Global Issues

Venezuelan military official drops allegiance to Maduro

An active-duty Venezuelan army colonel who is a military doctor has dropped his allegiance to President Nicolas Maduro, backing opposition leader Juan Guaido instead. CARACAS Hurriyet “Ninety percent of us in the armed forces are really unhappy,” said Colonel Ruben Paz Jimenez said in a video released on Feb. 9. “We are being used to keep them in power.” He urged his fellow soldiers to help allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela. The shipment of U.S. aid is currently in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border. Maduro has vowed ... Read More »

Lonely, unfit and hooked on air-conditioning – is this the summer of the future?

Bela Stantic did not stop to take in the vistas of Walgett on his great Aussie road trip this summer. The vineyards of Griffith passed in a blur. He stopped at Victoria’s Twelve Apostles, but took a few photos and then left. Nicole Hasham Brisbane Times It was not what the Griffith University professor had planned. But as a monster heatwave baked a crust onto southern Australia, “it was not possible to be outside at all”, he says. “I couldn’t ... Read More »

Cave diving heroes call for Hakeem Al-Araibi’s release from Thai prison

The cave divers who rescued a Thai football team have written to Thailand’s prime minster asking him to free refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi from prison. SBS AAP Cave diving heroes and Australians of the Year Dr Richard Harris and Dr Craig Challen have joined the campaign to save refugee footballer Hakeem-al Araibi, writing to the prime minister of… According to the ABC a letter was sent a few days ago to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asking him to consider freeing ... Read More »

Why does Turkey see the US as the greatest threat to their country?

Since 1952 (the date of Turkey’s entry into NATO), Turkey has been an official ally of the United States. However, Washington’s unyielding egocentrism and tendency to turn violent has led the country (and many others around the… Nurettin Kurt United World Since the 60s, innumerable crises have occurred in Turkish-American relations. Regardless of whether or not the perception is completely accurate, how Ankara’s ally became widely recognized as an arch-foe is a crucial topic. The United States has been on ... Read More »

Catholic archbishop in Brazil bans priests from being alone with children

Decree follows court order forcing archdiocese to pay almost £2.5m in compensation over sexual exploitation of minors Tom Embury-Dennis Independent A Brazilian Catholic archbishop has banned priests in his district from being alone with children. Manoel Delson, archbishop of the northeastern state of Paraiba, signed the decree on Wednesday following a court order forcing the archdiocese to pay almost £2.5m in compensation over the sexual exploitation of minors. Mr Delson’s decree prohibits priests from being in the company of children and vulnerable adults unaccompanied by their ... Read More »

The Russian Navy Is About to Become A Lot Deadlier

Moscow is deploying “Black Beret” Marines on all its warships. Michael Peck The National Interest The Russian Navy is deploying marines aboard all its warships sailing to overseas stations. Their mission is to secure these ships against terrorists and saboteurs.  The anti-terrorist groups will be posted on ships sailing to distant sea zones, according to Russian newspaper Izvestia . “Marines often accompanied the ships and vessels of the Soviet Navy from the late 1960s to 1991. They strengthened the crews ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #3

This is Crisis Group’s third weekly update published as part of our Yemen Campaign. ICG The trend we identify in this edition is new hope for a political compromise to end the four-year-old civil war and ease the country’s grave humanitarian crisis. Trendline: A Shift to the Political in 2019? After a year of unrelenting military pressure along Yemen’s Red Sea coast, there are some indications that the Saudi-led coalition may be pivoting toward a greater recognition that a political ... Read More »

On the Front Lines of the Climate Change Movement: Mike Roselle Draws a Line

The beard is graying. The hair is clipped military-short. Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank CounterPunch He is a large man, oddly shaped, like a cross between a grizzly and a javelina. It’s Roselle, of course, Mike Roselle—the outside agitator. He and a fellow activist have just spread an anti-coal banner in front of a growling bulldozer in West Virginia on a cold February morning in 2009. He’s in this icy and unforgiving land to oppose a brutal mining operation ... Read More »

EU adopts French, German compromise on Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Russia

Overcoming differences between Paris and Berlin, EU diplomats reached a deal on the pipeline, placing stricter regulations on the project. France said it wanted to “ensure European control” of its own energy needs. DW France and Germany have reached a compromise that will allow Berlin to remain the lead negotiator with Russia on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, European leaders confirmed on Friday. “Regarding the gas directive, we have reached an agreement and this was possible because Germany and France worked closely together,” ... Read More »

Where Is China’s Foreign Policy Headed?

A ChinaFile Conversation In testimony last week before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats asserted that “China’s actions reflect a long-term strategy to achieve global superiority.” With China’s global influence and tensions between Washington and Beijing growing apace, what is the best way to understand how China envisions itself in the world? Some contend China’s leaders seek global preeminence; others, that they are principally focused on restoring China’s dominant position within the Asia-Pacific; and ... Read More »

What We Heard in Caracas

President Trump’s tough talk and actions opened the door for change in Venezuela. Now the U.S. must avoid hardline inflexibility that could close it, ending the chance of achieving internal peace through an… ICG It’s hard for the two sides in Venezuela’s political conflict to agree on virtually anything, what with dueling presidents, competing institutions, and diametrically opposed visions. But in a brief visit to Caracas this week, we found broad consensus on one point: It all depends on Donald… The Venezuelan ... Read More »

Old Conflict, New Armenia: The View from Baku

The April 2018 “velvet revolution” in Armenia has brought new meetings and helped improve the dynamics of the three-decade-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Zaur Shirivev ICG Much more needs to happen to reach peace, but Azerbaijan’s old scepticism is giving way to cautious hope in diplomacy. A series of direct contacts between Azerbaijan and Armenia have brought hope to the two countries’ decades-long impasse over Nagorno-Karabakh, a conflict that began as the Soviet Union collapsed. But while these meetings, on the heels of ... Read More »

‘We won’: Landmark climate ruling as NSW court rejects coal mine

Environmental groups are cheering a decision in NSW’s Land and Environment Court that found the emissions of greenhouse gases and resulting climate change from a proposed coal mine were among the reasons to reject the project. Peter Hannam The Sydney Morning Herald Brian Preston, chief judge of the court, handed down his judgment in a case between Gloucester Resources Ltd and the NSW Planning Minister in Sydney on Friday. He concluded the mine project was “in the wrong place at ... Read More »

The future of arms control is global: Reconsidering nuclear issues in the Indo-Pacific

On Feb. 1, a reporter asked President Donald Trump if the announced U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was as much about the Western Pacific as it was about Russia. Andy Weber and Christine Parthemore War on the Rocks In response, Trump affirmed his view that for the arms control pact to work, more countries would need to be added: “I hope that you’re able to get everybody in a big and beautiful room and do a new ... Read More »

A Mixed Economic Bag in 2019

Since the global synchronized growth of 2017, economic conditions have been gradually weakening and will produce an across-the-board deceleration in the months ahead. Nouriel Roubini Project Syndicate Beyond that, the prospect for markets and national economies will depend on a broad range of factors, some of which do not bode well. NEW YORK – After the synchronized global economic expansion of 2017 came the asynchronous growth of 2018, when most countries other than the United States started to experience slowdowns. ... Read More »

Mysterious Turkish Firm Helped Maduro Move $900 Million in Gold

Two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, a mysterious company called Sardes sprang into existence. Bloomberg The firm started business with a bang in January of 2018, when it imported about $41 million worth of gold from Venezuela, the first such transaction between the two countries in records that go back 50 years. The next month its volume more than doubled, with Sardes transporting almost $100 million worth to Turkey. By November, ... Read More »