Politics

First Democratic contender announces she’s running for president

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a sharp critic of big banks and unregulated capitalism, has entered the 2020 race for president, becoming the first major candidate in what is likely to be a long and crowded primary marked by ideological and… Doina Chiacu The Canberra Times Reuters, New York Times In an 8.30am email to supporters on New Year’s Eve — 13 months before the first votes will be cast in the Iowa caucuses — Warren said she was forming an exploratory committee, ... Read More »

‘It unnerved us’: John Howard admits he mishandled the High Court’s Wik decision

Former prime minister John Howard has admitted his government mishandled its response to the High Court’s Wik decision, saying it created the impression the government was “drifting” and… Stephanie Peatling The Sydney Morning Herald In December 1996, the High Court upheld a decision in a case brought by the Wik and Thayorre people of Queensland against the Queensland government. It decided that native title is not necessarily extinguished by the grant of a pastoral lease and that native title can co-exist ... Read More »

Howard govt feared slow Y2K bug preparations, cabinet documents reveal

Predictions of a chaotic IT collapse brought on by the Y2K bug had the Howard government fearing Australia was unready for the worst, previously classified documents reveal. Doug Dingwall Brisbane Times As the year 2000 approached, the federal government in 1997 took seriously the warnings that the new millennium’s arrival could play havoc with electricity, hospitals and traffic lights. The “millennium bug”, cast by some as a looming apocalypse, brought on hundreds of billions in estimated spending worldwide to avoid catastrophe. ... Read More »

Trump gives in to calls to slow down troop pullout from Syria

United States President Donald Trump has given in to pressure to slow down his planned troop pullout from Syria, permitting the US military four months to withdraw. PreesTV The New York Times reported the decision on Monday. Trump had initially given the American forces 30 days for the procedure. The American president had hinted at a more extensive pullout timetable earlier on Monday, tweeting about “slowly sending our troops back home.” Many military and Pentagon officials had sought to entirely change the president’s mind ... Read More »

In shutdown, national parks transform into Wild West — heavily populated and barely supervised

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. — The government shutdown has left America’s national parks largely unsupervised. No one is at the gate. No one is collecting a fee. Meghann Cuniff , John Waters and Joel Achenbach The Washington Post The visitor centers are closed. There are some law enforcement and emergency personnel on site, but certainly nothing as standard as a park ranger who can answer a question. People are streaming into the parks, enjoying the free access, but they’re finding trash cans overflowing ... Read More »

Coronation of King Rama X set for early May, Thai palace says

Elaborate ceremony to be held from May 4 to 6, Royal Household Bureau announces Asia Times A three-day coronation ceremony will be held in early May for Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Royal Household Bureau announced on Tuesday. The “new” king – who is 66 and known as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty – will be crowned in an elaborate ceremony to be held from May 4 to 6, it said in a televised announcement. “It’s a suitable time ... Read More »

Brazil swears in far-right President Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil has sworn in former army captain President Jair Bolsonaro, amid tight security. The far-right politician, an admirer of the country’s former military dictatorship, pledged to rid the country of “ideological ties.” DW Bolsonaro was sworn in as at president on Tuesday, promising to overhaul the country’s economy and bring about sweeping social change. An aficionado of US President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro rose to power on a pro-gun, anti-corruption agenda. Speaking in an address to the nation on Tuesday, Bolsonaro said, now ... Read More »

Archbishop of Canterbury urges openness in new year message

Justin Welby says country should try to overcome recent struggles and divisions Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The archbishop of Canterbury has urged the country to start 2019 in a “new spirit of openness towards each other” in an attempt to overcome the struggles and divisions of recent years. Justin Welby was delivering a new year message from Lambeth Palace, his London base. Acknowledging that the festive period can be stressful for some families – “sometimes we get on each other’s nerves” ... Read More »

Departing chief of staff John Kelly paints a dim portrait of Trump

Washington: A few months ago, a senior Trump administration official wrote a controversial anonymous oped in the New York Times that said forces within the administration were working to rein in President Donald Trump’s potentially damaging whims. Aaron Blake WAtoday / The Washington Post In an interview, Trump’s departing chief of staff, John Kelly, basically confirmed that’s exactly what has happened for the past two years. “In the phone interview [on] Friday, Kelly defended his rocky tenure, arguing that it is best measured ... Read More »

Turkey’s War on Christian Missionaries

The day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish prison, another Christian who had been living for nearly two decades in the country was detained by Turkish authorities, and told that he had two weeks to leave the country — without his wife and… Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The American-Canadian evangelist, David Byle, not only suffered several detentions and interrogations over the years, but he had been targeted for deportation on three occasions. Each time, he was saved ... Read More »

Australia’s unwanted refugees are living with ‘nightmares’ while building new lives in the US

While a passport seems like a commodity most of us take for granted, Faisal Parvez never had one — or a citizenship. Tasha Wibawa ABC He was born stateless as a persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. “The biggest dream I have in my life is to become a citizen anywhere on the planet,” he told the ABC. Mr Parvez is one of more than 445 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru who have been resettled in the United States ... Read More »

Colombia condemns alleged plot to kill president

Colombia‘s foreign minister on Dec. 29 condemned an alleged plot to kill President IvanDuque and said three Venezuelan citizens had been detained in possession of “weapons of war.” BOGOTA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “For several months there have been intelligence probes into possible attacks against the life of the president,” Carlos Holmes Trujillo said in a video on the ministry’s social media accounts. He added that three Venezuelans in possession of “weapons of war” had been captured in connection with such plots, without going ... Read More »

‘The world is diminished by the death of Amos Oz, it has narrowed down’

The writer David Grossman pays tribute to his friend, the Israeli novelist and outspoken peace campaigner Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The world has been “narrowed down” by the death of the Israeli literary giant Amos Oz, according to his close friend and fellow author David Grossman. “There will not be another Amos Oz, there was only one like him. You can say this about every human being, of course, but there was something unique about Amos,” Grossman told the Observer. “Those who appreciated ... Read More »

Congo to EU: Mind your own business

An election that’s been delayed for two years is about to be held, and the country has booted out the EU ambassador. Giulia Paravicini Politico KINSHASA — The message from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the EU was loud and not-at-all subtle. The African nation’s decision to expel the EU ambassador, Bart Ouvry, days before a long-delayed election, was done in public, humiliating fashion. On Thursday evening, Congo’s foreign affairs minister gathered the diplomatic community for a meeting in the capital, Kinshasa. ... Read More »

You can’t get public service ethics from bankers

When Matt Comyn, now chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank, was a slightly more junior bank executive, he had qualms and scruples about the bank’s shameful practice of selling virtually useless personal loan insurance to its… Jack Waterford The Canberra Times His then boss, Ian Narev told him to “temper your sense of justice.” Mr Comyn, the successor and protégé of Narev, apparently followed this advice. It wasn’t until about 10 months ago, after it was clear that the banking ... Read More »

Turkey would not allow US to inspect Russian S-400 missile systems: Official

A senior Turkish official says Ankara would not provide the United States with the opportunity to study the advanced Russian-built S-400 air defense missile system, regardless of strong opposition from Washington and… PressTV “Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has assured Russian Ambassador to Ankara Alexei Yerkhov that there are no talks that Turkey will give the United States the chance to inspect S-400 air… English-language Bloomberg news network, citing two sources, recently reported that Turkey had offered the US to survey the S-400 air ... Read More »