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As New U.S. Envoy Appointed, Turbulent Afghanistan’s Hopes of Peace Persist

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The new U.S. adviser on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has a tough assignment: fostering peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Crisis Group’s Borhan Osman says that recent violence has soured the public mood, but that leaders on all sides still appear committed – at least rhetorically – to peace talks. On 4 September 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad would join the State Department as an adviser on Afghanistan. Khalilzad ... Read More »

No more ‘leaning in’ – the neoliberal myth of the superhero businesswoman holds us all back

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We’ve read the stories and seen the figures. We know that women are still underrepresented at the decision making table. Melissa Yoong The Conversation We know women across professional fields get paid less than their male peers for doing the same job. We know about the #MeToo movement. Yet, those who call for structural reforms are still often dismissed as whiners or unreasonably demanding. This could be partly due to the pervasiveness of neoliberalism and post-feminism. Traditionally understood as the ... Read More »

Pentagon Considers Expanding Presence in Greece amid China, Turkey Concerns

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters during a visit to Greece Tuesday that the Pentagon is considering expanding its cooperation with Athens and its general presence in the… Frances Martel Breitbart Dunford’s announcement, and his visit to the country, also follows months of growing tensions between Greece and Turkey, which is outraged that Athens refuses to hand over former Turkish soldiers believed to… It also follows the publication of reports that China is looking ... Read More »

The Family-Separation Crisis Is Not Over

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One father deported to Honduras struggles to describe the pain of remaining separated from his son. John Washington The Nation Jaime didn’t get a birthday cake on his fifth birthday. That day, he was 2,000 miles from his parents, Edwin and Maira, and only talked with them for about 10 minutes via a WhatsApp video call. Edwin, Jaime’s father, told me he mostly remembers that Jaime seemed sad and kept repeating he didn’t get a cake. “It was…too hard,” Edwin ... Read More »

UN report documents genocide against Rohingya: What now?

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The United Nations has released a searing report that details Myanmar’s state violence against an ethnic and religious minority in that country known as the Rohingya. The Conversation The report demands that top leadership in Myanmar’s powerful military be held accountable for genocide and other international crimes. As co-directors of the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention at Binghamton University, we see this recognition of genocide in Myanmar as an opportunity to help mobilize the international community to take ... Read More »

Nauru blocks transfer of mentally ill refugee to Australia despite Federal Court order

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The Government of Nauru has blocked the medical evacuation of a refugee needing urgent treatment for depression and trauma-related conditions, despite court orders stipulating she must be brought to… Exclusive by Emma Younger and Sarah Farnsworth ABC An urgent Federal Court hearing this evening was told the failure to transfer the woman to Australia left Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and the Commonwealth in breach of court orders made on… The court heard Nauru’s secretary for Multicultural Affairs refused to ... Read More »

Why Does the U.S. Support War Crimes in Yemen?

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Washington should rethink its blind support for Riyadh. Paul R. Pillar The National Interest The war in Yemen has been for some time one of the worst current man-made humanitarian disasters. Now comes a report , from the United Nations Human Rights Council and based on extensive investigations by a group of experts examining the past four years of the… By far the most destructive offenses have been committed by the principal external intervenors—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—and the titular ... Read More »

Prospects for a Deal to Stabilise Syria’s North East

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Much of north-eastern Syria has been safe during the civil war. ICG But in the event of U.S. military withdrawal, a mad scramble for control could be unleashed. Washington and Moscow should help their respective allies in Syria reach a decentralisation deal for the area. What’s new?  In March 2018, President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw U.S. forces from north-eastern Syria and suspended stabilisation funding for the area. His senior foreign policy advisers provided somewhat discordant views. These ... Read More »

S. Korean envoys meet Kim Jong Un

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A South Korean delegation has met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and handed him a letter from President Moon Jae-in. NHK The 5 envoys sent by the South Korean presidential office include the chief of the National Security Office Chung Eui-yong and the head of the National Intelligence Service Suh Hoon. They arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday morning. The presidential office in Seoul says they met Kim Jong Un after holding talks with North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party vice ... Read More »

Lesson from Brazil: Museums are not forever

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We now know what history going up in flames looks like. On Sept. 2, the National Museum of Brazil lit up Rio de Janeiro’s night sky. Chip Colwell The Conversation Perhaps started by an errant paper hot air balloon landing on the roof or a short circuit in a laboratory, the fire gutted the historic 200-year-old building. Likely gone are a collection of resplendent indigenous ceremonial robes, the first dinosaur found in South America, Portuguese royal furniture, ancient Egyptian mummies, ... Read More »

Time to limit ministerial discretion in the immigration system

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Peter Dutton’s use of ministerial discretion to grant visas to two foreign au pairs raises large questions about the propriety of his actions as minister for immigration. Shawn Rajanayagam The Age But, more importantly, the ongoing debate presents Parliament with an opportunity to introduce real limits on ministerial discretion in the immigration system so as to prevent those discretions from being used inequitably and… In granting visas to the au pairs, it seems that Mr Dutton exercised a power under ... Read More »

An open letter of complaint to the Guardian

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An Open Letter Addressed to the Readers’ Editor of the Guardian newspaper in London, dated 5 September 2018 Dear Sir Re: Image accompanying an article published by the Guardian on 3 September 2018 I am writing to make a complaint about the image of the Eastern Mediterranean accompanying an article by Elif Shafak entitled ‘Even as Turkey pulls away, the west must help its people to resist’ (hereafter ‘the Image’). The Image was published online by the Guardian on 3 September 2018 (at www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/03/turkey-west-erdogan-democracy-civil-rights?CMP=share_btn_tw). I do not know whether the Image was also published in the hard copy of ... Read More »

How will Indigenous people be compensated for lost native title rights? The High Court will soon decide

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Today, the High Court of Australia will begin hearing the most significant case concerning Indigenous land rights since the Mabo and Wik native title cases in the 1990s. Authors: The Conversation For the first time, the High Court will consider how to approach the question of compensation for the loss of traditional land rights. The decision will have huge implications for Indigenous peoples who have lost their land rights and for the state and territory governments responsible for that loss. ... Read More »

How solar kits and battery lamps are replacing kerosene across Africa

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For decades, people in rural Africa have been using sooty kerosene lamps to dimly light their homes. Jörg Peters The Conversation But in recent years households, even in poor areas, have started to replace their kerosene lamps with non-rechargeable dry-cell battery driven lamps and solar kits. This is happening largely without any governmental or donor involvement. These devices are equipped with light-emitting diodes (LED) that have become significantly cheaper over the years. This has, in turn, made them a highly ... Read More »