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US presents ‘undeniable’ evidence Iran arming Yemen’s rebels with missiles

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Segments of projectiles launched at Saudi Arabia bear markings proving origin in Islamic Republic, UN ambassador Haley says By AGENCIES The Times of Israel US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the United Nations unveiled Thursday what she said was “undeniable” evidence proving that Iran is funneling missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen in violation of international law. At a news conference in a hanger at a military base in Washington, Nikki Haley presented recently declassified evidence including segments of missiles launched at ... Read More »

Pick up a book and share it with a child: it’s the key to success in an uncertain future

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Parents often ask me what they ought to do to prepare their children for a future they can scarcely imagine, in a world that’s changing before their eyes. Alan Finkel ABC I say that there’s a brilliant learning technology already on the shelf. It builds vocabulary, conveys knowledge, fosters creativity, improves concentration, develops skills of reasoning and pattern recognition, calms anxiety and opens discussions … all this, while nurturing love and… Pick up a… Read More »

London theatre axes Rita, Sue and Bob Too amid harassment claims

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Play which had been due to run at Royal Court shelved after co-director steps down over misconduct allegations Alexandra Topping The Guardian The Royal Court theatre has shelved its planned production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too after the Guardian revealed its original co-director Max Stafford-Clark had been forced to step down after allegations of sexual harassment. The play, which tells the story of two teenage girls who have a sexual relationship with an older married man, has been on a UK tour and ... 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 »

When will Australian politics have its Weinstein moment?

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One year before the Weinstein allegations and the #MeToo phenomenon, political journalist Karen Middleton wrote an article about sexual harassment in Australian politics. Jane Gilmore The Canberra Times It was not so much a personal account of her own experiences as a description of an entrenched culture in Canberra’s hothouse of politicians and journalists. If her description of this culture is still accurate, politicians, and the profession supposed to hold them to account, are living in a culture that normalises criminal behaviour. ... Read More »

Our Border Protection Spin Isn’t Fooling The World, UN Docs Reveal

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The international community is not fooled by Australia’s human rights offending immigration policies, writes Kellie Tranter. New Matilda In January this year, Treasurer and former immigration minister Scott Morrison told Australians: “We are the envy of the world when it comes to strong border protection policies that protect the integrity of our immigration system.” Yet heavily redacted documents released under Freedom of Information laws relating to our bid for the United Nations Human Rights Council suggest that in diplomatic circles, ... Read More »

US national security adviser: Qatar and Turkey are new sponsors of radical ideology 

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General HR McMaster attributed the rise of the Justice and Development party in Ankara to Turkey’s growing problems with the West Joyce Karam The National US national security adviser HR McMaster condemned Qatar and Turkey for taking on a “new role” as the main sponsors and sourcesof funding for extremist Islamist ideology that targets western interests. “Radical Islamist ideology isa grave threat to all civilised people,” Gen McMaster said. The US national security adviser said this threat has been identified “myopically” ... Read More »

Barnaby Joyce says New Zealand should ‘back off’ on offer to resettle refugees

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Deputy PM says Jacinda Ardern’s pledge to resettle up to 150 refugees from Manus Island could jeopardise the countries’ relationship Ben Doherty The Guardian Recently renounced New Zealand citizen Barnaby Joyce has said his former homeland should back off on its offer to resettle refugees from Australia’s offshore detention regime. In an interview with Newstalk ZB in New Zealand, the recently-reinstalled deputy prime minister of Australia issued a veiled threat to the NZ prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, that her commitment ... Read More »

‘Feminism’ is Merriam-Webster dictionary’s word of year

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A leading US dictionary has named “feminism” as its word of 2017 following a surge in online searches BBC Merriam-Webster said interest in the term was driven by women’s marches, new TV shows and films on women’s issues and the string of news stories on sexual assault and harassment claims. The number of people searching for the word was up 70% on 2016, it said. The dictionary defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of ... Read More »

Timeline: game-changing gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean

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Massive gas discoveries in the Mediterranean Sea’s Levant Basin have attracted a flood of investment – and no shortage of geopolitical tension. Chris Lo Offshore Technology This timeline brings together some of the most important milestones in the development of offshore gas projects in the eastern Mediterranean. Unlike the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea, the Mediterranean Sea has always been better known for stunning climate, cuisine and a booming tourism trade than offshore oil and gas. But as ... 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 »

Bangladesh arrests cleric over fatwa against women farming

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A Muslim cleric accused of issuing a fatwa banning women from working on farms has been arrested in Bangladesh, police said on Dec. 13. DHAKA Hurriyet The imam and five mosque officials face charges after their announcement prompted locals in the western town of Kumarkhali to try and prevent women from going to work in the fields. “They took the decision after prayers on Dec. 8, banning women from going out of their homes,” local police chief Abdul Khaleque told ... Read More »

Most Australians support a federal anti-corruption commission: research

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Most Australians want the government to create a federal anti-corruption commission, make its national agencies more independent and set four-year parliamentary terms, according to a new report led by one of the nation’s most respected former public… Doug Dingwall The Canberra Times The findings come as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the first time suggested he was prepared to consider creating a federal anti-corruption watchdog, but said he was not yet persuaded the case had been made for such a… While the discussion paper released ... 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 »

UNGA Adopts Resolutions on Oceans

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6 December 2017: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted two resolutions that aim to advance implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and support the conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks and marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Catherine Benson Wahlén SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD Member States also discussed an international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS, and other documents related to the law of the sea.   A ... Read More »

Three reasons Australians should be concerned that NGOs’ voices are not being heard

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A healthy democracy is built on the premise that public debate should allow for many and diverse voices to be heard as part of the contest for ideas that informs policymaking. Andrea Carson Sarah Maddison If Australians want this to be the case, the current state of play offers three reasons for concern. The Conversation NGOs are self-silencing The first is the finding in our research, released today, that Australian NGOs are self-silencing. Our data show that many not-for-profit organisations, ... Read More »