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A good death

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It would be foolish to think that we can control when our time is up. But neither should we face that moment unprepared. Not only for our sake, but for the people we leave behind. Vivien Shao Business Times THE only certainty in life is death. But this is not something we like to think about – not when we are at our prime, our careers powering ahead, and the future bright. In fact, as you flip through the papers, ... Read More »

Migrant farm workers take on one of Australia’s richest families, the Smorgons

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Migrant farm workers are taking on one of Australia’s richest families, the Smorgons, in what could be the first major strike in the farm sector for many decades. Ben Schneiders The Age The workers and a union are seeking better pay and conditions at giant glasshouses north of Adelaide at a company majority owned by a Smorgon-family investment company. Strikes are almost non-existent in the farm sector, which is overwhelmingly non-union. On Friday, three migrant workers appeared in the Fair ... Read More »

Turns Out ‘Fakes News’ Is Pretty Real, You Just Need To Know Where To Look

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Unsurprisingly, the best place to get your news on all things United States these days is not from the traditional news sources. It’s not that they’re ‘fake news’ in the way Donald Trump describes them. It’s just that they’re mainstream media …enough said. New Matilda So where does new Matilda get its US news? John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is an excellent source of news that we ‘ve profiled before. It’s particularly good for major stories that aren’t necessarily cracking ... Read More »

Sri Lanka signs Hambantota port deal with China

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Billion-dollar agreement reached despite trade union opposition and protests over security fears, including from India. Al Jazeera and news agencies<imgheight=”1″width=”1″style=”display:none”src=”https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=968100353246427&ev=PageView&noscript=1″/> Sri Lanka has signed a $1.12bn agreement with a state-run Chinese firm to operate a port in the southeast of the country, despite security concerns and protests from trade unions. According to the long-delayed deal reached in the capital Colombo on Saturday, Sri Lanka Ports Authority agreed to sellΒ a 70 percent stake in the Hambantota port to China Merchants Ports ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Court Sets a Dangerous Precedent

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday from holding public office for life in a corruption inquiry linked to the Panama Papers, which had named three of his children as owners of offshore companies suspected of laundering money. Aqil Shah The New York Times The court also ordered the National Accountability Bureau, the country’s top anticorruption agency, to file corruption cases against Mr. Sharif and his family members based on the evidence collected by the court appointed ... Read More »

Iran’s Newest Benefactor: China

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Is Iran becoming a Chinese proxy? More than two years after Secretary of State John Kerry and his European Union counterpart Federica Mogherini acquiesced to the last Iranian demands and signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has the… MICHAEL RUBIN Commentary Iran’s ballistic missile program continues to expand rapidly. Yesterday, Iran inaugurated its new launch facility by sending a rocket into low earth orbit. The same technology could be used to launch an intercontinental ballistic… Iran’s Newest Benefactor… Read More »

Japan joins US in imposing new sanctions on North Korea

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Foreign minister says assets of five groups, including two from China, to be frozen, as well as nine individuals. Source: Reuters news agency Al Jazeera Japan will impose additional sanctions on North Korea for its weapons programmes, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday, just hours after the US Senate also voted for new sanctions on the secretive state. US media reported this week that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon spy agency, had assessed that North Korea would ... Read More »

A Himalayan spat between China and India evokes memories of war

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FOR nearly six weeks, armed contingents of two of the biggest military forces in the world have faced off in a high-altitude game of chicken in the Himalayas. The Economist Roughly 300-400 Indian soldiers and an equal number of Chinese border guards are stuck glowering at one another over a scrubby patch of land at a “tri-junction”, where the two countries and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan all meet. Analysts cannot see how either side might easily stand down. Memories ... Read More »

Sri Lanka’s Conflict-Affected Women: Dealing with the Legacy of War

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Tamil-speaking women in Sri Lanka’s north and east pushed for accountability and truth during the country’s civil war but have been marginalised during the transitional justice process. Crisis Group The government and international actors must include their voices and address their injustices and difficult economic situation to ensure lasting peace. Executive Summary Eight years after the end of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, Tamil speaking women in the island’s north and east are still seeking justice and truth for wartime violations. ... Read More »

When in doubt, nuke China

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A situation in which the US military feels ‘unhampered’ has precedent – and, as General MacArthur’s endeavors in Korea prove, it’s something to be afraid of Pepe Escobar Asia Times The current collapse of the unipolar world, with the inexorable emergence of a multipolar framework, has enabled a terrifying subplot to run amok – the normalization of the idea of nuclear war. The latest exhibit comes in the form of aΒ US admiral assuring everyone he’s ready to follow President Trump’s ... Read More »

John Olsen says Archibald Prize win is ‘the worst decision I’ve ever seen’

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The Archibald Prize has once again sparked controversy with veteran artist John Olsen calling this year’s winner, Mitch Cairns’ colourful portrait of artist Agatha Gothe-Snape, “just so bad”. Garry Maddox The Canberra Times “I think it’s the worst decision I’ve ever seen,” the 89-year-old former winner and three-time judge of the country’s best-known portrait prize… Insisting that an outstanding portrait should give an insight into it’s subject, Olsen said Cairn’s painting lucked analysis… John Olsen says… Read More »

The Desperation of Our Diplomats

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WASHINGTON β€” On the first Friday in May, Foreign Affairs Day, the staff gathers in the flag-bedecked C Street lobby of the State Department beside the memorial plaques for the 248 members of foreign affairs agencies who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Roger Cohen The New York Times A moment of silence is observed. As president of the American Foreign Service Association, Barbara Stephenson helps organize the annual event. This year, she was set to enter ... Read More »

Arts patronage now

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Companies have gotten sophisticated in their support of and collaboration with artists. Helmi Yusof SPH ARTS patronage used to be more straightforward. In the Renaissance era, a rich patron might ask an artist to paint specific figures and objects using specific colours and medium. In return, the artist was given financial support and moral encouragement. Today, arts patronage has taken on different complexions – especially when the patrons are companies. Although artists are still regularly commissioned to produce artworks, commercial ... Read More »

What lessons can Nicola Sturgeon learn from Catalonian Indyref plans?

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Once again, it looks like voters in Catalonia are headed to the polls to vote on whether to declare independence from Spain. Ross McCafferty The Scotsman Readers in Scotland, especially those weary of talk over another plebiscite, will have a feeling of solidarity with those in the area that includes Barcelona, as this is the second time in three years the Spanish region will have its say on constitutional matters. The poll, tentatively scheduled for October 1, comes just over ... Read More »

UN: 80 pct of Yemen children in need of immediate aid

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A vicious combination of war, cholera and hunger has left 80 percent of Yemeni children in desperate need of aid, the United Nations has said said. Sanaa Hurriyet ”Nearly 80 percent of Yemen’s children need immediate humanitarian assistance,” the executive directors of three U.N. agencies said in a joint statement released at the end of a two-day visit on July 25. ”Nearly two million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished. Malnutrition makes them more susceptible to cholera. Disease creates more malnutrition. ... Read More »

Why offshore processing of refugees bound for Europe is such a bad idea

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n the same day that a top UN official bravely called on Australia to end the harmful practice of processing asylum applications offshore in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, one of his colleagues announced his support for another proposed offshoring system – this time to prevent migrants reaching the… Daria Davitti  The Conversation On July 24, Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), said that Australia’s policy to deny access to asylum in Australia for refugees arriving by sea “has caused extensive, ... Read More »