World

Japan plans long-range missiles amid N Korea threat: Minister

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Japan plans to purchase offensive air-to-surface missiles to counter North Korea’s rising military threat, its defence minister said on Dec. 8, a move likely to stir debate over its decades-long pacifist policy. TOKYO – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Itsunori Onodera said the ministry intends to request a special budget for the fiscal year starting April 2018 to purchase long-range cruise missiles deployed on fighter jets. According to local media, the ministry plans to buy JASSM and LRASM long-range, air-to-ground missiles with ... Read More »

Political funding rules should not curb civil society bodies

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Law incorrectly classifies certain bodies as ‘third parties’ to election campaigns Deirdre Garvey The Irish Times As anyone paying attention to current affairs will be aware, there are very good reasons why we should all be concerned about the issue of outside parties seeking to influence the democratic election processes that we hold dear. However, it is increasingly clear to us in The Wheel that there is now a real risk that existing laws, designed to prevent such abuse in ... Read More »

Geoffrey Rush to sue Murdoch’s The Daily Telegraph

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Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush is suing News Corp’s Sydney masthead The Daily Telegraph over a series of allegations the publication has run in the past week. Broede Carmody The Sydney Morning Herald Speaking at a press conference in Melbourne, the Pirates of the Caribbean star described claims made by the publication as “slurs” and “hyperbole”. “The Daily Telegraph has made false, pejorative and demeaning claims, splattering them with unrelenting bombasity on its front pages,” he said. “This has created irreparable damage to my reputation [and… ... Read More »

The Truth about ‘Cultural Appropriation’

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Whether it’s art or politics, campaigns against cultural appropriation are bad news for interaction and imagination, argues Kenan Malik ArtReview Maqbool Fida Husain is perhaps India’s greatest artist of the twentieth century. His work linked ancient and modern traditions and helped transform Indian modernism. But not everyone appreciated Husain’s work. His depictions of Hindu deities, often naked, outraged Hindu nationalists who questioned his right, as someone of Muslim background, to depict figures sacred to Hindus, accusing him of ‘hurting religious ... Read More »

Meet NSW’s Young Volunteer 2017: The 11-year-old mechanic fixing bikes for kids in need

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Tia Brennen was holidaying at a caravan park with her family when she found a few broken bicycles ditched by the rubbish bin, sparking an idea in the young girl’s mind. Justine Landis-Hanley The Sydney Morning Herald Over the next year, the 11-year-old – who had never fixed a bike before – and her dad restored over 320 abandoned bikes to donate to children in need. On Friday, she was named Young Volunteer of the Year at the 2017 NSW Volunteer of the ... Read More »

Poland’s Macron? Morawiecki takes the helm

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Poland’s soon-to-be Prime Minister Morawiecki has two years until the next elections to show if he will go down as another Jaroslaw Kaczynski puppet or a modernizing force. Jo Harper The ex-banker has his work cut out for him. DW The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party – led by founder and head Jaroslaw Kaczynski – on Thursday picked Mateusz Morawiecki, currently finance minister, to replace incumbent Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. Two years after coordinating the election campaign that saw ... Read More »

Catalans Can’t Agree on What Independence Means

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But whatever it is, those seeking it are more committed than ever. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic BARCELONA — Alfred Bosch, a member of the Barcelona City Council from the left-wing, pro-independence Esquerra Republicana party, sees Catalonia’s referendum on independence in dramatic terms.“The legality of the whole process is not the main issue,” he told me when we met last month.“Was apartheid legal? Yes. Was it legitimate? No.” he continued. “Was the lack of women’s rights legal? Yes. Does that mean ... Read More »

How Olive Oil Became Green Gold

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In the United States, profits from fraudulent oil can be more lucrative than dealing cocaine. Nicola Twilley and Cynthia Graber The Atlantic  Olive oil is not what you think it is. According to Tom Mueller, the author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, an olive is a stone fruit like a plum or cherry—meaning that the green-gold liquid we extract from it “is, quite literally, fruit juice.” And, while we’re blowing your minds, have you ... Read More »

