Democracy

COP24: Swedish teen activist tells world leaders they are ‘behaving like children’

Fifteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has spoken at the COP24 summit. Nick Baker SBS A Swedish teenager who inspired students around the world to walk out of their classrooms over climate change inaction has slammed leaders at a major UN summit. Fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg travelled to Katowice, Poland, for the COP24 talks and delivered a speech on Monday to UN leader António Guterres and other decision-makers at the conference. “We are facing an existential threat and there is no time ... Read More »

Our politicians are bickering on the edge of the Brexit abyss

Let the chronicles of this turbulent time record how the prime minister and the leader of the opposition agreed that Britain should leave the European Union, so they argued instead about which channel should host an argument between them. Rafael Behr The Guardian Theresa May wants to defend her Brexit deal on the BBC; Jeremy Corbyn prefers to attack it on ITV. It is the perfect culmination of British politics since the referendum: a confected row over a piece of theatre to ... Read More »

Protest is a school for democracy

Children are citizens, not mere citizens-to-be. They have political views that deserve an audience. Kei Nishiyama Brisbane Times “What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament last week. His pronouncement was a reaction to a school students’ strike against government inaction on climate change all over the country. The young protestors had said: “We are school kids temporarily sacrificing our education in order to save our futures from dangerous ... Read More »

Behind closed doors, Labour inches closer to a second referendum

In a Commons tearoom, the shadow cabinet made a decisive move towards shifting its strategy on Brexit Toby Helm The Guardian Last Wednesday at 2.30pm Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet gathered as usual in the Norman Shaw North wing of the House of Commons for their weekly meeting. Tea and plain biscuits were served – and the mood was serious to the point of being almost sombre. Particularly so, initially, because discussion focused on a disturbing report on poverty in the UK ... Read More »

The Pentagon Doesn’t Know Where Its Money Goes

The military finally submits to an audit, and the results are poor. The Editorial Board The New York Times After decades of ducking the legal requirement that it undergo a thorough financial audit, the Pentagon finally opened up its books to 1,200 outside accountants and analysts. The report was recentlycompleted, and here’s the good news: The Army Corps of Engineers (most of it, anyway) and the Military Retirement Fund passed the audit. The bad news: The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and most other ... Read More »

Under far-right pressure, Europe retreats from UN migration pact

Populists seize chance to put favorite issue on agenda ahead of EU vote, causing ructions among governments. Eline Schaart Politico A previously obscure 34-page, jargon-filled document is causing political convulsions across Europe — even though it’s not even legally binding.   Italy this week became the latest in a string of European countries to say it would not sign the U.N.’s Global Compact on Migration at a ceremony in Marrakech in just under two weeks. From the Netherlands through Belgium and Germany ... Read More »

Six Steps to Make the Most of the U.S. Senate’s Yemen Vote

By an unexpectedly large margin, the U.S. Senate voted on 29 November to move ahead with a bill to end U.S. involvement in the Yemen war. ICG Crisis Group calls on the key actors to seize this opportunity to suspend the fighting and… The U.S. Congress is notoriously reluctant to take tough decisions on matters of war and peace, which makes the Senate’s 29 November vote on the conflict in Yemen all the more remarkable. The Senate voted by a ... Read More »

Prominent Chinese photographer taken by police in Uighur region: wife

Beijing: Lu Guang’s photos exposed the everyday realities of people on the margins of Chinese society: coal miners, drug addicts, HIV patients. WAtoday AP Now, the award-winning photographer is at the centre of his own stark story. He was taken away by state security agents three weeks ago for unknown reasons, Lu’s wife, Xu Xiaoli, told The Associated Press. Xu said Lu was traveling in Xinjiang on November 3 when she lost contact with him. He had connected with photographers in ... Read More »

Mexico’s New President Squares Up to High Hopes for Peace

On 1 December, Andrés Manuel López Obrador will assume Mexico’s presidency. He won pledging to end a drug war that has killed tens of thousands. Falko Ernst ICG But, as Crisis Group’s Mexico Senior Analyst Falko Ernst argues, he faces formidable challenges that will make it hard for him to uphold his promises. What are the main challenges facing López Obrador? Andrés Manuel López Obrador inherits several deepening crises. The first is crime: at least 200,000 people have been killed ... Read More »

Bill passed: ACT integrity commission to start work next July

The ACT will have a new integrity commission operating from July next year, covering politicians, public servants and government contractors, after more than two years of inquiries and political negotiations came to fruition on Thursday night. Daniel Burdon The Canberra Times Despite all parties being close to finding common ground on many of the measures proposed in the government’s final bill, debate went on into the night on Thursday as MLAs negotiated more than 100 amendments on the floor. The ... Read More »

Liberals need to give up on the merit myth

Julia Banks announced her decision to quit the Australian Liberal Party yesterday. While unfortunate, it is hardly surprising. Shivani Gopal The Canberra Times It’s the result of what happens when parliament and politicians fail to represent the people they serve and cling to the myth of meritocracy. Banks is not buying it anymore and neither should the Australian people. Only a few months ago Banks announced that she would not recontest her Melbourne seat at the next election, citing a ... Read More »

Report of the Independent Commission for Sustainable Equality | 2019-2024

Report Join our visionary call to action for a radically different Europe, detailed across over 100 policy proposals to be pursued by progressive forces during the next term from 2019 to 2024, and embedded in a radically different approach to European governance built on a new Sustainable Development Pact! Annexes Topics Equitable society Ecological Transformation as a Social Lever Transforming Governance Sustainable Financing for Transformation ..Progressive Society… Read More »

US ambassador clashes with Warsaw over media freedom

Government efforts to rein in critical media lead to a confrontation with Washington. By MICHAŁ BRONIATOWSKI Politico WARSAW — The U.S. ambassador to Poland tangled with the country’s right-wing government over an American-owned TV station that has fallen afoul of the ruling party. Polish media released a picture of a letter sent by Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (whose name was misspelled), warning the government to lay off efforts to prosecute journalists at the TVN24 news channel, owned by ... Read More »

Through confusion and panic, Ukraine digests what martial law will mean

Increased security around ports and stations already being reported, but consequences for ordinary Ukrainians are unclear Oliver Carroll Independent A day after the Ukrainian parliament voted to introduce martial law across 10 border regions, there was little clarity about what it would actually mean in practice. With parts of the government on different pages, and the introduction of measures that could cover most aspects of life, even family, some areas of the country bordered on panic mode. In the southern city of Odessa, there ... Read More »

Trump’s tariff tactics could make no-deal Brexit work for Ireland

Security exemption in WTO rules could enable tariff-free cross-Border trade David Singh Grewal, Richard Tuck The Irish Times It is widely agreed, on both sides of the Irish Sea, that a no-deal Brexit would be bad for Ireland. The UK’s Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, has even claimed that “no deal” would mean a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, which in turn could end the Common Travel Area agreement between Ireland and… But, surprisingly, when World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules ... Read More »

The case for a new corruption watchdog is strong, but questions remain

Ask some in the federal public service, and watchers in academia, and they’ll tell you the case for a new, overarching national anti-corruption watchdog is weak. Editorial The Canberra Times Their arguments can be sweeping and carelessly naive. Countries with less perceived corruption than Australia don’t have a national integrity commission, so nor should we. Never mind the fact many are smaller nations, and all carry different political systems, histories, spreads of wealth, economic bases and bureaucratic architecture. And forget ... Read More »