Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea: an international perspective

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The School of Social Sciences at Monash University, the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, and Swinburne University of Technology present: Date:     15 February 2016 Time:   10.00am to 5.00pm Venue:  Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street Melbourne RSVP:   Attendance is free but places are limited, so please pre-register for this event at the registration form. Confirmed Speakers include: Professor Don Rothwell, Professor of International Law, Head of School ANU College of Law Professor Don K. Anton, Professor of International ... Read More »

‘The Past’ ruefully explores childhood memories of a beloved family home

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A family of adult siblings must decide whether their money can stretch far enough to fix the roof of their grandparents’ cottage or whether it’s time to let Kington go. © The Christian Science Monitor By Yvonne Zipp Three weeks cooped up with siblings, assorted in-laws, and various offspring in a house with a leaky roof and no wi-fi probably sounds, to most, like a recipe for disaster. (Cue the sound of employees volunteering to work weekends next July.) But ... Read More »

Subversion on stage: can theatre change the world?

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Recent events in Hungary, Belarus and Iraq show that governments find theatre dangerous enough to think it’s worth banning. So what should we be doing in response The Guardian – Andrew Haydon @Postcard_Gods In the past month, three rather serious things have happened to what could loosely be called “the world’s theatre community”. In Hungary – the country that has just assumed presidency of the EU, folks – a law has been drafted that, as well as enabling the government to censor ... Read More »

Free for All: NYPL Enhances Public Domain Collections For Sharing and Reuse

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NYPL LABS, SPOTLIGHT ON THE PUBLIC DOMAIN New York Public Library – by Shana Kimball, Manager, Public Programs and Outreach, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, NYPL Labs Today we are proud to announce that out-of-copyright materials in NYPL Digital Collectionsare now available as high-resolution downloads. No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse! The release of more than 180,000 digitized items represents both a simplification and an enhancement of digital access to a trove of unique and rare materials: ... Read More »

‘Leftover Women’ reveals unequal shares of China’s growing wealth

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Mao Zedong’s communist party was set to modernize the rights and roles of women in China. However, within years of taking power, the party stopped its efforts – leaving Chinese women facing societal gender bias even as China rises as a dominant power. The Christian Science Monitor – By Dan Southerland Shortly after Mao Zedong took power in China in 1949, it appeared that he would follow through on promises to “liberate” the country’s women. Mao had already proclaimed that “women ... Read More »

Breda O’Brien: Removing “religious spirit” from national schools an act of desperation

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It is more than likely a symbolic response by Minister O’Sullivan to Fine Gael’s refusal to buy her School Admissions Bill The Irish Times – Breda O’Brien An American company designs survival capsules, that is, reinforced pods to protect people from natural disasters like tsunamis. They are built to high-tech specifications by aerospace engineers. But Labour, facing an electoral tsunami, don’t bother with all that high-tech stuff when building their own survival capsule. They just take a pop at the Catholic Church, ... Read More »

Smiles mark uneasiness for ‘most endangered tribe’ on Earth

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Caru Indigenous Land, Brazil: Wirohoa does not have a driver’s licence, a television or a mobile phone. He does not know how old he is and walks barefoot around the indigenous village of Tiracambu, in the Brazilian Amazon. Dom Phillips Last December he, his mother Jakarewaja and his aunt Amakaria left the forest where they had lived their whole lives as nomadic hunter-gatherers, isolated from modern society. “We were very happy living in the forest,” said Wirohoa, who does not use ... Read More »

A refugee, like me: why the Golden Rule matters in an era of mass migration

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As the refugee crisis worsens, various “destination” countries, including Australia, are engaging in internal debates around multiculturalism, integration and tolerance. People are worried about cultural cohesion, racial divides and religious differences. The Conversation Author: Rivka T. Witenberg, Honarary Research Fellow in Psychology , Australian Catholic University Disclosure statement: Rivka T. Witenberg receives funding from Large ARC SPIRT Grant; Department of Psychology Research Support Scheme, University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University; Centre for Education for Human Values and Tolerance, Bar ... Read More »

Moral Dispute or Cultural Difference?

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The Stone The word “relativism” tends to generate strong reactions. This is odd, given that the word is not generally used with a clear and agreed upon meaning. ””” The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless.””” The New York Times – By Carol Rovane  I want to offer a specific proposal about what it means, with a view to navigating the following “real-world” problem, discussed by Alex Rosenberg here at ... Read More »

In Iceland, a Literary Tour Explores Rich History

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Standing in the dark outside the Reykjavik public library in the relentless damp chill that comes with a light rain at 40 degrees, I kept trying to zip up my jacket. The charcoal sky was a shade lighter than the inky ocean a few blocks away, but it was noon, not twilight. I had a few minutes to bundle up before an outdoor walking tour on literary Iceland began. As if on cue, the zipper snapped off in my hand. ... Read More »

Religious study in schools can play a vital role in countering violent extremism

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Our young people should be taught about the role of religion in society. The Age – Anthony Bergin and Clare Murphy After the horrific terror attacks in Paris, Australian security and law enforcement agencies will be re-examining how we might respond to a simultaneous, co-ordinated mass-casualty attack and the tactics used when hostages are taken. We should also be focused on the prevention of future attacks by considering our counter-extremism response, including undermining the Islamist ideology that’s fuelling jihadism. Our ... Read More »

Seven minutes of meditation can reduce racial prejudice, study finds

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A popular meditation technique that’s intended to create feelings of kindness can also reduce prejudice, according to new University of Sussex research. EurekAlert! AAAS – University of Sussex The study, published online in the journal Motivation and Emotion, found that just seven minutes of Loving-kindness meditation (LKM), a Buddhist practise that promotes unconditional kindness towards oneself and others, is effective at reducing racial bias. Lead researcher Alexander Stell, a Doctoral student in Psychology, said: “This indicates that some meditation techniques ... Read More »

Brisbane asylum seeker accepts Year 12 certificate behind detention bars

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An Iranian girl seeking asylum in Brisbane will on Wednesday “accept” her Year 12 certificate from behind the bars of Darwin’s Wickham Point immigration detention centre. Brisbane Times – Tony Moore * Mojgan Shamsalipoor, now 21, will also receive a Rotary Award for her perseverance as a Yeronga State High School student – effectively while studying under armed guard – and where English is not the student’s first language. Ms Shamsalipoor hopes to become a midwife and tonight her Brisbane-based husband, Milad ... Read More »

I disagree with what you say

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Debates about how to reconcile the competing interests of freedom of speech and protection from racial discrimination have featured prominently in Australian political life over the last few years. CEFA Famously, the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire is claimed to have said, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.” Should the right to freedom of speech extend to speech that might be deemed to be racist? CEFA has produced a short ... Read More »

Why persistence is the most important trait to learn as a kid

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Comment The idea for my start-up Canva came about when I was teaching design at university nine years ago. It’s been an exciting ride. We now have more than 6 million users, using Canva to design their own social media posts, presentations, marketing materials and documents. The Sydney Morning Herald – Melanie Perkins * There’s often a myth about start-ups, that things happen overnight. However, this is never the case. Success only comes through determination to achieve your vision despite ... Read More »

Educating young refugees and asylum seekers the smart thing to do

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Malcolm Turnbull should extend student loan schemes to asylum seekers and refugees on temporary visas who meet the entrance criteria for further study. The Age – Sandy Gifford and Peter Mares On October 21 The Age reported on the case of Ali*, a VCE student who faces a far more uncertain future than most of his contemporaries. This is an anxious time for all year 12 students as they worry about doing sufficiently well in their exams to get into their ... Read More »