Society

Attacks on Manus refugees is Australia’s Christmas shame, says human rights group

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Australia’s name for decency and a fair go has been permanently stained by the latest sickening violence on Manus Island, Liberty Victoria said today. Reports of attacks on refugees with metal poles and other weapons to force them to a new unfinished prison after three weeks of resistance shames the nation, said Liberty president Jessie Taylor. “Our leaders seem deaf to the appeals by Australians of the Year, religious leaders and people going into the street,” she said. Award-winning journalist ... Read More »

Do the Numbers Lie? Mistrust and Military Lockdown after Honduras’ Disputed Poll

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With massive protests, armed clashes and a government-declared state of emergency, Honduras is in social and political chaos after the 26 November general elections. Sofía Martínez Fernández  ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Northern Triangle Analyst Sofía Martínez explains what has sparked the crisis and its potential effect on armed violence. What is happening in Honduras? Honduras has entered a political crisis that is turning increasingly violent following the disputed results of the 26 November general elections. In a climate ... Read More »

State home-building scheme only way to tackle crisis

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Housing crisis: Time ripe for cost-rental plan in the interests of all our Republic’s citizens Nessa Ní Chasaide The Irish Times Budget 2018 confirmed the continuation of the Government’s failing housing strategy: that of supporting private developers and landlords as the main providers of housing. How so? Significant funding in Budget 2018 will not go toward new builds but be channeled to subsidising escalating rents to private landlords through the Housing Assistance Payment. Where the Government is establishing loan funds ... Read More »

When should you unfriend someone on Facebook?

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The nature and ethics of “fake news” has become a subject of widespread concern. Alexis Elder The Conversation But, for many of us, the issue is much more personal: What are we to do when a cranky uncle or an otherwise pleasant old friend persists in populating our news feeds with a stream of posts that can run deeply contrary to our own values? One option is to unfriend people who share material that conflicts with our values. But a ... Read More »

Greek Orthodox Church Sells Land In Israel, Worrying Both Israelis And Palestinians

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Secretive real estate deals in the Holy Land are putting one of Jerusalem’s most powerful and ancient churches in the spotlight Daniel Estrin npr The Greek Orthodox Church calls itself the second-largest landowner in Israel, after the Israeli government. It says it owns some 30 percent of Jerusalem’s walled Old City, the city’s historic core, and controls the largest stake of any Christian denomination in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, home to the traditional tomb of Jesus. It also ... Read More »

The Cost of Devaluing Women

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My first job out of college in the late 1980s was at Salomon Brothers, a trading house of cigar-smoking, expletive-spewing strivers. SALLIE KRAWCHECK The New York Times One day, I leaned over a colleague’s desk to work on a spreadsheet, and heard loud laughter from behind me; one of the guys was pretending to perform a sex act on me. Almost every day, I found a Xerox copy of male genitalia on my desk. I was not alone in being ... Read More »

Alternative for Germany: Police and protesters clash over meeting

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Several people have been hurt in clashes between police and anti-fascist demonstrators in the city of Hannover Protesters were trying to blockade the far-right Alternative for Germany’s first conference since it entered parliament after September’s elections. BBC With temperatures near freezing, police used water cannon, batons and pepper spray to clear a path for the 600 delegates. One demonstrator’s leg was broken after he chained himself to a barricade. AfD won 12.6% of the vote in Germany’s federal elections in ... Read More »

Reading Norman Davies’s global history is like wading through porridge

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From Azerbaijan to Tahiti, much of the material is familiar — or available (as Davies himself admits) on Wikipedia For many of us, life has become global. Philip Hensher The Spectator Areas which were previously tranquil backwaters are now hives of international activity Leisure travel has given us the possibility of first-hand exposure to once very remote places. You don’t have to be particularly privileged or adventurous to go on holiday in January to south-east Asia: two weeks in a ... Read More »

The Brisbane nun who defied Sir Joh’s government to help AIDS sufferers

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Queensland was gripped by fear in the 1980s following the outbreak of HIV, so much so that then-premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson refused to curb the spread of the virus among Indigenous Australians because he believed it was “a punishment from God”. Toby Crockford Brisbane Times However, one Brisbane nun defied the wishes of Sir Joh and helped AIDS sufferers in any way she could, including setting up secret funding to the Queensland AIDS Council by moving the money through the Mater… Sister Angela ... Read More »

Pope Francis asks for forgiveness from Rohingya refugees

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Pope Francis has used the term “Rohingya” for the first time during his current trip to Asia to refer to refugees who have fled in large numbers from violence in Myanmar. ABC Reuters “The presence of God today is also called Rohingya,” he said in an improvised remark after meeting 16 refugees brought to the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka from their camps in Cox’s Bazar near the border with Myanmar. “In the name of all of those who have persecuted you, ... Read More »

UN appeals for record $22.5 bln in global aid for 2018

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The United Nations appealed Dec. 1 for a record $22.5 billion (18.9 billion euros) to provide aid in 2018 to soaring numbers of people slammed by conflicts and disasters around the world GENEVA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The global appeal by U.N. agencies and other humanitarian organizations aims to raise funds to help the some 91 million most vulnerable of the nearly 136 million people expected to need aid across 26 countries next year. The number of people in need ... Read More »

Sogyal Rinpoche and the abuse accusations rocking the Buddhist world

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Punching. Emotional abuse. Eye-popping sexual misdeeds. David Leser The accusations made against Sogyal Rinpoche – a key lama in the uptake of Buddhist principles by the West – have rocked devotees, including many in the top echelons of Australian business. The Canberra Times On a late September evening this year, a group of leading Australian business figures gathered in a Sydney boardroom to discuss a series of allegations that had scandalised the Buddhist world, and shaken their own to the core. ... Read More »

Brexit Creates a Game of Risk for European Banks

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A hard Brexit represents a potential shock to the international financial system and has both direct and indirect consequences for the United Kingdom’s economy Scott B. MacDonald The National Interest While the government of Theresa May seeks to restart negotiations with the European Union on December 5, time is marching on. This is important as risk managers are looking at their watches and are increasingly concerned about London’s inability to come forward with a credible Brexit bill in the eyes of Europeans. The result could be ... Read More »

Will GOP finally take down Obamacare with a tax bill?

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After spending nearly a year on a failed effort to repeal Obamacare, Republicans on Capitol Hill are on the verge of repealing the law’s individual mandate as a footnote to their rewrite of the American tax system. JENNIFER HABERKORN Politico At least two of the three Senate Republicans who blocked the repeal effort over the summer have no problem undoing the requirement that nearly all Americans carry insurance — a provision Democrats say is vital to keeping the Affordable Care ... Read More »

Six things New Zealand’s new government needs to do to make climate refugee visas work

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New Zealand’s new government plans to create the world’s first humanitarian visa for climate refugees. Nina Hall   The Conversation If the policy goes ahead, 100 Pacific Islanders could be granted access to New Zealand on the basis that their lives are at risk from rising seas. The commitment to tackle climate injustice should be applauded, but there are significant considerations that have to be taken into account when developing humanitarian climate… Six things New Zealand’s new government needs to ... Read More »

France is now the testing ground for Europe’s labor policies

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ROME — In September, French President Emmanuel Macron’s government launched its controversial reform of the French labor market, having won support in the French Parliament to pass these reforms by decree. Matt Browne The Washington Post With these reforms, Macron seeks to boost the competitiveness of the French economy and address unemployment, which has hovered persistently at just around 10 percent for years — almost twice the level of many other major European economies. Many believe that France’s existing labor ... Read More »