Global Issues

‘Politics of fear’: Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address

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Johannesburg: Former US President Barack Obama took aim at “strongman politics” in his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values now under threat in an impassioned address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth. AP WAtoday While not mentioning his successor by name, Obama’s speech in South Africa countered many of President Donald Trump’s policies, rallying people to keep alive the ideas that Mandela worked for including democracy, ... Read More »

‘Collective punishment’: Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

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Israel further tightens its blockade on the strip while rights group denounces measure as ‘morally depraved’. AlJazeera Israel has further tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, preventing gas and fuel deliveries through its only commercial crossing with the Palestinian besieged enclave a week after Israeli authorities announced the closure of the crossing. The Kerem Shalom crossing, known to Palestinians as Karem Abu Salem, was shut down on July 9 and initially, only items deemed as “humanitarian” would be allowed to enter Gaza, ... Read More »

Australia deports Tamil asylum seeker, separating him from baby daughter

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Thileepan faces permanent separation from his wife and child, who have been granted safe haven visas Ben Doherty The Guardian A 30-year-old Tamil asylum seeker faces permanent separation from his wife and 10-month-old Australian-born daughter, after being deported more than six years after arriving in Australia. Thileepan (like many Tamils he only uses one name) had been in Australia since arriving by boat in June 2012. He lived in the community for most of his time in Australia, marrying in ... Read More »

Brexit: Government sees off Conservative rebels to win vote on EU customs union

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MPs narrowly vote down Remainer rebel amendment that would have forced Theresa May to drastically change her Brexit plan Benjamin Kentish Independent Theresa May has narrowly avoided a humiliating Commons defeat on the customs union after another dramatic knife-edge vote. 12 pro-EU Tories voted against the government by backing an amendment that would have kept the UK in a customs union with the EU if Ms May proves unable to guarantee frictionless trade through other means by next January. However, ministers staved off a potential ... Read More »

I Came as a Journalist to Ask Important Questions

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If I hadn’t been forcibly ejected from the Trump-Putin press conference, here’s what I would have asked. Sam Husseini The Nation came to Helsinki to ask Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin questions about the threat of nuclear weapons and to distribute an open letter about the need for secure elections and true national security. Instead, I was dragged out of their press conference before it even began and into a Finnish jail. No charges were pressed against me. Here’s what I would ... Read More »

Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean Alliance

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Concrete steps over the past three years have set the foundations of an Eastern Mediterranean Alliance (EMA) comprising Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. John M. Nomikos BESA The convergence of the three nations is the natural outcome of close democratic similarities and a joint desire for stability and progress in a region tormented by perennial Middle East strife, radical Islamism, and the morphing of Turkey into a fundamentalist Islamic autocracy. The EMA is emerging at a time of increasing global instability. ... Read More »

Philippines: Addressing Islamist Militancy after the Battle for Marawi

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The Philippine city of Marawi, on Mindanao island, remains in ruins more than a year after a five-month jihadist takeover. ICG To avoid fuelling militancy, Manila must involve locals in reconstruction, implement a 2014 deal with Mindanao separatists and go beyond efforts to counter jihadist ideology. In May 2017, Muslim militants acting in the name of the Islamic State (ISIS) seized Marawi, a lakeside economic hub in the Lanao del Sur province of Mindanao, the second-largest island in the Philippines. ... Read More »

Five human rights we should enjoy – while we still can

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In case warnings of impending fascism have merit, here’s a bucket list of rights to tick off Van Badham The Guardian Fascism is a political philosophy. It exalts the supposed supremacy of a particular national identity or racial group above individual freedoms, social equality and the collective social good. And these ideas seem frightfully trendy right now. I’m not saying that today’s Poland, America, Russia, Turkey or Hungary are fascist countries. I’m saying fascism seeks to establish an authoritarian government headed by ... Read More »

BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below

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The Durban rapper Ewok captured the spirit of progressive social forces in South Africa with his condemnation of elite politics at a March 2013 protest outside the Durban International Convention Centre: “You dropping BRICS from above? We’re throwing bricks from below!” Patrick Bond CounterPunch For the second time, the leaders of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-SA (BRICS) summit in South Africa, this time at Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre from July 25-27. The bloc has great potential to change the world in positive ways. But under ... Read More »

EU ‘positive’ on Russia-Ukraine gas talks

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Talks have taken place in Berlin with the EU, Ukraine and Russia over the transit of gas from Russia to Europe. The forthcoming Nord Stream 2 project has stoked Ukrainian fears of economic isolation. aos/kd (AFP, Reuters) DW The EU sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday following talks in Berlin with envoys from Moscow and Kiev over a dispute regarding future Russian gas shipments through Ukraine. According to European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, the three-way talks were “future-oriented” and “positive” although ... Read More »

Forcing priests to report abuse not a breach of human rights: Watchirs

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New laws that will force priests to break the seal of confession to report child abuse are not in breach of the ACT’s human right laws, despite concerns about the impact on religious freedoms, the ACT’s Human Rights Commissioner says. Katie Burgess The Canberra Times Under the territory’s expanded reportable conduct scheme, priests in Canberra will be required to report allegations, offences or convictions related to children to the ACT Ombudsman within 30 days from March… But the Australian Catholics Bishops ... Read More »

EU and Japan say new trade deal is signal to the world that protectionism does not work

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European Commission said openness to trade and investment is ‘one of the best tools to… create more economic growth and jobs’ Caitlin Morrison Independent The EU and Japan have signed up to a “landmark” trade deal in a show of strength against protectionism among global economies. Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner after China and together the EU and Japan account for almost one third of global GDP. The deal was confirmed at a ceremonial signing in Tokyo on Tuesday, attended by ... Read More »

Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse

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Recently NPR featured retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges who was the commanding general of NATO’s Allied Land Command in 2014. Daniel Falcone CounterPunch He remarked how he “was disappointed to see President Trump bring a wrecking ball to Brussels” after “publicly [humiliating] our most important allies.” He went on to explain, and I believe correctly that Trump “either doesn’t understand the concept of an alliance and allies or he doesn’t care” with the latter being the most accurate. I set ... Read More »

Vote Leave Referred To Police By Watchdog Who Found ‘Significant Evidence’ It Broke Electoral Law

A 'Vote Leave' sign is seen by the roadside near Charing urging people to vote for Brexit in the upcoming EU referendum is seen on the roadside near Charing south east of London on June 16, 2016. 
Britain goes to the polls in a week on June 23 to vote to leave or remain in the European Union. / AFP / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

The official Brexit campaign exceeded its legal spending limit, according to the Electoral Commission Nicola Slawson HuffPost Vote Leave has been fined £61,000 and reported to the police by the Electoral Commission for breaking electoral law. The Electoral Commission published the conclusions of its investigation into the campaign spending of Vote Leave and found “significant evidence” of coordination with another campaign group, BeLeave. The Electoral Commission found that the campaign group exceeded its legal spending limit of £7m by almost ... Read More »

Germany and France’s growth DOWNGRADED by IMF as Trump tariffs take hold

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GERMANY and France are to experience the worst economic slowdown among all major European economies over the next two years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said. Alice Scarsi Express In a series of shock downgrades in its newly published economic outlook for 2018, the IMF sees Berlin and Paris’ economy growth predictions shrink by 0.3 percent by the end of this year. Blaming the hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium exports imposed by US President Donald Trump, the IMF’s outlook reads: ... Read More »

Amlo: How often do world leaders take a pay cut?

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Mexico’s incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to take a 60% pay cut when he takes office in December. BBC The winning left-wing candidate will now earn a salary equivalent to about $5,707 (£4,310) a month and no other public official will be able to earn more than him. Mr López Obrador said the official residence, Los Pinos, will become a cultural centre. The Mexican politician is certainly not the first leader to make the statement of lowering his or ... Read More »