Democracy

Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ nominated for Nobel prize

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Three Hong Kong activists and the pro-democracy group behind the Umbrella Movement have been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their role in pushing for reform in the Chinese territory. AlJazeera Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, as well as the “Umbrella Movement”, were nominated by a group of US Congress members for the prestigious prize, a move Beijing denounced on Friday as a form of “meddling” in its internal affairs. “This nomination could not be more timely as Hong Kong’s long-cherished ... Read More »

Senate crossbencher Lucy Gichuhi joins the Turnbull government in shock numbers manoeuvre

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Former Family First senator Lucy Gichuhi has defected from the crossbench to join Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government. Mark Kenny The Canberra Times The Kenyan-born lawyer had been voting as an independent following the dissolution of her previous party but will now sit as a fully-fledged Liberal Party senator for South Australia. The move, shrouded in secrecy for weeks but made public on Friday night, effectively restores the number the Coalition lost by the defection of Cory Bernardi, who had hoped ... Read More »

Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

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A submission was made to this inquiry by the councils for civil liberties across Australia (New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, South Australia Council for Civil Liberties and the Australian Council for Civil Liberties). Liberty Victoria Author: Joint Councils for Civil Liberties Submitted To: Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters This Bill is part of a major package of proposed legislation relating to national security and foreign intervention Foreign interference in democratic and ... Read More »

Science behind bars: How a Turkish physicist wrote research papers in prison

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Ali Kaya says he used science to stay sane during his incarceration Thousands of academics in Turkish universities stand accused of either having supported terrorism or the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016. Alison Abbott nature Theoretical physicist Ali Kaya is one of them. He was arrested three months after the failed coup and held for more than a year before his trial took place. On 20 December, a court declared him guilty of being a member of a terrorist ... Read More »

Kenya: Averting an Avoidable Crisis

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Kenya’s ongoing electoral standoff could be compounded further if opposition leader Raila Odinga proceeds with a “swearing-in” ceremony that might elicit a tough response from President Kenyatta. ICG To avert the risk of further protests, destruction and bloodshed, all actors should redouble efforts to broker a last-minute deal. Kenya’s political crisis could come to a head on Tuesday 30 January 2018. Opposition leader Raila Odinga is expected to stage a swearing-in ceremony as the “people’s president” after two contentious elections in ... Read More »

IPA joins forces with GetUp! to condemn ‘unprecedented and dangerous’ donations law

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The right-leaning Institute of Public Affairs has joined the Greens, charities and activist group GetUp! in slamming the Turnbull government’s “unprecedented and dangerous” bid to clean up the political donations… Michael Koziol The Age The think tank, which is often aligned with the Coalition on key policy questions, blasted the plan as unnecessary and excessive, arguing the legislation was so poorly drafted as to go “way beyond” its declared… Under the bill before Parliament, political parties, associated entities and all ... Read More »

Kennedy’s low profile to change with rebuttal to Trump state of the union address

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Boston: Joseph Kennedy III, an American politician with a very well-known name but relatively little prominence outside of his home state of Massachusetts, will deliver next week’s Democratic rebuttal to US President Donald Trump’s state of the union address. Scott Malone Brisbane Times Reuters The speech will be the highest profile appearance of the 37-year-old Kennedy’s political career, following his 2016 talk at the Democratic National Convention, where he introduced Senator Elizabeth Warren. He has been a member of the House ... Read More »

Is it illegal to call someone a Nazi?

