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UN Begins Talks on World’s First Treaty to Regulate High Seas

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UNITED NATIONS, Sep 7 2018 (IPS) – After several years of preliminary discussions, the United Nations has begun its first round of inter-governmental negotiations to draft the world’s first legally binding treaty to protect and regulate the “high seas”—which, by definition, extend beyond 200 nautical miles (370… Thalif Deen “The high seas cover half our planet and are vital to the functioning of the whole ocean and all life on Earth. The current high seas governance system is weak, fragmented ... Read More »

Mobile platforms can give refugees access to vital information when they arrive in Australia

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Waves of asylum seekers emerging from conflict zones in Myanmar, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere are expected to add more than one million people to global resettlement needs this year. Authors: The Conversation These refugees face a world of closing doors, but they also offer economic opportunities and cultural enrichment to countries that welcome them. While some refugees are integrating well in regional Australia, others still face significant challenges in the capital cities. As concerned researchers, we are interested ... Read More »

Can this Egyptian actor’s photo in bed with another man send him to prison?

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CAIRO — A photo and a gay pride flag on a T-shirt has spurred controversy and eventually a legal case in Egypt last month, targeting actor Khaled Abol Naga and the international clothing brand Bershka. Ahmed Fouad Al-Monitor Lawyer Ahmed al-Ganzouri told Al-Monitor that both Abol Naga and Bershka risk facing legal charges under Article 294 of the Egyptian Penal Code. The article stipulates six months to three years of imprisonment for inciting adultery, immorality and prostitution, verbally, by implication, by signs or any similar means. The Egyptian ... Read More »

Is the Yemen Peace Process Coming Back to Life?

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The UN special envoy to Yemen has invited the principal parties in the country’s civil war to Geneva for “consultations”. ICG With the war rapidly approaching its fifth year, Crisis Group Consultant Peter Salisbury explains why any such Geneva talks are important and what should happen next. First of all, what is happening and why does it matter? After two years of political inertia, we should be cautious about what can be achieved. Given the lack of diplomatic progress since ... Read More »

Freedom of Navigation and the Environment

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The US has long maintained that freedom of navigation (FON) for warships in foreign 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) is essentially “absolute.” Mark J. Valencia IPP Review China and some other countries disagree and have placed some restrictions on the activities of foreign warships and aircraft in their EEZs. But the US is undermining its own position by placing restrictions on its own military’s activities, and by extension those of foreign militaries, in its own EEZ. Military activities in EEZs ... Read More »

Why do people talk politics online? Because they don’t care what you think

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Wading into a political debate online can be a minefield. Search any comment section or thread on a social media site, and you’re likely to come across some pretty strong views. Authors: The Conversation But that’s not necessarily just the nature of the debate. It could also reflect the kind of personalities that are drawn to online discussions of this kind. In our research, we’ve found that people who don’t care about what others think are more likely to engage ... Read More »

U.S. has seen evidence of Syria preparing chemical weapons in Idlib: envoy

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There is “lots of evidence” that chemical weapons are being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib in northwest Syria, the new U.S. adviser for Syria said on Thursday, as he warned of the risks of an offensive on the… Lesley Wroughton “I am very sure that we have very, very good grounds to be making these warnings,” said Jim Jeffrey, who was named on Aug. 17 as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s special adviser on Syria ... Read More »

Under pressure govt backtracks on Atif Mian appointment; removes economist from advisory council

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The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has asked Princeton University economist Atif R. Mian to step down from the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Economic Advisory Council (EAC), PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan announced on Friday. Fahad Chaudhry Dawn The decision follows mounting pressure from religiopolitical partiesagainst the appointment of Dr Mian, who is an Ahmadi. According to a tweet by Senator Javed, Mian has agreed to give up his position on the council. A replacement will be announced later, he… Minister of ... Read More »

How Brexit has revived controversy over the Elgin Marbles in Britain

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The Parthenon Sculptures have been the subject of debate for more than 200 years. With Theresa May scurrying around the EU trying to deliver Brexit, Greece is quite right to probe the possibility of bringing the treasures home. Dominic Selwood Independent It seems unlikely that several hundred tonnes of marble from Mount Pentelicus near Athens could have a significant role to play in Brexit. But, following a letter from the Greek government to Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, that is exactly what is now happening. Lydia ... Read More »

World politics explainer: the assassination of John F. Kennedy

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At precisely 1pm on November 22, 1963, the 35th president of the United States was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital Trauma Room 1 in Dallas, Texas. Lloyd Cox The Conversation John F Kennedy’s personal physician stated the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. This was officially announced to a stunned public half an hour later. The shock waves of the president’s assassination, the fourth in US history, continue to reverberate today. What happened? While the events ... Read More »

4 charts show Venezuela’s worsening migrant crisis

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A few years ago, Venezuela seemed to be setting the standard for social welfare in the region. Rebecca Hanson The Conversation In 2015, the United Nations recognized Venezuela as having made the most advances in the fight against hunger in the Latin American and Caribbean region. National rates of poverty and inequality declined under President Hugo Chávez from the early 2000s until 2012. Yet this is the same country where inflation last year reached 2,616 percent. The International Monetary Fund ... Read More »

Russia and Turkey Will Collide Over End of Syrian Civil War

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This is Washington’s chance to repair ties with Ankara to counter Moscow and Damascus. Gabriel White and Bogdan Belei The National Interest At the beginning of August, the Syrian military planes flew over the northwestern province of Idlib and dropped leaflets urging residents to surrender and threatening military action. It was the latest example of how Bashar al-Assad and his forces have ignored de-escalation agreements and continue a full-scale offensive against their opposition. The city of Idlib—the only majoropposition-held territory left ... Read More »

Foreign Influence in the Balkans

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The Balkans have always been fertile ground for foreign interests. Political intrigue in the region sparked the First World War and nationalist struggles after the dissolution of Yugoslavia filled world headlines in the 1990’s. Krithika Varagur Pulitzer Center It was in the latter period, and specifically during the Bosnian War, that the door was opened to substantial investment from the Middle East. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran helped countries like Bosnia and Kosovo reconstruct their infrastructure, schools, and places of ... Read More »

North Korea sets denuclearisation timeline

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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has given his first time line to achieve denuclearisation, aiming for the end of US President Donald Trump’s first term, and has agreed to a third summit with his South… Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee, Reuters Herald Sun Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet in Pyongyang on September 18-20 and discuss “practical measures” toward denuclearisation, Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-… The summit could provide renewed momentum to talks over denuclearisation between North ... Read More »

Ending Child Marriage in the United Kingdom

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Hypocrisy Undermines UK pledge to Fight Child Marriage Overseas Heather Barr HRW This week Pauline Latham, a Conservative MP, introduced a bill to ban marriage before the age of 18 in England and Wales. She has support from across the political spectrum for an effort that is long overdue. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, children aged 16 and 17 can marry with their parents’ permission. In Scotland, the minimum age of marriage is 16, with no parental permission required. ... Read More »

In Australia, One Man Can Decide a Migrant’s Fate. Did He Abuse That Power?

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SYDNEY, Australia — When a suicidal 10-year-old boy in an offshore detention camp asked to come to Australia for psychiatric care, Peter Dutton’s answer was no. By Damien Cave and Isabella Kwai The New York Times When an Australian combat veteran requested a refugee visa for his Afghan interpreter, Mr. Dutton — Australia’s top immigration official — also refused. But when an Italian au pair, who worked for a former colleague, needed a reprieve from deportation, Mr. Dutton obliged. It was at least the second ... Read More »