Time for a concerted anti-death penalty campaign

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The Canberra Times – Editorial – Australia does not yet know when or whether Indonesia will carry out the sentence of death by firing squad imposed on two Australian nationals convicted of being involved in drug trafficking. But the omens are bad, and the indications are that the sentence will be carried out – and soon. Our prime minister, Tony Abbott, has ... Read More »

Mo Ibrahim prize: Namibia President Pohamba gets $5m award

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BBC - The outgoing Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has won the world’s most valuable individual award, the Mo Ibrahim prize for African leadership. The $5m (£3.2m) award is given each year to an elected leader who governed well, raised living standards and then left office. But the previous award was the fourth in five years to have gone unclaimed. Mr ... Read More »

Search for missing MH370 may be called off soon

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RT – Australia says the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may soon be called off, as no trace of the aircraft has been found since it disappeared over the Indian Ocean a year ago this week. “We clearly cannot keep searching forever, but we want to do everything that’s reasonably possible to locate the aircraft,” Australian Deputy Prime Minister ... Read More »

Israel targets rising critical opinion in Germany

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As celebrations kick off marking 50 years of diplomacy, an increasing number of Germans is expressing negative views. Yermi Brenner | Source: Al Jazeera Berlin, Germany - It is called “Israel Day” and it features lectures, cultural performances, open discussions in schools and universities, and even dance lessons with Israeli music. Israel Day has taken place in more than 20 cities throughout ... Read More »

Legal challenge for offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru

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The Abbott government’s offshore refugee policy is facing a new legal challenge that seeks to hold the Commonwealth legally responsible for conditions in its overseas detention camps because the decisions to open and operate them were made in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald – Chris Vedelago The Sunday Age understands the claim is an attempt to refute the government’s long-standing position ... Read More »

Male sexual quirks among the Ottomans

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In the days of the Ottoman Empire, pederasty-like relationships were common between pre-pubescent boys and bearded older men. Though today it seems homoerotic, the relationship had a deeper meaning according to the mystic Sufis and their search for God. Hurriyet – Niki Gamm “Your airs have turned my head! Say, who has brought you up so impudent? That stature by no ... Read More »

American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

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Avijit Roy, whose Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog championed liberal secular writing in the Muslim-majority nation, attacked along with his wife in Dhaka The Guardian - Agence France-Presse A prominent American blogger of Bangladeshi origin was hacked to death with machetes by unidentified assailants in Dhaka, police said, with the atheist writer’s family claiming he had received numerous threats from Islamists. The body ... Read More »

I can still hold my head high – but can my torturers?

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Last week, the Guantanamo Military Commissions vacated the bogus conviction that I have lived with for the past seven and a half years since my release from prison. It has been a long and very painful struggle for me and my family to finally clear my name. The Canberra Times – David Hicks Not only was I convicted of an invented crime in ... Read More »

The attack on Triggs is an Abbott stitch-up

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Australia is witnessing a political stitch-up of extraordinary proportions. Not by Professor Gillian Triggs and the Human Rights Commission, as the Prime Minister might wail and cry. No, it is clear what is going on. The Abbott government is cynically moving to de-legitimise certain institutions that perform vital roles in the democratic life of this nation. The Age – Editorial Its ... Read More »

We stand for mercy: Australia’s top legal minds sign petition calling for clemency for Chan and Sukumaran

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More than 140 of Australia’s leading law professors, deans and academics have signed a petition pleading with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to use his constitutional powers to spare the lives of the Bali nine pair, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Australians unite for mercy Comment: Bali nine case highlights the quality of mercy The Sydney Morning Herald – Anna Patty, Workplace Editor In ultimately ... Read More »