Leadership

Venezuela to raise minimum wage despite economic crisis

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Venezuela is set to raise its minimum wage by 40%, in a move expected to worsen already high levels of inflation. BBC The country is suffering from an economic crisis in which shortages of food and medicine are common Venezuela’s economy has been hit by falling oil revenue and the plummeting value of the Bolivar. President Nicolas Maduro announced the wage increase in his end-of-year address. He said the move would “protect workers” from what he called an economic war ... Read More »

Joe Hockey discussed Alexander Downer’s Russia revelations with FBI

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The ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey personally steered Australia’s dealings with the FBI on explosive revelations of Russian hacking during last year’s presidential campaign in a sign of how politically sensitive the Australian government regarded the bombshell discovery, Fairfax Media understands. David Wroe Brisbane Times It is also understood there is now annoyance and frustration in Canberra that the High Commissioner to Britain Alexander Downer has been outed through leaks by US officials as the source of information ... Read More »

Macron’s new year’s speech: ‘France can’t succeed without a strong Europe’

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French president promises to listen to dissenting voices but appeals to Europeans not to give in to ‘nationalists and sceptics’ Angelique Chrisafis in Paris The Guardian The French president, Emmanuel Macron, appealed to European citizens “not to give in to nationalists and sceptics”, as he used his new year’s speech to promise to make the European Union “more united, more sovereign and more democratic”. Macron said in a televised address: “I deeply believe Europe can become that economic, social, environmentally-friendly, scientific power that ... Read More »

Chinese ban on ivory sales goes into effect

Seized elephant ivory tusks are seen during a press conference at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound in Hong Kong on July 6, 2017.
Hong Kong Customs have seized 7.2 tonnes of ivory tusks with an estimated market value of HKD 72 million (9.2 million usd) in the city's largest bust in three decades. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony WALLACE

China’s complete ban on ivory trade went into effect on Dec. 31, officials said, a major step forward in Beijing’s efforts to rein in what was once the world’s largest market for illegal ivory. BEIJING – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “From today… the buying and selling of elephant ivory and goods by any market, shop or vendor is against the law!” the forestry ministry said on its official account on Chinese social media platform Weibo. “From now on, if a merchant ... Read More »

When it comes to refugees, Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison and Dutton are hypocrites

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They claim to be Christians but seem to forget the fundamental tenets of its teaching: compassion and treating others as you would want to be treated Julian Burnside The Guardian Ιn 1974 the parliament passed the Trade Practices Act which, by section 52, decreed that a corporation should not “engage in conduct which is misleading or deceptive”. But parliamentarians are not subject to similar restrictions. We accept without questioning that norms of conduct, which parliamentarians set for commerce, do not ... Read More »

Thousands of Peruvians march against Fujimori pardon

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Thousands of Peruvians marched on Dec. 28 to protest the president’s recent pardoning of former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori, calling for new general elections as a graft scandal ensnares established politicians. LIMA – Reuters Hurriyet The demonstrations capped a head-spinning week in which President Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki warned about a new rise of Fujimori’s authoritarian movement, only to pardon him three days later after Fujimori’s loyalists in Congress saved him from an impeachment bid. Waving Peruvian flags and chanting “down ... Read More »

How Hariri fell and survived: The story of his resignation from Saudi Arabia

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Beirut: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was summoned at 8.30am to the Saudi royal offices – unseemly early, by the kingdom’s standards – on the second day of a visit that was already far from what he had expected. Anne Barnard and Maria Abi-Habib Brisbane Times New York Times Hariri, long an ally of the Saudis, dressed that morning in jeans and a T-shirt, thinking he was going camping in the desert with the crown prince, Mohammed bin… But instead he ... Read More »

