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RAMESH THAKUR. What Sank the Kim-Trump Summit?

The abrupt cancellation of next month’s planned meeting between the North Korean and US leaders should surprise no one. Developments in recent weeks exposed three factors that doomed the initiative to collapse.    

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PANKAJ MISHRA. A Gandhian Stand Against the Culture of Cruelty

The bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991, blew his face off. India’s former prime minister, and scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, was identified by his sneakers as he lay spread-eagled on the ground. Some Indian newspapers, refusing dignity to the dead and his survivors, published a picture of Gandhi’s half-dismembered body. I remembered the image recently when I read about the reaction of Rajiv’s son, Rahul Gandhi, which he related earlier this year, to a similar image of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the mastermind behind his father’s assassination. Continue reading

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JIM COOMBS. Best Things In Life.

The stars belong to everyone: The best things in life are free.” Or they ought to be. The last week of Budget Hysteria, made me think, “Is money all there is to life?” That seems to be what the government and opposition believe is all we care about. Continue reading

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MARTIN WOLF. Italy’s new rulers could shake the euro

Italy is not Greece. But not all the differences are encouraging. Its economy is 10-times bigger. Its €2.3tn public debt is seven-times bigger; it is the largest in the eurozone and fourth largest in the world. Italy is too big to fail and may be too big to save. The question is whether its new government will trigger such a crisis and, if so, what might follow? Continue reading

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Because our Reserve Bank has given every indication that it has no intention to raise official interest rates, a degree of complacency about Australia’s high levels of household debt has set in.  But in an article on the ABC’s website, business reporter David Taylor shows how rising US bond yields could flow through to Australian interest rates, even if the Reserve Bank maintains its low official rates.

While our government has been sending mixed and confused messages about our relationship with China, Deutsche Welle reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has led a high-level delegation to China aimed at strengthening two countries’ already strong economic cooperation. Merkel said that Beijing and Berlin “are both committed to the rules of the WTO and want to strengthen multilateralism.”

Which of our two main parties is better at managing the economy?  Ross Gittins diplomatically doesn’t answer that question, but he does outline the budgetary differences between the parties. “Labor would make income tax more redistributive, whereas the Coalition would make it less so. If that doesn’t offer voters a real choice, I don’t know what would” he writes.

Karnataka poll outcome indicative of India’s coalition future – UCANEWS.

Unions support Liddell’s clean energy transition – RenewEconomy

Brexit won’t happen – Simon Wren-Lewis

Get to know Elliott Broidy, the next major trump scandal figure – Washington Post

New Italian Prime Minister is a latin version of Jacob Rees Mogg – Spectator

Almost half of Australians being ‘conned’ into taking supplements – New Daily

Racism and the China debate: a response to Chris Zappone – David Brophy

Trump too good to be true – Emanuel Pastreich, Korea Times

A Gandhian stand against a culture of cruelty – New York Review of Books

In Saturday Extra (ABC Radio):    Over the last six months the Cambodia Daily closed, and the Phnom Penh Post, an English-language newspaper widely seen as the last bastion of free press in Cambodia, was sold to a Malaysian investor with ties to the Cambodian government.   In Thailand the editor of the Bangkok Post has said he was forced to step down. We examine threats to press freedom in South-east Asia.   Anniversary of the Uluru statement from the Heart anniversary. Guests: Prof. Megan Davis & TBC Julian Leeser, Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples .    Pressure on boards and directors – Eric Kutcher, McKinsey senior partner and second guest to be confirmed.    A Foreign Affair: Elsina Wainwright, Kean Wong, Hervé Lemahieu.   The Epic Voyages of Maud Berridge: The seafaring dairies of a Victorian lady



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JAMES FERNYHOUGH. Revealed: Australia’s richest professionals and the suburbs they live in

If you’re a surgeon living in one of the opulent suburbs on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, then congratulations: you are a member of the highest paid group in Australia. Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. An Orwellian climate endangers planet

“Two plus two is five – if the party says so (George Orwell).

