Global Issues

Russia’s Next Land Grab Won’t Be in an Ex-Soviet State. It Will Be in Europe.

First he came for Georgia, then for Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s next target is likely to be a non-NATO nation in the EU. By Mikheil Saakashvili FP Not many observers would consider the world’s coldest shipping lane a geopolitical hotspot. But that may be about to change. Last week, reports emerged that a new Kremlin policy will require all international naval ships to give Russia 45 days’ notice before entering the Northern Sea Route, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans ... Read More »

The Fed Should Buy Recession Insurance

If the United States falls into recession in the next year or two, the US Federal Reserve may have very little room to loosen policy, yet it is not taking any steps to cover that risk. J. Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate Unless the Fed rectifies this soon, the US – and the world – may well face much bigger problems later. BERKELEY – The next global downturn may still be a little way off. The chances that the North Atlantic ... Read More »

US Wants To Change The Law Of The Sea – Analysis

The US is frustrated by North Korea’s continuing violation of UN sanctions by using rogue vessels to import and export banned cargo, sometimes transferring the cargo at sea. Mark J. Valencia Eurasia Review So it wants to interdict suspect vessels on the high seas using force if necessary. The problem is that doing so without the consent of the flag state would violate the international law of the sea. John Bolton, the US National Security Advisor is taking the lead ... Read More »

Picking Up the Pieces After Hanoi

The collapse of last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was perhaps the inevitable result of a process in which the two leaders dominated, optimistic about their personal relationship and confident in their abilities. Richard N. Haass Project Syndicate The question is what to do now. NEW YORK – When last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal, the result was not surprising. ... Read More »

Australia has a long history of protests. Our rights should be better protected

We also have a history of governments trying to suppress protest. It’s time this changed Hugh de Kretser The Guardian The deputy prime minister recently told school students they should be in school “learning about Australian history” instead of joining the global student strike for climate action on Friday. Half of what he said was good advice. For if the students researched Australia’s protest history, they would learn that protest has been critical to so many social advances that we often now ... Read More »

‘I can’t go to school, I have to save the planet’

Children and teens across Australia are joining a global strike today against leaders’ inaction on climate change. Here’s what they’re saying. School strike 4 climate By Laura Chung and Charlotte Grieve The Sydney Morning Herald A16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl called Greta Thunberg started a global campaign for student action that led to today’s worldwide protests against inaction on climate change. Children and teenagers in Australia have taken to the streets to add their voices to calls for change. As Finnish educator ... Read More »

A Mass Shooting of, and for, the Internet

Before entering a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, the site of one of the deadliest mass murders in the country’s history, the accused gunman paused to endorse a YouTube star in a video that appeared to capture the shooting. Kevin Roose The New York Times “Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie,” he said. To an untrained eye, this would have seemed like a bizarre detour. But the people watching the video stream recognized it as something entirely different: a meme. Like ... Read More »

Christchurch Shooting Updates: 40 Are Dead After 2 Mosques Are Hit

Forty people were killed in shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, in a terrorist attack that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.” The New York Times • Officials said that four people were in custody, and that a number of explosive devices were found attached to vehicles that they had stopped. • A Muslim leader in New Zealand said the attack was especially shocking as it took place ... Read More »

‘This is New Zealand’s darkest day’: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responds to Christchurch shootings

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the man responsible for the horrific New Zealand mass shooting was Australian-born, labelling him an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”. Shannon Molloy, news.com.au Townsville Bulletin Addressing reporters in Sydney, Mr Morrison extended his sympathies to all New Zealand people and “particularly those of Islamic faith”, following the Christchurch attacked that claimed at least 40 lives. “Australia and New Zealand — we’re not just allies, we’re not just partners. We’re family. As family members… we grieve, ... Read More »

Music was ubiquitous in Ancient Greece

Now we can hear how it actually sounded Much of what we think of as Ancient Greek poetry, including Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, was composed to be sung, frequently with the accompaniment of musical instruments. aeon And while the Greeks left modern classicists many indications that music was omnipresent in society – from vases decorated with lyres, to melodic notation preserved on stone – the precise character and contours of the music has long been considered irreproducible. However, the UK ... Read More »

Drought-hit Toowoomba eyes Brisbane water

A drought-affected Queensland city may be forced to take millions of litres from Brisbane’s water supply via a yet-to-be-used pipeline. Brisbane Times AAP Toowoomba’s three dams were at 35.7 per cent on Thursday – the lowest level since before the 2011 floods. When the level falls below 40 per cent, the Regional Council is permitted to take water from Wivenhoe Dam – the main reservoir for Brisbane and Ipswich – via the $187 million Toowoomba Pipeline. While the council has ... Read More »

The Best of Bad Options for Syria’s Idlib

The Syrian regime vows to reconquer Idlib, the north-western zone hosting its hardest-core remaining jihadist opposition. ICG But an all-out offensive would be calamitous. Turkey and Russia should recommit to their “de-escalation” deal for Idlib, bolstering it with measures that buy time for a lasting solution. What’s new? An agreement between Turkey and Russia that protects Syria’s rebel-held Idlib governorate from a regime offensive is under increasing stress. Clashes between jihadists and other militants inside Idlib and regime forces have ... Read More »

Conspiracy theories fuel prejudice towards minority groups

Some 60% of British people believe in at least one conspiracy theory, a recent poll reveals. Authors: The Conversation From the idea that 9/11 was an inside job to the notion that climate change is a hoax, conspiracy theories divert attention away from the facts in favour of plots and schemes involving powerful and secret groups. With the aid of modern technology, conspiracy theories have found a natural home online. Conspiracy theories often unfairly and erroneously accuse minority groups of ... Read More »

EU on no-deal Brexit vote: ‘Like Titanic voting for the iceberg to move’

Brussels spokesman offers withering assessment of MP decision on Wednesday night The Irish Times Brussels has said a vote by UK MPs to block a no-deal Brexit in any circumstances is a meaningless move, with one senior EU negotiator describing it as “the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the way”. A European commission spokesman offered a withering assessment of the decision by MPs to ignore Theresa May’s assertion that no deal was the default position unless there was a ... Read More »

The farce and the furious: how May’s government shot itself in the foot

London: There is no bottom to the well of Brexit insanity. Nick Miller The Canberra Times On Wednesday, the British government managed to shoot itself in the foot with a gun that had no bullets in it. This should have been an easy day. The motion before the Commons – put by the government, with Prime Minister Theresa May as its signatory – was that it refused to back a “no deal” Brexit, something everyone but the most hard-core Brexiters agree ... Read More »

The ‘R’ word: Are Australians really getting poorer?

Is it the recession you have when you’re not having a recession? Tory Maguire The Age With an election looming, treasurer Josh Frydenberg is just weeks away from delivering his first, and possibly last, federal budget. Last week, OECD data revealed that the Australian economy has fallen into a ”per-capita recession” for the first time since 2006, with global and Australian growth predicted to slow even further. The announcement prompted scepticism from critics. Ross Gittins called it a scare tactic – that any ... Read More »