Democracy

Hostility towards minorities can be contagious

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If people act hostile towards other ethnic groups, they easily find imitators Max-Planck-Gesellschaft EurekAlert! Inter-ethnic conflicts often escalate surprisingly quickly. In a recent study, researchers have investigated the influence of the environment on peoples’ hostility against minorities with the help of experiments. They found that hostility towards members of other ethnic groups is much more often imitated than hostility towards co-ethnics. Whether in Bosnia, Liberia, or Rwanda, violent conflicts have suddenly broken out between… So far, there… Hostility towards minorities… Read More »

Dispersing refugees around a country puts them at an immediate disadvantage – why this matters for integration

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The estimated number of people worldwide displaced by conflict and violence reached an unprecedented 68.9m at the end of 2017. Francesco Fasani The Conversation A relatively minor fraction of these people have reached the European Union. Between 2014 and 2016, the 15 Western European members of the EU – known as the EU15 – received 2.6m asylum applications. Over the same three years, the resident population with recognised refugee status increased from one million to 1.8m. With refugee integration a ... Read More »

Emmanuel Macron and echoes of May 1968

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As France marks the 50th anniversary of the revolts of May 1968, Emmanuel Macron might get more than he bargained for. Instead of celebrating the occasion, the French president appears to be inadvertently recreating it. Elizabeth Benjamin The Conversation He has proposed a controversial higher education reform at a particularly inopportune moment, sparking major protests. May ’68 had a significant impact on French society, politics and culture. Beginning with student protests, civil unrest soon spread and took on a philosophical ... Read More »

In Lebanon’s Elections, More of the Same is Mostly Good News

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Lebanon’s elections yielded few surprises, says Crisis Group’s Lebanon, Syria and Iraq Project Director Heiko Wimmen in this Q&A. Hizbollah is slightly stronger and its main rival weaker. But the polls do represent a return to normalcy. Heiko Wimmen ICG Who won and who lost in the Lebanese elections? The 6 May elections readjusted the political balance but brought no fundamental change. As before, no government can be formed without Hizbollah. To be effective in government the Shiite Islamist movement, ... Read More »

New laws put Australia’s press freedom at risk

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According to the Human Rights Law Centre, federal national security laws must be “seriously reworked” to properly protect journalists, their sources and a robust Australian democracy. Melissa Coade LawyersWeekly Legal advocacy director from the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC), Dr Aruna Sathanapally, has argued that a free press should not be something that those in power merely tolerated. A free press was a vital mechanism of accountability, she suggested, and a robust democracy depended on it. “Journalists must be free ... Read More »

Enough is enough: s44 needs to go to a referendum as soon as possible

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It’s time for section 44 of the constitution to be put to the people with a view to amending what has turned out to be an outdated and cumbersome citizenship requirement that is out of step with who Australians are in the 21st century. Editorial The Canberra Times It is even out of step with who Australians were in the 19th century given any citizen of the British Empire, regardless of whether they had been born in New Zealand, Canada, ... Read More »

Sting in the tail of strict High Court ruling

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Time this week seems to be on the government’s side: the Treasurer on Tuesday handed out a budget that promised significant tax cuts, and a return to surplus, largely through a series of complex choices about timing. Rosalind Dixon Brisbane Times And the High Court ruled Wednesday that ALP Senator Katy Gallagher was incapable of being chosen for the Senate at the last federal election, because at the time she nominated as a candidate the UK Home Secretary had not ... Read More »

Libya’s Unhealthy Focus on Personalities

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The surprise electoral defeat of one Libyan leader and the hospitalisation of a rival show the error of relying solely on individuals to achieve national reconciliation in Libya. All sides in Libya’s conflict should focus instead on making institutions more representative and improving governance. ICG What’s new? Two events have shaken up Libyan politics: the election of Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Khaled Mishri as president of the Tripoli-based High State Council, replacing Abderrahman Swehli, who had held the post since 2016, ... Read More »

