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Cities Should Stop Playing the Amazon HQ2 Bidding Game

There is no economic benefit to huge tax incentives to lure new companies, so why do cities keep offering them? Bryce Covert The New York Times It’s official: Amazon has anointed New York and Northern Virginia as locations for a major expansion, involving at least 25,000 employees and an investment of $5 billion. The announcement is the culmination of an intense bidding war among 238 cities for Amazon’s promise of $50 billion in investment and 50,000 high-paying technology jobs. To land that deal, cities ... Read More »

A Rising Tide of Murder in Venezuela’s Mineral-rich South

Dead bodies are appearing across the Orinoco river basin of southern Venezuela. Bram Ebus ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group consultant Bram Ebus explains how the killings are linked by jostling among criminals, guerrillas and soldiers for mineral wealth amid the country’s wider socio-economic meltdown. What happened? A spate of mass killings in southern Venezuela is stirring international concern as the country’s political and economic crisis continues to drive a migrant exodus. On 14 October, at least seven miners were murdered ... Read More »

Child refugees to return to Nauru

Scott Morrison says child refugees relocated from Nauru to Australia for medical attention will be sent back to the offshore processing centre. Richard Ferguson The Australian The Australian reported earlier this month that the Prime Minister plans to transfer all children off Nauru by the end of the year. Mr Morrison said there are only 30 children on the island now. But he said this morning that those remaining 30 children will be left on the island unless they need medical help ... Read More »

Bangladesh-Myanmar: The Danger of Forced Rohingya Repatriation

Bangladesh and Myanmar have struck a deal for the involuntary repatriation of over 2,000 Rohingya refugees. ICG But the agreement is rushed and threatens stability on both sides of the border. Myanmar and Bangladesh should halt the plan and instead work to create conditions conducive to a safe and dignified return. What’s new?  Bangladesh’s government is preparing to return several thousand Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. Under pressure from China, the two countries have agreed to start implementing a repatriation agreement ... Read More »

Preserving historical buildings: the most sustainable thing is not to build new stuff

Making heritage buildings sustainable is just as important as preserving their history – and they can offer energy-efficiency lessons of their own Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore The Guardian After grinding grain since 1897, Sydney’s Crago Flour Mill finally cranked to a halt in the mid 80s. Over the years, this handsome industrial Newtown site became rundown, a dusty labyrinth of rooms sprawled over four buildings. Given the job in 2008 of transforming the mill into 47 strata studios, architects Allen Jack+Cottier (AJ+C) ... Read More »

Palestine and Britain: forgotten legacy of World War I that devastated the Middle East

For those of us of an age to have known only peace in Western Europe, the centenary of the end of World War I is a an opportunity to learn something of the extreme consequences of the failure to… James Rodgers The Conversation And when the world marked the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, millions fell silent to remember the pain and sacrifice of that conflict. But another anniversary that fell this year – that of the end of the ... Read More »

UK to sell ‘UNLIMITED’ amount of military equipment to China in MASSIVE rebuke to Trump

A UK DEFENCE company is preparing to sell an “unlimited quantity of goods” to the Chinese military, including advanced radar technology and tracking systems, in a possible challenge to the Trump administration which has imposed massive sanctions on the… James Bickerton Express The revelation was made by the South China Morning Post, based on information from within the UK’s Department for International Trade. According to the leak, a UK company, which hasn’t been identified, has been granted an Open Individual ... Read More »

Government slashes charity Foodbank’s funding by half

A food charity says a federal government funding cut will put in danger its ability to get essential items to needy Australians. AAP – SBS A charity feeding 710,000 Australians every month says the federal government has cut its budget almost in half just weeks before Christmas. Foodbank says funding for its Key Staples program, which makes sure essential supplies like rice, bread and vegetables get to hungry people, will drop from $750,000 to $427,000. “We are dumbfounded,” Foodbank chief ... Read More »

Almost 300 asylum seekers prevented from sailing to Australia in past year

Exclusive: Documents show international authorities ‘disrupted’ 10 alleged attempts from international ports Helen Davidson The Guardian International authorities, with the assistance of Australia, have “disrupted” at least 10 alleged attempts to transport almost 300 asylum seekers to Australia by boat in the… The documents, from the federal home affairs department, record the number of “foreign law enforcement agency” (FLEA) disruptions since 2013. FLEA disruptions were set up as one of three components of the Abbott government’s border policy – alongside boat ... Read More »

10 Years After My Kidnapping, The World’s Even More Dangerous For Journalists

Every day, reporters around the world are risking their lives in pursuit of truth. Mellissa Fung HuffPost Ten years ago today, I stumbled out of a hole in the middle of Afghanistan and into a world that would, for a while, be defined by my trauma. In October 2008, I was kidnapped by a bunch of wannabe Taliban while I was reporting on the internally displaced Afghans that had set up camp on the outskirts of Kabul (a… My kidnappers ... Read More »

Bourke St attack: More than $50k raised for ‘Trolley man’ who assisted police

A crowdfunding campaign has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the man who heroically attempted to assist police with a shopping trolley during the Bourke Street mall attack. SBS The man dubbed by the internet as “Trolley man” for attempting to ram a supermarket trolley into Bourke Street mall attacker Hassan Khalif Shire Ali has been identified as 46-year-old Michael Rogers. Mr Rogers, who is believed to be homeless, has been hailed as a hero after video footage showed him attempting ... Read More »

Feted as hero after life of crime, Trolley Man just wanted to do something right

Michael Rogers has been feted as a “homeless hero” after he tried to ram a shopping trolley into the terrorist in the Bourke Street attack. Jewel Topsfield The Age Since earning the title “Trolley Man” on Friday, he’s been mobbed by strangers wanting selfies, hunted by the media and lionised in tributes at the site of the tragedy. A crowdfunding campaign “Not all heroes wear capes” had raised more than $90,000 by Sunday evening to thank him. But in an ... Read More »

Retailers to pay up to £1bn for recycling under waste strategy

Exclusive: ministers seeking to make firms pay more towards recycling their own waste Sandra Laville The Guardian Supermarkets, retailers and major drinks brands are set to pay tens of millions of pounds more towards recycling their used packaging under the government’s new waste strategy expected to be published this month, the Guardian understands. Supermarkets and other major producers of packaging waste currently pay a small fraction of the cost of collecting and recycling the 11m tonnes of packaging waste produced ... Read More »

World War I ended 100 years ago, but what if it happened now?

Meet James, he is 21 and a labourer. He loves the cricket, hopes to start his own business and hangs out with his mate Harry on weekends. Laura Gartry ABC He’s been dating his girlfriend Ashleigh for six months, and she’s told her best friend Lucy she’s pretty sure he’s the one. James has never considered joining the army and the closest he’s come to violence is seeing a fight at the pub. Then war breaks out on the other ... Read More »