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Security and Society

When US President Trump announced he thought that the USA had been pushed around in relation to financial regulation, that was fake news generated by paranoid delusion or total ignorance. But now he's made a similar stupid decision raising the question whether it's personality more than capability that's leading him to paint the USA as a victim.

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The news that two bombs were detonated, about five minutes apart, at a busy bus station in Jakarta last night is, at the time of writing, the latest in a series of mass murders, apparently perpetrated under the false-flag of Islam. The bus station, in the Eastern part of the city, is a primary transport hub for working class Indonesians, the vast majority of whom are Muslim. The two suicide bombers succeeded in killing three police officers and injuring about 30 members of the public. What is worse, is that the attacks are disrupting preparations for the Holy Month of Ramadan which begins on Saturday.

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The full details have yet to be uncovered but police are certain of one thing: the bomb that was triggered by a suicide attacker in the lobby of the Manchester Arena late last night is being classified as terrorism. Who, what and why remains to be seen but the fact that a second device, apparently intended to cause harm to those escaping from the first and/or emergency services arriving on the scene are indicative of long-established terrorism tactics.

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Yesterday, Hamas, which now has effective political control over those parts of Palestine that Israel does not occupy, issued a landmark statement which announced its new Charter. It was an amazing document, with almost everything that Israel could reasonably expect from a peace treaty, except the inevitable refusal to acknowledge an Israeli state as a legal entity, while acknowledging it as a fact. It was such a departure from the previous position, that only the most radical and racist Israeli could possibly dismiss it out of hand. So Israeli president Netanyahu did just that. The BBC simply gave this extraordinary news such a low priority that it does not appear on any of its early...

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The "international community," whatever that is, should be very concerned by the style of campaigning for and election of a new governor for Jakarta. There is a demonstration as to why there must be a clear separation of powers between parliament, the executive and the courts and why race and religion must be left out of politics. The danger is of widespread disunity and contagion across much of ASEAN.

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Michaelia Cash is Australia's Women's Minister. She is known for speaking in a, well, let's say, forceful manner. But yesterday, during a routine press conference about employment figures, she was asked to comment on a video produced by a Muslim group in Australia which says violence by women is acceptable. Cash went loopy.

Let me make it very, very clear to all Australians: it is not alright to hit a woman in Australia. We have one law and that law prohibits violence against women. We all get to comply with that law.

So, Australia says that it is a secular society to which all religions must submit. That's not going to go down well with some...

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A leader in The Economist echoes the official position of, in particular, the USA in saying that "the Iraqi Army is on the brink of defeating Islamic State." In what sounds like a dangerous reprise of the claim that the war in Iraq was won, the assumption that clearing Mosul of this criminal gang will rid the world of its dangers is, and was always going to be, wrong, says Nigel Morris-Cotterill.

Nigel Morris-Co...
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No comment is necessary for this document, a full republication of the official English version of a statement issued today by KCNA, the media arm of the government of the DPRK (North Korea).

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There is now no doubt that a man killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport's budget terminal KLIA2 was murdered and there is, equally, no doubt that he was KIM Jong-Nam, the half brother of North Korean "Supreme Leader" KIM Jong-Un. As we reported in a daily news round-up on 20170216, if NoKo authorities were behind the attack, choosing Malaysia as its venue was a poor decision. Then again, it would have been equally poor if the attack had taken part in Macau, a region of China, where the victim lived. As evidence mounts, both Malaysia and China have begun actions against North Korea, which now has almost no significant support from any significant country....

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In the USA, a gun lobby is not the place where hunters put their guns in racks when they pop back into the house for lunch. It's the grammatically challenged collective name for those who promote the interests of manufacturers of, traders in and users of firearms. Together, they provide enough support to sway elections and ensure that guns are central to the lives of many Americans. But now, a group of lobbyists made up of prosecutors say, the gun lobbyists have gone too far.

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So far, recounts in the US Presidential election have either been abandoned or resulted in an increase in the majority for Donald Trump. The allegations that Russians somehow infiltrated the voting systems in the USA remain entirely unproven. Today, the allegations are irritating but, ultimately, no different in principle to the tirade of false information on social media. Set that against the express and clear comments of a senior Israeli diplomat saying he would "take down" UK ministers and others in what should have caused a storm but didn't.

Nigel Morris-Co...
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The continuing saga of South Korean president PARK Geun-Hye is gripping the South East Asian nation while the rest of the world looks on with mild interest and wonders just how many kinds of kimchi there are. To ignore it would be a mistake.

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What does Donald Trump have against Mexico? It's rapidly turning (in places) into a lawless state where violence associated with the drugs trade is driving more and more refugees across the border into the USA. So he wants to build a wall (or so he has said). But it's the economic policies that he's openly planning that will turn Mexico into a failed state with the risk of internal conflict emulating civil war. If he's not careful, he's going to end up with a Syrian style exodus just across the Rio Grande.

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In "The Edge of Madness," Michael Dobbs (of "House of Cards") fame writes of a mad senior officer in China who, off on a frolic of his own, creates a team of hackers who break into infrastructure projects all over the world, causing enormous damage and dangers. It was published in 2008. And when the Washington Post published an article saying that an electricity company in Vermont had been hacked and Russian code found, demonstrating the vulnerability of all systems, including the USA's national grid, Dobbs' novel seemed prophetic. But the Washington Post made up material parts of the story.

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The news has become so driven by rapidly changing stories and sound-bytes that serious issues are increasingly hidden away or barely reported. One such issue is Egypt's resolution before the UN Security Council which condemns Israel's illegal settlement building outside its UN approved borders. Outgoing US President Obama, with only days remaining in an unremarkable double term in leadership, had made it known that the US intended to abstain, a radical course of action : historically, the US votes against any vote critical of Israel. But the vote has been postponed and the first signs of future President Trump's foreign policy have been telegraphed.

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