Leadership

Diplomacy, and not bombing, is the way to end Syria’s agony

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More legally questionable and reckless military interventions are not what British people want from their government Jeremy Corbyn The Guardian These are serious times. Following the missile attacks on Syria, now is the moment for a powerful push for peace. Boris Johnson’s blithe acceptance on Sunday that the conflict will now continue on its current course and that peace negotiations would be an “extra” is an unconscionable abdication of… Already this devastating conflict has cost more than 500,000 lives and led to 5 million refugees ... Read More »

Afghans register to vote in long-delayed elections amid violence

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Afghanistan at the weekend began registering voters across the war-torn country as it seeks to ensure that long-delayed legislative elections in October are seen as credible and fraud-free. KABUL – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Over the next two months authorities hope to register as many as 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centers – an ambitious goal in a country where militants control or contest much of the territory. “The main challenge is insecurity, particularly in rural areas,” Abdul ... Read More »

Major anti-Orban demo in Hungary

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Tens of thousands of Hungarians thronged Budapest on Saturday in anger at strongman Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s crushing re-election victory. AFP The crowd, around 100,000 strong according to organisers and AFP reporters, marched through the city centre in sunshine to parliament for a rally under the motto “We are the majority”. People protest against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s re-election in Budapest, Hungary on April 14, 2018 “We want to live in a state of law, where checks and balances ... Read More »

Turkey to Mediate Between US, Russia on Syria Tensions

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ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is assuming a mediator role, calling for a display of sensitivity by the U.S., Russia and other nations amid heightened tensions on Syria. Dorian Jones VoA U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to launch military strikes in response to Saturday’s (April 7) alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces that killed at least 40. Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday on the phone after a separate call with Trump. “Erdogan ... Read More »

Italy’s president calls for ‘urgent’ solution to political stalemate

Italian President Sergio Mattarella talks with journalists at the end of the second day of consultations with political parties at Quirinal palace in Rome on April 13, 2018.
Far-right and anti-establishment forces in Italy resumed battle on Thursday over who can lead a new government, as a second round of talks began with a row over Silvio Berlusconi leaving little room for manoeuvre after last month's inconclusive election. / AFP PHOTO / Tiziana FABI

The Italian president appealed on Friday for an “urgent” solution to the deadlock over who can lead a new government as talks with anti-establishment and right-wing leaders failed amid a row over Silvio… The Local AFP On Friday President Sergio Mattarella, who guides the talks and has the job of naming the eventual prime minister, confirmed to reporters that there had been “no progress” after concluding the… However, he stressed the need to quickly form a new government given a  series ... Read More »

The far-right’s creeping influence on Australian politics

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Far-right political groupings are a constant feature on the fringes of Australian politics. In the 1950s and 1960s, they included the League of Rights and minuscule neo-Nazi parties. Andrew Markus The Conversation In the 1980s, there was National Action, the Australian Nationalist Movement, Australians Against Further Immigration and the Citizens Electoral Council. In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of a number of groups that combine online organisation with intimidating street activity: Reclaim Australia, Rise Up Australia, the Australian ... Read More »

Alexis Wright wins 2018 Stella Prize for Tracker

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Alexis Wright has been awarded the 2018 Stella Prize for her remarkable biography of Aboriginal leader, thinker and entrepreneur, Tracker Tilmouth. Arts Review Tracker is a book uniquely written by weaving and layering first-person stories told about him as well as by him. It embeds Aboriginal traditions of oral and collective storytelling to create a new way of writing memoir – ‘giving many voices a part in the story’. In announcing the $50,000 prize at the Museum of Contemporary Art in ... Read More »

Summit of the Americas begins amid regional tumult

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The summit unites the leaders of the Americas as corruption scandals continue and Trump sends US troops to the border. AlJazeera The eighth Summit of the Americas, a conference that draws together the leaders of North, Central and South America, begins in Lima, Peru, on Friday amid continued political instability throughout the region. Business leaders are set to convene the first meeting of the summit on Monday morning. The topics to be discussed include Latin America’s economic outlook and recommendations from ... Read More »

