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Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ nominated for Nobel prize

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Three Hong Kong activists and the pro-democracy group behind the Umbrella Movement have been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their role in pushing for reform in the Chinese territory. AlJazeera Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, as well as the “Umbrella Movement”, were nominated by a group of US Congress members for the prestigious prize, a move Beijing denounced on Friday as a form of “meddling” in its internal affairs. “This nomination could not be more timely as Hong Kong’s long-cherished ... Read More »

Images of mutilated female Kurdish fighter spark outrage

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A video captured in Syria shows the body of a female Kurdish fighter which has been mutilated by a group of Turkish-backed rebels, the British Daily Mail newspaper reports. Ahval The woman, identified by Kurdish officials as Barin Kobani, was reportedly a fighter from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a mainly-Kurdish fighting force that Turkey is fighting against in the northwest Syrian region of Afrin. The video shows a dozen men around her mutilated body, which has been partially stripped ... Read More »

Fixing pain management could help us solve the opioid crisis

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Australia is facing a critical public health issue of poorly managed pain The combination of poor health outcomes, inappropriate prescribing for pain and non-prescription use of opioids has resulted in opioid-related deaths surpassing the national annual road toll. Meredith Craigie The Conversation And prescription opioids were involved in more than 70% of drug-related deaths in Australia in 2017. What should opioids be used for? Opiods began being commonly prescribed in the 90s, despite limited research supporting their effectiveness for chronic pain that wasn’t ... Read More »

South Sudan: US bans arms sales and urges others to follow

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The United States has banned the export of weapons to South Sudan and has urged other nations and the UN to adopt a global arms embargo BBC It is a largely symbolic move, as the US does not export arms to South Sudan. But the move prevents any US company or citizen from offering defence services to the country. The US has expressed frustration with the failure of South Sudanese leaders to put an end to the country’s four-year civil ... Read More »

Green Brexit is impossible to guarantee, say Tory MEPs

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Exclusive: Leaked document says it will be impossible to ensure current environmental and food safety standards are kept in Britain or the EU Arthur Neslen in Brussels The Guardian Conservative MEPs have said Brexit will make it “impossible” to guarantee that current environmental standards can be kept in Britain or the EU. A leaked document seen by the Guardian also calls for “the closest possible working relationship” between the EU and UK after Brexit, and for a “no regression clause” in future British ... Read More »

Senate crossbencher Lucy Gichuhi joins the Turnbull government in shock numbers manoeuvre

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Former Family First senator Lucy Gichuhi has defected from the crossbench to join Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government. Mark Kenny The Canberra Times The Kenyan-born lawyer had been voting as an independent following the dissolution of her previous party but will now sit as a fully-fledged Liberal Party senator for South Australia. The move, shrouded in secrecy for weeks but made public on Friday night, effectively restores the number the Coalition lost by the defection of Cory Bernardi, who had hoped ... Read More »

Japan’s New National Security Economy

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Japan’s long-awaited resurgence depends first and foremost on getting its economic house in order—and that includes developing a geoeconomic strategy. Toshifumi Kokubun Brad Glosserman The National Interest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s quest to raise Japan’s security profile has had remarkable success. His administration has halted the decline in defense spending, restructured the national-security bureaucracy and engineered considerable changes in national-security policy and doctrine. For all that progress, however, there are critical gaps in Japanese efforts. The most glaring omission is ... Read More »

The price of saying “no” to war in Turkey

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It was just after midnight. I was watching TV as my sons played nearby. Nurcan Baysal Ahval My younger son was playing with Lego as my older son played on his phone. My husband and another friend were also with us. A normal Sunday night. All of a sudden, I heard a terrible noise. At first, I thought it was an earthquake. I then figured out that the sound was coming from the front door. With war as a not ... Read More »

Was Your Seafood Caught With Slave Labor?

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New Database Helps Retailers Combat Abuse The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, known best for its red, yellow and green sustainable seafood-rating scheme, is unveiling its first Seafood Slavery Risk Tool on Thursday. npr It’s a database designed to help corporate seafood buyers assess the risk of forced labor, human trafficking and hazardous child labor in the seafood they purchase. The tool’s release comes on the heels of a new report that confirms forced labor and human rights abuses ... Read More »

To protect or collect? Germany’s big data divide

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Both sides are miles apart on how millions of terabytes of data generated each day in a digitized economy should be regulated JANOSCH DELCKER Politico BERLIN — Big data is Germany’s future. Problem is, its leaders can’t agree on how to use it. Amid talks on forming a government, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Social Democrats are hammering out the country’s digital strategy for the next four years. Both sides agree that e-government, big data and expanded fast internet will ... Read More »

Diplomats Are Made, Not Born

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Diplomacy and politics may go hand in hand, but their partnership isn’t one of equals. It is logical — especially in a democracy — for a country’s diplomacy to serve its political leaders. By NICHOLAS KRALEV The New York Times Sometimes, however, smart leaders allow diplomacy to influence politics. For that influence to be truly worthwhile, governments around the world must solve an acute problem: Global diplomacy today is not very effective, in part because it is misunderstood and starved of ... Read More »

How Canada is inspiring Scandinavian countries on immigration

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As a wave of “Scandimania” sweeps the world, Canada is serving as an inspiration for Scandinavian countries dealing with the challenges of increased immigration and ethnic diversity. Trygve Ugland The Conversation Scandinavia has, for a long time, been portrayed as a model for other countries. The international fascination with Scandinavia derives from a broadly shared impression that Denmark, Norway and Sweden have successfully combined private capitalism and economic growth, on the one hand, with state intervention and social equity on ... Read More »

San Francisco offers marijuana conviction amnesty

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The city of San Francisco, one of the most liberal in the United States, is offering an amnesty for marijuana convictions dating back over 40 years, weeks after California legalized the drug. LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet California’s legalization of recreational marijuana took effect at the beginning of January, making the state the largest legal market for pot in the world. “While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead ... Read More »

Turkey’s propaganda war targets America’s state capitals

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Law firm hired by Turkey lobbies state officials about political foe, related charter schools By Liz Essley Whyte Center for Public Integrity A law firm hired by the government of Turkey is lobbying state officials across the U.S. about what it alleges is a suspicious network of American charter schools run by a dangerous Turkish opposition leader. Federal records show Turkey’s lawyers requested meetings in January 2018 with politicians in 26 states and the District of Columbia, including attorneys general, ... Read More »

The Bizarre American Lobbying War Over Turkish-Run Schools

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The government of Turkey is seeking to discredit a network of U.S. charter schools linked to exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen. By LIZ ESSLEY WHYTE Politico A law firm hired by the government of Turkey is lobbying state officials across the U.S. about what it alleges is a suspicious network of American charter schools run by a dangerous Turkish opposition leader. Federal records show Turkey’s lawyers requested meetings in January 2018 with politicians in 26 states and the District of Columbia, ... Read More »

Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

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A submission was made to this inquiry by the councils for civil liberties across Australia (New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, South Australia Council for Civil Liberties and the Australian Council for Civil Liberties). Liberty Victoria Author: Joint Councils for Civil Liberties Submitted To: Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters This Bill is part of a major package of proposed legislation relating to national security and foreign intervention Foreign interference in democratic and ... Read More »