Poorest men in Scotland die 10 years before richest, report finds

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Men living in Scotland’s poorest areas can expect to die 10 years before those living in more well-off places, official statistics have confirmed. CHRIS MCCALL The Scotsman The life expectancy gap between the 20 per cent most and least deprived areas of Scotland was 10.5 years for males and 7.8 years for females, a report by the National Records of Scotland found. The country has one of the lowest life expectancies in western Europe for both genders, at 77.1 years ... Read More »

‘Death spiral’: half of Europe’s coal plants are losing money

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Air pollution and climate change policies are pushing coal-fired electricity stations to the brink, says a new report. Closing them would avoid €22bn in losses by 2030 Damian Carrington The Guardian More than half of the European Union’s 619 coal-fired power stations are losing money, according to a new report. As a result, the industry’s slow plans for shutdowns will lead to €22bn in losses by 2030 if the EU fulfils its pledge to tackle climate change, the report warns. ... Read More »

Obama invokes Nazi Germany in warning about today’s politics

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Washington (CNN) – Former President Barack Obama urged voters this week to stay engaged in democracy, warning that complacency was responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany. Miranda Green  “You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we’ve seen societies where that happens,” Obama said at the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday, according to video of the event. “Now, presume there was a ballroom here in Vienna in the late 1920s or ’30s ... Read More »

Govt receives ExxonMobil funds to help fight Guyana-Venezuela border controversy; some contract details disclosed

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Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman on Friday confirmed that United States (US) oil giant, ExxonMobil, will help fund Guyana’s legal fees to settle the border controversy with Venezuela. Demerara Waves “Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is a sum and yes it is reserved to safeguard this country,” he said the same day that two local newspapers published a September 2016 letter by Finance Secretary, Dr. Hector Butts to the Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobind Ganga for the ... Read More »

Syrian boys caught in ‘vicious cycle’ of sex abuse: UN

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Syrian men and boys, in their war-torn country and abroad, have suffered “a vicious cycle” of sexual abuse with more devastating consequences than previously reported, the United Nations said on Dec. 7. BEIRUT – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet In its new report, “We Keep it in our Heart,” the UN’s refugee agency said it had documented widespread sexual violence against Syrian males, including those seeking refuge. “There have been documented reports of how Syrian women and girls have suffered sexual violence ... Read More »

China’s ‘Period of Strategic Opportunity’ in Mexico

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Beijing is looking to cash in on Trump’s rhetoric against Mexico and NAFTA As the Trump administration contemplates border wall prototypes and dissolving the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), China is taking a decidedly different approach to relations with Mexico. Margaret Myers Ricardo Barrios In recent months, Beijing has launched an unprecedented charm offensive south of the Rio Grande. The National Interest In addition to a series of new investments, and renewed talk of a bilateral trade pact, ... Read More »

Confronting Corruption: Commitment, Innovation, Impact

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The World Bank Group (WBG) will mark International Anticorruption Day with a program of events that includes several panels and a 60-minute live conversation with WBG President Kim and former WBG President Wolfensohn. This event will be co-moderated by Pascale Hélène Dubois, Vice President of Integrity, and Deborah Wetzel, Senior Director, World Bank Governance Global Practice. World Bank Headquarters – video Read More »

Fast-track assessment fundamentally unfair to refugees, high court told

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Legal Aid Victoria argues those who arrive by boat are treated as second-class in first high court challenge to new regime Calla Wahlquist  The Guardian Legal Aid Victoria has challenged the “fundamental unfairness” of the fast-tracked refugee assessment process in the high court, arguing that it treats those who arrived by boat as second class. The one-day hearing on Thursday focused on the case of an Iranian asylum seeker in his mid-20s whose application for a temporary protection visa was ... Read More »