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How Iran’s President Rouhani Can Turn Crisis into Opportunity

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Daily street protests across Iran since 28 December 2017 have pitted many young Iranians against the government, but the state’s response is revealing deep fractures in the political establishment. Ali Vaez ICG To outflank both the unrest and his political opponents, President Rouhani’s best option is to address head-on the drivers of the protests and pursue popular reform. Manifold reasons lie behind Iran’s ongoing protests, but the immediate trigger appears to be widespread disgruntlement over the country’s economic performance, especially ... Read More »

Tony Blair: Government could oppose final Brexit deal

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Discussions over Border highlight central dilemma for Theresa May, says former PM Denis Staunton The Irish Times The Government would have a strong case to oppose a final Brexit deal without a clear, detailed agreement on how to avoid a hard border, Tony Blair has said. The former British prime minister said the deal agreed between Theresa May and the European Union last month did not resolve the issue of the Border. “The important thing about the deal on Ireland was that ... Read More »

We must help vulnerable people to make the best decisions

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New legal measures will bolster rights of those with diminished decision capacity Áine Flynn The Irish Times “Do you know where you are?” “Do you know what date it is?” “Can you name the Taoiseach?” “Can you spell ‘world’ backwards?” These questions are from the traditional mental status examination. They are an example of how not to assess the decision-making capacity of someone with an intellectual disability, mental illness, dementia or acquired brain injury. A person whose… We must help… Read More »

Iceland has made it illegal to pay men more than women

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ICELAND is the first nation in the world to legally ensure women are paid equally to men David Bol TheScotsman The Arctic country has passed legislation meaning companies and government agencies that employ more than 25 workers, will be forced to receive official certification from the government for their equal-pay policies. The law came into effect in Monday and companies failing to demonstrate equal pay could be fined. Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, board member of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association, ... Read More »

The Giant, Under Attack

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One of America’s biggest rehab companies built an empire But after a patient named Gary Benefield died, its enemies — investors and business rivals alike — struck hard. By MICHAEL CORKERY and JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG The New York Times On the last day of his life, Gary Benefield expressed hope for the future. He was finally about to “get right,” he said. A Harley-riding tough guy and retired utility worker, Mr. Benefield had let addiction get the better of him. He was downing a ... Read More »

China and India dominate planned pipelines additions

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GlobalData’s latest analysis of global planned trunk/transmission oil and gas pipelines for the period 2018 to 2022 shows that the Xinjiang–Guangdong–Zhejiang SNG gas pipeline in China is the longest planned pipeline globally with a length of 8,972 kilometres (km). By GlobalData Energy Hydrocarbons Technology The onshore pipeline is expected to start operations in 2022 China Petrochemical Corp has 100% equity in the pipeline while China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation is the operator. The pipeline has a… The second longest planned ... Read More »

For richer or poorer: 4 economists ponder what 2018 has in store

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Editor’s note: We asked four economists to offer their thoughts and insights on what they expect to be a key theme or issue in 2018. Greg Wright, assistant professor of economics, University of California, Merced Patricia Smith, professor of economics, University of Michigan Christos Makridis, Ph.D. candidate in labor and public economics, Stanford University William Hauk, associate professor of economics, University of South Carolina The Conversation Income and wealth inequality are currently at levels last seen during the Gilded Age ... Read More »

Taiwan court orders dentist to pay mother for raising him

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Taiwan’s top court has ordered a dentist to pay his mother around Tw$22.3 million ($744,000) as reimbursement for the money she spent raising and educating him. TAIPEI – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet  The supreme court Jan. 2 upheld a previous ruling that the 41-year-old, identified by his family name Chu, should honor a contract he signed with his mother 20 years ago promising to refund her. The plaintiff, surnamed Lo, divorced her husband in 1990 and raised their two sons on ... Read More »

Yemen civil war: Norway suspends arms sales to UAE as part of ‘precautionary line’

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There is “great concern” over the humanitarian crisis in the Arab world’s poorest country, says Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide Jan M. Olsen Independent AP Norway has suspended exports of munitions and arms to the United Arab Emirates as a “precautionary line,” based on its assessment of the situation in Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition including the UAE has been fighting Shia rebels in the country for nearly three years. Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said she had “no information” that any of Norway’s military exports have been used in Yemen, but that there’s ... Read More »

With Oceans Under Greatest Threat Ever, Trump Administration Urges Even Less Protection for Marine Life

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“It shouldn’t be too much to ask to protect two percent of the U.S.’s exclusive economic zone off the Atlantic coast for future generations.” Julia Conley Common Dreams With the world’s oceans more severely threatened than ever before, President Donald Trump’s Interior Department is recommending even less protection for the fraction of ocean life the U.S. has guarded from commercial fishing and other activities in recent years. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed that three ocean monuments in the Pacific ... Read More »

Migrant slavery in Libya: Nigerians tell of being used as slaves

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The European Union is working with Libyan coastguards to reduce the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea BBC But many of those intercepted end up in detention centres in Libya, where some migrants say they are used as slaves, as the BBC’s Stephanie Hegarty found when she spoke to some Nigerians who have just returned home. As evening falls on Benin City, outside the mildewed 1960s block of one of the city’s many hotels, a group of men and ... Read More »

Earth Will Start Becoming a Desert by 2050 If Global Warming Isn’t Stopped, Study Says

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More than 25 percent of the Earth will experience serious drought and desertification by the year 2050 if the attempts made by the Paris climate agreement to curb global warming are not met, according to a new study by the journal Nature Climate Change. Leah Thomas Newsweek The study, which was published on Monday, claims that if the Earth’s average yearly temperature is raised by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the next 32 years, the areas of the world experiencing “aridification,” or ... Read More »

Kim Jong-un’s strategy: drive a wedge between South Korea and the US

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Seoul: Beyond a New Year’s declaration by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, that he would move to the mass-production of nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles in 2018 lies a canny new strategy to initiate direct talks with South Korea: drive a wedge into its seven-decade alliance with the United… Choe Sang-hun NYT Brisbane Times Kim, perhaps sensing the simmering tension between US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, called for an urgent dialogue between the two Koreas before ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2018

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From North Korea to Venezuela, here are the conflicts to watch in 2018. It’s not all about Donald Trump. Robert Malley ICG That’s a statement more easily written than believed, given the U.S. president’s erratic comportment on the world stage — his tweets and taunts, his cavalier disregard of international accords, his readiness to undercut his own diplomats, his odd choice of foes, and his even odder choice of friends. And yet, a more inward-looking United States and a greater ... Read More »