Humanity

Russia Should Go Beyond Humanitarian Corridors in Syria

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Russia’s proposal for humanitarian corridors for Eastern Ghouta and Rukban camp have little chance of mitigating suffering there. Sam Heller ICG Instead, Moscow should push for a negotiated resolution of Eastern Ghouta through UN Security Council Resolution 2401 and secure normal aid agency access to Rukban, thereby enhancing its credibility as a mediator. Syria’s civilians have suffered tremendously through the country’s seven years of conflict. Now, as the Syrian government and its allies prepare to retake Damascus’s Eastern Ghouta suburbs, ... Read More »

Bangladesh sees failure in Rohingya repatriation

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A senior Bangladesh cabinet minister has accused Myanmar of obstructing efforts to repatriate roughly 750,000 Rohingya refugees, saying it was unlikely the displaced Muslims would ever return to their homeland. DHAKA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Finance minister A.M.A Muhith said the repatriation deal signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh in November would likely fail despite his government’s official stance that the refugees must eventually go back. “I do not believe the Rohingya can be sent back,” Muhith, an outspoken minister from ... Read More »

A Hidden Face of War

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The impact of conflict is rarely seen through the prism of reproductive health. Isabelle Arradon ICG Yet women and girls routinely face sexual and gender-based violence during war and its aftermath, maternal mortality is endemic in conflict-affected areas and amplifying women’s voices is critical to removing risks to their well-being. A few years ago, a woman in her sixties outside Banda Aceh in Indonesia told me about the rape and other torture she had endured during the conflict between the ... Read More »

Israel passes law to strip residency of Jerusalem’s Palestinians

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Palestinians slam new ‘breach of loyalty’ legislation as ‘extremely racist’ and a violation of international law. Al Jazeera The Israeli parliament has passed a law that allows the minister of interior to revoke the residency rights of any Palestinian in Jerusalem on grounds of a “breach of loyalty” to Israel. The bill, ratified on Wednesday, will also apply in cases where residency status was obtained on the basis of false information, and in cases where “an individual committed a… Under the new… Israel ... Read More »

Australia turning out to be the biggest meddler in the US election

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Remember when President Trump had his first conversation with Australia’s prime minister and, inexplicably, the conversation turned into a slam-down-the-receiver fight? Moica Showalter American Thinker Maybe Trump knew something. The ostensible issue at the time was refugees and a stanky little deal President Obama made for America to take in Australia’s high-risk illegal refugees from Islamic hellholes who had paid smugglers to bring them to… The illegal entrants were being awarded for their illegality with American residence and citizenship, something they will ... Read More »

Why the gun debate needs to move away from simplistic ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’

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In the lead-up to the Tasmanian election, one issue proved particularly incendiary. Right before the vote on Saturday, the incumbent Liberal government was accused of having a hidden plan to “water down” the state’s gun laws. Dr Samara McPhedran The Conversation Much was made of the long-running Firearms Consultative Committee’s perceived role in shaping the policy. Suddenly, the Liberals were cast as being in cahoots with the “gun lobby”, leaving only Labor and the Greens to stand up against that ... Read More »

A Guide to Let Go of Your Perfectly Good Things

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Finding our lives under everything we own is more than clearing away just junk. Often it requires removing good quality things. Note: This is a guest post from Zoë Kim of Raising Simple. BecomingMinimalist Expensive things. Useful things. Admired things. Fancy things. It means letting go of perfectly good stuff in order to pursue something more meaningful. I began de-owning my excess six years ago. My husband deployed frequently and we had two children under five. I was spending more time doing something with our stuff ... Read More »

How we came to be so cruel to those seeking asylum in Australia

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If you had predicted 30 years ago that Australia would create the least asylum seeker-friendly institutional arrangements in the world, you would not have been believed. Robert Manne The Canberra Times In 1992 we introduced a system of indefinite mandatory detention for asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Since that time, we have accepted the idea that certain categories of refugees and asylum seekers can be imprisoned indefinitely; that those who are intercepted by our navy should be forcibly returned ... Read More »

