Civil Liberties

The epic story of a 97-year-old Palestinian freedom fighter

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Born in 1921, Abu Nihad remembers the toughest battles against Zionist militias after the British left Palestine. Zena Tahhan AlJazeera Sur Baher, occupied East Jerusalem – In the village he defended from Zionist militias 70 years ago, Muhammad Mahmoud Jadallah is celebrated as a “blessing”. Born in 1921, the 97-year-old, known as Abu Nihad, witnessed the unfolding of what has been dubbed by some as “the world’s most intractable conflict”. He is one of the few Palestinian men who fought against ... Read More »

Religious freedoms should include spiritual beliefs too

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Nearly a third of Australians at the last census checked “None” when asked about their religion, up from 19% in 2006. What many people might not realise is that while some “Nones” are indeed atheists or agnostics, a substantial percentage do have faith. Jeremy Patrick The Conversation It’s just not in mainstream religion as we generally understand it. The number of people identifying as “spiritual but not religious” appears to be rising in the western world. A 2017 McCrindle report ... Read More »

Why the Supreme Court’s ‘gay wedding cake’ ruling won’t resolve religious freedom issues

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The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its long-anticipated ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In a 7-2 decision, the justices sided with a Denver bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. David Mislin The Conversation The couple took the case to court in 2012 after the Christian baker turned down their business. A lower court ruled the baker violated Colorado’s public accommodations law, which forbids discrimination by businesses serving the ... Read More »

The Grey Zone: space that gives us freedom is under threat

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In recent years, a Middle East-based organisation has been thinking about what it calls “the Grey Zone”. The term refers to the pluralist, open, multicultural space that is fundamental to the way a functioning democratic society works. Peter Greste Brisbane Times The Grey Zone allows us to live alongside different faiths without killing one another; it is the space that means we can have robust political debates without punching each other in the nose. It is the space defined by ... Read More »

Macron Defends Magazine That Labeled Erdogan a ‘Dictator’

James Boxell, editor for Bloomberg Gadfly, poses for a photograph in London, U.K. on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

Bloomberg, London, U.K. Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Photographer: Simon Dawson 

Photographer: Simon Dawson
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French President Emmanuel Macron waded into a debate over a magazine cover that labeled Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “dictator,” saying attacks on kiosks selling the latest issue were unacceptable. Helene Fouquet Bloomberg “Freedom of the press has no price: without it, it’s dictatorship,” Macron said on Twitter late on Monday. “It is totally unacceptable that Le Point posters are being ripped off kiosks on the grounds they displease the enemies of freedom of the press, in France ... Read More »

Have you got an end-of-life plan?

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Lawyers are encouraging us to think about how we want our lives to end as part of a campaign to record end-of-life wishes with a free online tool called Advance Care Directive. Melissa Coade LawyersWeekly While the topic of death and dying remain uncomfortable subjects for many, lawyers in South Australia are urging members of the community to think seriously about the end. These can include questions about whether a patient wishes to be resuscitated or placed on life support ... Read More »

Do you even know what apartheid means?

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Op-ed: A state with complete academic freedom, with Arab ministers and MKs, a state that fosters Arab professors, doctors, pharmacists and teachers, can’t be called an ‘apartheid state,’ unless it’s by ignorant or evil people. Noah Klieger y net news And the last person who can throw this accusation at Israel is a dictator like Erdoğan who has been cracking down on freedom of speech and the free press in his own country. In the late 1950s, on a flight ... Read More »

Irish abortion referendum: Ireland overturns abortion ban

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The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%. A referendum held on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the repeal side. BBC Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman’s life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality. The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will be replaced. The declaration was made at at Dublin Castle ... Read More »

‘We are absolutely in a new culture war’: ‘Religious freedom’ next on the Liberal agenda

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On Monday night, former deputy prime minister John Anderson delivered a rousing and ominous speech to a gathering of religious educators in Parliament House. Michael Koziol WAtoday With a gusto more suited to the Great Hall in which the Christian Schools Australia gala dinner normally takes place, Anderson dared speak the name of a spectre which is often invoked but rarely acknowledged: the culture war. “We’re living in the age of enormous cultural disharmony, I put it to you,” he ... Read More »

Wikipedia publishes open letter to Turkey urging end to access ban

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Wikipedia is open for improvement by anyone around the world and should be open to editors in Turkey, the Wikimedia Foundation has stated in a letter addressed to the government of Turkey, where the website has been banned for over one year. SAN FRANSISCO Hurriyet “The Wikimedia Foundation is deeply concerned about recent statements attributed to the Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime, and Communications Ahmet Arslan from [May 18] regarding the blockage of Wikipedia in Turkey,” Wikimedia Foundation General Counsel member Eileen B. Hershenov wrote in ... Read More »

Texas school shooting: Arm teachers to stop gunmen, official says

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Arming more teachers could help tackle gunmen targeting students if there were “four to five guns to one”, a senior Texan official has said. BBC Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was speaking two days after 10 people were killed at the Santa Fe High School, which had an armed guard. He had previously said schools had “too many entrances and too many exits” and their design should be reconsidered. The proposal to arm teachers is not a new idea. After a ... Read More »

Ecuador removes Julian Assange’s extra security

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Ecuador has removed extra security at its London embassy following claims that $5m (£3.7m) was spent to protect WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. BBC The money was used to monitor Mr Assange’s visitors, embassy staff and UK police, media reports in the UK and Ecuador said. Mr Assange has been at the embassy since 2012 after being granted asylum. He fled there to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crime allegations, which he denies. The Swedish authorities have since dropped their ... Read More »

A Peace Of Fiction: Australia Should Celebrate A National Day Of Violence

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If we’re going to engage in so much violence, then why not celebrate it, ask Gideon Polya and Richard Hil. New Matilda What’s all this talk about peace? Why should Australia celebrate peace when we appear to be such a violence-prone nation? Someone recently suggested that instead of staging peace rallies, Australia should hold a National Violence Day, such is this nation’s dalliance with this most aberrant of practices. No doubt, such views will upset the Pollyannas amongst us, but ... Read More »

Law Society: ‘Antiquated laws’ compromise safety of sex workers in SA

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Measures to fully decriminalise sex work in South Australia has been welcomed by two of the state’s legal representative bodies, who say that sex workers should be afforded the same rights and protections as employees in any other industry. Melissa Coade Lawyers Weekly The Statutes Amendment (Decriminalisation of Sex Work) Bill 2018 was introduced in the South Australian parliament last Wednesday. The effect of the legislative change will mean that sex work would be fully decriminalised in the state; it ... Read More »

Can Turkey’s opposition finally unite and challenge Erdoğan?

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June 24, 2018 instead of late 2019: that’s the date decided for Turkey’s “snap presidential and parliamentary elections”, called by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political partner from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli. Authors: The Conversation The elections are needed by the incumbent president, who wants to maintain his position and stay in power. AKP’s weaknesses Erdoğan has to deal with several issues that have recently weakened his party and leadership both domestically and abroad. Turkey’s military intervention in Syria has ... Read More »

‘Dangerous times’: Police to have new powers to check IDs at airports

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Police will be given sweeping new powers to demand identification from travellers under new laws to boost counter-terrorism efforts at Australia’s airports. Fergus Hunter The Age The Australian Federal Police will be able to ask anyone for ID and eject them from the airport under the changes that will also see the introduction of advanced X-ray and body scanning machines. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull conceded the new powers were a big step but said they were necessary for “dangerous… Mr ... Read More »