Global Issues

Russia accuses UK of staging Syria gas attack

TOPSHOT - A Syrian man waits to receive treatment at a makeshift clinic following reported air strikes by government forces in the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, on April 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Abd Doumany        (Photo credit should read ABD DOUMANY/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations says Russia’s claims are ‘grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie.’ Paul Dallison Politico The Kremlin on Friday claimed that British intelligence forces helped stage the attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend. The U.K. denounced the allegation as “grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie,” the Guardian reported. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said he had evidence that showed “special services of a country, which is now seeking to be in the first ranks of ... Read More »

Summit of the Americas begins amid regional tumult

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The summit unites the leaders of the Americas as corruption scandals continue and Trump sends US troops to the border. AlJazeera The eighth Summit of the Americas, a conference that draws together the leaders of North, Central and South America, begins in Lima, Peru, on Friday amid continued political instability throughout the region. Business leaders are set to convene the first meeting of the summit on Monday morning. The topics to be discussed include Latin America’s economic outlook and recommendations from ... Read More »

Pompeo vows diplomatic approach to Iran nuke deal

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President Donald Trump’s pick to become Washington’s top diplomat has pledged to work with U.S. allies to strengthen the Iran deal and played down fears he is bent on regime change in North Korea. WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Mike Pompeo, the outgoing director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), disavowed his reputation as a “war hawk” and an anti-Muslim hardliner as he sought to woo support from senators on April 12 to become the next U.S. secretary of state. ... Read More »

Are Australians ready to embrace libertarianism?

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How much influence does libertarianism have on Australian politics? The first thing to know is that the Australian political system has very few libertarians in it. Chris Berg The Conversation The only federal member of parliament to self-describe as a libertarian is Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party. Other candidates – like my former colleagues at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Senator James Paterson and Tim Wilson – describe themselves as classical liberals. Ideological classifications can get ... Read More »

How the Shin Bet Got Unlimited Power to Decide Which Palestinians Are Allowed Into Israel

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Israel’s rules for issuing work permits to Palestinians are a mystery, but sociologist Yael Berda asserts it’s not about security at all, but about controlling the local population Shany Littman – Haaretz Why these Palestinians are desperate to be declared ‘clean’ by Israel Israel condemns hundreds of Palestinians to unemployment – due to their last name The Israeli army snatched a Palestinian boy from his bed and arrested him – then realized it’s a mistake How the Shin… Read More »

Why remembering matters for healing

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April 12 marks Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each year communities and schools plan various events such as reading the names of Holocaust victims and survivors, forums of Holocaust survivor speakers, or panel discussions with historians. Nancy Berns The Conversation These events run through an entire week of remembrance. Such formal days of remembrance are important. As a sociologist who studies grief and justice, I have seen how these events and permanent memorials can be both healing and inspirational. I will share ... Read More »

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bans oil exploration

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is defending her Government’s dramatic ban on offshore oil exploration, saying the transition to a zero-carbon economy “must start somewhere” and promising that no jobs will be lost. Isaac Davison NZ Herald “Unless we make decisions today that will essentially take effect in 30 or more years’ time, we run the risk of acting too late and causing abrupt shocks to communities and our country,” she said at a press conference in Wellington this morning. “I ... Read More »

James Comey Has a Story to Tell. It’s Very Persuasive.

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A HIGHER LOYALTY Truth, Lies, and Leadership By James Comey 290 pages. Flatiron Books. $29.99. Michiko Kakutani The New York Times In his absorbing new book, “A Higher Loyalty,” the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey calls the Trump presidency a “forest fire” that is doing serious damage to the country’s norms and traditions. “This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey writes. “His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.” Decades before he ... Read More »

