Politics

Don’t panic: three myths about the North Korean threat

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The US has talked itself into Kim Jong-un’s trap of exaggerating how much power his rocketry gives him Joseph S. Nye Asia Times North Korea recently tested its Hwasong-15 ballistic missile, which reached an altitude of 2,780 miles (4,475 kilometers) during its 53-minute flight. Using a flatter trajectory could provide Kim Jong-un’s regime with the capability of hitting the east coast of the United States. Although it has not yet demonstrated a re-entry vehicle capable of surviving atmospheric friction, North ... Read More »

Why we must broaden the Brexit debate

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This is the type of moment that gave rise to the cliché – every crisis is an opportunity Denis Bradley The Irish Times It is foolish for Irish politicians to patronise Ulster unionists by claiming that the union is not endangered by Brexit negotiations. Keir Starmer, Labour’s spokesman on Brexit, took an opposite position in Westminster when saying “if the price of the prime minister’s approach is the break-up of the union and the reopening of bitter divide in Northern Ireland, then ... Read More »

We don’t need NZ’s meddling

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NEW Zealand’s new Labour PM Jacinda Ardern has a hide. Miranda Devine Her repeated offers to take some of the asylum seekers now causing trouble on Manus Island is just naive virtue-signalling. Adelaide Now Ardern should know that her meddling runs the risk of putting what Indonesia calls the “sugar” back on the table for people smugglers. The last time a Labor leader did that in Australia, 1200 people drowned at sea, and we are still dealing with the backlog ... Read More »

The GCC’s worst summit

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The future of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is extremely unclear six months into the bitter Qatar crisis. Khalid Al-Jaber Giorgio Cafiero  On December 4, Kuwait hosted the GCC’s annual summit, which marked the sub-regional organisation’s lowest point in its 36-year history. AlJazeera Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani attended, but absent at the summit were the Bahraini, Emirati, and Saudi heads of state. The summit fell apart within hours, underscoring theinternal damage within the GCC as a result of itsQatar rift. Looking ahead, the… The GCC’s ... Read More »

Powell to leave White House in early 2018

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Former Goldman Sachs partner Dina Powell, who joined Donald Trump’s administration last January as an adviser on women’s issues to Ivanka Trump and rose quickly to become deputy national security adviser with a heavy hand in Middle East issues, will be departing the administration early next… Annie Karni Politico “Dina Powell has been a key, trusted advisor in this administration,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Friday. “She has always planned to serve one year before returning ... Read More »

No Turkish President Had Gone to Greece in 65 Years. So Why Now?

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first Turkish president to visit Greece in 65 years when he arrived on Thursday and met with the Greek prime minister and president Iliana Magra The New York Times He immediately affronted his hosts by raising the prospect of changes to the treaty that defines their borders. On Friday, he repeated the same comments in Thrace, in northeastern Greece, home to the country’s Muslim minority, which Turkey has long referred to as a Turkish minority. ... Read More »

Political funding rules should not curb civil society bodies

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Law incorrectly classifies certain bodies as ‘third parties’ to election campaigns Deirdre Garvey The Irish Times As anyone paying attention to current affairs will be aware, there are very good reasons why we should all be concerned about the issue of outside parties seeking to influence the democratic election processes that we hold dear. However, it is increasingly clear to us in The Wheel that there is now a real risk that existing laws, designed to prevent such abuse in ... Read More »

Poland’s Macron? Morawiecki takes the helm

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Poland’s soon-to-be Prime Minister Morawiecki has two years until the next elections to show if he will go down as another Jaroslaw Kaczynski puppet or a modernizing force. Jo Harper The ex-banker has his work cut out for him. DW The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party – led by founder and head Jaroslaw Kaczynski – on Thursday picked Mateusz Morawiecki, currently finance minister, to replace incumbent Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. Two years after coordinating the election campaign that saw ... Read More »

Catalans Can’t Agree on What Independence Means

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But whatever it is, those seeking it are more committed than ever. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic BARCELONA — Alfred Bosch, a member of the Barcelona City Council from the left-wing, pro-independence Esquerra Republicana party, sees Catalonia’s referendum on independence in dramatic terms.“The legality of the whole process is not the main issue,” he told me when we met last month.“Was apartheid legal? Yes. Was it legitimate? No.” he continued. “Was the lack of women’s rights legal? Yes. Does that mean ... Read More »

Obama invokes Nazi Germany in warning about today’s politics

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Washington (CNN) – Former President Barack Obama urged voters this week to stay engaged in democracy, warning that complacency was responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany. Miranda Green  “You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we’ve seen societies where that happens,” Obama said at the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday, according to video of the event. “Now, presume there was a ballroom here in Vienna in the late 1920s or ’30s ... Read More »

Govt receives ExxonMobil funds to help fight Guyana-Venezuela border controversy; some contract details disclosed

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Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman on Friday confirmed that United States (US) oil giant, ExxonMobil, will help fund Guyana’s legal fees to settle the border controversy with Venezuela. Demerara Waves “Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is a sum and yes it is reserved to safeguard this country,” he said the same day that two local newspapers published a September 2016 letter by Finance Secretary, Dr. Hector Butts to the Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobind Ganga for the ... Read More »

China’s ‘Period of Strategic Opportunity’ in Mexico

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Beijing is looking to cash in on Trump’s rhetoric against Mexico and NAFTA As the Trump administration contemplates border wall prototypes and dissolving the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), China is taking a decidedly different approach to relations with Mexico. Margaret Myers Ricardo Barrios In recent months, Beijing has launched an unprecedented charm offensive south of the Rio Grande. The National Interest In addition to a series of new investments, and renewed talk of a bilateral trade pact, ... Read More »

Social media reaction: Arabs helpless and hopeless

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After US President Donald Trump ignored warnings from the international community and formally recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, some Twitter users focused on how Arabs contributed in the loss of Jerusalem. AlJazeera The status of the holy city is an extremely sensitive aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Israel claims the whole city its capital – following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan – Palestinians have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future… ... Read More »

Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis Enters a Dangerous New Phase

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The mass flight of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine State has created a humanitarian catastrophe and serious security risks, including potential cross-border militant attacks. ICG The international community should press the Myanmar government to urgently implement the Annan commission’s proposals, including as regards discrimination, segregation and citizenship. What’s the issue?  The response of Myanmar’s military to militant group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s (ARSA) August attacks has led to one of the most catastrophically fast refugee exoduses in modern times. More ... Read More »

Modern slavery to be targeted in new laws recommended by Australian parliamentary committee

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Australia needs a comprehensive suite of new laws to stamp out modern slavery, a Federal committee’s report today tabled in Parliament has found. Sarina Locke  ABC The report by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s inquiry was tabled in Parliament on the final sitting day for the year. It adds details to its earlier recommendations released in August. The committee recommended provisions for a mandatory supply chain reporting requirement that requires large businesses to report on… ... Read More »

Bank Indonesia declares bitcoin payment illegal

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Cryptocurrency’s volatility poses ‘huge risk’ to economy, central bank says Erwida Maulia Nikkei Asia Review JAKARTA — Indonesia’s central bank on Thursday said it had issued a new regulation prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies — including bitcoin — in the country, as their rising popularity has raised concerns over unwanted impacts on the economy. Bank Indonesia had for some time said that the use of cryptocurrencies ran contrary to Indonesia’s law mandating the use of rupiah in domestic transactions. The ... Read More »