Features

Pope says weary Church ‘wounded by her own sin’ in reference to abuse

Panama City: Pope Francis said on Saturday the Roman Catholic Church was weary and “wounded by her own sin,” in an apparent reference to the global sexual abuse crisis. Reuters The Canberra Times Francis made the comment in the homily of Mass for priests, nuns, and members of Catholic lay organisations in Panama City’s newly renovated cathedral of Santa Maria Antigua, the first in mainland America, which was completed in 1716. The pope has called a summit of the heads of ... Read More »

Imperial Exceptionalism

It is hard to give up something you claim you never had. That is the difficulty Americans face with respect to their country’s empire. Jackson Lears The New York Review of Books Since the era of Theodore Roosevelt, politicians, journalists, and even some historians have deployed euphemisms—“expansionism,” “the large policy,” “internationalism,” “global leadership”—to disguise America’s imperial ambitions. According to the exceptionalist creed embraced by both political parties and most of the press, imperialism was a European venture that involved seizing territories, ... Read More »

Angola decriminalises homosexuality

Angola’s parliament has also voted to ban discrimination against sexual orientation with offenders facing up to two years in prison. AFP-SBS Angola’s parliament has decriminalised homosexuality, removing a notorious “vices against nature” provision in its penal code and banning discrimination against sexual orientation, in a reform hailed by rights watchdogs. On Wednesday, 155 parliamentarians voted for Angola’s first overhaul of the criminal statute books since independence, while seven abstained and one voted against. “Angola has finally shed the… Angola decriminalises… Read More »

Use it or lose it: Seagoing nations must defend embattled waterways

Great Britain is returning to seaways “east of Suez,” decades after freeing its colonies and withdrawing, more or less, to the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. James R. Holmes The Hill A warship from Britain’s Royal Navy demonstrated on behalf of nautical freedom in the South China Sea last September, drawing a stern rebuke from China. This month the frigate HMS Argyll joined the destroyer USS McCampbell for six days’ worth of exercises in the South China Sea. Beijing will doubtless ... Read More »

Erdogan and Assad: A former friendship damaged beyond repair?

Relations between Syria and Turkey may depend on the outcome of Syrian presidential elections in two years, experts say. Andrew Wilks Al Jazeera Ten years ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then prime minister of Turkey, hosted Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad for a family holiday in the Aegean resort of Bodrum as relations between Turkey and… After decades of Cold War animosity, the Erdogan government that took power in 2002 had built new ties with its southern neighbour and trade and… Much ... Read More »

New Year, Same Old Turkey

Democratic anomaly became the new Turkish normal several years ago. Burak Bekdil Gatestone Institute The anomaly, sometimes, offers entertaining moments, too. Take, for instance, Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s most important political confidant (and former prime minister), who became the joke of the day when he declared: “Animals, too, are living beings”. Someone teased him on social media: “He is right. And I am adding: Plants, too, are living beings.” A few days later Yıldırım, under fire ... Read More »

Taliban and U.S. claim significant progress in talks but no agreement

The duration and scope of the talks in Doha between U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and senior Taliban figures was unprecedented, former diplomats and experts said. By Dan De Luce, Ahmed Mengli and Mushtaq Yusufzai rbcnews U.S. and Taliban representatives say six days of talks have produced progress toward a potential agreement that would see Washington withdraw American troops within 18 months and the insurgents commit to preventing al Qaeda or other extremists to use the… The duration and scope of ... Read More »

The Unnerving Kitsch of New York City’s New K.G.B. Spy Museum

Imagine walking down Fourteenth Street in New York and seeing a sculpture of the head of a twentieth-century tyrant. Masha Gessen The New Yorker The likeness of a man responsible for the deaths of millions, the imprisonment and torture of tens of millions, and the total subjugation of hundreds of millions has been placed on the sidewalk to entice you to visit a museum. If that appeals to you, then, for twenty-five dollars (twenty dollars for children, students, and seniors), ... Read More »

