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Pakistan Islamists block roads to protest acquittal of Christian

Karachi:  Pakistan’s ultra-Islamist party blocked roads in major cities for a third day on Friday in protest against the acquittal of a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy allegations. The Age Reuters Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) said talks with the government have failed, and called upon its followers to get ready for a show down. “Talks have completely failed, Federal and provincial representatives and an Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) General Faiz took part in talks,” Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of TLP ... Read More »

Homelessness: how other countries can avoid a US-style crisis

Homelessness is a growing problem in the UK, where the number of people sleeping rough has doubled since 2010, yet it is dwarfed by the scale of the issue in the US. Andrea Gibbons The Conversation More than 500,000 homeless were found across the US during just one night, compared to the UK’s 2017 count of 4,751. Changes in the definition of homelessness and flawed methodologies suggest that the true number for the US could be anywhere from 2.5 to 10.2 times greater. Millions more live in overcrowded ... Read More »

Outrage As Saudi Arabia Executes Indonesian Maid For Killing Boss While He Was Raping Her

An Indonesian maid identified as Tuti Tursilawati has been executed in Saudi Arabia for killing her boss while he was raping her. Ngere Ify Davies Within Nigeria Mum-of-one, Tuti Tursilawati was executed after she killed her boss who was raping her, and this sparked outrage in Jakarta. Tuti Tursilawati was killed on Monday in the city of Ta’if, a city in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca Province. The Saudi government failed to warn the maid’s family or consular staff before she was killed, said officials. Her execution ... Read More »

Is there a market for AI art? This $600k painting suggests there is

There’s been much existential concern around machines marching in to take over our routine jobs — but is artificial intelligence also shaping up as a threat to human creativity? ABC – RN – By Hong Jiang and Julie Street for Late Night Live We know AI can learn to write like Shakespeare and compose pop songs — and now, an original painting generated by AI has sold for more than 38 times its expected price. In a world-first event in New York last week, Portrait ... Read More »

Understanding and Defeating China’s Maritime Insurgency in the South China Sea

China is treating ocean space in the South China Sea as if it were land territory. How should the United States? Hunter Stires The National Interest The rule of an international system that upholds the legal and philosophical principle of the “freedom of the seas” ranks among America’s most important if uncelebrated national interests. The preservation of a free and open maritime order is imperative for a country whose ability to connect with over 80 percent of the world’s population ... Read More »

Regional Risks of Rising U.S.-Iran Rivalry

The U.S. is pursuing a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran that includes the re-imposition of key energy and banking sanctions. Naysan Rafati ICG With Tehran refusing to capitulate over its nuclear program or regional policies, the U.S.-Iran rivalry could escalate across the region. The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s banking and energy sectors on 5 November is a key element of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive ... Read More »

Pressure mounts on Ireland to accept EU digital tax

The Republic continues to resist proposal as European opposition to the levy slips away Pat Leahy, Cliff Taylor The Irish Times The Government is under increasing pressure to agree to European Commission proposals for an EU-wide 3 per cent digital sales tax ahead of a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels next week. Government sources says it will resist the proposal in its current form, but there has been heavy lobbying from the commission, the French government and the ... Read More »

Power, privilege and public good

What does it really take to be aware of power and to give it up? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about power. Kristy Muir The Mandarin Who has it, who doesn’t; who knows it, who is blind to it and the consequences of how it is consciously and… In September, I had the privilege of moderating a couple of sessions at the Philanthropy Australia conference. Besides an incredible event with hundreds of people and some great sessions, it pressed ... Read More »

All asylum seeker children to leave Nauru: Brandis

London: George Brandis has confirmed the Australian government is aiming to have all child asylum seekers off Nauru by the end of the year, after being grilled on an influential London radio station about Australia’s… Latika Bourke The Sydney Morning Herald The former Attorney-General, now Australia’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, brushed aside repeated questions during his interview with Shelagh Fogarty on talkback station LBC and said… On Monday, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said there were 50 children left on the ... Read More »

A Flawed European Ruling on Free Speech

The European Court of Human Rights invoked “religious peace” as a reason to limit criticisms of the Prophet Muhammad. Simon Cottee The Atlantic According to dominant Islamic traditions, the Prophet Muhammad’s third wife Aisha was six years old at their marriage and nine at its consummation. Muslims, as Graeme Wood has pointed out, have debated the issue of Aisha’s age for a very long time, and critics of Islam seemingly can’t keep off the subject. In the fall of 2009, a woman referred to as ... Read More »

Tanzania: Anti-gay crackdown in Dar es Salaam

A Tanzanian governor has announced the creation of a surveillance squad dedicated to hunting down gay people. BBC Paul Makonda, governor of the economic capital Dar es Salaam, told reporters round-ups would begin next week. The team will scrutinise social media in order to track down and arrest people in same sex couples, he added. Homosexual acts are illegal in Tanzania, where anti-gay rhetoric has been on the rise since President John Magufuli’s election in 2015. Many gay, lesbian and ... Read More »

Georgian presidential front-runner aims at multilateralism to thaw frozen conflicts

Born in exile, the career diplomat Salome Zurabishvili faces a runoff vote after a narrow lead in the first round. Zhanna Nemtsova In an interview with DW, she stressed the importance of democracy and multipartyism in her country. Salome Zurabishvili is an independent candidate for the Georgian presidency endorsed by the Georgian Dream party. Born in Paris to a family of Georgian emigres, she was educated in France and served as a career diplomat, and was appointed ambassador of France ... Read More »

Why Europe still needs Merkel

Even the German leader’s biggest critics are worried about what will happen when she goes. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Europe’s queen is dead! But is she really? And if so, will there be a new queen? Or maybe a king? As if Europe didn’t have enough to worry about at the moment (Italy, Brexit, Poland, Hungary, populism … Italy!), Germany is back on the boil. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision this week to step aside from the leadership of her Christian Democrats may ... Read More »

Brazil’s incomplete democratic transition

In 1986, just a year after Brazil shed over two decades of military rule, the famed Império Serrano samba school in Rio de Janeiro brought a new song to the… By Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho The Washington Post “Eu quero, a bem da verdade” (“I want, for the sake of the truth”) immediately enthralled the public, with lyrics that spoke to the basic desires of all Brazilians. “Give me what’s mine / 20 years were taken from us,” rang the chorus, ... Read More »