Leadership

Turkey’s Sweeping “Educational” Penetration into the Balkans

As part of its expansionist neo-Ottoman agenda, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been building mosques and setting up Islamic educational institutions around the world. Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The mosque that Ankara is currently constructing in Tirana, Albania, will reportedly be the largest of the dozens of its mosques in the Balkans. Through the Maarif Foundation — established in 2016 by means of a law enacted by the Turkish parliament, which gave it the authority to ... Read More »

Catholic Church orders nuns who protested Indian bishop accused of rape to leave state

Catholic nuns who protested against an Indian Bishop accused of rape have been ordered to leave the state of Kerala and serve the community from others parts of the country. Salvi Manish SBS A group of nuns who led a historic protest in the southern Indian state of Kerala that made the headlines worldwide last year have been issued with transfer notices by the Catholic Church. In response, the nuns have produced a letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala ... Read More »

Interpreting the U.S. Talks with the Taliban

Talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha have raised hopes that the U.S. could end its involvement in Afghanistan’s war. ICG Our Asia Program Director Laurel Miller and Afghanistan analysts Borhan Osman and Graeme Smith break down what was achieved and what remains unresolved. How significant were the U.S.-Taliban talks? Last week’s six-day talks between the U.S. and Taliban were the clearest sign yet that the U.S. is intent on withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, and that the ... Read More »

Centre-left Italian mayors are refusing to implement a government decree targeting migrants

Around 500 people will be evicted from a large refugee reception centre in Castelnuovo di Porto, a town close to Rome, before the end of January. Authors: The Conversation The move follows the adoption of a new “security decree” in early December 2018 by the Italian parliament, which reduces the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. The decree was spearheaded by Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister and leader of the right-wing Northern League, currently governing Italy in coalition with ... Read More »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

How political Islam is shifting Indonesia’s relations with us

Jakarta: On paper, the two men couldn’t be much more different. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, widely known as Ahok, is an ethnically-Chinese Christian former governor of Jakarta who was released from jail on Thursday after serving nearly two years for blasphemy. James Massola The Sydney Morning Herald The other man, Abu Bakar Bashir, is an 81-year-old firebrand cleric and spiritual leader of the Bali bombers who is much better known to Australians. Bashir was set for a shock early release from jail ... Read More »

Anti-War Democrats speak out against Donald Trump’s actions in Venezuela

At least three Democratic representatives known for their vocal anti-war positions have spoken out against President Donald Trump’s intervention in Venezuela’s political crisis. Tom O’Connor Newsweek As Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro entered his second term earlier this month, the country became increasingly destabilized by protests against what has been widely seen as government mishandling of economic woes that have led to… On Wednesday, opposition leader and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó declared himself president, a move recognized by the Trump administration, ... Read More »

Explained // What’s Behind Turkey’s Fervent Support for Venezuela’s Maduro

Economic and political ties between Ankara and Caracas have grown stronger, with Turkey being shipped tons of Venezuelan gold for refinement and processing. Haaretz and Reuters Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to offer support after the opposition leader declared himself interim president and won the backing of Washington and… Socialist Maduro described Juan Guaido’s move as a coup attempt. The United States, Canada and right-leaning Latin American governments recognised Guaido. Economic and political ties between Ankara and Caracas have grown stronger, ... Read More »

In Venezuela, a High-stakes Gambit

The Venezuelan National Assembly’s chairman, Juan Guaidó, has declared himself interim president, with the support of several foreign governments. Phil Gunson ICG Unless the Venezuelan military backs his move, it is unlikely to topple incumbent President Nicolás Maduro and could unleash greater repression and even outside military intervention. What is happening in Venezuela? On 23 January, amid a mass opposition demonstration that brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, opposition politician Juan Guaidó, chairman of ... Read More »

Europe in pieces: Where voters disagree

How a divided Continent faces the 2019 election. By Ryan Heath, Arnau Busquets Guàrdia, Hanne Cokelaere and Hanna Pawelec Politico The European Parliament election in May is expected to produce a major turnover in political power in the EU’s institutions, with populist parties making new gains and voters across the bloc split on what issues to prioritize in the ballot.  But what are voters most concerned about and do they trust the European Union to deliver? Here’s a look at ... Read More »

Shutdown enters 33rd day with no breakthrough in sight as US Senate sets votes

There was no sign of quick relief for 800,000 federal workers going without pay because of the partial government shutdown as the U.S. Senate scheduled votes on competing proposals to end the… WASHINGTON – Reuters Hurriyet Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he planned to hold a vote on Jan. 24 on a Democratic proposal that would fund the government for three weeks but does not include the… Its prospects appeared grim. The House of Representatives has passed several similar bills, but Trump has rejected ... Read More »

Immigration advocates to meet with Pence on deal to protect Dreamers, end shutdown

WASHINGTON – A group of immigration advocates is planning to meet Thursday with Vice President Mike Pence and top adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to see if there is a… Franco Ordoñez Miami Herald Trump may also “pop in” to the meeting being organized with officials from the League of United Latin American Citizens, Libre Initiative, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and… On Saturday, Trump spoke from the Oval Office and offered Democrats a three-year extension of protections ... Read More »

Davos 2019: David Attenborough issues stark warning about future of civilisation as he demands ‘practical solutions’ to combat climate change

‘What we do now…will profoundly affect the next few thousand years’ Zamira Rahim Independent Sir David Attenborough has issued a stark warning about climate change to business figures gathered in Davos, telling them that “what we do now…will profoundly affect the next few thousand years”. On the eve of this year’s World Economic Forum, the renowned naturalist told the audience that the worlds of business and politics should “get on with the practical solutions” needed to prevent environmental damage. “As a species we are expert ... Read More »