Taliban and Pakistan overtures open political rifts in Afghanistan


As Afghanistan seeks rapprochement with Pakistan and opens negotiations with the Taliban, AMIR HAIDARI observes rising tensions between former president Hamid Karzai and leaders of the National Unity Government. As Afghanistan begins negotiations with the Taliban in Pakistan, lingering tensions have surfaced between former president Hamid Karzai and the leaders of the National Unity Government […]


A lesson in tolerance


After ugly clashes in Sydney and Melbourne between anti-Islam and anti-racism groups, KATHRYN ROBINSON writes that our Indonesian neighbours can teach us about religious tolerance. The memorial held in our national parliament on 17 July for the people who died in the Malaysian airlines flight MH17 shot down over Ukraine featured a moving rendering by […]


Japan’s unmarrieds seek new connections beyond the family


With marriage rates declining in Japan, friendships are assuming greater importance, for both men and women, writes LAURA DALES. It is a fact that by now barely needs mentioning—Japan is a hyper-ageing, low-fertility society. Japanese women and men are also marrying later, and less. Those who do marry are having fewer children than in the […]


Turkey’s Kurdish election surprise

BY and

The recent gains by the Kurdish-dominated party in Turkey’s national election could be a watershed moment for Turkish democracy, write DAVID TITTENSOR and TEZCAN GÜMÜŞ. Turkey’s national election on 7 June, 2015 provided a major surprise result. While pre-election polls anticipated that the ruling Islamist Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP) would […]


History wars: Japan’s industrial heritage listings fuel controversy over Korean forced labour in WWII


Japan and South Korea reach a compromise of sorts over acknowledgment of Korean forced labour during the Second World War, but DAVID PALMER forsees further controversy. The history wars between Japan and South Korea continue to gather international publicity, this time focused on Koreans forcibly conscripted during the Second World War as workers in Japan’s […]


Myanmar’s political journey: destination unknown


TREVOR WILSON previews Myanmar’s second general election since the country began its political transition in 2011. The Myanmar Union Election Commission recently announced that the second Myanmar general election since Myanmar began its political transition in 2011 would be held on Sunday, 8 November. This is pretty well the same timing chosen for the 2010 […]