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Toward a free and open Indo-Pacific

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The U.S. administration of President Donald Trump has launched a new Asia policy, known as the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). Yoichi Funabashi The Japan Times Trump clearly laid out the strategic concept underlying the FOIP during his remarks in Danang, Vietnam, last November: “Today, I am here to offer a renewed partnership with America to work together to strengthen the bonds of friendship and commerce between all of the nations of the Indo-Pacific, and together, to promote our prosperity ... Read More »

Turkey sued over violence in protests in Washington in 2017

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Twenty people beaten outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington in 2017 have filed lawsuits against the government of Turkey and five individuals after the bloody assault on demonstrators that drew international condemnation. Spencer S. Hsu The Washington Post In a complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in the District, 15 mostly pro-Kurdish demonstrators, nearly all U.S. citizens and residents, sought unspecified damages for injuries sustained when they said guards for visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan charged their… ... Read More »

Explainer: how the Australian intelligence community works

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National security, intelligence and espionage have been in the headlines due to events abroad and significant developments at home. John Blaxland The Conversation News of diplomatic expulsions, cyber-attacks, leaked documents about sweeping new surveillance powers and the creation of a new Home Affairs Department make it hard to follow. What’s more, everyone has heard of the CIA, for instance, but Australia’s own national security organisations are comparatively unknown. So how is intelligence gathered? What are Australia’s peak national security bodies ... Read More »

Trump White House axes Nasa research into greenhouse gas cuts

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President Donald Trump’s administration has quietly axed US space agency Nasa’s monitoring system into greenhouse gases, a US journal has revealed. BBC The Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10m (£7m)-a-year project which remotely tracks the world’s flow of carbon dioxide, is to lose funding. Science magazine reports that its loss jeopardises the ability to measure national emission cuts – as agreed to by nations in the Paris climate deal. The US plans to withdraw from the deal. However, until a ... Read More »

Dick Cheney Suggests Restarting Torture Interrogation Program

Former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada February 24, 2017. REUTERS/David Becker

Cheney’s comments come as lawmakers have scrutinized CIA director nominee Gina Haspel for her role in overseeing the controversial program. Lydia O’Connor HuffPost Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday expressed strong support for restarting the torture interrogation program he helped launch in the wake of 9/11. In an appearance on Fox Business to discuss Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing to become CIA director, Cheney said he “wholeheartedly” supports the so-called enhanced interrogation program, which includes torture techniques such as waterboarding, despite Congress having ... Read More »

Why Does Art Matter? Why Should We Support The Arts?

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Economic rationalists would point out that most artists are economically unviable. That is true, unfortunately. Julian Burnside Daily Review Creative artists generally have miserable incomes from their art, and survive by teaching or waiting on tables. Performing artists do not have it much better; depending on their speciality, they may have just as difficult a time as creative artists. Economic rationalists would argue that pouring money into the arts makes no sense unless the consumer considers the transaction to deliver ... Read More »

California becomes first US state to require solar on new homes

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California has become the first U.S. state to require solar panels on all new residential buildings as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Hurriyet The California Energy Commission said the new building standards, adopted unanimously by its members, will go into effect on January 1, 2020. “We are the first, we will not be the last,” commissioner David Hochschild said after the new mandate was adopted. “This is a landmark vote today.” According to the plan, residential homeowners could expect to ... Read More »

Hostility towards minorities can be contagious

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If people act hostile towards other ethnic groups, they easily find imitators Max-Planck-Gesellschaft EurekAlert! Inter-ethnic conflicts often escalate surprisingly quickly. In a recent study, researchers have investigated the influence of the environment on peoples’ hostility against minorities with the help of experiments. They found that hostility towards members of other ethnic groups is much more often imitated than hostility towards co-ethnics. Whether in Bosnia, Liberia, or Rwanda, violent conflicts have suddenly broken out between… So far, there… Hostility towards minorities… Read More »

Drug testing dole recipients will only make addiction worse, but the government won’t hear it

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Fifty-two. That’s how many submissions were made to the Senate inquiry into the Government’s drug testing bill for welfare recipients, which handed down its findings this week. Toby Hall ABC The bill aims to trial drug testing for new income support recipients at three sites: Mandurah in Western Australia, Logan on the outskirts of Brisbane and Bankstown in south-west Sydney. It’s estimated that 5000 people will be drug tested over two years as part of the trial. Those who test ... Read More »

We must not punish content creators in our rush to regulate social platforms

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By harnessing social media, the teenage survivors of the Parkland, Florida massacre in the United States have started a movement that might finally shift the dial on gun control. Authors: The Conversation Using their cellphones and laptops, they’ve not only organised a march on Washington, but built a digital network of supporters who are putting unprecedented pressure on legislators. Social media platforms such as Facebook have richly earned our distrust. From Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election, to ... Read More »

‘Peace has only recently become the prime objective of politics’

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According to historians, the political goal of peace has never been as important as it is today. Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” EurekAlert! “For example, those who considered peace to be the most important political goal in 1913 belonged to a minority,” says historian Prof. Dr Hans-Ulrich Thamer of the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” before the 101st Katholikentag. The motto of the German Catholics Day, which will begin in Münster on Wednesday, is “Search ... Read More »

Sex without consent is rape. Courts around the world must catch up

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While some judicial systems acknowledge that ‘no means no’, they don’t seem to understand that ‘no’ can be conveyed in more than just words Cathy Camera The Guardian As Saxon Mullins bravely told her rape story on Four Corners, Twitter lit up in horror and disbelief. This young woman was shining a light on the issue of consent and how it is interpreted by our judicial system. Her story was powerful and moving, and the next day the NSW attorney ... Read More »

Facebook banning foreign ads related to Ireland’s abortion referendum

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Facebook has announced it is banning foreign advertisements related to Ireland’s abortion referendum amid concerns that North American groups are trying to influence the campaign. AP ABC Irish voters will decide on May 25 whether to repeal a constitutional ban on abortion, in a divisive referendum that has drawn international attention. Ireland bars political donations from abroad, but the law does not apply to social media advertising. US-based anti-abortion groups are among those who have bought online ads in Ireland ... Read More »

Dispersing refugees around a country puts them at an immediate disadvantage – why this matters for integration

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The estimated number of people worldwide displaced by conflict and violence reached an unprecedented 68.9m at the end of 2017. Francesco Fasani The Conversation A relatively minor fraction of these people have reached the European Union. Between 2014 and 2016, the 15 Western European members of the EU – known as the EU15 – received 2.6m asylum applications. Over the same three years, the resident population with recognised refugee status increased from one million to 1.8m. With refugee integration a ... Read More »

Mexico’s Southern Border: Security, Violence and Migration in the Trump Era

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Mexico stops hundreds of thousands of Central Americans fleeing northward to the U.S. Many are deported, and many more are stuck in the country’s south, vulnerable to crime and rising xenophobia. With U.S. and European help, Mexico should work harder to protect migrants and foster economic development. ICG What’s new? Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets to the contrary, Mexico is vigorously policing its southern border, stemming the northward flow of Central Americans escaping poverty and violence. It is deporting ... Read More »

Finding a better way to identify children experiencing domestic violence

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Around one in five children in the UK have been exposed to domestic violence or abuse between their parents or caregivers. Natalia Lewis The Conversation When adults are involved in an abusive relationship, their children bear the consequences. The effects of domestic violence on a child can range from emotional and behavioural problems to physical injury and death when children are caught up in the violence between adults. Even when not directly involved, children’s exposure continues through witnessing and being ... Read More »