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Catholics defend the secrecy of confession amid pressure over child abuse royal commission

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Catholic Church is holding firm against calls to lift the veil of secrecy on confession amid calls from victims and advocates to force priests to report alleged abusers. By political reporter Matthew Doran ABC Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered the Federal Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Canberra on Wednesday. Last year 122 recommendations were delivered to the government, including calls to throw out the sanctity of the confessional. In a statement ... Read More »

Real Estate Shopping on Someone Else’s Land

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At an informational session in the Israeli settlement of Alfei Menashe in the West Bank, a real estate agent engages in sales patter with house hunters for a new development of penthouses and 3- and 4-bedroom apartments: “breathtaking views,” “the highest standards of construction,” and… Sari Bashi HRW Two potential home-buyers, Israeli men in their 30s, flip through brochures showing high-rise buildings built on open land that had formed part of the neighboring Palestinian… “The view is spectacular,” says the ... Read More »

Liberals call on police to reopen Labor red shirts investigation

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The Coalition wants Victoria Police to renew its investigation into Labor’s 2014 red shirts rort and potentially pursue criminal charges against MPs named in the misuse of about $388,000 of public money. Adam Carey The Age Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton was grilled by Liberal MPs on Wednesday about why the police abandoned an investigation into Labor’s misuse of parliamentary funds to campaign in marginal seats in 2014. Mr Ashton said in parliament that police dropped the investigation in ... Read More »

How Beijing is winning control of the South China Sea

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Erratic US policy and fraying alliances give China a free hand SINGAPORE — Even by his outspoken standards, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s account of a conversation he had with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, was startling. Simon Roughneen Nikkei . Asia Review During a meeting between the two leaders in Beijing in May 2017, the subject turned to whether the Philippines would seek to drill for oil in a part of the South China Sea claimed by both countries. Duterte ... Read More »

Asylum seekers are now political pawns in a disharmonious EU

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The fate of the Aquarius, a Doctors without Borders rescue ship left stranded for hours in the Mediterranean carrying 629 African migrants, is a stark reminder of the EU’s ongoing stalemate on asylum policy. Ruvi Ziegler The Conversation The new Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini, ordered ports to refuse docking to the ship, prompting a rhetorical revolt by several Italian mayors. Malta also refused docking, claiming that the rescue occurred in the Italian search and rescue zone. As the ship’s ... Read More »

Australia sexual abuse: PM accepts landmark inquiry proposals

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The Australian government has accepted almost all recommendations from a landmark inquiry into child sexual abuse as it prepares to deliver a national apology to victims. BBC The five-year inquiry found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse in Australian institutions. PM Malcolm Turnbull said that his government would act on 104 of 122 official recommendations. The remaining 18 had not been ruled out, he… He will make the apology on 22 October. “The survivors have told their stories ... Read More »

Iraq’s Sadr announces alliance with pro-Iranian leader

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Nationalist cleric Moqtada Sadr announced on June 12 a surprise political alliance with pro-Iranian Hadi al-Ameri in a bid to lead Iraq over the next four years. BAGHDAD – Agence France Presse Hurriyet The two blocs won first and second place in the war-scarred country’s May 12 parliamentary election. The move by Sadr, who is staunchly opposed to Iranian involvement in the country, was unexpected by much of the political class as he had suggested unwillingness to work with Ameri and his bloc of ... Read More »

Government response to child abuse royal commission is positive, but will need to go beyond an apology

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The federal government has announced it will establish a National Office for Child Safety and issue a formal apology as part of its response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Timothy W. Jones The Conversation In addition, every state and territory has committed to join the National Redress Scheme. Australia’s major churches and youth organisations have also joined the scheme. The timing of the announcement meets a commitment of the Council of Australian Governments to ... Read More »

Knesset Foils Efforts to End Israeli Apartheid

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For most of the seven decades after its establishment, Israel went to extraordinary lengths to craft an image of itself as a “light unto the nations”. Jonathan Cook CounterPunch It claimed to have “made the desert bloom” by planting forests over the razed houses of 750,000 Palestinians it exiled in 1948. Soldiers in the “most moral army in the world” reputedly cried as they were compelled to shoot Palestinian “infiltrators” trying to return home. And all this occurred in what ... Read More »

Are courts the new front line for climate justice?

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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation. In lieu of bold steps from governments and companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate justice advocates and lawyers have stepped up to force their hand through litigation. by Maysa Zorob and Marion Cadie | Business and Human Rights Resource Centre Thomson Reuters Foundation News Traditionally, legal cases have been brought against governments, but there is now a steep rise in climate lawsuits ... Read More »

The legality of off-shore detention

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In 2002 Australia, along with more than 80 other nations, acceded to the Rome statute by which the International Criminal Court was created.  The court is the first permanent court ever established with jurisdiction to try war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide regardless of the nationality of the perpetrators and regardless of the place where the offences occurred. Julian Burnside John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations As part of the process of implementing the International Criminal Court ... Read More »

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un rewrites the book on the art of the deal with shrewd handling of Donald Trump in Singapore

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Kim shows poise and diplomatic flourish to walk away with a win on one of the biggest points of contention Lee Jeong-ho and Kinling Lo South China Morning Post For a 34-year-old who made his first state visit in just the last few months, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seemed to hold his own in Tuesday’s high-profile summit setting with US President Donald Trump. Kim had already surprised many observers with shrewd strategic manoeuvring before the talks and the Singapore ... Read More »

Vietnam cybersecurity law a devastating blow to freedom: Amnesty

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New law aims to prevent users from organising online for anti-state purposes and spreading false information. Al-Jazeera The passing of a new cybersecurity law by the Vietnamese parliament has led to criticism of its potential effect on freedom of speech and expression. Legislators said the new regulation, which will require tech companies to store data about Vietnamese users on local servers, will increase security in the country. But according to critics, this move could possibly stifle free speech for Vietnamese internet users ... Read More »

Anwar in the wings as Malaysia remakes its democracy

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The elevator to the office of Anwar Ibrahim’s nondescript office pronounces “I’m back.” But will the former political prisoner become national leader any time soon? Donald K. Emerson Asia Times Bedecked with skyscrapers, Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur is a high-rise city. In that lofty context, the headquarters of the People’s Justice Party (PKR) are down to earth. They occupy one in a row of nondescript low-rise buildings unfashionably far from downtown. Even the lettered number of the floor that includes ... Read More »

NEW EU CRISIS: Poland threatens bloc chaos with CRUCIAL referendum

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THE European Union is facing fresh crisis after Poland’s president pushed forward the prospect of holding a vote on the nation’s EU membership this autumn. Alice Scarsi Express Andrzej Duda has laid out plans to directly ask his citizens about the country’s relations with Brussels. The referendum would ask Polish people whether or not the nation’s membership of the bloc should be guaranteed in the constitution. And another question would see them asked whether they think the primacy of the ... Read More »

Turkey’s Election Reinvigorates Debate over Kurdish Demands

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Ahead of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June, opinion polls suggest a tighter race than many anticipated. ICG The country’s Kurds could be kingmakers, prompting politicians of different stripes to court their votes and… What’s new? Snap presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey appear likely to be more closely fought than anticipated. The country’s Kurds could affect the outcome of both contests. Politicians, especially those opposing President Erdoğan and… Why does it matter? Debate on Kurdish issues has ... Read More »