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West Africa needs more international help to defeat Ebola

09 November 2014 | Robert Vitillo

St. Joseph Catholic Hospital de Monrovia (Liberia) in July before it was closed.There is a general sense of psychological trauma and anger among the people, and a fear of social unrest and a return to civil war. In the communities in which quarantine has been imposed, people do not have access to food, clean water, and other necessities. The countries are depending on increased international assistance will prevent further spread of the virus and a reduction of irrational fear, stigma, and discrimination in local communities.

Nation building by force in Ukraine and the Middle East

27 October 2014 | Justin Glyn

Refugees fleeing KobaniSyria and Ukraine are just the latest in the roll of civil wars where ossified Cold War rivalries exacerbate conflicts and prevent the forging of a just peace which is in all parties’ interests. Current insurgencies grew out of disenfranchisement. But the relevant powers have declined to involve United Nations to act as independent broker, knowing that each party has the support of a permanent member of the Security Council, whose veto will hamstring any proposed action by the others.

Where it all went wrong for Islam

14 October 2014 | Tim Mayfield

Muslim at prayerActor Ben Affleck was only partly right in his recent take-down of conservative US pundits Bill Maher and Sam Harris for their perceived 'Islamaphobia'. The reality is that there is a battle for the heart and soul of Islam that has been playing out around the globe since the 60s and 70s. It is therefore only natural that an ideology that rejects the failed colonial paradigm of nation-states and instead promotes the grand vision of a resurrected caliphate is compelling to many.

Hong Kong not in the mood for love

02 October 2014 | Antonio Castillo

Over the last 20 years, every time the people of Hong Kong have heard some 'menacing' messages from Beijing, they have responded and become politically active. The menacing message this time is the one I heard two years ago in the office of Leung Kwok-hung – better known as 'Long hair' – in the Legislative Council offices far from the epicentre of the protests: 'Beijing won’t honour its pledge’.

An erstwhile pacifist's IS quandary

01 October 2014 | Gillian Bouras

Peace signI used to style myself a pacifist. Or hoped I was one. Or something. But that was before I had children. The minute I clapped eyes on my first-born, I realised that any threat to him would see me transformed into a murderous monster, and I later felt the same about his two brothers.

Anti-Islam is the new Anti-Catholicism

24 September 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

'No Popery' bannerThe justified insistence that Muslims should not constantly be called to account for the vicious behaviour of Islamic State is a reminder of the attitude towards Catholics in an earlier generation. They combined suspicion of anything Irish in the aftermath of the 1915 Uprising and more traditional judgments of Catholics on the basis of their beliefs and practices.

China calls a halt to dirty coal imports

23 September 2014 | Evan Ellis

Beijing hazeFrom 1 January 2015, China will ban the import of coal with high ash or sulphur content and impose a three per cent tariff on all coal imports. In the muddle of politics and policy, we have a concrete example of worsening environmental conditions forcing policy makers to act. Australia's economy propped up by coal exports, but it's also time to think beyond the specific implications of China’s proposed restrictions. 

The Kurds: fighting the good fight?

22 September 2014 | William Gourlay

Illustration from Molla NasreddinTurkey and Iran, the two major regional powers against whose borders ISIS jostles, have, each for their own reasons, declined to participate militarily in President Obama's action against ISIS. The likelihood or benefits of working in concert with Iran can be debated long and hard, but in the meantime the Kurds clearly emerge as the immediate go-to allies. Positioning them as such, and arming them, will change the dynamics of the region.

Kashmir's majestic allure

18 September 2014 | Catherine Marshall

HimalayasPeace has come to Kashmir, but it’s a tentative, fragile peace. My guide Younis swiftly apprises me of the virtues of his homeland: ‘Pakistan wants Kashmir, China wants Kashmir, India wants Kashmir. It is a very beautiful place and here we have [so much]: electricity grids, land, fruits.’ He pauses, then says, ‘But nobody likes Kashmiris.’

Women's lives the front line of conflict

17 September 2014 | Lulu Mitshabu

Lulu Mitshabu in DRC'It is now more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier in modern conflict', says Major General Patrick Cammaert, a former UN Peacekeeping Operation commander in DRC. Let’s reflect on that for a moment. It has become more dangerous to be a woman collecting firewood or water than to be on the front lines as a fighter.

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