Politics

James Ricketson’s family elated following Australian filmmaker’s royal pardon

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James Ricketson’s family has expressed joy and relief following the Australian filmmaker’s royal pardon after 15 months in a Cambodian prison on “outrageous” espionage charges. Fergus Hunter & Bevan Shields The Canberra Times Targeted by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s authoritarian government, Ricketson was sentenced in June to six years’ imprisonment. His relatives had feared the 69-year-old would not survive the harsh conditions. Ricketson has left his Phnom Penh jail and will soon be deported to Australia, possibly by Sunday. Fairfax ... Read More »

Mexico’s president-elect grounded for hours on commercial flight after he refuses to use luxury jet

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‘I would be ashamed to have a luxury plane in a country with so much poverty,’ says left-wing leader Adam Forrest Independent Mexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to uphold a promise to sell a luxury presidential jet, despite getting grounded on a commercial flight. Bad weather in Mexico City shut down the capital’s airport, forcing the recently-elected politician to wait on the tarmac with hundreds of other passengers for three hours. The left-wing populist has pledged to turn his presidential palace into a cultural ... Read More »

Major hurdles – and rewards – as China and Philippines try to forge deal to share South China Sea resources

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If the two sides manage to reach an agreement, an outcome that is far assured given the myriad political and legal complexities, it could radically alter the dynamics of a vexing geopolitical dispute. South China Morning Post Ahead of President Xi Jinping’s expected visit to Manila in November, the Philippines and China have taken a major step towards resolving their maritime disputes. Last month, the Philippine government announced the formation of a technical working group to iron out the legality ... Read More »

Ukraine’s two naval ships enter Russia’s exclusive economic zone off Crimea – FSB

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In line with norms of the international maritime legislation and in interests of security of the Russia, they are escorted by ships of the Coast Guard of the Federal Security Service’s Border Service. SIMFEROPOL, September 22 / TASS Two ships of the Ukrainian Navy have crossed into Russia’s exclusive economic zone off Crimea and are being escorted by ships of the Russian FSB Border Service’s Coast Guard, Crimea’s… “At the moment, two ships of Ukraine’s Navy – the Donbas command ... Read More »

Corbyn faces clash with Labour members over second EU referendum

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As the party gathers in Liverpool, is Corbyn’s promise to empower members coming back to haunt him? The Observer The Guardian Minutes after trouncing Owen Smith and winning his second Labour leadership contest in September 2016, Jeremy Corbyn promised to reward the mass membership that had backed him by giving them more power inside the party. “The participation is even higher, and my majority is bigger, and the mandate is very strong. So let’s use it to reach out,” he said. “With ... Read More »

Going Ballistic: A Key Missile Treaty Between Russia and America Is Dying a Slow Death

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The INF treaty has nonetheless saved the United States and Russia millions of dollars of military spending in the last three decades on developing redundant nuclear-apocalypse generating weapons. Sebastien Roblin The National Interest Though the treaty is obviously endangered by a rising tide of violations and loophole exploiting, one should hope its total collapse can be avoided so to spare everybody yet another expensive form of nuclear-arms… One of the arms-control treaties that is little understood is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear ... Read More »

Andrew Coyne: MPs wouldn’t need to cross the floor if a party leader wasn’t all powerful

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The more that candidates ran, and voted on, their personal views, the less it would matter whether they sat with one party or another. Andrew Coyne National Post What are members of Parliament? Are they mere standard-bearers for their party, obliged to vote the party line at all times? Or are they representatives in their own right, entitled to apply their own judgment to the issues of the day? On which understanding do voters elect them: party affiliation or individual ... Read More »

Is democracy dead? Please Explain: the new podcast

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Is Democracy Dead? – Please Explain – Episode 1: Today we’re launching Please Explain, the latest podcast from The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. And for starters – is democracy dead? Tom McKendrick WAtoday National editor Tory Maguire, chief political correspondent David Crowe and Nine’s political editor, Chris Uhlmann, get to the heart of the matter. Plus, we hear from former News Corp editor David Penberthy on the relationship between Rupert Murdoch and his editors. You can listen to the… Is democracy dead? Please… Read More »

Al-Shabaab Five Years after Westgate: Still a Menace in East Africa

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Al-Shabaab remains focused on recapturing power in Somalia, but it continues to plot attacks in Kenya and Tanzania – and perhaps in Uganda as well. ICG To counter the movement, East African states should eschew heavy-handed crackdowns and work instead to reduce its appeal to potential recruits. Executive Summary What’s happening? Five years after an attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, Al-Shabaab appears committed to striking targets across East Africa. Security crackdowns have blunted its capacity to stage regular assaults, but ... Read More »

Behind the breakdown of political consensus

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Across Western democracies, the social cohesion that once sustained political consensus has severely eroded. Nathan Gardels The Washington Post A new segregation is emerging as a combined result of the collapse of socializing institutions and the rise of polarizing practices. Mandatory military or civic service is gone in most liberal societies. Universal public education, in which all classes, races and ethnicities mingled, has been relegated to less well-off communities while those who can afford it receive a private education from ... Read More »

Europe’s two-faced migration reality

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Migration — like globalization — creates winners and losers. By MIGUEL OTERO-IGLESIAS Politico As European countries grapple with the backlash to immigration, it’s become clear that there’s a growing cognitive dissonance between the global elite and ordinary voters. Immigration has major benefits for both migrants and the host countries, but it’s important to remember that not everybody gains from the phenomenon. Like free trade and finance, migration creates winners and losers. If Europe’s political elite doesn’t come up with ways to compensate low-skilled ... Read More »

Far-right French leader Marine Le Pen refuses court-ordered mental health test after tweeting pictures of Isis executions

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‘I’d like to see how the judge would try and force me do it’, says former presidential candidate Chris Baynes The Independent French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has refused to undergo psychiatric examination that was ordered by a court after she tweeted graphic pictures of Isis violence. The National Rally leader told a judge to “try and force” her to undergo mental health evaluation, requested as part of an investigation into the dissemination of violent images. Ms Le Pen posted three graphic images ... Read More »

US imposes sanctions on China for buying Russian weapons

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The US has imposed sanctions on the Chinese military over its purchasing of Russian military jets and surface-to-air missiles. BBC It says such purchases contravene US sanctions on Moscow introduced over Russian actions in Ukraine and alleged interference in US politics. China recently bought 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles. Beijing has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US and its Western allies since 2014. Relations between the US and Russia deteriorated rapidly ... Read More »

A mogul and a PM’s fall

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It took several days for Malcolm Turnbull and Rupert Murdoch to set up a phone call in the middle of the week that gave Australia a new prime minister. David Crowe The Age The News Corp executive chairman had been in the country since Friday, August 10, when he flew into Sydney on the company’s Gulfstream jet, diverted from Canberra by the morning fog in the capital. This put Turnbull and his government on alert to watch for any shift ... Read More »

Yemen’s Hodeida Offensive: Once Avoidable, Now Imminent

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When the plan for consultations between Yemen’s warring parties, scheduled to begin in Geneva on 8 September, collapsed, the frozen battle for the Red Sea port of Hodeida resumed. Peter Salisbury ICG It could prove fatal for many of the millions already on the brink of starvation. Over the last two weeks, the latest attempt to set Yemen on the path to peace has collapsed, triggering what could become the bloodiest battle of a war approaching its fourth anniversary. In ... Read More »

Who Putin Is Not

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Falsely demonizing Russia’s leader has made the new Cold War even more dangerous. Stephen F. Cohen The Nation Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at Princeton and NYU, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.) This post is different. The conversation was… “Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds.” —Senator John McCain “[Putin] was ... Read More »