Democracy

What is the Future of the Media in Myanmar?

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Myanmar’s media is making progress, “two steps forward, one step back.” Edward Parker The Diplomat The media – once termed the “Fourth Estate” in society by British parliamentarian and philosopher Edmund Burke – plays a vital role in shaping democracy and open public discourse. Its role is particularly important in new democracies, as societies develop both economically and politically, with the people given the opportunity to think critically and vote in representatives of their choosing. The role of an open ... Read More »

Ironically, Erdogan has done exactly what the failed coup wanted to do in Turkey

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Some conspiracy theorists think Erdogan himself was behind the coup – indeed, that is Gulen’s contention. Yet the reality is more straightforward: he has seized an unexpected opportunity Pete Weatherby QC The Independent If President Erdogan is to be believed, last year’s failed coup in Turkey was an attempt by his erstwhile ally, Fethullah Gulen – a conservative Islamist like him – to overthrow the Government and do away with the Constitution and National Assembly. Gulen, it should be said, ... Read More »

FactCheck: are children ‘better off’ with a mother and father than with same-sex parents?

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Public campaigns for and against same-sex marriage have been heightened by the Turnbull government’s plan to conduct a $122 million voluntary postal survey asking the nation whether same-sex couples should be able to marry under Australian law. Jennifer Power Simon Crouch The Conversation Discussing his opposition to same-sex marriage during an interview on Sky News, Liberal MP Kevin Andrews said children who are brought up with a mother and a father “are, as a cohort, better off than those who ... Read More »

Why is Canada supporting Africa’s most ruthless dictator?

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September 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka News — After amending the constitution to be able to run indefinitely Paul Kagame recently won 98.63% of votes in Rwanda’s presidential election. Yves Engler Links In response Canada’s High Commissioner Sara Hradecky tweeted: “Congratulations to Rwandans for voting in peaceful presidential election” and “Canada congratulates Paul Kagame on his inauguration today as President of Rwanda”. The latter Tweet was picked up by the state propaganda organ ... Read More »

At democracy’s birthplace, France’s Macron dreams of EU 2.0

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ATHENS, Greece — Standing at a Greek site where democracy was conceived, French President Emmanuel Macron called on members of the European Union to reboot the 60-year-old bloc with sweeping political reforms or risk a “slow disintegration.” By Derek Gatopoulos and Elena Becatoros | AP The Washington Post Macron, on a visit Thursday to Athens, urged EU nations to carry out six-month national reviews on EU reforms before imposing them — signaling his distance with the German-backed approach based on fiscal discipline ... Read More »

Merkel Just Gave In To Erdogan’s Cries Of Populism

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By threatening to end Turkey’s EU bid, the German chancellor just signaled to members of her constituency that they’re politically expendable. Stefan Ihrig HuffPost HAIFA, Israel― German election TV debates are usually rather dull affairs compared to those in the United States. This election, there is only one ― German Chancellor Angela Merkel apparently did not feel like doing more ― and it took place over the weekend, just three weeks before the vote. On Sunday, Merkel and rival Martin ... Read More »

World must act to halt genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

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World must act to halt genocide of Rohingya Muslims in MyanmarPersecution of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s security forces has escalated to its worst level in years, becoming one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises. Editorial The Age So extreme is the systematic brutality against this stateless, downtrodden and demonised minority of 1.1 million people in a nation of 54 million, 90 per cent of whom are Buddhists, that the United Nations is suggesting it is tantamount to ethnic cleansing ... Read More »

Buddhism and State Power in Myanmar

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Extreme Buddhist nationalist positions including hate speech and violence are on the rise in Myanmar. Rather than ineffective bans on broad-based groups like the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion (MaBaTha), the government should address underlying causes and reframe the debate on Buddhism’s place in society and politics. ICG Executive Summary The August 2017 attacks by al-Yaqin or Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which the Myanmar government has designated a terrorist organisation, have pushed Rakhine state into renewed ... Read More »

Turkey Can Forget About EU Membership

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Turkey will never become a member of the European Union, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally said so in public. Michael J. Totten World Affairs Journal “The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU,” she said in an election debate with her opponent, Martin Shulz. “I’ll speak to my colleagues to see if we can reach a joint position on this so that we can end these accession talks.” The only thing surprising here ... Read More »

Kenya: A Historic Decision, A Tough Road Ahead

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Kenya’s Supreme Court decision to annul the 8 August presidential election is bold and historic, but the path ahead will be fraught. A successful rerun within 60 days will need compromise on a better electoral commission, more accountable policing and more effective management of the high-stakes vote. ICG The 1 September decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to annul the results of the 8 August presidential election and order a fresh vote was at once unexpected, historic, bold and – by ... Read More »

A new multilateral world without the US

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A global consensus is emerging without the US. Canada and other countries that rely on a liberal world order must reinforce key multilateral institutions. Colin Chia Policy Options Can multilateral cooperation keep the international order going with the most powerful country acting as dead weight? Canada is adopting a broad foreign policy posture that presumes the answer is yes. With the US taking a hard line in NAFTA negotiations and seeing the bilateral relationship in “win-lose” terms, upholding a broader ... Read More »

Colombia’s FARC rebels reborn as legal party

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Colombia’s FARC former guerrilla group has re-launched itself as the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, sealing its transformation into a leftist political party following its disarmament after a half-century civil conflict. Hurriyet The name controversially retains the same acronym and the revolutionary spirit of the communist guerrilla group, which fought a bloody 52-year campaign against the state before signing a peace deal last year. The party was set to hold a formal launch ceremony on Sept. 1 on Bolivar Square, near ... Read More »

Guatemala Stumbles in Central America’s Anti-corruption Fight

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Guatemala’s fight against corruption is in danger after President Morales attempted to expel the head of a uniquely effective UN-backed anti-corruption organisation. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Analyst for Guatemala Arturo Matute says a corrupt elite is waging a battle to maintain its privileged position. Arturo Matute ICG What is happening in Guatemala? A remarkable and hopeful two-year interlude in one of Central America’s most corrupt countries may now be ending. The key reversal came on Friday 25 August 2017, at a ... Read More »

Strangers R Us: Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is Bitter, Stupid And Counter-Productive

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If you think our society is ‘too soft’ on the vulnerable, you probably need to find another society, writes Sue Stevenson. New Matilda It’s apparently easy to persuade lots of people to be cool with their government treating others like criminals. All you need to do is wedge yourself in underneath the bitterness of their life, and then use it as a lever to fling them really hard into the idea that other people are getting an easy ride. That’s ... Read More »

Violent evictions of refugees in Rome reveal inhumanity of modern democracy

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“If they throw something, break their arm,” a police officer was overhead on video saying to anti-riot police on August 24 who were running after refugees and migrants near Rome’s central train station. Mariangela Palladino The Conversation The migrants were gathering there after police violently removed a group who had been occupying the city’s Piazza Indipendenza. Five days earlier, when around 800 Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants and refugees were forcibly evicted from a nearby squat on via Curtatone, some emptied ... Read More »

Defeated by high legal costs: the terrible injustice most of us could face

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It’s one of the most glaring gaps between theory and practice in our community, a huge disconnect between our democracy and our economy. A terrible injustice most of us could face. Everyone knows about it, but it’s rarely discussed. Ross Gittins Brisbane Times What is it? The prohibitively high cost of justice. We’re all supposed to be equal before the law, but you ain’t anything like equal if they can afford a lawyer and you can’t. The president of the ... Read More »