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Wildfires in Mediterranean Europe will increase by 40% at 1.5°C warming, say scientists

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Europe’s Mediterranean regions have strong sunshine, bright blue seas, beautiful beaches, and pretty holiday houses immersed in pine forests that provide welcome shade. Authors: The Conversation It sounds very inviting, but such a scenario is also perfect for severe wildfires such as the ones that killed 99 people this July in the popular holiday resort of Mati, in Greece. Now, new research in Nature Communications suggests that the summer fire season in Mediterranean Europe is going to get worse. Under ... Read More »

Australia’s obsession with opinion polls is eroding political leadership

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In its early days, political opinion polling’s leading advocate, George Gallup, sold it as an essential tool for democracy. Ian Cook The Conversation He believed polling made for better representation because it allowed politicians to take the people’s “pulse”. But opinion polling didn’t so much enhance democracy as remake it. Thanks to Gallup, polls have become so ubiquitous in modern-day politics that we’re now convinced they can accurately predict elections. (Even though Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 US ... Read More »

Turkey Airstrikes Target Iraqi Christian Villages; Activists Call for War Crimes Investigation

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The Turkish military launched airstrikes targeting Iraqi Christian villages in northern Iraq, a rights group warned. Samuel Smith The Christian Post Local sources have told International Christian Concern, a U.S.-based persecution watchdog, that seven predominantly Christian villages were targeted by Turkish airstrikes last month. September saw an increase in Turkish airstrikes in the north of Iraq. “Turkey attempts to justify these airstrikes by claiming that these villages support or have a PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) presence,” an ICC report reads. “Turkey is ... Read More »

Australia has become a human rights backwater

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The litmus test for human rights in Australia is how it treats the most disadvantaged within the community, and on this measure, Australia has become a backwater, according to two leading legal… Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly Speaking to Lawyers Weekly ahead of the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and National Justice Project Dinner, being held in Sydney on Friday 26 October, UTS law professor and director of research at… “We have failed to integrate a human rights framework into our legal system ... Read More »

Melania Trump begins tour of Africa in Ghana amid questions and criticism

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Melania Trump began her week-long sojourn to Africa in Accra, Ghana. Landing Tuesday morning, the first lady was greeted on the tarmac by Ghanaian first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and a… By Emily Heil and Mary Jordan The Washington Post Later, she stopped by Greater Accra Regional Hospital where she visited with new mothers and held a baby before passing out miniature teddy bears and blankets emblazoned with the logo for Be Best, her child-welfare initiative. From Ghana, Trump will travel to ... Read More »

Equality: our secret weapon to fight corruption

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“We look after our mates,” Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, has declared. He’s said it on several occasions, in fact. So it must be a value he thinks important. Meanwhile the man he defeated for the top job, Peter Dutton, has been embroiled in controversy over allegedly using his… Tony Ward The Conversation Where do we draw the line between looking after a mate and being corrupt? The line, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. ... Read More »

Welcome to Europe’s ‘club’ for populists

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A Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist want to unite the far right. By Maïa de La Baume and Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli Politico Populists of Europe, unite — in suburban Brussels! That’s what an unlikely pair — a Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist — hope will happen with The Movement, the first ever “club” for Euroskeptics and populists. “We are building a club that will bring people together, whose members we will help … like ... Read More »

Russia: new research shows even authoritarian regimes struggle to pass laws

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When we think of parliaments in non-democratic states, we often think of a room full of raised hands. This compelling image of unanimity conveys a simple idea: that these assemblies are stuffed with loyal servants of the ruling elite. Ben Noble The Conversation Rather than scrutinise, challenge, amend, and block initiatives from the government, they provide guaranteed support. Rather than act as a check on executive power, they provide symbolic, merely ceremonial approval. Or that’s how the conventional wisdom goes. ... Read More »

Ten photos that changed how we see human rights

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Nearly 70 years ago, in December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Jane Lydon The Conversation At this time, the UN’s cultural arm, UNESCO, sought to harness the “universal language” of photography to communicate the new system of human rights globally, across barriers of race and language. UNESCO curated the ground-breaking “Human Rights Exhibition” in 1949, seeking to create a sense of a universal humanity through photographs. It sent portable photo albums around ... Read More »

Science behind standing desks was crooked all along? Sit on that

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Well, this sucks. I just bought an ergonomic keyboard and before it even arrives the whole field of ergonomics is revealed to be a skeevy wangboozle as crooked as mouthful of Dickensian urchin teeth. John Birmingham The Canberra Times I don’t much care that companies and governments might be wasting hundreds of millions of dollars a year on dodgy “ergonomic chairs, keyboards and consultants”, as reported by Fairfax Media yesterday. But I care heaps that I might have just wasted ... Read More »

New terror laws: Suspects, children to be locked up without a warrant

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New counter-terrorism laws that enable the government to lock up children as young as 14 were enshrined on Monday. Chloe Booker The Age The laws allow police to detain terror suspects without a court order or a warrant for up to four days. Children aged 14 or above may be held for up to 36 hours. Suspects, including those who have never been convicted of a terrorism offence, will now be unlikely to be granted bail or parole. Meanwhile, police ... Read More »

Can Europe save itself?

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LONDON — One of the key arguments of the populists who have continued to attack the European Union’s legitimacy is that they represent the will of the people and embody freedom and democracy in a… Michael Cottakis The Washington Post While this is disingenuous, it contains a grain of truth. The E.U., after all, is not a democratic system. And while it has sought to reform for some time, those efforts tend to miss the point. One of the best ... Read More »

Britain’s Constitutional Responsibilities to the Republic of Cyprus: Past, Present and Future

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Thank you for your kind invitation to this inaugural seminar, I am honoured to have been invited to such an important event in relation to the Constitutional role of Britain according to the Constitution of The Republic of Cyprus. Anna Theologou * When I entered politics 2 years ago I promised myself that I will always speak the truth and my mind and adhere to my principles even at the expense of political cost, because I was never font of ... Read More »

Eighty years on: The shame and tragedy of Munich

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Dr Marcus Papadopoulos looks back 80 years to Britain and France’s connivance in the carve-up of Czechoslovakia Morning Star YESTERDAY marked the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, one of the most shameful and tragic chapters in the history of the foreign policies of Britain and France and one that constituted a… This is not to castigate the governments of Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier for wanting to avoid another world… The traumas of the Great War were ingrained in ... Read More »