Politics

Republican debate: ‘I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,’ says Donald Trump

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Trump booed, Rubio roughed up by rivals Awkward start to debate: candidates fail to respond to name call WASHINGTON: Seven years after the United States banned waterboarding as an interrogation tactic, two Republican presidential candidates say they would revive its use. The Sydney Morning Herald – Ginger Gibson * One of them, billionaire businessman Donald Trump, would go even further. “I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” Trump said during Saturday night’s ... Read More »

Why we’re not safe from Grexit yet

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Letter From Athens Between economic recovery and an escalating migration crisis, Greece faces a tumultuous year ahead. Politico – By Megan Greene ATHENS — A team of analysts from one of the main credit rating agencies smiled condescendingly across a boardroom table one recent afternoon, when asked about the likelihood of a Greek exit from the euro. It was clear they dismissed the idea. There is virtually no chance of Greece leaving the eurozone, they assured me. This is not the first ... Read More »

Academia in Turkey ‘reminds me of Ceauşescu’s Romania’, says exiled scholar

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Political theorist Andrei Stavilă explains how a comment on a friend’s Facebook page led to exit from Turkish university Times Higher Education By Jack Grove Twitter: @jgro_the A politics lecturer has alleged that he was forced to resign from a Turkish university after making a Facebook comment criticising government efforts to intimidate and silence academics. Andrei Stavilă had recently been informed that his one-year contract at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University, in eastern Turkey, would be renewed for two more years ... Read More »

Victoria will take the 267 asylum seekers, Daniel Andrews tells Malcolm Turnbull

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Andrews wrote to the prime minister urging him to take action and keep a group of Australian-born asylum seeker children and their families in Australia The Guardian – Ben Doherty @bendohertycorro The 267 asylum seekers whose removal to Nauru was cleared by a controversial high court ruling are welcome to stay in Victoria, the state’s premier Daniel Andrews has said. Andrews wrote to the Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday offering that the group – which includes 37 babies born in Australia to asylum ... Read More »

Russia and the Separatists in Eastern Ukraine

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Despite repeated expressions of support for the Minsk process and recognition of Ukraine’s sovereignty over the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR, LNR), Moscow’s policy in Ukraine’s east looks more likely to strengthen those entities than prepare for the dismantlement the Minsk agreement envisages. Kyiv/Brussels, ICG – Europe and Central Asia Briefing N°79 OVERVIEW The Kremlin views Ukraine’s European choice as a major security threat and the 2014 overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych as Western-backed and aimed at isolating Russia. ... Read More »

Warsaw wants to BFF Cameron

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The new conservative government in Poland, isolated in the EU, looks for new allies. Politico – By JAN CIENSKI WARSAW — David Cameron’s visit to Warsaw on Friday is about more than the British prime minister hunting for support ahead of a Brexit referendum. It’s also a way for Poland to show it still matters in the EU. “The fact that Cameron is coming to Poland is proof that Poland is an important member of the EU,” said Prime Minister Beata Szydło. Szydło ... Read More »

High Court ruling: Silence falls as Manus Island detainees’ hopes for justice are dashed

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A detainee in the offshore “prison” tells the inside story of frustration, fear and hopelessness. * The Age Video – ””” HIGH COURT UPHOLDS OFFSHORE DETENTION – Human rights advocate slams High Court ruling that leaves vulnerable asylum seekers in limbo, saying “legality is one thing. The morality is another.” ””” It’s Wednesday afternoon here in the Delta Prison, the compound where I am imprisoned in Australia’s detention camp on Manus Island. Dozens of refugees with ill-fitting clothes and plastic thongs are ... Read More »

Portugal’s budget clears EU hurdle

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Commission gives green light to government’s plan, despite warning on eurozone non-compliance. Politico – By PAUL AMES LISBON — Portugal’s Socialist government avoided an embarrassing rejection of its 2016 budget by the European Commission Friday after its additional deficit-reducing measures eased some of Brussels’ concerns. “The Commission did not have to request a revised budgetary plan,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Commission vice-president for the euro. However, Dombrovskis warned the budget plan remains “at risk of non-compliance” with the eurozone’sstability and growth pact, asked the government ... Read More »

