Leadership

Modi: Electricity for every Indian house

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed that every home in India will have electricity by December 2018 as he moves to shore up voter support amid doubts over his handling of the economy Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The $2.5 billion scheme announced Sept. 25 would see the country’s 40 million households without electricity linked up to power for free. “Forty million of the total 250 million households still don’t have power, which means 25 percent of people are living in the 18th century. ... Read More »

On Catalan independence, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden emerge as surprise backers

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Two Moscow-linked figures have emerged as the loudest voices on Twitter amplifying news and commentary about Catalonia’s secession referendum. Chris Zappone The Age Research independently confirmed by Fairfax Media shows Twitter accounts of WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange as well as former National Security Administrator contractor Edward Snowden now account for nearly a third of all Twitter traffic under the hashtag #… Assange has peppered his followers with more than 80 original tweets supporting the Catalan independence referendum, suggesting “the future ... Read More »

Angela’s ashes: 5 takeaways from the German election

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 24: (EDITOR'S NOTE: This image was converted from color to black and white) German Chancellor and Christian Democrat (CDU) Angela Merkel smiles after leaving her election party and reacting to initial results that give the party 33,1% of the vote, giving it a first place finish, in German federal elections on September 24, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Chancellor Merkel is seeking a fourth term and coming weeks will likely be dominated by negotiations between parties over the next coalition government. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

The next few years won’t be pretty Angela Merkel will remain German chancellor. That widely anticipated outcome was about the only unsurprising element of Sunday’s German election. Matthew Karnitschnig  Politico The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) finished much stronger than most observers dared predict, becoming the first unabashedly racist, anti-foreigner party to sit in Germany’s parliament since the days of Hitler. The Social Democrats (SPD) all but imploded, opting to go into opposition to lick their wounds rather than risk another ... Read More »

Auditor says he was forced to quit Vatican after finding irregularities

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The Vatican’s first auditor-general, who resigned without explanation in June, has broken his silence, saying he was forced to step down with trumped-up accusations after discovering evidence of possible illegal activity. Reuters Hurriyet Speaking to reporters from four media organizations including Reuters in the office of his lawyers in Rome, Libero Milone also said he believed that some in the Vatican wanted to slow down Pope Francis’s efforts at financial reform. He said he could not give details of the ... Read More »

What the stunning success of AfD means for Germany and Europe

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The radical right party profited from the fact immigration was the number one election issue. But can its breakthrough last? Cas Mudde The Guardian n 1991 Belgium had its (first) black Sunday, when the populist radical right Flemish Block gained 6.8% of the national vote. Since then many other western European countries have gone through a similar experience, from Denmark to Switzerland. And now, even the ever stable Germany has its own schwarzer Sonntag, and it’s blacker than most people ... Read More »

Exclusive: John Howard says the government needs to explain how it will protect religious freedoms on same-sex marriage

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Former prime minister John Howard has demanded that the rights of children not be forgotten in the same-sex marriage debate Speaking exclusively to 9NEWS from London, he also rejected Malcolm Turnbull’s assurances that a detailed debate about protecting religious freedoms can wait until after the postal vote on same-sex marriage is decided. Chris Uhlmann 9news Mr Howard said that if the postal survey returned a “yes” vote then the government would be stampeded into delivering change, so people needed answers ... Read More »

Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis Meets Reality

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The news coverage of Myanmar over the past several months has led many people to conclude that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the country, has abandoned her responsibility to protect human rights. Kevin Rudd * The New York Times Hundreds of thousands of people from the Rohingya ethnic minority are being expelled by the military from lands in western Myanmar, where they have lived for centuries. By any standard, we are witnessing the most fundamental ... Read More »

Trump at the United Nations: Derangement and Delusion Reign Supreme

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If any further proof were needed that the United States has descended into the realm of magical thinking, there could be no clearer example than Donald Trump’s speech to the UN General Assembly on 19 September 2017. James O’Neill Dissident Voice In 40 minutes of what can only be described as a barely coherent and dangerous rant, Trump revealed how the United States has totally lost its grip on reality.  Some brief extracts from the speech illustrate its essential horrors.  ... Read More »

