Multiculturalism

Turkey’s gift of a mosque sparks fears of ‘neo-Ottomanism’ in Kosovo

Pristina badly needs a new mosque – but Turkish attempts to court the young Balkan state with investment and advocacy is making some uneasy. Maxim Edwards and Michael Colborne The Guardian It is six years since Islamic leaders and government officials laid the cornerstone of Pristina’s new central mosque – a slab of stone now hidden beneath weeds in a parking lot. Pulling back the weeds reveals it is covered with bright red graffiti – death threats to Kosovo’s chief ... Read More »

‘It unnerved us’: John Howard admits he mishandled the High Court’s Wik decision

Former prime minister John Howard has admitted his government mishandled its response to the High Court’s Wik decision, saying it created the impression the government was “drifting” and… Stephanie Peatling The Sydney Morning Herald In December 1996, the High Court upheld a decision in a case brought by the Wik and Thayorre people of Queensland against the Queensland government. It decided that native title is not necessarily extinguished by the grant of a pastoral lease and that native title can co-exist ... Read More »

Archbishop of Canterbury urges openness in new year message

Justin Welby says country should try to overcome recent struggles and divisions Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The archbishop of Canterbury has urged the country to start 2019 in a “new spirit of openness towards each other” in an attempt to overcome the struggles and divisions of recent years. Justin Welby was delivering a new year message from Lambeth Palace, his London base. Acknowledging that the festive period can be stressful for some families – “sometimes we get on each other’s nerves” ... Read More »

Turkey’s War on Christian Missionaries

The day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish prison, another Christian who had been living for nearly two decades in the country was detained by Turkish authorities, and told that he had two weeks to leave the country — without his wife and… Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The American-Canadian evangelist, David Byle, not only suffered several detentions and interrogations over the years, but he had been targeted for deportation on three occasions. Each time, he was saved ... Read More »

Australia’s unwanted refugees are living with ‘nightmares’ while building new lives in the US

While a passport seems like a commodity most of us take for granted, Faisal Parvez never had one — or a citizenship. Tasha Wibawa ABC He was born stateless as a persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. “The biggest dream I have in my life is to become a citizen anywhere on the planet,” he told the ABC. Mr Parvez is one of more than 445 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru who have been resettled in the United States ... Read More »

‘The world is diminished by the death of Amos Oz, it has narrowed down’

The writer David Grossman pays tribute to his friend, the Israeli novelist and outspoken peace campaigner Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The world has been “narrowed down” by the death of the Israeli literary giant Amos Oz, according to his close friend and fellow author David Grossman. “There will not be another Amos Oz, there was only one like him. You can say this about every human being, of course, but there was something unique about Amos,” Grossman told the Observer. “Those who appreciated ... Read More »

The Girl Who Lived

Remembering my grandmother, whose improbable survival became the foundational story for my family’s existence Franklin Foer The Atlantic There were the scissors that my grandmother somehow remembered to bring with her as she fled. She could hear the rumble of destruction in the distance. She could see the cloud of smoke that was the Nazi murder of her family and neighbors. Without forethought, she made the decision to run ahead, carrying with her the scissors and, despite the blossoms of ... Read More »

2018: The year in figures and charts

BY THE NUMBERS Telling the story of the last 12 months through data. By ARNAU BUSQUETS GUÀRDIA Politico What a tremendous, nebulous year. Very much like last year, 2018 was full of endless Brexit drama. And endless Trump drama. And then there was some more Brexit drama. And some more Trump drama. But hey, other stuff happened too (right?). The French proved that they are still the global champions of street protests, the far right grabbed headlines across the Continent and Angela ... Read More »

Trump Sows Chaos On Day 3 Of His ‘I Want A Wall’ Christmas Shutdown

The president has been all over the map on what his wall (which he promised Mexico would pay for) even means, exactly. S. V. Date HuffPost WASHINGTON — Maybe President Donald Trump cannot get his “great, great” concrete border wall because Congress refuses to pay for it, despite candidate Trump’s repeated promises that he would make Mexico do so. Or wait: It seems Trump has already built big sections of the wall, thanks to some $5 billion Congress has already ... Read More »

Matteo Salvini: Italian ports closed to migrants

Two charities sought permission to drop off people rescued off the Libyan coast. By THIBAULT LARGER Politico Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Sunday reiterated his stance that migrant vessels are not welcome at the country’s ports, following requests from NGOs to allow two rescue ships to dock. “Italian ports are CLOSED,” the right-wing leader tweeted in one of a series of posts on social media. “The traffickers of men and their accomplices know that our ports are closed, STOP!” he said. Two ... Read More »

Frank-Walter Steinmeier: Our democracy is as strong as we make it

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has urged the people of Germany to address tensions in society by engaging with each other. Christoph Strack DW The country must not be allowed to drift apart, he says in his annual Christmas speech. Political and societal dissent in Germany have grown louder and more intense in 2018. There is much talk of social division, of alienation between politicians and ordinary people. Many express anger, especially on so-called “social” media, where there’s often no real interest ... Read More »

Overtourism: too much of a good thing

The global tourism boom isn’t slowing down. What can travelers do to keep things in balance and aid in sustainability? Jonathan Tourtellot National Geographic Reykjavík isn’t what it used to be. The Icelandic capital’s main shopping street, Laugavegur, now belongs to tourism. Shops bill themselves in English, not Icelandic: Icemart, Chuck Norris Grill, a “Woolcano” gift shop. A lone hardware store has survived the wave of touristification. The term “overtourism”—too many tourists—has been moving from travel-industry jargon into the mainstream, ... Read More »

After More Than Two Decades of Work, a New Hebrew Bible to Rival the King James

The pre-eminent scholar Robert Alter has finally finished his own translation. Avi Steinberg The New York Times One morning this fall, at his home high in the Berkeley hills, the literary critic and translator Robert Alter chatted with me about the dilemmas he faced while translating the Hebrew Bible. Alter, who is 83, sat on a sofa with a long-limbed, feline watchfulness. Behind him, a picture window looked out onto a… He occasionally cast a probing eye on his brand-new, ... Read More »

UK and German immigration: a tale of two very different laws

While Britain seems to put politics above the economy, Germany’s new law welcomes foreign job-seekers Jon Henley The Guardian Two European countries announced radical overhauls of their immigration rules on Wednesday, but there the similarity ended. Britain, where concerns about long-term impacts of immigration helped drive the 2016 vote to leave the European Union, billed its stricter regime as “a route to strengthened border security and an end to free movement”. Germany, however, facing such a shortage of workers that is threatening economic ... Read More »

New Zealand backs UN migration deal as Australia says no

While the UN Compact on Migration was adopted by 164 governments, New Zealand has been mulling its options amid lobbying from across the political spectrum. Source AAP – SBS New Zealand won’t be joining Australia in refusing to sign a non-binding United Nations migration agreement and has called claims the deal would undermine its national sovereignty “falsehoods”. The Morrison government last month said it would not be signing the UN Global Compact on Migration, despite having been actively negotiating the wording ... Read More »

What makes someone an ‘illegal immigrant’?

After months of negotiations and some controversy, a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was agreed by 164 countries in early December. Tendayi Bloom The Conversation In the final text of this agreement and in the process that led up to it, distinguishing between “legal” or “regular” and “illegal” or “irregular” migration was presented as central to a… But what does it mean for a state to identify somebody as an “illegal immigrant” – or even as an “immigrant” at all? ... Read More »