Democracy

Keep calm – the Top Guns of Brexit have got our backs

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Here’s hoping the EU negotiations can be fixed with a little psychopathic machismo. Because the Tories are awash with it. Marina Hyde The Guardian Barely two weeks after Russian phone pranksters taped him being indiscreet, I see Boris Johnson’s been the victim of another leaked recording. Speaking at a private dinner for Conservative Way Forward, the foreign secretary asked his audience not to panic during the coming Brexit “meltdown”, warned we may not get the Brexit we want, and… Secret recordings are the… ... Read More »

Increasing the Stakes in DR Congo’s Electoral Poker

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A moment of waning international attention has led some in President Kabila’s camp to revisit the idea of an internationally-opposed third presidential term. Nairobi/Brussels ICG African and Western leaders must maintain unity, redouble efforts to dissuade Kabila from pursuing this course and ensure preparations for elections in 2018 continue apace. What’s new? Allies of President Joseph Kabila suggest increasingly overtly that he could seek a third term in office; international actors, led by Angola, firmly reject that idea. Meanwhile, preparations ... Read More »

NATO welcomes ceasefire with Taliban, calls for peace talks

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed on Thursday Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban, and he called on the militants to lay down their arms and negotiate a peace… “The announcement of a ceasefire shows the seriousness of President Ghani and the Afghan government … I call on the Taliban to join the ceasefire,” Stoltenberg told… “The Taliban will not win on the battlefield. The only way for them to achieve a solution is to ... Read More »

Countering the Challenge of Closing Civic Space

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Since 2012, 72 countries around the world have passed more than 144 pieces of legislation restricting civil society, according to a new report exploring how donors can effectively support civic space. Wendy Williams ProBono The report, Effective Donor Responses to the Challenge of Closing Civic Space published by The International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), set out to examine what can be done to respond to and counter the closing civic space challenge more effectively. It revealed there had been ... Read More »

Israeli Parole Board Denies Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi Early Release

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Board says Tamimi, imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier, lacks remorse and remains dangerous Yotam Berger Haaretz A parole board has rejected a request by Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who received an eight-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting an Israeli soldier, for an early release. The Shin Bet security service issued an opinion in the case opposing her release. “The statements she has made about the case indicate her radical ideology, [and] along with the security situation in the ... Read More »

Zimbabwe: Lack of Reform Risks Credible Elections

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President Mnangagwa Should Act on Pledge for Free, Fair Vote (Harare) – The Zimbabwe government’s failure to carry out legal and electoral reforms threatens the credibility of national elections scheduled for July 30, 2018. HRW Despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s repeated promises that elections will be free and fair, the ability of voters to freely choose their leaders is in serious doubt. Human Rights Watch research in May, including interviews across the country, found that security force involvement in the electoral ... Read More »

Bangladesh body count mounts; group urges U.N. action to stop drug war

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DHAKA/MUMBAI (Reuters) – The death toll in a Bangladeshi “zero tolerance” crackdown on drugs has risen to 140, with about 18,000 people arrested, the government said on Thursday, as a group of activists urged the United Nations to step in to stop the… Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the anti-narcotics campaign in early May to tackle the spread of methamphetamines but the killings have raised fears among rights groups of a bloody Philippine-style campaign to wipe out… “In a manner… ... Read More »

The epic story of a 97-year-old Palestinian freedom fighter

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Born in 1921, Abu Nihad remembers the toughest battles against Zionist militias after the British left Palestine. Zena Tahhan AlJazeera Sur Baher, occupied East Jerusalem – In the village he defended from Zionist militias 70 years ago, Muhammad Mahmoud Jadallah is celebrated as a “blessing”. Born in 1921, the 97-year-old, known as Abu Nihad, witnessed the unfolding of what has been dubbed by some as “the world’s most intractable conflict”. He is one of the few Palestinian men who fought against ... Read More »

