Hong Kong unveils electoral reform package, vows no compromise

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Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Democracy protesters continue to call for him to step down. Photo: Ng Han Guan The Canberra Times - Clare Baldwin Hong Kong: The Hong Kong government has unveiled a long-awaited electoral blueprint for selecting the city’s next leader, a plan that reflects China’s desire for a tightly controlled ... Read More »

Taliban Are Said to Target Hazaras to Try to Match ISIS’ Brutality

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KABUL, Afghanistan — A wave of kidnappings followed by numerous beheadings of members ofAfghanistan’s Hazara ethnic group have spread alarm and anger among a people who have historically been this country’s most persecuted. The New York Times – By ROD NORDLAND and JAWAD SUKHANYAR Activists and relatives of abducted Hazaras gathered this week in Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of a protest ... Read More »

Mapped: The world’s most open governments


Raziye Akkoc The Telegraph It comes as no surprise that Nordic countries top the WJP Open Government Index but the UK’s position as having the eighth most open government out of more than a 100 countries is welcome news. Click to find out each country’s score An improving economy and better resources in the developing world may not equal a ... Read More »

These are the top 10 myths about the human brain


Fiona Macdonald Science Alert When it comes to our brains, there’s a lot we’re yet to learn – for example, exactly what role sleep plays in memory formation, and how to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. But there’s plenty that scientists do know, and you might be surprised to find that a lot of it contradicts what you believe ... Read More »

China’s iron ore tax cut puts heat on Australian miners

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China to halve iron ore taxes for its miners China has sent a blunt warning to governments in Australia that it will strive to keep its domestic iron ore miners afloat by announcing a new round of tax cuts for the embattled industry. The Sydney Morning Herald – Peter Ker, Resources reporter Just days after the Western Australian Government started giving royalty ... Read More »

Hope On the Horizon For A West Papua Free Of Indonesian Abuses


The fight for independence by one of our nearest neighbours shows no sign of abating. And there’s hope says one of its leaders. Amy McQuire reports. New Matilda – By Amy McQuire * There is a silent genocide in his homeland of West Papua, independence leader Benny Wenda says, but it is slowly becoming difficult for the world to ignore. “A ... Read More »

Women, Violence and Conflict in Pakistan

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Islamabad/Brussels – Asia Report N°265 – ICG EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS Eight years into its democratic transition, violence against women is still endemic in Pakistan, amid a climate of impunity and state inaction. Discriminatory legislation and a dysfunctional criminal justice system have put women at grave risk. Targeted by violent extremists with an overt agenda of gender repression, women’s security is ... Read More »

Mute Button

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One morning last week, as Washiqur Rahman, a shy, boyish-looking twenty-six-year-old Bangladeshi, left his house in Dhaka and started walking to the travel agency where he worked, three men set upon him with machetes and hacked him to death. The New Yorker – George Packer * The blows rendered his face unrecognizable. Two of the killers were captured by a ... Read More »

Russia Nervously Eyes the U.S.-Iran Deal

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When a group of weary diplomats announced a framework for an Iranian nuclear accord last week in Lausanne, there was one diplomat in the mix whose feigned enthusiasm was hard to miss. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left the talks at their most critical point March 30, much to the annoyance of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who apparently ... Read More »