Location

China’s consumer demand trumps political friction, says Alibaba boss

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The chief executive of Alibaba Group, the Chinese retail goliath often described as Asia’s Amazon, says rising political tension between China and Australia has not damaged business or trade relations. Patrick Hatch The Age Daniel Zhang instead insists that demand from middle-class Chinese consumers is too great to be disrupted by geopolitical friction, and sees “tremendous” growth ahead for Australia exporters to the region. Some business leaders, including Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, have criticised domestic debate about Chinese Communist Party influence on Australian politics and China’s ... Read More »

GM plant tech boosts malaria drug yield

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Scientists have modified a plant’s genetic sequence to make it produce high levels of a key malaria drug, potentially helping meet the large global demand. Paul Rincon BBC The team identified genes involved in making artemisinin, altering their activity to produce three times more of the drug than “normal” plants make. The plant-based production of the drug sometimes fails to meet demand. The shrubs don’t produce enough of the chemical in their leaves. The work appears in the journal Molecular Plant. ... Read More »

An Open Letter to H.E. Mr. António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations

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Published in Agora Dialogue on 24 April 2018 OPEN LETTER Date: 24 April 2018 Dear Secretary-General Re: The ill-fated ‘Annan Plan’ submitted to ‘separate, simultaneous referenda’ held on 24 April 2004 Today marks the passage of 14 years since the United Nations oversaw what it described at the time as two ‘separate simultaneous referenda’.  These ‘referenda’ were held on 24 April 2004 in what the United Nations also described at the time as ‘the two sides’, i.e. the area of the ... Read More »

Ancient Amazonians lived sustainably – and this matters for conservation today

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Our colleague, the archaeologist Santiago Rivas, recently made a remarkable discovery. Authors (4) The Conversation On a small plateau above the outskirts of Iquitos, a town in the northern Peruvian Amazon, he found a layer in the soil which contained small pieces of ceramic pottery, that were around 1,800-years-old. Digging deeper, he found another layer of soil, this time containing pottery that was about 2,500 years old. This is the archaeological site at Quistococha which has been occupied for at ... Read More »

Israel abandons plan to forcibly deport African migrants

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JERUSALEM: The Israeli government said on Tuesday it was abandoning a plan to forcibly deport African migrants who entered the country illegally. Arab News The government had been working for months on an arrangement to expel thousands of mostly Eritrean and Sudanese men who crossed into Israel through Egypt’s Sinai desert. “At this stage, the possibility of carrying out an unwilling deportation to a third country is not on the agenda,” the government wrote in a response to the The ... Read More »

Opinion: Corruption charges have Council of Europe teetering on the brink of irrelevance

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When individual members would rather illegally accept money and gifts instead of fighting corruption, there’s no need for the Council of Europe anymore, says DW’s Max Hofmann. Max Hofmann DW Officially, the Council of Europe is meant to safeguard democracy and the rule of law. Given that mission, many people are already asking why countries such as Russia and Turkey even have a seat at the table. Most observers in Strasbourg say it would be pointless to throw them out, ... Read More »

UK reassures EU over ‘Windrush’ Caribbean migrant scandal

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Demonstrators chant and hold placards during a protest in support of the Windrush generation in Windrush Square, Brixton on April 20, 2018 in London, England. The Windrush generation are people who arrived in the UK after the Second World War from Caribbean countries at the invitation of the British government. It is now thought that an estimated 50,000 people of the Windrush generation face the risk of deportation if they never formalised their residency status and do not have the required documentation to prove it.  (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Home Office briefs EU diplomats on how it would avoid similar problems post Brexit and acknowledges ‘psychological impact’ on EU citizens. By GIULIA PARAVICINI AND CHARLIE COOPER Politico The U.K.’s Home Office held a briefing for EU diplomats in London Friday at which it admitted failures in how it had dealt with the immigration status of Caribbean migrants and reassured them the same would not happen to EU27 citizens post… Some members of the so-called Windrush generation — named after the Empire ... Read More »

