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Confrontational Erdoğan stuns Greek hosts on Athens visit

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Turkish leader jettisoned diplomatic niceties during meetings that were supposed to cement ties between the rivals Helena Smith The Guardian What had been billed a groundbreaking visit to Greece, the first by a Turkish president in 65 years, turned into a verbal theatre of war as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, flouting the niceties of diplomacy, crossed an array of red lines. Disputes that had lain dormant – not least the 1923 Treaty of Lausannedelineating the borders between the two nations – were prised ... Read More »

Counting the Costs of U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

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President Donald J. Trump on 6 December 2017 declared U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking decades of precedent even while saying the U.S. was not “taking a position of any final status issues”. ICG In this Q&A, Ofer Zalzberg and Nathan Thrall, Senior Analysts for Israel/Palestine, examine what the decision means for Israelis, Palestinians and the future of their conflict. Has President Trump endorsed Israel’s position on the status of Jerusalem? Not precisely, although many are understanding it ... Read More »

Economic Instability Endangers Democracy

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The world’s leading consolidated democracies have seen rates of economic growth consistently and persistently decline over the past forty years Jordan Willcox  The National Interest In recent years, a foreign-policy community once focused on a managed decline in U.S. global predominance has witnessed the birth of disquieting new phase. The European community is closing its borders and debating Brexit; nationalism and ethnocentrism is on the rise in rich-nation political parties; the Trump administration is working to exit major trade agreements. The Western ... Read More »

Politics podcast: John Blaxland on new foreign interference laws

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The government’s new foreign interference laws propose broad changes to political donations, counter-surveillance, and lobbying in Australia. Michelle Grattan John Blaxland ANU professor John Blaxland has some real concerns about the unintended consequences of the legislation for academic debate. The Conversation He says there’s a real chance that good people engaging intellectually with issues might get caught up in the broader crackdown. On the controversy surrounding Sam Dastyari’s dealings with a Chinese businessman, Blaxland says its been a “sobering” lesson ... Read More »

Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

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US President Donald Trump called Jerusalem the capital of Israel on Wednesday and began the process moving his country’s embassy to the city Zena Tahhan & Farah Najjar AlJazeera The move sparked global condemnation from world leaders. Israel occupied East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 War with Syria, Egypt and Jordan; the western half of the holy city had been captured in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem effectively put the entire city under de facto Israeli control. Israeli jurisdiction and ownership of Jerusalem, however, is not ... Read More »

Russia’s multilayered Syrian diplomacy worries Iran

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TEHRAN, Iran — The Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, widely known for its tourist attractions, has recently turned into a diplomatic hub, with dialogue over the Syrian crisis now serving as its main international attraction. Hamidreza Azizi  AlMonitor On Nov. 22, the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey attended a trilateral summit in Sochi to coordinate their efforts on the future of Syria. Just a day before, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in the resort, with his warm welcome ... Read More »

Ten things Australia can do to be a human rights hero

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Sunday is Human Rights Day. December 10 marks 69 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. Carolien van Ham Lisa Hill Louise Chappell With the 70th anniversary coming up in 2018, the UN has launched Stand Up 4 Human Rights, a year-long campaign to bring the ideals of the declaration closer to reality. The Conversation As a leader in the framing of the UN declaration and one of the ... Read More »

Japan eyes air-to-surface missiles that would put North Korea in range

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TOKYO — Japan looks to deploy its first air-to-surface missiles in the coming years as a means of deterring North Korea from further weapons testing, bringing Pyongyang’s missile bases within Tokyo’s military reach. Nikkei Asian Review  The Ministry of Defense will request several billion yen (1 billion yen equals $8.8 million) in the nation’s fiscal 2018 budget for Joint Strike Missiles from Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. These would be deployed as early as fiscal 2019 on 42 cutting-edge F-35 ... Read More »

The Killing of Former President Saleh Could Worsen Yemen’s War

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The dramatic collapse of the Huthi-Saleh alliance is likely to prolong Yemen’s war and the suffering of its people April Longley Alley  After killing former President Saleh, the Huthis, viewed by their enemies in Riyadh as Iranian proxies, are firmly in control of the capital. ICG Neither they, nor the Saudis, are in a mood for compromise. What exactly happened and what led up to this sudden twist in Yemen’s devastating war? On 4 December, Huthi fighters killed Yemen’s former ... Read More »

Kathy Sheridan: Finns show Ireland what small country can be

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State aged 100 near top of world rankings for education, innovation and quality of life Kathy Sheridan How was it for you? The Irish Times Did we not man that “bearna baoil” and get the upper hand on “the Saxon foe”? For the first time in 800 years. Without a squeak of a cannon’s roar or rifles’ peal. So how do we feel? Will this do: “Stunning victory for Irish diplomacy: drew the concession from May, split her coalition, kept ... Read More »

Palestinians recognize Texas as part of Mexico

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JERUSALEM – In response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the Palestinian National Authority has announced that it will recognize Texas as a state of Mexico since it was violently annexed by the United States in the… ALEX HUNTLEY The Beaverton “The territory north and east of the Rio Grande is very important to the Mexican people,” explained a PNA spokesperson. “Before American settlers showed up and implemented slavery, Mexico oversaw this land. Then, President Polk sent his ... Read More »

The compelling case for working a lot less

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Mastering ‘active rest’ is far harder than it looks, but there are good reasons why we should keep working at it. Amanda Ruggeri BBC When I moved to Rome from Washington, DC, one sight struck me more than any ancient column or grand basilica: people doing nothing. I’d frequently glimpse old women leaning out of their windows, watching people pass below, or families on their evening strolls, stopping every so often to greet friends. Even office life proved different. Forget ... Read More »

Ed Sheeran means well but this poverty porn has to stop

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Aid adverts featuring ‘white saviours’ may bring in cash but they remove all dignity from those who are suffering Afua Hirsch  The Guardian It was almost exactly five years ago that I realised something was changing A video landed on my phone – I was living in Ghana then – raising awareness of “this time of need for Norway”. This “need” was winter, and the video was hilarious. Amid scenes of blizzards, vehicles overturned in snow, and children battling through ... Read More »

Brexit: SNP minister wants united Holyrood voice for single market bid

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Scotland’s Brexit minister has called on rival parties to unite and “speak with one voice” in a bid to keep the UK in the single market as political turmoil continued over Britain’s departure from the European… Russel Jackson The Scotsman Mike Russell said there was “overwhelming support” for this both at Holyrood and among the public as he urged Labour and the Tories to back the whole UK remaining in both the European single market and customs… He spoke out ... Read More »