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bans oil exploration

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is defending her Government’s dramatic ban on offshore oil exploration, saying the transition to a zero-carbon economy “must start somewhere” and promising that no jobs will be lost. Isaac Davison NZ Herald “Unless we make decisions today that will essentially take effect in 30 or more years’ time, we run the risk of acting too late and causing abrupt shocks to communities and our country,” she said at a press conference in Wellington this morning. “I ... Read More »

James Comey Has a Story to Tell. It’s Very Persuasive.

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A HIGHER LOYALTY Truth, Lies, and Leadership By James Comey 290 pages. Flatiron Books. $29.99. Michiko Kakutani The New York Times In his absorbing new book, “A Higher Loyalty,” the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey calls the Trump presidency a “forest fire” that is doing serious damage to the country’s norms and traditions. “This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey writes. “His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.” Decades before he ... Read More »

Labour’s plan for free bus passes for young people would be transformative and life-changing

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Young people have never been unhappier, according to research released by the Prince’s Trust last week. The survey found three out of five young people are regularly stressed about concerns over jobs and money. Liam Young i News One in four said that they felt “hopeless”. Thanks to eight years of failed Tory policy, an entire generation has had to limit itself to getting by rather than getting on. Fortunately, young people have an ally in the Labour leader Jeremy ... Read More »

Politicians need to know that republican sentiment is deeply felt

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Prince Charles, the Royal Tourist, and Kim Beazley, the new Governor of Western Australia, illustrate both the status quo and the potential for constitutional change. John Warhurst Brisbane Times The role of the British monarchy in Australia delivers weird moments like Charles opening the Commonwealth Games flanked by two beaming but straight-jacketed republicans, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Queensland Premier… Every Australian political leader, including Liberal leaders, is now a declared republican. Royal visits inevitably generate publicity around the republic ... Read More »

Eight Big Questions on War and Peace for Mike Pompeo

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With a dizzying range of international crises and conflicts facing the U.S., the confirmation hearing of incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday 12 April is a chance to gauge the administration’s future tack. Crisis Group’s U.S. Program Director Stephen Pomper identifies eight critical issues that are likely to dominate Pompeo’s incumbency and… Stephen Pomper ICG When Mike Pompeo sits down on 12 April before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there will be plenty to talk about. Mr Pompeo has ... Read More »

Are middle-aged white men losing their grip on power?

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There was another flutter in the middle aged white man dovecotes last week. An article in The Guardian, a segment on ABC’s The Drum,  and derision over another all white male panel had the usual suspects wailing into the wind over the near extinction of middle aged white men in positions of power. Jane Gilmore Brisbane Times Are they right? Are middle aged white men really being silenced and oppressed by a horde of ravening minority groups determined to destroy ... Read More »

Viktor Orban victory in Hungary: German minister warns EU

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A key German minister says the EU must drop its “arrogance and condescension” towards Hungary, where Eurosceptic PM Viktor Orban has just won re-election. BBC Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wants curbs on Muslim migration to the EU, and Mr Orban sees himself as a defender of “Christian” Europe. It is a tense time in EU-Hungary relations, as Mr Orban is defying EU migration and rule-of-law policies. Anti-EU politicians, including France’s Marine Le Pen, also welcomed his win. Mr Orban, 54, ... Read More »

Putting Trump’s Trade Bombast to the Test

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President Trump’s recent threat to escalate his trade skirmish with China into a full-scale trade war is a foolish gambit with little historical precedent. Editorial Board The New York Times It is also hard to take seriously, given how quickly Mr. Trump changes his mind and how rarely and clumsily he tends to follow through on tough talk. Mr. Trump said on Thursday that he wants to slap tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese imports in response to Beijing’s plan ... Read More »