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Kennedy brings Washington closer to Canberra (Stephen Loosley, The Strategist)

It was Prime Minister Robert Menzies who told President Lyndon B. Johnson bluntly but accurately what the simple requirement happened to be for an effective US ambassador to Australia. The ambassador had to have the ability, Menzies told LBJ, to pick up the phone and talk directly to the US president. After all, under the […]

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How the US and Australia can support Taiwan before it’s too late (Adam Taylor, The Strategist)

Remarks by Australia’s prime minister and defence minister and discussions in Washington about the future of US security policy in the Taiwan Strait highlight a growing consensus among like-minded partners about the need to respond to any Taiwan contingency. Unfortunately, these conversations often only explore the contours of a future conflict and too rarely discuss what the US, […]

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Presidential election could put Italy’s Draghi-led recovery at risk (Paola Subacchi, Project-Syndicate, The Strategist)

As Italy scrambles to control surging Covid-19 infections—including by making vaccination compulsory for anyone over 50—cracks are appearing in the broad ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi. A crucial test will come next Monday, when Italy’s 630 members of parliament, 321 senators and 58 regional representatives elect a new president. Presidential election could put Italy’s Draghi-led […]

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Iran, Russia, China To Hold Joint Naval Drill Amid Growing Ties (RFE RL)

Iran, Russia, and China will hold joint naval exercises in the north of the Indian Ocean on January 21, Iranian media have reported, amid speculation that the three countries are teaming up in the face of growing pressure from the United States and its allies over Ukraine and European security guarantees. A spokesman for Iran’s […]

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Russia Imprisons Another Jehovah’s Witness For ‘Extremism’ (RFE RL)

A Russian court in Siberia has handed a three-year prison term to a Jehovah’s Witness, in the latest persecution of members of the banned Christian group. The Severskiy City Court in the Tomsk region on January 19 sentenced Alekei Yershov after convicting him of participating in the activities of an “extremist organization.” Russia Imprisons Another […]

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N Korea may resume nuclear, long-range missile tests: State media (Al Jazeera)

A meeting of the powerful politburo of North Korea’s ruling party, presided over by leader Kim Jong Un, has said that it will consider resuming “all temporarily suspended” nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests amid an ongoing effort to boost the country’s military against a “hostile” United States, state media reported. The country’s Rodong […]

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CIA finds most Havana Syndrome cases not work of enemies: Report (Al Jazeera)

The CIA has determined a mysterious sickness affecting hundreds of United States diplomatic workers across the world is not part of a widespread targeted campaign by a foreign power, according to US media reports. Officials briefed on the spy agency’s preliminary finding said hundreds of cases of the so-called Havana Syndrome – which first appeared in Havana, […]

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Biden’s foreign policy dilemmas (Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera)

After a strong start that included rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and World Health Organization, both of which Trump abandoned, President Joe Biden has been, in a word, disappointing. Over the past year, Joe Biden has talked like Barack Obama but walked like Donald Trump on foreign policy. But as he lacks the eloquence and […]

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US Senate sinks Biden’s major push to protect voting rights (Al Jazeera)

US senators have scuppered President Joe Biden’s push to defend voting rights against what Democrats have framed as an all-out assault by conservative states targeting racial minorities. Faced with a blockade from Republicans in the upper house complaining of overreach by the federal government, the ruling Democrats were unable to push through the Freedom to Vote Act […]

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Biden ‘not there yet’ on easing tariffs on Chinese goods (Al Jazeera)

United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday said it was too soon to make commitments on lifting US tariffs on Chinese goods, but his chief trade negotiator Katherine Tai was working on the issue. “I’d like to be able to be in a position where I could say they’re meeting their commitments, or more of […]

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Pakistani court sentences woman to death for WhatsApp ‘blasphemy’ (Asad Hashim, Al Jazeera)

A Pakistani court has sentenced a Muslim woman to death for committing “blasphemy” by sharing images deemed to be insulting to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and one of his wives, also considered a holy personage by many Muslims. The trial court in the northern Pakistani city of Rawalpindi on Wednesday sentenced Aneeqa Ateeq under the country’s […]

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Rights groups ask Facebook to release India hate speech report (Al Jazeera)

Facebook critics are calling on the world’s largest social media network to release a human rights impact assessment it commissioned in 2020 to investigate hate speech on its platforms in India. The social media company, now called Meta, faces increasing scrutiny over its handling of abuses on its services, particularly after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal documents showing its […]