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Australia, China hail ‘strong’ relationship ahead of free trade talks

Australia is hosting Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the second annual Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue, which comes ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit in November for the G20 summit in Brisbane.

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“The Australia-China relationship is strong, it is mature, it is growing,” Bishop said at a media conference with Wang.

“China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner. We are on track to sign a free-trade agreement with China later this year which will further strengthen this relationship.”

The trade talks began in 2005, but stalled last year over agriculture and China’s insistence on removing investment limits for state-owned enterprises.

Over the past year Australia has sealed free trade deals with Japan and South Korea.

The bilateral talks follow Australia’s push to forge closer ties with Japan, China’s regional rival. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic visit to Canberra and Perth in July.

Wang acknowledged that China “may not be Australia’s closest friend at the moment, but we can surely become your most sincere friend”.

He added that Australia was a “key cooperation power” for China in the Asian region.

“China welcomes and supports Australia to further understand Asia and to integrate into Asia,” Wang said through a translator.

“And of course, we would also like Australia to play an active role as a bridge and as a link between the East and the West.”

Bishop said the bilateral talks came at a time of “great global challenge” and were an opportunity to discuss the movement of citizens from the two countries to Iraq and Syria to fight for violent jihadist groups such as the Islamic State.

“The conflict in Syria and Iraq affects both our nations, for foreign fighters are leaving our shores to take part in the brutal and bloody conflict in the Middle East,” she said.

“Our meeting together affords us an opportunity to discuss ways that we together can combat terrorism and extremism such as we’ve seen with the emergence of ISIL,” she said, using one of the acronyms by which the Islamic State is known.


26/06/2019 0

Evildoers benefit from the world’s short attention span

But even a casual observer might not have the head space for more than two or three major events; after all, there’s work, family and everything else, as well.

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That’s where things get interesting.

Once upon a time, economists modeled human decisions as perfectly rational, on the assumption that people used all the information available to make optimal choices at all times. Later, however, economists — with a little help from psychologists – realised that there were limits to how much people could think about each decision.

Today these limits, called “bounded rationality,” are more relevant than ever. We have virtually infinite options for things like investments, clothing, music, books and games, all available through the Internet. But we don’t weigh every single option before we buy; we take shortcuts. This means we don’t always make the best choice, but we make choices that we consider good enough.

… it would be impossible to follow every single event happening around the world. Even the best news organisations can’t, because they have finite resources.

How is this relevant to the news? Well, it would be impossible to follow every single event happening around the world. Even the best news organisations can’t, because they have finite resources. But the rest of us can’t, either, because we have other things to do besides sitting in front of our various screens. Instead, we delegate to the media the decision of what will draw our attention.

There are only a few global media organisations, and they tend to prioritise a few stories each day. Stories that gain more viewers and readers get more time because they bring in advertising dollars. When the audience loses interest, the stories disappear in favour of something more popular – or at least something with the potential to be more popular.

This means no single story is likely to occupy the news for very long, no matter how important it might be.

Deaths in Syria’s civil war long ago passed the 100,000 mark, with hundreds more every day, but there is almost no coverage today of the day-to-day fighting and plight of civilians there. The novelty has worn off, and new stories have grabbed the attention of the media and public. As a result, Syrian leader Bashar Assad, his cronies and his opponents have the license to keep on killing without much fear of global outcry or intervention. The moment for that appears to have passed.\

A look back at this year shows just how fickle the public’s attention can be.

A look back at this year shows just how fickle the public’s attention can be. Several stories have peaked in the news, but no two have commanded the same peaks of attention at the same time. Google Trends tracks how often people search for keywords – including those related to major events – all over the world. Back in March, the conflict in Ukraine grabbed the world’s attention, but it was largely forgotten when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared. It wasn’t that the action in Ukraine or its global importance diminished, as we would see later in the year; audiences and news organizations simply switched head space and resources to the other story. Two stories could not claim the same peak of attention at the same time.

