Location

Syria: is Europe’s influence in the region finished?

The Assad regime has inched closer to winning the Syrian conflict during 2018. Richard Youngs The Conversation With Russian and Iranian support, the regime has reestablished strong and authoritarian rule, at least outside the deescalation zones where its remit is still curtailed. With a new UN envoy to Syria now taking office and the EU confirming it will host another donor conference for the country early in 2019 – designed to mobilise humanitarian aid and other assistance from the international ... Read More »

Perth’s brief abalone season is a time of delicacies and danger

Starting on December 8, recreational abalone fishing will be allowed in Perth. Fishing will be limited to one hour on four Saturday mornings between December and February. John Charles Ryan The Conversation The maximum catch is still 15 per person per day. A complete ban on abalone fishing between Geraldton and the Northern Territory border will remain in place. This brief, intense season is a social and dining highlight of the year for many Australians – particularly Chinese migrants. It’s ... Read More »

Pig-to-human heart transplant more likely after baboon success

Berlin: Pig hearts could soon be tested in humans after scientists passed an important milestone by keeping primates alive for three months after transplanting the organs. WAtoday Telegraph, London Surgeons in Germany grafted pig hearts into five baboons and kept four of the animals alive for at least 90 days, with one still in good health for more than six months. In 2000, the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation suggested that human trials would be considered once 60 per ... Read More »

New scholarship honours Aboriginal Elder who led protest against Nazis

A lucrative new scholarship will honour the life and activism of Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper. NITV SBS A university in Victoria has announced a new scholarship that celebrates the activism of Aboriginal and Jewish communities by honouring the life of Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper. On 6 December 1938, Mr Cooper, aged 77, led a march from his home in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs to the steps of the city’s German consulate. It was a protest against Kristallnacht, the ... Read More »

Huawei exec’s arrest opens a new front in the US-China trade war

Hong Kong (CNN Business) – The conflict between the United States and China over trade and technology is expanding. Analysis by Jethro Mullen, CNN Business The arrest of a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei at the request of the US government has angered Beijing, alarmed investors and raised new doubts about the fragile truce that the leaders of the world’s top two economies reached just days ago. “You have to see this as a significant escalation in the trade ... Read More »

Voters are crying out for better government but have mixed views on how to achieve it

Support for democracy and trust in politicians is falling. We hear a lot about evidence-based policy as a way to stem this decline, but less about how that evidence should be generated. Authors: The Conversation One idea that may generate the type of evidence that will help make more informed decisions appears, paradoxically, fairly unpopular with the punters. Perhaps the problem is that not enough has been done to explain to the public what this idea – carefully testing new ... Read More »

The Indian restaurants that serve only half a glass of water

While many parts of India are going through a sustained water crisis, the western city of Pune is trying to deal with the problem in a rather unusual way, writes the BBC‘s Geeta Pandey. The dystopian future we worried about is already here. Many restaurants in the city of Pune have begun serving only half glasses of water to guests. At the pure vegetarian Kalinga restaurant, a couple have just been seated when a waiter approaches their table and asks ... Read More »

North Sentinel Island: uncontacted tribes’ ‘right to be left alone’ doesn’t gel with broader human rights

John Allen Chau knew he might die. The 26-year-old US evangelical missionary was killed, in late November, on North Sentinel Island, by members of the indigenous community that he sought to convert to Christianity. Karolina Follis The Conversation He saw this as his life’s mission – and understood the risks. North Sentinel Island is part of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It is home to the Sentinelese people, who are among the world’s last uncontacted tribes – ... Read More »

PM escapes threat to his control of Parliament as Labor backs down on encryption

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has survived a dire threat to his control of Parliament from a determined attempt to change asylum seeker policy, sparking a blame game that forced Labor to back down on… David Crowe The Age Mr Morrison blocked attempts to amend migration laws to transfer more asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru to Australia, but was forced to delay a major policy on energy in order to avoid a… The ruthless tactics deepened hostilities between the ... Read More »

It’s no wonder we no longer trust our institutions

I’ve been thinking about institutions a lot lately. About how if there is anything that characterises our current political moment of disillusionment, anger and a rampant, destructive cynicism, it is that we no longer… Waleed Aly The Canberra Times Try to name one; it’s more difficult than you’d think. Our trust in politics – even in democracy itself – is at an all time low. Whatever belief we once had in the idea that business, for all its self-interest, was ... Read More »

Hunger, violence and constant stress: The brutal truth of life as a child refugee

As a former child refugee, I feel very strongly for the children on Nauru. I know the sense of uncertainty and hopelessness that comes from being stuck in limbo — not knowing if or when you might get to live freely in a… Sayed Rabbani ABC I was just 9 years old when my family fled Afghanistan for the third time in 2001, when the war in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks on America began. I remember the first airstrike ... Read More »

U.S. Military Tests Russia at Sea Days After Warning From China

The U.S. military has sent a message to Russia by sailing through a disputed waterway near Japan. Tom O’Connor Newsweek The move came only a week after China mobilized its own vessels in response to a perceived transgression by the Navy. Navy Lieutenant Rachel McMarr, a spokesperson for the Pacific Fleet, told CNN Wednesday that Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS… The Navy considered the move one of its “freedom of navigation” operations, which are outlined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on ... Read More »

Yemen: Giving Peace a Chance?

Preliminary peace consultations on Yemen are scheduled to start in Stockholm on 6 December. This is the second attempt in three months to jump-start talks. Crisis Group consultant Peter Salisbury explains why the Sweden talks are so important and what could go wrong. What are the talks in Stockholm expected to achieve? In September, the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, failed to bring the parties to the table in Geneva after last-minute wrangling. This time he hopes to have ... Read More »

Chad: Defusing Tensions in the Sahel

Growing discontent among young people in Chad’s Sahel regions risk driving them into the arms of rebels in neighbouring countries. ICG Authorities should end the impunity of individuals guilty of a range of abuses and distinguish between economic migrants and potential rebels. What’s new?  Anger at the state is rising among youth in Chad’s Sahel regions of Bahr el-Ghazal and Kanem. Impunity for abuses committed against locals and the authorities’ treatment of all young people leaving for Libya – many ... Read More »

Australians’ trust in politicians and democracy hits an all-time low: new research

Over the past four years, we have conducted a range of attitudinal surveys with the Social Research Institute at Ipsos on the relationship between trust in the political system and attitudes towards democracy in… Authors: The Conversation Our latest research, conducted in July 2018 (prior to the Liberal Party’s leadership spill), includes a quantitative survey of a representative sample of 20 focus groups and 1,021 Australians from a wide range of… We understood political trust in this survey as “keeping ... Read More »

What moves markets more, Twitter or traditional news?

Can a single tweet make a country’s currency depreciate by 16%? Apparently it did on August 10, when Donald Trump tweeted that US tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium would rise sharply. Authors: The Conversation Amid 36,100 retweets, and calls by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his people to dump foreign assets, the Turkish lira plunged. It’s not just the president of the United States that has such Twitter power. Around the same time, Elon Musk’s infamous tweet about ... Read More »