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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 »

Gordon Brown: I didn’t think I’d see child poverty again in my lifetime

Ex-chancellor’s tax credits started to erase problem – but universal credit reverses trend Gordon Brown is on familiar territory. Larry Elliott The Guardian The former prime minister is parked on a sofa in a family centre in the heart of his old constituency and holding forth about poverty. The venue, a family centre called the Cottage, is in the Templehall part of Kirkcaldy and easy to miss. The poverty that it is helping to alleviate is not. When it launched its ... Read More »

Australia has much to celebrate – and to fear

An acquaintance was walking his dog along the promenade at Sydney’s Manly beach one beautiful morning recently. Peter Hartcher WAtoday He describes the golden sun sparkling on the waves, the mild breeze, the grace of the surfers, the people strolling and jogging, enjoying the early calm under the soaring Norfolk pines. He happened to pass one of the many park benches overlooking the ocean, where three older blokes sat contemplating the scene, pudgy hands clasped across substantial bellies. “Yeah,” he overheard ... Read More »

Suppression orders in Australia: why you can’t read what you may want to

After Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews said he would overhaul the state’s use of orders, here is a guide to the legal bans Naaman Zhou The Guardian What is a suppression order? A suppression order is made when a court prohibits the disclosure of information about a legal case. These are ordered in Australia for a variety of reasons – in the interest of national security, to protect the safety of witnesses, or to guarantee a fair trial. They can be ... Read More »

10 organisations sign up to improve criminal justice sector

Ten organisations from the legal profession, judiciary and government, have signed an agreement to collaboratively improve the wellbeing of those working in the criminal justice sector. Emma Ryan Lawyers Weekly The 10 signatories to the Statement of Shared Commitment to improve wellbeing across the sector are: the Criminal Bar Association, Victoria Police, the Judicial College of Victoria, Victoria Legal Aid, the… In signing the agreement, the group has committed to working together to find ways to reduce stress on those working ... 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 »

China: Repression of Christian Church Intensifies

Protestant Pastor, Dozens of Congregants Detained (New York) – Chinese authorities should immediately release the pastor and scores of members of an independent Protestant church in the southwestern city of Chengdu, Human Rights Watch said today. HRW Authorities should also return church properties and allow the members to resume worship services. On December 9 and 10, 2018, police officers in Chengdu took into custody Pastor Wang Yi and more than 100 congregants of the Early Rain Covenant Church from the ... Read More »

We can’t fix violence against women until we see this as an epidemic

The day I heard that Olga Edwards’s children had been murdered by their father in July this year, I rang the only women I know who would really understand. Jenna Price Brisbane Times Rosie Batty and Ann O’Neill. Their children were killed in front of them. Just writing those words is chilling. We take our children with us in our hearts everywhere, every day. They are at once the reason we live and the elephant on our shoulders. Their death ... Read More »

Book Excerpt – Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy.

Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes present the second edition of their important work on this timely topic. China has a dream. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials tell us so. Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes The National Interest President Xi Jinping, who ranks first among them, made “Chinese Dream” his credo soon after ascending to China’s top post in 2012. And this is no mere slogan; it encapsulates CCP officialdom’s vision of China’s purposes and aspirations, first and foremost of which ... Read More »

Nature is a rich source of medicine – if we can protect it

The Pacific yew tree is a fairly small and slow growing conifer native to the Pacific Northwest. The Gila monster is a lizard with striking orange and black markings from the drylands of the Southwestern US and Mexico. Authors: The Conversation Two very different organisms, but with a fascinating connection. They’ve both given us drugs that have saved and improved the lives of millions of people. Paclitaxel, originally isolated in 1971 from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree, is ... Read More »

Confront Turkey’s ethnic cleansing and stop indulging it

Every April, Turkish diplomats and members of the Congressional Turkey Caucus scramble to avert a resolution recognizing as genocide the World War I-era Ottoman massacres of Armenians. Washington Examiner Turkish officials oppose any resolution holding Turkey responsible both because the Republic of Turkey was not formally declared until 1923 and because they hold that what happened was not deliberate but… Other Turkish historians and politicians hold that the evidence upon which genocide historians rely is exaggerated if not fraudulent. Lost ... Read More »

Democracy has no clothes

Experiments with citizens’ juries point to a better way of making decisions. Patrick Chalmers Politico TOULOUSE, France — In the Danish fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” it was a little boy who pointed out what no adult dared expose: The king was naked; his court, a cast of pompous fools beguiled by tricksters. It’s time to do the same with our own reified system of government — representative democracy and its so-called free and fair elections. Shocking? Of course it ... Read More »

European Parliament raises concerns about EU funds in Czech Republic

Prime Minister Babiš’ business interests have come under significant scrutiny. Lili Bayer Politico The European Parliament Thursday adopted a resolution raising concerns about conflict of interest and the use of EU money in the Czech Republic. The Parliament “regrets that for a long time the Commission remained passive, despite there having been strong indications since 2014 that Mr [Andrej] Babiš had a conflict of interest in his role as Minister of Finance and later as Prime Minister,” the MEPs wrote ... Read More »