Why It’s Time For A Free Kurdistan

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Self-Determination It’s spread across several de facto “states,” but Kurdish nationalism has become a reality as the rest of the Middle East crumbles. The Daily Beast – Written by Aliza Marcus  and Andrew Apostolou * It’s time to stop debating whether or not the Kurds deserve an independent state. There are around 40 million Kurds across Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria—the largest ethnic group without self-determination. Kurds have long sought independence, but the states in which they live have always ... Read More »

An open letter to Barack Obama

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Mr. Obama, I am writing this letter as a journalist leading a life in exile in the United States of America. I face life imprisonment in connection with four articles I wrote. These articles essentially drew attention to the fact that Turkey should refrain from posing for the same photo with terrorist organizations. I noted that I was concerned about the articles that appeared in Western media outlets concerning al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), ... Read More »

CCLs Presidents Statement calling on the Australian Parliament to abandon the radical and misguided Australian Citizenship Bill

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Submitted To: Australian Parliament The Presidents of the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and South Australian Councils for Civil Liberties and the Australian Council for Civil Liberties have put together a statement calling on the Australian Parliament to abandon the radical and misguided Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015. In the aftermath of the recent tragic and brutal acts of terrorism in Paris, Lebanon and other places, the desire to take even more action to protect our community is strong ... Read More »

Greens unveil push for 90% target for renewable energy by 2030

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Policy proposes new authority to oversee $5bn of construction in clean energy generation and a 15-year pipeline of projects through direct investment The Guardian – Daniel Hurst Political correspondent @danielhurstbne The Greens will seek to build momentum for more ambitious action on climate change by calling for the creation of a new government authority to help Australia reach a 90% target for renewable energy by 2030. The leader of the Greens, Richard Di Natale, said the policy to be released ... Read More »

Government borrowing worst October figure in six years

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Public sector net borrowing (PSNB) rose £1.1bn in October compared with the same month a year ago to £8.2bn, official figures show. BBC That is the highest level of borrowing in October in six years. The government has borrowed £54.3bn so far this year and is making slow progress on meeting the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) forecast. These figures mean Chancellor George Osborne will need to restrict borrowing to just £15bn between now and April. While not impossible – ... Read More »

House passes bill adding barriers for Syrian and Iraqi refugees entering US

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House of Representatives approves legislation making entry even more difficult for refugees, but Obama has said he will veto and Senate is unlikely to vote on it The Guardian – Ben Jacobs in Washington The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would make it even more difficult for refugees from Syria and Iraq to enter the United States, in a major rebuke to the Obama administration’s refugee policy. With almost unanimous support from Republicans and 47 Democrats voting in ... Read More »

Paris attacks: France and the world should answer terror with liberty

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Opinion In bombing IS in Syria and suspending rights at home, France is testing the boundaries of international law. More human rights, not fewer, was the world’s answer to the greatest atrocities the world has ever witnessed in World War II. We need to hold our nerve, writes Ben Saul. ABC – By Ben Saul  The terrorist attack on Paris raises some hard legal questions. Is it an international crime? Is it an armed attack giving France a right of ... Read More »

East Timor belongs in ASEAN

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The impending launch of the ASEAN Economic Community is being marked this week at a summit in Kuala 
Lumpur. It is a time to showcase ASEAN’s commitment to a region made prosperous through economic cooperation and integration. The Phnom Penh Post – Shane Rosenthal It should also be the time for ASEAN to consider opening the door to a new member. East Timor is Asia’s youngest country – a stable democracy positioned at the crossroads of Southeast Asia and the ... Read More »

Do we have religious freedom anymore?

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The first test of religious freedom is underway in Tasmania and everyone – not just the faithful among us – has a stake in how it plays out. OnLineOpinion – By Mike Bird Earlier this year the Catholic Church of Tasmania distributed a booklet called “Don’t Mess with Marriage” to the parents of children attending Catholic schools. The booklet sets out the Catholic Church’s view of marriage and family and describes the rationale for their opposition to same sex marriage. ... Read More »

Kenya’s Somali North East: Devolution and Security

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Devolved government in Kenya’s newly formed north-eastern counties, designed to address decades of political marginalisation and underdevelopment, has been undermined by dominant clans monopolising power and growing corruption. ICG – Nairobi/Brussels – OVERVIEW – Africa Briefing N°114 Violent clan competition and antipathy between elected county elites and the remaining national administrative structures have allowed the violently extremist Al-Shabaab movement to expand and operate with relative impunity across large areas of the North East. Its attacks exposed security-service disarray and caused ... Read More »

Kafka in Turkey: Will Tariq Ali and Onur Erem be Prosecuted for Calling Erdogan a “Tinpot Dictator”?

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Tariq, I wanted to inform you that the interview we made with you after the Ankara massacre is under prosecution here in Turkey. The prosecutors office started an investigation claiming that “tin-pot dictator” is an insult against President Erdogan. They’re calling me for my defense within seven days. For now only I am under investigation but in the future they may start an investigation against you, as well. CounterPunch – by Tariq Ali From my experience, I can tell that the ... Read More »

Ageing activism: why we need to give voice to the new third age

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Ageing is capturing the attention of the Western World, but not in a good way. The doubling of the ageing population is often referred to as the grey tsunami and all that is implied by that metaphor – destruction and devastation. The Conversation Author: Ralph Hampson, Senior Lecturer, Health and Ageing, University of Melbourne Disclosure statement: Ralph Hampson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, ... Read More »

Terrorism can be beaten — but not by fighting

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When it comes to “fighting terrorism”, it seems to me that we, in the West, almost always get things exactly wrong. Independent Australia – David Donovan I mean, even the term “fighting terrorism” ‒ which we sometimes call the “War on Terror” ‒ is an oxymoron. Because as soon as we start fighting – or warring – then terror will inevitably ensue. And so, in the wake of the terrifying Paris attacks, you can hear the the drumroll of fear and ... Read More »

Disproportionate coverage of Paris attacks is not just the media’s fault

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The horrendous terrorist attacks in Paris and the resulting blanket media coverage have once again raised questions about the proportionality of news coverage when it comes to reporting deadly events. The Conversation Author: Folker Hanusch, Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology Disclosure statement: Folker Hanusch does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above. The ... Read More »

Paris attacks: can ‘the West’ survive, let alone win?

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In the aftermath of the co-ordinated terrorist attacks on Paris the urge to do something in response is understandably overwhelming. For want of something better to do when faced with an outrage of this sort, the default option is to bomb Syria. The Conversation Author: Mark Beeson is a Friend of The Conversation, Professor of International Politics, University of Western Australia Even though we cannot be certain at this stage that Islamic State was, in fact, the architect of these ... Read More »

Public transport systems ‘trapping’ commuters into paying more

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Lobbyists call on governments to improve public transport ticket systems. State transport departments are “bullying” commuters into paying fines in a “standover racket” within ticketing systems designed to “trap people” into paying more, transport lobbyists say. Kaitlin Thals News Reporter Victorian human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC told The New Daily that the Victorian government was raking in millions of dollars in revenue from the public transport myki card system, which he said was designed to “trap” innocent and unaware commuters. ... Read More »