Then, in July, the fighting in Gaza ramped up along with its audience. But just as it was heading for a Google Trends peak as high as those of Ukraine and MH370, something else happened: the shootdown of another Malaysia Airlines jet in Ukraine. With two big stories developing simultaneously – the plane was shot down on the same day Israel launched its ground invasion of Gaza – neither managed the heights of attention of Ukraine and MH370 earlier in the year.

Within weeks, however, attention shifted again. An outbreak of ebola in West Africa wiped almost everything else off the map. In August, there was another change. Ebola dropped well off its peak, as the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, began to capture eyes from around the world. Then, as the Islamic State has advanced farther across Syria and Iraq and has committed horrific crimes, it has pulled readers and viewers away from ebola and other stories. Of course, none of this has any impact on whether the deaths from ebola are mounting (they are) or concern from public health officials is growing (it is).

Naturally, novelty gives stories an advantage in both media coverage and head space. Even the most gruesome crimes, like the massacres of civilians in Syria, soon drop off the radar. A practical evildoer can try to weather the initial storm of attention and then go on killing relatively undisturbed, or simply wait until an even bigger event distracts the world.

Assad may even be wise to this game. 

Assad may even be wise to this game. The bloodiest period of the Syrian civil war came in the busiest months of the 2012 presidential campaign in the United States, stretching from the convention season to the election itself. Immediately after the election, deaths dropped for several weeks. It could have been pure coincidence, or something more sinister.

From then on, the conflict in Syria was barely a blip for the media. It was another spin on political theorist Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase describing the crimes and criminals of the Holocaust, “the banality of evil.” As far as the news media and its consumers were concerned, continuous and repeated evil really was just banal. It wasn’t news anymore if it wasn’t new.

The spotlight did return to Syria in the summer of 2013 with the use of chemical weapons on civilians, which was probably the result of a failure in the chain of command. But that spike — from a spectacular and well-documented crime against humanity — didn’t last long, either. Perhaps there were too many other tragedies competing for attention. Or maybe everyone was playing Grand Theft Auto V.

Either way, even something as terrible as the deaths of children from chemicals could not hold the public’s attention for more than a few days.

And who could blame them? The Internet has shortened people’s attention spans so much that they are like hummingbirds darting from flower to flower in search of titillation. In the meantime, the globalization of the media through information technology has bombarded people with ever more stories from around the world. There simply isn’t enough time to take everything in, let alone focus on one or two issues above all the others.

This situation used to be unique to people like the president of the United States, who receives daily briefings on hot spots around the world. Now, however, all of us are hooked up to this combination of a gushing fire hose and an ever-changing kaleidoscope. Is it any wonder that, like him, we can’t focus long enough on any one thing to do something about it?

Altman teaches economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business and is chief economist of Big Think.

(c) 2014, Foreign Policy


26/06/2019 0

‘Jude was perfect,’ says Rozelle dad

Bianka O’Brien and her baby boy Jude along with neighbour Chris Noble were killed in the early hours of Thursday morning when an explosion ripped through a convenience store in the inner-west Sydney suburb of Rozelle.

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Ms O’Brien’s husband, John, on Sunday said his wife was preparing to enter the next phase of her life by caring full-time for Jude, who had just learned to walk.

“Bianka and I were together for eight years, married for two, and to say she was the love of my life is an understatement,” he said in a statement.

“I can’t believe how quickly those eight years have flown by but they have definitely been the best years of my life.

“Bianka was an inspiration to all who knew her – she was loyal, caring and absolutely loved life.”

Jude was just discovering the world around him, Mr O’Brien said.

“He was a perfect baby and never stopped smiling,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Everything was exciting to him and he was just a joy to be around. He made everyone smile.”

Mr O’Brien and Bianka’s father Bill also thanked the community, police and emergency service for their ongoing support, and extended their sympathy to the family of Chris Noble.

At a public meeting in neighbouring Balmain on Sunday, police told residents there was little risk of airborne asbestos exposure from the wreckage following days of wet weather in Sydney.

