Politics

Democrats exploit GOP ethics woes in battle for the House

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Some longtime Republicans are dogged by ethical questions, and Democrats believe their seats are now within reach. ELENA SCHNEIDER and AUSTIN WRIGHT Politico Duncan Hunter’s Southern California district isn’t normally a serious target for Democrats. But a criminal investigation into allegations of campaign funds for personal use — including flying his pet rabbit across the country — isn’t exactly normal either. Hunter is one of a handful of House Republicans in ethical hot water that could put their typically safe seats at ... Read More »

Myanmar Tips into New Crisis after Rakhine State Attacks

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The Rohingya insurgent attacks that killed twelve Myanmar soldiers and officials and perhaps 77 of their own number is a serious escalation of a ten-month-old crisis. ICG They make implementation of this week’s recommendations to address Rohingya grievances from Kofi Annan’s Advisory Commission both harder and more urgent. In the early hours of 25 August, militants from Harakah al-Yaqin– a Rohingya insurgent group that now refers to itself in English as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – mounted coordinated attacks ... Read More »

Alex Salmond has backed independent Scotland to have own pound

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Alex Salmond has backed Scotland to have its own currency if it becomes an independent country. The former first minister has changed his position from ahead of the 2014 referendum when he proposed sharing the sterling with the rest of the UK. Russel Jackson The Scotsman That suggestion was rejected by the UK Government, but now, with the effects of Brexit, Salmond believes Scotland should have its own pound. At his Edinburgh Fringe show, Alex Salmond… Unleashed, he was joined ... Read More »

Turkey ‘Searching for Ways to Reconcile With Assad’ Amid Situation in Idlib

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Lately, Turkey has been actively engaged in contacts with regional states and allies, discussing the situation in Syria. Leading political observer Zeynep Gürcanlı, from the Sözcü newspaper told Sputnik Turkey that the attempt to alter foreign policy strategy and seeking a thaw with Damascus could be behind Ankara’s recent diplomatic efforts. Sputnik “Currently, perhaps the most significant steps have been made in the country’s [Turkey’s] foreign policy in terms of departing from the traditional 16-year political strategy  of the ruling the Justice and Development Party ... Read More »

Labour makes dramatic Brexit shift and backs single market membership

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Party opens clear divide with Tories, with support for free movement and paying into EU budgets for up to four years Toby Helm Political editor The Guardian Labour is to announce a dramatic policy shift by backing continued membership of the EU single market beyond March 2019, when Britain leaves the EU, establishing a clear dividing line with the Tories on Brexit for the first time. In a move that positions it decisively as the party of “soft Brexit”, Labour will support ... Read More »

50 years of hurt: Togo protesters vow to continue

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After years of government stalling, demonstrators are demanding electoral reforms, including the reinstatement of term limits. BY FARIDA NABOUREMA African Arguments On Saturday 19 August, shocking images of the bodies of protesters being carried on stretchers started flooding social media in Togo. That day, thousands of citizens had taken to the streets to demand democratic reforms and the restoration of the country’s 1992 constitution. Calling for change after half a century of rule by the Gnassingbe family, demonstrators marched to chants of ... Read More »

Washington lobbying firms receive subpoenas as part of Russia probe

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Lawyers for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, have issued subpoenas to several prominent Washington lobbying firms as the probe examines the finances of two former Trump campaign advisers, according to people with knowledge of the requests. Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger  The Washington Post The subpoenas asked the firms to answer questions and provide records regarding their interactions with the consulting firms led by Michael Flynn, a former national ... Read More »

Sudanese minister calls for normalisation with Tel Aviv

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The Israeli newspaper Haartez has welcomed statements made by the Sudanese Minister Mubarak Al-Fadil Al-Mahdi who expressed his support for the establishment of official relations with Israel, claiming that Palestinians are to blame for selling their land in the first place. Middle East Monitor Al-Mahdi, who is Minister of Investment in Sudan, stated during an interview with a Sudanese TV channel yesterday that there should be no objection to the idea of normalising relations with Israel, pointing out that this ... Read More »

Gillian Triggs labels Turnbull government ‘disgraceful’, accuses it of peddling ‘alternative facts’

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Gillian Triggs has unloaded on the Turnbull government, labelling its actions “disgraceful”, and accusing it of abusing executive power and manipulating the truth. Eryk Bagshaw The Age In her first public speech since stepping down as president of the Australian Human Rights Commission in July, Professor Triggs attacked Coalition government ministers for interfering with the judicial system and for destroying the integrity of Parliament by peddling “alternative… ” A culture of post-truth has allowed politicians and Parliament to reject evidence ... Read More »

Whatever happened to East Africa’s oil boom?

