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Irish bruiser, on the ropes at home, comes out swinging in Brussels

Agriculture commissioner has eyes on a bigger prize, but it’s unclear how far Dublin will back him. By SIMON MARKS AND EMMET LIVINGSTONE Politico There’s no going back for Phil Hogan. With his reputation at home still in tatters for introducing an unpopular water charge at the height of the financial crisis, the Irishman has launched a stealth campaign to stay in Brussels after next year’s European election. The giant from County Kilkenny, who stands 1.95 meters tall, has set his eyes ... Read More »

The royal commission is about to grill the chiefs of the big four banks. Here’s why soon they mightn’t exist

It will be worth watching the final round of hearings at the banking royal commission, which begin on Monday. Pat McConnell The Conversation The chief executives of each of the big four will be recalled for reexaminations. It might be the final time they appear in the same room. It might even be the last time there’s even such a thing as the big four. Not only are the so-called four pillars under attack from the Commissioner Kenneth Hayne, but ... Read More »

Anti-corruption activist shot dead in Iraq’s Basra

A prominent activist has been killed in Iraq‘s southern Basra province amid protests against poor public utilities and corruption, according to a local police officer. BAGHDAD – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Sheikh Wisam Ghazrawi outside his home in central Basra late Nov. 17, killing him on the spot, the officer said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media. Iraqi authorities have launched an investigation into the killing, for which no group has yet claimed responsibility. Ghazrawi, 30, was ... Read More »

Fairfax-Ipsos poll: Australians split on Muslim migration ahead of new population policy

Australian voters are split on whether to cut the number of migrants coming from Muslim countries, as the Morrison government considers an overhaul of immigration and population rules within weeks. David Crowe The Sydney Morning Herald A special Fairfax-Ipsos survey finds only 14 per cent of voters support an increase in the number of immigrants from Muslim countries while 35 per cent believe the intake should stay the same. But another 46 per cent believe the intake should be reduced ... Read More »

Someone Shot And Killed A Dolphin Off The Coast Of California

A marine animal rescue group is offering a reward of $5,000 for information leading to conviction of the perp. Hilary Hanson HuffPost A marine wildlife rescue group is hoping to obtain information that will lead them to whoever shot a dolphin found dead in Manhattan Beach, California. “There is NO excuse for such brutality against these beautiful animals,” Marine Animal Rescue wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. The El Segundo-based organization said that an examination had revealed the dolphin died from ... Read More »

UK’s chemical Catch-22

The EU sets the global standard for chemicals, so Britain can’t stray too far after Brexit — and it won’t have a say. Ginger Hervey Politico urope sets the world standard when it comes to chemical safety — unfortunately for the United Kingdom. The U.K. has been a consistent voice of caution in discussions on whether to restrict use of harmful chemicals in the EU — frequently taking the industry’s side in fights about whether to add more regulations. When ... Read More »

Tony Abbott rejects warnings, urges Scott Morrison to move Israel embassy

Tony Abbott has urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to proceed with a controversial shift in policy on Israel despite a warning from Malaysia that the move could fuel terrorism and concerns from Indonesia over a… David Crowe The Canberra Times Mr Abbott said the “rhetorical backlash” from Muslim countries in Asia was always going to happen but that this should not stop Australia showing its support for Israel by moving the Australian embassy from Tel… The comments are another strong ... Read More »

Detained and in danger: The tortured Australian families who fear for their missing loved ones

Increasingly helpless and desperate, Uighurs building new lives in Australian suburbs feel compelled to go public with their stories and identities despite the risks. Fergus Hunter The Age The security agents came for Adeham Abliz late on a Thursday night. That day, September 8, 2016, had been much like any other in the 59-year-old Uighur man’s life in the city of Ghulja in north-western China. Abliz, a shopkeeper, had performed his five daily prayers, starting with fajr at dawn through ... Read More »

Judge orders White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass

The White House has been ordered to return the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta with immediate effect. Jacob Jarvis Evening Standard A judge made the ruling on Friday afternoon that his credentials must be returned. US District Judge Timothy Kelly, who is hearing CNN’s lawsuit challenging the revocation, said there should be a due process in place for limiting a journalist’s access to the White House. The White House had set out reasons for the ban in a tweet from press secretary Sarah Sanders ... Read More »

Julian Assange latest: ‘Secret charges against Wikileaks founder revealed in cut-and-paste blunder’

Secret criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may have been accidentally revealed in a “cut and paste error” by US prosecutors. Tristan Kirk Evening Standard Mr Assange is wanted in America over the leak of classified military documents in 2010, but has spent more than six years living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden, but insisted that he could not face the claims as he then be would be extradited to the ... Read More »

IT contractors shown the door en masse at Home Affairs

Hundreds of IT contractors were shown the door at the Department of Home Affairs in Canberra this week due to budget pressures, with industry experts fearing a flood of workers will push down incomes across the sector. Sally Whyte The Canberra Times It’s understood that anywhere between 170 and 300 contractors, working on various information technology contracts across the department, were told this week that they were no longer required, with their work to be finishing up in the next ... Read More »

Refugees in Uganda: The value of a million human lives

Uganda is a front runner when it comes to forward-looking refugee policy. But financial aid from abroad only trickles in and the situation is worsening. Who should pay — Uganda or the international community? Silja Fröhlich DW In the first half of November, 1,750 new refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan entered Uganda. This brings the total from these two countries for this year to 100,000. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 1.4 million refugees live ... Read More »

Mike Pence announces US-Australia military pact to expand Manus Island naval base

United States Vice-President Mike Pence has declared his nation will partner with Australia and Papua New Guinea to boost operations at a Manus Island naval base amid rising tensions over China’s growing influence in the Pacific. Nicole Hasham WAtoday The federal government had been working with PNG to develop the strategically important base at Lombrum, announcing in September a $5 million contract to upgrade wharf and shore-based infrastructure. Mr Pence told a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in ... Read More »

France fuel protest: One dead in ‘yellow vest’ blockades

One protester has died and more than 200 were injured as more than a quarter of a million people took to the streets of France, angry at rising fuel prices. BBC The female protester who died was struck after a driver surrounded by demonstrators panicked and accelerated. The “yellow vests”, so-called after the high-visibility jackets they are required to carry in their cars, blocked motorways and roundabouts. They accuse President Emmanuel Macron of abandoning “the little people”. Mr Macron has ... Read More »