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Europe fakes Turkish delight

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Prospect of breathing new life into Turkey’s bid for EU membership remains as remote as ever. Matthew Karnitschnig Politico Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast offers everything Europe’s political elite expect from a good summit: an exotic location, breathtaking views and (most important) casks of fine wine. If only Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hadn’t shown up. For the EU’s top brass, the irascible Turkish leader was the proverbial fly in the summit soup at Monday’s dinner meeting with Council President Donald Tusk, Commission ... Read More »

Cuts on 1 April will leave asylum seekers homeless, advocates warn

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Ninety-five groups send joint statement warning government risks creating destitution Australian Associated Press The Guardian Federal government cuts could mean homelessness and destitution for vulnerable asylum seekers in Australia on temporary visas, refugee advocates are warning. Ninety-five advocate groups spoke out on Monday to oppose cuts to a program that provides an allowance, casework support, housing assistance and counselling to potential refugees. “Many still have years before a… Cuts on 1… Read More »

Australian gun control advocates call for federal intervention to save firearms pact

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Report finds the national firearms agreement is ‘haemorrhaging’, with more than 50 breaches of the code by states and territories Ben Smee The Guardian Gun control advocates have called for federal intervention – and even a referendum – after commissioning a damning report that shows states and territories have trashed the historic 1996 national firearms agreement. The agreement, which led to the surrender and destruction of more than 1.1m firearms, was signed by all states and territories after the Port ... Read More »

ISIS Returnees Bring Both Hope and Fear to Chechnya

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The return of ISIS fighters to Chechnya could pose a security challenge for the war-torn Russian republic. The authorities may respond true to form, with repression, but efforts to repatriate women and children stranded in Syria and, in some cases, to reintegrate foreign fighters should not be discounted. Anna Arutunyan ICG The victories over ISIS in Mosul and Raqqa pose a dilemma for states whose citizens travelled to join the Islamic State’s (ISIS) ranks and who may now seek to return ... Read More »

Palestinian refugees lament as Trump funding cuts create job insecurity and a pension crisis

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The livelihoods and long-term futures of thousands of Palestinian refugee families across Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank are at risk due to Donald Trump’s catastrophic decision to cut the American donation to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh The Conversation The US president’s decision to contribute only US$60m to UNRWA in 2018 – instead of US$125m – has been widely denounced as a brutal form of collective punishment for the Palestinian ... Read More »

Truth, Power, and the Academy: A Response to Hal Brands

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Academic expertise should guide U.S. foreign policy. Unfortunately, it does not really work that way. John Glaser War On The Rocks On a host of issues, there is an enormous gap between scholarship on international relations and the policy consensus in Washington. The United States persistently pursues foreign strategies that run contrary to the policy implications of the academic consensus. And on questions that are hotly debated in academia, Washington displays inviolable bipartisan unity. Hal Brands addressed the gap in ... Read More »

14 EU states announce mass co-ordinated expulsion of Russian diplomats over Skripal case

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Fourteen members of the EU have decided to expel Russian diplomats over the Sergei Skripal case, European Council president Donald Tusk has confirmed. RT It comes despite zero evidence proving that Moscow was responsible. Donald Tusk stated that further action could be taken. Germany, France and Poland have expelled four diplomats each, respective foreign ministries confirmed on Monday. The Netherlands and Denmark will expel two diplomats each, their foreign ministries said. Italy is expelling two Russian diplomats, while Lithuania has ... Read More »

Australia’s real leadership failures are in politics, not cricket

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Where’s the national outrage over a terrified boy being abandoned to violent despair by our political leaders? Van Badham The Guardian Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft has been caught on video shoving some yellow sticky tape into his underpants. Fortunately – or unfortunately – there was a cricket match in play at the time. The image of him shoving sticky tape into his underpants was broadcast live to the crowd at the Newlands ground in South Africa, and they booed. “I ... Read More »

3 years of Yemen bloodbath marked by US & UK arms deals with Saudis

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Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen turns three, with no end to the bloodshed in sight. RT Riyadh’s ‘modernizer crown prince’ just got plenty of new weapons from US and Britain for the occasion. It’s quite ironic that one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of our time stems from the events that were hailed in the West as a sign of great progress in the Arab world. The people have had enough, they are throwing down dictators and demanding political ... Read More »

Everyday heroes compelled to break the law when government fails to protect us

Abbot Point coal terminal QLD 1aaa photo Glenn Hunt

What does it say about the state of our democracy when it falls upon everyday people to stop a billionaire building the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere? Julian Burnside * The Sydney Morning Herald And what does it say about our politicians that they will let Adani’s mine proceed when the vast majority of Australians don’t want it, and scientists are urging us to keep coal in the ground to avoid more dangerous climate change? This month, nine ... Read More »

Sweden’s Örebro City Council: “End the invasion of Afrin”

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Örebro city mayor and municipal commissioners condemned the Turkish state bombings and invasion and stated that they stand in solidarity with the people of Afrin and YPG/YPJ forces. ANF Örebro City Council administrators from various political parties came together to condemn Turkey’s bombings and invasion in Afrin, standing next to each other with signs that read “AFRIN”, and read a… Mayor of Örebro Kenneth Nilsson from the Social Democratic Workers’ Party and municipal commissioners Murad Artin from the Left Party, ... Read More »

Big coal no more

JACKERATH, GERMANY - JANUARY 09: Mining machines operate in the open-strip coal mine in Garzweiler, in Jackerath, Germany, on January 9, 2018. The village of Immerath will be completely razed in order to make way for the expansion of the nearby Garzweiler open-pit coal mine. RWE, the utility that operates the mine, is moving Immerath's approximately 1,400 residents to a new settlement about 8km west. Protesters decry the expansion of Garzweiler as unnecessary as Germany has committed itself to heavy investment in renewable energy sources.  (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

The industry once ruled Europe. Now it’s struggling to survive. Sara Stefanini Politico The coal lobby used to be a Brussels power player. No more. Euracoal’s staff peaked in the 1970s. The 60-year-old industry association was a force to be reckoned with as it lobbied hard for the fuel that had powered Europe’s industrial revolution and was still a crucial part of its energy mix. Today, Euracoal has just three staffers, and this year the organization left its old spacious offices ... Read More »

Will the Putin-Xi era supersede the Western liberal (dis)order?

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Perhaps a Confucian path would be the right direction toward Eurasian integration Pepe Escobar Asia Times The Chinese constitutional amendment allowing Xi Jinping the possibility of further presidential terms — staying in power long enough to bring “national rejuvenation” combined with the Russian election re-confirming Vladimir Putin in the presidency have assured consistency and continuity for the Russia-China strategic partnership way into the… This will facilitate the interaction between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and… Will the Putin… Read More »

Nicola Sturgeon: Scots government have ‘no power’ to stop Catalan arrest

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Nicola Sturgeon has said she cannot intervene to stop the arrest of a Catalan leader in Scotland who is now subject of a European Arrest warrant. The Scotsman Police Scotland are seeking to arrest Clara Ponsati, who was the education minister in the Catalan government, after she returned to work at St Andrews University. It follows a European Arrest warrant being issued against her last week. The exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has already been arrested in Germany as the ... Read More »