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Politics has been central to the progress, or lack thereof, in developing East Africa’s oil. And it will continue to be. Luke Patey African Arguments It was not long ago that East Africa was the shining frontier of the continent’s oil scene. Uganda sparked the rush in 2006 after wildcatters ventured deep inland and made Africa’s largest onshore discoveries in decades. And Kenya’s north­western Turkana region continued the run with new oilfields found in 2012. With crude prices averag­ing almost $112 per barrel ... Read More »

Governments that pay people smugglers should face legal action, Indonesia’s UNHCR rep says

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The UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) representative in Indonesia, Thomas Vargas, has warned people smugglers remain active in the region and said legal action should be taken against governments that make payments to smugglers. By Indonesia correspondent Samantha Hawley ABC An Australian official is alleged to have given six crew members $US30,000 ($37,000) to turn a boat carrying 65 asylum seekers back to Indonesia in May 2015. In an interview with the ABC, Mr Vargas said any nation that ... Read More »

Ditch bipartisanship and debate Australia’s defence and security, politicians urged

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Exclusive: Trump’s election threatens longstanding assumptions and turbulent times require return to an ‘adversarial’ democratic approach, new report argues Katharine Murphy Political editor The Guardian An Australian National University defence analyst says the world is entering the most difficult and dangerous period since the cold war, and Australian politicians need to openly debate defence and security issues, rather than strive endlessly for contrived bipartisanship. In a new report commissioned by the progressive thinktank the Australian Institute, Andrew Carr says Australian ... Read More »

Final Curtain for Venezuela’s Democracy as Parliament is Dissolved

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The Venezuelan government has dissolved the elected, opposition-led parliament and initiated de facto rule. Foreign governments and multilateral organisations should regard all government actions carried out in contravention of the 1999 constitution as invalid and press the government to take urgent steps toward the restoration of democracy. ICG On 19 August, Venezuela’s self-styled Constituent Assembly, installed two weeks earlier by the government of President Nicolás Maduro, announced that it was taking over the functions of the country’s opposition-led parliament, elected ... Read More »

Society Should ‘Filter’ Information Based on Moral Principles – Putin

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Society should by itself create a system of moral and ethical principles which would help filter information published by the media, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday. Sputnik  BAKALSKA KOSA (Sputnik) – Speaking about censorship at the 2017 Tavrida International Educational Youth Forum in Crimea, Putin said that only publication of information prohibited by law must be restricted, while other things must be “filtered” by society… This can be done only one way, through filtration by the means of the creative community itself. It would be right if society ... Read More »

China now patrolling Philippines sea, air space

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China now patrols Philippine seas and air space. Its coast guard controls entry into and the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal, 120 miles off Luzon. Jarius Bondoc The Philippine Star Paramilitary fleets increasingly are fishing in the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone. Warships venture close to Zambales and Mindoro in the West Philippine Sea. Chinese aircraft regularly confront Philippine flights to Pag-asa Island in Palawan’s Kalayaan Island Group. Maritime research vessels are exploring the Philippine western seabed as well as Benham ... Read More »

Decoding the Korean Peninsula Missile Rhetoric

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Fiery rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. adds risks to Korean peninsula tensions, but should not cause panic. Outside players should maximise the potential benefit of an established pattern of de-escalation in the fall. Christopher Green ICG They – and Pyongyang – should also back South Korea’s offers of dialogue. North Korea once again captured the world’s attention when it boldly warned that it is ready to fire missiles over Japan toward the U.S. territory of Guam. The unusually specific ... Read More »