Culture

Bans on full-face Muslim veils spread across Europe

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Washington: Earlier this month, Denmark became the fifth country in Europe to introduce a ban on face coverings in public places. Rebecca Tan The Age Washington Post The policy is widely viewed as being targeted at Muslim women who wear veils such as the niqab. Despite protests in the capital, Copenhagen, police have started enforcing the law in earnest. On August 3, a 28-year-old wearing the niqab, which covers the entire body except the eyes, was attacked by another Danish woman ... Read More »

How Crete changed the course of World War Two

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The Cretan Resistance caused significant damage to German morale and is likely one of the reasons why Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union was unsuccessful. Jessica Bateman BBC Our car pulled up a dusty track next to a grove of olive trees. My guide, Stelios Tripalitakis, got out and started briskly walking in between their gnarled trunks, stopping every couple of metres to investigate objects he spotted on the ground. I followed, desperately trying to keep up in the heavy ... Read More »

Aboriginal traditions describe the complex motions of planets, the ‘wandering stars’ of the sky

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The five planets we can see by naked eye were known to the ancient Greeks as “asteres planetai”, meaning “wandering stars”, due to their wandering journey across the sky relative to the fixed stars. Duane W. Hamacher The Conversation This is where we get the word “planet”. But knowledge of the planets and their movements goes back much further, being prominent in the traditions of the oldest continuing cultures in the world. Recent research reveals a wealth of information about ... Read More »

Jewish leaders question timing of EU summit

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Scheduling conflict with Yom Kippur holiday raises concern amid rising rhetoric about ‘Christian Europe.’ By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN Politico Austria’s scheduling of an EU leaders’ summit to begin on Yom Kippur — the Jewish Day of Atonement — is raising questions of cultural sensitivity at a time of rising pro-Christian rhetoric among European politicians and… Jewish leaders said the scheduling conflict reflects an unfortunate but unsurprising lack of attention to their religious calendar. The situation is especially awkward for Austria, which ... Read More »

Why the mainstream media should stop giving extreme views a platform

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In recent weeks, a number of quite astounding articles have appeared in the British press. These have included among others, a Times columnopining the benefit to Britain in the current climate of having a political leader like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; referred to as… Chris Allen The Conversation In the Daily Telegraph, a similarly toned piece contemplated the reinstatement of the death penalty after Brexit. Somewhat appealing to the lowest common denominator, these and similar articles prompt questions ... Read More »

The lifesaving power of gratitude (or, why you should write that thank you note)

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Gratitude may be more beneficial than we commonly suppose. One recent study asked subjects to write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated. Richard Gunderman The Conversation Another study assessed the health benefits or writing thank you notes. The researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improved life satisfaction, increased happy feelings ... Read More »

Go ahead, white Australia, eat your kebabs while you remind us of your ‘values’

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When I think about white fragility and its moral pretensions I marvel at the great hoax of it all Randa Abdel-Fattah The Guardian I know who I am. Most racialised people do. History matters to us. We know that the answers to who we are as a nation lie in a story that did not start with the last election or 9/11 or Tampa or deaths in custody or the stolen generations. We know that if we were to approach the ... Read More »

Evidence of 250 massacres of Indigenous Australians mapped

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were killed until at least 1930, often with police sanction, researchers say Calla Wahlquist The Guardian There have been as many as 500 massacres of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. And mass killings occurred well into the middle of the 20th century, researchers have said. The disturbing revelations were released by the University of Newcastle on Friday as part of the second stage of its online massacre map, which now covers frontier violence ... Read More »

Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular

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“I lose sleep at night on this.” Imagine you’re the president of a European country. Sigal Samuel The Atlantic You’re slated to take in 50,000 refugees from the Middle East this year. Most of them are very religious, while most of your population is very secular. You want to integrate the newcomers seamlessly, minimizing the risk of economic malaise or violence, but you have limited resources. One of your advisers tells you to invest in the refugees’ education; another says ... Read More »

America is in the middle of a battle over the meaning of words like ‘diversity’

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You might think that the culture war over race and immigration primarily transpires in dramatic events, like the woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty to protest Trump’s child detention policy or the events in Charlottesville last summer. Jennifer Mercieca The Conversation But it also exists in the banal and everyday ways that we communicate. It involves battles over the dominant meaning of words, and how we use those words to describe our values and construct our policies. For example, ... Read More »

Cultural appropriation, you just can’t be too careful

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We all agree that racism is a terrible, unforgivable thing but even the most enlightened of us are sometimes guilty of what could be called inadvertent racism – I refer, of course, to cultural appropriation. Russel Grenning OnLineOpinion Put as simply as possible, cultural appropriation is a concept dealing with the adoption of elements of a minority culture including, for example, cultural and religious traditions, fashion, symbols, language and songs by those of a dominant culture. Critics of the practice ... Read More »

Israel passes controversial ‘Jewish nation-state law’, stripping Arabs of self-determination right

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Israel has passed a law to declare that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, something members of the Arab minority have called racist and verging on apartheid. ABC The “nation-state” law, backed by the Government, passed by a vote of 62-55 and two abstentions in the 120-member Parliament after months of political argument. Some Arab politicians shouted and ripped up papers after the vote. “This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the ... Read More »

The rescued Thai boys are considering becoming monks — here’s why

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After their dramatic rescue from Nang Non cave, 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach are mourning the loss of a Thai Navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, who died during the rescue efforts. Andrew Alan Johnson The Conversation The father of one of the boys said that in order to pay tribute to the Navy SEAL, many boys are considering temporarily becoming monks. Ordaining as a full monk – known as “bhikkhu” in Pali, the religious language of the Theravada Buddhism ... Read More »

ABC would ‘cease to exist’ if it was barred from digital platforms, chairman says

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Justin Milne says commercial media and ‘political fringe’ want to shrink ABC for ‘self-serving’ ends Amanda Meade The Guardian Restricting the ABC’s digital output in response to calls from commercial media would kill public broadcasting, the chairman of the ABC, Justin Milne, has said. “If the ABC were barred from serving audiences on digital platforms, it would wither away and cease to exist,” Milne said in response to calls from News Corp and Fairfax Media for it to abandon online news and ... Read More »

Why do the media demonise African Australians?

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Calling out the media for its biased reporting of crimes committed by African Australians is not about defending criminals or failing to sympathise with victims. Nyadol Nyuon WAtoday No African Australian I know supports criminal activity, thinks it is OK or wishes to excuse it in any way. What we are trying to do, however, is to highlight that the media consistently reports crimes committed by black people vastly differently from the way it reports crimes committed by white people, ... Read More »

Reflections on how far ATSI women in law have come

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With NAIDOC Week kicking off this week, Lawyers Weekly spoke with two trailblazing women lawyers about their experiences, what issues are still being faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in law, and… Jerome Doraisamy The theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week is “Because of her, we can”, and Kate George — who was the first Aboriginal person to study law at The University of Western Australia and was WA’s… “When I commenced my tertiary studies, there were very ... Read More »