How Putin became a problem for Russian oligarchs

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On December 21, Russian President Vladimir Putinmet with Russian oligarchs at the Kremlin. Roman Dobrokhotov AlJazeera Тhe men in attendance had a combined wealth of $213bn, almost as much as the Russian federal budget. So it was no wonder Putin wanted to meet them and assure their loyalty, especially before the presidential elections next year (even if they will be just a formality). Until recently, such meetings used to happen once a year, but this one was the third in 2017. So why all this enthusiasm ... Read More »

Cuba postpones historic replacement of Castro

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Communist-run Cuba extended the term of its current leadership to April on Dec. 21, signaling a two-month delay in the historic handover from Raul Castro to a new president, while announcing tighter regulations on the non-state sector. HAVANA – Reuters Hurriyet Castro, 86, was originally set to step down in February after two consecutive terms, ending nearly 60 years of Castro brothers’ rule and marking a transition from the leaders of the 1959 revolution to a new, younger generation. The ... Read More »

Turkey’s Looming Crisis

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Viewed one way, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks unassailable: He weathered last year’s coup attempt, jailed more than 50,000 opponents, fired more than 100,000 civil servants, beheaded the once powerful Turkish military, eviscerated much of his parliamentary opposition, dismissed almost half of the county’s elected officials, and rammed through a constitutional referendum that will make him an all-powerful executive following the… Conn Hallinan CounterPunch In the meantime, a seemingly never-ending state of emergency allows him to rule by… So ... Read More »

Zimbabwe’s “Military-assisted Transition” and Prospects for Recovery

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa has the chance to embark on a much-needed process of economic and governance reform in Zimbabwe ICG The military’s role in the political transition casts a shadow on the road to credible elections, which remain a priority if his government is to earn national and international legitimacy. What’s the issue? After Zimbabwe’s military intervened to bring an end to 37 years of rule by former President Robert Mugabe, their continued presence as key political players may complicate ... Read More »

Talking Point: PM silent on Nobel prize when world needs him to speak up

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Malcolm Turnbull is rarely stuck for words, but the award of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to an organisation founded in Australia has left him speechless Peter Boyer The Mercury The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, was set up a decade ago in Melbourne. ICAN’s current director, Swedish lawyer Beatrice Fihn, received the award at a gala ceremony in Oslo, Norway last week. Geneva-based Fihn is one of just three salaried staff — the other two are ... Read More »

Trump unveils national security plan, blasts previous presidents

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Washington (CNN) – President Donald Trump on Monday framed his foreign policy as an extension of his populist economic message, lambasting past presidents and trumpeting his own achievements during a speech meant to outline the guiding principles of his national security strategy. By Kevin Liptak, CNN White House Producer In a speech that closely resembled a campaign address, Trump offered a laundry list of accomplishments and a reiteration of his view that Americans have been left behind as a result of ... Read More »

You’ve Heard of the Russian Revolution — Now Look What’s Happening in Zimbabwe!

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People all over the world are still fascinated by events in Russia in 1917 Seth Ferris Even a cursory glance at this period shows they were momentous times to live in, with history unfolding in front of people seemingly under its own power. ΝΕΟ It must have been quite something to directly experience the collapse of the old order, the two revolutions and all the hopes, dreams and despair of different sectors of the population. As they happened in an ... Read More »

Libya commander Khalifa Haftar signals start of race for power

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Head of Libyan National Army declares UN political solution a failure and says his forces will answer to no one but Libyan people Associated Press and Agence France-Presse The National Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar on Sunday declared that the mandate of the UN-backed unity government had expired and hinted at his willingness to stand for president as the country entered a “dangerous” period. A UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015 established Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) ... Read More »

Pope Francis: fake and sensationalised news ‘a very serious sin’

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Pontiff calls on journalists to report precise, complete and correct information, not one-sided reports or ‘old news that has been dealt with’ Associated Press The Guardian Pope Francis has criticised journalists who dredge up old scandals and sensationalise the news, saying it’s a “very serious sin” that hurts all involved. Francis, who plans to dedicate his upcoming annual communications message to “fake news”, told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most “fundamental” to democratic… ... Read More »