Asia

Corbyn to skip Balfour centennial dinner with Netanyahu

Emily Thornberry to attend event in Labour leader’s absence; Israeli envoy to UK brands opponents of declaration ‘extremists’ Alexander Fulbright The Times of Israel UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has reportedly declined to attend a dinner in London this week with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which pledged Britain’s support for a Jewish national… Although no reason was given for Corbyn’s decision to skip the event, which was reported by the Sunday ... Read More »

Oxfam urges Australian fashion brands to end worker exploitation

The Bangladeshi factory worker who may well have made your t-shirt could be earning as little as 39 cents an hour Sarah Farnsworth  That is the sobering message coming from non-for-profit organisation Oxfam Australia’s “What She Makes” report released today. ABC Deloitte Access Economics was engaged by Oxfam to analyse Australia’s garment supply chain and work out what proportion of the cost of a garment ends up in the pocket of the person who made it. It found in the ... Read More »

A War of Words Puts Facebook at the Center of Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis

Myanmar’s government has barred Ashin Wirathu, an ultranationalist Buddhist monk, from public preaching for the past year, saying his speeches helped fuel the violence against the country’s Rohingya ethnic group that the United Nations calls ethnic cleansing. Megan Specia and Paul Mozur The New York Times So he has turned to an even more powerful and ubiquitous platform to get his message out — Facebook. Every day he posts updates, often containing false information, that spread a narrative of the ... Read More »

Turkey can’t integrate Russian missiles: NATO

A leading NATO official has said that Turkey will face “consequences” if it purchases a Russian air-defense system “The principal of sovereignty obviously exists in acquisition of defense equipment, but the same way that nations are sovereign in making their decision, they are also sovereign in facing the consequences of that decision,” said Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, on Oct. 25 during a Washington meeting with a group of reporters hosted by the Defense Writers Group. Hurriyet ... Read More »

Does Saudi robot citizen have more rights than women?

Meet Sophia, a robot who made her first public appearance in the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh on Monday. Rozina Sini BBC UGC and Social News Sophia was such a hit she was immediately given Saudi citizenship in front of hundreds of delegates at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on 25 October. But as pictures and videos of Sophia began circulating on social media many started to ask why a robot already seemed to have secured more rights than ... Read More »

ISIS: Some Things Cannot Be Killed Off

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: ISIS is facing defeat and liquidation, but its members are dispersing throughout the world and establishing local branches. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar BESA The idea of the Islamic Caliphate is not dead, and the struggle in the West is not over. ISIS may disappear as an organization, but the world will continue to suffer from the evil spirit that this organization has instilled among too many Muslims. As the city of Raqqa, the capital of the ... Read More »

Will anyone protect the Rohingya?

Since August, the Rohingya, an ethnic minority in Myanmar, has faced what a United Nations official called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Vincent A. Auger  The Conversation Recent reports describe a campaign by Myanmar security forces to drive the Rohingya from the country permanently. Hundreds of thousands have fled to camps in neighboring Bangladesh, creating a new refugee crisis. This is exactly the type of atrocity that the United Nations vowed to combat in 2005, when it asserted a ... Read More »

Turkey’s other Hagia Sophia – in Trabzon

Once a church – and a hospital and a museum – it is now a mosque and also one of Turkey’s best-preserved buildings of the late Byzantine era. Admission is free and there is much here for visitors of all faiths Caroline Eden The Guardian It may be far smaller and much less famous than its namesake in Istanbul, but what Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia lacks in architectural splendour it makes up for in tranquillity and beauty. Right by the sea, ... Read More »

Kurdish Fears of New Iranian-Backed Genocide ‘Must Be Taken Seriously,’ Expert Urges

Kurdish warnings that they face a potential genocide at the hands of the Iranian-backed forces that have swept through Iraqi Kurdistan over the last ten days “need to be taken seriously,” a leading expert on Kurdish affairs said on… Ben Cohen  Algemeiner “There is a great fear among the Kurds that they could face another genocide at the hands of the Iraqi government and the Shia militia forces backed by Iran,” Julie Lenarz — the executive director of the Human ... Read More »

Xi Jinping becomes most powerful leader since Mao with China’s change to constitution

Rare accolade puts Xi’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics into Communist charter and sets him on course for indefinite spell in power Tom Phillips Is Xi or isn’t Xi? Who said it – Jinping or Mao Zedong? The Guardian Xi Jinping has been consecrated as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong after a new body of political thought carrying his name was added to the Communist party’s constitution. The symbolic move came on the final day of a ... Read More »

Cambodian refugee deal a ‘bad joke’, says former foreign affairs minister Gareth Evans

The $55 million deal to resettle refugees in Cambodia is a “joke in bad taste” that has undermined Australia’s diplomatic influence, says former Labor foreign affairs minister Gareth Evans. Liam Cochrane ABC Mr Evans said Australian diplomacy has been hobbled by the refugee deal at a time when something needs to be done to address Cambodia’s slide into authoritarianism. The deal with Cambodia was struck three years ago under then immigration minister Scott Morrison, but at last count, just three ... Read More »

There is a bright spot amid the world’s problems and we should mark it

It’s easy to get a bit depressed by the state of the world’s problems, so we should take a moment to mark the triumphs. Peter Hartcher  One of the world’s most malicious and vicious groups, Daesh, which wants to be called Islamic State, has just been crushed. The Sydney Morning Herald  It’s been crushed in the Middle East and, simultaneously, crushed in South East Asia. To its credit, Australia is one of only three countries that joined the effort in ... Read More »

After six tests, the mountain hosting North Korea’s nuclear blasts may be exhausted

Tokyo: Have North Korea’s nuclear tests become so big that they’ve altered the geological structure of the land? Anna Fifield Washington Post The Sydney Morning Herald Some analysts now see signs that Mount Mantap, the 2200-metre-high peak under which North Korea detonates its nuclear bombs, is suffering from “tired mountain syndrome”. The mountain visibly shifted during the last nuclear test, an enormous detonation that was recorded as a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in North Korea’s northeast. Since then, the area, which is not ... Read More »

A Blueprint for Minimizing Iran’s Influence in the Middle East

America needs a better strategy for containing and checking Iran, and that strategy is needed now. John Allen Michael O’Hanlon The National Interest President Donald Trump would be making a serious mistake were he to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the 2015 nuclear deal between various world powers and Iran—in coming months. This action, which Trump has threatened if Congress does not act soon to toughen our overall Iran policy, would be a much more serious blow to American interests and to ... Read More »

Expansion of Gaza fishing zone ‘pointless PR stunt’

For the 4,000 registered fishermen in the besieged Gaza Strip, a proposed Israeli plan to let them temporarily fish farther out from shore is “far from enough”. Farah Najjar Al Jazeera Fishermen told Al Jazeera that Israel’s move to slightly expand the fishing zone limit from six to nine nautical miles, implemented this week, will have little effect in reality. “It makes no difference whatsoever to us,” Nizar Ayash, head of Gaza’s fishermen’s union, told Al Jazeera. “It’s economically pointless, and this is ... Read More »

US, France slam detention of leading Turkish activist Osman Kavala

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has said the arrest of the prominent activist and businessman Osman Kavala was an example of a “very alarming trend” of the detention of civil society leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and… Hurriyet “We have expressed to the Turkish government our concerns on many occasions about this trend … It remains a major concern of ours,” Nauert told reporters in Washington on… The French Foreign Ministry also stated on Oct. 19 that it ... Read More »