Opinion

How solar kits and battery lamps are replacing kerosene across Africa

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For decades, people in rural Africa have been using sooty kerosene lamps to dimly light their homes. Jörg Peters The Conversation But in recent years households, even in poor areas, have started to replace their kerosene lamps with non-rechargeable dry-cell battery driven lamps and solar kits. This is happening largely without any governmental or donor involvement. These devices are equipped with light-emitting diodes (LED) that have become significantly cheaper over the years. This has, in turn, made them a highly ... Read More »

Lawyers perceived as only slightly more ethical than bankers

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Even in the wake of the banking royal commission, Australians perceive lawyers to be almost as unethical as bankers, insurers and financial services professionals, according to new research. Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly The Governance Institute Australian Ethics Index 2018 found that while the banking, financial services and insurance sectors have a net ethical score of -15, with only 30 per cent of respondents thinking tha… All sectors implicated in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial ... Read More »

What’s wrong with Australia’s democracy?

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Kevin Bain reviews three publications offering diverse perspectives of what is ailing Australia and what should be done. Kevin Bain IA THESE THREE BOOKS give a platform for a diverse bunch of Australian commentators, activists, politicians, system operatives and academics. Some drill down on functional aspects, others reflect on populism, fear of what might be coming, visions of something better and change strategies. Naturally, diagnosis and remedy go together but the… Hopefully, readers will look at these books and find a… What’s ... Read More »

Sorry, Mr. Trump, the Attorney General Is America’s Lawyer

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With his latest attack on Jeff Sessions, the president shows his real problem isn’t with the Justice Department but with the rule of law. By The Editorial Board The New York Times By now, few might lift an eyebrow at President Trump’s crusade to delegitimize his own Justice Department and, specifically, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. It long ago became clear that Mr. Trump regards federal law enforcement — as he sees all of government — as a political tool ... Read More »

The case to set aside one day of the year to remember our great artists

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In Australia, we hold state funerals for political leaders, however divisive or unloved they may have been while they lived.  And we grieve the departure of sporting greats. Julian Burnside Daily Review Perhaps we should set aside one day each year to remember great Australian artists who have died during the past year. So far in 2018, a significant number of great creative Australian talents have died: painters Charles Blackman (b. 1928) and Mirka Mora (b.1928); photographer Polixeni Papapetrou (b. 1960); cartoonists: Jeff Hook ... Read More »

Turkey Needs the EU—The Question Is How Much Its Relationship Will Cost

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European governments are currently witnessing a seemingly positive move by Turkey’s leadership toward the EU. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe On the surface, this makes sense: Turkey’s economy is in very dire straits (and still depends on European markets and financial flows); the Lira is plummeting; hurtful sanctions have recently been imposed by the United States (and more may be coming); and Russia is having it its way in Syria (which… As a result, the Turkish foreign ministry is issuing statements. ... Read More »

Demonetisation in India: A Democracy Deficit

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Demonetisation On November 8, 2016, when the United States of America was busy electing a populist president in Donald Trump, India’s own populist prime minister, Narendra Modi came up with a unique economic decision. Shubbam Ghosh EurasiaFuture In one stroke, he invalidated two high denomination currency notes the nation had been using –  Indian National Rupee notes (INR) valued at INR 1,000 and INR 500. According to Modi and his supporters, the move was a… On August 29, 2018, almost ... Read More »

Australian Catholic Church rejects calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

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Australia’s Catholic Church has rejected calls for priests to be compelled to report child abuse revealed in confessionals. By Euan McKirdy and Ben Westcott, CNN The Church said Friday it would accept “98%” of recommendations made by a high-level government inquiry into child sexual abuse, which uncovered shocking accounts of widespread abuse inside… But church leaders said that they would maintain the sanctity of confession, arguing to remove it would infringe on religious liberties. “The only recommendation we can’t accept ... Read More »

Trump, Erdogan and the New Global Order

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The Trump administration must not choose drastic and destabilizing steps to put further pressure on Turkey or strong-arm allies into playing along with its decisions. Nick Danforth The New York Times The current crisis between Ankara and Washington over the fate of the imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson is the culmination of a long-simmering dispute over the fundamental nature of the relationship between the United States and Turkey. Both sides want the relationship to continue but have irreconcilable expectations about ... Read More »

Refugees in Indonesia don’t want to get on boats. They want basic rights

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If they get access to a fair resettlement process, refugees won’t be interested in anything people smugglers are trying to sell Asher Hirsch The Guardian This week, home affairs minister Peter Dutton again reiterated the false claim that “there are 14,000 people in Indonesia waiting to get on to boats now”. I’ve just returned from a research trip in Indonesia, where I spoke to many refugees. Such a claim is not only disingenuous, it also highlights the double standards of ... Read More »

Turkey might not like the West, but needs it

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When President Trump sanctioned two Turkish ministers—an unprecedented measure involving a NATO ally—and announced the doubling of trade tariffs early in August, he further aggravated the steadily deteriorating U.S.-Turkish relationship. Kemal Kirişci Brookings The moves came after the Turkish government refused to allow Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing spurious espionage and terrorism charges, to return to the United States. Turkey’s currency, already fragile, went into a tailspin, and has lost nearly half its value compared to the beginning of ... Read More »

China and human rights: Is Australia ‘making a difference’?

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Australia’s relationship with China has been tumultuous of late: political scandals, security threats, a perceived need for draconian new legislation, angry rhetoric from Beijing. Sophie Richardson Brisbane Times It’s not a surprise that officials, including members of the new Australian government, and ordinary people across Australia have struggled to find the right answers to a complex and charged relationship. But as Australia tries to strike a balance between benefiting from and being threatened by its relationship with Beijing, a key ... Read More »

The Sick Man of Europe Returns

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When the Republic of Turkey emerged from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, its national ambition was to join Europe as a modern, secular state. Joschka Fischer * Project Syndicate But after much progress, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has now all but squandered his country’s chance of realizing its founders’ vision. BERLIN – One of the great geopolitical issues in nineteenth-century Europe was the so-called Eastern Question. The Ottoman Empire, then known as the “sick ... Read More »

EEZ of Doing Watery Business

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With ties that go back centuries, the relations between Indonesia and India remain steadfast today. By Sidharto Suryodipuro (The writer is ambassador of Indonesia to India) The Economic Times Both President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met in various fora. During the visit of Modi to Indonesia last May, the two governments agreed to enhance cooperation in defence, space, railways, science, medicine and health. One aspect of cooperation that tends to be forgotten, however, is maritime boundary delimitation (MBD). ... Read More »

Me and Mr Jones: What I know about media bullies

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I identify with Malcolm Turnbull. With Mike Baird. With Kevin Rudd. Jenna Price Brisbane Times And (more predictably) with Julia Gillard. I haven’t got tickets on myself. I am not now and will never be a member of any political party. I will never be elected by the Australian people. But like those four, I was targeted. Vilified. Mocked for my appearance. Been subjected to false and malicious commentary. Like those four, I’ve experienced emails demanding the Powers That Be ... Read More »

The Erdogan Question: Is It Time To Shrink NATO?

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The Turkish president’s thuggish autocracy and reflexive anti-Americanism make him very popular in his country. Philip Terzian Weekly Standard There was once a country in what used to be called the Near East that was much admired in the United States and often regarded as America’s most valuable asset in the region. Although the country was predominantly Muslim, its government was resolutely secular in outlook and committed to “modernizing” its deeply traditional culture: Women enjoyed unprecedented equality, for example, and ... Read More »