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Is China’s Economic Power a Paper Tiger?

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The People’s Republic of China has surely seen faster GDP growth than the United States for most of the past forty years Derek M. Scissors  The National Interest It’s the value of that growth that’s questionable. The people complaining about U.S. decline in the face of China’s rise under President Obama have been replaced by new people complaining about the same thing under President Trump. The debate over policy in the two administrations plainly matters, but it should not obscure basic facts. The ... Read More »

Foreign parliaments are not powerless to help the Rohingya – their pressure on Myanmar is vital

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As the pope made a high profile visit to Myanmar in late November, attention turned to how to help the thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled their homes to Bangladesh following violence and what UN officials have described as ethnic cleansing. Wessel Vermeulen Andreja Pegan  A deal struck between the two countries to start returning the refugees, has been criticised for going against international refugee law. The Conversation Western politicians have also travelled to Myanmar and Bangladesh to witness ... Read More »

Is this Israel’s “most hated” man?

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Author and commentator Gideon Levy has been called both “the most hated man in Israel” and “the most heroic.” ABC LateLine While he describes himself as a “patriotic Israeli”, he’s highly critical of what he calls his country’s ‘moral blindness’ to its acts of war and occupation. Emma Alberici spoke to Gideon Levy ahead of his talk at the University of Sydney this week. Transcript Read More »

Egypt jails 14 for homosexuality

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An Egyptian court on Nov. 26 sentenced 14 men convicted of being homosexuals to three years in jail each for “abnormal” sexual relations, a defence lawyer said. Cairo – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Ishaq Wadie said the men were released on bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($283, 230 euros) each until an appeals trial. The trial of three other suspects was delayed over procedural reasons, the lawyer said. Homosexuality is not expressly outlawed in Egypt, but gays have previously been charged ... Read More »

The hard-won kinship between Britain and Ireland is threatened by Brexit idiocy

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An alliance decades in the making is threatened by an utter lack of progress over the post-separation border Fintan O’Toole The Irish Times When people are screwing up, they tend to take their rage and frustration out on their nearest and dearest. If, as seems increasingly likely, the European Union summit on 15 December does not give the go-ahead for talks on a post-Brexit trade deal, we already know who’s going to get the blame. It will be all Ireland’s ... Read More »

Pakistan calls on army in Islamabad to restore order as blasphemy protests spread

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Pakistan’s Government has called on the army to help clear a sit-in by Islamist hard-liners blockading the capital after police clashed with activists and religious protests spread to other cities. Reuters ABC More than 100 people were wounded in clashes on Saturday, including at least 65 members of the security forces, according to reports from hospitals. About 1,000 activists from Tehreek-e-Labaik, a new hard-line Islamist political party, have blockaded the main road into the capital for two weeks, accusing the ... Read More »

What Has China Accomplished in Central and Eastern Europe?

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Each year, the 16+1 summit has Central and Eastern European states clamoring for Chinese money Valbona Zeneli The Diplomat It is that time of the year again when optimism about new investment in Eastern Europe is thick in the air Expectation are high as the sixth “16+1” meeting will take place in Budapest this upcoming Sunday. Launched first in 2012, the “16+1” Cooperation Framework includes 16 countries in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. This regional approach brings together a very ... Read More »

In Times Of Crisis We Must Work Especially Hard To Protect Women And Girls

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Violence against women and girls anywhere and at any time is not acceptable Julie Bishop In conflicts and crises across the world, women and girls can suffer terrible abuses HuffPost The UN estimates that seven in 10 women are exposed to violence in crises The risk of abuse increases when they flee without the family or community networks that would normally support them, leaving them vulnerable to trafficking or assault. The trauma of such experiences cannot be overstated, severely affecting ... Read More »

David McWilliams: Land tax needed to end housing crisis

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Ireland needs to follow radical example of Japan’s 19th-century ‘Meiji Restoration’ David McWilliams The Irish Times In June 1858, during the second Opium War, Britain and France, in cahoots with the other major European powers and the United States, forced China to sign the Treaty of Tianjin. Britain waged the Opium War so its merchants could flood China with cheap heroin, cultivated by other British merchants in India. The treaty allowed western trading powers to annex China commercially, emasculate the emperor ... Read More »

Humanitarian aid arrives in Yemen as coalition allows UN flights

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The first shipments of humanitarian aid arrived at Sanaa airport overnight after a weeks-long closure which aid groups said deprived Yemen’s residents of badly needed food and supplies. tvnz On Saturday, the airport received two flights – one from the Red Cross and another from UNICEF. Both carried medical supplies, among them polio vaccines.They also carried UNICEF and Red Cross aid workers. The Saudi-led coalition that has imposed an air, sea and land blockade on war-battered Yemen since November 6 ... Read More »

Alarm over teaching nursery children in Scotland about consent

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The Scottish Government is to investigate how the concept of “consent” is taught to nursery-aged children, according to a document outlining its strategy to prevent violence against women and girls. TOM PETERKIN The Scotsman Academics and family groups last night expressed alarm at the proposal arguing that it was “ridiculous” to teach children as young as two or three about consent. The row erupted after the Scottish Government published it document “Equally Safe: A deliver plan for Scotland’s strategy to ... Read More »

Australia knocks UK Brexit trade plan

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Australia has criticised the UK’s post-Brexit trade plans to split quotas of food imports from around the world BBC EU rules allow for a certain amount of goods to be brought in from countries outside of the Union without charging full tariffs After Brexit, the UK and EU want to split these quotas, based on where the goods are mostly consumed. But Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo said it would impose unacceptable restrictions on their exports. He told BBC Radio ... Read More »

Asia Code for Sea Peace Expected to Tilt Toward China

The Royal Australian Navy HMAS Adelaide crueses alongside landing crafts with Philippine Marines and Australian troops as they conduct a joint Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise off Subic Bay in northwestern Philippines Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The HMAS Adelaide, along with another Australian Navy ship, the HMAS Darwin, a guided missile frigate, are here for a goodwill visit aimed at strengthening relations between the two navies as well as maritime security and stability in the region. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

A code of conduct aimed at avoiding mishaps in the contested South China Sea is likely to sidestep concerns that are offensive to the chief claimant, Beijing, analysts forecast. Ralph Jennings VoA China and 10 Southeast Asian Nations agreed at summits in Manila this month to start negotiations on a code of conduct for the resource-rich sea, where sovereignty is contested by six governments. Beijing claims about 90 percent of the sea from its south coast to the island of ... Read More »

‘Horrified’ Rwanda offers to host African migrants facing slavery in Libya

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In an unusual gesture that could partly reverse a more familiar northward odyssey toward Europe, Rwanda offered on Thursday to house or help repatriate some of the thousands of African migrants being held in Libya and reportedly auctioned there as… Alan Cowell New York Times The Sydney Morning Herald  A statement from the country’s Foreign Ministry said Rwanda was “horrified” that “African men, women and children who were on the road to exile have been held and turned into… “Given ... Read More »