Queensland youth justice reforms don’t go far enough: legal and family groups

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The Palaszczuk government’s plan to overhaul youth justice laws, including removing the Newman government boot camp orders, has been met with approval from the legal and community sectors – but the government has still drawn fire for not addressing Queensland’s policy of sending children to adult prisons. Brisbane Times – Amy Remeikis, Queensland political editor Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath promised a review of youth justice in Queensland during the election, following the former LNP’s changes to the act, which included boot camps, naming and ... Read More »

Why does international condemnation on human rights mean so little to Australia?

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Australia’s human rights record is increasingly subject to international critique alongside pariah states like Saudi Arabia and North Korea. On the face of it, this juxtaposition is easily rejected. But strong evidence backs the increasing weight of international sentiment opposing Australia’s record. The Conversation Author: Amy Maguire, Senior Lecturer in International Law, University of Newcastle Disclosure statement: Amy Maguire is a member of Amnesty International. Australia may already have pariah status in terms of its asylum policies. So why does its government – ... Read More »

Sanders spotlights Clinton vulnerabilities

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With every packed rally, Democrats worry the Vermont senator exposes her weaknesses. Politico – By EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE and GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI Top Democrats aren’t worried about Bernie Sanders beating Hillary Clinton in the primaries. They’re worried about what the popular response to Sanders shows them about Clinton’s vulnerabilities in November. It’s the quiet chatter among operatives in New York, Washington and beyond—if Clinton’s got so much trouble connecting with people that she’s stuck in a long primary slog against an upstart socialist ... Read More »

Push to stop Parliament ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Nearly 60 community organisations are calling for an independent assessment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership before Parliament is asked to vote on ratifying the agreement. The Age – Gareth Hutchens A large alliance of groups – from World Vision and the Public Health Association, to Greenpeace, the ACTU, Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network – have signed a letter warning the agreement poses “grave risks to the public interest” without being independently assessed. They want an organisation ... Read More »

David Miliband calls for 1m work permits for Syrian refugees

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Former foreign secretary urges lifting of ‘legal and financial barriers’ that prevent refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey from working The Guardian – Patrick Wintour and Ian Black The former foreign secretary David Miliband has called for 1 million Syrian refugees in the countries bordering their homeland to be given work permits, saying it is a “fiction” to suggest the Syrian war will end soon. Speaking before a London conference on Syria hosted by David Cameron and Germany’s Angela Merkel, Miliband ... Read More »

Turkish academic faces jail for ‘terror propaganda’ over exam question on PKK leader

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An academic at Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Science faces seven years in jail for “terror propaganda” over an exam question asking students to compare two writings by Abdullah Öcalan the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Hurriyet – Mesut Hasan Benli – ANKARA In the final exam of his course titled “Political life and institutions in Turkey,” Assistant Professor Doctor Reşat Barış Ünlü asked students to compare a 1978 leaflet by Öcalan with a more recent piece ... Read More »

Don’t Let Greek Pensions Threaten the Euro

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Greece is a small country, but for much of 2015 its problems were big enough to threaten the survival of the euro system. Bloomberg View – By Editorial Board Editorials are written by the Bloomberg View editorial board. Read more. A year after Alexis Tsipras took charge as prime minister, the government seems committed to meeting the obligations demanded by its creditors in return for further aid. Neither side should allow the remaining sticking point — pension reform — to ... Read More »

They’re all bought and sold: American democracy belongs to the billionaires now

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With the lone exception of Bernie Sanders, every candidate is either in bed with Wall Street or super-rich himself Salon – Nomi Prins, TomDispatch.com This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch. Speaking of the need for citizen participation in our national politics in his final State of the Union address, President Obama said, “Our brand of democracy is hard.” A more accurate characterization might have been: “Our brand of democracy is cold hard cash.” Cash, mountains of it, is increasingly the ... Read More »