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Christians and Yazidis see a bleak future in a proposed independent Kurdish state

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BASHIQA, Iraq — Shortly after the Islamic State was pushed out of his home town last year, Ivan Abdulla bought a new house in the traditionally Yazidi enclave. It was an investment in the place where generations of his family were raised, he said. Tamer El-Ghobashy  The Washington Post But the father of three already regrets his decision.The hilltop town of mostly Yazidis and Christians — two of Iraq’s most vulnerable minorities — has become the focus of a tug of war ... Read More »

Maltese professor made vice-president of international maritime law tribunal

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David Attard elected to International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea position Leading international maritime law professor David Attard has been elected vice-president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. PN congratulates Prof. Attard Times of Malta Prof. Attard will serve a three-year term in the post. He has been a member of the tribunal since 2011. In a statement announcing his appointment, the government said Prof. Attard’s achievements built on Malta’s long tradition of maritime ... Read More »

Let’s All Agree Not To Visit Turkey

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To many Americans, a trip to Turkey has long seemed like a dream excursion A NATO ally that sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey has offered an approachable window into exotic history and culture. And the flights are generally affordable, too. Gregg Roman The Daily Caller But Turkey has changed in the past few years. The State Department hasn’t issued a travel warning yet, but if Americans think they’ll be safe there, they’re wrong. One year ago ... Read More »

If Catalonia goes independent, these places could be next

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Catalonia might be the separatist region making headlines at the moment but Europe has many other separatist movements that are closely watching developments in northeastern… Holly Ellyatt  CNBC Separatist movements in Europe can range from small townships to entire regions and the motivations for wanting to go it alone are equally as diverse encompassing linguistic and cultural differences as well as economic and historical… While some separatist movements harbor dreams of gaining just a bit more autonomy from the national ... Read More »

Brexit Raises Questions About U.K. Sovereign Bases on Cyprus

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Cyprus and the U.K. will begin talks next week on the status of the two British sovereign bases on the eastern Mediterranean island after Brexit, Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said. By Georgios Georgiou and Paul Tugwell Bloomberg “It matters for Cyprus if it’s a hard or soft Brexit,” Kasoulides said in a telephone interview. Agreement between the U.K. and Cyprus on the status of the bases will be part of the withdrawal deal, Kasoulides said. The two sovereign bases, ... Read More »

Spain court quiz Catalan police officers in sedition case

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Spain’s National Court questioned on Oct. 6 two senior officers of Catalonia’s regional police force and the leaders of two pro-independence civic groups who have been placed under investigation for sedition. Hurriyet The case is linked to demonstrations Sept. 20-21 in Barcelona, when Spanish police arrested several Catalan government officials and raided offices in a crackdown on preparations for an Oct. 1 referendum on independence. Spanish authorities say the demonstrations hindered the Spanish police operation, and that Catalan police didn’t ... Read More »

In Canada, an Immigration Minister Who Himself Is a Refugee

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TORONTO — He arrived in Toronto, an exhausted 16-year-old, carrying nothing but a small gym bag packed with a change of clothes. As a Somali, he applied for asylum and was jettisoned into adulthood. Catherine Porter The New York Times  He registered for high school, learned to cook and landed his first job all on his own. Over the next 25 years, he put himself through college and law school, worked his way up from pouring coffee to advising one ... Read More »

An Eye for an Eye: Iran Promises to Partition Saudi Arabia If Iraq Is Partitioned

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Iran is now openly threatening to dismember Saudi Arabia for its support for Kurdish independence and secession from Iraq. Prof. Hillel Frisch BESA This ratcheting up of tensions has implications not only for those two countries but for the region and the world at large Israel would do well to remember that the Middle East is growing ever more volatile, and the US should sharpen its resolve to contain… The Iranian-Saudi struggle over primacy in the Middle East ... Read More »

Let’s face it, we’ll be no safer with a national facial recognition database

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A commitment to share the biometric data of most Australians – including your driving licence photo – agreed at Thursday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will result in a further erosion of our privacy. That sharing is not necessary. It will be costly. Bruce Baer Arnold The Conversation But will it save us from terrorism? Not all, although it will give people a false sense of comfort. Importantly, it will allow politicians and officials to show that they are ... Read More »

Locking up 10-year-olds without trial barbaric, says human rights group

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The revelation that under new laws 10-year-olds could be held without charge for a fortnight shows politicians are badly failing to defend freedom while claiming to uphold it. In making this comment today, the president of the human rights group Liberty Victoria, Jessie Taylor, joined the Law Council of Australia and others in condemning this decision by federal, state and territory leaders. Justice Minister Michael Keenan says police have no powers to act against an 11-year-old would-be terrorist. Said Ms ... Read More »

The Oceans – a Challenged Resource

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The world’s oceans facilitate global transportation. They also offer a unique source of food: one that continues to give. Provided we manage this source responsibly, of course. Sustainable harvest must be combined with prudent Kåre R. Aas * HuffPost Based on an American initiative, the world’s maritime nations came together yesterday and today (Oct 5 and 6) for the 4th annual Our Oceans conference to discuss how to achieve this balance. The United States has hosted twice. This year, the chair ... Read More »

Niger Clash Kills U.S. and Nigerien Troops

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A deadly ambush near the Niger-Mali border on 4 October claimed the lives of at least five Nigerien soldiers and marked the unprecedented killing of American forces in the region. ICG In this Q&A, Deputy West Africa Project Director Jean-Hervé Jezequel and Research Assistant Hamza Cherbib say that jihadist violence cannot be divorced from deeper inter-communal tensions related to local competition over resources and illicit economic activity. What happened and where? According to U.S. and Nigerien security sources, on 4 October ... Read More »

From Manus to London: how two strangers made a landmark movie together

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This weekend, audiences at the London Film Festival will watch a film about the men detained on Manus Island Behind this film lies a tale about a friendship and a creative partnership, formed across oceans, between two people who are yet to… Arnold Zable The Sydney Morning Herald In mid-2016, Netherlands-based Iranian filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani planned to make a film about children and their feelings for  the sea. At the same time, he began hearing of the immigration detention centres on ... Read More »

Kazuo Ishiguro: Nobel Literature Prize is ‘a magnificent honour’

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British writer Kazuo Ishiguro has won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature The novelist was praised by the Swedish Academy as a writer “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”. BBC His most famous novels The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go were adapted into highly acclaimed films. He was made an OBE in 1995. The 62-year-old writer said the award was “flabbergastingly flattering”. ... Read More »