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Hazing and sexual violence in Australian universities: we need to address men’s cultures

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The esteemed residential colleges of Sydney University have recently gained intense public scrutiny for fostering cultures of sexual harassment, rape and hazing. Ben Wadham The Conversation The Red Zone Report, produced by independent journalists for End Rape on Campus Australia, presented a harrowing account of men’s tribalism, and elitism in Australia’s universities. The report focused on 12 universities including all the Group of Eight universities. Across all 39 Australian universities there are 216 residential colleges or halls. The colleges are… ... Read More »

Turkey key to Russia NATO strategy – U.S. intelligence

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Russia’s ambitious foreign policy in the Mediterranean region revolves around engagement with Turkey, U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley reported to the U.S. Senate in a worldwide threat assessment on Tuesday. Ahval According to Ashley, Russia’s foreign policy is driven by the wish to increase its defensive capacity against the United States, which it views as its primary threat, and by a desire to expand its military capabilities and influence to gain recognition as a great power. Its ... Read More »

‘This could be the end’ Italy set to fundamentally change its relation with the EU

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With anti-EU sentiment growing across the continent, is Italy the next nation to leave? EUwatch The rise of anti-establishment, populist, parties after the weekends election in Italy will have ‘signifiant meaning for the EU,’ one minister has warned. Both the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and right-wing Lega party seeing strong gains in the vote Sunday. Meanwhile, parties like Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the… ‘This could be… Read More »

Why the Dutch plan to scrap advisory referendums is a step back for democracy

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Dutch voters will go to the polls on March 21 for a referendum on the Security Act 2017, a law which grants the authorities extended surveillance rights. Matt Qvortrup The Conversation As in many other states, such legislation has raised concern in the Netherlands that the government is snooping on emails and other personal communication. Unlike most countries, however, Dutch voters can currently do something about it thanks to a 2015 law that means the government must hold an advisory ... Read More »

How to Construct a New Invisible Hand: A Conversation with Peter Barnes

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A middle path between laissez faire and centralized planning. By David Sloan Wilson and Peter Barnes Evonomics In a previous essay, I announced a new concept of the invisible hand to replace the old and erroneous idea that the pursuit of self-interest robustly benefits the common good. The new version is based on examples of the invisible hand that exist in nature, such as cells that benefit multi-cellular organisms and social insects that benefit their colonies. These lower-level units don’t have the… How ... Read More »

Reserve Bank leaves rates on hold at record low 1.5 per cent

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The Reserve Bank of Australia has left the cash rate at a record-low 1.5 per cent, as sluggish wage growth and inflation put the board in a holding pattern for the 17th meeting in a row. Eryk Bagshaw The Sydney Morning Herald Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe used the word “gradual” to describe Australia’s economic recovery three times in his short statement on monetary policy on Tuesday, indicating the bank is in no rush to raise interest rates from their ... Read More »

N. Korea says it has no need for nuclear weapons if it has security guarantee

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North Korea said it has no reason to possess nuclear weapons if it has a security guarantee, Seoul has confirmed, according to AP and Yonhap news agencies. RT North Korea also pledged to freeze its nuclear-missile activities if it holds talks with the US. Pyongyang and Seoul agreed to bilateral negotiations scheduled for next month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser said, as quoted by Yonhap news agency. The leaders of both countries are expected to attend. The ... Read More »

Lessons From Cuba

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Cuba’s own experience when Soviet aid was suddenly lost shows that a country that relies on its people has nothing to fear from self-reliance – and everything to gain… Will Podmore CounterPunch The withdrawal of Soviet aid in 1990 left Cuba’s economy on a knife-edge. Cubans lost all their markets in sugar. They ceased to receive foodstuffs, fuel, wood, soap, raw materials. Calories and protein intake were reduced by half. Plans for nuclear energy had to be abandoned. The US ... Read More »

Why the gun debate needs to move away from simplistic ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’

