Democracy

Russia: Government vs. Rights Groups

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The Battle Chronicle For the past four years, the Kremlin has sought to stigmatize criticism or alternative views of government policy as disloyal, foreign-sponsored, or even traitorous. HRW It is part of a sweeping crackdown to silence critical voices that has included new legal restrictions on the internet, on freedom of expression, on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and on other fundamental freedoms. An enduring, central feature has been the 2012 law requiring independent groups ... Read More »

Our democracy is more important than Facebook’s profits

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No one realised it at the time, but in 2004 a poison was created that is now spreading through and threatening the stability of democratic countries around the world. Lucy Battersby Brisbane Times The poison isn’t attacking government’s directly. Instead it infects the information flowing through society to the point that citizens are confused and misled away from making proper decisions. At its worst, this poison, this disinformation, prompts people to hunt down and hurt perceived enemies. Disinformation is spread ... Read More »

Avoiding World War III in Asia

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Democratic peace theory is both inspirational and aspirational—but at this moment in history it is of limited applicability. Parag Khanna The National Interest World War II still hasn’t ended, yet World War III already looms. When China and Japan agreed to normalize relations in 1945, it was stipulated that the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (a string of uninhabited rocks equidistant from Japan, China and Taiwan) would not be militarized and the dispute would be put off for… That future is here. ... Read More »

Curious link between world peace and gender equality

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Whatever comes of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s curious get-together in Singapore it brought a welcome focus: peace. Matt Wade Brisbane Times If the optimists are right the meeting has paved the way for “major disarmament” on the Korean peninsula over the next few years. But, even if that happens, how much more peaceful would the world really be? Sadly, not that much. An ambitious number crunching exercise by the Sydney-based international think tank, the Institute for Economics and… ... Read More »

Is South Africa Ceasing to be a Rainbow Nation?

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The Malaysian And Singaporean Examples Are nn Instructive Case Study A rainbow nation or a sectarian nation? South Africa’s former Apartheid regime was not a sectarian nation but rather a systematic socio-political system which effectively led to the presence of several nations built up on top of one another in a hierarchical fashion, all within the… Adam Garrie Eurasia Future Today, the suppression of the Palestinian nation by “Israel” and the suppression of Kashmiri Muslims by India are in fact ... Read More »

Liberal Party council votes to sell off the ABC and move Australian embassy to Jerusalem

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The Liberal Party’s peak council has voted almost 2:1 to privatise the ABC in a call that was swiftly rejected by cabinet ministers amid warnings it would be “total madness” to act on the call. David Crowe The Age The overwhelming vote at the party’s annual council in Sydney gained vocal support from conservative think-tank Institute of Public Affairs, which said the company could be sold or given to Australians who already own it. The vote came in a debate ... Read More »

Nicaragua crisis: Truce agreed after weeks of deadly violence

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Nicaragua’s government and opposition groups have agreed a ceasefire after weeks of violence that has left about 170 people dead. BBC A truth commission will also be established and international investigators allowed into the country. Friday’s peace talks in Managua were brokered by the Roman Catholic Church. The protests began on 19 April after President Daniel Ortega’s government imposed cuts to pension and social security programmes. The cuts were… Nicaragua crisis: Truce… Read More »

Action against Russian meddling cannot threaten our civil liberties

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The greatest threats to civil liberties often occur in the name of “national security.” Alex Baiocco The Hill History has shown that free political speech is almost always among the first rights to be curbed. In the ongoing debate surrounding appropriate remedies and responses to foreign election campaign interference, we must remain skeptical of any proposal that risks repeating this shameful history. This brings us to the Honest Ads Act. The bill’s sponsors in Congress are pitching their proposal as a… Action against ... Read More »

DR Congo: The Bemba Earthquake

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The ICC’s acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba comes at a critical point in DR Congo elections. President Kabila and his opponents will have to recalibrate strategies ahead of Bemba’s likely return. ICG Outside powers should keep pressing Kabila to stand down and allow opposition candidates to… What’s new? On 8 June Jean-Pierre Bemba, a charismatic Congolese leader and fierce rival of President Joseph Kabila, was acquitted by the International Criminal Court’s appeals chamber of a 2016 war crimes conviction. His likely ... Read More »

UN rights chief calls for major probe into Kashmir abuses

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The U.N. human rights chief on June 14 called for a major investigation into abuses in Kashmir, as his office released its first-ever report on violations committed by both India and Pakistan in the… GENEVA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he would urge the Human Rights Council, which opens a new session next week, “to consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry [COI] to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into… A COI is one of the UN’s highest-level probes, generally reserved for ... Read More »

An Autopsy: Why Liberalism Failed

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To hear a number of liberals themselves tell it, the United States has already abandoned liberalism—at least until the 2020 election returns history to its right path. Daniel McCarthy The National Interest Today, liberalism appears to be dying in much the same way that Soviet Communism did a generation ago. It is collapsing on its periphery, shedding its colonies and facing a crisis of faith at home. History has gone into reverse in the realm of the old Warsaw Pact, ... Read More »

U.S. expected to retreat from main U.N. rights forum: activists, diplomats

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GENEVA (Reuters) – Talks with the United States over how to reform the main U.N. rights body have failed to meet Washington’s demands, activists and diplomats say, suggesting that the Trump administration will quit the… Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alison Williams A U.S. source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the withdrawal appeared to be “imminent” but had no details. Diplomatic sources said it was not a question of if but of when the United States retreats ... Read More »

Grattan on Friday: The loners who lead, and trash, ‘personality’ parties

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Let the voter beware. We may be in a “celebrity” age but personality parties, based around a “name” implode, explode, or fizzle. In the last few years, we’ve seen them do all three. Michelle Grattan The Conversation On Thursday came the latest episode in the One Nation soapie, when senator Brian Burston announced he was leaving the party to sit as an independent. Pauline Hanson had effectively tossed him out… Only a couple of weeks ago, after their spectacular falling ... Read More »

EU parliament urges Commission to act against Poland

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Five of the main political groups in the European Parliament urged the European Commission on June 14 to open infringement proceedings against Poland and to take it to the European Court of Justice to stop planned judicial reforms. STRASBOURG – Reuters Hurriyet The call by the leaders of the center-right European People’s Party, the centrist Liberals, the Socialists and Democrats, the Greens and the Unified European Left follows criticism from Commission Vice-president Frans Timmermans, who has accused Warsaw of breaking EU obligations. Frustration with Poland is focused on ... Read More »

‘Democracy dies in darkness’

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Tasmanians call on Premier Hodgman to provide the community with information and answers to questions about conduct before and during the 2018 state election Amanda Sully Tasmanian Times A newly formed group is calling upon the Hodgman government to answer questions about the Liberals’ conduct before and during the 2018 state election campaign. The group brings together a number of Tasmanians seeking answers to specific funding and policy promises made during the election including: 1. Why did the Liberals hide ... Read More »

Liberals call on police to reopen Labor red shirts investigation

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The Coalition wants Victoria Police to renew its investigation into Labor’s 2014 red shirts rort and potentially pursue criminal charges against MPs named in the misuse of about $388,000 of public money. Adam Carey The Age Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton was grilled by Liberal MPs on Wednesday about why the police abandoned an investigation into Labor’s misuse of parliamentary funds to campaign in marginal seats in 2014. Mr Ashton said in parliament that police dropped the investigation in ... Read More »