Australian politics, society & culture

The Shortlist Daily

The best reads from around the world

22nd of May 2015

Islamic State starts beheadings as fears deepen for Palmyra treasures “Islamic State militants carried out public beheadings in the main square of Palmyra on Thursday after capturing the city. Analysts said that the jihadists now controlled more than 50 per cent of Syrian territory. Sources in Palmyra, a world heritage site renowned for its ancient temples and colonnades, said that the militants were hunting street by street for alleged government collaborators. IS said that it was in full control of the city and its surrounds. The UN said that about 70,000 of the 200,000 inhabitants of the city had fled.”

The Australian

21st of May 2015

Malaysia, Indonesia to scrap policy of turning away asylum seeker boats “Malaysia and Indonesia say they will no longer turn away migrant boats, responding to world pressure by offering to take in a wave of asylum seekers provided they can be resettled or repatriated within a year. The nations have sparked outrage by preventing vessels overloaded with starving migrants from Bangladesh and from Myanmar's ethnic Rohingya minority from landing on their shores.”


20th of May 2015

Australian man who fled Syria says he never joined ‘vicious and cruel’ ISIS “A Melbourne man accused of links to Islamic State who is seeking to return to Australia claims he never joined the militia group, was taken to its territory inadvertently, and only went to Syria “to use my skills as a nurse and medic to help the Syrian people”. Adam Brookman, a married father of five in his late 30s, is the real name of “Abu Ibrahim”, one of at least three Australians trying to negotiate their return home to Australia from the four-year Syrian conflict.”(Also: Tony Abbott warns no mercy for remorseful jihadis.

The Guardian

19th of May 2015

Saudi Arabia advertises for eight new executioners “Saudi Arabia is advertising for eight new executioners, recruiting extra staff to carry out an increasing number of death sentences, usually done by public beheading. No special qualifications are needed for the jobs whose main role is "executing a judgement of death" but also involve performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences, the advert, posted on the civil service jobs portal, said.” (Also: Arrested for reporting on Qatar’s World Cup labourers.)


18th of May 2015

At least 9 killed in biker gang shootout in Texas “At least nine people were killed and 18 others hospitalized Sunday when a shootout erupted between five rival biker gangs and police in Waco, Texas, a police spokesman said. All the dead and wounded were believed to be biker gang members. Officers traded gunfire with bikers after a brawl broke out, possibly wounding or killing some at Twin Peaks, a sports bar and restaurant known for its scantily clad waitresses. The bikers had purportedly gathered to recruit members.”

Los Angeles Times

15th of May 2015

Tiny Macedonia confronts a supersize scandal “An almost surreal scandal involving hundreds of thousands of secretly recorded conversations caught top government officials discussing everything from rigging votes to covering up killings. Two ministers and the head of the secret services have resigned. Thousands have taken to the streets demanding the right-wing government’s ouster. And last weekend, 25 miles north of the capital, a sudden burst of bloodshed left eight police officers and 14 “terrorists” dead and others wondering why it had happened, and why now.”

The New York Times

14th of May 2015

Gunmen storm crowded bus in Karachi, killing more than 40 “The Islamic State has asserted responsibility for an attack that killed 43 Shiite Muslims in Pakistan’s largest city on Wednesday, raising wider concerns about the Sunni militant group’s reach in South Asia. According to police, at least five men armed with 9mm pistols stormed a bus carrying Ismaili Muslims in Karachi, a port city in southern Sindh province. The gunmen began shooting the passengers, including women and children, at point-blank range.”

The Washington Post

13th of May 2015

Bureau of Meteorology officially declares a major El Nino; predicts drier, hotter conditions “The Bureau of Meteorology has officially declared a major El Nino event, which is likely to lead to prolonged drier, hotter conditions across much of eastern Australia. The impacts of the event are likely to be felt until autumn next year, and 17 of the last 26 have resulted in widespread drought.”


12th of May 2015

Thousands of Rohingya, Bangladeshi migrants believed trapped at sea “Thousands of Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar are believed to be trapped at sea in crowded wooden boats in the Malacca Strait and nearby waters and remain ‘in great distress’ as they try and make their way to Malaysia, according to the International Organization for Migration.” (Photos


11th of May 2015

The killing of Osama bin Laden “The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account.”

London Review of Books