Should anyone record the history of the 20th and 21st centuries, they may report that, while temperatures and sea levels were rising, the human sense of reality has been clouded by electronic systems, including television, the internet and smartphones, by science fiction, virtual realities, public circuses, fake news, gratuitous hype and superlatives which overtook  common sense and the quest for protection of the earth and the survival of the species. Continue reading

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ANNE HURLEY. auDA has great opportunity to reinforce its role in our digitally-enabled future, but needs to understand that disunity is death.

Having watched with interest the unfolding debate over the future of auDA – the organisation charged with managing the Internet domain name space here on behalf of the federal government – I was delighted to recently be invited to join its new Consultation Model Working Group. auDA has drawn together a group of 16 members, which includes a broad range of people with knowledge and expertise in the running of the Internet in this country over many years.  Continue reading

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VIC ROWLANDS. Gonski and better learning.

The Holy Grail of teaching is not how children learn so much as when and why they learn, why they learn differently with the same teacher, or differently within the same class. The Age (26/5) reported:  “Schools have largely ignored data on their students published on the government’s  MySchool website, and one in four principals say the initiative has harmed their school.” (Two thirds said the effect was neutral.)  Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Parties offer clear choice at next election

The federal election campaign could be as soon as August and no later than May. So which side is shaping as better at managing the economy? Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Korea: the Hermit Kingdom rises again?

The peace negotiations on the Korean Peninsula remain fragile and neither the USA or the DPRK trusts the other. Neither side has been specific about what they will accept and the question remains what it has always been. What does Kim want in return for what he is willing to give and what is Trump willing to give for what he wants? Trumps threat to pull out of the meeting and Kim’s equally bellicose talk of war don’t help matters but neither is likely to be stupid enough to put their nukes where their mouth is. The role of China will be vital both in protecting its own interests and as a possible guarantor of DPRK security. The ROK takes a positive and realistic approach but tends to be overshadowed by the others. Australia has vital interests in this process but is not a serious player. This article looks at the options and factors involved.   Continue reading

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LEO PATTERSON ROSS. Renters still face unacceptably poor conditions.

Governments at both federal and state levels continue to rely on the supply of bricks and mortar to solve Australia’s housing issues. We should be focusing not only on how many buildings are supplied, but what those buildings contain – people, trying to make a home. Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. US Ultimatum to Iran: A Classic or a Fake?

Secretary of State Pompeo’s speech to roll out the US Plan B on Iran’s nuclear programme was an ultimatum and, a plan for regime change in Iran. The ultimatum will be rejected but without the classic follow up; in this case, an attack on Iran. It will be proven to be an undeliverable fake.   Continue reading

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CLIVE KESSLER Mahathir, Anwar and the Islamic threat.

Malaysia’s recent national elections either announced a new dawn or they simply mark the beginning of another dark and difficult time in the country’s much-contested political story. Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Revolving doors at the infrastructure club

Infrastructure Australia should be made a Commission and do its work in public. Continue reading

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Australia must position itself in Asia (ABC radio interview with Hugh White)

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MICHAEL MULLINS. Wilson conviction exposes Australian bishops’ lack of contrition

Recently a friend abused by a priest in Newcastle 40 years ago took his own life. Archbishop Philip Wilson was convicted this week for concealing sexual abuse in that diocese around the same time. Church leaders valued the institution ahead of its people, and unfortunately it appears little has changed in the attitude of the Australian bishops. Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 7 Comments

NED CUTCHER. House prices off the boil in some cities, but it’s still grim for renters.