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An American dropped the word “Nazi” during a spat at Frankfurt Airport. Police say it was directed at them and are suing her for slander. But in a country with freedom of speech, how can this be legal? Kathleen Schuster DW An angry American traveler found herself plunged into German legal waters this month after allegedly calling federal police officers “Nazis” during a dispute at Frankfurt International Airport. Police say the woman, a 49-year-old professor, became “unreasonable and irritated” when they told ... Read More »

Finland’s Marine Le Pen

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She hates the EU, cheered Brexit, supports Trump — and believes Finland needs her brand of populism. By REID STANDISH Politico HELSINKI — Of the eight contenders to be Finland’s next president, none stand out quite like Laura Huhtasaari. The candidate of the far-right Finns Party is an outlier in both style and substance. She won’t win Sunday’s presidential election but she’s using her time in the spotlight to push her party’s anti-immigrant, anti-establishment message. She hates the European Union, cheered ... Read More »

Turkey asks Twitter, Facebook, YouTube to remove posts on Afrin op

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The Turkish government requested that Twitter, Facebook and YouTube remove “damaging, objectionable, untrue and manipulative” content regarding its military operation in Syria. Ahval The companies are acting slowly, but responding positively to the government’s requests, an unnamed official told Turkish newspaper Habertürk. “If the damaging, objectionable, untrue and manipulative content are not removed immediately, it can be too late to stop it spreading to the masses,” the… “Therefore, we act quickly and… Turkey asks Twitter… Read More »

Editor: Erdogan urged attack on Turkish Cypriot newspaper

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) – The editor of a left-wing Turkish Cypriot newspaper on Monday accused Turkey’s president of instructing supporters to launch a violent attack against his publication’s offices over criticism for Ankara’s military offensive into Syria. WPXInews Sener Levent said his newspaper Afrika won’t be silenced in calling out Turkey’s policies either in the breakaway north of ethnically-split Cyprus or elsewhere. Dozens of Turkish flag-waving protesters smashed windowpanes and hurled stones, eggs and other items at Afrika’s first floor offices in ... Read More »

Inconvenient fact: Native title can only exist if Australia was settled, not invaded

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January is here and the invasion versus settlement debate is back making news headlines The Prime Minister wants to keep Australia Day as it is while the Greens are calling for the date to be changed Sherry Sufi * WAtoday We’ve all heard the generic talking points. Team ‘Invasion Day’ says 26 January is offensive to some Australians. Team ‘Australia Day’ says 26 January is a day for all Australians regardless. Yet there is a fundamental point which goes to ... Read More »

“Don’t let Afrin become another Kobane”

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Academics and international human rights activists launched a petition calling upon world powers to act against Turkish aggression against Afrin ANF The petition, signed by academics and activists like Noam Chomsky, Michael Hardt and Debbi Bookchin, called for prevention of further Turkish attacks on Afrin. The full text of the petition reads as follows: “We, the undersigned academics and human rights activists, insist that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and the U.S. ensure that the sovereignty of Syrian borders is ... Read More »

Jeff Flake’s 20 most damning lines about Donald Trump’s assault on the press

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(CNN) – Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake came to the Senate floor Wednesday with a simple message for Donald Trump: Stop attacking the media. Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large The speech, which Flake had previewed over the weekend, was the first of what the Arizona Republican has promised will be a series of addresses over 2018 aimed at noting the abnormalities of the Trump presidency. Critics have cast Flake as something of a sore loser — a Republican whose strong ... Read More »

Democracy has a future, if we rethink and remake it

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Consider Brexit, the election of US President Donald Trump, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s referendum, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of state-sanctioned murder and Hungary’s drift towards a new authoritarianism. Authors The Conversation “Democracy is dead,” say the disheartened. “It’s time to bury democracy,” pounds one Tunisian pro-Sharia party. “Democracy has fallen, we need a new game in town,” argue Vladimir Putin’s populist and Xi Jinping’s neo-authoritarian allies. These mantras, circulated widely through social media, have ricocheted around the world ... Read More »

Freedom House reduces Turkey’s status to ‘not free’ in annual report

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U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House has reduced Turkey’s status from “partly free” to “not free” in its latest annual report. Hurriyet The “Freedom in the World” 2018 report, published on Jan. 16, ruled that Turkey’s “political rights rating” had declined from 4 to 5 and its “civil liberties rating” had declined from 5 to 6. Specifically referring to the “deeply flawed” April 2017 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system, the report also blasted the mass dismissals of state ... Read More »