Politics

The Twists and Turns along China’s Belt and Road

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China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative could potentially transform relations with over 60 countries across Eurasia, Africa and beyond But to bring the concept to fruition, Beijing must overcome mammoth logistical obstacles, navigate fragile political situations and placate growing regional apprehension surrounding its ambitions. Michael Kovrig  ICG “The project of the century” is how Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi touted the Belt and Road Initiative to the world when addressing the UN General Assembly on 21 September. It was only ... Read More »

Stonnington council suspends staff after tracking them via phone records

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A Melbourne council is using mobile phone records to monitor its staff, sparking a bitter workplace dispute over “Orwellian surveillance” that could have implications for anyone using a phone provided by their employer. Cameron Houston and Chris Vedelago The Age City of Stonnington recently suspended four enforcement officers who it accuses of rorting ratepayers by claiming to have been at work, when phone records indicated they were outside the… The officers could face dismissal if the allegations are upheld. Three of ... Read More »

Catalan referendum: Riot police ‘fire rubber bullets’ at crowd as they block voters at besieged polling stations – latest news

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Police in riot gear fire rubber bullets at pro-independence activists 337 people were injured or bruised, according to Catalonian spokesperson Ballot boxes seized by police in referendum banned by Madrid Madrid appeals for “cooperation and respect” Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and seized ballot boxes from polling stations in Catalonia on Sunday as thousands flooded the streets to vote in an independence referendum banned by Madrid.  Hannah Strange, in barcelona  James Badcock, in madrid  Helen Nianias  Telegraph As the vote officially opened, scenes of chaos ... Read More »

Israel denies Turkish remarks on involvement in Kurd vote

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 1 denied Turkish remarks of covert involvement in Iraqi Kurdistan’s recent independence vote, reiterating however his “sympathy” for the Kurdish people. Agence France-Presse Hurriyet On Sept. 30, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Israel’s intelligence agency played a role in the Sept. 25 referendum, citing as proof the waving of Israeli flags during celebrations for the overwhelming “yes” vote. “This shows one thing, that this administration [in northern Iraq] has a history with ... Read More »

Only a partitioned island will bring the dispute between Turkish and Greek Cypriots to an end

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In one of its worst strategic decisions ever, the European Union (sadly, with UK acquiescence) had agreed that Cyprus should join the EU on 1 May 2004, whether agreement had been reached with the Turkish Cypriots or not Jack Straw * Earlier this summer the 11th international effort to strike a deal between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots was rejected by the Greek-Cypriot government – as every previous one has been. Independent So, whatever its terms, will the next, and the ... Read More »

US in direct communication with North Korea, after pressuring rogue state

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Beijing: The United States said on Saturday it was directly communicating with North Korea, seeking to start a dialogue with Pyongyang as its advancing nuclear and missile programs stoke fears of an armed confrontation. Reuters, The Washington Post and Adam Gartrell Brisbane Times  US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the disclosure about the communications during a trip to China and said it was important to find a way to reduce tensions with North… “We are probing, so stay tuned,” Tillerson ... Read More »

Brexit: Boris Johnson urges two-year transition time limit

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Theresa May is coming under fresh pressure over Brexit on the eve of the Conservative party conference Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has again intervened on Brexit, setting out four conditions he says are necessary. BBC Speaking to the Sun, Mr Johnson insisted any transition period after Britain leaves the EU should not last “a second more” than two years. Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Johnson’s position threatened a trade war with the EU, which could impact on jobs. The prime minister ... Read More »

US 45,000 refugee cap includes Aust intake

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The Trump Administration’s new 45,000 cap on refugees will include people resettled in the US under a deal struck with Australia This week more than 50 refugees who had been in limbo for years Manus Island and Nauru departed for a new life in the US. Lisa Martin, Australian Associated Press Herald Sun Up to 1250 refugees are expected to be resettled in the US. The US resettlement agreement was the subject of a heated phone call between Donald Trump ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia Must Prepare for the Post-Petroleum Order

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The jury is out on how far Mohammed bin Salman will go in steering reforms to liberate the innovation and productivity of younger Saudis Precisely because women and human-rights activists in Saudi Arabia have highlighted its past proscription as a symbol, the royal decree granting Saudi women the right to drive is no small matter. Mark P. Lagon  The National Interest And it surprisingly comes as the Saudi government has been enthusiastically embraced by a U.S. president who said—on Saudi territory—“We are not here to lecture” ... Read More »

Zuckerberg’s Preposterous Defense of Facebook

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Responding to President Trump’s tweet this week that “Facebook was always anti-Trump,” Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, defended the company by noting that Mr. Trump’s opponents also criticize it — as having aided Mr. Trump. Zeynep Tufecki The New York Times If everyone is upset with you, Mr. Zuckerberg suggested, you must be doing something right. “Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “That’s what running a platform ... Read More »

The Who, Where, and When of Secession

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National self-determination, the principle that US President Woodrow Wilson put on the international agenda in 1918, is generally defined as the right of a people to form its own state. Joseph S. Nye Project Syndicate The independence referendums in Iraqi Kurdistan and Catalonia are the latest examples showing why that principle is so often difficult to apply. CAMBRIDGE – This week, Kurds in northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence for the country’s Kurdistan Region. With some 30 million ... Read More »

Manus Island: PNG authorities stop refugees leaving centre to give evidence in compensation case

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Papua New Guinea authorities have stopped two refugees from Australia’s offshore detention centre on Manus Island from travelling to Port Moresby to give evidence in the Supreme Court. By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek ABC Behrouz Boochani and Aziz Adam were summonsed to appear in a compensation case against the PNG Government, which was found to have illegally detained the men on Manus Island between 2013 and 2016. But security staff at the island’s airport said the men did ... Read More »

Turkey agrees to ‘only deal with Baghdad’ over oil exports

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In a major U-turn, Turkey has agreed to solely deal with the central Iraqi government over crude oil exports, following a contentious secession referendum held by Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, the Baghdad government says. PressTV The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reported Ankara’s change of mode on Thursday, following a phone call between Abadi and his Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim. Yildirim “confirmed the support of his country on all decisions” taken by the Iraqi government, said the… ... Read More »

Donald Trump: US to slash refugee intake to 45,000

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The Trump administration has defended its decision to sharply curtail the number of refugees allowed into the United States to 45,000 next year, as global humanitarian groups decried the move and said the number was far too low. ABC The 45,000 cap, to be formally announced by President Donald Trump in the coming days, reflects the maximum the US will admit during the fiscal year that starts on Sunday (local time), although the actual number allowed could be far lower. ... Read More »

Young Australians are engaged in political issues, but unsure how democracy works

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Young Australians are engaged in political issues, but unsure how democracy works The importance of Australians having the knowledge and skills to participate as active citizens is always a prominent… Young Australians are engaged in political issues, but unsure how democracy works Zareh Ghazarian Jacqueline Laughland-Booy Zlatko Skrbis The Conversation But in the past few months, it has been at the forefront of public… Recently, the federal government announced significant changes to citizenship laws, which includes a tougher test. It ... Read More »

Australia launches $10m satellite program to help spy planes detect warships, asylum seeker boats

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Australia is building three new satellites that will conduct audio and visual surveillance for the Defence Force The Federal Government has given $10 million to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra space team to complete the project. By political reporter Stephanie Borys ABC Work on the first satellite is already underway and is scheduled for lift-off next year. The device, which is known as a Cubesat, is the size of a loaf of bread and weighs about four ... Read More »