China throws sinking Brunei a lifeline

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Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah looks to Beijing for succor as his nation’s oil and gas reserves run dry Nile Bowie Asia Times Brunei’s ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, is in a race against time as his nation’s once deep stores of oil and gas rapidly run dry. While other foreign investors up stakes, China is giving the Southeast Asian sultanate a new lease on economic life. International banks such as HSBC and Citibank have recently ceased operations in Brunei in sight of ... Read More »

The only thing keeping Maduro in power is the opposition

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If Venezuela’s opposition really wants to remove Nicolas Maduro, it must unite behind renegade candidate Henri Falcon. Asa Cusack Al Jazeera Can anyone win in an illegitimate election? This is the big question in Venezuela today, as commentators and citizens alike debate whether to participate or abstain in upcoming elections, where one candidate, Henri Falcon, has defied the opposition coalition’s decision not to take part. In short, the answer is “yes”. Paradoxically, the very lack of legitimacy that undermines these elections has ... Read More »

Why Pompeo may not be good news for Ankara

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The diplomatic reshuffle in Washington may be the harbinger of a new era of further confrontation with Ankara. Yavuz Baydar The Arab Weekly Regardless of the rosy expectations of some, US-Turkey relations may enter a critical phase if CIA Director Mike Pompeo takes over the US State Department from Rex Tillerson. Pompeo and Tillerson have very little in common. Tillerson represented a “softer” American approach to issues and the notion that Washington needs to take its allies into account. Pompeo ... Read More »

Philippines’ Duterte urges other nations to quit ICC

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday urged other nations to follow his move to quit the International Criminal Court, which is examining his deadly drug war. Journal du Cameroun Duterte lashed out at the war crimes tribunal days after his government notified the United Nations of his decision to withdraw the Philippines from the Rome Statute which set up the court. “I said withdraw simply because to announce to the world, and I will convince everybody now who (is) under ... Read More »

UN backs ‘free, fair, credible’ July elections in Zimbabwe

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Vote will be the first big test for Emmerson Mnangagwa who became Zimbabwe’s president in November. Al Jazeera The United Nations has voiced its support for a plan to hold elections in Zimbabwe  in July. The elections, which have not yet received a specific date, will be the first big test of President Emmerson Mnangagwa who became Zimbabwe’s president in November after the military ousted Robert Mugabe, 93, who ruled for 37 years. A statement by UN Development Programme administrator Achim Steiner… UN backs ‘free… Read More »

Newsnight denial falls on deaf ears as BBC accused of ‘extreme bias’ over Russian Corbyn image

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The BBC has been accused of “extreme bias” after it featured a “Photoshopped” image of Jeremy Corbyn against the Kremlin skyline during a segment about escalating tensions between the UK and Russia on Newsnight, despite presenter Evan Davies’ attempts to justify its use. Jenn Selby BBC The Labour leader was apparently depicted wearing a Russian Bolshevik cap against a red-tinted backdrop of the St. Basil’s Cathedral while Ayesha Hazarika, former special advisor to Ed Milliband, and Corbyn ally Chris Williamson ... Read More »

Berlin 24/7: Why Berlin is so dirty

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Rotting food, cigarette butts, old furniture: these items litter the streets of Berlin — and reflect the mentality of the inhabitants of the German capital, thinks Gero Schliess. City cleaning efforts are laughable. Gero Schliess (ad) DW Each time when American friends of mine visit me in Berlin, they actually praise the city for its cleanliness. That’s when I start to pity my pals. If they seriously think that Berlin is clean and neat, what on earth do the streets look like in ... Read More »

Turkey Slams Europe Over Calls to End Syria Offensive

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ISTANBUL — Turkey has reacted furiously to the European Parliament’s motion calling for an end to Ankara’s military offensive in Syria’s Afrin enclave against a Kurdish militia. Dorian Jones VoA The motion cited concerns for the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in Afrin city under siege by Turkish forces for almost two months. But beyond the diplomatic haranguing, both the European Union and Ankara appear anxious to continue to work to rebuild relations. Speaking at his presidential palace, Turkish President ... Read More »

Australian Refugee Groups Slam Plan To ‘Cherry Pick’ White South Africans

Asylum-seekers look through a fence at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea March 21, 2014. Eoin Blackwell/AAP/via Reuters/File Photo ATTENTION EDITORS - FACES PIXELLATED AT SOURCE. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. AUSTRALIA OUT. NEW ZEALAND OUT.?

