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Increasing the Stakes in DR Congo’s Electoral Poker

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A moment of waning international attention has led some in President Kabila’s camp to revisit the idea of an internationally-opposed third presidential term. Nairobi/Brussels ICG African and Western leaders must maintain unity, redouble efforts to dissuade Kabila from pursuing this course and ensure preparations for elections in 2018 continue apace. What’s new? Allies of President Joseph Kabila suggest increasingly overtly that he could seek a third term in office; international actors, led by Angola, firmly reject that idea. Meanwhile, preparations ... Read More »

Israel’s Navy Trains to Defend Mediterranean Gas Rigs from Hezbollah Attack

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The Israeli Navy has successfully completed a military drill that simulated two possible ways Hezbollah might attack gas exploration and extraction systems in Israel’s Exclusive Economic… Sputnik The Israeli Navy’s first scenario included a drone simulating a cruise missile fired by the enemy at a gas rig. According to the Jerusalem Post, the airborne target was successfully discovered and destroyed by the… The ship has reportedly been upgraded with new detection, observation and electronic warfare systems, including a new radar which is said to greatly improve ... Read More »

NATO welcomes ceasefire with Taliban, calls for peace talks

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed on Thursday Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban, and he called on the militants to lay down their arms and negotiate a peace… “The announcement of a ceasefire shows the seriousness of President Ghani and the Afghan government … I call on the Taliban to join the ceasefire,” Stoltenberg told… “The Taliban will not win on the battlefield. The only way for them to achieve a solution is to ... Read More »

The problem with ‘dangerous times’

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There was a time when laws proposed in the name of national security ushered in weeks – even months – of news coverage and national debate. Waleed Aly The Age Take, for instance, the counter-terrorism laws the Howard government proposed in 2005 in the wake of the London Tube bombings. These were the laws that created a new detention regime allowing police to detain terrorism suspects without evidence for up to two weeks, and put tracking devices on people they regarded ... Read More »

Countering the Challenge of Closing Civic Space

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Since 2012, 72 countries around the world have passed more than 144 pieces of legislation restricting civil society, according to a new report exploring how donors can effectively support civic space. Wendy Williams ProBono The report, Effective Donor Responses to the Challenge of Closing Civic Space published by The International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), set out to examine what can be done to respond to and counter the closing civic space challenge more effectively. It revealed there had been ... Read More »

Israeli Parole Board Denies Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi Early Release

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Board says Tamimi, imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier, lacks remorse and remains dangerous Yotam Berger Haaretz A parole board has rejected a request by Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who received an eight-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting an Israeli soldier, for an early release. The Shin Bet security service issued an opinion in the case opposing her release. “The statements she has made about the case indicate her radical ideology, [and] along with the security situation in the ... Read More »

Zimbabwe: Lack of Reform Risks Credible Elections

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President Mnangagwa Should Act on Pledge for Free, Fair Vote (Harare) – The Zimbabwe government’s failure to carry out legal and electoral reforms threatens the credibility of national elections scheduled for July 30, 2018. HRW Despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s repeated promises that elections will be free and fair, the ability of voters to freely choose their leaders is in serious doubt. Human Rights Watch research in May, including interviews across the country, found that security force involvement in the electoral ... Read More »

Why Israel Still Can’t Afford to Destroy Hamas

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Destroying Hamas’ control would lead to either an open-ended Israeli presence that governs Gaza or to chaos. Shimon Arad The National Interest In a June 2017 article in the National Interest, I asserted that while Israel is militarily capable of destroying Hamas, in the absence of a viable alternative to the group’s control of Gaza, strategically it could not afford to do so. The recent flare-up along the border with Gaza, which escalated on May 29 into the most intense day since the large-scale ... Read More »

