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AUSTRALIA: Planning uneaseness to be addressed at citizen democracy forum

Canberra, Apr.29.─ A community forum will brainstorm new ways of engaging the public on major developments, due to Canberrans' growing unease about how planning decisions are being made in the city.

The Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy's (CAPaD) public discussion about community engagement in Canberra will unite community councils and residents groups this Sunday to find practical solutions to one of the most fraught areas of public policy in the ACT.

The group said the adverse reaction to redevelopments at Manuka Oval, Yarralumla Brickworks, West Basin, Currong Flats and public housing in Weston Creek showed the current method of consultation was little more than "lip service".

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Massive US military strike on Syrian air base from which chemical weapons attack was launched

Russia 'furious' as US fires missiles on Syria

USS Porter Palm Beach/Moscow/Beirut, Apr. 7.─ Guided-missile destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross launched a massive strike operation agains Syria from the Eastern Mediterranean where the US Navy's Sixth Fleet is deployed.

The Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched on April 6 against a Syrian airbase from which President Donald Trump said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched. This is the first direct US assault on the government of Bashar Al-Assad in six years of civil war. Trump ordered the step his predecessor Barack Obama never took: directly targeting the Syrian military for its suspected role in a posion gas attack that killed at leas 70 people.

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Can Europe be saved?

If it is to survive, the European Union must become a lot more flexible

Brussels, Mar.26.─ On March 25th 1957, with the shadow of the second world war still hanging over them, six European countries signed the founding treaty of a new sort of international club. The European Union, as the club came to be called, achieved success on a scale its founders could barely have imagined, not only underpinning peace on the continent but creating a single market as well as a single currency, and bringing into its fold ex-dictatorships to the south and ex-communist countries to the east, as it expanded from six members to 28. Yet even as today’s European leaders gather in Rome this weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary, they know their project is in big trouble.

The threats are both external and internal. Internally, the flaws that became glaringly evident in the euro crisis have yet to be fixed. Prolonged economic pain has contributed to a plunge in support for the EU. Populist, anti-European parties are attacking the EU’s very existence—not least in France, where Marine Le Pen is doing uncomfortably well in the presidential campaign, even if the National Front leader is unlikely to win in May. 

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Argentina ex-leader Cristina Fernandez to go on trial

A judge in Argentina has ruled that the former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, should stand trial on charges of financial mismanagement.  Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez

Buenos Aires, Marzo 23.─ Ms Fernandez, 64, is accused of fraudulently administering state funds in 2015.

The former economy minister, Axel Kiciloff, and the former head of the central bank have also been charged.

Ms Fernandez, who governed from 2007 to 2015, said the case was politically motivated.

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North Korea doubles nuclear capability

  • A site in the mountains near Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, is thought to be the North's main nuclear facility 
  • While there's some debate about North Korea's stockpile of nuclear materials, "you're looking at a few tens of warheads, but that number's going to keep going up every year," according to Jeffrey Lewis, the founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk

March 22.─ North Korea has doubled the size of its facility for enriching uranium in recent years, says the UN’s top nuclear inspector, who voiced doubt that a diplomatic agreement can end leader Kim Jong-un’s weapons programs.

International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano described North Korea as rapidly advancing its capacity to produce nuclear weapons on two fronts: the production of plutonium at its Yongbyon nuclear facility and the enrichment of uranium.

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