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A chimpanzee cultural collapse is underway, and it’s driven by humans

Language, music, and art often vary between adjacent groups of people, and help us identify not only ourselves but also others. Authors: The Conversation And in recent years rich debates have emerged and spawned research into culture in non-human animals. Scientists first observed chimpanzees using tools more than half a century ago. As this complex behaviour appeared to differ across different populations, researchers concluded that tool use in apes was socially learned and therefore a cultural behaviour. This was the ... Read More »

Lebanon asserts against using maritime borders for gas pipeline from Israel to EU

Lebanon on Thursday warned its Mediterranean neighbours that a planned EastMed gas pipeline from Israel to the European Union must not be allowed to violate its… Devdiscourse Beirut has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Israel – which it regards as an enemy country – over a sea area of about 860 sq km (330 square miles) extending along the… Israel is hoping to enlist several European countries in the construction of a 2,000 km (1,243 miles) pipeline linking vast ... Read More »

The Politics of Selling Weapons to Algeria

Algiers looks to shift away from its dependance on Moscow. One of the biggest buyers of Russian weapons systems on the African continent wants the United States to revisit the restrictions that prevent it from buying military gear made in America. Maggie Ybarra The National Interest Algeria’s ambassador to the United States, Madjid Bouguerra, told the National Interestthat his country is looking expand its weapons acquisition program and improve its military-to-military relationship with the United States, which has been on a… ... Read More »

Nobody wants a return to war in Northern Ireland but events can create their own momentum

The 310-mile-long border that divides the north from the Irish Republic is a trip wire which has the capacity to trigger a political explosion, writes Patrick Cockburn from Belfast. Independent At the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s I used to visit Crossmaglen, a village in South Armagh close to the border with the Irish Republic and notorious as an Irish Republican stronghold. I would go there with my friend Ben Caraher, a teacher in Belfast who came from the village ... Read More »

Does Russia See a War Threat in Warsaw?

The United States need not further inflame the new cold war with unnecessary and provocative basing arrangements in Eastern Europe. Lyle J. Goldstein The National Interest In a surprising twist on Ostpolitik, the United States has become entranced by the charms of Poland. Warsaw has diligently sent contingents off to Afghanistan, and agreed last year to increase their numbers. It has also become a reasonably large market for U.S. armaments. While Washington admittedly did not get too excited about Poland’s global climate change conference last ... Read More »

After years of vicious culture wars, hope may yet triumph over hate in Australian politics

For a generation, politics has been wearying for those of good heart and outright damaging to those targeted in the culture wars unleashed in the 1990s. How this happened, and whether it will continue, are… Chris Wallace The Conversation The traditional post-war political struggle pitted class and concerns about inequality, opportunity and redistribution against capital and concerns about profits, property rights and the shoring up of… Over the past two decades, the moorings of this “left” versus “right” paradigm of ... Read More »

Michelle Bachelet has urged Australia to adopt “more humane policies” towards refugees.

The United Nations’ leading voice on human rights has criticised Australia’s refugee policies, specifically condemning plans to reopen Christmas Island detention centre. SBS UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet used an address on Wednesday to highlight rights abuses around the world, with Australia making the list. “The office has raised concern with Australia about the imminent transfer of migrants on Manus Island and Nauru to new detention centres,” the… “These people have been suffering for more than… Michelle ... Read More »

Brazil and Venezuela clash over migrants, humanitarian aid and closed borders

Venezuela’s borders are now dangerous flashpoints in a tense showdown between President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela’s self-declared interim president, Juan Guaidó. Authors: The Conversation The United States, Colombia and Brazil – all supporters of Guaidó’s quest to unseat Maduro – have amassed hundreds of tons of medical and food supplies at Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and… Maduro, who condemns the humanitarian convoys as the pretext for a U.S.-led military invasion, refuses to allow the aid through. The aid standoff grew ... Read More »

France must probe police conduct in ‘yellow vest’ protests: UN

The U.N. human rights chief called on March 6 for a “full investigation” into the possible excessive use of force by French police during the “yellow vest” demonstrations. GENEVA- Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “The ‘Gilets Jaunes’ (yellow vests) have been protesting what they see as exclusion from economic rights and participation in public affairs,” rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in her annual address to the… “We encourage the government to continue dialogue – including follow-up to the national discussions which are currently underway ... Read More »

Five books on work by French authors that you should read on your commute

An emerging genre of fiction in France is providing an unlikely brand of escapism. Growing numbers of French writers are choosing work as their subject matter – and it seems that readers can’t… Amy Wigelsworth The Conversation The prix du roman d’entreprise et du travail, the French prize for the best business or work-related novel, is testament to the sustained popularity of workplace fiction across the Channel. The prize has been awarded annually since 2009, and this year’s winner will ... Read More »

Vital conversations: older women have their say about the challenges of life in a city like Melbourne

Who decides what matters in the lives of voters? In the run-up to the 2018 Victorian state election, media focused on a few potential big issues of concern or interest. Harriet Radermacher The Conversation Newspapers featured pieces on the consequences of uncapped population growth in Victoria, particularly suburban housing sprawl and unaffordability. Public transport and the growing economic divide between communities also attracted media attention. Against this background, and in light of concerns raised by previous research, we wanted to engage with older women ... Read More »

Javad Zarif Returns—to a Foreign Ministry Still Out in the Cold

Iran’s Top Diplomat Vies for Authority “Considering that state affairs are not carried out in an optimal way free from the meddling of irresponsible persons, I am forced to resign my post to warn of potential dangers. By Mehrzad Boroujerdi FP I do not see it fitting to stay on as a cabinet member without being able to introduce any fundamental changes in the current system.” These were the departing words of Karim Sanjabi, Iran’s first postrevolutionary foreign minister, who ... Read More »

Protecting Women’s Space in Politics

Women human rights defenders around the globe are facing heightened threats of violence and repression. Isabelle Arradon ICG Sometimes they are targeted for being activists, and sometimes just for being women. World leaders should do much more to secure space for women’s safe participation in public life. In early January 2019, unknown gunmen shot dead Maritza Isabel Quiroz Leiva, a 60-year-old Colombian land rights activist on a small farm near the Caribbean city of Santa Marta. Her killing was a stark ... Read More »

All about juries: why do we actually need them and can they get it ‘wrong’?

There has been some debate over the recent conviction of George Pell, whose first trial ended with a hung jury, and the second a unanimous guilty verdict. Jacqui Horan The Conversation People are questioning our justice system, the potential bias of the jury, and whether the initial hung verdict invalidates the second, unanimous one. So, why should Australians trust 12 inexperienced people to sit in judgment on our most serious criminal trials, and get the verdict right? The importance of ... Read More »