Features

Turkey to Mediate Between US, Russia on Syria Tensions

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ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is assuming a mediator role, calling for a display of sensitivity by the U.S., Russia and other nations amid heightened tensions on Syria. Dorian Jones VoA U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to launch military strikes in response to Saturday’s (April 7) alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces that killed at least 40. Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday on the phone after a separate call with Trump. “Erdogan ... Read More »

Italy’s president calls for ‘urgent’ solution to political stalemate

Italian President Sergio Mattarella talks with journalists at the end of the second day of consultations with political parties at Quirinal palace in Rome on April 13, 2018.
Far-right and anti-establishment forces in Italy resumed battle on Thursday over who can lead a new government, as a second round of talks began with a row over Silvio Berlusconi leaving little room for manoeuvre after last month's inconclusive election. / AFP PHOTO / Tiziana FABI

The Italian president appealed on Friday for an “urgent” solution to the deadlock over who can lead a new government as talks with anti-establishment and right-wing leaders failed amid a row over Silvio… The Local AFP On Friday President Sergio Mattarella, who guides the talks and has the job of naming the eventual prime minister, confirmed to reporters that there had been “no progress” after concluding the… However, he stressed the need to quickly form a new government given a  series ... Read More »

Avoid Gulf stream disruption at all costs, scientists warn

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How close the world is to a catastrophic collapse of giant ocean currents is unknown, making halting global warming more critical than ever, scientists say Damian Carrington The Guardian Serious disruption to the Gulf Stream ocean currents that are crucial in controlling global climate must be avoided “at all costs”, senior scientists have warned. The alert follows the revelation this week that the system is at its weakest ever recorded. Past collapses of the giant network have seen some of the ... Read More »

Syria: who’s involved, and what do they want?

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Among those glancing at Syria’s seven-year conflict, a simple but misleading declaration is circulating: “Assad is winning”. Authors The Conversation But the Assad regime has only survived because of the political, economic and military life support it’s had from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. It is now entirely dependent on them. And that’s for rule over just a part of Syria. The opposition, though very dependent on Turkish protection, holds much of the north-west, and it also – for now – ... Read More »

Iran’s Priorities in a Turbulent Middle East

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Divergent views of Iran’s ambitions are driving proxy wars from Syria to Yemen. To stop disastrous direct confrontation, it is crucial to close the perception gap and that Iran and its adversaries take mutual steps toward de-escalating tensions. What’s new? Iran is a rising power in the Middle East, having exploited opportunities arising from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and wars in Syria and Yemen. ICG But where the Islamic Republic’s enemies see a grasping would-be empire, its own strategists ... Read More »

Theatre connects migrant communities with government NDIS services

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An amateur theatre production about disability services might not be the typical feature on a playbill but Everlyn Tsavalas thinks the stage is the perfect way to engage the Greek community on the topic. Luke Wong ABC “For us, theatre is a school,” Ms Tsavalas said. “In any of our productions we always want people to leave here enriched in some way or another, whether it’s a comedy or a tragedy. “It was quite challenging making such a serious subject ... Read More »

Optus posts job ad asking for Anglo-Saxon applicants

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Optus has been caught out for making a racial preference in a job advertisement, after listing an ad on job classifieds site Seek indicating a desire for “Anglo Saxon” employees. Jennifer Duke The Sydney Morning Herald The telecommunications company’s ad, listed on Thursday afternoon, was looking for applicants for a retail consultant role in Sydney’s upmarket lower north shore suburb Neutral Bay. The listing included three dot points about the role, describing it as a “fantastic opportunity” to get into retail and sales, and ... Read More »

Man Booker International Prize shortlist a boon for small publishers

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Six books, six languages, two former winners and a bonanza for independent publishers: the Man Booker International Prize – the UK’s most prestigious prize for translated fiction – has announced its 2018 shortlist. Amy Rushton The Conversation Whittled down from a longlist of 13 titles spanning the globe, the six titles to make the cut are translated from Arabic, French, Hungarian, Korean, Spanish and Polish. This year’s nominations have been selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by novelist ... Read More »