The exclusion zone has been reduced along the busy commercial and residential street between Victoria road and Merton St.

A frantic two-day search for survivors ended on Friday when the bodies of Bianka and Jude were carried out together from the charred wreckage of the convenience store and apartments.

The devastated site of the blast is now a crime scene.

Investigators are reviewing CCTV footage with Strike Force Baracchi launched to investigate the fire.

Police have still to speak with the convenience store owner, who is in a serious condition in hospital after emergency services had to dig him out of the debris by hand.

Reports of a car fleeing the area after the explosion are being investigated.

Full Statement from John O’Brien 

On Thursday morning I lost my beloved wife, Bianka, and our baby Jude.

Bianka was an inspiration to all who knew her – she was loyal, caring and absolutely loved life. People gravitated towards her because of her beautiful and warm personality.

Bianka and I were together for eight years, married for two, and to say she was the love of my life is an understatement.

I can’t believe how quickly those eight years have flown by but they have definitely been the best years of my life.

I know I was truly loved by her and the feeling was entirely mutual.

She was an exceptional person, a wonderful wife and an even better mother. This week Bianka was due to finish up her part-time work so she could move into the next phase of her life and fulfil her dream of caring for our boy full time.

Being a mother made her happy and she was a natural at it.

That brings me to my son, Jude, who I love with all my heart. By far the proudest moment of my life was becoming a father. He was a perfect baby and never stopped smiling.

Jude had just started to walk and was only just discovering the world around him. Everything was exciting to him and he was just a joy to be around.

He made everyone smile.

On behalf of Bianka’s father, Bill, and myself I would like to thank the community for the many well-wishes, flowers and phone calls we have received.

The events of the past few days have been devastating, but we have been overwhelmed by the response and support from the community.

I would also like to thank the police and other emergency services who have been by our side and continue to support us.

Finally, I would like to extend my sympathy to the family of Chris Noble and everyone else who has been affected by this.

We now ask that the media and public continue to respect our privacy during this time.


26/06/2019 0

UK offers Scots new powers after poll

The British government scrambled to pledge greater autonomy for Scotland, after a poll put the pro-independence camp ahead just 11 days before the referendum on separation.

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Finance Minister George Osborne said greater tax and spending powers would be announced in the coming days and would be implemented if Scotland votes on September 18 to remain in the 300-year-old union with England.

The government’s offer came after a YouGov poll published in The Sunday Times newspaper gave the “Yes” camp 51 per cent support compared to the “No” camp’s 49 per cent, excluding undecided voters. Six per cent said they had not made up their minds.

Although the two-point lead is within the margin of error, the findings dramatically up the stakes ahead of the vote.

“Scotland faces a very big choice,” Osborne told BBC.

“If people were in any doubt that they can stay at home, that they don’t need to go out to the polls and vote ‘No’ to avoid separation, they won’t be in that doubt today.

“They should also be in no doubt about the consequences of this decision,” the chancellor of the exchequer added.

“No ifs, no buts: we will not share the pound if Scotland separates from the rest of the UK.”

He said sharing the currency after independence would be equivalent to a couple divorcing but keeping a joint bank account.

Salmond says he would refuse to take on Scotland’s share of the United Kingdom’s debt post-independence if he does not get his way on a euro-style cross-border currency union.

Osborne said it was “clear” that Scots wanted greater autonomy and the three main United Kingdom-wide parties – the Conservatives, their Liberal Democrat junior partners in government and the Labour opposition – had agreed to “deliver” on that.

“You will see in the next few days a plan of action to give more powers to Scotland. More tax powers, more spending powers, more plans for powers over the welfare state,” he said.

“Then Scotland will have the best of both worlds.

Any vote for Scotland to leave the UK would raise questions about Britain’s standing in the international community and could put pressure on British Prime Minister David Cameron to stand down.

Scotland represents one-third of Britain’s landmass and is home to Britain’s submarine-based Trident nuclear deterrent, which the SNP says must be out of an independent Scotland by 2020.