Donald Trump wheels jumble of contradictions onto world stage at UN

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Washington: March into the United Nations, name-calling and threatening destruction, and the chances are there’ll be push-back. Paul McGeough The Age Going one up on George W. Bush’s three-strong “axis of evil”, US President Donald Trump went after a four-strong “small group of rogue regimes” in his first speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The inward rhetoric of his campaign notwithstanding, Trump issued a contradictory demand for patriotism and sovereignty for all nations that would be policed by his administration. If he ... Read More »

Turkey Uncensored: A History of Censorship and Bans

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On April 29, the Turkish government announced that it completely blocked Wikipedia over the online encyclopedia’s refusal to delete articles and comments that suggest that Ankara is co-operating with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Uzay Bulut Philos Project Despite multiple requests by Turkish officials, Wikipedia refused to take down the content the Turkish government objected to. In response, Turkish authorities blocked online access to Wikipedia in all languages across the country. Wikipedia continues to be blocked ... Read More »

What Awaits the Rohingya in Bangladesh?

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s moral conscience has seemingly taken a backseat to cold, hard politics. Michael Kugelman  The plight of the Rohingya community is truly one of the saddest stories of our times. The National Interest It is a tragic tale of perpetual persecution, major marginalization and mass migration. In Burma, where this Muslim community’s numbers are the highest—about a million, according to most estimates—its members are denied citizenship and land. They also live on the fringes of society in India and ... Read More »

The Sanders Single-Payer Plan Is No Miracle Cure

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Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced “Medicare for all” legislation, which would enroll all Americans into the nation’s Medicare program within four years. LANHEE J. CHEN and MICAH WEINBERG The New York Times Senator Sanders, the Vermont independent, argues that his proposal would create a system that “works not just for millionaires and billionaires, but for all of us.” Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and over a dozen of their Senate Democratic colleagues have co-sponsored the legislation. ... Read More »

Events in the Middle East force realism on Erdogan

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have increasing difficulties with the West, but his position in the Middle East is not all that easy either. Semih Idiz  Al-Monitor His regional archenemy, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, continues to make headway, while his nemesis in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, remains in power. The Qatar crisis caught him unaware and unsettled him. Meanwhile, he is bracing for the reign of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, who is an enemy of the Muslim ... Read More »

Germany won’t lead the free world. It barely looks beyond its own borders

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German voters will pick Angela Merkel again – not because she’ll make the world a better place but because they think she will protect them Natalie Nougayrède The Guardian Britain, France and Germany, the three most populous European countries, will all have held important elections this year – in many ways setting the stage for much of what lies ahead for our part of the world. Election campaigns can sometimes be more telling than the statistical results they actually deliver. ... Read More »

John Howard slams Turnbull government’s handling of same-sex marriage postal vote

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Former Prime Minister John Howard has slammed the Turnbull government’s handling of the same-sex marriage postal vote 9news Mr Howard has demanded the government release its planned legislation before the vote ends to show how it plans to handle “parental rights”, “freedom of speech” and show how “religious freedoms will be protected”. “The government’s response has been to wash its hands of any responsibility,” Mr Howard said. Malcolm Turnbull’s predecessor Tony Abbott agreed with Mr Howard. “People don’t know exactly ... Read More »

Can Trump and the United Nations Just Get Along?

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What has Donald Trump done to the United Nations? In the run-up to his inauguration in January, the president threatened to wreak havoc on the organization. Richard Gowan  The Century Foundation Angered by a December 2016 Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlement-building in the Occupied Territories, on which the Obama administration abstained, the president-elect darkly warned on Twitter that, “as to the U.N., things will be different after… During his turbulent tenure so far, Trump has veered from threatening major ... Read More »