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Jordan walks a tightrope between rival powers

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The country is currently under an intense IMF programme, which has cut public expenditures and raised tax revenue. Jonathan Gorvett Asia Times After days of peaceful street protests and the resignation of the former government, Jordan’s King Abdullah swore in a new administration, Friday morning. The first act of the new prime minister, Omar Munif Al-Razzaz, was to withdraw the unpopular tax bill that had triggered the recent demonstrations, while commiting himself to ensuring “taxpayers’ money goes to serve… Yet, ... Read More »

Sex offender registers don’t reduce re-offending, study finds

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Online public sex offender registries do not stop those on the registry from reoffending, a new report has found. Andrew Brown The Canberra Times The Australian Institute of Criminology report found that while a public registry that lists details such as the face, name and addresses of sex offenders have a small effect on deterring first-time offenders, it does not have any impact on decreasing recidivism. “Despite having strong public support, they appear to have little effect on levels of ... Read More »

Obama Homeland Security Secretary: Trump immigration policy ‘unsustainable’

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Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson criticized the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy on Saturday, calling the practice “unsustainable.” John Bowden The Hill Johnson told CNN that the Trump administration was attempting to “send a shock to the system” by separating thousands of migrant families in order to drive down the number of overall immigrants attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally — a practice, he said, that cannot withstand the… “This is obviously a deliberate effort, short-term, to try to ... Read More »

Curious link between world peace and gender equality

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Whatever comes of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s curious get-together in Singapore it brought a welcome focus: peace. Matt Wade Brisbane Times If the optimists are right the meeting has paved the way for “major disarmament” on the Korean peninsula over the next few years. But, even if that happens, how much more peaceful would the world really be? Sadly, not that much. An ambitious number crunching exercise by the Sydney-based international think tank, the Institute for Economics and… ... Read More »

Drones, donations and court drama in Chau Chak Wing defamation battle

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It is, perhaps, a fitting symbol of the level of interest in the dispute: as a high-stakes Federal Court defamation battle played out between Chinese-Australian billionaire Chau Chak Wing and Fairfax Media, a drone was spotted hovering outside the court… Michaela Whitbourn The Sydney Morning Herald Justice Michael Wigney wasn’t pointing any fingers in his 19th-floor courtroom in Sydney’s Law Courts building. It might have been a “complete and utter coincidence”, he said genially, and there was no basis for ... Read More »

Is South Africa Ceasing to be a Rainbow Nation?

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The Malaysian And Singaporean Examples Are nn Instructive Case Study A rainbow nation or a sectarian nation? South Africa’s former Apartheid regime was not a sectarian nation but rather a systematic socio-political system which effectively led to the presence of several nations built up on top of one another in a hierarchical fashion, all within the… Adam Garrie Eurasia Future Today, the suppression of the Palestinian nation by “Israel” and the suppression of Kashmiri Muslims by India are in fact ... Read More »

Harvard scientists: Trump environmental policies could result in 80,000 more deaths per decade

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A new essay from two Harvard University scientists concluded that the Trump administration’s environmental policies could result in an additional 80,000 deaths per decade. Avery Anapol The Hill The research, from public health economist David Cutler and biostatistician Francesca Dominici, pointed specifically to the health impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policies on air pollutants and… “This sobering statistic captures only a small fraction of the cumulative public health damages associated with the full range of rollbacks and systemic actions proposed ... Read More »

Liberal Party council votes to sell off the ABC and move Australian embassy to Jerusalem

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The Liberal Party’s peak council has voted almost 2:1 to privatise the ABC in a call that was swiftly rejected by cabinet ministers amid warnings it would be “total madness” to act on the call. David Crowe The Age The overwhelming vote at the party’s annual council in Sydney gained vocal support from conservative think-tank Institute of Public Affairs, which said the company could be sold or given to Australians who already own it. The vote came in a debate ... Read More »

Nicaragua crisis: Truce agreed after weeks of deadly violence

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Nicaragua’s government and opposition groups have agreed a ceasefire after weeks of violence that has left about 170 people dead. BBC A truth commission will also be established and international investigators allowed into the country. Friday’s peace talks in Managua were brokered by the Roman Catholic Church. The protests began on 19 April after President Daniel Ortega’s government imposed cuts to pension and social security programmes. The cuts were… Nicaragua crisis: Truce… Read More »

British boy’s medical cannabis returned

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London: The UK Home Office is returning a severely epileptic boy’s medicinal cannabis oil after confiscating it from his mother at customs. WAtoday PA Charlotte Caldwell tried to bring the medication into Heathrow Airport in a last-ditch effort to treat her 12-year-old son Billy, but it was removed by border officials. After a week of pleading with the Home Office, during which she accused a minister of likely signing the boy’s “death warrant”, the government has relented. Home Secretary Sajid Javid ... Read More »

Russia inserts itself into North Korea game

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Japan’s Abe is looking sidelined while Russia’s Vladimir Putin adroitly places himself in the Korea strategy space M. K. Bhadrakumar Asia Times When it comes to North Korea, Japan and Russia may seem like two “lost souls” in Northeast Asia, standing on the fringes anxiously looking on as China, South Korea and the United States dominate the headlines. The tremors set in motion by the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore last ... Read More »

Parliament’s problem isn’t anti-Brexit protests outside. It lies within

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Activists wanted answers from Arron Banks at his select committee hearing. But MPs just aped his smug jocularity Ian Jack The Guardian On every day that parliament has sat since September last year, Steven Bray has positioned himself across the road from Downing Street or the Palace of Westminster and shouted “STOP BREXIT!” whenever a suitable target presents itself: usually a black ministerial car ferrying a… His voice is loud and commanding, and sometimes he stretches the syllable in the ... Read More »

Lebanon Is Protecting Hezbollah’s Cocaine Trade in Latin America

Images of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah are seen among scores of Hezbollah and Lebanese national flags being waved by Hezbollah supporters during a ceremony to mark first anniversary of the war with Israel, 14 August 2007. Nasrallah reiterated to a mass rally broadcast live on television that his Shiite group had won a divine victory. "Today is the anniversary of the divine victory," Nasrallah told the thousands of men, women and children who had gathered in an empty lot of Beirut's southern suburb of Dahiyeh controlled by Hezbollah. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

The country’s institutions are not a counterweight to Hezbollah, but its enablers. Emanuele Ottolenghi FP Days after the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, Washington ramped up sanctions against Hezbollah as part of its offensive against Tehran and its proxies. Yet U.S. policy toward the Lebanese militant group continues to be incoherent. By flexing its muscles against Hezbollah while supporting Lebanese state institutions that it has heavily penetrated or fully controls, the White House ends up undermining its own pursuit of the… Lebanon ... Read More »

How Native American food is tied to important sacred stories

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The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling, on June 11, that asked Washington state to remove culverts that block the migration of salmon. Rosalyn R. LaPier The Conversation The ruling has significant implications for Northwest Coast tribes, whose main source of food and livelihood is salmon. The legal decision stems from the 1855 Stevens treaties when Northwest Coast tribes retained the “right to take fish” from their traditional homelands. Fighting to protect salmon habitat, however, is more than ... Read More »