Politics

Irish economy caught between overheating and Brexit, ESRI chief warns

Formulating budgetary policy extremely difficult given uncertain outlook, says chief economist The Irish economy is on a knife-edge, poised between “overheating” and a major Brexit-related downturn, the State’s chief economist has warned. Eoin Burke-Kennedy The Irish Times John McCarthy described the situation as “extraordinarily complex” and uncertain, saying it made forming budgetary policy extremely difficult. He said overheating could transform rapidly into “underheating” as a result of a cyclical downturn internationally, made worse by Brexit and trade tensions between the ... Read More »

Paul Keating pays tribute to ‘great friendship’ with Bob Hawke

Read former prime minister Paul Keating’s eulogy at Bob Hawke’s memorial service. When Bob invited me over to see him, the better part of a year ago, he and I were again joining the circle on the great friendship and partnership that drove the longest reform period in the country’s history. The Sydney Morning Herald Eight and a half years we were together and with a great cabinet we were able to give the country what it formerly never had ... Read More »

Hong Kong protests against extradition bill spurred by fears about long arm of China

The dramatic protests unfolding in Hong Kong evoke memories of the most sensational episodes of the country’s “umbrella movement” five years ago at the very same sites. Malte Phillipp Kaeding The Conversation At the end of the unprecedented 79 days occupation in 2014, demanding genuine universal suffrage, protesters vowed to be back. Few would have expected that it would be so quick and with such vengeance. A mass demonstration on June 9 was followed by protests three days later that ... Read More »

Chilling documentary exposes the grim truth behind China’s one-child policy

A horrific legacy of forced sterilisation, child abandonment and state-sponsored kidnappings has been exposed in a haunting new doco. Ben Graham News.Com.Au It wasn’t until acclaimed documentary-maker Nanfu Wang moved to the US and had a child of her own that she began to look at her upbringing in China in a whole new light. In a harrowing and deeply personal new documentary — One Child Nation — that’s screening at this year’s Sydney Film Festival, she describes the rush ... Read More »

The Keys to Restarting Nicaragua’s Stalled Talks

President Daniel Ortega’s government has released almost all political prisoners held since Nicaragua’s April 2018 uprising. ICG It should stay this course, honouring its other commitments to the opposition in national dialogue. International actors should promise consequences if the government drags its feet. Principal Findings What’s new?  A year after countering a civic uprising with lethal force, President Daniel Ortega’s government has reached agreement with Nicaragua’s opposition on two issues: releasing all political prisoners and strengthening citizens’ rights. Despite significant ... Read More »

Silenced.

Australian children are being placed in harm’s way by the legal structure designed to determine their best interests — the family law system. By Emily Clark and Heidi Davoren ABC James* says the earliest memories of his childhood involve being sexually and physically abused by his father. Also etched into his memory are the occasions he tried to tell someone what was going on and the system that didn’t believe him. James told his mother about the alleged abuse and ... Read More »

Italy passes law to fine people who rescue refugees at sea

Repeat offenders risk having boats seized Italy has passed a law to fine any boat rescuing refugees from sea up to €50,000 (£44,000), despite hundreds having died en route this year. Samuel Osborne Independent Those who repeatedly violate the law risk having their boats seized. The regulation also allows undercover police investigations of possible trafficking operations and approves electronic eavesdropping on suspected people smugglers. “I think we have approved a step forward for the security of this country,” said Matteo Salvini, Italy’s ... Read More »

Australia’s refugee policy is out of step with global standards and breaks international law: report

A world-leading research centre on refugee law says no one thought about how offshore detention of refugees and asylum seekers would end when it was introduced almost 20 years ago. Maani Truu SBS Now, a plan has been released to pave the way towards a more sustainable and humane future. The government needs to take several steps to bring Australia’s refugee policy in line with other countries around the world and to comply with its international obligations, a… The University ... Read More »

How did one of the safest cities in the world descend into violence?

Hong Kong (CNN) – Hong Kong is an extremely safe city. Darkened streets don’t harbor the same dangers that might be found in other major cities, but in recent years, simmering tensions over the city’s political future have created an underlying sense of unease. Analysis by James Griffiths, CNN While any metropolis of seven million will have some crime, violence is incredibly uncommon — around 2,600 violent crimes were recorded by police in the first four months of this year, ... Read More »

Why is the Strait of Hormuz so strategically important?

Explaining the economic and geopolitical significance of the key waterway out of the Gulf. The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s single most important oil passageway, forming a chokepoint between the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Al Jazeera The 39km strait is the only route to the open ocean for over one-sixth of global oil production and one-third of the world’s liquified natural gas (LNG). The maritime area is in the news following explosions that damaged two oil tankers just ... Read More »

Jurors refuse to convict activist facing 20 years for helping migrants

Jury could not reach a verdict against Scott Daniel Warren who was arrested in 2018 for giving migrants water, food and lodging Associated Press The Guardian A US jury could not reach a verdict on Tuesday against a border activist who, defense attorneys say, was simply being kind by providing two migrants with water, food and lodging when he was arrested in early 2018. Scott Daniel Warren, a 36-year-old college geography instructor, was charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor ... Read More »

Twenty years on, Balkans still seek settlement

Twenty years ago today, NATO troops entered Kosovo and ended its war with Serbia, paving the way for Pristina to declare independence. Pristina / Ankara Hurriyet However, two decades later, the guns are still silent but mistrust runs deep between the neighbors, which have never totally normalized their ties. Former Yugoslavian province Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after its ethnic Albanian fighters battled Serb troops in a war that cost 13,000 lives. Turkey recognized Kosovo on 18 February 2008, the very first ... Read More »

Reversing Israel’s Deepening Annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem

Israel is pursuing new ways of cementing its grip on occupied East Jerusalem, further enmeshing the city’s Palestinians while maintaining a Jewish majority within the municipal boundaries. ICG These schemes could spark conflict. The new Israeli government elected in September should set them aside. What’s new? Israel is advancing new policies to entrench its de facto annexation of most of occupied East Jerusalem. Moreover, depending on what coalition government emerges from forthcoming parliamentary elections, it could shunt the… Reversing Israel’s ... Read More »

A growing source of Canadian asylum-seekers: US citizens whose parents were born elsewhere

Jokes about moving to Canada became common among progressives in the United States during Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Sean Rehaag The Conversation When he won, a spike in U.S. citizens seeking information about how to relocate crashed Canada’s immigration website. I’m a scholar of Canadian immigration law and will soon become the director of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University in Toronto. My friends and colleagues in the United States, who still make those jokes, are often surprised ... Read More »

Turkey’s prestigious Army Aviation School commander was tortured by police

The commander of Turkey’s prestigious Army Aviation School (Kara Havacılık Okulu) was subjected to torture in police custody, documents obtained by Nordic Monitor have revealed. Abdullah Bozkurt Nordic Monitor Brig. Gen. Ünsal Coşkun, head of the aviation school at Güvercinlik Army Air Base in the Turkish capital, was beaten by the police and deprived of food for two days, according to his own testimony on… He was detained and arrested on charges of involvement in a failed coup on July ... Read More »

Australia’s asylum seeker policy history: a story of blunders and shame

We know very little about the kind of government Scott Morrison runs. Carolyn Holbrook The Conversation After beating Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop to the prime ministership in August last year, most commentators assumed Morrison was keeping the chair warm until Labor’s Bill Shorten won the 2019 election. Following the Coalition’s unexpected victory, it’s time to ask more searching questions, not only about Scott Morrison’s political values and policy aspirations, but about his prime ministerial style. Recent history suggests processes ... Read More »