The far-right’s creeping influence on Australian politics

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Far-right political groupings are a constant feature on the fringes of Australian politics. In the 1950s and 1960s, they included the League of Rights and minuscule neo-Nazi parties. Andrew Markus The Conversation In the 1980s, there was National Action, the Australian Nationalist Movement, Australians Against Further Immigration and the Citizens Electoral Council. In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of a number of groups that combine online organisation with intimidating street activity: Reclaim Australia, Rise Up Australia, the Australian ... Read More »

Russia accuses UK of staging Syria gas attack

TOPSHOT - A Syrian man waits to receive treatment at a makeshift clinic following reported air strikes by government forces in the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, on April 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Abd Doumany        (Photo credit should read ABD DOUMANY/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations says Russia’s claims are ‘grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie.’ Paul Dallison Politico The Kremlin on Friday claimed that British intelligence forces helped stage the attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend. The U.K. denounced the allegation as “grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie,” the Guardian reported. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said he had evidence that showed “special services of a country, which is now seeking to be in the first ranks of ... Read More »

Alexis Wright wins 2018 Stella Prize for Tracker

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Alexis Wright has been awarded the 2018 Stella Prize for her remarkable biography of Aboriginal leader, thinker and entrepreneur, Tracker Tilmouth. Arts Review Tracker is a book uniquely written by weaving and layering first-person stories told about him as well as by him. It embeds Aboriginal traditions of oral and collective storytelling to create a new way of writing memoir – ‘giving many voices a part in the story’. In announcing the $50,000 prize at the Museum of Contemporary Art in ... Read More »

Summit of the Americas begins amid regional tumult

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The summit unites the leaders of the Americas as corruption scandals continue and Trump sends US troops to the border. AlJazeera The eighth Summit of the Americas, a conference that draws together the leaders of North, Central and South America, begins in Lima, Peru, on Friday amid continued political instability throughout the region. Business leaders are set to convene the first meeting of the summit on Monday morning. The topics to be discussed include Latin America’s economic outlook and recommendations from ... Read More »

Pompeo vows diplomatic approach to Iran nuke deal

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President Donald Trump’s pick to become Washington’s top diplomat has pledged to work with U.S. allies to strengthen the Iran deal and played down fears he is bent on regime change in North Korea. WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Mike Pompeo, the outgoing director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), disavowed his reputation as a “war hawk” and an anti-Muslim hardliner as he sought to woo support from senators on April 12 to become the next U.S. secretary of state. ... Read More »

Are Australians ready to embrace libertarianism?

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How much influence does libertarianism have on Australian politics? The first thing to know is that the Australian political system has very few libertarians in it. Chris Berg The Conversation The only federal member of parliament to self-describe as a libertarian is Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party. Other candidates – like my former colleagues at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Senator James Paterson and Tim Wilson – describe themselves as classical liberals. Ideological classifications can get ... Read More »

Avoiding the revolving door of crime and punishment

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Victims of crime often respond with an escalation of emotions that begins with fear, moves to anger and ends with a desire for retribution. John Silvester The Age And there is a growing sense that courts no longer reflect community expectations when it comes to offenders convicted of serious violent crimes. Garry Holloway has more right than most to be angry. He’s a high-end jeweller who last year saw his Canterbury store raided twice, with another attempt on his second ... Read More »

School autism project improving attendance and changing lives of children, families

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Until recently, four-year-old Hussain Hussain communicated with his mother by pulling at her and pointing to what he wanted. Rebecca Carmody ABC He managed the odd word but could not put two together. His mother, Sohaila Ibrahim, suspected something was wrong and was not surprised when Hussain was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in late 2017. As devastating as it was, the diagnosis turned out to be a blessing, making it possible for Hussain to attend a new school ... Read More »