Teenager held in solitary confinement sues state government

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A young Aboriginal man is suing the state government for placing him in solitary confinement in an adult prison for three months when he was 16 years old. Tammy Mills The Age Wonyarna Edwards and two other teenagers were transferred to the Charlotte Unit of Port Phillip Prison in 2012 after a staff member was stabbed in the neck and injured when the inmates tried to escape from the Parkville youth detention centre. Mr Edwards was in solitary confinement in ... Read More »

Bangladesh body count mounts; group urges U.N. action to stop drug war

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DHAKA/MUMBAI (Reuters) – The death toll in a Bangladeshi “zero tolerance” crackdown on drugs has risen to 140, with about 18,000 people arrested, the government said on Thursday, as a group of activists urged the United Nations to step in to stop the… Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the anti-narcotics campaign in early May to tackle the spread of methamphetamines but the killings have raised fears among rights groups of a bloody Philippine-style campaign to wipe out… “In a manner… ... Read More »

The epic story of a 97-year-old Palestinian freedom fighter

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Born in 1921, Abu Nihad remembers the toughest battles against Zionist militias after the British left Palestine. Zena Tahhan AlJazeera Sur Baher, occupied East Jerusalem – In the village he defended from Zionist militias 70 years ago, Muhammad Mahmoud Jadallah is celebrated as a “blessing”. Born in 1921, the 97-year-old, known as Abu Nihad, witnessed the unfolding of what has been dubbed by some as “the world’s most intractable conflict”. He is one of the few Palestinian men who fought against ... Read More »

EU faces Poland test

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Law and Justice party (PiS) and twin brother of late Polish president Lech Kaczynski (unseen), his co-workers and supporters attend a ceremony marking the sixth anniversary of the presidential plane crash in Smolensk, in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, on April 10, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / WOJTEK RADWANSKI        (Photo credit should read WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The showdown with Warsaw is about more than the rule of law. It’s about the bloc’s very identity. Paul Taylor Politico PARIS — The European Union has a last chance in the next few weeks to stop Poland from emasculating its justice system by forcing dozens of Supreme Court judges into early retirement and packing the courts with government supporters. It must not blink. This is not just about preserving the rule of law in the largest of the ex-communist member countries ... Read More »

Brumby law ‘turns Australia into global laughing stock’

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Environment groups condemn legislation protecting feral horses in national park Lisa Cox The Guardian Australia has become a “global laughing stock” after the New South Walesparliament passed legislation to protect the heritage of feral horses in the Kosciuszko national park, environment groups say. The Berejiklian government, with support from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party and the Christian Democrats, passed the Kosciuszko wild horse heritage bill 2018 through the NSW Legislative Council late on Wednesday. On Thursday, Dave Watson, a… Brumby ... Read More »

How we talk about Kate Spade could help others survive

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I was sitting at my desk when a push notification came on my phone about Kate Spade’s suicide, and I felt a rush of vertigo, as if the room had tipped sideways. Gayle Brandeis CNN I had to clutch the arms of my desk chair to steady myself, had to take a few deep breaths. My mother took her own life in 2009, and whenever I hear news of a suicide, it both reopens that grief and sends my heart ... Read More »

In pictures: Chile students protest against harassment

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Thousands of people have marched through the Chilean capital, Santiago, to protest against sexual harassment and sexist behaviour in universities and schools. BBC The march saw schoolchildren joining students to demand an end to “institutionalised sexism” and violence against women on campuses and in schools. It is the latest in a string of protests since April, when allegations of sexual abuse by members of faculty and students first surfaced at a number of Chilean universities… In pictures: Chile students protest ... Read More »

Why long-term separation from parents harms kids

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As a society, we often wax eloquent about how important it is to nurture, support and protect our children. David Rosenberg The Conversation The sad reality, however, is that all too often major, life-changing decisions are made without any consideration of their potential lifelong and devastating impact on kids. Case in point: children separated from their parents at borders as new immigration policies are debated. Separation from parents for even short periods can cause anxiety disorders that can last a ... Read More »