Asia

Khashoggi murder: Storm clouds gather over Turkish-Saudi ties

Turkey’s determination to go all the way to force Saudi Arabia to come clean over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is pointing to a serious crisis in the making between the two countries. Semih Idiz Al-Monitor This crisis, which could have regional implications for Turkey, seems unavoidable since Ankara’s accusations ultimately target Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly referred to by his initials, MBS. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government have no affection for the crown prince, who ... Read More »

Managing American Decline

In Twilight of the Titans, two scholars provide a warning to a rising China, and a road map for the United States to regain its standing. Kori Schake The Atlantic America’s decline relative to a rising China has sparked interest among academics about power shifts in the international order—whether they can happen peacefully and under what conditions; what precedents exist and what they tell us. Now comes an important book, Twilight of the Titans, by Joseph M. Parent and Paul ... Read More »

Asylum seeker student’s university dreams revived after offers flood in

A top year 12 graduate who feared she would never get to attend university because of her asylum seeker status says her dreams are now a reality after being inundated with offers of help and support. By Lily Nothling and Dea Clark ABC Soumi Gopalakrishnan, 19, was the dux of her inner-city Brisbane school who dreamed of becoming a doctor. But as a Sri Lankan Tamil who fled her home country with her family four years ago, her prospects of ... Read More »

Will Erdogan Risk Turkey’s COE Membership?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the incarceration of Selahattin Demirtas, of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), is… Semih Idiz Sigma Insight Turkey The Court ruled that Demirtas, a former presidential candidate who has been in prison since November 2016 on terrorism charges, should be released immediately because he had been detained for… The ruling puts Ankara in a bind, because, contrary to what Erdogan is arguing, ECHR ... Read More »

Former Turkish PM’s son resurrects his father’s Welfare Party

Fatih Erbakan, the son of former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, has resurrected his father’s Welfare Party (RP), which was closed by Turkey’s top court in 1998. TM The New Welfare Party was announced by the younger Erbakan in a tweet on Friday. Abdülhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu, a grandchild of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamit II, who died in exile in 1918, was among the founders of the party. Necmettin Erbakan, a leading figure of Turkey’s Islamist movement, had formed the old RP ... Read More »

Iran: Mounting Crackdown on Teachers, Labor Activists

Authorities Arrest Union Leaders, Threaten Strikers (Beirut) – Iranian authorities have increased targeting of teachers and labor activists in recent weeks for organizing and conducting peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today. HRW On November 13, 2018, the Council for Coordination among Teachers Unions organized a walkout involving dozens of teachers across Iran to protest their insufficient salaries due to high inflation and poor living conditions. It was the second teacher-organized walkout since September 21, when Iran’s public school year ... Read More »

Why I’m sick of Turkey

Washington continues to claim Ankara as ‘strategic partner.’ Let’s stop pretending it is. Steven A. Cook Politico I am already sick of Turkey. I suspect that many Americans feel this way, about the bird and the country. Yet a small group of Washington foreign policy hands — at the State Department, at the Pentagon and in congressional offices — continue to make the case for Turkey as a “strategically important” partner to the… On paper, the country looks good: It ... Read More »

Beijing to Judge Every Resident Based on Behavior by End of 2020

China’s plan to judge each of its 1.3 billion people based on their social behavior is moving a step closer to reality, with Beijing set to adopt a lifelong points program by 2021 that assigns personalized ratings for… Bloomberg * The capital city will pool data from several departments to reward and punish some 22 million citizens based on their actions and reputations by the end of 2020, according to a plan posted on the Beijing municipal… Those with better so-called social ... Read More »

Why Amnesty was wrong to strip Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi of top honour

‘Speaking up’ will make her look good with the international Press, but it will do nothing for the challenges Myanmar faces. Abhijit Dutta Hindustan Times The international community needs to strengthen her hands, not weaken them. The vilification of Aung San Suu Kyi continues unabated. Whether it is Amnesty International or United States vice-president, Mike Pence, no one, it seems, can wait to signal their virtue by throwing an egg at her face. The gravest charge against Suu Kyi is ... Read More »

How to Halt Yemen’s Slide into Famine

A Saudi-led coalition attack on the city of Hodeida risks plunging millions of Yemenis into famine and will meet fierce resistance from Huthi rebels. ICG The U.S. should stop enabling coalition offensives and international stakeholders must quickly place Hodeida under UN control. What’s new?  At the end of October, fighting reached the outer edges of the city of Hodeida, a gateway on Yemen’s Red Sea coast for trade that is a lifeline for some two thirds of the country’s population. ... Read More »

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president on Wednesday, edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services who was strongly opposed by the U.S., Britain and other European nations. DUBAI – Associated Press Hurriyet Kim’s election was seen as a victory for the White House and its European partners, who had lobbied against Alexander Prokopchuk’s attempts to be named the next president of the policing organization. The U.S. and others expressed concern that if Russia’s candidate had been elected, ... Read More »

China uses the cloud to step up spying on Australian business

China’s peak security agency has directed a surge in cyber attacks on Australian companies over the past year, breaching an agreement struck between Premier Li Keqiang and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to not steal each other’s commercial secrets. Nick McKenzie, Angus Grigg & Chris Uhlmann The Age A Fairfax Media/Nine News investigation has confirmed that China’s Ministry of State Security is responsible for what is known in cyber circles as “Operation Cloud Hopper”, a wave of attacks detected by ... Read More »

How China diverts, then spies on Australia’s internet traffic

Internet traffic heading to Australia was diverted via mainland China over a six-day period last year, in what some experts believe may have enabled a targeted data theft. Nick McKenzie, Angus Grigg & Chris Uhlmann The Canberra Times The diverted traffic from Europe and North America was logged as a routing error by the state-owned China Telecom, according to data released for the first time by researchers at Tel Aviv University and the Naval War College in the US. “We ... Read More »

APEC 2018: US-China clash at regional meeting leads to historic summit failure

Deep divisions between the United States and China have derailed the APEC meeting in Port Moresby, with regional leaders failing to agree on a final communique for the first time in the summit’s history. By Pacific affairs reporter Stephen Dziedzic ABC The two regional powers clashed repeatedly over the language on trade in the final document, with Beijing angrily rejecting paragraphs that called for an overhaul of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and… The Trump administration has repeatedly accused China ... Read More »

Setback for Rohingya refugees as Bangladeshi repatriation plan stalls

Cox’s Bazar: Bangladesh’s plans to tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis are set to be stalled until the new year with repatriation and relocation programmes only likely be revisited after year-end general elections, a… Zeba Siddiqui Brisbane Times More than 720,000 Rohingya fled a sweeping army crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017, according to UN agencies. The crackdown was launched in response to insurgent Rohingya attacks on… Rohingya refugees say soldiers and Buddhist civilians killed families, burned many villages and carried ... Read More »

Anti-corruption activist shot dead in Iraq’s Basra

A prominent activist has been killed in Iraq‘s southern Basra province amid protests against poor public utilities and corruption, according to a local police officer. BAGHDAD – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Sheikh Wisam Ghazrawi outside his home in central Basra late Nov. 17, killing him on the spot, the officer said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media. Iraqi authorities have launched an investigation into the killing, for which no group has yet claimed responsibility. Ghazrawi, 30, was ... Read More »