Civil Liberties

‘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 »

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 »

Can democracy vote itself out of existence?

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Look at the state of the world’s democratic nations, and it is easy to see why so many are concerned for the future of democracy. Manjeet Ramgotra The Conversation Leaders such as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Vladimir Putin and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán have centralised political power by changing their countries’ constitutions, silencing dissent and controlling the media. Since 2016’s coup attempt in Turkey, Erdoğan’s government has used the subsequent state of emergency to incarcerate thousands without trial. Opposition politicians, judges, journalists ... Read More »

The mystery firm that became the NRA’s top election consultant

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Since 2014, the gun rights group has paid millions of dollars to a little known contractor for ads in key Senate races. Did it break campaign finance laws in the process? Mike Spies Politico Heading into the 2014 midterm elections, polls showed the Republican Party had an opportunity to retake control of the Senate. Such a change would severely limit President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda during his final two years in office, an outcome that was especially attractive to the ... Read More »

British colonial forces ‘raped a teenager and tortured civilians during 1950s Cyprus uprising and then covered it up’, court papers claim

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British colonial forces raped a 15-year-old girl and tortured civilian detainees with beatings and mock hangings during the Cyprus uprising in the 1950s, papers lodged at the High Court reveal. By ANGELLA JOHNSON FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY The devastating claims have been made in damning eyewitness reports by 31 elderly men and two women who are suing the Government for human rights abuses. The evidence comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed in April that senior British officers had seen ... Read More »

Tanzania’s John Magufuli says prisoners are free labour

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The president of Tanzania has called for prisoners to be made to work long hours, and to be punished if they are lazy. BBC John Magufuli was speaking at the inauguration of a new prisons chief. Rights groups have accused him of growing intolerance. Mr Magufuli has lost his initial huge popularity by clamping down on the media, targeting opposition politicians and calling for pregnant schoolgirls to be banned from… He said inmates should grow their own food in prison… ... Read More »

Thanks for your concern, but my religion is not in need of protection

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The recent contribution to our national debate on religious freedom by Social Services Minister Dan Tehan is to be welcomed. Catherine McGregor Brisbane Times Delivering a named oration in honour of  English cleric Sir Thomas More, Tehan argued that the dilution of Australia’s Christian identity may undermine the nature of our society, which he conceives as deriving its unique character from Judeo-Christian foundations. As veterans affairs minister, Tehan brought genuine compassion to a dysfunctional system that was compounding, rather than ... Read More »

The Chart That Shows the Supreme Court Will Be Out of Step With the Country

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Without a moderate like Kennedy, the middle will be missing on the Supreme Court — and the views of the American public left behind. By Stephen Jessee and Neil Malhotra The New York Times The Supreme Court is supposed to be insulated from most political pressures. In fact, one of its primary roles is to serve as a counterweight to the will of the majority in cases where policies might impinge on the… Yet it is common to hear criticism that the court ... Read More »

What is Roe v Wade and why could abortion soon become illegal in many US states?

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Donald Trump has just named Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Alle McMahon ABC If confirmed by the Senate, he is likely to be a reliable conservative vote and may be less receptive to abortion than Justice Kennedy was. Now experts say it’s possible the Supreme Court could reverse the landmark ruling that legalised abortion nationwide in America more than 40 years ago. The ruling is known as “Roe v Wade”. ... Read More »

Abortion and the human person

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The fall of Christendom and the rise of secularism has profound consequences for our understanding of the human person. Peter Sellick OnLineOpinion The latter would have it that humanity is but a species among species. This is so because nature is taken as the primary source of our being. Evolutionary theory and the discovery that we share a large amount of our DNA with other species underlines the point. Human beings are biological. The other view of humanity is that, ... Read More »

Massive Turkey-funded mosque stirs unease in secular north Cyprus

This picture shows the Hala sultan mosque in Haspolat (called Mia Milia by Greek Cypriots), in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), on July 7, 2018.
North of the Cypriot capital Nicosia, a massive Turkey-funded mosque opening this week has caused a stir in the largely secular Muslim society. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to attend the opening ceremony on July 10 of the 3,000-capacity house of worship, with its four minarets and built in classic Ottoman style. While many have welcomed it, the mosque has sparked concern among some Turkish Cypriots over Ankara's growing influence in the north of the divided island. / AFP PHOTO / Matthieu CLAVEL

Many local residents see imposing structure as part of Erdogan’s efforts to cement control over territory. ‘It symbolizes the Islamist mentality. It’s not an innocent thing’ Dylan Collins The Times of Israel NICOSIA, Cyprus (AFP) — In the flat sunbaked fields north of the Cypriot capital Nicosia, a huge Turkey-funded mosque opening this week has caused a stir in the largely secular Muslim society. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to attend the opening ceremony, expected to take place on ... Read More »

Justice for Cyprus: The Goal should be Freedom from Occupation

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Cyprus, a member state of the European Union, has been illegally occupied by Turkey since 1974. Turkey’s false excuse for its presence on the island is the “protection of Turkish Cypriots from Greek violence.” Uzay Bulut * H Fusion     However, in 2017, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş revealed the real reason behind Turkey’s control of Cyprus:  “There is this misinformation that Turkey is interested in Cyprus because there is a Turkish society there… Kyrenia Harbour Even if no Turks lived in Cyprus, ... Read More »

Israeli intelligence firm targeted NGOs during Hungary’s election campaign

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - APRIL 08: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban leaves from the polling station on April 8, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary. Hungarians are going to the polls in the Parliamentary election today. (Photo by Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images)

People working for Black Cube secretly taped meetings that were then cited by Prime Minister Victor Orbán. Lili Bayer Politico The Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube was involved in a campaign to discredit NGOs ahead of Hungary’s April election, according to a former Black Cube employee and a person with knowledge of the company’s inner workings. Between December 2017 and March 2018, Hungarian NGOs and individuals connected to American-Hungarian businessman George Soros were contacted by agents using false identities who… Israeli intelligence ... Read More »

Outspoken Aberdeen University academic arrested in Turkey for criticising the government

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An outspoken Aberdeen University academic has been arrested in Turkey for posting critical commentary online about the country’s leader. Kieran Beattie The Press and Journal Lawyer Hanifi Baris, who graduated from Aberdeen University’s Centre of Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law with a PhD last year, was yesterday arrested by police in Istanbul for “posting items with criminal content on Facebook and Twitter accounts”. Mr Baris, who moved to Turkey after leaving Aberdeen last year to be with his ... Read More »

Memorial for scientist who took his own life

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A public memorial will be held in Perth for Australia’s oldest scientist David Goodall, who died in Switzerland from assisted suicide aged 104. WAtoday Professor Goodall took his own life on May 10 at a clinic near Basel after spending his last days patiently and openly explaining his decision to a huge media throng from around the world. He did not have a terminal illness but said his quality of life had deteriorated. “Even up to, say, the age of ... Read More »