Sep 8, 2018

A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts covered in other media.

On ABC’s Saturday Extra this weekend (in case you missed it):

  • Encryption bill: Critics say legislation being proposed by the Government, still in draft form, will take government surveillance to a new level by allowing intelligence agencies to  circumvent encryption. Public submissions close on Monday.
  • Brexit mess: How did Brexit end up in such a mess, and what explains the Tory disputes that surround it, ie the Boris factor? How likely is a ‘soft’ Brexit and what might that look like? Will there be another referendum? Are there fears of a Tory coup, or leadership spill, aka Australia?
  • George Friedman on the legacy of the GFC: Ahead of the GFC anniversary next weekend, the respected geopolitical forecaster analyses the seismic changes that have occurred since Lehman Brothers collapsed ten years ago.
  • AI and human rights: How to prevent artificial intelligence from widening the gap between rich and poor while maintaining human rights. Paul Twomey is Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
  • In Byron’s wake: The turbulent lives of Lord Byron’s wife Anabelle Millbanke and daught1er Ada Lovelace.

Other commentary

For an outsider’s viewpoint on our federal politics, see The Trump vibe spreads down under by Maureen Dowd writing in the New York Times. Dowd sees the Dutton-Morrison coup as mud-wrestling rather than a contest of ideas.

The war in Yemen: The Australian connectionOn Late Night LivePhillip Adams interviews Richard Tanter of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, University of Melbourne. Tanter explains how the war involves not only the Yemini rebels and Saudi Arabia, but also Iran and the heavily-armed United Arab Emirates, with US backing. He reveals the extent of Australian formal and informal military cooperation with the UAE, including the role of a former senior Australian military officer in a line command position in the UAE. (16 minutes)

In its Integrated System Plan for replacing retiring coal-fired generating units, the Australian Energy Operator finds “the lowest cost replacement (based on forecasted costs) for this retiring capacity and energy will be a portfolio of resources, including solar (28GW), wind (10.5 GW) and storage (17 GW and 90 GWh), complemented by 500 MW of flexible gas plant and transmission investment.” As Steven Long explains, the prices of electricity from wind and solar sources are now way below the price of electricity from new coal-fired stations.

“Some days I feel like a people trafficker” writes Australian priest Michael Kelly SJ, who’s doing his best to get refugees from Pakistan, Sough Sudan, Iran and Vietnam out of their squalid conditions in Bangkok. In his article in Eureka StreetA journey with urban refugees in Bangkok,  he hastens to add that he “doesn’t make a zack” out of his efforts to find them places in other countries.

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