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Mario Draghi: I won’t mediate Italian budget standoff

The Italian chief of the ECB also says that ‘to finance governments’ deficits is not part of our mandate.’ By SILVIA SCIORILLI BORRELLI Politico The European Central Bank’s president, Mario Draghi, on Thursday passed the buck on resolving the Italian budget standoff to the European Commission. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Frankfurt after the ECB governing council monetary policy meeting, Draghi sought to clarify that he has no intention of serving as a “mediator” between Rome and ... Read More »

Not one government official was consulted about Australia’s major Israel foreign policy shift

Just after lunchtime on Monday last week, the head of Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department, Frances Adamson, took a call about the government’s planned Jerusalem announcement. David Wroe WAtoday Public servants, even the most seasoned, aren’t unimpeachable, but they are the government’s bedrock for advice on major and complex issues. So it must have been a surprise for the nation’s most senior diplomat that the call from Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s office wasn’t so much asking for her input as letting ... Read More »

Watch List 2018 – Third Update

Crisis Group’s third update to our Watch List 2018 includes entries on economic reforms in Libya, preserving the fragile quiet in Syria’s Idlib province, addressing the plight of civilians in eastern Ukraine, supporting Colombia’s uneasy peace process and averting violence in Nigeria’s upcoming… ICG This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace. Libya’s Economic Reforms Fall Short Libya has seen… Watch List 2018… Read More »

Making the right decision requires careful thought to eliminate bias

How do you make a decision? We are confronted by the bubbling cloud formations of looming decisions while trying to stay afloat in the rough seas of the consequences of decisions past. Jim Bright WAtoday Whether it is to brush our teeth before the shower or after, or living with the decision not to buy the sonic toothbrush, we can’t even make it to bathroom without being caught short by decisions. Some decisions become automatic after repeated practice, needing no ... Read More »

Complete transcript, video of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s EU privacy speech

Apple CEO, Tim Cook spoke up for privacy at a conference of European privacy commissioners in Brussels this morning. ‘AI must respect human values’ The themes of this year’s conference is “Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life”, Cook is the first tech CEO to serve as the keynote speaker for the conference and was invited to speak. He talked about data, put in a bid for a bill of U.S. digital rights, slammed competitors for profiting while unleashing powerfully ... Read More »

Mark Carney, eco-warrior

The Bank of England governor is pushing banks and investors to take climate change seriously. And they listen, whether they want to or not. By SILVIA SCIORILLI BORRELLI, KALINA OROSCHAKOFF AND CAT CONTIGUGLIA Politico LONDON — Mark Carney’s job is to guide the pound and the British economy through the Brexit storms. But the Bank of England chief is also building a legacy in another, unexpected field: climate change. From twin perches atop the British central bank and a global oversight body, Carney ... Read More »

Apple, Google, Facebook line up to pay homage to EU privacy rules

Tech executives and global regulators promise to boost privacy rights. But not everything is what it seems. Mark Scott Politico Top executives from Facebook, Google and Apple heaped praise on Europe’s revamped data protection standards Wednesday, just as these companies face ever tighter scrutiny over privacy and the prospect of similar restrictions in the… Apple’s Tim Cook — the only U.S. CEO to appear in person — spoke in the strongest terms, calling for a federal U.S. privacy law to match ... Read More »

Saving Guatemala’s Fight Against Crime and Impunity

Next year, President Jimmy Morales vows he will end the mandate of the UN-backed Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. ICG Hugely popular, the commission has helped reduce the country’s terrible murder rate. To keep it going, its supporters should refocus on fighting the worst violent crime. What’s new?  Research by International Crisis Group has for the first time quantified the positive impact of the UN’s Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CI-CIG). This report shows how CICIG’s justice reform activities since ... Read More »

After the royal commission, how will the aged care industry respond?

A recent US survey found that three out of every four people said they would like to live to be 100, if they could do so in good health. Julie Hare The Mandarin Yet the same number of people said they ate too much, didn’t exercise enough and were likely to retire at the age of 65. This growing collision between longevity, chronic health conditions and aged care services reflects a familiar narrative and one that is driving new thinking ... Read More »

Migrant caravan members have right to claim asylum – here’s why getting it will be hard

Roughly 5,000 people, mostly from Central America’s violent and unstable “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are reportedly making their way through Mexico with the intention of claiming asylum at the U.S. border. Abigail Stepnitz The Conversation The so-called “migrant caravan” is attracting intense social and political attention, with U.S. President Donald Trump declaring it a “national emergency.” He has also claimed, erroneously, that the migrants “have to” claim asylum in Mexico first. Migrants aren’t obligated to claim asylum in ... Read More »

China’s hidden camps

What’s happened to the vanished Uighurs of Xinjiang? BBC China stands accused of locking up hundreds of thousands of Muslims without trial in its western region of Xinjiang. The government denies the claims, saying people are willingly attending special ”vocational schools” which combat ”terrorism and religious extremism”. Now a BBC investigation has found important new evidence of the reality. Detention in the desert On 12 July 2015 a satellite swung over the rolling deserts and oasis cities of China’s vast ... Read More »

European Parliament votes to ban single-use plastics in bid to tackle pollution

Ambitious proposal will see plastic cutlery, straws and cotton buds phased out across continent Josh Gabbatiss Independent The European Parliament has voted for an extensive ban on single-use plastics to stop pollution entering the world’s oceans. Products including plastic plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds will all be eradicated from 2021 under the plans. The ban is intended to affect items for which valid alternatives are available, which are estimated to make up over 70 per cent of marine… In a far-reaching set of ... Read More »

The Double Battle

Frederick Douglass’s moral crusade. Eric Foner The Nation Let me begin on a personal note. Over half a century ago, my uncle, the historian Philip S. Foner, rescued Frederick Douglass from undeserved obscurity. Beginning in 1950, he edited four volumes of Douglass’s magnificent speeches and writings, each with a long biographical introduction that chronicled his rise to international renown as a… It is difficult to believe, given his prominence during his lifetime, but Douglass was virtually unknown outside the black ... Read More »

Universal credit stops parents returning to work, MPs told

Group of mothers tell Commons committee that upfront childcare costs and unfathomable system make return to work difficult Patrick Butler The Guardian Having to pay upfront monthly childcare costs of hundreds of pounds while dealing with slow and unfathomable universal credit bureaucracy is preventing single parents from returning to work, MPs have heard. Giving evidence to the Commons work and pensions committee on Wednesday, a group of mothers said accessing childcare support through the new benefits system – a key part of ... Read More »

China Expands Its Peace and Security Footprint in Africa

At the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and China-Africa Defence and Security Forum, Beijing showcased an increasingly strategic approach to its defence relations with African countries and its role in managing challenges to peace and security on the continent. Michael Kovrig ICG China’s growing engagement with African countries got a publicity boost on 3-4 September with the latest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The triennial event brought leaders and officials from 53 African countries and the African Union (AU) to Beijing for ... Read More »

Beyond Short-Term Solutions in the Middle East and North Africa

The United States and Europe should pursue a strategy of long-term civil society development in the MENA. They should also seek stability and an end to conflicts in the short term. Richard LeBaron The National Interest In the final months of 2018, seven years after historic change swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), countries in the region still face significant political, economic and security challenges. In most countries that underwent a transition, the situation is worse than before: ... Read More »