Chilcot report damns Iraq invasion

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After seven years of committees, the more than two million word Chilcot report on the 2003 invasion of Iraq has been released. The findings are unambiguously negative; the US, Great Britain, and Australia’s reasoning for the invasion was faulty, and consequences were underestimated. Former prime minister John Howard has responded to the Chilcot report, maintaining his decision to send Australian troops into the conflict was justified at the time. Dr Marko Beljac says the report’s finding are something ordinary people already know.

Brazil’s president facing impeachment

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Brazil’s lower house has passed a vote to begin the impeachment processes of their President Dilma Rousseff. The case now passes to the senate, who will also vote on whether the president used money from state-owned banks to cover a budget deficit during her re-election campaign. However the turmoil goes deeper than this issue, as Dr Tom Chodor explains.

Tiger population on the rise

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World tiger numbers have risen for the first time in 100 years, marking a turning point in the animal’s fight against poaching and habitat loss. Figures from national surveys in tiger range states and from the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimate there are 3 890 tigers in the wild, 700 more than the 2010 figure. The World Wildlife Fund Australia’s national manager for species, Darren Grover, says the increase is likely a result of ramped up conservation efforts in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan.

PM Turnbull asked to lobby US Congress re: TPP

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (September 6, 2012) Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis (third from right) poses with trade ministers from Trans-Pacific Countries (Bruno Ferrari Garcia de Alba, Mexico; Craig Emerson, Australia; Lim Jock Seng, Brunei; Alfredo Moreno, Chile; Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysia; Tim Groser, New Zealand; Jose Luis Silva Martinot, Peru; Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore; Demetrios Marantis, United States; Vu Huy Hoang, Vietnam; Edward Fast, Canada).  [State Department photo by William Ng]

The US Ambassador to Australia has asked Prime Minister Turnbull to lobby members of Congress in support of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) legislation to be considered by Congress later this year. Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network says if this surprising advice is followed, the PM will face an uphill battle to convince members of Congress to support the TPP.  

A Little Liberty or A Little Security?

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Today sees the launch of the Campaign to Secure the Internet, an online campaign supported by nearly 200 international experts in the fields of IT, communications and systems. They are calling upon governments across the world to reject laws, policies, or other mandates or practices, including secret agreements with companies, that limit access to or undermine encryption and other secure communications tools and technologies. Academic expert in computer security and hacking, Dr Suelette Dreyfus from the Department of Computing and Information Systems spoke to me about this campaign. To find out more about this campaign, check it out at securetheinternet.org

Leaked TPP agreement raises concerns

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The release of the Trans Pacific Partnership’s completed intellectual property chapter by Wikileaks on 10 October has raised fresh alarm amongst health organisations. The legal text agreed between the twelve countries at the conclusion of negotiations includes many provisions that appear harmful by reducing access to affordable medicines at the global level, resulting in much avoidable suffering and death. I spoke to Dr Deborah Gleeson, spokesperson for Public Health Association of Australia, about the issue.  

Protest planned for refugee action

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The Refugee Action Collective is protesting outside Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s electoral office from 7am tomorrow, Wednesday 9th, to bring attention to the current refugee crisis. I spoke to Collective spokesperson Mark Gillespie, about what the protest is for, as well as the current refugee situation both in Australia and overseas.

Australian government focusing in on Syria

Iraqi soldiers from the 1st Iraqi Army Division and U.S. Soldiers board a U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter at Camp Ramadi, Iraq, Nov. 15, 2009, during a static loading exercise being conducted to prepare for upcoming missions. The Soldiers are assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel St. Pierre, U.S. Air Force/Released)

The Australian government has announced this week they are considering expanding their military mission to Syria, after requests from the US. I spoke to Dr Denis Dragovic, an Islamic State expert from the University of Melbourne, about what this expansion would mean for Australia, and the middle east.

4zzz Headlines (Pt. 23)

– Rui Arajo announced as East Timor’s new PM – SA opposition attacks government’s mental health plan – Russia, Egypt to collaborate on Egyptian nuclear plants – Tunisian smugglers protest police brutality – ‘Judas camels’ culling herds – Tasmanian mental health system “chronically underfunded” – Modern India sees increase in female abortion – Fake snow leopard attempts zoo escape – Cell discovery could change the face of cancer research – Qld election has record number of informal votes

The right way to talk about mass shootings

As an Australian, I watch with a sort of sordid fascination when the news rolls in from around the world (but mostly America) of recent mass shootings.