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In the lead-up to the Tasmanian election, one issue proved particularly incendiary. Right before the vote on Saturday, the incumbent Liberal government was accused of having a hidden plan to “water down” the state’s gun laws. Dr Samara McPhedran The Conversation Much was made of the long-running Firearms Consultative Committee’s perceived role in shaping the policy. Suddenly, the Liberals were cast as being in cahoots with the “gun lobby”, leaving only Labor and the Greens to stand up against that ... Read More »

Japan dropping plans to develop indigenous fighter: Report

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Tokyo cowed by costs, engineering hurdles; US to be sounded out for joint fighter development Asia Times The Asahi Shimbun is reporting that Japan is abandoning plans to develop a new domestically designed fighter. The newspaper quotes Defense Ministry officials as saying that Tokyo has been put off by the huge costs and engineering challenges of building an indigenous war plane. Asahi said defense planners had been working on three possible options for the existing F-2 Japanese fighter that’s due to be ... Read More »

The US Navy has put to sea the first-ever F-35 aircraft carrier — and it’s a big warning to China and North Korea

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The US Navy made history on Monday by putting to sea for the first time ever an aircraft carrier with F-35B jets. Alex Lockie Business Insider And by deploying them in the Pacific, it’s a message China and North Korea are sure to hear loud and clear. The US Marine Corps’s Fighter Attack Squadron 121 deployed aboard the USS Wasp, a smaller-deck aircraft carrier that used to operate harrier jump jets and helicopters before getting special modifications to field the ... Read More »

Australian gun lobby invests in rightwing parties in push to weaken reforms

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Exclusive: Cashed-up firearm groups are using ballooning memberships to flex their political muscle Michael McGowan The Guardian Australian gun lobby groups pumped more than $500,000 into helping minor rightwing parties win seats in last year’s Queensland state election as part of a growing push to weaken the nation’s strict firearm control laws. As Australia’s gun laws are again held up as an example to the US following the Florida school shooting, election disclosures reveal the pro-gun lobby is pumping thousands ... Read More »

A Guide to Let Go of Your Perfectly Good Things

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Finding our lives under everything we own is more than clearing away just junk. Often it requires removing good quality things. Note: This is a guest post from Zoë Kim of Raising Simple. BecomingMinimalist Expensive things. Useful things. Admired things. Fancy things. It means letting go of perfectly good stuff in order to pursue something more meaningful. I began de-owning my excess six years ago. My husband deployed frequently and we had two children under five. I was spending more time doing something with our stuff ... Read More »

Close up: the government’s facial recognition plan could reveal more than just your identity

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A Bill to set up the federal government’s biometric identity system is currently going through Parliament. Jake Goldenfein The Conversation But there are concerns over just how much information the system would be allowed to gather, and how that might be used to establish more than just the identity of a person. Strongly based on the FBI model in the United States, the Identity Matching Services Bill and its Explanatory Memoranda prescribe what data can be collected, shared and processed, ... Read More »

Franchise failure fix urgent as staff suffer

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Australia’s $170-billion-a-year franchise industry is rotten. It is riddled with companies that gouge their retailers, some of whom in turn underpay and exploit many of the sector’s 460,000 employees, most of whom are vulnerable students and immigrant workers. Opinion – Editorial The Age The issue is not whether there is an endemic problem, but how best to deal with it. The malfeasance has been widely documented, primarily because of whistleblowers and years of investigative work led by The Age’s Adele ... Read More »

Burkina Faso’s Alarming Escalation of Jihadist Violence

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Attacks on the Burkina Faso army headquarters and the French Embassy on 2 March 2018 were better organised, involved heavier weapons and were more sustained than anything seen so far in Burkina Faso. ICG In this Q&A, our West Africa Program Director Rinaldo Depagne says the jihadist assault further exposes worrying weakness in the Burkinabé security forces. What do we know about the 2 March attacks in Ouagadougou? The attacks represent an alarming escalation for Burkina Faso in terms of organisation, ... Read More »