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Sitting on the Fence: Australia’s Current Stance on the Israel-Palestine Conflict

A protest in Melbourne, 2010. Photo: Takver on flickr Last month, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, released a statement asserting that “the Australian Government strongly opposes the Boycott Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) campaign” against Israel. The BDS movement, a worldwide campaign, seeks to put pressure on Israel to meet its international law and human rights obligations. “Such boycotts, in addition to harming Palestinian people economically, are unhelpful to the Middle East peace process,” continued Mr Carr’s statement, which came a day after the Australian senate—Mr Carr included—actually opposed an anti-BDS motion. With Palestine seeking to become a “non-member observer state” of the UN before the end of 2012, the time has come for Australian politicians to take a consistent and coherent stance on the Israel-Palestine issue.

 

By: Sean Kearns

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Fighting A Losing Battle? The Maldives and Climate Change

Map of the Maldives Photo: Wikimedia CommonsIn the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the world’s lowest lying nation received a wake-up call. At no more than one and a half meters above sea level, the Republic of Maldives found more than 12,000 of its people displaced and several of its islands completely submerged below sea level. In a nation consisting of about 1200 islands, rising sea levels and expected increases in natural disasters  characterise the next big struggle for this young democracy: Climate Change.

 

By: Sofia Murad

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The Struggle for a Clean Parliament

Chesno activists spreading blacklists among the public Photo: Official webpage of ChesnoCorruption, deeply rooted in political and social structures, has long been undermining the development of many countries and regions of the world. Arguably, the most voluminous and damaging effects of this process take place at the highest legislative level. The Coalition for a Clean Parliament (CCP), initiated by the civil society of Romania, has become a self-protective tool that has been inspiring others to join the fight to root out the weeds of corruption.

By: Yana Brovdiy

 

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Moving on – Ethiopia after Meles

Former Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi Photo: Zahur Ramji / MediapixMeles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s long-standing Prime Minister, passed away on August 20th this year. After 21 years in power, his sudden death has left much uncertainty in Africa’s second most populous country. Hailemariam Desalegn, most recently Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, was sworn in as Prime Minister on September 21st. The country has experienced a decade of rapid economic growth under Meles. But growing political instability and ethnic tensions leave many questions unanswered regarding the country’s future.

 

By: Jesper Åkesson

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The Unwanted Legacy of Euro 2012

With only days to go until the first ball of Euro 2012 is kicked, the tournament’s hosts, Poland and Ukraine, are preparing to hold a major sporting event for the first time. From June 8 until July 1, their major cities will fill with enthusiastic supporters of Europe’s 16 best national football teams. There is little doubt that the host nations’ promise of a fantastic atmosphere and wonderful, lasting memories for visiting fans will be fulfilled. However, while both Poland and Ukraine will undoubtedly benefit from the massive influx of tourists, once the tournament’s final whistle blows on July 1 only one thing will remain: the tournament’s costs.

By: Sean Kearns

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Future Europe

Looking back at Europe’s turmoil from sixty years ago and the crisis the EU is facing today, one can see a lot of resemblances. Stagnating or left behind economies, insecurity, radical changes in leaderships and last, but not least, high migration and the connected social and political discourses against it.

By: Paula Rosu

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Europe’s Crisis: The Presence of History

With Greek politics in turmoil, much of Southern Europe in recession and apparently diverging views on the economy emerging in Germany and France, no swift end to the eurozone crisis appears in sight. Worse still, some are beginning to see the continent’s crisis as a perpetual norm. When talking about economic crises, it is often the case that history can inform about the advantages and disadvantages of different policy choices. Nowhere is this more important today than in this everywhere-discussed topic.

By: Scott Sutherland

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Civilian casualties in NATO campaign in Libya raises questions

On May 14, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report examining cases of civilians killed in air-strikes conducted by NATO during its recent campaign in Libya. HRW reported a number of 72 civilians, including 20 women and 24 children, killed in 8 different incidents. Furthermore, according to the report, there was no clear military target in seven of these incidents. This would make the attacks a possible violation of the laws-of-war. In the eighth incident, there was one person believed to be a military commander killed alongside seven civilians.

By: Jakob Gustafsson

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Algeria’s Recent Elections: Plus ça change…

Algeria remains a country stagnated. In countries both to its east and west, radical developments have been taking place as a result of the Arab Spring. Libya managed to oust Gaddafi and his infamous regime.  Egypt was arguably the epicentre of the revolutionary movement that swept across North Africa and the Middle East. Tunisia successfully toppled a ruling family and is now on the smooth path to a functioning democracy. Morocco’s King Mohammed recently ceded some ground to an elected government. As for Algeria? Well, when Algeria went to the polls on May 10th to elect a new parliament, the question was raised once again: why did effectively nothing happen in North Africa’s largest country during the Arab Spring of 2011?

By: Brian Bolger

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Domestic abuse against women in China

Domestic abuse in China is as pervasive as it is hidden. A survey by the domestic All-China Womens Federation has estimated that more than 25% of all Chinese married women are subject to domestic abuse by their partner, with occurrences at least once a year. And while these numbers appear high, the organisation points to the cultural taboo of talking about domestic abuse in China implies underreporting, indicating that actual numbers may be even higher. Some estimations are that almost 65% of all married couples have instances of physical or mental abuse during their life together. According to All-China Womens Federation, almost all of these cases go unreported. Police and judges tend to see incidents of domestic violence as private matters, better resolved by community actions and by the couple themselves.

By: Fredrik Jandréus

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