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Don’t panic: three myths about the North Korean threat

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The US has talked itself into Kim Jong-un’s trap of exaggerating how much power his rocketry gives him Joseph S. Nye Asia Times North Korea recently tested its Hwasong-15 ballistic missile, which reached an altitude of 2,780 miles (4,475 kilometers) during its 53-minute flight. Using a flatter trajectory could provide Kim Jong-un’s regime with the capability of hitting the east coast of the United States. Although it has not yet demonstrated a re-entry vehicle capable of surviving atmospheric friction, North ... Read More »

Why we must broaden the Brexit debate

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This is the type of moment that gave rise to the cliché – every crisis is an opportunity Denis Bradley The Irish Times It is foolish for Irish politicians to patronise Ulster unionists by claiming that the union is not endangered by Brexit negotiations. Keir Starmer, Labour’s spokesman on Brexit, took an opposite position in Westminster when saying “if the price of the prime minister’s approach is the break-up of the union and the reopening of bitter divide in Northern Ireland, then ... Read More »

We don’t need NZ’s meddling

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NEW Zealand’s new Labour PM Jacinda Ardern has a hide. Miranda Devine Her repeated offers to take some of the asylum seekers now causing trouble on Manus Island is just naive virtue-signalling. Adelaide Now Ardern should know that her meddling runs the risk of putting what Indonesia calls the “sugar” back on the table for people smugglers. The last time a Labor leader did that in Australia, 1200 people drowned at sea, and we are still dealing with the backlog ... Read More »

The GCC’s worst summit

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The future of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is extremely unclear six months into the bitter Qatar crisis. Khalid Al-Jaber Giorgio Cafiero  On December 4, Kuwait hosted the GCC’s annual summit, which marked the sub-regional organisation’s lowest point in its 36-year history. AlJazeera Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani attended, but absent at the summit were the Bahraini, Emirati, and Saudi heads of state. The summit fell apart within hours, underscoring theinternal damage within the GCC as a result of itsQatar rift. Looking ahead, the… The GCC’s ... Read More »

Powell to leave White House in early 2018

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Former Goldman Sachs partner Dina Powell, who joined Donald Trump’s administration last January as an adviser on women’s issues to Ivanka Trump and rose quickly to become deputy national security adviser with a heavy hand in Middle East issues, will be departing the administration early next… Annie Karni Politico “Dina Powell has been a key, trusted advisor in this administration,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Friday. “She has always planned to serve one year before returning ... Read More »

No Turkish President Had Gone to Greece in 65 Years. So Why Now?

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first Turkish president to visit Greece in 65 years when he arrived on Thursday and met with the Greek prime minister and president Iliana Magra The New York Times He immediately affronted his hosts by raising the prospect of changes to the treaty that defines their borders. On Friday, he repeated the same comments in Thrace, in northeastern Greece, home to the country’s Muslim minority, which Turkey has long referred to as a Turkish minority. ... Read More »

Japan plans long-range missiles amid N Korea threat: Minister

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Japan plans to purchase offensive air-to-surface missiles to counter North Korea’s rising military threat, its defence minister said on Dec. 8, a move likely to stir debate over its decades-long pacifist policy. TOKYO – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Itsunori Onodera said the ministry intends to request a special budget for the fiscal year starting April 2018 to purchase long-range cruise missiles deployed on fighter jets. According to local media, the ministry plans to buy JASSM and LRASM long-range, air-to-ground missiles with ... Read More »

Political funding rules should not curb civil society bodies

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Law incorrectly classifies certain bodies as ‘third parties’ to election campaigns Deirdre Garvey The Irish Times As anyone paying attention to current affairs will be aware, there are very good reasons why we should all be concerned about the issue of outside parties seeking to influence the democratic election processes that we hold dear. However, it is increasingly clear to us in The Wheel that there is now a real risk that existing laws, designed to prevent such abuse in ... Read More »

Geoffrey Rush to sue Murdoch’s The Daily Telegraph

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Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush is suing News Corp’s Sydney masthead The Daily Telegraph over a series of allegations the publication has run in the past week. Broede Carmody The Sydney Morning Herald Speaking at a press conference in Melbourne, the Pirates of the Caribbean star described claims made by the publication as “slurs” and “hyperbole”. “The Daily Telegraph has made false, pejorative and demeaning claims, splattering them with unrelenting bombasity on its front pages,” he said. “This has created irreparable damage to my reputation [and… ... Read More »

The Truth about ‘Cultural Appropriation’

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Whether it’s art or politics, campaigns against cultural appropriation are bad news for interaction and imagination, argues Kenan Malik ArtReview Maqbool Fida Husain is perhaps India’s greatest artist of the twentieth century. His work linked ancient and modern traditions and helped transform Indian modernism. But not everyone appreciated Husain’s work. His depictions of Hindu deities, often naked, outraged Hindu nationalists who questioned his right, as someone of Muslim background, to depict figures sacred to Hindus, accusing him of ‘hurting religious ... Read More »

Meet NSW’s Young Volunteer 2017: The 11-year-old mechanic fixing bikes for kids in need

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Tia Brennen was holidaying at a caravan park with her family when she found a few broken bicycles ditched by the rubbish bin, sparking an idea in the young girl’s mind. Justine Landis-Hanley The Sydney Morning Herald Over the next year, the 11-year-old – who had never fixed a bike before – and her dad restored over 320 abandoned bikes to donate to children in need. On Friday, she was named Young Volunteer of the Year at the 2017 NSW Volunteer of the ... Read More »

Poland’s Macron? Morawiecki takes the helm

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Poland’s soon-to-be Prime Minister Morawiecki has two years until the next elections to show if he will go down as another Jaroslaw Kaczynski puppet or a modernizing force. Jo Harper The ex-banker has his work cut out for him. DW The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party – led by founder and head Jaroslaw Kaczynski – on Thursday picked Mateusz Morawiecki, currently finance minister, to replace incumbent Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. Two years after coordinating the election campaign that saw ... Read More »

Catalans Can’t Agree on What Independence Means

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But whatever it is, those seeking it are more committed than ever. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic BARCELONA — Alfred Bosch, a member of the Barcelona City Council from the left-wing, pro-independence Esquerra Republicana party, sees Catalonia’s referendum on independence in dramatic terms.“The legality of the whole process is not the main issue,” he told me when we met last month.“Was apartheid legal? Yes. Was it legitimate? No.” he continued. “Was the lack of women’s rights legal? Yes. Does that mean ... Read More »

How Olive Oil Became Green Gold

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In the United States, profits from fraudulent oil can be more lucrative than dealing cocaine. Nicola Twilley and Cynthia Graber The Atlantic  Olive oil is not what you think it is. According to Tom Mueller, the author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, an olive is a stone fruit like a plum or cherry—meaning that the green-gold liquid we extract from it “is, quite literally, fruit juice.” And, while we’re blowing your minds, have you ... Read More »