Should you send a text or email? Here’s some advice from Aristotle

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Suppose you want to get in touch with a friend. Once, your options for doing so might have been sparse: pick up the phone or write a letter. Alexis Elder The Conversation But these days, you have to decide: Should you call or text, use Snapchat, or reach out on Twitter, Messenger or Skype? Other considerations, whether it’s an old friend or new acquaintance, or whether you’re asking a favor or checking in, as well as your own conversational tendencies ... Read More »

Steven Pinker Continues to See the Glass Half Full

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Book Review Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress By Steven Pinker Optimism is not generally thought cool, and it is often thought foolish. Sarah Bakewell The New York Times The optimistic philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote in 1828, “I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.” In the previous century, Voltaire’s “Candide” had ... Read More »

Microsoft president Smith: World must ‘wake up’ to benefits and perils of artificial intelligence

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Citing the enormous power of artificial intelligence to benefit but also disrupt society, Microsoft President Brad Smith on Thursday, March 1, called for standards of accountability and a “Hippocratic oath” among technologists to do no harm with the emerging tools. Steven Schultz Princeton University “Will we ensure that machines remain accountable to people? Will we ensure that the people who design these machines remain accountable to other people?” asked Smith, a Princeton University alumnus and trustee, speaking to a packed audience ... Read More »

The Syrian ‘hell on earth’ is a tangle of power plays unlikely to end soon

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Once again, unfortunate civilians are trapped in the “hell on earth” that the Syrian civil war has become. Mehmet Ozalp The Conversation This time it is the turn of the 400,000 residents of Eastern Ghouta, ten kilometres east of the capital Damascus. Latest reports put civilian casualties at 520 and thousands wounded under the heavy assault launched by President Bashar al-Assad’s ground forces supported by Russian air strikes. It seems conditions in Syria are getting worse, and there is no ... Read More »

922 cases of war crimes documented in Turkish attacks on Afrin

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A group of lawyers documented 922 cases of war crimes since the beginning of Turkey’s invasion attacks against Afrin on January 22. ANF A group of lawyers in Afrin held a press conference to release the information about war crimes committed by Turkish state. According to the statement, Turkish army and Al-Qaeda affiliated gangs committed 922 war crimes and all of these have documented by canton officials in Afrin. Here are some highlights from the report released by… 922 cases ... Read More »

After finding freedom, this former slave is now homeless and hungry

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Migrant returns home to brutal reality Benin City, Nigeria (CNN) – Dressed casually in slim-fit jogging pants and a T-shirt and sporting a trendy haircut, 21-year-old Victory looks like many of his peers in Nigeria. By Lillian Leposo, Nima Elbagir and Dominique van Heerden, CNN But one thing distinguishes him from the crowd: Victory is a former slave. CNN first met Victory last October, just days after he was rescued from traffickers in Libya and the most appalling conditions imaginable. Lying on the floor of ... Read More »

The Formal Economy as Patriarchy: Vandana Shiva’s Radical Vision

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To achieve economic equality, activist and author Vandana Shiva says we need to recognize the value of women’s work and start counting production, not just profits. Jumana Farouky NewsDeeply LONDON – In the middle of a conference ringing with the latest development lingo, Vandana Shiva cuts a lonely figure. Anti-“empowerment,” anti-“jobs,” and anti-“formal economy,” she rejects many of the narratives that are usually used to promote the cause of women’s advancement. Yet she’s come to the Bond conference on international development in London to ... Read More »

Why does the UK deport North Korean asylum seekers?

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The UK hosts one of the largest North Korean populations outside of North-East Asia. Since 2003, more than 1,300 North Koreans have applied for asylum in the UK – and 544 have been granted asylum. Markus Bell The Conversation The Home Office, which decides who stays and who’s turned away, has rejected almost one-third of applicants. Why? To be sure, the UK is far from the only country to which North Koreans migrate. High up the list, of course, is ... Read More »