Opinion

The refugee crisis isn’t about refugees. It’s about us

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I was a child refugee, writes the Chinese artist and activist. I know how it feels to live in a camp, robbed of my humanity. Refugees must be seen to be an essential part of our shared humanity Ai Weiwei The Guardisn I was born in 1957, the same year China purged more than 300,000 intellectuals, including writers, teachers, journalists and whoever dared to criticise the newly established communist government. As part of a series of campaigns led by what ... Read More »

Diplomats Are Made, Not Born

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Diplomacy and politics may go hand in hand, but their partnership isn’t one of equals. It is logical — especially in a democracy — for a country’s diplomacy to serve its political leaders. By NICHOLAS KRALEV The New York Times Sometimes, however, smart leaders allow diplomacy to influence politics. For that influence to be truly worthwhile, governments around the world must solve an acute problem: Global diplomacy today is not very effective, in part because it is misunderstood and starved of ... Read More »

Why have mildly erotic nymphs been removed from a Manchester gallery? Is Picasso next?

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Hylas and the Nymphs is no masterpiece. But if it has to be removed from a gallery, will the nudes of Titian and Picasso be next? My, what a utopia Jonathan Jones The Guardian Manchester Art Gallery says it has removed JW Waterhouse’s 1896 painting Hylas and the Nymphs from its displays “to prompt conversation”. Yet the conversation can only really be about one thing: should museums censor works of art on political grounds? There can only be one answer ... Read More »

We can still win the fight against climate change

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As 2017 drew to an end, becoming one of the three hottest years on record, my native United States conversely experienced dangerously frigid, Arctic weather, leading to intense debate about how climate change could also be the cause of extreme cold. Jennifer Morgan Al Jazeera Although the big freeze was predictably seized upon by climate sceptics to scorn the veracity of global warming, the jury on whether climate change triggered the extreme weather is far from out. Research into the ... Read More »

Patchwork abortion laws a lottery for women

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Every Australian should have access to the health services they need. Full stop. This shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but when it comes to reproductive health services, it seems it still is. Tanya Plibersek * Brisbane Times Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures that Australian women will experience in their lives. But our patchwork of abortion laws and holes in service provision mean more and more women are having to travel interstate. Tasmania’s only provider of surgical ... Read More »

How Russia played its bad cards well to enlarge Mid-East role

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Russia has managed to enlarge its role in Syria and the Middle East using shrewd diplomacy and precise military aims. Watch out for similar tactics in Asia. Jonathan Eyal The Straits Times Middle Eastern leaders have long grown accustomed to attending Syria “peace conferences” in one city or another. Vienna, Geneva or New York were the perennial favourites, but even Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, served as a venue for such gatherings. Today, however, a new destination is being added ... Read More »

An immigrant’s life as a bargaining chip in US politics

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On the one-year anniversary of his presidency, Donald Trump tweeted, “If there is no Wall, there is no DACA,” pitting his longtime promise to build a fence along the southern US border against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, introduced by former President Barack Obama in… by Khaled A Beydoun AlJazeera For Trump, his base, and a cohort of Republican leaders in states where xenophobia is resonant and the Latinx population is yet to emerge as a political force, ... Read More »

Dunkirk and Darkest Hour fuel Brexit fantasies – even if they weren’t meant to

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The glorious myths of Britain’s wartime role are gaining ground Ian Jack The Guardian Unfortunately for our understanding of Britain’s past and our estimate of its likely future, the Oscars have no category for the untrue: “for the movie”, as the host might put it as he or she fingers the envelope, “that most energetically disrespects the historical record”. If there were, two contenders high on this year’s fibbers’ list would be Dunkirk and Darkest Hour – films that between ... Read More »

Turkey’s Syrian mercenaries: Fighting Ankara’s war in Afrin

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In December 2016, Ankara betrayed the Syrian rebels it initially supported, forcing them to leave Aleppo to the Assad regime. David Romano Rudow Ankara kept training and paying the hapless Sunni Arab and Turkmen rebels, however, planning to use them for its own designs. Having reconciled itself, at least for the time being, with Assad remaining in power, Turkey preferred to deploy the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) remnants against Syrian Kurds. It first did so in places like Jarablus and ... Read More »

Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan

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It was offshore oil drilling deja vu for me—having broken the story about the oil industry seeking to drill in the offshore Atlantic nearly 50 years ago. Karl Grossman CounterPunch But this time offshore drilling would be completely unnecessary with the U.S, awash in petroleum (thus $2.50-a-gallon gas) and oil drilling in the sea ten times more costly than drilling on land. Plus, renewable energy, led by solar and wind, is now well-developed and cheaper than fossil fuels. And although ... Read More »

Invasion Day Post

Invation Day Post 1a Arnold Zable LLLL

A line comes to mind in contemplating those who have come to our shores over the past two centuries ‘They came from the old world to the new, only to discover it was far more ancient than the old.’ Arnold Zable Twenty-two years ago, 1995. I am standing in front of a map of the State of Victoria as seen through Aboriginal eyes. Dated 1836 till 1853, titled The Massacre Map, it marks over sixty sites of known killings of ... Read More »

We are trading away our lives for the shallow rewards of capitalism – and it’s harming our chil

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The man’s voice rang out, loud and angry, breaking the quiet of the suburban street. “Get in the car you little shit!” Steve Biddulph The Age I went to the window to see a three-year-old child still not complying, a young baby already strapped in and an older child watching, open-mouthed. You could feel a whole rush of emotions, sympathy for the father’s plight – for who has not wrangled with kids and cars in their time – and dismay ... Read More »

Cyber threats: 2018 and beyond

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Hackers using technology with behavioural insights pose a greater threat than ever to cyber security. What do consumer credit reporting agency Equifax and ride-hailing company Uber have in common? Foo Siang-tse and Shashi Jayakumar The Straits Times One would imagine that as large enterprises, they would check the boxes for good cyber-security practices: a healthy security budget, deployment of leading-edge cyber security technologies, and round-the-clock monitoring by well-trained cyber professionals. Yet they were revealed last year to have been successfully ... Read More »

Thanks, L’Oréal, but I’m growing weary of this hijab fetish

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Amena Khan’s role in a new ad campaign, though short-lived, shows how the industry struggles to represent Muslim women Nesrine Malik The Guardian This month Amena Khan became the first hijabi model to star in a global mainstream hair campaign. L’Oréal, which featured her in its advert, apparently wanted to promote an important message: hair care is for everyone, whether or not they choose to show their hair in public. I’m not sure who exactly thinks that women in hijab don’t care ... Read More »

The problem with Puerto Rico

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Even before being wrecked by hurricane damage, Puerto Rico was a mess. Peter Roff The Washington Times Things were so out of control Congress and President Barack Obama took the extraordinary step of appointing an oversight board to take charge, hoping it would act decisively and prevent the Puerto Rican government from going broke. They’ve failed. What else is one to conclude now that a secret stash of money totaling almost $7 billion has been found, hidden away in private ... Read More »

Coral reefs inundated with billions of pieces of plastic

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More than 11 billion pieces of plastic are stuck in coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific region, according to an alarming new study. Tom Bawden The Scotsman The finding has raised concerns that the presence of so much plastic could considerably increase the risk of coral disease by blocking out light and depriving them of oxygen. The researchers estimate the increased chance of infection on the reefs affected could be as high as 89 per cent, in some… It is well ... Read More »