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Time for Concerted Action in DR Congo

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President Kabila’s delaying tactics are holding hostage DR Congo’s political transition, while internal strife and government repression are weakening the opposition. ICG Western and African actors need to coordinate their approach to the deepening crisis, support the advancement of democratic elections and encourage the opening of political space. What’s the issue? President Joseph Kabila’s apparent determination to remain in power threatens to prolong the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) political stalemate. Having subverted the… Time for Concerted… Read More »

State home-building scheme only way to tackle crisis

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Housing crisis: Time ripe for cost-rental plan in the interests of all our Republic’s citizens Nessa Ní Chasaide The Irish Times Budget 2018 confirmed the continuation of the Government’s failing housing strategy: that of supporting private developers and landlords as the main providers of housing. How so? Significant funding in Budget 2018 will not go toward new builds but be channeled to subsidising escalating rents to private landlords through the Housing Assistance Payment. Where the Government is establishing loan funds ... Read More »

When should you unfriend someone on Facebook?

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The nature and ethics of “fake news” has become a subject of widespread concern. Alexis Elder The Conversation But, for many of us, the issue is much more personal: What are we to do when a cranky uncle or an otherwise pleasant old friend persists in populating our news feeds with a stream of posts that can run deeply contrary to our own values? One option is to unfriend people who share material that conflicts with our values. But a ... Read More »

Geopolitics of Syrian Kurds and military cooperation with the US

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The survival and development of the revolutionary process in Rojava, i.e. of a new democratic perspective, has the big potential to change the mindsets of dozens of millions of people in Middle East. ERCAN AYBOĞA ANF How did the US end up supporting the Kurds in Rojava? Since October 2014 the Syrian Kurds and their non-Kurdish Allies have discussed military cooperation with the US-led Global Coalition against the “Islamic State” (IS). Towards the end of 2014, the mainly Kurdish People’s/Women’s ... Read More »

Greek Orthodox Church Sells Land In Israel, Worrying Both Israelis And Palestinians

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Secretive real estate deals in the Holy Land are putting one of Jerusalem’s most powerful and ancient churches in the spotlight Daniel Estrin npr The Greek Orthodox Church calls itself the second-largest landowner in Israel, after the Israeli government. It says it owns some 30 percent of Jerusalem’s walled Old City, the city’s historic core, and controls the largest stake of any Christian denomination in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, home to the traditional tomb of Jesus. It also ... Read More »

Dutch prime minister says more EU integration ‘not the answer’

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Mark Rutte’s speech was a direct challenge to the ideas of French President Emmanuel Macron MAÏA DE LA BAUME Politico AMSTERDAM — A “federal Europe” and “more integration” is not the answer to the EU’s problems, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a speech Saturday challenging French President Emmanuel Macron’s vision of a more integrated Europe. The Dutch prime minister — who was speaking at the annual congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) — ... Read More »

Crossing the Line: Australia’s Secret History in Timor Sea, Kim McGrath

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“Kissingerian realism” and an associated hard nose for the “national interest”, or “Wilsonian idealism”? Robert Murray The Australian Nowhere has this timeless tension in foreign affairs challenged Canberra more than over our nearest neighbour, East Timor. It has made prime ministers from William McMahon to Malcolm Turnbull look mean and tricky, and yet, Kim McGrath suggests in this brisk account of it all, it might be one of those ­issues where the Wilsonian approach would have served the national interest ... Read More »

The Cost of Devaluing Women

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My first job out of college in the late 1980s was at Salomon Brothers, a trading house of cigar-smoking, expletive-spewing strivers. SALLIE KRAWCHECK The New York Times One day, I leaned over a colleague’s desk to work on a spreadsheet, and heard loud laughter from behind me; one of the guys was pretending to perform a sex act on me. Almost every day, I found a Xerox copy of male genitalia on my desk. I was not alone in being ... Read More »

Alternative for Germany: Police and protesters clash over meeting

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Several people have been hurt in clashes between police and anti-fascist demonstrators in the city of Hannover Protesters were trying to blockade the far-right Alternative for Germany’s first conference since it entered parliament after September’s elections. BBC With temperatures near freezing, police used water cannon, batons and pepper spray to clear a path for the 600 delegates. One demonstrator’s leg was broken after he chained himself to a barricade. AfD won 12.6% of the vote in Germany’s federal elections in ... Read More »

Reading Norman Davies’s global history is like wading through porridge

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From Azerbaijan to Tahiti, much of the material is familiar — or available (as Davies himself admits) on Wikipedia For many of us, life has become global. Philip Hensher The Spectator Areas which were previously tranquil backwaters are now hives of international activity Leisure travel has given us the possibility of first-hand exposure to once very remote places. You don’t have to be particularly privileged or adventurous to go on holiday in January to south-east Asia: two weeks in a ... Read More »

The Brisbane nun who defied Sir Joh’s government to help AIDS sufferers

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Queensland was gripped by fear in the 1980s following the outbreak of HIV, so much so that then-premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson refused to curb the spread of the virus among Indigenous Australians because he believed it was “a punishment from God”. Toby Crockford Brisbane Times However, one Brisbane nun defied the wishes of Sir Joh and helped AIDS sufferers in any way she could, including setting up secret funding to the Queensland AIDS Council by moving the money through the Mater… Sister Angela ... Read More »

Pope Francis asks for forgiveness from Rohingya refugees

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Pope Francis has used the term “Rohingya” for the first time during his current trip to Asia to refer to refugees who have fled in large numbers from violence in Myanmar. ABC Reuters “The presence of God today is also called Rohingya,” he said in an improvised remark after meeting 16 refugees brought to the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka from their camps in Cox’s Bazar near the border with Myanmar. “In the name of all of those who have persecuted you, ... Read More »

UN votes 151-6 against Israel, an ‘occupying power’ with no rights to Jerusalem

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The UN passed six new resolutions against the Jewish state, including one denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem 151-6. United with Israel The United Nations General Assembly in New York passed six resolutions on Thursday affirming Palestinian rights and condemning Israeli violations of international law, Middle East Monitor reported. According to one resolution (‘Jerusalem’), “the Assembly reiterated that any actions by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and… UN ... Read More »

UN appeals for record $22.5 bln in global aid for 2018

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The United Nations appealed Dec. 1 for a record $22.5 billion (18.9 billion euros) to provide aid in 2018 to soaring numbers of people slammed by conflicts and disasters around the world GENEVA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The global appeal by U.N. agencies and other humanitarian organizations aims to raise funds to help the some 91 million most vulnerable of the nearly 136 million people expected to need aid across 26 countries next year. The number of people in need ... Read More »