Russia warns UK: ‘No one should threaten a nuclear power’

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Russia warned the UK not to threaten a nuclear power last night as tensions mounted ahead of an announcement today of tough new measures against the Kremlin over the use of a nerve agent on British soil. The Scotsman The Kremlin hit back at a demand to explain its involvement in the poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, demanding access to samples of the nerve agent identified by UK investigators. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ... Read More »

Mike Pompeo on Muslims, torture and Guantanamo Bay

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Newly appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has a controversial history. Where does he stand on the issues? Creede Newton Al Jazeera The appointment of former CIA director Mike Pompeo as US secretary of state occurred on Tuesday after months of rumours that Rex Tillerson was on the way out. Tillerson was often depicted as a calm hand of “peaceful pressure” while US President Donald Trump usually opted for hasty decisions, bombastic rhetoric, and controversial policy positions. The two men disagreed on many issues, including the Iran ... Read More »

The U.S. Must Not Appease Turkey’s Erdogan

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It is often invidious to draw historical parallels, but in the case of Turkey’s attack on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria, one parallel is justified: Nazi Germany’s claim to the Sudetenland in Czechslovakia in 1938, where Britain and France adopted a policy of appeasement. Robert Ellis International Policy Digest When Germany invaded Poland a year later, Britain and France were forced to declare war. And we all know what that led to. The U.S. is now in ... Read More »

The Next Phase of Finance

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Today’s strengthening economic recovery has not overcome the understandable but devastating loss of trust in the financial system that followed the crisis a decade ago. Restoring trust will require reasserting control over the financial sector, to ensure that it is serving the economy, not the other way around. Bertrand Badré Project Syndicate WASHINGTON, DC – The decade since the global financial crisis has been tumultuous, to say the least. True, no great war has erupted, and we have more or ... Read More »

China gets tough on debt with ‘Rottweiler regulator’

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People’s Bank of China handed increased powers as financial shake-up points to Liu He’s influence Gordon Watts Asia times President Xi Jinping has opened the door for confidante Liu He to push through economic reforms after China’s central bank was handed more power in a major shake-up in the financial sector. Details released during Tuesday’s session of the de facto parliament, the National People’s Congress, outlined plans for merging the banking and insurance regulators. At the same time, the People’s ... Read More »

UN Goodwill Ambassador says Turkish attack on Afrin foreshadows genocide and ethnic cleansing

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UN Goodwill Ambassador and ISIS survivor Nadia Murad on Monday called for a ceasefire in Afrin and called on Turkey to stop the attacks on Afrin that so far have killed over 200 civilians. Wladimir van Wilgenburg The Region “Today, I received information that the area of Afrin inhabited by Kurds, Yazidis and Christians is under siege from all sides. There is only one road through which people can leave the city,” she said in a statement. “200 civilians have ... Read More »

Spy scandal has sent UK-Russia relations tumbling. What next?

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Many options will be on table should Kremlin involvement be confirmed. None will be simple Patrick Wintour The Guardian Theresa May’s assertion that it is highly likely the Russian state has committed an act of aggression by poisoning the double agent Sergei Skripal plunges Anglo-Russian relations into their worst state since the cruise missile crisis in the 1980s. The prime minister knows that she will have to go further than her response as home secretary to the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko – some ... Read More »

UN: Israel settlements in West Bank, Jerusalem ‘war crime’

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein has described Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem as “war crimes”, Quds Press reported yesterday. MEM According to local media, Al-Hussein’s warnings would be part of a report he is to introduce to the UN Security Council on 19 March. “Building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the social, economic and security facilities given to their residents with the aim to move Zionists to forcefully occupied lands, is a violation ... Read More »

Ai Weiwei: Chinese dissident artist critiques Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers ahead of Sydney Biennale

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He is one of the world’s most famous artists and China’s best known dissident, and 60-year-old Ai Weiwei has a message for Australia when it comes to the treatment of asylum seekers. Philippa McDonald ABC “I struggle with Australia’s record towards refugees,” he said. “Australia is a nation of migrants and its culture accepts and tolerates difference. “But Australia’s refugee record is quite poor internationally. This is a very bad position for a state because people judge states on their ... Read More »

Colombia right wing falls short of majority

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Right-wing parties opposed to a peace deal with the FARC won historic elections in Colombia on March 11 but fell short of a majority in polls that saw the former rebels enter the Congress. BOGOTA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The hardliners’ victory raises questions about the future of the peace agreement signed with President Juan Manuel Santos in November 2016. Santos said the polls were “the safest, most transparent elections” in the country’s recent history, with the FARC spurning jungle ... Read More »

Brexit: No-trade deal with EU to cost businesses £58bn a year, research finds

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‘Existential threat’ posed to some UK industries by increased tariffs and customs checks, according to report Ben Chapman Independent A no-deal Brexit would cost companies in the UK and the EU £58bn a year, with Britain’s financial services sector taking the biggest hit, according to new research. The additional direct “red-tape cost” of tariff and non-tariff barriers would be £27bn to UK firms and £31bn to their EU counterparts, a report from consultancy Oliver Wyman and law firm Clifford Chance estimates. “These increased costs and… Brexit: No-trade… Read More »

Hero’s welcome for East Timor border negotiator Xanana Gusmao

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Dili: Thousands of East Timorese have lined the road to the capital’s international airport to cheer independence hero Xanana Gusmao after he led negotiations that settled the sea border with Australia. Oki Raimundos The Canberra Times Gusmao, whose party lost power in parliamentary elections last year, was greeted at Dili’s tiny airport on Sunday with cries of “Viva Xanana Gusmao”. He’d been abroad for the previous eight months leading the final stretch of maritime border talks. Australia and East Timor, one of ... Read More »

The greatest moral challenge of our time? It’s how we think about morality itself

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It would be easy to conclude that there’s a deficit of morality in the world today That if only people were more motivated to behave ethically, if only they made morality more prominent in their thinking, then the world would be a better place. Tim Dean The Conversation But when it comes to pinning down a single greatest moral challenge of our time, I’d argue that there’s not a lack of morality in the world; there’s too much. In fact, ... Read More »

Destroying the notorious Camp X-Ray at Guantánamo is a huge mistake

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Preserving sites with the most shameful or contested histories is critical for building democracy Liz Ševčenko The Guardian The Pentagon this week announced it will tear down Camp X-Ray, the first temporary facility at Guantánamo where “enemy combatants” were imprisoned in 2002. Despite a US federal court’s preservation order, the Pentagon argued it did not need to preserve the physical site because the FBI has created a 3D digital reconstruction. Such a virtual tour is in no way a substitute for preserving the original ... Read More »

Saleh Moslem: Turkey kills Kurds in Afrin with European weapons

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TEV-DEM foreign relations official and former PYD leader Saleh Moslem said; ANF “Nobody has the right to tell the people of Afrin to leave. That land belongs to the people of Afrin. The children there are protecting their lands. Why should they abandon it?” The meeting where Kurdish parties, institutions, professional organizations and individuals express their solidarity with Afrin at national level, continues in The Hague. The meeting is organized by the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) and… Saleh Moslem: Turkey… Read More »

The Modest Diplomatic Promise of North Korea’s Charm Offensive

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Following the first inter-Korean summit in ten years, the announcement that President Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a promising sign. Christopher Green ICG Although Pyongyang is unlikely to change its strategic course, the summit provides an opportunity for the U.S. to pair its maximum pressure with diplomacy and coordinate with Asian powers. The surprise announcement on 8 March that U.S. President Donald Trump would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by… The Modest Diplomatic… Read More »