Society

Imagining Russia post-Putin

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On July 21, Vladimir Putin was asked at an audience with schoolchildren what he will do when he retires. He replied, “I haven’t decided yet if I will leave the presidency.” Peter Rutland The Conversation While everyone is obsessed with following the twists and turns of the ties between Putin and President Trump, it is important to bear in mind that the relationship between the two countries will long outlast these two men. Putin will run again in the March ... Read More »

Treaty to enable high seas marine protected areas takes step forward

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The NZ deep sea trawler West Bay does a fast turn after hauling its catch from international waters in the Tasman Sea. Greenpeace  along with more than a thousand scientists are supporting the call for a moratorium  on high seas bottom trawling, because of the vast amount of marine life that is destroyed by this fishing method.
©2004Greenpeace/Roger Grace

The United Nations has advanced a step closer to an international treaty to protect marine life on the high seas, with an aim of setting up a mechanism for creating marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdictions. Aaron Orlowski SeafoodSource International waters outside countries’ exclusive economic zones make up 60 percent of the ocean and cover almost half of the surface of the earth. The waters are rife with marine life, including many threatened species, but are subject to ... Read More »

Venezuela’s Last Flickers of Democracy

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Venezuela’s political crisis took another fateful turn on Sunday 30 July with the rigged election of an all-powerful assembly mandated to rewrite the constitution. Phil Gunson ICG In this Q&A, Senior Analyst for the Andes Phil Gunson says Sunday’s vote represents the end of what little democratic space still existed and takes the country on the path to dictatorship. Can you explain what Sunday’s vote was about? On Sunday, the chavista government led by President Nicolás Maduro held a one-sided “election” to ... Read More »

Solitude Is About More Than Just Being Alone

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In my 20s I so yearned to find my cave. I thought I’d escape to that cave and not emerge until I was enlightened. Omid Safi On Being The fact that I was struggling in relationships and graduate school, I kept telling myself, had nothing to do with that desire. Spending time between reading Sufism (Islamic mysticism) and Buddhism, I had an idea of what my cave would look like. It would be in India (of course, because God and realization were ... Read More »

Sing dollar too strong: DBS currency strategist

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THE Singapore dollar (SGD) is too strong as the greenback continues to struggle and is becoming oversold, said Philip Wee, DBS Bank senior currency strategist. Year to date, the SGD has gained over 6 per cent against the US dollar (USD), and with the Thai baht are the two strongest South-east Asian currencies. SIOW LI SEN The Business Times The SGD stood at 1.3597 on Wednesday, slightly off its year high of 1.3553 on July 31. USD/SGD came under heavy ... Read More »

Ancient DNA reveals origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans

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The mysterious Minoans descended primarily from local Stone Age farmers, as did their cultural successors, the Mycenaeans — and their descendants still inhabit Greece today. MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN HISTORY EurekAlert! The Minoan Civilization and its counterpart on the Greek Mainland, the Mycenaean Civilization, were Europe’s first literate societies and the cultural ancestors of later Classical Greece. However, the question of the origins of the Minoans and their relationship to the Mycenaeans has long puzzled researchers. ... Read More »

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis at the Crossroads

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Since October 2016, protests and strikes related to sectoral demands have escalated into a crisis over the economic and political marginalisation of Cameroon’s Anglophone minority. ICG Although the government has made some concessions, it must rebuild mutual trust with Anglophone actors in order to avoid instability ahead of the 2018 general elections. Executive Summary The Anglophones of Cameroon, 20 per cent of the population, feel marginalised. Their frustrations surfaced dramatically at the end of 2016 when a series of sectoral ... Read More »

Dunkirk, the War and the Amnesia of the Empire

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OXFORD, England — Two and a half million soldiers drawn from Britain’s empire in South Asia fought in World War II. YASMIN KHAN The New York Times But they are missing from many British commemorations and accounts of the war — an absence reinforced by Christopher Nolan’s new film “Dunkirk,” which does not feature any of the Indian soldiers who were present at the battle. The Indian soldiers at Dunkirk were mainly Muslims from areas of British India that later ... Read More »