The Better Together campaign, which backs Scotland staying in Britain, has been ahead in opinion polls for months but its lead has narrowed in recent days.


26/06/2019 0

FIFA asks arrested finance watchdog member for explanation

Canover Watson, one of eight members of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee and a vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union, has denied the charges and been released on bail in the British overseas territory.

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Domenico Scala, head of the committee, said he had asked Watson for details.

“In agreement with the Ethics Committee we have asked Canover Watson whether he can share with the Audit and Compliance Committee any additional information,” said Scala in a statement issued by FIFA. “Once we have more information we will consider appropriate measures.”

The FIFA committee is charged with ensuring the “completeness and reliability of the financial accounting” of world football’s governing body.

Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commissioner David Baines, in a statement to local media, said that Watson was suspected of “breach of trust contrary to section 13 of the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law, as well as abuse of public office… and conflict of interest”.

Those allegations refer to Watson’s time at the head of Cayman’s Health Service Authority and follow a police investigation into the introduction of a swipe card system.

Baines also cited “suspicion of money-laundering contrary to section 133 of the Proceeds of Crime Law” in the Watson case.

Watson denied the allegations in a statement to the Cayman Compass newspaper. The newspaper said no charges had yet been filed against Watson who under his bail terms is due to report back to police on Sept. 29.

CONCACAF, the confederation which governs football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, said it was waiting for further details.

“…CONCACAF is awaiting the complete review of the ongoing proceedings,” the confederation said in a statement.

“At CONCACAF, we take great pride of the highest standards of integrity, governance and transparency that lead the organisation.”

The Cayman Islands has become a power centre within the CONCACAF region.

The CONCACAF president is FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb, who is also president of the Cayman Islands Football Association which lists Watson as its treasurer.

Webb took over as CONCACAF president after the resignation of Trinidadian Jack Warner, who was at the centre of numerous corruption allegations.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)


26/06/2019 0

Fake links to nude celebrities crash New Zealand internet

It is believed a handful of computer users clicked links on Friday evening believing they would take them to the illicit images, but instead they inadvertently installed malware triggering a crippling Internet attack.

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It took telecommunications giant Spark, the rebranded Telecom Corp., until Sunday to fully repair what it termed a “dynamic” cyber-attack that overloaded its system covering more than 600,000 customers.

The intimate celebrity photos, which included actress Jennifer Lawrence and singers Avril Lavigne and Rihanna, were stolen from a cloud storage system.

Spark tweeted it was aware that when people clicked on some links they inadvertently installed malware “generating a high amount of traffic to overseas sites”.

Computer security specialists Trend Micro issued an alert shortly before the attack began warning not to open the links related to the nude celebrities.

“For obvious reasons, clicking on links to ‘naked celebrity’ photos, or opening email attachments would be a very bad idea right now, expect criminals to ride this bandwagon immediately,” it said.

“Our scanning brought to our attention some freshly-concocted schemes targeting those looking for the photos borne from the aforementioned leak.

“The first threat we found hails from Twitter, in the form of a tweet being posted with hashtags that contain the name of one of the leak’s victims – Jennifer Lawrence.”

Trend Micro said users who clicked the link offering to show a video of the actress were directed to download a “video converter” that was actually malicious software.

New Zealand authorities said they did not know who was behind the attack, which was launched from outside the country, and the malware was generating denial-of-service attacks towards Europe. 


26/05/2019 0

I’m glad I chose Labor: Oakeshott

On the first anniversary of the Abbott government, Mr Oakeshott told a Brisbane Writers Festival audience he’s now seeing what would have happened if he and fellow independents Tony Windsor and Bob Katter had struck a deal with the coalition instead of Labor.

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The retired politician said the trio had faced a blunt choice between former prime minister Julia Gillard’s “transactional” leadership style versus the “crash or crash through” adversarial style of Tony Abbott following 2010’s hung parliament. 

