Democracy

US Intelligence Community: Duterte is one of threats to democracy in Southeast Asia

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Democracy and human rights in the region remain fragile, report says By: Anthony Q. Esguerra INQUIRER President Rodrigo Duterte was listed as one of Southeast Asian leaders that pose a threat to democracy and human rights, according to the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community. The US Intelligence Community is a federation of 16 government agencies that work separately and together to conduct intelligence to support the foreign policy and national security of the US. Last Feb. 12, Daniel ... Read More »

Forced disappearances are on the rise as human rights violators cover their tracks

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It seems the global campaign to protect human rights has had an unexpected side-effect: governments are changing their preferred methods of getting rid of political opponents. Rodwan Abouharb The Conversation Fear of scrutiny has prompted governments to switch from brazenly killing their opponents to forcing them to “disappear” – leaving their fate unclear, and helping leaders avoid accountability for their actions. The majority of disappearance cases go unsolved – in the absence of a body, forensic evidence or even eyewitness ... Read More »

Malaysian court jails artist for clown caricature of PM

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A Malaysian artist and prominent opposition activist was jailed for a month yesterday for publishing a caricature of Prime Minister Najib Razak looking like a clown, a ruling likely to exacerbate concern about free speech. KUALA LUMPUR – Reuters Hurriyet Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy recently announced plans to amend a law to stamp out fake news, the latest step to broaden enforcement powers and penalties against online posts or content deemed detrimental to public order and security. Artist Fahmi Reza ... Read More »

Pat Dodson accuses Turnbull of ditching bipartisan constitutional recognition

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Labor senator ‘encouraged’ by poll finding majority support for Indigenous voice to parliament Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Pat Dodson has accused the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, of deliberately throwing out a bipartisan approach to Indigenous constitutional recognition, after a new poll that found 57% of voters — including 38% who typically vote for the Coalition — would support an Indigenous voice model. The Newspoll, published in the Australian on Tuesday, was the third to find majority support for an Indigenous ... Read More »

Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics

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Dunder-Mifflin as Troll Farm The Mueller indictment made public on Friday charges 13 Russian nationals with trolling the American electoral process to ‘sow discord’ by falsely representing themselves as American dissident personas. Rob Urie CounterPunch Once the field of presidential aspirants had been narrowed in 2016, their goal became to support Donald Trump’s candidacy while disparaging Hillary Clinton. There is no charge that the outcome of the 2016 election was changed by these actions. The form of the alleged conspiracy ... Read More »

Turkey is following footsteps of Russia and China in policing diaspora

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Erdogan’s purge is a threat to Turks living abroad and, more dangerously, to the rule of law everywhere. Transnational repression is increasingly woven into the fabric of the international order Francis Ghiles The Arab Weekly The globalisation of travel and finance and the spread of instantaneous communication, notably through social media, benefit civil society and woven links that encourage broad dialogue across borders. What is less often commented on is that countries have been handed useful and cheaper ways of ... Read More »

Lukov March: Far-right supporters rally in Bulgaria

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Sofia, Bulgaria – More than 1,000 far-right supporters have rallied in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, to pay tribute to a fascist general with close ties to Nazi Germany. by Mariya Petkova Al Jazeera “Lukov March” is organised every year by the Bulgarian National Union (BNS) to mark the death of Hristo Lukov, a 1930s defence minister and an ultranationalist leader who was assassinated by a communist group in 1943. Shouting slogans such as “Freedom or death!” and “All communists to court! Bulgaria is ... Read More »

Poland is trying to rewrite history with this controversial new holocaust law

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Anyone suggesting that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust could face fines or even imprisonment of up to three years under a controversial new law approved by president Andrzej Duda. Svenja Bethke The Conversation The law makes it illegal to accuse the Polish nation of having taken part in the atrocities and the systematic mass murder of the Jews committed by the Germans during World War II. Initially, the law was designed to criminalise the use of the phrase “Polish ... Read More »

Theresa May warns EU not to block post-Brexit security deal

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Theresa May has warned EU leaders that public safety will suffer if they allow “political doctrine and ideology” to hamper post-Brexit security arrangements. BBC The prime minister said she wants a new partnership of unprecedented “depth and breadth” when the UK leaves the EU. In a speech to the Munich Security Conference she said this would require “real political will”. New security arrangements have yet to be negotiated for after Brexit. The prime minister said that “rigid institutional restrictions or ... Read More »

Registered independents may soon outnumber Republicans on California’s voter rolls

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As the June 5 primary election approaches, Democrats still dominate California’s voting rolls and the percentage of independent voters continues to rise, according to new figures provided by the secretary of state’s office. Phil Willon LA Times Just shy of a quarter of the state’s voters now forgo any party label, registering as “no party preference,” a slight increase from last year. If the trend continues, as expected, California’s pool of independent voters could soon surpass the number of Republicans in ... Read More »

Turkey sentences journalists to life in jail over coup attempt

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Sentencing over alleged role in failed putsch condemned as showing disregard for rule of law A Turkish court has sentenced six defendants, including three prominent journalists, to life in prison over allegations of involvement in a 2016 coup attempt, drawing fierce condemnation from the UN and press freedom advocates. Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul The Guardian The convictions followed a months-long trial during which the prosecution alleged that the journalists sent “subliminal messages” via TV appearances and newspaper columns urging the overthrow ... Read More »

In long-secular Turkey, sharia is gradually taking over

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Over the past few weeks, Turkish officials have broken with decades of precedent in what is still, at least nominally, a secular republic: they have begun describing the country’s military deployment in Syria as “jihad.” By Soner Cagaptay The Washington Post During the first two days of the operation, which began on Jan. 20, the government’s Directorate of Religious Affairs ordered all of Turkey’s nearly 90,000 mosques to broadcast the “Al-Fath” verse from the Koran — “the prayer of conquest” — ... Read More »

Be realistic – demand the impossible: the legacy of 1968

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The events of May 1968 in Paris and then France more generally still resonate as a graphic illustration of the potential for relatively peaceful and wealthy societies to explode in spontaneous anger. Simon Tormey The Conversation May 1968 was not an uprising against tyranny or manifest injustice of a kind that animated the civil rights movement. Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings quickly gathered momentum in a manner that almost defies explanation. Part ... Read More »

Alex Salmond blasts ‘shameful’ repeal of Offensive Behaviour at Football Act

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Alex Salmond has slammed political opponents who voted to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act The controversial act, which was piloted by Salmond in 2011 was scrapped at Holyrood in January through a Member’s Bill. Angus Howarth The Scotsman However Salmond blasted those that voted to repeal accusing them of political point-scoring over principles. MSPs voted 65-61 to repeal the Act in January in a move that Salmond dubbed ‘shameful’. He said: “It is totally shameful. It is perfectly ... Read More »

Capitalism isn’t an ideology — it’s an operating system

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Bhu Srinivasan researches the intersection of capitalism and technological progress. Today’s TED Talk Instead of thinking about capitalism as a firm, unchanging ideology, he suggests that we should think of it as an operating system — one that needs upgrades to keep up with innovation, like the impending take-off of drone delivery services. Learn more about the past and future of the free market (and a potential coming identity crisis for the United States’ version of capitalism) with this quick, ... Read More »

Churches unite to propose Religious Freedom Act

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Major submission to Ruddock panel calls for a new legal “right” John Sandeman Eternity A wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches have spoken with one voice to the Ruddock panel on religious freedom, whose call for submissions closed today. They have received 13,500 submissions: “I think it is safe to say that people are concerned about religious freedom,” says Michael Kellahan, executive director of Freedom for Faith (FFF), a Christian legal think tank. The federal government has set ... Read More »