Society

Erdogan and Turkey’s Elections

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When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a presidential and parliamentary election June 24—jumping the gun by more than a year—the outcome seemed foreordained: the country is under a state of emergency, Erdogan has imprisoned more than 50,000 of… Conn Hallinan CounterPunch But Erdogan’s seemingly overwhelming strength is not as solid as it appears, and the moves the President is making to insure a victory next month may come back to haunt him in the long run. There is ... Read More »

EU court upholds insecticide ban to protect bees

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An EU court upheld on May 17 a partial ban on three insecticides known as neonicotinoids, saying that the European Commission had been right in 2013 to restrict their use to protect bees. LUXEMBOURG – Reuters Hurriyet The ruling covers three active substances – imidacloprid developed by Bayer CropScience, clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience, as well as Syngenta’s thiamethoxam. The court said the European Union’s “precautionary principle” meant that the EU could take measures if there was scientific ... Read More »

Venezuela’s Maduro gets support from Erdogan, Maradona ahead of vote

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CARACAS/BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuela’s diplomatically isolated president got a show of support from his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan and Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona on Thursday ahead of a… Alexandra Ulmer, Corina Pons Reuters The United States, the European Union and major Latin American countries have criticized Sunday’s vote in which leftist President Nicolas Maduro is likely to win re-election to a… Critics say Maduro, a 55-year-old former bus driver who has presided over an economic meltdown, is virtually ... Read More »

Quit if you think a policy is immoral, and other advice from Peter Varghese

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What can a public servant do if they have a moral or ethical crisis about working on a current policy of the government? Put up with it or quit. Stephen Easton The Mandarin That is the stark reality, according to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Peter Varghese — unrelated to his own decision to retire from the public service after 38 years to become chancellor of the University of Queensland. The open forum that followed Varghese’s extremely well received ... Read More »

The efficiency myth

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Heard the tale about the private sector always doing things better? Nick Dowson wonders why it still has believers New Internationalist The central myth of neoliberalism – ‘private sector good, public sector bad’ – persists in the face of all evidence to the contrary. The private sector is held up as better, more efficient, the way to modernize… Yet worldwide, hundreds of services are being brought back into public ownership, which suggests that people aren’t buying the hype around greater ... Read More »

New Zealand ‘people’s’ budget sees Ardern put billions more into health and education

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Prime minister says she wants her child to look back and judge efforts favourably rather than want to change their name Eleanor Ainge Roy The Guardian The first Labour government in close to a decade has pledged to make New Zealand a kind and equitable nation where children thrive, and success is measured not only by the nation’s GDP but by better lives lived by its people. Finance minister Grant Robertson said the Labour coalition government didn’t want to “manage” issues such ... Read More »

5 takeaways from EU’s big Balkan get-together

Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama (C) speaks with France's President Emmanuel Macron (2ndR) and Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite (2ndL) as they pose for a family photo during an EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia on May 17, 2018. - European Union leaders meet their Balkan counterparts to hold out the promise of closer links to counter Russian influence, while steering clear of openly offering them membership. (Photo by Darko Vojinovic / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DARKO VOJINOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Macron plays party-pooper at leaders’ gathering in Sofia. Andrew Gray Politico SOFIA — It wasn’t a renewal of the wedding vows because the big ceremony never happened. It was two partners declaring they still want to be engaged — even though one is now playing hard to get. Fifteen years ago, EU leaders told their western Balkan counterparts at a summit in Thessaloniki they belonged together — and their countries could one day join the European Union. But only one of those ... Read More »

President Maduro’s Likely Re-election in Breadline Venezuela

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As tens of thousands of Venezuelans stream into neighbouring countries, President Nicolás Maduro appears set to win elections on 20 May. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the Andes Phil Gunson looks ahead to the vote and its aftermath and explains why the crisis is likely to deepen. Phil Gunson ICG What is at stake in the 20 May elections? These elections are for the presidency of the republic and for regional legislatures in each of Venezuela’s 23 ... Read More »

