Search Results: military

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Theresa May's disingenuous Saudi stance

    • Daniel Read
    • 11 December 2016
    7 Comments

    The British Prime Minister is many things. Depending on which side of the political spectrum you're on, she's either a trailblazing female politician set on reclaiming Britain's independent role in Europe, or just another callous, career orientated Conservative ill-suited to the challenges at hand. One quality she does appear to possess, however, is a degree of honesty, particularly when it comes to Britain's controversial take on human rights and foreign trade. Or does she?

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Empathy for Russia after Trump's ascent

    • Justin Glyn
    • 14 November 2016
    6 Comments

    If a failure of empathy marks our understanding of internal politics, its effects are magnified, with even worse results, in the international arena. A classic example is Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the west has failed to take Russian interests seriously. I endorse neither the present Russian government nor its point of view. However, knowing that the other side has a point of view and what it is is vital in avoiding miscalculations. You don't get a second chance with nuclear weapons.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Finding yourself in the language of the Other

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 14 November 2016
    1 Comment

    In science fiction, stories of first contact typically have as much to say about humanity as they do about the extra-terrestrial creations of the author's imagination. Mary Doria Russell's 1998 novel The Sparrow explores the consequences of a Jesuit-led mission to a planet near Alpha Centauri, which are profound for the planet's sentient inhabitants and devastating for the human travellers. As in The Sparrow, language is central to Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve's philosophically piquant first contact story Arrival.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Five reasons to welcome US Manus deal

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 November 2016
    12 Comments

    The government has struck a deal with the USA which provides hope at last for the 1600 proven refugees on Manus and Nauru. There's still a lot of work to be done before these refugees can get on with their lives after three years of hopeless agony. Gone are the days of presuming that those who arrive without visas are in direct flight from persecution. Gone are the days when they get first option on the available humanitarian places. I welcome the government's decision, and await the detail.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A new generation of remembrance

    • Kate Mani
    • 09 November 2016
    8 Comments

    It's 9pm but the setting sun shows no sign of repose as it beams down across the vast wheat fields of Fromelles. The line between land and sky blurs as yellowing crops align with the sun's reach. On the other side of no man's land, a pale moon is just visible. Straight ahead a rough path through the wheat leads to the German lines. It's down this path that I file with the Friends of the 15th Brigade, descendants of the soldiers who fought here 100 years ago in the 59th and 60th AIF battalions.

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  • RELIGION

    New Jesuit General's feeling for the political periphery

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 November 2016
    6 Comments

    Ordinarily I wouldn't dare to say political leaders have anything to learn from Jesuits. But these are the kind of extraordinary times of anxiety and flux that led ancient rulers to consult oracles, read tea leaves and look at the flight of birds. People fret because their future and pockets rise and fall on the tide of of would-be presidents. In the sour slurry of discontent and puzzlement the election of a Venezuelan political scientist as international leader of the Jesuits provides material for broader reflection.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mosul and Aleppo: A tale of two sieges

    • Justin Glyn
    • 24 October 2016
    5 Comments

    This is a tale of two cities. Both are occupied by militants holding to an extremist reading of Islam which gives no space to other faiths or opposing voices. In both cases, the defenders are using civilians as human shields and preventing them from leaving in the breaks granted by the besieging forces. Both are under attack by the internationally recognised governments of the countries in which they are situated. In both cases, civilians are suffering. Yet the narratives in the west are wildly different.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Peace in Colombia heads into extra time

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 09 October 2016
    2 Comments

    Colombia has been on a massive political and emotional roller coaster. A peace accord to end the 52 years civil war was signed on 26 September, only to be rejected in a referendum on 2 October. A few days later President Juan Manuel Santos, whose referendum was rejected, received the 2016 Nobel Peace. All of this happened not in a hundred years, but in the space of a few weeks. Yet for those who know a bit about Latin American politics the defeat of Santos in the referendum was not unexpected.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Australia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Moonlight conventions

    • Ross Jackson
    • 05 September 2016
    2 Comments

    I put in my journal: 'a full moon tonight, crisp and splendidly clear for our walk around the shore and back to the resort' ... What did the Israeli professor remark? 'It bodes well on Hoshana Rabbah that we are casting shadows in moonlight.' Though our Chinese friend had little to say following this evening's lecture, he was right about the yellow plum at the bottom of the lake.

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  • RELIGION

    Rogue bishop's rebellious example lives on

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 01 September 2016
    19 Comments

    Many Brazilians remember the 'Red Bishop' as much more than a defender of human rights. For these people, Helder Camara is included reverently in the litany of rogues who drew the ire of church and state authorities by demanding both do a better job of embodying a message of social justice. It was a powerful idea to grow up with: that this imposing and defining institution I had been born and baptised into contained a rebellious truth that often demanded we go against the institution's own grain.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Antiheroes of the Bush-Cheney arms boom

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 24 August 2016

    War Dogs is the latest in a string of films from the past few years that are custom made for our cynical times; deeply ironic black comedies and dramas featuring antiheroes who profit to the point of excess off the misery of others. Where those films dealt with the finance industry and gained relevance from the backdrop of the Global Financial Crisis, this one shifts focus to the grimier world of arms dealing, in the context of Bush era conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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