EU faces Poland test

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Law and Justice party (PiS) and twin brother of late Polish president Lech Kaczynski (unseen), his co-workers and supporters attend a ceremony marking the sixth anniversary of the presidential plane crash in Smolensk, in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, on April 10, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / WOJTEK RADWANSKI        (Photo credit should read WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The showdown with Warsaw is about more than the rule of law. It’s about the bloc’s very identity. Paul Taylor Politico PARIS — The European Union has a last chance in the next few weeks to stop Poland from emasculating its justice system by forcing dozens of Supreme Court judges into early retirement and packing the courts with government supporters. It must not blink. This is not just about preserving the rule of law in the largest of the ex-communist member countries ... Read More »

The Presidential Fight over War Powers Could Strip the Constitution of Its Value

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The Trump administration is trying to render Congress irrelevant on matters of war and peace. That would be a big mistake. Daniel R. DePetris The National Interest In the late evening of April 13, 2018, President Donald Trump delivered a brief statement to the nation announcing that the U.S. military—in partnership with its French and British allies—launched a… The strike was designed to send a warning to Bashar al-Assad that any additional chemical attacks on the battlefield would elicit a ... Read More »

Religious freedoms should include spiritual beliefs too

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Nearly a third of Australians at the last census checked “None” when asked about their religion, up from 19% in 2006. What many people might not realise is that while some “Nones” are indeed atheists or agnostics, a substantial percentage do have faith. Jeremy Patrick The Conversation It’s just not in mainstream religion as we generally understand it. The number of people identifying as “spiritual but not religious” appears to be rising in the western world. A 2017 McCrindle report ... Read More »

How we could revive faith in democracy

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How much is our disillusionment with politicians, governments and even democracy the result of our pollies’ 30-year love affair with that newly recognised mega-evil “neoliberalism”? Ross Gittins Brisbane Times To a considerable extent, according to Dr Richard Denniss, of the Australia Institute, in the latest Quarterly Essay, Dead Right. I’m not sure I’m fully convinced by his argument, but it’s a thought-provoking thesis that’s worth exploring. Like “globalisation” in the 1990s, neoliberalism has become the all-purpose political swearword of the ... Read More »

Trump’s Nixonian Moment has Arrived

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Trump just had his Nixon moment. In asserting via a tweet that he had the power to pardon himself President Trump veered into the direction of Richard Nixon who said to David Frost in the famous 1977 interviews that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal, ” or he was aping Nixon from a 1973 press conference when the latter declared “I am not a… David Schultz CounterPunch In either case, Trump’s tweet shows increased ... Read More »

Labor and Coalition agree on espionage laws that critics fear would ‘criminalise’ journalism

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Sources say agreement struck between members of joint parliamentary committee on intelligence and security Michael McGowan The Guardian The major parties have agreed to changes to proposed foreign espionage laws that critics have warned would “criminalise” investigative journalism. The Guardian understands that, after months of negotiation, a bipartisan agreement on the controversial foreign espionage bill has been reached between members of the joint parliamentary committee on intelligence and… The recommendations of the… Labor and Coalition… Read More »

Northern Ireland abortion debate LIVE: ‘We don’t protect women by criminalising them’, MP Stella Creasy says

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MPs from all sides call for legal reform to give women right to choose Benjamin Kentish anf Peter Stubley Independent MPs are debating lifting the Northern Ireland abortion ban after Labour backbencher Stella Creasy was granted permission for an emergency debate. The motion relates to repealing the Offences Against the People Act, which initially outlawed abortion. It follows the Republic of Ireland’s referendum on abortion, which saw 66 per cent of voters back lifting the ban in that country. The three-hour debate could culminate ... Read More »

Norwegian PM to UK: Why would you want our EU deal?

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‘It’s quite frustrating to find the way through and find solutions’ for Brexit, the prime minister added. By ANCA GURZU AND JAMES RANDERSON Politico The prime minister of Norway asked why the U.K. would want a relationship with the EU that’s similar to the one her country has with the bloc. Supporters of a soft Brexit often cite a version of the “Norway model” — with close regulatory alignment with Brussels and membership of the single market — as a less economically damaging ... Read More »