United States

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Australian cattle wait to be loaded onto a ship to Indonesia. Their voyage to the United States would be even longer. AAP Image/Xavier La Canna

Why exporting live cattle to the United States is a bad idea

Australia's cattle industry is keen to begin live exports to the United States. But America is very different to existing live export markets such as Indonesia, making the move much more ethically fraught.
A submarine missile-launching capacity brings the threat closer to the shores of the target country. Flickr/Marion Doss

North Korea’s submarine missile firing raises the nuclear stakes

North Korea does not yet have the capacity to launch a nuclear missile from a submarine. Its recent test, however, suggests it is making progress to a game-changing second-strike capability.
A Filipino soldier patrols the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The US is considering sending aircrafts and warships to patrol the disputed area, which is claimed by China and four other Southeast Asian countries. EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO / POOL

US patrol in South China Sea may stop China’s mischief in disputed waters

The US is considering naval patrols of disputed parts of the South China Sea in response to China's creation of artificial islands. Other nations with claims may welcome a temporary US presence.
Indigenous prisoners perform a welcome ceremony at the 2014 opening of Darwin’s $500 million prison, which is likely to be full by 2018. AAP/Neda Vanovac

State of imprisonment: if locking ‘em up is the goal, NT’s a success

The Northern Territory stands out for having one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world - much higher even than in the US - and it's hard to argue that this does the community much good.
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.
The US proposes to meet its climate targets through regulation, including reducing carbon emissions from coal power plants by a third below 2005 levels. Cathy/Flickr

How the US’s post-2020 climate target could fit into a global deal

The United States' post-2020 climate target raises many questions for this year's global climate talks, and puts pressure on Australia to raise the stakes.
President Obama’s immigration plan may help some illegal migrants find higher-paying jobs, helping spur some additional economic activity. Reuters

Obama’s immigration plan may give economy a little boost

An estimated 11 million undocumented residents in the United States live in daily fear of deportation. This fear permeates nearly every aspect of their lives. President Barack Obama’s executive actions…
Republican senator Mitch McConnell says the new climate deal will let China “do nothing” until 2030. Far from it. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS/AAP

FactCheck: does the new climate deal let China do nothing for 16 years?

“As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country.” – US Republican Senate…
Arguably for the first time, the United States and China have truly listened to one another on emissions cuts. EPA/Petar Kujundzic

US-China climate deal: at last, a real game-changer on emissions

The new US-China climate deal is a game-changer. The United States, the world’s biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025 relative to 2005 levels, while…
China’s President Xi Jinping, pictured gesturing at center, last month launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a project the US hopes to stymie. Reuters

China’s development bank plans test rising power’s strategic shift

In an influential speech in 2005, then-US deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick called on China to become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international community. To optimists, China’s recent efforts…
China’s embrace of technologies like solar roofs has seen it become the world’s biggest renewable energy investor. Climate Council

Australia is losing ground as the climate policy race gains pace

Climate change, now belatedly added to the agenda for this month’s G20 meeting in Brisbane, is a perennial topic whenever leaders gather for international summits. That’s understandable, given that countries…
There are high hopes that the new head of the Fed, Janet Yellen, will change the culture at the central bank and the lenders it regulates. IMF/Flickr via CC BY-NC-ND

Banking tail often wags the Fed’s regulatory dog

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has her work cut out for her if she hopes to change the culture at the world’s most important central bank. Media reports abound with evidence that the financial industry…
Australia’s reputation for strict farming standards helped its beef industry weather the BSE crisis. Malcolm Paterson/CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Australia shouldn’t sacrifice food safety standards for free trade

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
A green trade deal would encourage the development of renewable energy in big carbon emitters such as China. Kaj17/Flickr

Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens a green trade deal

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…

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