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North Korea’s missile program is no longer a distant threat

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North Korea is claiming it now has the capability to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon, after testing another advanced missile on Tuesday. Harry J Kazianis Asia Times While such an assertion is hard to confirm so early after the test, one thing is clear: Pyongyang’s missile program is entering a critical phase and is no longer a distant threat. Initially, President Donald Trump gambled that personal diplomacy –buddying up to Chinese President Xi Jinping — would yield… ... Read More »

Colombia’s FARC Ends its 53-year Insurgency

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With the official disarming of its main rebel organisation, Colombia has passed a remarkable new milestone in its peace process. ICG But major challenges remain: the destruction of remote arms dumps, reintegration of ex-combatants, and progress towards peace with other armed groups. The International Crisis Group celebrates the most significant achievement of the Colombian peace process to date: the… Colombia’s FARC Ends… Read More »

Why Roman concrete still stands strong while modern version decays

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Scientists have cracked the secret to Roman water-based structures’ strength – and findings could help today’s… Nicola Davis The Guardian Their structures are still standing more than 1,500 years after the last centurion snuffed it: now the Romans’ secret of durable marine concrete has finally been… The Roman recipe – a mix of volcanic ash, lime (calcium oxide), seawater and lumps of volcanic rock – held together piers, breakwaters and… Moreover, in contrast to modern materials, the…. Why Roman concrete… Read More »

Why Iraq Needs a Cultural Surge

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Iraq needs a new surge—one that is focused on the reconstruction of the country’s cultural heritage. Bartle Bull The National Interest IT IS no secret that the Islamic State brought many tragedies. Potentially the most consequential of these is that in Iraq the rule of the erstwhile caliphate encompassed perhaps the world’s single richest trove of cultural… Now, as ISIS territory disappears yard by yard from the Iraqi map, it is… Why Iraq Needs… Read More »

ATO fraud scandal: just how big is the public service’s nepotism problem?

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Public servants’ conflicts of interest remain ineffectively monitored. Richard Mulgan The Canberra Times The recent resignation of Tax Office deputy commissioner Michael Cranston, along with allegations of impropriety against other senior ATO officials, raises important questions about public sector ethics and… The accusations arose out of extensive inquiries into a tax fraud involving Plutus Payroll Australia, a company providing payroll services for large… ATO fraud scandal… Read More »

What does ‘the last chance’ really mean?

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The imperial origins and neo-imperial purposes of a misleading mantra Klearchos A. Kyriakides Published in Agora Dialogue on 4 July 2017 Introduction  On 28 June 2017, the ‘Conference on Cyprus’ was ‘reconvened’ in the luxury Alpine resort of Crans Montana in Switzerland. In common with what occurred in connection with the ‘Conference on Cyprus’ held in Geneva on 12 January 2017, the ‘reconvened’ version has been accompanied by the widespread dissemination of a simple proposition: that the ‘Conference on Cyprus’ ... Read More »

Border Force illegally sent two Australian citizens to Christmas Island

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New Zealand-born men released when error was realised in episode reminiscent of Cornelia Rau and Vivian Solon cases Ben Doherty The Guardian Australian Border Force illegally detained two Australian citizens and sent them to Christmas Island in an episode reminiscent of the Cornelia Rau and Vivian Solon cases of more than a decade ago. Guardian Australia understands the two men are New Zealand-born but hold dual Australian… Border Force illegally… Read More »

What’s Keeping One of Opera’s Greatest Sopranos From Singing?

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MUNICH — The joy of Elisabeth’s entrance aria in Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” recedes for a line of sadness as she recalls her beloved’s departure. ZACHARY WOOLFE The New York Times The soprano Anja Harteros, whose performance of the role at the Bayerische Staatsoper here will be streamed at staatsoper.tv on Sunday, July 9, makes of that passing moment an entire anatomy of… Her voice suddenly turns gray and hazy, without losing its steely core. Sinking to its… What’s Keeping One… Read More »

March for ‘justice’ by Erdogan opponents in Turkey gains momentum and alarms government

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DUZCE, Turkey — The midday sun was roasting, their limbs were aching, and the protesters, from Turkey’s largest opposition party, still had 125 miles to march before Istanbul, their destination. Kareem Fahim The Washington Post The road had been hard: One elderly protester died of cardiac arrest, and another was hospitalized with heart spasms. But spirits were soaring as they walked through Duzce last week, holding banners that said “justice,” to protest a… March for ‘justice… Read More »

Calls on surveillance partnership of intelligence agencies to respect strong encryption

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Liberty Victoria is one of 83 organisations and experts from 5 nations demanding “Five Eyes” respect strong… On Friday 30 June 2017, 83 organisations and individuals from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States sent letters to their respective governments insisting that government officials defend strong… The letter comes on the heels of a meeting of the “Five Eyes” ministerial meeting in Ottawa, Canada last… Calls on surveillance… Read More »

Politics podcast: Anna Krien on the climate wars

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Melbourne-born author Anna Krien’s latest Quarterly Essay explores the debates on climate change policy in Australia and the ecological effects of not acting. Michelle Grattan The Conversation She interviewed farmers, scientists, Indigenous groups, and activists from Bowen to Port Augusta. She says climate change denialism has transformed into “climate change nihilism”. Krien says the Finkel review provides another opportunity in a… Politics podcast: Anna… Read More »

‘Migration will become a human right’ – interview with Mohsin Hamid

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The author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist talks to Graeme Green about extremism, the refugee crisis and feeling at home in… New Internationalist In your new novel, Exit West, you write: ‘Geography is destiny’… In geopolitical terms, geography can be a matter of life and death. When relations between people start to break down, when suspicion and xenophobia grow, and when schisms… Very often, we experience political events in a particular way because of who we… •‘Migration will become… Read More »

The rising stakes for ocean governance

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World oceans play the crucial role of a life support in poverty alleviation, food security, human health, and curbing climate change. Mizan R Khan The Daily Star But our oceans are increasingly being threatened and degraded by human-induced climate change, natural disasters, depletion of fisheries, loss of… Ocean governance in recent years has become an important area of global diplomacy. The process began with the UNEP-initiated Regional Seas Program (RSP) back in… The rising stakes… Read More »

Mauritius Sovereignty and the Endless Struggle Over the Chagos Archipelago

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With a landslide victory of 94-15 (94 yes, 15 no) and 65 abstentions, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) recently passed a resolution strongly backed by members of the Non-Aligned Movement and the… Etienne Lee  The McGill International Review Surprisingly, members of the EU have expressed a lack of support towards British sovereignty over the archipelago, with 22 EU nations including Germany and… It is only a matter of time before Britain loses its grip over the archipelago, as it ... Read More »

Scientists Say Octopus DNA Does NOT Belong To Our World!

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Scientists have concluded that octopuses have alien DNA after the latest research carried… NewWorldWow These animals’ genome is way more complicated than any other genomes that have been seen until now, with 33,000 protein-coding… The oceans of the world still have lots of unsolved mysteries and we are now looking up at the sky to answer the questions on our minds, maybe in… Scientists Say Octopus… Read More »

Fishermen Suspect Tory Brexit Pledge Masks Betrayal on £6.3bn Fishing Zone

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The Government has committed to scrapping the Fisheries Convention of 1964, allowing Britain to take back control of its territorial waters from the EU out to twelve… Jack Montgomery Breitbart But a Fishing for Leave spokesman told Breitbart London fishermen are concerned that failure to commit to reclaiming the country’s full, 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) signals an… Designed to pave the way for Britain’s absorption into the European Economic Community, as the… Fishermen Suspect Tory… Read More »