The U.S. Has Accepted Only 11 Syrian Refugees This Year

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The Trump administration has condemned a suspected chemical weapons strike in Syria and is considering military action. Deborah Amos Parallels “We are very concerned, when a thing like that can happen, this is about humanity,” President Trump said earlier this week. But humanitarian organizations are challenging the president’s commitment to humanity when it comes to Syrian civilians — particularly those seeking refuge in the United States. In 2016, near the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. resettled 15,479 Syrian ... Read More »

Look at Syria, and you can see all the elements that have led to world wars

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It’s hard to believe the west’s leaders are letting this escalate. Have we learned nothing from history? What on earth are we doing? Simon Jenkins The Guardian I have not heard a single expert on Syria explain how dropping missiles on that country will advance the cause of peace or lead its dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to back down. It will merely destroy buildings and probably kill people. It is pure populism, reflected in the hot-and-cold rhetoric of Trump’s increasingly whimsical tweets. ... Read More »

Berlin to change street names over brutal African colonial past

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Berlin is poised to strip the names of streets linked to atrocities committed during its occupation of Namibia and dedicate them to liberation fighters, part of a late reckoning with Germany’s brutal colonial history in Africa. BERLIN – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet After more than a decade of debate, the three biggest parties in the Berlin Mitte district assembly voted Wednesday night to recommend new names for streets in the so-called African Quarter in the northwest of the German capital, spokeswoman ... Read More »

Netanyahu is picking the wrong friends in Europe

TOPSHOT - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Muni World conference in Tel Aviv on February 14, 2018. 
Netanyahu said today his government was "stable" and criticised the police investigation against him after detectives recommended his indictment for corruption, prompting calls for him to resign. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Siding with Hungary over Brussels undermines Europe’s positive anti-Semitism efforts. Here’s something for Benjamin Netanyahu to consider: The Israeli prime minister should spend less time in Europe praising nationalists like Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and more time listening to people in Brussels, like European Commission Vice President Frans… William Echikson Politico Look at the recent Hungarian election. During his campaign, Orbán blamed his country’s problems on a Jewish financier, George Soros — and won, big time. After his victory, Orbán spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, ... Read More »

UK to challenge Scotland’s Brexit bill in Supreme Court

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The UK Government will launch an unprecedented legal challenge against Scotland’s emergency Brexit legislation early next week in the country’s highest court. Chris Green The Scotsman The Attorney General and the Advocate General are expected to lodge a formal application over the legality of the Continuity Bill at the Supreme Court on Monday or Tuesday. The legislation, which is designed to plug any gaps in Scottish laws on the day of Brexit, was passed by MSPs at the Scottish Parliament ... Read More »

Labour’s plan for free bus passes for young people would be transformative and life-changing

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Young people have never been unhappier, according to research released by the Prince’s Trust last week. The survey found three out of five young people are regularly stressed about concerns over jobs and money. Liam Young i News One in four said that they felt “hopeless”. Thanks to eight years of failed Tory policy, an entire generation has had to limit itself to getting by rather than getting on. Fortunately, young people have an ally in the Labour leader Jeremy ... Read More »

Preventing Boko Haram Abductions of Schoolchildren in Nigeria

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Four years after the abductions in Chibok, and months after more kidnappings in Dapchi, over 100 schoolgirls are still missing. Nigeria must act to make schools safe – beefing up security, learning from past mistakes and, ultimately, working to end the Boko Haram insurgency. What’s new? In February, a faction of the jihadist Boko Haram movement, seized 113 children from Dapchi in north east Nigeria. ICG It later released 107 of them. Five reportedly died; one remains captive. This comes ... Read More »

Politicians need to know that republican sentiment is deeply felt

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Prince Charles, the Royal Tourist, and Kim Beazley, the new Governor of Western Australia, illustrate both the status quo and the potential for constitutional change. John Warhurst Brisbane Times The role of the British monarchy in Australia delivers weird moments like Charles opening the Commonwealth Games flanked by two beaming but straight-jacketed republicans, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Queensland Premier… Every Australian political leader, including Liberal leaders, is now a declared republican. Royal visits inevitably generate publicity around the republic ... Read More »