‘If we were going to take in any for a fast-tracked program, we’d take in Rohingyans or Syrians.’ Josh Butler HuffPost Refugee agencies have slammed the Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton’s eagerness to offer fast-tracked humanitarian assistance to white South African farmers, saying Australian has ignored asylum seekers and human rights abuses in its own backyard for years. Dutton, whose Home Affairs ministry includes oversight of immigration and refugees, floated the idea of “special attention” for white South African farmers, ... Read More »

Aung San Suu Kyi: lawyers seek prosecution for crimes against humanity

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Australian lawyers file private case against Myanmar leader over treatment of Rohingya while she attends summit in Sydney Ben Doherty The Guardian Lawyers in Melbourne have filed a private prosecution application against Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is in Australia, on charges of crimes against humanity. The private prosecution application faces significant barriers to proceeding – a universal jurisdiction prosecution in Australia requires the consent of the attorney general. Aung San Suu Kyi, who is state counsellor and ... Read More »

Lebanon-Israel maritime dispute: Rules of (diplomatic) engagement

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Thus far attempts to resolve the dispute have been unsuccessful, but while the challenge is clearly a difficult one, the situation is far from irretrievable if the parties practice restraint and resolve to settle their differences via diplomacy and dialogue. Roudi Barouti Annahar BEIRUT: Tensions between Lebanon and Israel are flaring once again, this time over the demarcation of their maritime border and, therefore, the rightful ownership of offshore oil and gas deposits. Thus far attempts to resolve the dispute ... Read More »

Why Britain must not set a deadline for everyone to speak English

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The British government should fix a date by which all residents in the UK should be able to speak English, says Louise Casey, who wrote a report for the government on integration in 2016. Petros Karatsareas The Conversation A common language, she argued, would help to “heal rifts across Britain”. Casey first recommended that the government promote the English language in order to tackle isolation and segregation in her 2016 report. That recommendation received support even from people who otherwise ... Read More »

Jeremy Corbyn defies critics and calls for calm over Russia

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Labour leader warns against ‘McCarthyite intolerance of dissent’ after nerve agent attack Heather Stewart and Larry Elliott The Guardian Jeremy Corbyn has defied critics in his own party and warned the prime minister against “rushing way ahead of the evidence” over the Salisbury poisoning, in what he called the “fevered” atmosphere of Westminster. The Labour leader used an article in the Guardian to urge the government to take a “calm, measured” approach – and warn against the drift towards a “new cold war” with… Corbyn ... Read More »

After the Rohingya crisis, Aung San Suu Kyi will come to the ASEAN summit with her reputation tarnished

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Two years ago, Aung San Suu Kyi led the National League for Democracy (NLD) into government in Myanmar amid a global outpouring of support and goodwill. Authors.. The Conversation When she arrives in Australia for this weekend’s ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, the welcome will be cooler, tempered by her government’s limited progress on a range of political and economic issues. In particular, concerns will be raised over the Myanmar military’s appalling treatment of the Muslim Rohingya, and Suu Kyi’s refusal to ... Read More »

Our authoritarian government has turned up the heat. But we can still fight back

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Australia’s accelerating militarisation and erosion of civil liberties must be resisted Scott Ludlam The Guardian There’s an old aphorism about the best way to boil a frog which holds that if that’s your thing, you sicko, you should turn the temperature up very, very slowly. Shock the frog with a sharp enough temperature increase and she’ll jump right out of the pot. Something similar applies, maybe, to the gentle stench of authoritarianism that now undeniably permeates Australian politics. Things that might… ... Read More »

Where have all the women gone? The Tories have a serious gender problem

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The latest findings on the gender imbalance among the rank and file memberships of Britain’s biggest political parties make for worrying reading – particularly for the Conservatives. Authors The Conversation Over-time comparison suggests that there are now fewer women belonging to the Conservative party than there were nearly a quarter of a century ago. The Tories have, in recent years, increased the number of women representing them in the House of Commons to 21% – an achievement that owes something ... Read More »