Asylum seekers ‘face destitution’ as income support and housing cut off

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Refugee advocates describe cuts, which will affect up to 100 people, as ‘calculated cruelty to vulnerable people’ Helen Davidson The Guardian The federal government is taking away income support and housing from up to 100 refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru who are currently in Australia for medical treatment. The group, which includes families, elderly people and pregnant women, are among the more than 400 known as the “Let Them Stay” group, and the more than 260 that were party ... Read More »

Faithful should spend every moment of Ramazan in obedience of Allah, says Siraj

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LAHORE : Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan, Senator Sirajul Haq congratulating the nation on the advent of the holy month of Ramazan has counseled every faithful to spend every moment of the sacred month in complete obedience to Allah Almighty in the… Pakistan Observer In his message to the nation on Wednesday, Sirajul Haq said that Ramazan was also an occasion to share the pleasures as well as worries with the fellow beings, to promote feelings of love, brotherhood and… He ... Read More »

Is it rational to trust your gut feelings? A neuroscientist explains

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Imagine the director of a big company announcing an important decision and justifying it with it being based on a gut feeling. This would be met with disbelief – surely important decisions have to be thought over carefully, deliberately and rationally? Valerie van Mulukom The Conversation Indeed, relying on your intuition generally has a bad reputation, especially in the Western part of the world where analytic thinking has been steadily promoted over the past decades. Gradually, many have come to ... Read More »

The Long Haul Ahead for Myanmar’s Rohingya Refugee Crisis

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More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees from brutal military operations in Myanmar are stuck in Bangladesh, with returns to Myanmar unlikely soon and Bangladeshi goodwill being tested. ICG In Myanmar, international partners must be allowed access to northern Rakhine State. In Bangladesh, donors must help both refugees and their local hosts. What’s new? Since August 2017, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s brutal military operations in Rakhine State to Bangladesh, joining tens of thousands who left earlier in 2017. The two ... Read More »

Manus Island detention horrors hidden to ‘numb public into submission’: lawyer

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Award-winning Australian human rights lawyer Daniel Webb says there has been a “deliberate” ploy on both sides of politics to “numb the public into submission” and hide the horrors of offshore detention from their view. inkl The Australian-funded detention centres in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, and Nauru have made multiple headlines over the past fortnight as conditions worsen. Hollywood star Russell Crowe called Manus “a nation’s shame” and said the cruelty it inflicted on its inhabitants was “f***ing disgraceful”. ... Read More »

Tom Wolfe elevated journalism into enduring literature

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In 20th-century popular culture, journalists were portrayed as needy hacks desperate to write the Great American Novel. William McKeen The Conversation Journalism was the means to an end that few achieved. But Tom Wolfe, who died May 14 at age 88, helped change that in the 1960s. He was one of the New Journalists, who wrote nonfiction using the techniques of fiction. As an example: Journalists had long been trained to use direct quotations sparingly and to look for money ... Read More »

In ‘The Restless Wave,’ John McCain Says America Is Still Exceptional

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Senator John McCain has sustained a long political career by seeming to have it both ways: praised as a fiery maverick when times are bland, and as a bipartisan consensus-seeker when they’re not. Jennifer Szalai The New York Times This isn’t so much an accusation as an observation — one that McCain himself repeatedly alludes to in “The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations,” his latest collaboration with his former chief-of… The ailing McCain, who learned last ... Read More »

Israeli lawmakers move to recognize Armenian genocide amid Turkey row

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Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuly and Likud MK Amir Ohana stated they would submit legislation to make Israel the 30th country to recognize the Armenian genocide. Lahav Harkov JPost Bills to recognize the Armenian Genocide by the Turks were back on the Knesset’s agenda on Wednesday, after Turkey and Israel expelled each other’s envoys. Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuly and Likud MK Amir Ohana both said they would submit legislation to make Israel the 30th country to recognize the genocide ... Read More »