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‘Tireless’ Bishop’s UN triumph no real biggie

Careful reading of Julie Bishop’s “momentous” UN Security Council resolution regarding flight MH17 reveals it isn’t such a big deal, writes an anonymous Canberra insider and former DFAT officer.

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The atrocities of North Korea: we have to engage, not isolate

The UN report into human rights atrocities in North Korea is clear: only engagement, not isolation or aggression, will improve the situation. Deakin lecturer and north-east Asia researcher Danielle Chubb reports.

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The ‘Coal COP’: UN climate change summit begins in Poland

The UN’s annual climate change summit kicks off in Poland today. The stakes are high and the obstacles are serious — and Australia has sent no minister or parliamentary secretary. But there is some hope for the summit.

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A day to recognise cats, the net … and psoriasis (Crikey‘s is coming)

How does World Psoriasis Day come about? How about the year of quinoa? Crikey intern Natalie Tencic takes a look at how these days are created. It’s mostly the UN’s fault.

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Australia’s ‘weasel’ statement on nukes

Australia’s statement to the UN on nuclear weapons is much less hardline than New Zealand’s, but it is the best policy? Freelance writer David Donaldson looks at the impacts of a watered-down approach.

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Russia may yet offer US a Syrian lifeline

The United States may have been given an opportunity to avoid military intervention in Syria while saving face. But will Bashar Al-Assad really play ball?

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How Australia should use the UN to lead on Syria

With the US poised to launch military action against Syria, can Australia’s UN Security Council presidency make a difference? Retired diplomat Bruce Haigh assesses the options.

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Pause for thought on Syrian chemical attacks — and reprisals

There’s still no clear evidence on which group was responsible for a chemical attack in Syria. This lack of information makes Western intervention risky, argues Crikey’s foreign affairs writer.

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Mid-term report card: Australia a US ‘puppet’ on the Security Council?

Australia has been on the UN Security Council for six months. Are we using the experience to make the world a better place — or just doing the US’ bidding? Crikey intern Fergus Hunter reports.

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Why is China interested in helping war-torn Mali?

Is China’s decision to get involved in a peacekeeping mission to Mali entirely driven out of altruism? The move is seen as part of an increasingly assertive foreign policy agenda.

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Killings in West Papua by Australian-backed anti-terror police

There are reports of offices of Densus 88, Indonesia’s counter-terrorism police, attacking protesters at flag-raising ceremonies across the province of West Papua.

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We’re on the Security Council: use it on North Korea

Australia has a Security Council seat — and is well-placed to show some leadership on North Korea. We used to be creative and front-footed on diplomacy, political commentator and retired diplomat Bruce Haigh argues. So let’s lift the ambition.

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Haigh: why we’re wasting our seat at the UN Security Council

Bob Carr is not making use of Australia’s Security Council seat. Will we ever stop following in lockstep with the Americans and show some Aussie initiative? Retired diplomat Bruce Haigh offers suggestions.

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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits

Australia is again near the top of the heap in a United Nations Development Programme report, plus other political issues of the day.

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The moral inconsistency of Australia’s stance on Iran

Iran is alleged to have an active nuclear weapons program. There is no evidence to prove it has one — and the sanctions that Bob Carr is proposing are unfair, writes political researcher NAJ Taylor.

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Tectonic shift on the two-state solution?

After a senseless exchange of rockets and shells and now a vote in the UN, the world has seen a tectonic shift in how the Israel-Palestine conflict is viewed.

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For Tamils, UN mea culpa is meaningless without action

A UN internal review into the brutal Sri Lanka civil war has found it failed in its mandate to protect. Sam Pari from the Australian Tamil Congress says more is needed than just words.

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Could cutting sole parent payments cost Australia UN votes?

A campaign to stop planned cuts to sole parent payments is aiming at the government’s vulnerable underbelly in its bid for a UN Security Council seat. Harming Australia’s image may be justified.

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Vietnam heading backwards when it comes to free speech

Vietnam’s pursuit of a seat in the UN is not being helped by its mistreatment of journalists and bloggers. A number have been intimidated and even jailed, writes Monash University’s André Dao.

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Why Australia’s Security Council bid was a mistake

What’s missing from the debate on Australia pushing for a seat on the UN Security Council is the question of why it’s important. The Lowy Institute’s Danielle Cave poses some interesting questions.

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Calm down, the ITU isn’t about to take over the internet

Hysteria about a UN “takeover of the internet” hides the reality that the ITU is irrelevant to telecommunications.

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Crikey Blogs | FEDERAL|

The UN’s 2012 survey of refugees and displaced persons

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has released its annual survey of refugees and displaced persons, reports Richard Farmer, which shows Australia well down the list in terms of the number of asylum seeker arrivals.

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Syria pledges to withdraw troops

Crikey media wrap: The Syrian government has pledged to withdraw its troops and weaponry from civilian areas by one week today, as part of a peace plan signed with UN special envoy Kofi Annan.

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Swimming to Cyprus

Homs continues to endure an onslaught of rockets and mortars in the regime’s worst massacre of civilians since the uprising in Syria began 11 months ago.

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UNESCO welcomes the Palestinians — at a price

After losing some of the limelight in the past fortnight due to the Israel-Hamas deal for the release of Gilad Shalit, the “official” Palestinian leadership of Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas bounced back yesterday.

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