“I think it’s too early to call on many fronts as to whether it (the coalition) can be a functioning government but I’ve got to say one year in, and particularly the way the budget process is being handled, I’m very comfortable with the decision I made in 2010,” Mr Oakeshott told a sold-out crowd of about 250 people on Sunday.

Some budget measures are still yet to clear parliament, and critics say it disproportionately targets those on lower incomes.

Mr Oakeshott who resigned in 2013, said a functioning government needed to compromise to get results and Mr Abbott would need to negotiate with foes in the Senate, lower house and his own party.

The former Member for Lyne in NSW, who’s now concentrating on raising his four young children, appeared at the festival alongside former federal Labor treasurer Wayne Swan and retired Greens leader Bob Brown.

All three men have released books recently.

Mr Swan said Australians’ capacity to achieve their full potential was being threatened by government policies such as deregulating university fees, which in the long term would produce a more unequal nation.

Mr Brown said Australia was positioned to lead the world on humanitarian and environmental issues but was going backwards because of a “small-minded, hubristic government”.


26/05/2019 0

Abbott satisfied with first year in power

Mr Abbott arrived back in Australia on Sunday after a three-day trip to India and Malaysia, in time to celebrate Father’s Day and the one-year anniversary of his election as prime minister.

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“We’ve faced some difficult challenges and I think we’ve handled them pretty well,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“I do look back over the past 12 months with some satisfaction.” 

Mr Abbott cited his triumphs as: the scrapping of the carbon and mining taxes, stopping the boats and working on budget control.

His party issued a 20-page brochure expounding these achievements.

But the prime minister conceded not everything had been smooth sailing.

“With the wisdom of 20/20 hindsight there are always some things (we could have done better),” he said.

International events including the disappearance of flight MH370, the growing threat of Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria and escalating tensions between Russia and the Ukraine following the downing of MH17 often overshadowed the Abbott government’s domestic agenda.

In a video address to mark the anniversary, Mr Abbott said the “increasingly uncertain world” tested Australians like never before.

The Australian Greens say those events, which Mr Abbott had responded to strongly, rescued him from “complete failure”. 

Leader Christine Milne acknowledged the prime minister’s dedication to bringing the bodies of those Australians killed on MH17 home to their families.

“I accept that he did a good job on that front,” she said. 

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten harked back to Mr Abbott’s election night promise to lead a government of no surprises and no excuses. 

“When Tony Abbott was elected it was on the basis that things would get better,” he told reporters in Melbourne. 

 “Ever since then we’ve seen nasty surprises and pathetic excuses.”

Opposition frontbenchers issued a flurry of statements on Sunday morning pointing to promises across all portfolios they said had been broken.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon, one of several crossbenchers refusing to back various government budget measures, accused Mr Abbott of “sneaking up on people with quite radical changes”.

“I think some Australians feel more tasered than surprised by some of the changes,” he said, listing deregulation of university fees, a $7 GP co-payment and welfare cuts in particular.

The government faces tough negotiations in its second year to pass those measures, with the Greens and Labor also vowing to oppose them.

Mr Abbott praised his cabinet for their work over the past year, but refused to give himself a personal score card. 

“If you give yourself 10 out of 10 they say you’re full of yourself,” he told the Sunday Telegraph. 

“If you give yourself seven out 10, they say you lack confidence.”

In the end, his government’s performance was a matter for the Australian people to judge at the next election, he said.


26/05/2019 0

Saluting the new breed of first responders

In the wake of 9/11, the world developed a special appreciation for first responders, the men and women who ran toward danger when they saw it.

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They risked all to help others, and fittingly there was a surge of recognition for cops and firefighters and paramedics – both those lost in the twisted metal of lower Manhattan and those who carried on in the same tradition.

Neither James Foley nor Steven Sotloff wore a badge or a uniform. Nor did Mbalu Fonnie, Alex Moigboi, Alice Kovoma, Mohamed Fullah or Sheik Umar Khan. But they embodied the first-responder spirit as truly and fully as any of those whose courage inspired us and whose sacrifices broke our hearts at the World Trade Center. For precisely that reason, out of genuine respect for them and their contribution to the world, it is essential we not make the same errors we did amid the anger and grief that marked the earliest days of what we once called the War on Terror.

