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Turkey squeezed between American hammer, Russian anvil on Syrian stage

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Images can be misleading. Anybody who sees the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi might think this impressive trio could actually deliver a settlement to the bloody Syrian conflict that has been ongoing for six years. Cengiz Çandar AlMonitor Astana, Kazakhstan, is another venue being used by the same trio for peacemaking in Syria. Although the Russians were always keen to present Astana as a supplementary peace effort to the United Nations’ Geneva talks, the meetings in ... Read More »

Will GOP finally take down Obamacare with a tax bill?

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After spending nearly a year on a failed effort to repeal Obamacare, Republicans on Capitol Hill are on the verge of repealing the law’s individual mandate as a footnote to their rewrite of the American tax system. JENNIFER HABERKORN Politico At least two of the three Senate Republicans who blocked the repeal effort over the summer have no problem undoing the requirement that nearly all Americans carry insurance — a provision Democrats say is vital to keeping the Affordable Care ... Read More »

Six things New Zealand’s new government needs to do to make climate refugee visas work

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New Zealand’s new government plans to create the world’s first humanitarian visa for climate refugees. Nina Hall   The Conversation If the policy goes ahead, 100 Pacific Islanders could be granted access to New Zealand on the basis that their lives are at risk from rising seas. The commitment to tackle climate injustice should be applauded, but there are significant considerations that have to be taken into account when developing humanitarian climate… Six things New Zealand’s new government needs to ... Read More »

The president of the United States is unwell

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Scott Gilmore on the increasingly erratic behaviour and bizarre lies of Donald Trump. And why this is no longer a laughing matter. Scott Gilmore MACLEAN’S It is an easy joke to make. “The president has lost his mind.” In fact, I suspect not a week has passed in the last 50 years when one wag or another didn’t suggest the leader of the day is nuts, or insane or crazy. The joke is even easier to make with the current U.S. ... Read More »

America the Banana Republic

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Thanks to Trump the tinhorn dictator and those who elected him, this country is no longer a beacon of freedom, but a laughingstock. Neal Gabler Moyers & company When people call Donald Trump an authoritarian, it almost gives him more credit than he deserves. You don’t think favorably of authoritarians; they are despicable. But you do think of them as monstrously large, grievously terrifying, as somehow taking the measure of the polity they control and drawing on its stature to ... Read More »

Australia’s offshore detention regime is a brutal and obscene piece of self-delusion

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The billions spent on an armada to Australia’s north and west is stopping people smugglers, not the government’s needlessly cruel stance Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson |The Guardian <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/083f39962459e2911cf02c0302757c7c/content.css”/> The most dangerous mistruth in current Australian politics is that in order for lives to be saved at sea, other people – accused of no crime – must be indefinitely and arbitrarily punished offshore. Asserted with increasing confidence as fact, this unproven link is used to justify Australia’s ... Read More »

The Unyielding Paranoia of Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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A major sanctions case could further imperil an already fraught relationship between Washington and Ankara, and reveal the Turkish president’s illicit dealings Diego Cupolo The Atlantic A key defendant in an Iranian sanction-busting case has now become its “most important witness.”Following weeks of speculation, Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of helping Iranian entities evade U.S. sanctions through his international network of businesses, possibly with the help of Turkish banks and government officials. Today, Zarrab ... Read More »

France is now the testing ground for Europe’s labor policies

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ROME — In September, French President Emmanuel Macron’s government launched its controversial reform of the French labor market, having won support in the French Parliament to pass these reforms by decree. Matt Browne The Washington Post With these reforms, Macron seeks to boost the competitiveness of the French economy and address unemployment, which has hovered persistently at just around 10 percent for years — almost twice the level of many other major European economies. Many believe that France’s existing labor ... Read More »

Why Victoria should rethink the abolition of defensive homicide

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In 2005, a comprehensive package of “trendsetting feminist … reforms” was introduced in Victoria, including a new offence of defensive homicide. Asher Flynn Danielle Tyson  Madeleine Ulbrick  Sitting between murder and manslaughter in terms of legal and moral culpability, a person could be convicted of defensive homicide rather than murder if they killed with the genuine but unreasonable belief that they were acting in self-defence. The Conversation Defensive homicide was introduced for two reasons: to provide a “safety net” between ... Read More »

Why I locked myself to the gate of Kirribilli House

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Hwvar Khoshnow was one of five Christian protesters who locked themselves to the front gate of Kirribilli House in non-violent direct action, calling for the evacuation of Manus Island. Eternity News Here, she tells Eternity, why she did it. I’ve been involved in protests before, but I have not risked arrest before or participated in a “lock on”. The worsening situation on Manus was heavy on my heart and I was moved to do something in support and solidarity with ... Read More »

Australia still embraces multiculturalism but fracture lines are deepening

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Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion Report finds ugly discrimination is on the rise, and we no longer listen to political leaders David Marr Australia is a decent country where ugly discrimination is on the rise The Guardian We’re no longer listening when our leaders urge us to face down bigots in the interest of calm and good sense. Most of us embrace life in the new multiethnic Australia, but the constituency of those hostile to race is steadily growing. That ... Read More »

The Duplicitous Superpower

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How Washington’s chronic deceit—especially towards Russia—has sabotaged U.S. foreign policy For any country, the foundation of successful diplomacy is a reputation for credibility and reliability. Ted Galen Carpenter The American Conservative Governments are wary of concluding agreements with a negotiating partner that violates existing commitments and has a record of duplicity Recent U.S. administrations have ignored that principle, and their actions have backfired majorly, damaging American foreign policy in the process. The consequences of previous deceit are most evident in ... Read More »

Julie Bishop didn’t raise Manus Island refugee issue says Winston Peters

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Reports that the Government’s position on Manus Island refugees strained New Zealand’s relationship with Australia were “misinterpretations”, Parliament has been told. tvnz Facing opposition questions today, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop didn’t raise the issue when they met. National’s foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee asked him whether he had seen any reports suggesting the Government was causing strain in the relationship with Australia because of its position on the refugees. “If by reports the… Julie ... Read More »

Cypriot fighters seek damages over torture under British rule

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The 35 claimants are suing the UK government over alleged human rights abuses that took place in the 1950s Helena Smith The Guardian Greek Cypriots who claim they were tortured by colonial forces when they were members of a guerrilla group in the 1950s are seeking damages from the British government. More than 50 years after the alleged human rights abuses took place, a preliminary high court hearing on Tuesday will consider whether a case brought by 35 former fighters ... Read More »