Global Issues

When should you unfriend someone on Facebook?

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The nature and ethics of “fake news” has become a subject of widespread concern. Alexis Elder The Conversation But, for many of us, the issue is much more personal: What are we to do when a cranky uncle or an otherwise pleasant old friend persists in populating our news feeds with a stream of posts that can run deeply contrary to our own values? One option is to unfriend people who share material that conflicts with our values. But a ... Read More »

Geopolitics of Syrian Kurds and military cooperation with the US

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The survival and development of the revolutionary process in Rojava, i.e. of a new democratic perspective, has the big potential to change the mindsets of dozens of millions of people in Middle East. ERCAN AYBOĞA ANF How did the US end up supporting the Kurds in Rojava? Since October 2014 the Syrian Kurds and their non-Kurdish Allies have discussed military cooperation with the US-led Global Coalition against the “Islamic State” (IS). Towards the end of 2014, the mainly Kurdish People’s/Women’s ... Read More »

Greek Orthodox Church Sells Land In Israel, Worrying Both Israelis And Palestinians

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Secretive real estate deals in the Holy Land are putting one of Jerusalem’s most powerful and ancient churches in the spotlight Daniel Estrin npr The Greek Orthodox Church calls itself the second-largest landowner in Israel, after the Israeli government. It says it owns some 30 percent of Jerusalem’s walled Old City, the city’s historic core, and controls the largest stake of any Christian denomination in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, home to the traditional tomb of Jesus. It also ... Read More »

Dutch prime minister says more EU integration ‘not the answer’

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Mark Rutte’s speech was a direct challenge to the ideas of French President Emmanuel Macron MAÏA DE LA BAUME Politico AMSTERDAM — A “federal Europe” and “more integration” is not the answer to the EU’s problems, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a speech Saturday challenging French President Emmanuel Macron’s vision of a more integrated Europe. The Dutch prime minister — who was speaking at the annual congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) — ... Read More »

Crossing the Line: Australia’s Secret History in Timor Sea, Kim McGrath

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“Kissingerian realism” and an associated hard nose for the “national interest”, or “Wilsonian idealism”? Robert Murray The Australian Nowhere has this timeless tension in foreign affairs challenged Canberra more than over our nearest neighbour, East Timor. It has made prime ministers from William McMahon to Malcolm Turnbull look mean and tricky, and yet, Kim McGrath suggests in this brisk account of it all, it might be one of those ­issues where the Wilsonian approach would have served the national interest ... Read More »

Alternative for Germany: Police and protesters clash over meeting

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Several people have been hurt in clashes between police and anti-fascist demonstrators in the city of Hannover Protesters were trying to blockade the far-right Alternative for Germany’s first conference since it entered parliament after September’s elections. BBC With temperatures near freezing, police used water cannon, batons and pepper spray to clear a path for the 600 delegates. One demonstrator’s leg was broken after he chained himself to a barricade. AfD won 12.6% of the vote in Germany’s federal elections in ... Read More »

Pope Francis asks for forgiveness from Rohingya refugees

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Pope Francis has used the term “Rohingya” for the first time during his current trip to Asia to refer to refugees who have fled in large numbers from violence in Myanmar. ABC Reuters “The presence of God today is also called Rohingya,” he said in an improvised remark after meeting 16 refugees brought to the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka from their camps in Cox’s Bazar near the border with Myanmar. “In the name of all of those who have persecuted you, ... Read More »

UN votes 151-6 against Israel, an ‘occupying power’ with no rights to Jerusalem

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The UN passed six new resolutions against the Jewish state, including one denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem 151-6. United with Israel The United Nations General Assembly in New York passed six resolutions on Thursday affirming Palestinian rights and condemning Israeli violations of international law, Middle East Monitor reported. According to one resolution (‘Jerusalem’), “the Assembly reiterated that any actions by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and… UN ... Read More »

UN appeals for record $22.5 bln in global aid for 2018

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The United Nations appealed Dec. 1 for a record $22.5 billion (18.9 billion euros) to provide aid in 2018 to soaring numbers of people slammed by conflicts and disasters around the world GENEVA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The global appeal by U.N. agencies and other humanitarian organizations aims to raise funds to help the some 91 million most vulnerable of the nearly 136 million people expected to need aid across 26 countries next year. The number of people in need ... Read More »

Gordon Brown: ‘Independence is impossible in a globalised world’

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Gordon Brown has warned against the rise of political movements demanding to ‘take back control’, claiming that independence is impossible in a globalised world. CHRIS MCCALL The Scotsman The former prime minister told an audience in Madrid they should heed the warning of Brexit – an event he feared would leave the UK “poorer”. His comments were viewed by some sections of the Spanish press as a reference to the hugely controversial Catalan referendum on October 1 organised by the ... Read More »

Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying About Trump Sabotage of Security Council Resolution Against Israel Settlements

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This morning, former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts with Jared Kushner to torpedo a United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements. Richard Silverstein CounterPunch These included lobbying the Russian ambassador to help in this campaign by delaying or cancelling a vote on the matter. Earlier today, I published a new column in Middle East Eye (MEE) which outlined the case against Kushner. Here’s how the Times laid out the… ... Read More »

Flynn’s Plea Raises New Questions About Whether Trump Obstructed Justice

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Before firing then-FBI Director James Comey, the president reportedly asked him not to prosecute the former national-security adviser. Adam Serwer The Atlantic  Former National-Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s plea deal in the Russia investigation raises new questions about whether the president sought to obstruct justice when he fired former FBI Director James Comey. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy,” President Trump told Comey in February, according ... Read More »

Would ‘Rexit’ Mean First Step Toward War With Iran?

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There’s no counterweight to Kushner, Neocons or other hawks in White House. Robert W. Merry The American Conservative If reports are correct that Rex Tillerson is going to be fired as U.S. Secretary of State, to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton taking Pompeo’s old job, then prospects for war with Iran become significantly greater. Tillerson has been less bellicose in his attitude toward Iran than either Pompeo or Cotton, who are both fervid ... Read More »

Japan panel agrees on April 30, 2019 for emperor’s abdication

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Emperor Akihito’s planned abdication – the first by a Japanese monarch in about two centuries – should take place on April 30, 2019, a special panel chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on Dec. 1. Hurriyet Reuters Akihito, who turns 84 on Dec. 23 and has had heart surgery and treatment for prostate cancer, said in rare remarks last year that he feared age might make it hard to fulfil his duties. The 10-member Imperial Household Council includes lawmakers, ... Read More »

We MPs do our best – I can sympathise with Tulip Siddiq’s lapse of judgment

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I have asked questions in parliament about Bangladeshi human rights, but local MPs can’t be expected to resolve complex issues on the hoof Rupa Huq is Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton The Guardian With the long hours, the public nature of the job and the advent of online abuse, MPs can sometimes lose their rag. Like many people, I was taken aback to see the skirmish on Channel 4 news this week in which my friend and colleague Tulip ... Read More »

Ehud Barak: We Must Save Israel From Its Government

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For anyone who cares about Israel, this is no time for niceties. Ehud Barak * What we need now is plain speaking, even pained speaking — and action. The New York Times For all of Israel’s great achievements in its seven decades of statehood, our country now finds its very future, identity and security severely threatened by the whims and illusions of the ultranationalist government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In its more than three years in power, this government has ... Read More »