Foley and Sotloff … chose to run into the flames of Syria even as the rest of the world looked away.

Foley and Sotloff, the two American journalists who were recently brutally murdered by terrorists, chose to run into the flames of Syria even as the rest of the world looked away. They, like other journalists covering that country’s civil war, knew that the risks they faced were grave. But they made a calculation that letting the slaughter in that country go unrecorded, unnoted, or uncommented upon would be compounding those battlefield atrocities with indifference. That would be inhumane and was so intolerable to them that they made their way into a country that many of the world’s great and powerful leaders were doing their best to avoid and ignore. What does it say about a person who chooses to go on their own into mayhem that has already claimed almost 200,000 lives and do so without a weapon, without an army, without a congressional resolution?

How deep must be their conviction that bearing witness is essential, the only possible human reaction, the one that might motivate others to action, to actually caring?

“I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life”

Fonnie, Moigboi, Kovoma, Fullah and Khan were all health-care professionals, doctors, nurses, and technicians who were affiliated with the Kenema Government Hospital’s Lassa fever facility in Sierra Leone. All five, described in a moving Washington Post article from late August by Abby Ohlheiser, were co-authors of an important new Ebola study who died of the disease before their work could be made public. By virtue of their work, they were more acutely aware of the risks they faced from the current outbreak, the worst by far of its kind to date, one that has claimed more than 1,500 lives and may infect as many as 20,000 before it has run its course. Khan acknowledged this in late June by telling Reuters, “I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life…. Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease. Even with the full protective clothing you put on, you are at risk.” But it was precisely because they knew the risks better than others — better than those who were infected and spreading the disease — that they chose to remain on the front lines of the efforts to combat the epidemic. Like other first responders, they too felt that the right response to a crisis is to run toward it rather than away from it.

Of course, Foley and Sotloff were not the only journalists to die in Syria, nor were they the only ones to be lost to the depravity of terrorists. Because they were Americans and because their murders were so gruesomely fed to the media and the grotesque appetites of the Internet, their stories have gained the most attention. But estimates as to the number of journalists lost in Syria alone range from 71 to more than 150. And, according to the World Health Organization, the number of doctors, nurses, and other health-care workers to have succumbed to this current Ebola outbreak was, as of late August, more than 120, with over 240 estimated to have contracted the disease.

Both of these totals pale to insignificance when weighed against the greater tolls of the crises that claimed the lives of these heroes. And other wars and genocides and epidemics are claiming their own fair share of such heroes, the first responders to these humanitarian catastrophes that many would prefer to ignore. All deserve the kinds of thoughts, attention, and prayers that we have offered on behalf of Foley and Sotloff, as well as our gratitude, because these are the people who, by risking their lives, make it impossible for the rest of us to look away. These are the people who risk their lives in order to offer a human touch to those whom most of humanity has abandoned. These are the people who demand that we cut through the impotence of high-minded political rhetoric and the incomprehensible mountains of statistics to reveal and serve the human beings at the heart of these problems.

bottom feeders of the American political commentariat sought to use the Sotloff tragedy as an opportunity 

That is why out of respect for their lives and for the spirit of what they do, we must consider our reactions carefully. It is easy for tabloid newspapers to offer up headlines demanding revenge or promoting scare stories. When infected American doctors returned home to the United States to be treated for Ebola, social media erupted with a debate about the risks this entailed, ignoring how hard it is for this disease to spread when properly contained, not to mention the plight of the health workers seeking treatment. This week, the bottom feeders of the American political commentariat sought to use the Sotloff tragedy as an opportunity to bash U.S. President Barack Obama for his inaction in Syria and to call for tough strikes against the journalists’ murderers. For them, the death was just a prop, and their railing reflected their own character flaws more than those of any of the people they were decrying.