2017 was hoped to have been the year of the renter.  As Federal Budget 2018 ticks by, the picture remains grim for low-income renters, despite property prices having come off the boil (for now) in some capital cities.   Continue reading

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JACK DE GROOT. A home is much more than a roof over your head

This year’s Federal Budget delivered no vision, plan or commitment for addressing the growing housing affordability crisis, yet again failing to recognise how fundamental it is to our nation’s wellbeing to prioritise solving this problem. Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. Freight: fresh disappointment for our Prime Minister

Pity Prime Minister Turnbull – an intelligent man, trying to secure productive reform of this sector, yet met with fresh disappointment at each turn.    Turnbull has made a number of moves in the transport space to suggest he has seen through a lot of second-rate advice and now wants something better: a more efficient freight sector, for one thing. Continue reading

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GRAEME WORBOYS. Save Kosciuszko.

Australians need to save Kosciuszko from legislative action that will lead to the decline of one of Australia’s most beautiful areas, its mountain water catchments and unique alpine native animals and plants. Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 3 Comments

DAVID JAMES. Japan could lead the way in forgiving debt

As the world economy groans under soaring levels of debt, the place to look is Japan, whose current government debt-to-GDP ratio is an eye watering 253 per cent. It is Japan, which led the developed world into its current mess, that is likely to lead the world out of it by cancelling debt. The consequences of such a move, if it happens, would be far reaching. Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 4 Comments

CHRIS GERAGHTY. The Plenary Council.

After the Royal Commission in Child Sexual Abuse in Australia, the Irish child abuse commission 2009 on the other side of the world and the resignation of all the bishops in Chile, the Roman Catholic Church as we know it has received the last rites lying in periculo mortis in intensive care and is now on a respirator. The family has been notified, a plot has been purchased and the funeral director is on stand-by.  Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 6 Comments

URI AVNERY. The Day of Shame

ON BLOODY MONDAY this past week, when the number of Palestinian killed and wounded was rising by the hour, I asked myself: what would I have done if I had been a youngster of 15 in the Gaza Strip? Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 1 Comment

WENDY HAYHURST. Budget 2018: What happened to affordable housing?

No joy from Budget 2018.  Governments do have the resources to tackle affordable housing shortfalls.  They just don’t have the will to accord it the requisite priority.  In so failing, they ignore not only the deep and lasting social costs of such neglect, but also the strong economic case for addressing housing affordability. Continue reading

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PETER PHIBBS. Australian housing policy – going around in circles

The housing affordability report card for the last 12 months is a mixed one.  A welcome reduction in price and rental pressures in some capital cities is offset by rising homelessness and ongoing housing stress for those on lower incomes, for whom more direct help is needed.  Policy debate is often still very confused, even amongst some of our most revered institutions, including the RBA. Continue reading

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SUE WAREHAM. How the Australian War Memorial has lost its way.

In a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories inquiry into Canberra’s national institutions Sue Wareham ,on behalf of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) calls for major changes at the AWM

The submission notes that the inquiry’s purpose is to report on strategies that Canberra’s national institutions are using to “maintain viability and relevance to sustainably grow their profile, visitor numbers, and revenue”. Extracts below  from this submission by MAPW call for new forms of public engagement and audience participation.   Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 4 Comments

WANNING SUN. Is Anti-China Rhetoric Harming Social Cohesion in Australia?

In September 2016, I published a major report on the Chinese-language media in Australia, and one of the points I made there was that the state Chinese media have been making gradual inroads into Australia’s existing ethnic Chinese newspapers and radio programs. Many commentators have cited this trend as evidence of China’s influence within our nation.  Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 4 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. Attempts to appease Trump will end badly

When the Iran deal was signed three years ago, it met with stiff opposition from hardliners in Tehran and Washington. The former were infuriated at closing off possible pathways to the bomb while the agreement lasts in return for sipping from the poisoned chalice of an untrustworthy Satan. The American neocons were frustrated that regime change by all means necessary was closed off as long as the agreement held. Continue reading

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DMITRI TRENIN. Russia and Ukraine: From Brothers to Neighbours.

Russia is parting ways with both Ukraine and Belarus. This did not have to be a tragedy with Ukraine, and can still be handled amicably with Belarus. Moreover, an independent Ukrainian state and a Ukrainian political nation ease Russia’s transition from its post-imperial condition and facilitate the formation of a Russian political nation. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 3 Comments