Leadership

Iran: Mounting Crackdown on Teachers, Labor Activists

Authorities Arrest Union Leaders, Threaten Strikers (Beirut) – Iranian authorities have increased targeting of teachers and labor activists in recent weeks for organizing and conducting peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today. HRW On November 13, 2018, the Council for Coordination among Teachers Unions organized a walkout involving dozens of teachers across Iran to protest their insufficient salaries due to high inflation and poor living conditions. It was the second teacher-organized walkout since September 21, when Iran’s public school year ... Read More »

Making Ethiopia’s Electoral Board Independent New Appointment Furthers Gender, Political Reform

New Appointment Furthers Gender, Political Reform Felix Horne HRW There was good news from Ethiopia as former opposition leader, lawyer and judge Birtukan Midekssa was named head of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). Following years of almost completely closed political space, Ethiopia’s government continues to institute an important series of reforms. The appointment of a highly respected – and crucially, independent – new elections chair is another step in the right direction. The NEBE, like many of Ethiopia’s ... Read More »

George Papadopoulos spreading disinformation to Australia

George Papadopoulos, a one-time adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, is promoting disinformation aimed at Australia, using tactics “in the same vein” as other public figures linked to… Chris Zappone WAtoday Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty in a US court to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian intermediary in September, has since initiated a public relations war against Australia’s former… After Papadopoulos told Downer in 2016 that Russia possessed damaging material about then-US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, ... Read More »

Why Amnesty was wrong to strip Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi of top honour

‘Speaking up’ will make her look good with the international Press, but it will do nothing for the challenges Myanmar faces. Abhijit Dutta Hindustan Times The international community needs to strengthen her hands, not weaken them. The vilification of Aung San Suu Kyi continues unabated. Whether it is Amnesty International or United States vice-president, Mike Pence, no one, it seems, can wait to signal their virtue by throwing an egg at her face. The gravest charge against Suu Kyi is ... Read More »

Catholic bishops take up fight against government’s assisted dying plan

Western Australia’s Catholic bishops – including Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe – have released a joint statement outlining their opposition to state government plans to legalise voluntary assisted dying. Nathan Hondros WAtoday The statement, which will be distributed to hundreds of Catholic parishes throughout the state and signals the Church’s intention to campaign against the laws, challenges key elements of a parliamentary report that sparked the… “Voluntary assisted dying in either form [euthanasia or doctor-assisted suicide] represents a radical breach ... Read More »

How to Halt Yemen’s Slide into Famine

A Saudi-led coalition attack on the city of Hodeida risks plunging millions of Yemenis into famine and will meet fierce resistance from Huthi rebels. ICG The U.S. should stop enabling coalition offensives and international stakeholders must quickly place Hodeida under UN control. What’s new?  At the end of October, fighting reached the outer edges of the city of Hodeida, a gateway on Yemen’s Red Sea coast for trade that is a lifeline for some two thirds of the country’s population. ... Read More »

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president on Wednesday, edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services who was strongly opposed by the U.S., Britain and other European nations. DUBAI – Associated Press Hurriyet Kim’s election was seen as a victory for the White House and its European partners, who had lobbied against Alexander Prokopchuk’s attempts to be named the next president of the policing organization. The U.S. and others expressed concern that if Russia’s candidate had been elected, ... Read More »

Pedro Sánchez sets sights on Brussels

As the UK is leaving and Italy is ruled by populists, the Spanish PM tells POLITICO that his country can step up to the plate. By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN AND DIEGO TORRES Politico MADRID — Pedro Sánchez sees an opening in Brussels — and he intends for Spain to fill it. Less than six months after taking power, the Socialist prime minister is leading in national polls and looking to raise his international profile, in part by claiming a stronger role for his country ... Read More »

This Is How Social Media Is Being Used in the Middle East

Governments are using social media to rally domestic and foreign support for their policies. Caroline Caywood The National Interest Social media has played an increasingly important role in Middle East politics ever since the 2011 Arab Spring. State actors such as Iran and Saudi Arabia have sought to use social media to influence discourse at home and… As ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen have dominated news from the Middle East in recent years, international public opinion has taken on ... Read More »

Conversation should be had about lowering the voting age: AG

Queensland’s top law officer has called for a conversation to be had about lowering the voting age from 18. Felicity Caldwell Brisbane Times Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath was speaking at the release of findings from a Queensland Family and Child Commission study which surveyed the views of more than 7000 people aged four to 18. The study found young people had an “intense desire” to be included in decisions that affected their lives, with more than one-quarter highlighting the need for leaders ... Read More »

Nicola Sturgeon: decision on Scottish independence vote in ‘not-too-distant future’

Nicola Sturgeon has said her MPs will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit plan and that she will make a statement on a second independence vote soon. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsaman The First Minister said plans for another referendum on independence would have to wait “until the dust settles”, meaning after a Commons vote on the proposed Brexit deal, and any public vote that could follow. Uncertainty over the UK’s relationship with the EU has forced Ms Sturgeon to repeatedly delay ... Read More »

Tony Abbott rejects warnings, urges Scott Morrison to move Israel embassy

Tony Abbott has urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to proceed with a controversial shift in policy on Israel despite a warning from Malaysia that the move could fuel terrorism and concerns from Indonesia over a… David Crowe The Canberra Times Mr Abbott said the “rhetorical backlash” from Muslim countries in Asia was always going to happen but that this should not stop Australia showing its support for Israel by moving the Australian embassy from Tel… The comments are another strong ... Read More »

Judge orders White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass

The White House has been ordered to return the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta with immediate effect. Jacob Jarvis Evening Standard A judge made the ruling on Friday afternoon that his credentials must be returned. US District Judge Timothy Kelly, who is hearing CNN’s lawsuit challenging the revocation, said there should be a due process in place for limiting a journalist’s access to the White House. The White House had set out reasons for the ban in a tweet from press secretary Sarah Sanders ... Read More »

Xi warns of dangers of conflict while Pence lets fly

Beijing: Tensions between China and the United States were on full display at the APEC CEO summit in Port Moresby, with Chinese President Xi Jinping warning of the need to uphold the global institutions pivotal to peace shortly before US Vice-President Mike Pence launched a blistering attack on China to the same audience. Kirsty Needham Brisbane Times Warning of the painful lessons of World War II, Xi said: “History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a ... Read More »

‘A cancer on democracy’: the battle to end gerrymandering in America

New York: US politics in the age of Donald Trump may seem wild, but David Daley still remembers how feral and dysfunctional things were five years ago. Matthew Knott The Sydney Morning Herald Barack Obama was just beginning his second term as president and the anti-government fervour of the Tea Party was roiling the Republican Party. Among the 2013 lowlights: a two-week federal government shutdown because of Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act (better known as “Obamacare”). And Congress failed to pass gun ... Read More »

White House Says Cutting Meals on Wheels Is ‘Compassionate’

President Trump’s new budget would increase defense spending by $54 billion — while slashing funding for medical research, climate science, public housing, education, aid to the indigent, infrastructure, and… Eric Levitz Intelligencer On Thursday morning, the White House’s budget director Mick Mulvaney explained that these changes were inspired by one, simple question: “Can we ask the taxpayer to pay for this?” Here’s what he said:.. “When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked ... Read More »