Democracy

When should you unfriend someone on Facebook?

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The nature and ethics of “fake news” has become a subject of widespread concern. Alexis Elder The Conversation But, for many of us, the issue is much more personal: What are we to do when a cranky uncle or an otherwise pleasant old friend persists in populating our news feeds with a stream of posts that can run deeply contrary to our own values? One option is to unfriend people who share material that conflicts with our values. But a ... Read More »

Geopolitics of Syrian Kurds and military cooperation with the US

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The survival and development of the revolutionary process in Rojava, i.e. of a new democratic perspective, has the big potential to change the mindsets of dozens of millions of people in Middle East. ERCAN AYBOĞA ANF How did the US end up supporting the Kurds in Rojava? Since October 2014 the Syrian Kurds and their non-Kurdish Allies have discussed military cooperation with the US-led Global Coalition against the “Islamic State” (IS). Towards the end of 2014, the mainly Kurdish People’s/Women’s ... Read More »

Dutch prime minister says more EU integration ‘not the answer’

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Mark Rutte’s speech was a direct challenge to the ideas of French President Emmanuel Macron MAÏA DE LA BAUME Politico AMSTERDAM — A “federal Europe” and “more integration” is not the answer to the EU’s problems, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a speech Saturday challenging French President Emmanuel Macron’s vision of a more integrated Europe. The Dutch prime minister — who was speaking at the annual congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) — ... Read More »

Alternative for Germany: Police and protesters clash over meeting

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Several people have been hurt in clashes between police and anti-fascist demonstrators in the city of Hannover Protesters were trying to blockade the far-right Alternative for Germany’s first conference since it entered parliament after September’s elections. BBC With temperatures near freezing, police used water cannon, batons and pepper spray to clear a path for the 600 delegates. One demonstrator’s leg was broken after he chained himself to a barricade. AfD won 12.6% of the vote in Germany’s federal elections in ... Read More »

UN votes 151-6 against Israel, an ‘occupying power’ with no rights to Jerusalem

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The UN passed six new resolutions against the Jewish state, including one denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem 151-6. United with Israel The United Nations General Assembly in New York passed six resolutions on Thursday affirming Palestinian rights and condemning Israeli violations of international law, Middle East Monitor reported. According to one resolution (‘Jerusalem’), “the Assembly reiterated that any actions by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and… UN ... Read More »

Gordon Brown: ‘Independence is impossible in a globalised world’

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Gordon Brown has warned against the rise of political movements demanding to ‘take back control’, claiming that independence is impossible in a globalised world. CHRIS MCCALL The Scotsman The former prime minister told an audience in Madrid they should heed the warning of Brexit – an event he feared would leave the UK “poorer”. His comments were viewed by some sections of the Spanish press as a reference to the hugely controversial Catalan referendum on October 1 organised by the ... Read More »

Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying About Trump Sabotage of Security Council Resolution Against Israel Settlements

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This morning, former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts with Jared Kushner to torpedo a United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements. Richard Silverstein CounterPunch These included lobbying the Russian ambassador to help in this campaign by delaying or cancelling a vote on the matter. Earlier today, I published a new column in Middle East Eye (MEE) which outlined the case against Kushner. Here’s how the Times laid out the… ... Read More »

Flynn’s Plea Raises New Questions About Whether Trump Obstructed Justice

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Before firing then-FBI Director James Comey, the president reportedly asked him not to prosecute the former national-security adviser. Adam Serwer The Atlantic  Former National-Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s plea deal in the Russia investigation raises new questions about whether the president sought to obstruct justice when he fired former FBI Director James Comey. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy,” President Trump told Comey in February, according ... Read More »

Come back David Cameron

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We don’t hear much from David Cameron these days. James Kirkup  He’s generally too busy. The Spectator He fills his time in many ways: writing a book; making bundles of cash; playing tennis; not taking the blame for Brexit. But he’s given an interview to the Financial Times about Alzheimer’s disease and the search for a cure. It’s worth a read, and not just because it’s an important subject. It’s also a reminder of what was lost when Cameron fled Parliament last ... Read More »

America the Banana Republic

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Thanks to Trump the tinhorn dictator and those who elected him, this country is no longer a beacon of freedom, but a laughingstock. Neal Gabler Moyers & company When people call Donald Trump an authoritarian, it almost gives him more credit than he deserves. You don’t think favorably of authoritarians; they are despicable. But you do think of them as monstrously large, grievously terrifying, as somehow taking the measure of the polity they control and drawing on its stature to ... Read More »

Australia still embraces multiculturalism but fracture lines are deepening

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Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion Report finds ugly discrimination is on the rise, and we no longer listen to political leaders David Marr Australia is a decent country where ugly discrimination is on the rise The Guardian We’re no longer listening when our leaders urge us to face down bigots in the interest of calm and good sense. Most of us embrace life in the new multiethnic Australia, but the constituency of those hostile to race is steadily growing. That ... Read More »

Is this Israel’s “most hated” man?

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Author and commentator Gideon Levy has been called both “the most hated man in Israel” and “the most heroic.” ABC LateLine While he describes himself as a “patriotic Israeli”, he’s highly critical of what he calls his country’s ‘moral blindness’ to its acts of war and occupation. Emma Alberici spoke to Gideon Levy ahead of his talk at the University of Sydney this week. Transcript Read More »

Opportunities and Challenges Await Kyrgyzstan’s Incoming President

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The inauguration of Kyrgyzstan’s new president on 24 November is a tribute to the country’s parliamentary democracy Deirdre Tynan  ICG But to overcome continued vulnerability, Sooronbai Jeenbekov must manage powerful southern elites, define the role of religion in society and spearhead reconciliation with Central Asian neighbours Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Sooronbai Jeenbekov will be inaugurated as Kyrgyzstan’s fifth president on 24 November, the victor of a tight, unpredictable, contested but ultimately legitimate election. The new leader, a loyal member of the ... Read More »

Venezuela: Hunger by Default

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Economic mismanagement, corruption and dwindling reserves have forced Venezuela into penury and now into missed payments and partial default on its debts ICG Full-scale, internationally supervised negotiations involving a restored parliament are essential to pave the way to a debt restructuring and a free, fair presidential election. What happened?  On 14 November, credit ratings agencies declared Venezuela in partial default on its foreign debt, after the country failed to meet a $200 million payment to bondholders. Why did it happen?  Economic mismanagement ... Read More »

With Robert Mugabe gone, Zimbabwe has another chance to achieve greatness

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Zimbabwe faces a monumental task to rebuild after Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign, which saw the country’s once-thriving economy completely collapse. Bruce Mutsvairo Brisbane Times Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday, which followed a November 15 military intervention to stop internal strife engulfing his Zanu-PF party, makes the task of reconstruction an urgent one. Some have already dismissed Zimbabwe’s business-minded new leader Emmerson “The Crocodile” Mnangagwa, who is due to be inaugurated as president any day now, but he should be given a ... Read More »

Uganda’s Slow Slide into Crisis

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Growing discontent threatens the dysfunctional and corrupt political system built by President Museveni, who is now manoeuvering to extend his three decades in power by raising a 75-year age limit on presidential candidates. ICG As security, governance and economic performance deteriorates, Uganda needs urgent reforms to avoid greater instability. What’s the issue?  Popular discontent is growing over President Museveni’s apparent desire to remain in power while governance, economic performance and security deteriorate. Why does it matter?  Uganda is not in danger of ... Read More »