Humanity

Madagascar’s vanilla wars: prized spice drives death and deforestation

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As the price of pods has soared so has violence – and forest defenders are increasingly risking their lives to protect precious wildlife habitat from being felled for profit Jonathan Watts The Guardian The vanilla thieves of Anjahana were so confident of their power to intimidate farmers they provided advance warning of raids. “We are coming tonight,” they would write in a note pushed under doors in this remote coastal village in Madagascar. “Prepare what we want.” But they either undervalued ... Read More »

Where the Brownshirts Came From

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Book review: Hitler’s stormtroopers were more representative of German society and politically relevant for longer than previous historians acknowledged. James H. Barnett The Weekly Standard The key to reading history of Nazi Germany, a wise professor once explained to me, is to attempt to understand the logic and mentality of those who embraced the Nazi movement without ever losing sight of what an ultimately absurd and fundamentally evil project theirs… This is the approach readers must bring to Daniel Siemens’s Stormtroopers: ... Read More »

Opinion: Jews face rampant anti-Semitism in Germany, Europe

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The murder of an elderly Holocaust survivor in Paris has shocked Europe. Michel Friedman DW However, Michel Friedman writes in this guest commentary, the killing should surprise no one: Anti-Semitism is omnipresent. We’re in the thick of it, and have been for a long time now: European anti-Semitism — hatred of Jews in Europe! Examples are legion: France, where a Holocaust survivor was brutally killed because of her Jewish faith; Britain, where the Labour Party is rocked by anti-Semitic scandals and the leader ... Read More »

Amal Clooney to defend Reuters journalists held in Myanmar

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Amal Clooney asserts the innocence of Reuters journalists on trial for reporting Rohingya massacre in Rakhine state. Al Jazeera Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has said she would represent two Reuters journalists on trial in Myanmar for reporting the massacre of the Rohingya people in western Rakhine state. Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were arrested last December, and have been charged under the Official Secrets Act, which could see them jailed up to 14 years. “Wa Lone and… Amal Clooney to… Read More »

Mauritania court gives toughest sentence for slave owners

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Two slave owners in Mauritania have been jailed in a country where slavery remains widespread but convictions rare, activists say. BBC The sentences of 10 and 20 years are said to be the toughest-ever for the crime in the West African country. Slavery was outlawed in 1981 but 1% of the population are still living in bondage, human rights groups say. Black people of certain ethnic groups are often enslaved as domestic workers by lighter-skinned Mauritanians. The country has jailed ... Read More »

Iranians use Serbian route to flee to EU

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Until six months ago, the Lovimi family from Iran had never heard of Serbia. BELGRADE – Agence France Presse Hurriyet But here they are, currently in Belgrade, after arriving without visas last August, waiting to continue on to Germany, where they plan to build a new and better life in the future. The family of four comes from the town of Ahvaz in the province of Khuzestan in Iran’s south west, where the majority of the population is Arabic. They ... Read More »

Criminal code bill will leave Indonesian migrants’ children in Malaysia in legal limbo

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There are thousands of stateless children in Sabah, Malaysia. The estimates vary between 30,000 and 52,000 as there has been no census or statistics collected on them. Clara Siagian The Conversation Most of them are children of Indonesian migrants. These children face the risk of being stuck in legal limbo if an Indonesian bill to amend the criminal code is passed in its current state. Criminalising private activities Indonesia is deliberating the bill to change the country’s 100-year-old criminal code. ... Read More »

How will France deal with rising anti-Semitism?

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Some people in France hope the outrage over the killing of 85-year-old Mireille Knoll may turn the tide against an upsurge in anti-Semitism in the country. Elizabeth Bryant (Paris) DW Others are not so sure. Elizabeth Bryant reports from Paris. Parisians braved blustery winds and returned to the streets this week, not to denounce a spate of terror attacks in recent years, but the older scourge of anti-Semitism that some say is taking on a new, increasingly violent turn. The ... Read More »

‘I Do Not Feel Free’: The Women Trapped in Domestic Work in Egypt

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They hear about the abuse and know they will be working illegally, but young women still travel to the Middle East to work as domestic workers. News Deeply To help understand why, photojournalist Jihad Abaza documented the lives of three migrant women working for a family in Egypt. CAIRO – Linda* has missed two of her sisters’ weddings. She has not seen her nephews grow up. When she speaks to her father on a video call, she notices that he is aging, ... Read More »

Why Europe shouldn’t follow Australia’s lead on asylum seekers

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Australia’s harsh asylum policies have been touted as a possible solution to Europe’s so-called refugee crisis. Daniel Ghezelbash The Conversation Politicians in the UK, France, Holland, Denmark, Austria and Belgium have advocated for an Australian-style approach aimed at blocking asylum seekers from accessing Europe. But there are a few reasons Europe should be wary of following this lead. Australia’s practice of turning back boats and offshore processing have attracted the most interest. When Australia can’t safely turn back a boat, ... Read More »

Cheating at cricket just one of the unthinkable things Aussies do now

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I can’t see why people are so shocked to discover our cricketers have been cheating. Surely that’s only to be expected in a nation that’s drifted so far from our earlier commitment to decency, mateship and the fair go. Ross Gittins The Sydney Morning Herald Such behaviour is unAustralian? We do, or condone, many things that used to be thought of as unAustralian. There was a time when it would have been unthinkable for Australians to stand by while an ... Read More »

Europe fakes Turkish delight

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Prospect of breathing new life into Turkey’s bid for EU membership remains as remote as ever. Matthew Karnitschnig Politico Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast offers everything Europe’s political elite expect from a good summit: an exotic location, breathtaking views and (most important) casks of fine wine. If only Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hadn’t shown up. For the EU’s top brass, the irascible Turkish leader was the proverbial fly in the summit soup at Monday’s dinner meeting with Council President Donald Tusk, Commission ... Read More »

Cuts on 1 April will leave asylum seekers homeless, advocates warn

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Ninety-five groups send joint statement warning government risks creating destitution Australian Associated Press The Guardian Federal government cuts could mean homelessness and destitution for vulnerable asylum seekers in Australia on temporary visas, refugee advocates are warning. Ninety-five advocate groups spoke out on Monday to oppose cuts to a program that provides an allowance, casework support, housing assistance and counselling to potential refugees. “Many still have years before a… Cuts on 1… Read More »

Palestinian refugees lament as Trump funding cuts create job insecurity and a pension crisis

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The livelihoods and long-term futures of thousands of Palestinian refugee families across Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank are at risk due to Donald Trump’s catastrophic decision to cut the American donation to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh The Conversation The US president’s decision to contribute only US$60m to UNRWA in 2018 – instead of US$125m – has been widely denounced as a brutal form of collective punishment for the Palestinian ... Read More »

3 years of Yemen bloodbath marked by US & UK arms deals with Saudis

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Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen turns three, with no end to the bloodshed in sight. RT Riyadh’s ‘modernizer crown prince’ just got plenty of new weapons from US and Britain for the occasion. It’s quite ironic that one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of our time stems from the events that were hailed in the West as a sign of great progress in the Arab world. The people have had enough, they are throwing down dictators and demanding political ... Read More »

Everyday heroes compelled to break the law when government fails to protect us

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What does it say about the state of our democracy when it falls upon everyday people to stop a billionaire building the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere? Julian Burnside * The Sydney Morning Herald And what does it say about our politicians that they will let Adani’s mine proceed when the vast majority of Australians don’t want it, and scientists are urging us to keep coal in the ground to avoid more dangerous climate change? This month, nine ... Read More »