Iran vows to ‘vigorously’ resume enrichment if US quits deal

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Iran has warned it is ready to “vigorously” resume nuclear enrichment if the United States ditches the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that further “drastic measures” are being considered in response to a U.S. exit. NEW YORK – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in New York on April 21 that Iran is not seeking to acquire a nuclear bomb, but that its “probable” response to a… “America never should have feared Iran producing a nuclear ... Read More »

Royal Commission reveals need for tougher corporate cop

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Imagine this … An elderly couple returns home from holiday to discover their front door lock broken and $2000 in cash stolen from a biscuit tin in their kitchen. Jessica Irvine Brisbane Times The couple immediately ring the police, who inform them of a spate of similar robberies in the area. But the police have tracked down the perpetrator, who is in custody facing charges that carry a jail term of at least five years. The elderly couple are promptly ... Read More »

Think we’re tough on refugees? That’s fake news

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Fake news is the new black. Drop the phrase in a casual conversation and some people will be silly enough to assume you are an astute observer of the political scene. Amanda Vanstone The Age Fake news is information known at the time to be incorrect which is deliberately fed out into the media stream. Since when has that been a new idea? The problem of incorrect information washing through the media system is not new. Some of it is ... Read More »

Stephen Lawrence anniversary: 25 years later, less than half of ethnic minority Britons think progress made on racial prejudice

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Poll comes a quarter of a century after murder of black teenager in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April 1993 Ashley Cowburn Independent Less than half of people from ethnic minority backgrounds believe there has been progress on racial prejudice over the past quarter of a century, according to a new survey mapping attitudes towards race and integration in Britain. The poll coincides with the 25th anniversary of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, ... Read More »

Mexico’s EU trade deal lands a punch on Trump

European Union Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom (L) and Mexico's Minister of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal talk to the media in Mexico City, on May 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PEDRO PARDO        (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

Accord with Brussels comes as Washington squeezes Latin American country in NAFTA talks. By HANS VON DER BURCHARD AND CHRISTIAN OLIVER Politico Mexico delivered a defiant political riposte to U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday by agreeing a trade deal with the EU. Trump’s push to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement helped catalyze Mexico’s talks with Brussels over the past year, as the Latin American country sought to diversify away from dependence on an increasingly hostile… Diplomats said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and… ... Read More »

Bangkok’s bad air driven by car-making success

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Forward-looking policies promoting electric and hybrid auto production could soon have Thailand’s polluted capital breathing easier Peter Janssen Asia Times During Thailand’s February-April hot season, when the winds off the Gulf of Thailand die down and there is little rainfall, air pollution in the capital, Bangkok, is often palpable. In mid-February, the situation got so bad that the government’s Pollution Control Department advised residents to stay home, especially those who suffer from asthma and other respiratory ailments. Some Bangkok schools ... Read More »

Activists file charges against Tihange, Doel nuclear power plants

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An activist alliance has pressed charges against the Belgian state and the nuclear plants Tihange and Doel. Timothy Jones (with dpa) DW The move comes amid growing fears of a serious nuclear accident among nearby residents in three countries. Anti-nuclear initiatives from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands on Saturday filed charges against the Belgian government and the operators of the Belgian nuclear plants Doel and Tihange, saying that aging reactors at the… Hundreds of people turned out in the Belgian ... Read More »

Colin Kaepernick Wins Amnesty International’s Highest Honor

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Colin Kaepernick may not have a job on the football field, but much of the world is still cheering for him. Sean Gregory Time Amnesty International, the global human rights organization, gave Kaepernick its highest honor — the 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award — in Amsterdam on Saturday. Past winners of the award, which “celebrates individuals and groups who speak out for justice,” include former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, the education activist from Pakistan who survived an ... Read More »

UK push into the Pacific to counter China

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Exclusive The United Kingdom is vowing to expand its role in the Pacific in a push for “free speech and democracy” alongside other Commonwealth nations at a time of growing concern over China’s influence in the region. David Crowe The Sydney Morning Herald The ambitions not only include new diplomatic posts and aid funding but the idea of encouraging commercial projects and possibly infrastructure funding. Britain’s Minister of State for the Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Ahmad, said the UK’s departure from ... Read More »