Pakistan could be moving toward new era of accountability

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There was nearly complete silence in Pakistan on Friday morning, as it was Judgment Day, not only for Nawaz Sharif, but also for his dynasty. TUBA ATHAR HASNAIN Asia Times Pakistanis around the world were glued to their television screens, and this time it was not because their very own Shahid Afridi was holding the bat on the cricket pitch to hit a six, but instead, the sitting prime minister was doing the batting. As soon as the clock ticked to 12:10, the ... Read More »

How Libya’s Fezzan Became Europe’s New Border

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The principal gateway into Europe for refugees and migrants runs through the power vacuum in southern Libya’s Fezzan region. ICG Any effort by European policymakers to stabilise Fezzan must be part of a national-level strategy aimed at developing Libya’s licit economy and reaching political normalisation. Executive Summary European policymakers increasingly are looking at the Fezzan, Libya’s vast and scarcely populated south west, as their frontier against sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees traveling the Central Mediterranean route to Europe. In 2016, ... Read More »

Will Joe Biden take on Donald Trump in 2020 in one last bid for the White House?

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Rehoboth Beach: The new house is on the edge of Cape Henlopen State Park, just north of the boardwalk: three stories, six bedrooms, three fireplaces and an expansive view of the Atlantic Ocean. Roxanne Roberts Washington Post The Canberra Times The new owners are Joe and Jill Biden, rich for the first time in their lives, thanks to a three-book publishing deal – two by him, one by her – that allowed them to purchase the $2.5 million holiday home in ... Read More »

3 human rights defenders transferred to Silivri Prison

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Amnesty International (AI) Turkey Director İdil Eser and two other human rights activists, Özlem Dalkıran and Nalan Erkem, were transferred from Bakırköy to Silivri Prison on Monday. TM Six human rights activists, including Eser and German human rights consultant Peter Steudtner, who were detained on July 5 during a workshop at a hotel on İstanbul’s Büyükada, were put in pretrial detention by an… Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Selina Doğan, who went to visit the three human rights defenders ... Read More »

Brexit: Race to host EU agencies relocated from London

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EU countries have until midnight to submit bids to provide a new home for two agencies that will be relocated from the UK after Brexit. BBC The European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA), based in Canary Wharf in London, employ just over 1,000 staff between them. The banking and medicines agencies are seen as the first spoils of Brexit by the 27 remaining members of the EU. About 20 countries are expected to enter the bidding process. ... Read More »

Refugees treated with disrespect and having payments docked, report finds

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Refugees settled in Australia are being treated with disrespect by federal service providers and having their welfare payments unfairly docked, according to a new report by the Refugee Council of Australia. Stephanie Dalzell ABC The draft paper, obtained by the ABC, examines a number of issues affecting humanitarian arrivals who have been settled in Fairfield, in Sydney’s west. The report includes several examples of hostile treatment from staff at government service provider Jobactive, such as a case where a refugee ... Read More »

Hong Kong, Retrocession Generation

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57 min – 1 months left Available from July 31, 2017 at 12:00 pm to September 4, 2017 at 11:59 pm arte Twenty years after the handover of Hong Kong to China, Hong Kong’s youth aren’t happy. They are more politicised than any other generation before them, and are proud Hong Kongers who do not feel Chinese. Beijing does not speak for them; they speak for themselves. CREDITS Director:Alain Lewkowicz Country:France Year:2017 Hong Kong, Retrocession… Read More »

Chinese spy ships: The devil in the detail

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Recent posts in The Interpreter (by Iain Henry, Euan Graham and James Goldrick) have commented on the presence of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ship off the Queensland Coast during Exercise Talisman Sabre. Sam Bateman The Interpreter All these posts are broadly correct – the incident suggested Chinese hypocrisy with its objections to foreign military activities in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), specifically its objections to American surveillance and intelligence-collection in its EEZ. However, we need to be careful in making assessments ... Read More »