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Poorest men in Scotland die 10 years before richest, report finds

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Men living in Scotland’s poorest areas can expect to die 10 years before those living in more well-off places, official statistics have confirmed. CHRIS MCCALL The Scotsman The life expectancy gap between the 20 per cent most and least deprived areas of Scotland was 10.5 years for males and 7.8 years for females, a report by the National Records of Scotland found. The country has one of the lowest life expectancies in western Europe for both genders, at 77.1 years ... Read More »

‘Death spiral’: half of Europe’s coal plants are losing money

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Air pollution and climate change policies are pushing coal-fired electricity stations to the brink, says a new report. Closing them would avoid €22bn in losses by 2030 Damian Carrington The Guardian More than half of the European Union’s 619 coal-fired power stations are losing money, according to a new report. As a result, the industry’s slow plans for shutdowns will lead to €22bn in losses by 2030 if the EU fulfils its pledge to tackle climate change, the report warns. ... Read More »

Obama invokes Nazi Germany in warning about today’s politics

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Washington (CNN) – Former President Barack Obama urged voters this week to stay engaged in democracy, warning that complacency was responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany. Miranda Green  “You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we’ve seen societies where that happens,” Obama said at the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday, according to video of the event. “Now, presume there was a ballroom here in Vienna in the late 1920s or ’30s ... Read More »

Govt receives ExxonMobil funds to help fight Guyana-Venezuela border controversy; some contract details disclosed

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Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman on Friday confirmed that United States (US) oil giant, ExxonMobil, will help fund Guyana’s legal fees to settle the border controversy with Venezuela. Demerara Waves “Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is a sum and yes it is reserved to safeguard this country,” he said the same day that two local newspapers published a September 2016 letter by Finance Secretary, Dr. Hector Butts to the Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobind Ganga for the ... Read More »

Syrian boys caught in ‘vicious cycle’ of sex abuse: UN

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Syrian men and boys, in their war-torn country and abroad, have suffered “a vicious cycle” of sexual abuse with more devastating consequences than previously reported, the United Nations said on Dec. 7. BEIRUT – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet In its new report, “We Keep it in our Heart,” the UN’s refugee agency said it had documented widespread sexual violence against Syrian males, including those seeking refuge. “There have been documented reports of how Syrian women and girls have suffered sexual violence ... Read More »

China’s ‘Period of Strategic Opportunity’ in Mexico

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Beijing is looking to cash in on Trump’s rhetoric against Mexico and NAFTA As the Trump administration contemplates border wall prototypes and dissolving the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), China is taking a decidedly different approach to relations with Mexico. Margaret Myers Ricardo Barrios In recent months, Beijing has launched an unprecedented charm offensive south of the Rio Grande. The National Interest In addition to a series of new investments, and renewed talk of a bilateral trade pact, ... Read More »

Confronting Corruption: Commitment, Innovation, Impact

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The World Bank Group (WBG) will mark International Anticorruption Day with a program of events that includes several panels and a 60-minute live conversation with WBG President Kim and former WBG President Wolfensohn. This event will be co-moderated by Pascale Hélène Dubois, Vice President of Integrity, and Deborah Wetzel, Senior Director, World Bank Governance Global Practice. World Bank Headquarters – video Read More »

Fast-track assessment fundamentally unfair to refugees, high court told

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Legal Aid Victoria argues those who arrive by boat are treated as second-class in first high court challenge to new regime Calla Wahlquist  The Guardian Legal Aid Victoria has challenged the “fundamental unfairness” of the fast-tracked refugee assessment process in the high court, arguing that it treats those who arrived by boat as second class. The one-day hearing on Thursday focused on the case of an Iranian asylum seeker in his mid-20s whose application for a temporary protection visa was ... Read More »

The future of multiculturalism in Australia

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Australia likes to pride itself on being one of the most successful multicultural countries in the world — it’s a statement you hear often by politicians of all persuasions. ABC RN But what does it truly mean and is it something that we can indeed lay claim too?  (view full episode) Fethi Mansouri is the director of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, which has released a report on its Doing Diversity Project exploring attitudes towards multiculturalism. And ... Read More »

Social media reaction: Arabs helpless and hopeless

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After US President Donald Trump ignored warnings from the international community and formally recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, some Twitter users focused on how Arabs contributed in the loss of Jerusalem. AlJazeera The status of the holy city is an extremely sensitive aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Israel claims the whole city its capital – following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan – Palestinians have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future… ... Read More »

Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis Enters a Dangerous New Phase

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The mass flight of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine State has created a humanitarian catastrophe and serious security risks, including potential cross-border militant attacks. ICG The international community should press the Myanmar government to urgently implement the Annan commission’s proposals, including as regards discrimination, segregation and citizenship. What’s the issue?  The response of Myanmar’s military to militant group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s (ARSA) August attacks has led to one of the most catastrophically fast refugee exoduses in modern times. More ... Read More »

Modern slavery to be targeted in new laws recommended by Australian parliamentary committee

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Australia needs a comprehensive suite of new laws to stamp out modern slavery, a Federal committee’s report today tabled in Parliament has found. Sarina Locke  ABC The report by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s inquiry was tabled in Parliament on the final sitting day for the year. It adds details to its earlier recommendations released in August. The committee recommended provisions for a mandatory supply chain reporting requirement that requires large businesses to report on… ... Read More »

Bank Indonesia declares bitcoin payment illegal

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Cryptocurrency’s volatility poses ‘huge risk’ to economy, central bank says Erwida Maulia Nikkei Asia Review JAKARTA — Indonesia’s central bank on Thursday said it had issued a new regulation prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies — including bitcoin — in the country, as their rising popularity has raised concerns over unwanted impacts on the economy. Bank Indonesia had for some time said that the use of cryptocurrencies ran contrary to Indonesia’s law mandating the use of rupiah in domestic transactions. The ... Read More »

Is Homo Economicus Dead?

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In Martin Scorsese’s film The Wolf of Wall Street the narcissistic, egotistical and money hungry investment banker Jordan Belford memorably summed up his attitude to life: Peter Fleming * Economic Sociology and Political Economy  “Let me tell you something. There’s no nobility in poverty. I’ve been a poor man, and I’ve been a rich man. And I choose rich every fucking time.” Belford is terrifying not simply because of his ruthless demeanour and unscrupulous greediness. He scares us because this persona was celebrated, ... Read More »