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All we want is freedom – not another prison camp

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Over the past four years we have become a mere subject for politicians and the media. Our human dignity has been debased and all our dreams shattered Behrouz Boochani The Guardian Μanus prison has reached a historic landmark. It’s a culmination of years of premeditated violence and affliction. For more than 10 days hundreds of refugees have been refusing to leave the prison camp and, as a result, the situation has morphed into a large-scale humanitarian crisis. If things deteriorate ... Read More »

Revenge of the TPP?

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is back on the menu for a number of Asia-Pacific countries Scott B. MacDonald  And with America on the sidelines, U.S. exports could suffer. The National Interest One of the first actions that Donald Trump did when he came into office was to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal he called a “disaster.” According to him, past U.S. leaders were inept on trade and his administration’s approach would strike tougher, ... Read More »

EU countries sign key defense pact

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The EU took a step towards closer defense ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russia flexes its muscles to the east. BRUSSELS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The permanent structured cooperation on defense agreement (PESCO) seeks to improve EU coordination on defense and weapons systems development. It is part of efforts led by Germany and France to reboot the European Union after Britain’s shock decision to quit and follows the ... Read More »

Why does Sweden produce so many startups?

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What do Spotify, Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga have in common? John McKenna World Economic Forum They were all made in Sweden. Skype was co-founded by Swedes and SoundCloud started in Stockholm before moving to its current home in Berlin. Sweden is home to Europe’s largest tech companies and its capital is second only to Silicon Valley when it comes to the number of “unicorns” – billion-dollar tech companies – that it produces per… Why does Sweden… Read More »

The Cyprus problem, Turkey and Socrates on justice

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In Book 1, of Plato’s famous dialogue The Republic, Thrasymachus, one of Socrates’ interlocutors, states that justice is that which serves the interests of the strongest so that what is right is always determined by might. <style type=”text/css”> .wpb_animate_when_almost_visible { opacity: 1; }</style> Dr Edward H Spence * Cyprus Mail Socrates refutes Thrasymachus’ notion of justice by simply arguing that justice as a virtue cannot be what serves the interests of the strongest as those interests might result in vice ... Read More »

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lashes Australia over treatment of Manus Island refugees

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has blasted Australia’s handling of the refugee crisis on Manus Island as unacceptable as she seeks another meeting with Malcolm Turnbull on the issue. NZ Herald Ardern has continued to push New Zealand’s offer to accept 150 refugees and asylum seekers from Australia’s offshore detention centres since her first face- to-face meeting with her Australian counterpart in Sydney a week ago. She wants a more substantive conversation when both leaders reach the Philippines for the East ... Read More »

India Rules Sex With a Child Bride Is Always Rape in a Massive Win for Girls’ Rights

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It’s a landmark change to India’s marital rape laws Imogen Calderwood India’s top court has ruled that sex with a child is always rape, quashing a clause that allowed men to have sex with underage girls if they were married to them. Global Citizen The Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Wednesday closed a legal loophole that has historically allowed perpetrators of rape to escape punishment. While the age of consent in India is 18, there was a clause in India’s ... Read More »

WSJ: Mueller probes Flynn role in plot to deliver cleric to Turkey

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Washington (CNN) – Former White House national security adviser Mike Flynn and his son are alleged to have been offered as much as $15 million to forcibly remove from the US a Muslim cleric wanted by Turkey, The Wall Street Journal… Miranda Green CNN The Journal reported the FBI questioned at least four people in regards to a mid-December meeting in New York at the “21” Club. Discussions between Flynn and Turkish representatives supposedly took place there, according to the… The ... Read More »

Turkey’s Africa Presence

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In Somalia this past September, Turkey opened its first military base on the African continent. Over the past ten years, Turkey has expanded its presence in Africa, establishing 36 embassies and major trade links. VoA Turkey has a long history with North African countries, says David Shinn, a professor at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. In 2016, Turkey had more than $10 billion in trade with Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. Now Turkey is expanding into African countries ... Read More »

Is US naval assertion in the South China Sea legal?

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US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Are US naval assertions in the South China Sea necessary?

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrol at Woody Island, in the Paracel Archipelago, which is known in China as the Xisha Islands, January 29, 2016.   REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Why is it nice to be nice? Solving Darwin’s puzzle of kindness

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World Kindness Day is a global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good Eva M Krockow Andrew M Colman Briony Pulford We are encouraged to perform acts of kindness such as giving blood, cleaning a communal microwave at work, or volunteering at a nursing home. The Conversation Of course, even without the encouragement of an international awareness day, kindness and selflessness are widespread among both humans and animals. Many people donate to charity and feel significantly happier ... Read More »

Green finance? Why global banks are pledging billions to fight climate change

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Banking giant HSBC has pledged US$100 billion (£76 billion) to “fight climate change”, to be spent on sustainable finance and investment over the next eight years. Simon Wilde The Conversation It also commits to increasing its own use of renewable energy and to reducing its funding of coal projects. HSBC is following a growing trend among investment banks which includes a US$200 billion funding commitment from JP Morgan Chase, the acquisition of the UK’s Green Investment Bank by Macquarie, and ... Read More »

Society relies on a social compact. Time for tax-avoiding multinationals to sign up

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Pat Leahy: The political centre needs to force big business to pay its way The Irish Times Pat Leahy Western countries are by and large the most civilised, comfortable and desirable places to live in the history of mankind. If, in a version the “veil of ignorance” thought experiment, you could choose any time or place to live, not knowing your race, abilities, talents or gender, you’d be mad not to choose to be born into a modern western country, ... Read More »

The human touch: Australian eyes that ‘can’t look away’ from Manus

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As the crisis on Manus Island deepens, it sheds light on an unwritten history, still in the making, of deep friendships between asylum seekers and their supporters in… Arnold Zable The Age Contrary to the accusations made by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton that advocates are telling asylum seekers on Manus Island or elsewhere what to do, their long-time supporters are extremely worried about the men’s wellbeing and… They are torn between deep anxiety at the danger and stress the men are ... Read More »

UN slams Australia’s human rights record

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Last night, the United Nations Human Rights Committee released its recommendationsfrom its review of Australia’s compliance with a key human rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Anna Cody  Maria Nawaz The committee harshly criticised Australia for failures in key areas. The Conversation These included the treatment of refugees, Indigenous rights and inadequate protection of human rights, including the lack of a national human rights act. What is the UN Human Rights Committee? This is the treaty body for the… UN slams Australia’s… Read More »