‘Shock and dismay’: Thai pop idol condemned for Nazi swastika T-shirt

A member of Thailand’s most popular all-girl band wore a shirt portraying Nazi Germany’s state flag with a swastika emblazoned across it during a televised rehearsal. AFP – SBS A member of Thailand’s most popular all-girl band has apologised for wearing a shirt with a Nazi flag featuring a swastika, after her TV appearance Friday drew “shock and dismay” from the Israeli embassy. Images of Hitler, swastikas and other Nazi regalia are fairly commonplace on T-shirts and memorabilia in Thailand, ... Read More »

Nigerian chief justice’s suspension raises international concerns

International observers have expressed concern about the suspension of Nigeria’s chief justice – just three weeks before a general election. BBC Judge Walter Onnoghen was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday. He is facing charges for allegedly failing to declare his personal assets before taking office in 2017. But the EU, UK and US have taken serious issue with his removal, suggesting it could “cast a pall over the electoral process”. Mr Buhari’s decision has been called “an act ... Read More »

Has Big Business Hijacked Veganism – And Sold It Back To Us?

It’s grammable, it’s aspirational and it’s worth billions a year. Sara Spary HuffPost “I remember the days where a jacket potato and beans was as good as it got,” says Collette Gray as she peruses the groaning shelves of Waitrose’s vegan aisle. In 20 years of being a vegan, she has never encountered anything like this kind of choice at the supermarket – from jackfruit and kidney bean chilli sauce, to porcini and spinach ravioli, beet wellington and… “When I ... Read More »

Fight for Europe – or the wreckers will destroy it

The continent faces its biggest challenge since the 1930s. We urge European patriots to resist the nationalist onslaught Bernard-Henri Lévy, Milan Kundera, Salman Rushdie, Elfriede Jelinek, Orhan Pamuk and 25 others Europe ‘coming apart before our eyes’, say 30 top intellectuals The Guardian The idea of Europe is in peril. From all sides there are criticisms, insults and desertions from the cause. “Enough of ‘building Europe’!” is the cry. Let’s reconnect instead with our “national soul”! Let’s rediscover our “lost identity”! This is the agenda shared ... Read More »

We need a robust patriotism, not ‘my country, right or wrong’

Love can be hard to explain. There’s no formula to how it works, but you know it when it’s there. You know when it moves you, or when it gets you worked up. Tim Soutphommasane The Age What’s true for a love of a person is also true for a love of country. Most of us will have an affection for Australia. It isn’t always something we find easy to express. Emotions rarely are. Patriotism comes in many forms. The ... Read More »

Trump climbs down in wall row, Congress passes bill ending shutdown

President Donald Trump on Friday brought a temporary end to the longest government shutdown in US history, while dropping his previous insistence on immediate funding for… Washington – AFP Hurriyet The announcement in the White House Rose Garden on the bipartisan deal marked a retreat by Trump, suspending a row that paralyzed Washington, disrupted air travel, and left more than 800,000… The top Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, said he hoped Trump had “learned his lesson.” The Senate and House of Representatives both passed the deal by unanimous consent Friday. The White House later… Trump climbs down… Read More »

Mary Lou McDonald calls for Dublin to convene forum to plan for Irish unity

It is ‘arrogant’ to shout down unity referendum, says SF leader Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has called for the Government to convene a forum to begin planning for Irish unity. Gerry Moriarty The Irish Times Ms McDonald when speaking at a conference, “Beyond Brexit – the Future of Ireland”, in Belfast said that history was unfolding and now was the time to press for a Border poll on a united Ireland. “The biggest mistake – and most reckless course of action – is ... Read More »

Australian pro-democracy activist ‘detained’ in Vietnam

Vietnamese-Australian pro democracy activist Chau Van Kham was on a “fact-finding” mission in his home country when he is said to have been detained. AFP – SBS A prominent Vietnamese-Australian pro-democracy activist has been detained by security services on his return to Ho Chi Minh city, colleagues in Australia told AFP on Friday. Just days after an Australian blogger and author was arrested in China, Australian citizen Chau Van Kham is said to have been detained by Vietnamese authorities. The retired ... Read More »