Global Issues

Germany’s arm forces full of flaws, parliamentary report says

Hans-Peter Bartels, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, presented on 20 February a report on the German armed forces worrying poor shape. Martin Macq ESJ While Germany is committing to take on more responsibility in NATO, its armed forces have to still cope with serious equipment and personnel shortages, significantly reducing its readiness to fulfill its commitments and plans. Bartels points out that only a fraction of the crucial weapons system is operational while some 21,000 positions are vacant within ... Read More »

Paul Keating says Australia’s sycophancy to US damaging its own interests

Former Labor prime minister says there should be greater independence within alliance and South China Sea ‘is not our fight’ Ben Doherty Guardian Australia’s “client state” obsequiousness towards the US was damaging its own interests and ignoring the rise of China as the nascent “primary economic state of the world”, Paul Keating has argued. Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, the former Labor prime minister said the alliance with the US did not mandate slavish devotion to American demands “as the ... Read More »

Monica Lewinsky: Emerging from “The House of Gaslight” in the age of #MeToo

On the 20th anniversary of the Starr investigation, which introduced her to the world, the author reflects on the changing nature of trauma, the de-evolution of the media, and the extraordinary hope now provided by the #MeToo movement. BY MONICA LEWINSKY Vanity Fair How do I know him? Where have I seen him? The Man in the Hat looked familiar, I thought, as I peered over at him a second time. It was Christmas Eve 2017. My family and I were about to ... Read More »

The U.S. and Turkey Go Their Separate Ways

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently said what many analysts have long been thinking: The relationship between Turkey and the United States has reached a “crisis point.” By Sinan Ciddi Stratfor The two countries’ strategic partnership has been increasingly rocky as Washington and Ankara take diverging approaches to the Syrian civil war. But more than protracted policy disagreements, the decline in U.S.-Turkish relations owes to a fundamental loss of trust. Visits by key U.S. government personnel — including Tillerson ... Read More »

Tony Abbott’s economic argument against immigration is flawed

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Sydney in 1979. Jessica Irvine The Canberra Times But having since derided the dismal science as “boring”, it appears he may have snoozed off at a crucial point in his lectures. In a speech to the Sydney Institute last Tuesday, Abbott explained his logic behind his call for a reduction in Australia’s annual rate of immigration from 190,000 to 110,000 a year. “My issue ... Read More »

‘I see death’: Christian asylum seekers fear return to Egypt

Two young asylum seekers fear for their lives if they are deported to their native Egypt when their visas expire within weeks. Carolyn Webb The Sydney Morning Herald  The cousins, along with eight other Coptic Christian asylum seekers in Melbourne, are appealing directly to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to show mercy and let them stay. Michael Ramzy, 31, was bashed and his mobile phone shop gutted in an attack by Muslim extremists in the village of Al Gharizat, 500km south ... Read More »

US welcomes Saudi-led coalition’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen

JEDDAH: The US on Saturday has welcomed the Saudi-led coalition’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen. Arab News A statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “The coalition released a humanitarian operations plan on Jan. 22, 2018, and as part of that plan, it has agreed to transfer $930 million to United Nations agencies in support of the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan by March 31. Four World Food Programme (WFP) mobile cranes funded by the United States have ... Read More »

Women with HIV abused by partners, rejected by society

Shunned by relatives, doctors and the community, Ukrainian women struggle to survive and protect their children. by Madeline Roache Al Jazeera Kiev, Ukraine – “At first, it was just emotional abuse. Then he started to beat me, especially after he had been drinking. It was always worse then,” says 31-year-old Hanna Lilina, a Donetsk-native. In October 2012, she was told she had HIV during a pre-natal check-up. When she found out, she felt confused. “I started to clean my apartment obsessively, ... Read More »

We’ve officially found the world’s best prawns

It’s official: the Aussie prawn – ethical, sustainable and delicious – is the best in the world. Specifically, the Spencer Gulf King Prawn. Anthony Huckstep takes to the high seas with chef Neil Perry to seek them out. Some swear it’s the mighty meat pie and sauce. Others point to the veritable Vegemite (or should it be avo?) on toast, but is there truly a more iconic, quintessentially Australian act than throwing a prawn on the barbie? In the ’80s, ... Read More »

‘Let’s enrich democracy’

DUTERTE ON EDSA ANNIVERSARY: President Rodrigo Duterte joined the nation in commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the EDSA revolt that toppled president Ferdinand Marcos and urged Filipinos to “further enrich our democracy.” BY CATHERINE S. VALENTE, TMT The Manila Times In his message, the President said Filipinos, more than three decades ago, “have shown the world how a people’s courage and resolve can alter the course of our nation’s history.” “Since then, the People Power Revolution has become the enduring symbol ... Read More »

Why the world’s view of migrants is wrong-headed

We are bombarded daily with images of poor, desperate migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea in makeshift boats, bodies washed up on shores, concentration camps, and even slave markets in Libya for desperate Africans fleeing poverty and war. Hafed Al-Ghwell Arab News Countless studies, speeches by politicians, and press releases by human rights organizations have filled the pages of traditional and new media. All of this happens, however, without even a hint of an end to this human tragedy, or any ... Read More »

Small-scale fisheries are throwing away fish that could feed those in poverty

At least 7.3m tons of fish (usually dead or dying) are thought to be discarded each year from marine fisheries around the world. Benjamin L. Jones Leanne Cullen-Unsworth Richard K.F. Unsworth The Conversation But these estimates come mostly from observations of large-scale industrial fisheries. Limited attention has been paid to small-scale fisheries, which are assumed to have low discard rates – some estimate as little as 3.7% total catch, compared to more than 60% for some large-scale shrimp trawlers. Small-scale ... Read More »

EU and Russia Vie for Influence in Volatile Balkans Region

European Union promotes Balkans expansion to counter Russia’s push for influence in volatile, strategically significant region. By DUSAN STOJANOVIC, Associated Press U.S.News BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — For years, Russia has worked to gain influence in Southeast Europe, using Serbia as a foothold to establish a friendly pocket on a hostile continent. The European Union finally is pushing back. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is embarking on a seven-nation Balkans tour Sunday to promote the EU’s new eastward expansion strategy. Russia ... Read More »

Europe Still Doesn’t Take Its Own Defense Seriously

If candidate Donald Trump had one signature position, it was criticizing America’s populous, prosperous allies for leeching off the U.S. military. Doug Bandow The National Interest He even talked about charging them for the Pentagon’s services. But like many other issues, he proved to be more bark than bite. Whether reflecting a lack of belief or attention, he left European policy to his Europhile officials, who told European leaders to ignore the president. “There is a lot more support for ... Read More »

Slavery: Australia’s hidden shame is being uncovered

IT HAPPENS behind closed doors in homes all around Australia with increasing regularity and the numbers are simply staggering. WARNING: Graphic. Rohan Smith News. WARNING: Graphic WHAT Graeme John Slattery did to a woman in his garage will go down as one of the sickest crimes in Australian history. Slattery, from Warrnambool on Victoria’s south-west coast, kept a slave against her will and forced her to drink motor oil and stand on her head while naked. He paraded his victim ... Read More »

Venezuela: Electoral authority rejects President Maduro’s mega-elections

In a setback to President Nicolas Maduro, the CNE announced it would not be able to organize all the elections on one day. DW The OAS and the US have criticized the vote, set to take place in April. The National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela has ruled out the possibility of carrying out legislative, state and municipal elections, in conjunction with the scheduled presidential elections on April 22, as President Maduro had proposed. Tibisay Lucena, the president of the CNE, ... Read More »