China to U.S.: It’s your fault we are in the South China Sea

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Trump may be trying a more assertive Pacific policy and China is having none of it By Emily Rauhala – The Washington Post AJC BEIJING — Beijing has a message for the Trump administration: the more ships you send to the contested waters of the South China Sea, the more we will bolster our presence there. The warning, delivered in a People’s Daily commentary published Monday, came days after the USS Hopper sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, ... Read More »

The Gang In Blue Is The Real Menace In Melbourne

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As politicians and media play racialised politics with the lives of Melburnians, Michael Brull urges people not to forget the history of the police in how we actually got here. Michael Brull New Matilda Ever since the Victorian Liberals started ramping up the demonisation of “African gangs” in Melbourne – with the Federal Racist in Chief Peter Dutton quickly joining in – the response of progressives has been critical, but partly defensive. The defensiveness has come in the form of ... Read More »

Emmanuel Macron: French would ‘probably’ vote to leave EU

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Undated BBC handout photo of President Emmanuel Macron of France, during a recorded interview at Sandhurst for the BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday January 21, 2018. See PA story POLITICS Brexit Macron. Photo credit should read: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

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The French President believes his country might also have quit the bloc if offered the choice in an referendum Greg Heffer SkyNews France would “probably” have voted to leave the EU if it had held an in/out referendum, according to the country’s leader. Emmanuel Macron attributed the UK’s decision to leave the EU to British voters’ loss of faith in globalisation and unrestricted free markets. The French President suggested there is “always a risk” with votes such as Britain’s 2016 ... Read More »

Why do names matter so much?

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When it comes to politics and international diplomacy, names matter. We know they matter because people are always changing them Two important addresses changed this week. Jonathan Savage BBC The Russian embassy in Washington found itself situated not on Wisconsin Street but Boris Nemtsov Plaza, named after a Russian opposition politician. And in Turkey, the embassy of the United Arab Emirates is now on Fahreddin Pasha Road. The Turkish situation was very 2018 in that it was the result of ... 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 »

The secret to Henry Kissinger’s success

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29:  Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee January 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the topic of global challenges and U.S. national security strategy.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Many think the retired diplomat’s closeness to one man — Richard Nixon — was the source of his power. That gets Kissinger dangerously wrong. By NIALL FERGUSON Politico About halfway through writing my biography of Henry Kissinger, an interesting hypothesis occurred to me: Did the former secretary of state owe his success, fame and notoriety not just to his powerful intellect and formidable will but also to his exceptional ability to build an eclectic network of relationships, not only to ... Read More »

They Were Bad. He May Be Worse.

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Historians have long looked to a few key criteria in evaluating the beginning of a president’s administration Sean Wilentz The New York Times First and foremost, any new president should execute public duties with a commanding civility and poise befitting the nation’s chief executive, but without appearing aloof or haughty. As George Washington observed at the outset of his presidency in 1789, the president cannot in any way “demean himself in his public character” and must act “in such a ... 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 »

Is America’s Alliance with Turkey Worth It?

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The most basic feature that the United States should expect from an ally is consistent, reliable behavior that benefits U.S. policy objectives. Ted Galen Carpenter The National Interest  Ideally, since America regards itself as a champion of democracy and freedom, an ally should embody those values as well, but Washington has never been a stickler for that standard. Indeed, the United States has a sordid history of collaboration with undemocratic, even odious, regimes when U.S. leaders believed that the relationship ... Read More »

China’s birth rate drops despite end of one-child policy

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China’s family planning commission has revealed the country’s birth rate dropped by 3.5 per cent last year, despite moves over the past couple of years to fully end the one-child policy. By China correspondent Bill Birtles, wires ABC There were just over 17 million new babies born in mainland China in 2017. While this is lower than 2016’s figure, it is still higher than the average number of births in the five previous years, the China Daily newspaper reported. The ... Read More »

Turkish troops shell Afrin to oust US-backed Kurdish militia

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Photo shows a portrait of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan from Afrin, along Syria’s northern border with Turkey (AFP) Al Arabiya AFP Turkey on Friday started shelling the Syrian town of Afrin held by a US-backed Kurdish militia that Ankara considers “terrorists” in a move to oust them, the defense minister said. The Turkish government has repeatedly warned that a full-scale operation against Syrian towns controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, including Afrin, is imminent after the ... Read More »

FYROM’s Zaev to discuss name push with Tsipras in Davos

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The name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will reportedly be discussed at a prime ministerial level in the next few days, reports from Skopje said on Friday. e kathimerini According to the tiny Balkan country’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the meeting will take place on January 24 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Even though Athens by late Friday had not confirmed the meeting, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras described the ... Read More »

Austrian far-right orders ‘border protection unit’

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Austria’s new far-right interior minister was quoted as saying on Jan. 18 that he has ordered the creation of a “border protection unit” in case of a major new influx of migrants, like the one in 2015. VIENNA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “A repeat of 2015 cannot be allowed to happen. Therefore I have given instructions for the creation of a border protection unit,” said Herbert Kickl, of the anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPOe). “The aim is to ensure an orderly ... Read More »

Britain and Italy to bolster troop presence in Africa’s Sahel

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Britain is set to send helicopters to bolster a key French counter-terrorism operation in Mali in a package of measures which are set to be agreed at a summit near London. LONDON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The commitment will come as Prime Minister Theresa May meets French President Emmanuel Macron at an army base near the British capital, with immigration and global aid also on their agenda. In a separate move, Italy’s parliament on Jan. 17 also approved a ramped ... Read More »

FYROM media reports UN mediator’s name proposals


A website in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Thursday published the five names it claims United Nations negotiator Matthew Nimetz brought to table in talks the previous day between representatives from Athens and Skopje. e kathimerini According to the website www.mkd.mk, Nimetz proposed: Republika Nova Makedonija (Republic of New Macedonia); Republika Severna Makedonija (Republic of Northern Macedonia), Republika Gorna Makedonija (Republic of Upper Macedonia); Republika Vardarska Makedonija (Republic of Vardar Macedonia) and… Skopje raised new… FYROM media ... Read More »

Angela Merkel’s Austrian frenemy

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Sebastian Kurz is the leader many German conservatives wish they had By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Angela Merkel pursed her lips and smirked. “Many people in your own ranks are excited about the Austrian chancellor, who is young, dynamic, direct, out of the ordinary,” a German journalist said to Merkel Wednesday as she stood next to Austria’s political boy wonder. “Is this the type of politician that’s missing here?” At 63, Merkel is twice as old as Sebastian Kurz, the new ... Read More »