Spotting the political calculus behind some acts of corporate charity

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Over the past few years, I have teamed up with fellow economists Marianne Bertrande, Matilde Bombardini and Francesco Trebbi to look into one underappreciated way that businesses may attempt to influence politicians: corporate philanthropy. Raymond Fisman The Conversation We found that what we call “politically linked charities” get more money from corporate foundations in general. We also find that when politicians gain leverage on issues tied to a company’s interests, charities in their districts get more gifts from that company’s ... Read More »

Referendum ‘the only way’ to solve Australia’s citizenship crisis

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Liberal senator Linda Reynolds says there is no easy fix for section 44, which is ‘profoundly undemocratic’ Paul Karp The Guardian The Liberal senator who has spearheaded a six-month inquiry into how to fix the mess created by section 44 of the constitution has warned there is no easy fix as the Turnbull government ponders administrative options to fix the problems. Linda Reynolds, who chairs the joint standing committee on electoral matters, has told Guardian Australia there are “no easy ... Read More »

Donald Trump can unilaterally withdraw from treaties because Congress abdicated responsibility

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The constitution provided for the separation of powers to save us from autocrats. But the legislative branch undermined that. Russell Feingold NBC During this administration, everyone has to be alert and watching for potential misuses or abuses of power. Unfortunately, due to decades of executive aggrandizement and congressional acquiescence — coupled with judicial timidity — the ability to unilaterally withdraw the United States from every last treaty the Senate has ever ratified has been left solely in the hands of ... Read More »

Fury in France, Britain over Trump’s gun law speech

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Paris/London: US President Donald Trump caused anger in France and Britain by suggesting looser gun laws could have helped prevent deadly attacks in Paris in 2015 and linking knife crime in London to a handgun ban. Sarah White and David Milliken Reuters The Sydney Morning Herald In a speech to the National Rifle Association on Friday, Trump mimicked the shooting of victims in the Paris rampage and said if civilians had been armed “it would have been a whole different story.” ... Read More »

Clock ticking for Cyprus reunification

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Nobel Peace Prize winner F.W. de Klerk says Cypriots need to find a way to reconnect Former South African President F.W. de Klerk is a man who knows how to read the warning signs of history and he urges Cypriot leaders not to miss another opportunity to make peace before it’s too late. Charlie Charalambous Knews “Timing is important, sometimes the time is right for something to happen and if you don’t see the opportunity and use it, the window ... Read More »

Lawsuits present challenge for neo-Nazi Daily Stormer site

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Daily Stormer’s growing legal challenges come at a time of isolation and internal disarray in the US far right. Patrick Strickland AlJazeera A slew of lawsuits has compounded problems for the Daily Stormer, a widely read neo-Nazi websiteknown for its violent rhetoric and vocal support for US President Donald Trump. Along with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, former American University (AU) student Taylor Dumpson filed a federal lawsuit against Andrew Anglin, the Daily Stormer’s publisher, for allegedly launching a ... Read More »

As Israel turns 70, many young American Jews turn away

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Natalie Portman, the Oscar-winning actress, recently kicked off a massive storm of controversy when she pulled out of a prestigious award ceremony in Israel because, she said, she “did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu.” Dov Waxman The Conversation The response to Portman’s refusal to appear alongside Israel’s prime minister was intense. She was denounced by right-wing Israeli politicians. One labeled Portman’s decision as borderline anti-Semitic. Another suggested that her Israeli citizenship should be stripped. Born in Israel, ... Read More »

New Study Links African Conflict to Lack of Term Limits

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This week, Chad’s parliament voted to introduce a new constitution that will allow two more terms for President Idriss Deby, who has led the country since 1990. Salem Solomon VoA On May 17, Burundians will vote on a constitutional amendment that would enable President Pierre Nkurunziza, president since 2005, to stay in office an additional 16… And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a worsening humanitarian crisis unfolds while President Joseph Kabila refuses to step down, despite reaching the end ... Read More »