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Outside Twickenham Stadium where favourites England, will open the games against Fiji Reuters Pictures: Toby Melville

Explainer: the Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby's biggest event.
Australia’s shared past with Brazil enriches understanding of the two former European colonies. EPA/Antonio Lacerda

I Go to Rio: Australia’s forgotten history with Brazil

The First Fleet had three layovers on its voyage to Australia – one was Rio de Janeiro. As Australia and Brazil celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations, it's worth remembering this encounter.
While the Jewish diaspora in Australia has long endorsed the Zionist dream, more recently ‘Ausraelis’ have come to see leaving Israel as an escape. AAP/Dean Lewins

Out of Israel: Ausraelis re-invent the diasporic identity

A new generation of emigrants from Israel to Australia is reversing the Zionist narrative. They have a distinctly different view of the Israeli state from that of older Australian Jewish migrants.
Not all eyes are on the prize: Eurovision is often as much about undeclared alliances, voting blocs and political paybacks. Andres Putting (EBU)/Eurovision

Glitz meets politics: an Australian viewer’s guide to Eurovision voting

For the first time, Australians can vote for this year's Eurovision winner. But it's as much a political battlefield as a song contest -- so hopefully the Russians have forgotten the “shirtfront”.
President Joko Widodo is not crying over cuts to Australian aid for Indonesia. AAP Image/Eka Nickmatulhuda

How will a 40% cut in Australian aid affect Indonesia?

Australia has cut aid to Indonesia by 40%. That may cause diplomatic displeasure, but the country has restructured its development programs in recent years to be less dependent on foreign money.
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar travelled in this fishing boat to Sumatra, Indonesia, with officials announcing some 2000 people were rounded up or rescued after arriving in Malaysia and Indonesia over the weekend. EPA

Pushed offshore, the ‘boat people’ crisis demands regional response

Australia may have 'stopped the boats' but the tragedy of people drowning at sea continues to our north and is getting worse. A regional solution to the refugee crisis is urgently needed.
Survival capsule used by Australia to return asylum seekers from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to Indonesia. Himawan Nugraha/EPA

Would Australia’s asylum seeker policy stop boats to Europe?

What would it mean if the European Union decided to "get Australian" and adopt a tougher approach to asylum seekers? Could it work, and at what cost?
Despite declining gun fatalities, there should be no room for complacency in Australia, with an estimated 260,000 illegal guns in Australia – including this MP5K 9mm machine gun, seized in Queensland in 2013. Dan Peled/AAP

Good news: fatal shootings are now less common in Australia, NZ, Canada and even the US

The rate of fatal shootings has fallen in Australia, the US and other nations in recent decades. Yet anti- and pro-gun ideology still makes it hard to have a sensible discussion about gun violence.
Like their allies, New Zealand troops served in Afghanistan without the ‘Rolls Royce’ legal agreement now being demanded by some politicians for the upcoming joint mission with Australia in Iraq. AAP/NZ Defence Force, CPL Sam Shepherd

ANZAC troops' mission to Iraq undermined by petty NZ politics

Australia and New Zealand's joint mission in Iraq is getting underway. But in NZ, the decision to send 143 troops to train Iraqis against Islamic State has faced a divided parliament and public.
An Australian Super Hornet refuels from a KC30 tanker while flying over Iraq. @VCDF_Australia/Twitter

Why Western boots should stay out of Iraq and Syria

There are two reasons why we should ignore the growing calls in the United States, Canada and Australia for Western “boots on ground” – meaning ground troops – to fight and destroy the Islamic State (IS…
Ice cores reveal that Antarctica was polluted long before Scott and Amundsen set foot there. Andrew Mandemaker/Wikimedia Commons

Our pollution reached Antarctica long before the great explorers

Lead pollution from Australia reached Antarctica in 1889 – long before the frozen continent’s golden age of exploration – and has remained there ever since, new research shows. In our study, published…

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