Editor's note

As expected, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will lend military support to a US-led coalition protecting shipping in the Middle East. And as Natalie Klein explains, the area at the centre of rising tensions between the US and Iran is the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow body of ocean that is the main route for transporting oil from the Middle East to the world. About one-fifth of the world’s oil is shipped through this strait. To illustrate the issue, our multimedia editor, Wes Mountain, has designed an infographic showing exactly where the Strait of Hormuz is and why it matters.

And now, Klein writes, after significant friction in the region, it remains to be seen whether this latest action will de-escalate the tension – it’s in everyone’s interests that this be the case.

Amanda Dunn

Section Editor: Politics + Society

Top stories

Australia will commit a frigate, an aircraft and some headquarters staff to a US-led operation in the Strait of Hormuz. AAP/Marc Tewksbury

Infographic: what is the conflict between the US and Iran about and how is Australia now involved?

Natalie Klein, UNSW

As Australia commits to joining a coalition in the Strait of Hormuz, preventing escalation of any conflict should be the primary concern of all players.

George Pell’s appeal on child sexual abuse convictions has been dismissed. AAP/Erik Anderson

George Pell has lost his appeal. What did the court decide and what happens now?

Ben Mathews, Queensland University of Technology

By a majority of two to one, the Court of Appeal has dismissed Pell's case, because it found guilty verdicts were open to the jury.

The recent decriminalisation debates in Australia have included a new focus on partial restrictions on abortions – a strategy that has been very successful in many US states. Joel Carrett/AAP

How the US right-to-life movement is influencing the abortion debate in Australia

Prudence Flowers, Flinders University

The Australian right-to-life movement is tiny compared to the US, but its recent adoption of US-style campaign strategies has given it an outsize voice in the debate here.

Is it worthwhile to know you’re 25% Irish? from www.shutterstock.com

Should I get my DNA tested? We asked five experts

Alexandra Hansen, The Conversation

We asked five experts if DNA testing was worthwhile. Four out of five said yes.

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