North America

Lawless on the High Seas: Why the U.S. Can and Must Ratify UNCLOS

Out in the middle of the South China Sea, several islands now exist where none did before. Indigo Funk Brown Political Review What were once simple reefs and shoals are now full-fledged islands that host massive Chinese military bases, thanks to a government initiative that used thousands of tons of sand to achieve the goal. The Chinese government’s justification is that they own most of the South China Sea due to “historical claims” that only date back to 1942. It’s ... Read More »

Mounting legal threats surround Trump as nearly every organization he has led is under investigation

Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation. By David A. Fahrenthold, Matt Zapotosky and Seung Min Kim The Washington Post Trump’s private company is contending with civil suits digging into its business with foreign governments and with looming state inquiries into its tax practices. Trump’s 2016 campaign is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose investigation into Russian interference has already led to guilty pleas ... Read More »

Assisted dying ‘only option for many with terminal illness’

The introduction of assisted dying in Scotland is coming and is the only way to “relieve the suffering” for many with terminal conditions, MSPs have been told. By SCOTT MACNAB The Scotsman Medical leaders from Canada were in the Scottish Parliament last week to set out how the medical assistance in dying (MAID) system has worked there since being introduced two years ago and how splits in the profession were overcome. Dr Sandy Buchman, president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), ... Read More »

Obamacare: Texas court rules key health law is unconstitutional

A federal judge in the US state of Texas has ruled that a key part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional. BBC Twenty states argued the whole law was invalidated by a change in tax rules last year which eliminated a penalty for not having health insurance. President Donald Trump said the ruling was great news for America. The law’s provisions will, however, remain in place until an appeal is heard at the US ... Read More »

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says Trump knew it was wrong to make hush-money payments during campaign

Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to arrange hush-money payments with two women because then-candidate Trump “was very concerned about how this would affect the election” if… By George Stephanopoulos, Eric Avram, Eliana Larramendia James Hill abc NEWS Cohen’s comments are his first since being sentenced earlier this week to three years in federal prison for financial crimes, lying to Congress and two campaign finance violations in connection with the… “I knew what I was doing was wrong,” Cohen told ABC ... Read More »

What the US could learn from Thailand about health care coverage

The open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) draws to a close on Dec. 15. Joseph Harris The Conversation Yet, recent assaults on the ACA by the Trump administration stand in marked contrast to efforts to expand access to health care and medicine in the rest of the world. In fact, on Dec. 12, the world observed Universal Coverage Day, a day celebrated by the United Nations to commemorate passage of a… While the U.N. measure was nonbinding ... Read More »

Role reversal: China cites human rights in spat with Canada

When China’s government recently protested the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou, it used something rarely heard from Beijing — the language of… David Webster The Conversation “The detention without giving any reason violates a person’s human rights,” a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said. In using this sort of “rights talk,” China is not simply jumping on the fact that Meng was in detention on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ... Read More »

Book Excerpt – Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy.

Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes present the second edition of their important work on this timely topic. China has a dream. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials tell us so. Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes The National Interest President Xi Jinping, who ranks first among them, made “Chinese Dream” his credo soon after ascending to China’s top post in 2012. And this is no mere slogan; it encapsulates CCP officialdom’s vision of China’s purposes and aspirations, first and foremost of which ... Read More »

Confront Turkey’s ethnic cleansing and stop indulging it

Every April, Turkish diplomats and members of the Congressional Turkey Caucus scramble to avert a resolution recognizing as genocide the World War I-era Ottoman massacres of Armenians. Washington Examiner Turkish officials oppose any resolution holding Turkey responsible both because the Republic of Turkey was not formally declared until 1923 and because they hold that what happened was not deliberate but… Other Turkish historians and politicians hold that the evidence upon which genocide historians rely is exaggerated if not fraudulent. Lost ... Read More »

Maria Butina Pleads Guilty to Role in a Russian Effort to Influence Conservatives

WASHINGTON — To the conservative Americans she courted, Maria Butina was the right kind of Russian. Matthew Rosenberg The New York Times She loved guns and the church and networking with top officials in the National Rifle Association. She schmoozed with Republican presidential candidates, and became a supporter of Donald J. Trump. She spent Thanksgiving at a congressman’s country house, took a Trump campaign aide to see the rock band Styx and helped a Rockefeller heir organize “friendship dinners” with ... Read More »

Socialism: What do Americans think?

| In 60 Seconds In a recent USA Today article, President Trump stated that “If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America.” Karlyn Bowman American Enterprise Institute Is he right? AEI’s Karlyn Bowman reviews polling data to discover American attitudes about socialism… Read More »

U.S. returns 3 church bells taken as war booty from Philippines in 1901

MANILA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) — After 117 years, the United States returned the three original church bells taken by American soldiers as war booty during the Philippine-American war in 1901. Li Xia Xinhua A U.S. Air Force plane bearing the three historic bells landed in the Philippines on Tuesday morning. U.S. officials led by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim handed the… “It is a most memorable day of our nation’s history and we celebrate it with deep gratitude ... Read More »

Explainer: why is Australia adopting the global refugee compact but not the migration compact?

Australia was one of 176 countries to vote in favour of the Global Compact on Refugees (refugee compact) in mid-November this year. Azadeh Dastyari The Conversation The United Nations General Assembly will adopt it by the end of 2018. However, Australia did not join the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (migration compact) at a conference in Morocco on December 10-11. What are the compacts and what do they aim to do? There is much confusion about the ... Read More »

Australia only nation to join US at pro-coal event at COP24 climate talks

Country’s stance described as ‘a slap in the face of our Pacific island neighbours’ Ben Doherty The Guardian Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to coal – and its unwavering support for the United States – by appearing at a US government-run event promoting the use of fossil fuels at the… Australia was the only country apart from the host represented at the event, entitled “US innovative technologies spur economic dynamism”, designed to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as… Its ... Read More »

Human rights in 2018 – ten issues that made headlines

On December 10, the world marks 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Authors: The Conversation Regrettably, instead of the anniversary signalling the enduring impact of human rights, some are fearing the “end of human rights”. Here we highlight some of the rights challenges that captured the world’s attention this year, illustrating the struggle to secure human rights is far from over. 1. Australia’s first year on the UN Human Rights Council Australia took its ... Read More »

US sanctions are ‘economic terrorism’: Rouhani

Iran‘s President Hassan Rouhani said US sanctions were “economic terrorism”, as he sought to foster a united front from visiting regional officials on Dec. 8. TEHRAN – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Washington has reimposed an oil embargo and other damaging sanctions on Iran since pulling out in May from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers. “America’s unjust and illegal sanctions against the honourable nation of Iran have targeted our nation in a clear instance of terrorism,” Rouhani said in a televised speech. He was speaking at a conference on terrorism and… ... Read More »