Asia

Intensifying climate change protests ‘could rival Vietnam War activism’

Mass protests of the scale held during the Vietnam War are just around the corner for people concerned about climate change, environmentalists have warned, as a growing number of activists turn their… Malcolm Sutton ABC Activists on Sunday disrupted Labor’s national conference in Adelaide to oppose oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight and the Adani coal mine in Queensland — two proposals considered “lightning rods” for… It happened weeks after thousands of school students defied Prime Minister Scott Morrison ... Read More »

Michael Flynn’s former associate charged with secret lobbying for Turkey against Fethullah Gulen

An ex-business partner of former US national security adviser Michael Flynn and a businessman with ties to Turkish Government officials have been charged with undisclosed lobbying aimed at the… ABC Reuters Mr Flynn’s former partner, Bijan Rafiekian, was indicted on two criminal counts, including conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed on Monday in the… Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish-Dutch businessman, was charged for allegedly plotting with Turkish officials to cause ... Read More »

Climate action must now focus on the global rich and their corporations

The latest UN climate talks, known as COP24, have just concluded. Nicholas Beuret The Conversation The supposed story this time was one of a grinding victory by the EU and developing nations over recalcitrant petro-states – Russia, the US, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. These four, condemned as “climate villains” over the past week, worked to block the adoption of a critical IPCC report that detailed how woefully inadequate current international action was for limiting future climate change to 1.5C. Building ... Read More »

Chinese activists shave heads to protest persecution of partners

The partners of four of China’s most prominent rights lawyers and activists are now bald, in protest over what they call the “persecution” of their husbands by the Government. ABC Reuters Since taking office in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen a crackdown on dissent, with hundreds of rights lawyers and activists being detained, arrested and jailed. Four wives of lawyers detained during a July 2015 sweep known as the 709 crackdown gathered in the central park of a ... Read More »

Goldman’s Woes Mount as Malaysia Slaps First Criminal Charge

Malaysia is demanding Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bear the brunt of the 1MDB scandal, opening up another legal front for the Wall Street firm over its role raising money for the investment fund. By Anisah Shukry and Sridhar Natarajan Bloomberg The country filed the first criminal charges against the U.S. bank in the global corruption probe on Monday, after publicly urging Goldman to come to the negotiating table or face litigation. The firm already is in the thick of investigations ... Read More »

Time for a Modest Deal: How to Get U.S.-North Korean Talks Moving Forward

Last June’s U.S.-North Korean summit cleared the atmosphere, but follow-up talks have accomplished little, meaning that dark clouds could easily gather again. ICG To jump-start progress, negotiators should start small, moving incrementally toward realising the long-term goals of Washington, Pyongyang and Seoul. What’s new? 2017’s war of words between the U.S. and North Korea is a fading memory. In its place has come a period of calm, particularly after the leader-level summit in June. But substantive negotiations have foundered, and ... Read More »

German arms export policy condemned by church organization

The German government is not keeping its promises of restricting arms exports to countries fighting in Yemen, a church organization has said. Arms firms are selling weapons to Saudi Arabia via foreign subsidiaries. Ben Knight DW A German church organization representing both the Catholic and Protestant churches has condemned the country’s arms exports, as criticism mounts of Angela Merkel’s decision to allow old Saudi weapons orders to be fulfilled, despite a recent promise to put exports to Saudi Arabia temporarily on hold. ... Read More »

Lawless on the High Seas: Why the U.S. Can and Must Ratify UNCLOS

Out in the middle of the South China Sea, several islands now exist where none did before. Indigo Funk Brown Political Review What were once simple reefs and shoals are now full-fledged islands that host massive Chinese military bases, thanks to a government initiative that used thousands of tons of sand to achieve the goal. The Chinese government’s justification is that they own most of the South China Sea due to “historical claims” that only date back to 1942. It’s ... Read More »

North Cyprus journalist takes on Turkey’s mighty Erdogan

“There is always a price you pay for freedom of expression” AFP Arab News NICOSIA: Jail time, angry mobs and assassination attempts — editor Sener Levent has paid a price for challenging Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and authorities in breakaway northern Cyprus through his tiny newspaper. Alongside the stacks of old papers on his desk in northern Nicosia, a luminous screen displays footage from security cameras at his office’s entrances. The cameras are part of protective measures in place ... Read More »

China Confronts Its Eternal Dilemma

With pressure building for major stimulus, leaders must decide whether boosting growth or controlling debt is more important. Christopher Balding Bloomberg China’s top leaders meet this week in Beijing to set economic policy objectives for the coming year. The central question is whether they will do what they want or what the country needs. Clear evidence has emerged in the past couple of months that the Chinese economy is slowing to an uncomfortable degree. That’s raised expectations that the leadership ... Read More »

As Kurdish fighters move on last Isis-controlled town in Syria, Turkey threatens attack

Syria’s main Kurdish parties called Turkey’s warnings a ‘declaration of war’ Richard Hall Independent Kurdish forces are on the brink of capturing the last town under Isis control in Syria – but before that battle is over they might have to face a Turkish invasion. The town of Hajin, on the banks of the Euphrates river in eastern Syria, is Isis’s last holdout in the country. After three months of intense fighting, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday that it had taken most of the ... Read More »

Government to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but keeps embassy in Tel Aviv

The Australian Government will recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel but will not immediately move its embassy from Tel Aviv. Jade Macmillan ABC It is understood Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce the decision during a speech in Sydney today. He is also expected to acknowledge the aspirations of Palestinians for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem. The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network said it was dismayed by the Prime Minister’s plan, which it argued would ... Read More »

In the words of Taffan Ako: “I believe you have to be in the system in order to change the system”

By UN Women – A refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan, Taffan Ako fled to Sweden in 1997 with her family. Women You Should Know Today she is the Coordinator of One Young World Ambassadors for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and founder of EmpowHERment, an organization that assists women and young girls who have been former ISIS sex slaves or victims of human trafficking. Her foundation finances integration projects for children and women in Europe and in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ako was one of ... Read More »

Reviving UN Mediation on Iraq’s Disputed Internal Boundaries

The fallout is settling after the Iraqi army’s seizure of territories disputed between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region. ICG More conflict over these areas, particularly oil-rich Kirkuk, is predictable. The UN should take advantage of today’s quiet to explore negotiations on the contested lands’ status. What’s new?  Following parliamentary and regional elections this year, Baghdad and Erbil are forming new governments. This presents a fresh opportunity to settle longstanding disputes between them. One of their principal disputes concerns the ... Read More »

What the US could learn from Thailand about health care coverage

The open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) draws to a close on Dec. 15. Joseph Harris The Conversation Yet, recent assaults on the ACA by the Trump administration stand in marked contrast to efforts to expand access to health care and medicine in the rest of the world. In fact, on Dec. 12, the world observed Universal Coverage Day, a day celebrated by the United Nations to commemorate passage of a… While the U.N. measure was nonbinding ... Read More »

Role reversal: China cites human rights in spat with Canada

When China’s government recently protested the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou, it used something rarely heard from Beijing — the language of… David Webster The Conversation “The detention without giving any reason violates a person’s human rights,” a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said. In using this sort of “rights talk,” China is not simply jumping on the fact that Meng was in detention on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ... Read More »