thailand’s southernmost provinces. Crisis Group argues that to date there is no evidence of ... Read More »

Sexual violence and harassment going up, according to ABS survey

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Sexual violence against women is on the rise, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) By social affairs correspondent Norman Hermant and Catherine Hanrahan  ABC The latest Personal Safety Survey shows the proportion of women experiencing sexual violence in the past year increased from 1.2 per cent to 1.8 per cent since the last survey conducted in 2012. But very few sexual assaults are being reported to police. In 2012, an estimated 17 per cent of women reported their ... Read More »

The island that swapped donkey rides for offshore cash

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It was still dark when the private jet began its descent Inside, its decor was sumptuous, the black leather seats piped with red, but outside rain was falling and the temperature on the ground below was a bracing 2C. Jon Kelly BBC The date was 21 January 2013, and the island that the plane was heading towards hadn’t yet woken up. The candy-red Challenger 605 aircraft carried the registration G-LCDH – the initials of Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton, the World ... Read More »

America’s Crisis of Courage

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Character remains the issue that confronts us in almost every story about national politics today Eliot A. Cohen The Atlantic The American crisis is, at its root, a crisis of character.Yes, many other forces and phenomena are in play: the crash of 2008; technologically driven changes to the economy; gerrymandering and sociological divisions between coast and heartland, urban and rural life; cultural clashes over the norms of marriage, drug use, and religious liberty; wars that have not gone well; the ... Read More »

Endowments Boom as Colleges Bury Earnings Overseas

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American universities are using offshore strategies to swell their coffers, skirt taxes and obscure investments that could spark campus protests. STEPHANIE SAUL The New York Times In 2006, the endowments of Indiana University and Texas Christian University invested millions of dollars in a partnership, hoping to mint riches from oil, gas and coal. The partnership was formed by the Houston-based Quintana Capital Group, whose principals include Donald L. Evans, an influential Texan and longtime supporter of former President George W. ... Read More »

Plan D: Is Metamodernism the Answer to Postmodernism?

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Can Metamodernism, based in the exchange and continual revision of ideas, offer an alternative to the cultural problems of postmodernism and relativism? Dan Fisher ConatusNews Previous articles have discussed the negative tendencies exhibited by the modern left and some of the reasons why we need a new left. Now it’s time to reflect on more positive elements, a viable alternative to the problematic postmodernism. Many see such a solution in the philosophy of Metamodernism. In recent years there has been a small but ... Read More »

Bridging Pakistan’s Gender Divide

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Embarking on field research into Pakistan’s chronic crises sixteen years ago, our South Asia Project Director Samina Ahmed was a woman in a man’s world. Samina Ahmed ICG But her experiences persuade her that understanding conflict requires rigorously incorporating the perspectives of women and girls whose opportunities are frequently inhibited by violence. “Our people won’t let a girl study beyond the third grade (eight or nine years old). But this girl here cries and says: ‘I want to learn’. And ... Read More »

Why we need a better philosophy of trees

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On November 6 1217, Henry III’s Charter of the Forest gave ordinary English people back their traditional rights to use royal hunting grounds for livestock grazing and collecting firewood. Tristan Moyle The Conversation The freedoms that were restored in the use of ancient woodland reshaped the community’s legal and political relationship with nature. But, today, this relationship has broken down. Only 2% of the UK’s ancient woodland survives; over half has been destroyed since the 1930s. Only 13% of the ... Read More »

The Saudi Crown Prince Is Gambling Everything on Three Major Experiments

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A perceived failure on any of these undertakings could produce a crisis of legitimacy Hussein Ibish The Atlantic Call it shock and awe. Call it a purge. Call it a clean sweep.However it’s characterized, the mass arrest of some of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent royals, administrators, and tycoons last weekend has completely upended both the structure of the Saudi elite and the country’s way of doing business.It’s not exactly the Night of the Long Knives, as the luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel ... Read More »