Society

SNP activists to hold ‘day of action’ on independence referendum

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The SNP is to hold a national “day of action” on Scottish independence later this month, taking the temperature of the nation as it continues its preparations for a second referendum. Chris Green The Scotsman The party’s depute leader Keith Brown said MPs, MSPs and activists would be given a target of speaking to 50,000 people across the country on 29… Revealing the plans in an interview with The Scotsman’s sister title inews.co.uk, he said the party would be “making ... Read More »

CBA admits to misleading advertising for heart attack cover

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The Commonwealth Bank’s insurance arm has for the first time admitted to publishing misleading advertising that would have left customers thinking they were covered for heart attacks, when… Clancy Yeates The Age The royal commission into financial misconduct also heard the bank convinced the corporate watchdog to soften its language in a media release about the ads to remove an admission of wrongdoing. Its penalty for the misleading ads was a fraction of the maximum fine it could have… Senior ... Read More »

UN Secretary-General: American Power Is in Decline, the World Is ‘in Pieces’

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Is Democracy Dying? António Guterres confronts the “reemergence of irrationality” in global politics. Uri Friedman The Atlantic For the past two years, the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, has watched as President Donald Trump upends American foreign policy, engaging in trade wars while simultaneously disengaging from international agreements and… And now Guterres has reached a verdict: The United States, once the guarantor of global stability, is losing its ability to influence world events. “I think that the soft ... Read More »

New book offers vital background on the Iran nuclear deal

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Wendy Sherman may not have the highest name recognition outside of Washington — but that’s what you might expect from a former top State Department official whose job included delicate negotiations with old adversaries and… Jason Rezaian The Washington Post Now she has just come out with a new memoir that fills a valuable gap in recent history by providing a detailed look at the talks that led to the Iran nuclear deal. Sherman was the lead negotiator for the ... Read More »

Breast cancer surgery wasn’t ‘radical’ enough for CommInsure

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CommInsure refused to pay out a woman with breast cancer because it didn’t consider she’d had “radical” breast surgery, despite the evidence of her doctor and surgeon. Ruth Williams WAtoday The financial services royal commission on Thursday heard that CommInsure repeatedly denied her claim on the basis of an outdated and arbitrary definition of “radical” breast surgery, which it argued only included a mastectomy, despite that definition not appearing anywhere in the… The woman bought trauma insurance in 1996 and ... Read More »

Elder abuse: Many people committing financial abuse unintentionally, MP says

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Could you be abusing your elderly relatives without realising it? A WA politician says many people are unintentionally breaking the law by taking financial advantage of their older relatives. ABC Greens MP Alison Xamon, the deputy chair of the parliamentary committee investigating elder abuse, said some people did not realise what they were doing was unacceptable and illegal. “People that have managed to get control of their parents’ finances, for example, who just say ‘oh no, Mum and Dad would ... Read More »

National anthem protest: 9yo refuses to stand because anthem is for ‘white people of Australia’

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Teachers at a Brisbane primary school have disciplined a nine-year-old girl for refusing to stand for the national anthem during assembly. By Talissa Siganto and staff ABC Primary school student Harper Nielsen was given a lunch time detention on Friday for peacefully protesting against the song she said is “wrong”. “When it says ‘we are young’ it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years,” she said. “When it was originally written, Advance Australia ... Read More »

If Britain Opts for Corbyn, Then the New Prime Minister Will Clash with Trump Over Israel

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Is the Middle East ready? Lawrence J. Haas The National Interest The signs of breakdown in the liberal international order are mounting, and they’re coming from disparate directions: Washington battles its closest allies on trade, Beijing and Moscow come together more closely militarily in an anti-U.S. alliance, and Beijing seeks to make its territorial expansion a… But the liberal order is as much about values as about alliances and power plays. In that sense, the most striking recent manifestation of ... Read More »

Danish left veering right on immigration

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Mandatory language lessons, tougher sentences for ghetto crimes, buildings demolished. Integration — by force. By NAOMI O’LEARY Politico COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s right-wing government might once have expected pushback from the left-wing opposition when it introduced a controversial new integration policy. No longer. A recent government proposal, to be finalized by parliament in the fall, would target the country’s so-called ghetto neighborhoods with a series of sanctions and incentives. The intention is to bring immigrant communities fully into Danish society — by ... Read More »

New data paint an unpleasant picture of poverty in the US

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On Sept. 12, the U.S. Census Bureau released national poverty data for 2017. The headline was that 39.7 million people were poor in 2017. This works out to 12.3 percent of the population or one in eight Americans. The good news is that the U.S. poverty rate has fallen since 2010, when it hit 15.1 percent, and… The bad news is that poverty still exceeds the 11.3 percent rate of 2000 and far too many people are poor in a ... Read More »

Brazil’s Lula: Saint or sinner?

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Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva is seen as much as a saviour as he is a sinner in Brazil: a man who came to power promising change yet ended up leaving politics with a very different legacy. BBC His life mirrored that of many Brazilians. He was born in 1945 into a poor family in the north-east of Brazil and, by the time he was seven, his family had moved to São Paulo to find work – as many millions ... Read More »

How to Save the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

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Amid the largest displacement crisis since World War II, President Donald Trump’s administration has cut the U.S.’s annual intake of refugees in half. ICG It should reverse course, and future administrations should strive to put refugee admissions on a stronger political and operational footing. What’s new?  Through various forms of bureaucratic strangulation, the Trump administration is working to squeeze the life from a program that has helped resettle three million refugees in the U.S. since 1980. Why does it matter?  The current ... Read More »

Argentina, Turkey, Indonesia – why it’s too early to speak of contagion in emerging markets

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Turkey, Indonesia and Argentina have all seen their currencies experience huge drops in recent months. Similarly, stocks in India, South Africa, Mexico and others have taken a hit. Alain Naef The Conversation Emerging markets across the board have been under pressure since the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates in June. Governments and companies had borrowed in dollars when interest rates were low and the dollar was weak. Now the dollar is strong and interest rates are rising. And research ... Read More »

World politics explainer: Pinochet’s Chile

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General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, a career military officer, was appointed Commander in Chief of the Chilean army by President Salvador Allende on August 1973. Peter Read The Conversation Eighteen days later, with the connivance, if not the assistance, of the US, he authorised a coup against Allende’s Socialist government. To be clear, Pinochet’s rule was not the first, last or worst dictatorship in the history of Latin America. But it did grip the attention of western countries because of Chile’s ... Read More »

‘This is not what privilege is for’: Ex-Border Force boss complains to speaker

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The astonishing war of words between Peter Dutton and former Border Force boss Roman Quaedvlieg has escalated further. Latika Bourke The Sydney Morning Herald Mr Quaedvlieg has now complained to the speaker Tony Smith over Mr Dutton’s use of parliamentary privilege to accuse him of “grooming” a younger woman. The Minister also said that Mr Quaedvlieg, who was sacked for helping his girlfriend get a job within the agency, was “discredited and disgraced”. “He was a man who had groomed ... Read More »

Russia is cracking down on minority languages – but a resistance movement is growing

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Russia has spent the last several years aggressively advocating for the rights of Russian minorities abroad, and in particular for the “protection” of the Russian language. Guzel Yusupova The Conversation Whenever a country takes any step that can be construed as suppressing or marginalising Russian speakers, the Kremlin is quick to respond in the most strident of tones. In October 2017, when Latvia’s government made Latvian the default language of education, Sergey Zheleznyak, the member of Russia’s State Duma Committee ... Read More »