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Kim’s initiative: The breakthrough the world has been waiting for?

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North Korea has offered every precondition Seoul and Washington set for talks. But while the spectrum of opportunity has dramatically expanded, so, too, have the risks Andrew Salmon Asia Times The Korean Peninsula is arguably the world’s most dangerous geopolitical flashpoint, but rarely – if ever – in inter-Korean relations has one side offered so much so swiftly. According to South Korean officials who returned from two meetings in Pyongyang on Tuesday and delivered a press briefing in the South, ... Read More »

Another oil firm seeks sweeping injunction against UK protesters

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Critics say legal move by UK Oil and Gas, that could see protesters at its sites jailed and fined, is draconian and anti-democratic Rob Evans The Guardian Another firm is seeking a sweeping injunction against environmental protesters, drawing accusations that the legal move is “draconian and chillingly anti-democratic”. UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) has applied for a broad injunction to prevent campaigners from mounting protests that it says would unlawfully interfere with its operations. The injunction, if granted by a… ... Read More »

A Hidden Face of War

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The impact of conflict is rarely seen through the prism of reproductive health. Isabelle Arradon ICG Yet women and girls routinely face sexual and gender-based violence during war and its aftermath, maternal mortality is endemic in conflict-affected areas and amplifying women’s voices is critical to removing risks to their well-being. A few years ago, a woman in her sixties outside Banda Aceh in Indonesia told me about the rape and other torture she had endured during the conflict between the ... Read More »

Israel passes law to strip residency of Jerusalem’s Palestinians

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Palestinians slam new ‘breach of loyalty’ legislation as ‘extremely racist’ and a violation of international law. Al Jazeera The Israeli parliament has passed a law that allows the minister of interior to revoke the residency rights of any Palestinian in Jerusalem on grounds of a “breach of loyalty” to Israel. The bill, ratified on Wednesday, will also apply in cases where residency status was obtained on the basis of false information, and in cases where “an individual committed a… Under the new… Israel ... Read More »

Buddhist Militancy Rises Again in Sri Lanka

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An upsurge of attacks against Muslims by Sinhala Buddhist militants in Sri Lanka has raised fears of a new round of communal violence. Alan Keenan ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sri Lanka Senior Analyst Alan Keenan says the government needs to act urgently to prevent the violence from spinning out of control, by enforcing laws against hate speech and arresting and prosecuting those involved in organising the violence. Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency for ten days ... Read More »

Cinema and smart phones: the art of increasing audiences for opera, ballet and theatre

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Watching an opera, play or ballet has become an increasingly cinematic experience. “Livecasting” performances directly onto screens is now a major part of these kinds of production. Alan Williams The Conversation London’s Royal Opera House has an upcoming “Cinema Season” which includes live relays of Carmen and Swan Lake. In the US, the New York Metropolitan Opera House started livecasting in 2006, while the UK’s National Theatre Live began in 2009. The Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet joined ... Read More »

We’re All Fascists Now

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Christina Hoff Sommers is a self-identified feminist and registered Democrat with a Ph.D. in philosophy and a wicked sense of humor. She is also a woman who says bad things. Bari Weiss The New York Times Things like: Men and women are equal, but there are differences between them. Or: The gender gap in STEM fieldsisn’t simply the result of sexism. Or: Contrary to received wisdom, the American school system actually favors girls, not boys. When such a person steps foot on ... Read More »

Australia turning out to be the biggest meddler in the US election

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Remember when President Trump had his first conversation with Australia’s prime minister and, inexplicably, the conversation turned into a slam-down-the-receiver fight? Moica Showalter American Thinker Maybe Trump knew something. The ostensible issue at the time was refugees and a stanky little deal President Obama made for America to take in Australia’s high-risk illegal refugees from Islamic hellholes who had paid smugglers to bring them to… The illegal entrants were being awarded for their illegality with American residence and citizenship, something they will ... Read More »

The Arctic Heats Up in the Dead of Winter

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Every once in a while a climatic event hits that forces people to sit down to catch their breath Along those lines, abnormal Arctic heat waves in the dead of winter may force scientists to revaluate downwards (or maybe upwards, depending) their most pessimistic of forecasts. Robert Hunziker CounterPunch By the end of February 2018, large portions of the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland were open blue water, meaning no ice. But, it’s wintertime, no daylight 24/7, yet no ice ... Read More »

Peacekeeping in Ukraine’s Donbas: Opportunities and Risks

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The prospect of a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine’s Donbas offers a rare opening to discuss how to resolve the conflict. ICG But Moscow’s diplomatic overtures also risk fueling political infighting in Kyiv in the run-up to next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region will soon enter its fifth year. In September 2017, talk of a settlement picked up after Russia circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution proposing the deployment of UN forces ... Read More »

Hazing and sexual violence in Australian universities: we need to address men’s cultures

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The esteemed residential colleges of Sydney University have recently gained intense public scrutiny for fostering cultures of sexual harassment, rape and hazing. Ben Wadham The Conversation The Red Zone Report, produced by independent journalists for End Rape on Campus Australia, presented a harrowing account of men’s tribalism, and elitism in Australia’s universities. The report focused on 12 universities including all the Group of Eight universities. Across all 39 Australian universities there are 216 residential colleges or halls. The colleges are… ... Read More »

Turkey key to Russia NATO strategy – U.S. intelligence

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Russia’s ambitious foreign policy in the Mediterranean region revolves around engagement with Turkey, U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley reported to the U.S. Senate in a worldwide threat assessment on Tuesday. Ahval According to Ashley, Russia’s foreign policy is driven by the wish to increase its defensive capacity against the United States, which it views as its primary threat, and by a desire to expand its military capabilities and influence to gain recognition as a great power. Its ... Read More »

‘This could be the end’ Italy set to fundamentally change its relation with the EU

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With anti-EU sentiment growing across the continent, is Italy the next nation to leave? EUwatch The rise of anti-establishment, populist, parties after the weekends election in Italy will have ‘signifiant meaning for the EU,’ one minister has warned. Both the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and right-wing Lega party seeing strong gains in the vote Sunday. Meanwhile, parties like Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the… ‘This could be… Read More »

Why the Dutch plan to scrap advisory referendums is a step back for democracy

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Dutch voters will go to the polls on March 21 for a referendum on the Security Act 2017, a law which grants the authorities extended surveillance rights. Matt Qvortrup The Conversation As in many other states, such legislation has raised concern in the Netherlands that the government is snooping on emails and other personal communication. Unlike most countries, however, Dutch voters can currently do something about it thanks to a 2015 law that means the government must hold an advisory ... Read More »