Historical

World politics explainer: the assassination of John F. Kennedy

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At precisely 1pm on November 22, 1963, the 35th president of the United States was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital Trauma Room 1 in Dallas, Texas. Lloyd Cox The Conversation John F Kennedy’s personal physician stated the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. This was officially announced to a stunned public half an hour later. The shock waves of the president’s assassination, the fourth in US history, continue to reverberate today. What happened? While the events ... Read More »

Lesson from Brazil: Museums are not forever

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We now know what history going up in flames looks like. On Sept. 2, the National Museum of Brazil lit up Rio de Janeiro’s night sky. Chip Colwell The Conversation Perhaps started by an errant paper hot air balloon landing on the roof or a short circuit in a laboratory, the fire gutted the historic 200-year-old building. Likely gone are a collection of resplendent indigenous ceremonial robes, the first dinosaur found in South America, Portuguese royal furniture, ancient Egyptian mummies, ... Read More »

An open letter of complaint to the Guardian

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An Open Letter Addressed to the Readers’ Editor of the Guardian newspaper in London, dated 5 September 2018 Dear Sir Re: Image accompanying an article published by the Guardian on 3 September 2018 I am writing to make a complaint about the image of the Eastern Mediterranean accompanying an article by Elif Shafak entitled ‘Even as Turkey pulls away, the west must help its people to resist’ (hereafter ‘the Image’). The Image was published online by the Guardian on 3 September 2018 (at www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/03/turkey-west-erdogan-democracy-civil-rights?CMP=share_btn_tw). I do not know whether the Image was also published in the hard copy of ... Read More »

How will Indigenous people be compensated for lost native title rights? The High Court will soon decide

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Today, the High Court of Australia will begin hearing the most significant case concerning Indigenous land rights since the Mabo and Wik native title cases in the 1990s. Authors: The Conversation For the first time, the High Court will consider how to approach the question of compensation for the loss of traditional land rights. The decision will have huge implications for Indigenous peoples who have lost their land rights and for the state and territory governments responsible for that loss. ... 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 »

International Court of Justice begins hearing on Britain’s separation of Chagos islands from Mauritius

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Βritain has apologised for the “shameful” way it evicted islanders from the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean, but insisted Mauritius was wrong to bring a dispute over sovereignty of the strategic atoll group to the United Nations’ top court. Roland Oliphant The Telegraph The apology came on the first day of a hearing on the future of the islands, the site of a key UK and US military base, at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Mauritius ... 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 »

Brazil museum fire: ‘incalculable’ loss as 200-year-old Rio institution gutted

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The Museu Nacional houses artefacts from Egypt, Greco-Roman art and some of the first fossils found in Brazil Dom Phillips The Guardian Brazil’s oldest and most important historical and scientific museum has been consumed by fire, and much of its archive of 20 million items is believed to have been destroyed. The fire at Rio de Janeiro’s 200-year-old National Museum began after it closed to the public on Sunday and raged into the night. There were no reports of injuries, ... Read More »

How we showed Homer’s Odyssey is not pure fiction, with a little help from Facebook

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When you look at networks of people, whether it’s architects or table tennis players or a regular bunch of Facebook friends, they will have certain similarities. Authors: The Conversation They tend to confirm the “six degrees of separation” idea that most people are connected in a few very short steps. Each person tends to have large numbers of connections and to associate with people who are similar to them. The networks are also usually organised into hierarchies. In fiction – ... 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 »

Explainer: why the UN has found Myanmar’s military committed genocide against the Rohingya

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The UN Human Rights Council released a new report last Monday, which calls last year’s violence against the Rohingya “genocide”. Anthony Ware The Conversation Released almost exactly a year after the start of devastating violence that drove 671,500 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh within a matter of months, the report found conclusive evidence that Myanmar’s armed… Using the strongest language to date, the report calls for the Myanmar commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and five generals to be prosecuted. What was the ... Read More »

Europe struggles to atone for its colonial evils

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At a handover ceremony held in a Berlin church on Wednesday, Namibian officials received the remains of indigenous people killed in their country by German forces more than a century ago. Edited by Max J. Rosenthal and Ruby Mellen By Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post The grisly contents included 19 skulls, a scalp and bones belonging to five skeletons, all of which had been been housed for decades on dusty shelves in German universities and museums. The remains are a ... Read More »

Labyrinthine investigation concludes the Minotaur’s lair never existed

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Long held to be a known archaeological site, the Labyrinth of Crete was never built, says a new study. Fotis Kapetopoulos reports. Since the late nineteenth century, archaeologists, documentary-makers and novelists have asserted that the Cretan Labyrinth – the lair of the terrifying Minotaur – was a real place. But now a major paper suggests that the legendary maze was just that – legend, a figment of collective imagination. The labyrinth is popularly held to have been in the Palace ... 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 »

What we can learn from John McCain’s civic vulnerability

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In the countless reflections on the life of U.S. Sen. John McCain, his interventions to shut down ignorant and racist comments about his adversary Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election campaign have featured prominently. Alan Sears The Conversation McCain didn’t just stop the interventions. He forcefully challenged them and spoke up for the character and integrity of Obama. My opponent is “a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared of as President of ... Read More »

China Is Treating Islam Like a Mental Illness

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The country is putting Muslims in internment camps—and causing real psychological damage in the process. Sigal Samuel The Atlantic One million Muslims are being held right now in Chinese internment camps, according to estimates cited by the UN and U.S. officials. Former inmates—most of whom are Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority—have told reporters that over the course of an indoctrination process lasting several months, they were forced to renounce Islam, criticize their own Islamic beliefs and those of fellow inmates, and recite Communist ... Read More »