Thursday 27 Jun 2019 | 02:27 | SYDNEY
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The Interpreter is taking a short break

Readers, Monday is the Labour Day public holiday here in Australia, so normal publication resumes on Tuesday. But look out for our usual weekly wrap tomorrow morning, and then at noon, a special Saturday article by the Shadow Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong, in what will be her first

Elon Musk's beguiling Mars vision

Earlier this week tech entrepreneur Elon Musk announced his company SpaceX's vision for human colonisation of Mars. Musk has been treated as something of a visionary in recent years for his leadership of the electric car company Tesla, but the company's planned takeover of SolarCity has been badly

What Malaysia has to gain from migration reform

By Rachael Buckland, an intern with the Migration and Border Policy Project, and Jiyoung Song, Director of the Migration and Border Policy Project. Asia is home to the most refugees and displaced people of any region, including the world's largest-known stateless group, Myanmar's Rohingya. Although

Reflections of a G20 scholar

Tomorrow will be the final official day of the Lowy Institute for International Policy’s G20 Studies Centre.  Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison will be speaking at the Lowy Institute tomorrow on the themes of trade, investment and immigration, all crucial dimensions to current discussions

Quick comment: Richard McGregor on Xi Jinping

It is rarely acknowledged that the list of Australian journalists working on China in recent times is pretty stellar. Just off the top of my head I can think of Jane Perlez (New York Times), John Garnaut (formerly Fairfax), Stephen McDonell (BBC), Chris Buckley (New York Times) and of course Richard

India's strategic restraint on Kashmir

Two weeks on from the worst attack on Indian soldiers in Kashmir for decades, the dust is starting to settle. Many Indian politicians, press, and analysts had struck a relentlessly hostile note, demanding that New Delhi take (in their view) long overdue military action against the Pakistani

TV trailer: Designated Survivor

This is a new series which has just started airing in the US and is available on Netflix here in Australia. It's a compelling premise for a series, and the reviews are generally positive. (H/t JG

West Papua high on Pacific Islands Forum agenda

The issue of human rights in West Papua was high on the agenda at the recent Pacific Islands Forum in the Federated States of Micronesia. Despite the sensitivities for member countries like Australia and Papua New Guinea, leaders at the forum also agreed the issue should stay on the agenda for

China's big dish is a big deal for Planet Earth

China has now started to operate the world's largest radio telescope. The 500-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) rests in a natural depression in Guizhou, and resembles the famous 300 metre Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico. Size alone does not speak of its power. The telescope's reflecting

Australia should take a stand on Veloso

In April last year, Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were among eight people executed by firing squad in Indonesia. Their deaths brought the issue of capital punishment to the forefront of Australia’s consciousness and reignited debate over the practice on a global scale. 

Where economics fits in the security debate

The relationship between the intelligence and strategic communities on the one hand, and economists on the other, has a rich and storied history. Nobel Laurette Thomas Schelling perhaps exemplifies the interactions at their best. Schelling’s work on game theory and strategy influenced US

UN and Obama Summits: What's Next?

After years of refugee and migrant crises, for the first time in history this week 193 UN member states agreed to a unified approach. It was a consensus that was mostly talk with little action but it could yet be a platform for change. The Summit's main achievement was to adopt the New York

Fred Smith in conversation

If you have enjoyed the music of one-time diplomat turned musician and now author, Fred Smith, why not come and hear him in conversation with the Lowy Institute's research director Anthony Bubalo in Sydney tomorrow. Fred's acclaimed album Dust of Uruzgan evokes the two years he spent working

Measuring the value of digital diplomacy

Last Friday, I joined a panel discussion at the Young Australians in International Affairs Future 21 conference. The YAIIA is a great organisation, and if you have any interest in international affairs, you should check it out. Future21 was its first national conference and had a stellar line up of

Afghanistan conflict fuels desperate journeys

As planting season started in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan this spring, so did the fighting. One farmer, Ibrahim (he uses only one name), and his family had barely tilled their land when they had to leave. Fighting had been close by for most of the past year, but now it was in their

It's time for a new intelligence review

It has been five years since the release of the Independent Review of the Intelligence Community (or IRIC). Why do we need another review now? The IRIC endorsed the work the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) had undertaken in response to the recommendations made by Philip Flood in his

How’s the Australian economy going?

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Australia ( the red line) has outperformed all the main advanced economies (which fall within the blue segments) for increase in GDP and per-capital GDP, is lower than almost all on unemployment (Japan is lowest, New Zealand a bit lower than

Quick Comment: M Chatib Basri on economics and Indonesia

Following today's eleventh annual Sydney Indonesia Update, Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow Stephen Grenville sat down with former Indonesian Finance Minister and Thee Kian Wie Distinguished Visiting Professor at ANU M Chatib Basri to discuss all things Indonesia and economics, including where

North Korea: Reaching for Armageddon

North Korea does not naturally inspire optimism. Yet the tone among expert observers of the country's missile and nuclear programs has taken an unmistakably pessimistic tilt of late. Concern is mounting at Pyongyang's rapid technical advances. The frequency, sophistication and success rate of recent

Fiji’s democracy cracks again

Last weekend Fiji's police force arrested six prominent opponents of the ruling party. Their alleged crime was breaching the Public Order Act by making remarks about the constitution at a conference convened by Pacific Dialogue, an NGO, on Fiji's Constitution Day. The arrests were nothing short of a

Why Vietnam has India in its sights

Narendra Modi is easily one of the India's most travelled prime ministers. His trip to the US in June, where he addressed Congress in English, was beneficial and ended with the declaration that India was now a 'major defense partner' of the US however more recently Modi stopped off in Vietnam on the

Quick comment: Rodger Shanahan on foreign fighters

In this quick comment, the Lowy Institute's Rodger Shanahan discusses how the uneasy co-operation between the West and Russia and Iran in the fight against Islamic State needs to continue to help combat the threat posed by foreign fighters leaving Syria and Iraq. Dr Shanahan and Lydia Khalil are the

Still time for intrigue in United Nations SG race

So far the selection process for the next UN Secretary General hasn't generated much razzle dazzle. Hopes are fading the long process will result in the appointment of the first woman to the post, for example. We are yet to see any Security Council member exercise a veto, an act that could prompt a

Indonesia's energy expansion: Delayed and uncertain

Indonesia’s ambitious 35,000 MW (megawatt) electricity expansion is falling behind schedule. How the project will be expedited in the context of organisational changes within government is unclear, as is the status of remote power delivery and progress on renewables. A decision in May by

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