Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

For Rudd, now it’s personal

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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may be a shoo-in to return to office late next year, but this week his reputation as a transformative leader will be on the line.

The Senate will vote whether Australia will cut its carbon output through an emissions trading system, or ETS. The debate is being closely watched overseas, particularly in the United States where lawmakers are debating their own proposals. The carbon trading scheme was a key promise of Rudd’s 2007 election campaign and he wants the ETS laws passed before December’s global climate talks in Copenhagen.

As political commentator Peter Hartcher says, defeat for Rudd would mean his claim to be a leader “for the future” would face a serious challenge. Rudd is an internationalist, and sets his standards beyond the domestic realm. The former diplomat who speaks Mandarin has laid out a plan to win Australia a temporary seat at the U.N. Security Council, has secured Australia a position as a lead negotiator for a new climate pact at Copenhagen next month, and has been actively pursuing a deeper Australian role in Asian diplomatic circles with his push for an Asia Pacific community.

For Rudd, this week’s vote on the ETS is more than just domestic politics, this is something with global ramifications. And for a man seeking to burnish his internationalist image, this makes it personal.

Sex, drugs and toxic shrubs: the best reads of March

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Cubans indulge baseball mania at Havana’s “Hot Corner”

For all the shouting and nose-to-nose confrontations, visitors to Havana’s Parque Central might think they had walked into a brawl or counter-revolution … but here in the park’s Hot Corner,  the topic almost always under discussion is baseball, Cuba’s national obsession.

Iraq’s orphans battle to outgrow abuse

At night, Salah Abbas Hisham wakes up screaming. Sometimes, in the dark, he silently attacks the boy next to him in a tiny Baghdad orphanage where 33 boys sleep on cots or on the floor. Salah, who saw both his parents blown apart in a car bomb, can never be left alone at night.

Best reads of February

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Exotic animals trapped in net of Mexican drug trade - From the live snakes that smugglers stuff with packets of cocaine to the white tigers drug lords keep as exotic pets, rare animals are being increasingly sucked into Mexico’s deadly narcotics trade.

End of an era for the Amazon’s turbulent priests - They avoid taking buses, make sure friends know their schedules, and rarely go out when it’s dark. For the three foreign-born Roman Catholic bishops under death threat in Brazil’s northeastern state of Para, speaking out against social ills that plague this often-lawless area at the Amazon River’s mouth has come at a price.

China in pictures: From black and white to colour

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By Emma Graham-Harrison

“Long live Chairman Mao Zedong” is scrawled on a thin strip of wood stuck into the ground where a peasant in tattered clothes is urging on a weary-looking ox. Near “Ploughing with Mao” are beautifully composed shots of young, fanatical Red Guards smashing antiques, and another group roughly tormenting a “counter-revolutionary” old man. 

Even though I know they are coming, it is still a shock to move on and see pictures of flawless models lounging on a bench in Beijing, rich young kids drinking in a bar and a group of smiling old women in a technicolour riot of outfits holding pictures of their younger, sterner, revolutionary selves.

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