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Chinese paper warns Australia on ‘interference’ in South China Sea

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Bangkok: A Chinese Communist Party-owned newspaper has published an article warning that Australia’s “interference” in the flashpoint waters of the South China Sea may prompt China to “adopt strong countermeasures which will seriously impact Australian economic development”. Lindsay Murdoch The Canberra Times Zhang Ye, a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute in Beijing, wrote in the hawkish Global Times that Australia’s “kissing up to the United States” will “poison its relations with China and shake up [the] foundation for its strategic balance ... Read More »

Macron’s new year’s speech: ‘France can’t succeed without a strong Europe’

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French president promises to listen to dissenting voices but appeals to Europeans not to give in to ‘nationalists and sceptics’ Angelique Chrisafis in Paris The Guardian The French president, Emmanuel Macron, appealed to European citizens “not to give in to nationalists and sceptics”, as he used his new year’s speech to promise to make the European Union “more united, more sovereign and more democratic”. Macron said in a televised address: “I deeply believe Europe can become that economic, social, environmentally-friendly, scientific power that ... Read More »

Chinese ban on ivory sales goes into effect

Seized elephant ivory tusks are seen during a press conference at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound in Hong Kong on July 6, 2017.
Hong Kong Customs have seized 7.2 tonnes of ivory tusks with an estimated market value of HKD 72 million (9.2 million usd) in the city's largest bust in three decades. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony WALLACE

China’s complete ban on ivory trade went into effect on Dec. 31, officials said, a major step forward in Beijing’s efforts to rein in what was once the world’s largest market for illegal ivory. BEIJING – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “From today… the buying and selling of elephant ivory and goods by any market, shop or vendor is against the law!” the forestry ministry said on its official account on Chinese social media platform Weibo. “From now on, if a merchant ... Read More »

There Is No Case for the Humanities

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Τhe humanities are not just dying. By some measures, they are almost dead. Justin Stover American Affairs In Scotland, the ancient Chairs in Humanity (which is to say, Latin) have almost disappeared in the last few decades: abolished, left vacant, or merged into chairs of classics. So too in the same period, the University of Oxford revised its famed Literae Humaniores course, “Greats,” into something resembling a technical classics degree. Both of these were long survivors, throwbacks to an era in which ... Read More »

2017 — The year in figures and charts

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Telling the story of the last 12 months through data BY THE NUMBERS From Brexit negotiations to migration, Donald Trump’s Twitter feed to the #MeToo movement, these are the figures behind the topics that defined 2017. By HANNE COKELAERE  Politico #MeToo Widespread discussion of sexual harassment, sparked by allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against prominent men like Harvey Weinstein, only really kicked off toward the end of 2017, but the topic was one of the defining aspects of the ... Read More »

Why it makes good sense to have a rainy day fund

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Ireland’s position remains vulnerable, despite the enormous progress of recent years Cliff Taylor The Irish Times There is a long tradition of interviews with the Taoiseach and senior Government Ministers over the Christmas period This year a key message from the Government is that there may be a need for restraint in tax and spending policies next year, as economic growth continues apace. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was at pains to point out that expected tax cuts of €1 billion could not be ... Read More »

When it comes to refugees, Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison and Dutton are hypocrites

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They claim to be Christians but seem to forget the fundamental tenets of its teaching: compassion and treating others as you would want to be treated Julian Burnside The Guardian Ιn 1974 the parliament passed the Trade Practices Act which, by section 52, decreed that a corporation should not “engage in conduct which is misleading or deceptive”. But parliamentarians are not subject to similar restrictions. We accept without questioning that norms of conduct, which parliamentarians set for commerce, do not ... Read More »

Europe: What surprises are in store for 2018?

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Talk about a poisoned chalice… Katya Adler  “You’re the Europe editor,” say the BBC powers that be. “Tell us what to look out for in 2018.” Yet if we’ve learned anything at all from the last couple of years in European politics, it’s that hedge betting is a far more comfortable path to take than prediction-making. A year ago who could have foreseen the Macron phenomenon, taking over the French presidency and dominating the country’s parliament? Who, last December, predicted ... Read More »

Droughts And Ecosystems Determined By Interaction Of Two Climate Phenomena

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What is causing the droughts that the Iberian Peninsula regularly endures? Why are the winters sometimes mild and rainy and other times cold and dry or cold and damp? Eurasia Review Is climate change of anthropogenic origin exerting an influence on these processes? How are these cycles affecting the productivity of terrestrial ecosystems? And finally, can these cycles be predicted and the economy thus adjusted to them? The work, published this week in Nature Communications, was led by the University ... Read More »

Forgotten in hell: Half of abducted Iraqi Yazidi girls remain in ISIS captivity & sex slavery

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15yo Nadi could barely speak when RT crew met her just a few hours after she was bought out after years of slavery for $2,500 – not the highest ransom by far, as ISIS terrorists fetch $10,000 on average for young Yazidi girls. RT Nadi is one of thousands of Yazidi girls, captured and then enslaved by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists who would turn the girls – often no older than 10 years – into forced laborers, sex ... Read More »

Tory MP condemns universal basic income as ‘dangerous nonsense’

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Former skills minister says ‘we should not be trying to create a world in which most people do not feel the need to work’ Caroline Mortimer Independent A former Conservative minister has denounced the idea of a universal basic income to protect workers who lose their jobs as “dangerous nonsense” Former skills minister Nick Boles said the Tories had a “moral duty” to oppose the introduction of the idea – which guarantees every worker in the UK a minimum income. Universal basic income, or ... Read More »

Protests in Iran unlikely to bring about change

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Following months of scattered, issue-specific protests across Iran over matters such as unpaid wages and lost deposits amid bankruptcies of unlicensed credit and financial institutions, the northeastern city of Mashhad saw protests on Dec. 28, mainly over “high prices,” with smaller rallies held in regional towns like Neyshabur and… Mohammad Ali Shabani  AlMonitor The day after, similar protests were also held in other cities around the country. So far, the protests appear provincial: The security deputy of Tehran’s governor said fewer ... Read More »

Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system, Turkish defense officials announced Friday, despite concerns voiced by some of the NATO member’s allies. By Suzan Fraser, Associated Press Suzan Fraser, Associated Press PBS NewsHour Associated Press Writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed The deal, which would make Turkey the first member of the military alliance to own Russia’s most advanced air defense system, comes amid strengthening ties between Turkey and ... Read More »

Thousands of Peruvians march against Fujimori pardon

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Thousands of Peruvians marched on Dec. 28 to protest the president’s recent pardoning of former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori, calling for new general elections as a graft scandal ensnares established politicians. LIMA – Reuters Hurriyet The demonstrations capped a head-spinning week in which President Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki warned about a new rise of Fujimori’s authoritarian movement, only to pardon him three days later after Fujimori’s loyalists in Congress saved him from an impeachment bid. Waving Peruvian flags and chanting “down ... Read More »