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The Burundian army’s dangerous over-reliance on peacekeeping

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Burundi needs international peacekeeping missions to keep its troops paid and happy. Peacekeeping missions need Burundian troops. But for how long? BY RICHARD MONCRIEFF & THIERRY VIRCOULON African Arguments The crisis that has engulfed Burundi since April 2015 is the result of infighting among a small number of insiders belonging to the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD. Having all fought in the bush together, some of them felt that the president, Pierre Nkurunziza, should make way for others to have a turn at the top job, ... Read More »

Colombia’s FARC rebels reborn as legal party

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Colombia’s FARC former guerrilla group has re-launched itself as the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, sealing its transformation into a leftist political party following its disarmament after a half-century civil conflict. Hurriyet The name controversially retains the same acronym and the revolutionary spirit of the communist guerrilla group, which fought a bloody 52-year campaign against the state before signing a peace deal last year. The party was set to hold a formal launch ceremony on Sept. 1 on Bolivar Square, near ... Read More »

Donald Trump suppressed report into coal mining’s risk to public health, accuses world-leading Nature scientific journal

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Scientists have voiced fears that the United States could become like Soviet Russia where ideology was more important than hard evidence Ian Johnston The Independent  One of the world’s leading scientific journals has accused the Trump administration of suppressing a major study into the public health risks of coal mining, saying it raises the prospect of researchers being prevented from making discoveries that the US government does not like. Donald Trump, who has dismissed climate change as a “hoax”, has ... Read More »

Guatemala Stumbles in Central America’s Anti-corruption Fight

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Guatemala’s fight against corruption is in danger after President Morales attempted to expel the head of a uniquely effective UN-backed anti-corruption organisation. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Analyst for Guatemala Arturo Matute says a corrupt elite is waging a battle to maintain its privileged position. Arturo Matute ICG What is happening in Guatemala? A remarkable and hopeful two-year interlude in one of Central America’s most corrupt countries may now be ending. The key reversal came on Friday 25 August 2017, at a ... Read More »

Nawaz Sharif’s Exit and the Pakistan-China-India Triangle: Why Islamabad needs a serious re-think

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All eyes in the next few months, into the elections of 2018, will be on how Nawaz Sharif, who  resigned last month, as Prime Minister of Pakistan after being disqualified from Parliament by the Supreme Court, will play his cards vis-à-vis the Pakistan army. TRIDIVESH SINGH MAINI IPP Review Will Sharif, who was also forced to resign as president of his party, PML-N, adopt an aggressive posture with the Pakistan army, or play it smartly? In his first two tenures as Prime Minister, his ... Read More »

World leaders have failed refugees. Can ordinary citizens teach them a lesson?

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Two years ago an image of a little boy in a red T-shirt, face down on a Mediterranean beach, brought home the full horror of the humanitarian crisis unfolding on Europe’s shores. Charmain Mohamed World Economic Forum Alan Kurdi, from the Syrian town of Kobani, was just three years old when he, together with his mother and his older brother, drowned on the dangerous crossing from Turkey to Greece. While the crisis was not news, it briefly seemed that the ... Read More »

Tougher German Rules Leave Refugee Families in the Lurch

Portrait of Tabarak Karakouz, a 21 years old Syrian refugee, inside her home outskirts Tripoli.  Lebanon. She got married 3 years ago. Her husband is in Germany. Her daughter died. She spends all the day watching old pictures and dreaming with a better life with her husband in Europe. July 2017.  Diego Ibarra Sánchez / MeMo for DER SPIEGEL

Left Behind When German Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed hundreds of thousands of men into the country, many of the refugees believed they would be able to bring their families later. Now the rules have changed, and countless women and children are trapped in perilous situations. Katrin Elger and Asia Haidar Spiegel She stands at the window in a floor-length dress, with a blue headscarf, and looks out at the Mediterranean. A fan hums in the next room. Children play soccer ... Read More »

Anti-vaccination advocate Kent Heckenlively denied entry to Australia by minister Peter Dutton

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One of the world’s most prominent anti-vaccination advocates has been denied entry to Australia due to his “dangerous” views. Henry Belot ABC Kent Heckenlively was planning to visit Australia later this year for an international tour calling on parents to stop vaccinating their children. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton made the decision to deny Mr Heckenlively entry, saying his views were not welcome in Australia. “These people who are telling kids, telling parents that their kids shouldn’t be vaccinated are dangerous ... Read More »

Strangers R Us: Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is Bitter, Stupid And Counter-Productive

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If you think our society is ‘too soft’ on the vulnerable, you probably need to find another society, writes Sue Stevenson. New Matilda It’s apparently easy to persuade lots of people to be cool with their government treating others like criminals. All you need to do is wedge yourself in underneath the bitterness of their life, and then use it as a lever to fling them really hard into the idea that other people are getting an easy ride. That’s ... Read More »

Violent evictions of refugees in Rome reveal inhumanity of modern democracy

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“If they throw something, break their arm,” a police officer was overhead on video saying to anti-riot police on August 24 who were running after refugees and migrants near Rome’s central train station. Mariangela Palladino The Conversation The migrants were gathering there after police violently removed a group who had been occupying the city’s Piazza Indipendenza. Five days earlier, when around 800 Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants and refugees were forcibly evicted from a nearby squat on via Curtatone, some emptied ... Read More »

Defeated by high legal costs: the terrible injustice most of us could face

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It’s one of the most glaring gaps between theory and practice in our community, a huge disconnect between our democracy and our economy. A terrible injustice most of us could face. Everyone knows about it, but it’s rarely discussed. Ross Gittins Brisbane Times What is it? The prohibitively high cost of justice. We’re all supposed to be equal before the law, but you ain’t anything like equal if they can afford a lawyer and you can’t. The president of the ... Read More »

Turkish Airlines pilot refuses to fly failed Kent asylum seeker

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A failed asylum seeker remains in the UK after the pilot of a plane on which he was to be deported to Afghanistan via Istanbul refused to fly him. ABC Samim Bigzad, 22, had been living in Ramsgate, Kent, after entering the UK illegally two years ago in order to join his father who was granted asylum. The Turkish Airlines pilot refused to fly Mr Bigzad when he became hysterical as he was put on the plane at Heathrow. He ... Read More »

Myanmar refuses visas to UN team investigating abuse of Rohingya Muslims

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Government led by Aung San Suu Kyi says it will deny entry to mission after UN report said treatment of minority group could amount to ethnic cleansing Reuters The Guardian Myanmar will refuse entry to members of a United Nations investigation focusing on allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims, an official has said. The government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, had already said it would not cooperate with a mission set ... Read More »

EU ‘will not step back one millimetre’ from defending citizens’ rights during Brexit

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Brussels has insisted that citizens’ rights, the Northern Ireland border and how much Britain owes the EU must be settled before talks on trade can begin Jon Stone The Independent The European Union will not step back “one millimetre” from defending the rights of EU citizens during Brexit negotiations, the president of the European Parliament has said. Antonio Tajani said EU citizens in Britain were “still facing as much uncertainty now as they did when the British government formally triggered Article 50 ... Read More »