No, an appropriate response to these tragedies lies not with the empty rhetoric of politicians going through the motions of seeming to care or with the histrionics of hotheads and opportunists. It lies with the ideas that motivated all of these first responders to action: compassion, getting to the facts – and then taking action even when the risks were high. In the case of Sotloff and Foley, not only does this mean that the world must heed their message that this crisis demands our attention, but it means knowing that spasms or showpieces of revenge are not enough.

Nor is it enough simply to target the Islamic State. The entire Middle East and much of Africa and Asia are now at risk because of the spread of Islamist extremism, and as we learned with our too narrow focus on “core al-Qaida,” targeting one group only ensures that others will assume its place. We need a comprehensive strategy to confront all such groups and to cut off their sources of funding and those who would give them comfort. And we must recognize that only through finding successful alternative political solutions to the problems on the ground can we fill the governance void that currently is the breeding ground and preferred environment for extremists. In the case of the Ebola battle, we must similarly not only contain and treat this disease, but recognize that the infrastructure, education, and resource gaps that enable an epidemic like this one to spread as it has threaten the world in ways that are greater than any one disease could.

Indeed, in both cases, what these first responders have shown are the costs of our indifference and inaction to date. And in both cases they demand a response that is not the narrow, crowd-pleasing “deliverables” of a political class that just wants ugliness off the front pages. Both crises are symptomatic of greater threats that demand long-term, global commitments to contain and eliminate them. Both require, in fact, governments, international institutions, and their leaders to act with something like the courage and humanity that defined the lives of Foley, Sotloff, the other journalists who have been lost bearing witness, the health-care workers fighting Ebola, and their colleagues fighting less well known but equally serious battles worldwide.

Rothkopf is CEO and editor of the FP Group. His next book, “National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear” is due out in October of this year.

(c) 2013, Foreign Policy


26/05/2019 0

Cleary delighted with Penrith’s progress

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary bemoaned another short turnaround ahead of next Saturday’s NRL finals clash with the Sydney Roosters, but was full of praise for his players after securing a top-four finish.

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Cleary’s side beat the Warriors 22-6 on Sunday evening to climb above North Queensland and into fourth position on the ladder.

The win also ended the season of Andrew McFadden’s men who could have afforded to lose the game by two points and still knock Brisbane out of the finals places.

However, not for the first time, they failed when it mattered and the Panthers delighted a crowd of 13,551 at Sportingbet Stadium with an excellent display.

Penrith were long odds to finish in the top-four at the start of this season and Cleary said he didn’t set any targets this year apart from another steady season of improvement.

“Eighteen months ago we were everyone’s favourites to finish last and we scratched our way up to 10th spot,” Cleary said.

“The obvious one this year was to try and get in the eight and we’ve done that and I am very proud of the whole club.

“I think it is a pretty big achievement being in the top four with Souths, Roosters and Manly.”

The Roosters beat South Sydney on Thursday and now have nine days to prepare for the game compared to the six afforded to Penrith.

Cleary said his side have used to short turnarounds but admitted it was frustrating.

“The last four times we’ve played top-four teams they’ve had at least nine days to prepare for us,” he said.

“We’ve done it the hard way. But we are pretty match hardened and that will keep us in good stead.

“But we cemented our spot in the eight a few weeks ago and our performances ever since have shown we are happy to test ourselves against the best.

“We’ll be pretty heavy underdogs, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

Young fullback Matt Moylan once again showed his quality with another outstanding display to become his team’s best attacking option.

“He’s going really well, he was almost faultless tonight and that is what you want from your fullback in those sort of games,” said Cleary.

“Your back three can get hurt in those games and it was pretty tricky conditions and all the boys did a good job.”

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden accused his players of going down tamely when their season was on the line.

“We didn’t really fire a shot,” he said.

“We had opportunities, we didn’t take them and weren’t good enough. We just weren’t tough enough to get ourselves out of it.”


26/05/2019 0