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British report about Balkans: Russians, Chinese, Turks…

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Outside actors such as Russia, China and Turkey have filled a void created by EU neglect of the Western Balkans over the past decade. Source: B92 This is stated in the UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee report, which adds that many of the witnesses it heard “suggested that, by contrast, Russian influence in the region is weak, not least because its economic presence is limited.” “Despite this, Russia is capable of exploiting the region’s problems and undermining its progress towards peace, ... Read More »

Russia, America and NATO: Where Are They Headed?

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Already President Trump’s visit to Brussels for a NATO summit and the United Kingdom is engendering considerable controversy, with a further summit meeting on Monday with Russian leader Vladimir… Dave Majumdar The National Interest How successful is Trump’s course? Does NATO remain a vital component of American national security strategy? Or is it being downgraded by Trump? To examine such pressing questions, the Center for the National Interest convened a panel of foreign policy experts speaking at a lunchtime panel ... Read More »

Photos of the Week: Atomic Art, Moon Pool, Giant Iceberg

A British Blue cat is lit up by sunlight diffracted through an aquarium at an apartment in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1CBC27A9E0

The Royal Air Force celebrates its centennial in London, World Cup emotions run high in Russia and around the world, a chili pepper eating contest takes place in China, the Running of the Bulls begins in Spain, a leopard gets a check-up in the Netherlands, Tour de France riders pass through stage six, flamingos stride through a lake in Turkey, and much more… Alan Taylor The Atlantic Photos of the… Read More »

UAE accused of War Crimes over torture in Yemen prisons as Middle East conflict rages on

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AMNESTY International has called for a war crimes investigation after accusing the United Arab Emirates and its allied Yemeni forces of torturing detainees at prisons in the south of Yemen. Caitlin Doherty Sunday Express The UAE has been engaged in battle with the Houthi government in Yemen since they seized control in September 2014. They have been fighting the rebels in the capital Sana’a alongside Saudi Arabia, the US, and Yemeni allies. But an Amnesty International report released earlier this ... Read More »

‘Serious questions’ over whether Australia’s emissions cuts are real

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Methods used to pledge at least $1.15 billion in taxpayer-funded emissions cuts are under a cloud as officials probe whether the environmental benefits credited to the Coalition government’s flagship… Nicole Hasham WAtoday A former government official has told Fairfax Media that the scheme, the emissions reduction fund, has rightly focused on attracting participants to carbon-reducing projects such as revegetation, rather than assessing if the… But critics say a lack of probity in the $2.55 billion Abbott-era policy mean it is impossible ... Read More »

UN Security Council imposes arms embargo on South Sudan

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South Sudan has been at war since 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused then-deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. AlJazeera The United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan, almost five years after a ruinous civil war in the country started. A United States-drafted resolution won the minimum nine votes needed, while six member states abstained, wary of voting for the measure amid regional attempts to revitalise the South Sudan peace… US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said ... Read More »

Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen

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A recent European Council summit in Brussels was meant to articulate a united policy on the burgeoning refugees and migrant crisis. Instead, it served to highlight the bitter divisions among… Ramzy Baroud CounterPunch Considering the gravity of the matter, Europe’s self-serving policies are set to worsen an already tragic situation. True, several European leaders, including Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, went home to speak triumphantly of a ‘great victory’, achieved through a supposedly united European position. Italy’s Interior Minister, Matteo ... Read More »

Navy: Chinese Spy Ship Monitoring RIMPAC Exercise, Again

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A Chinese surveillance ship is operating off the coast of Hawaii to keep tabs on the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, a Navy official confirmed to USNI News on Friday. Sam LaGrone USNI The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) ship has been operating in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of Hawaii since July 11, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt… “We expect the ship will remain outside the territorial seas of the U.S. ... Read More »

Path of Blood: New documentary explores jihadi extremism, radicalisation and al-Qaeda’s target, Saudi Arabia

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Aimen Dean was just 19 when he pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden – until the brutal reality of mass murder led him to be flipped by the Qataris, and return to Afghanistan as a spy for MI6 Stephen Applebaum Independent In the years following 9/11, documentaries such as Restrepo and Armadillo gave us intimate and unflinching accounts of the daily lives of troops fighting the war in Afghanistan. Jonathan Hacker’s Path of Blood now offers a similar kind of insider’s eye ... Read More »

Italian president intervenes in migrant stand-off, angering Salvini

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President Sergio Mattarella has made a rare intervention in Italian politics to end a dispute within the ruling coalition over a migrant boat, angering right-wing Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. ROME – Reuters Hurriyet Mattarella contacted Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte late on July 12 to express his concern about the plight of 67 migrants rescued at sea and brought to a Sicilian port. Salvini had refused to allow them to disembark. The ship had been brought to the port of Trapani with the ... Read More »

Trump says immigration has been bad for Europe – May DISAGREES

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THERESA May has refused to back Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric at their fraught press conference after talks at Chequers. Simon Osborne Express The US President said immigration was a “very negative” thing for Europe and agreed when asked if it had damaged the cultural fabric of the continent. Mr Trump told the press conference the migrant crisis had been “tough for Europe”. He said: “I think it has been very bad for Europe. I think that what has happened is ... Read More »

Thanks for your concern, but my religion is not in need of protection

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The recent contribution to our national debate on religious freedom by Social Services Minister Dan Tehan is to be welcomed. Catherine McGregor Brisbane Times Delivering a named oration in honour of  English cleric Sir Thomas More, Tehan argued that the dilution of Australia’s Christian identity may undermine the nature of our society, which he conceives as deriving its unique character from Judeo-Christian foundations. As veterans affairs minister, Tehan brought genuine compassion to a dysfunctional system that was compounding, rather than ... Read More »

The Missing Peace: Colombia’s New Government and Last Guerrillas

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Talks in Havana with the ELN, Colombia’s last insurgency, are advancing at a slow pace. ICG Backed by international actors, the current government and guerrilla negotiators should aim for rapid progress in negotiations to minimise the chance of a… What’s new? Peace talks with Colombia’s last guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), could be under threat after the election of Iván Duque as the new president. Tangible short-term results are essential to ensure negotiations continue when Duque… Why does ... Read More »

East Timor bugging: Politicians call for AFP to investigate Australian spies’ role in 2004 operation

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Intelligence whistleblower turned independent MP Andrew Wilkie has called on the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to launch an investigation into the role the nation’s intelligence services played in the… By political reporter Matthew Doran ABC The 2004 incident led to a souring of the relationship between Canberra and East Timor, as the two nations were negotiating a deal on accessing offshore oil deposits at the time. Last month, Mr Wilkie used parliamentary privilege to reveal the Commonwealth Director of Public ... Read More »