Leadership

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 »

Sonia Gandhi Leaves the Stage

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With Hindu nationalism ascendant, what does the future hold for India’s first family and its pluralist legacy? Raghu Karnad The Atlantic  In 1994, Sonia Gandhi published a book of photographs from her private life with her late husband, Rajiv Gandhi. It included a dozen pictures from their trips to Italy, where she had grown up in the suburbs of Turin. Here she was in a speedboat in 1980, wearing crimson-framed sunglasses and a matched paisley shawl. Here was their son ... Read More »

Tributes pour in for late Kenyan scholar Calestous Juma

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Prominent Kenyan academic Calestous Juma has died in the United States at the age of 64, prompting an outpouring of grief and tributes on social media. AlJazeera “Intellectual giant”, “innovator”, “tireless champion of the world’s poorest” – these are just some of the words used to describe the Harvard University professor after news of his death broke out on Friday. Juma, whose research and writing focused on science and the environment, was a passionate advocate of the role of technological innovation in… Earlier this ... Read More »

Melbourne archbishop says he’d rather go to jail than report child abuse heard in confession

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Denis Hart says ‘communication with God is of a higher order’ after child sex abuse inquiry calls for failure to report to become a criminal offence Melissa Davey and agencies The Guardian The archbishop of the archdiocese of Melbourne, Denis Hart, said he would risk going to jail rather than report allegations of child sexual abuse raised during confession, and that the sacredness of communication with God during confession should be above the… He was responding to a report from the child ... Read More »

After Dastyari’s downfall we must question the hold of big money on any political party

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Irrespective of a donor’s nationality, what are the effects of politicians hobnobbing with billionaires on the democratic process? Jeff Sparrow The Guardian We need to be very careful about the political narrative emerging to explain Sam Dastyari’s downfall. In Fairfax, Mark Kenny argues that, by resigning over his connections with billionaire Huang Xiangmo, Dastyari “reinforced to Beijing, and to its wealthy business and political surrogates here, that Australia will safeguard its sovereignty as jealously as does… That’s all very well. But surely ... Read More »

The Sultan and the Sultan

CBDRWN Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Ottoman Sultan of Turkey as Sick Man of Europe. Cover of French Satirical Magazine, 'Le Rire', May 1897

Faced with a vast, decaying empire, the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II ruled with an iron fist, curtailing press freedom, promoting Islam and severing ties with the West. William Armstrong Miscellanies History Today His similarities with Turkey’s current president have not gone unnoticed. Turkey’s relationship with the West is in the middle of a slow-motion car crash. After years of tension, the country’s rift with its western allies has widened since an attempted military coup against the government of the country’s ... Read More »

Omarosa Manigault Is Out At The White House

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The former Apprentice villain and one of the most prominent black women in the administration is leaving the Trump administration By David Mack (BuzzFeed News Reporter) Talal Ansari (BuzzFeed News Reporter) Darren Sands (BuzzFeed News Reporter) Omarosa Manigault, the former reality TV star turned political aide to President Trump, has resigned from her administration position, the White House announced Wednesday. Manigault resigned on Tuesday “to pursue other opportunities,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. Her resignation will not be effective until Jan. 20, 2018 — ... Read More »

Wanted for genocide, Sudan leader welcomed by Erdogan at Jerusalem summit

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Omar al-Bashir is alleged by ICC to have committed war crimes in conflict that UN says killed at least 300,000 and displaced more than 2.5 million AFP The Times of Israel  ISTANBUL — Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on charges of genocide and war crimes, attended an emergency summit of the world’s main pan-Islamic group in Istanbul, Wednesday. Bashir was among leaders who responded to a call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to attend the meeting after ... Read More »

Democracy in meltdown as East Timorese PM denounces ‘coup’

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The prime minister of East Timor is refusing to allow parliament to reconvene because he will face a vote of no confidence. What next? Professor Damien Kingsbury. Crikey international affairs commentator As East Timor went to elections this year, the country was the most peaceful and united it had been in its short history. The CNRT-Fretilin government of national inclusion had functioned well, it appeared that the ‘Generation of ‘75’ exemplified by Xanana Gusmao, was stepping back from politics and, with the ... Read More »