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Turkey’s intel agency trafficked drugs and stolen vehicles to jihadists in Syria

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A hushed-up investigation in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara in early 2014 reveals how intelligence officers on the payroll of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were involved in drug trafficking and… Abdullah Bozkurt TurkishMinute The confidential probe pursued by Turkish military intelligence into the activities of drug traffickers and an auto theft gang in Ankara exposed seven MİT agents who were unlawfully transporting drugs and… The clandestine operation was in clear breach of dozens of Turkish criminal laws as well ... Read More »

‘Sword and Scimitar’ Offers In-Depth Study of Landmark Battles Between Islam and the West

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..Middle East Forum director Gregg Roman recently interviewed Raymond Ibrahim, formerly the associate director of the Forum and currently the Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow. By Raymond Ibrahim Middle East Forum Ibrahim’s new book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West—a featured selection of the History Book Club and current best seller in several Amazon categories—was released earlier this week and is… ‘Sword and Scimitar… Read More »

EU to stop changing the clocks, Juncker pledges

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the EU plans to get rid of the switch between summer and winter time. Rebecca Staudenmaier (with Reuters) DW The decision came after a majority of surveyed EU citizens said it should be abolished. The hourly bump between summer and winter time may soon be a thing of the past in the European Union, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker announced on Friday. He said that the decision was taken after a vast majority of ... Read More »

Australian Catholic Church rejects calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

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Australia’s Catholic Church has rejected calls for priests to be compelled to report child abuse revealed in confessionals. By Euan McKirdy and Ben Westcott, CNN The Church said Friday it would accept “98%” of recommendations made by a high-level government inquiry into child sexual abuse, which uncovered shocking accounts of widespread abuse inside… But church leaders said that they would maintain the sanctity of confession, arguing to remove it would infringe on religious liberties. “The only recommendation we can’t accept ... Read More »

Helping the Burundian People Cope with the Economic Crisis

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Burundi’s worsening economy threatens to incite further violence in an already unstable country. ICG The European Union and its member states, who have suspended direct aid to the government, must redouble efforts to ensure that their support benefits the Burundian people. What’s happening?  In the wake of the political and security crisis ongoing in Burundi since 2015, the economy has suffered a sharp decline. The economic and social progress achieved since the end of the civil war in the 2000s ... Read More »

South Sudanese rebels ‘approve’ peace deal with government

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The final peace agreement between the government and rebels will be formally signed at a summit of regional leaders. AlJazeera South Sudanese rebels have approved a peace deal with Juba that is expected to be formally signed at a summit of regional leaders. Sudan’s Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed, who is mediating the negotiations, said rebels had signed a key document aimed at ending the country’s devastating five-year civil war on Thursday. “By signing this document today, we have reached ... Read More »

Turkey calls on country’s religious authority in struggle to keep prices down

BURSA, TURKEY - JUNE 10: An imam leads the first Friday Prayer during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mosque in Bursa, Turkey on June 10, 2016. Ali Atmaca / Anadolu Agency

As the Turkish lira continues to be hit by losses in value against foreign currencies, the government has been struggling to keep prices down, even going to the extent of using the… TM “[Islam] certainly forbids unlawful profits such as bribery, usury, speculation, black marketing and rigging prices, which challenge moral values and disrupt the peace in the society,” the weekly sermon said, according to the… Earlier this week one of Turkey’s biggest retailers, BİM, known for its cheap prices ... Read More »

Trump, Erdogan and the New Global Order

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The Trump administration must not choose drastic and destabilizing steps to put further pressure on Turkey or strong-arm allies into playing along with its decisions. Nick Danforth The New York Times The current crisis between Ankara and Washington over the fate of the imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson is the culmination of a long-simmering dispute over the fundamental nature of the relationship between the United States and Turkey. Both sides want the relationship to continue but have irreconcilable expectations about ... Read More »

Refugees in Indonesia don’t want to get on boats. They want basic rights

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If they get access to a fair resettlement process, refugees won’t be interested in anything people smugglers are trying to sell Asher Hirsch The Guardian This week, home affairs minister Peter Dutton again reiterated the false claim that “there are 14,000 people in Indonesia waiting to get on to boats now”. I’ve just returned from a research trip in Indonesia, where I spoke to many refugees. Such a claim is not only disingenuous, it also highlights the double standards of ... Read More »

Turkey might not like the West, but needs it

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When President Trump sanctioned two Turkish ministers—an unprecedented measure involving a NATO ally—and announced the doubling of trade tariffs early in August, he further aggravated the steadily deteriorating U.S.-Turkish relationship. Kemal Kirişci Brookings The moves came after the Turkish government refused to allow Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing spurious espionage and terrorism charges, to return to the United States. Turkey’s currency, already fragile, went into a tailspin, and has lost nearly half its value compared to the beginning of ... Read More »

China and human rights: Is Australia ‘making a difference’?

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Australia’s relationship with China has been tumultuous of late: political scandals, security threats, a perceived need for draconian new legislation, angry rhetoric from Beijing. Sophie Richardson Brisbane Times It’s not a surprise that officials, including members of the new Australian government, and ordinary people across Australia have struggled to find the right answers to a complex and charged relationship. But as Australia tries to strike a balance between benefiting from and being threatened by its relationship with Beijing, a key ... Read More »

‘If I’ve got death threats, I’ve probably said something worthwhile’

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Sally Rugg remembers when she first realised “ordinary people” could create change. “When I was six or seven, the state government of WA was trying to build this huge road that would have gone through my primary school,” she recalls. Mary Ward The Canberra Times “So the community sort of banded together to save the school.” Two decades later, the LGBTI activist, best known as an instrumental figure in the Yes campaign during last year’s postal survey for marriage equality, ... Read More »

Trust Me, I’m An Expert: How augmented reality may one day make music a visual, interactive experience

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You probably heard your first strains of music when you were in utero. From then on it’s helped you learn, helped you relax, hyped you up, helped you work, helped you exercise, helped you celebrate and helped you grieve. Authors: The Conversation Music is ingrained in so many aspect of our lives, but it’s also the subject of a significant body of academic work. Today’s episode of Trust Me, I’m An Expert is all about research on music. We’ll be ... Read More »

Explainer: why the UN has found Myanmar’s military committed genocide against the Rohingya

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The UN Human Rights Council released a new report last Monday, which calls last year’s violence against the Rohingya “genocide”. Anthony Ware The Conversation Released almost exactly a year after the start of devastating violence that drove 671,500 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh within a matter of months, the report found conclusive evidence that Myanmar’s armed… Using the strongest language to date, the report calls for the Myanmar commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and five generals to be prosecuted. What was the ... Read More »