Features

Leading academics slam UWA student guild for putting ‘cultural sensitivities’ above free speech

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A move by the University of WA student guild to acknowledge a visit from the Dalai Lama could offend some students has been criticised by leading academics, who see it as an attempt to put cultural sensitivities ahead of free… Bethany Hiatt | The West Australian Three years after it hosted the Tibetan spiritual leader on campus, the guild last week backed a motion recognising the “negative impact” his presence could have on Chinese… UWA’s Pelican magazine reported the motion ... Read More »

Russia-Turkey: The Interdependent Relationship Shaped by Energy or a Deeper Friendship?

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Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the deepening relationship between Russia and Turkey showed itself in the first agreement designed to enhance their economic relations… Nargiz Hajiyeva Modern Diplomacy The agreement was signed on March 15, 1977, between them, which mainly embraced the cooperation in the promotion of the industrial development and… Meanwhile, the parties also inked an agreement concerning the scientific and technical cooperations. Therefore, energy had been a significant issue amid the negotiations processes between Russia ... Read More »

Crucial Ingredient of Life Might Not Exist Across Universe, Scientists Discover

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If you were going grocery shopping with plans to whip up life, you’d know to stock up on the equivalent of a chocolate chip cookie recipe’s eggs and chocolate chips: It’s easy to remember you need water and carbon. Meghan Bartels Newsweek But just as you may forget to check your supply of baking soda, the less obvious ingredients of life—like phosphorus—may slip your mind. Phosphorus is a crucial piece of DNA and the compounds that store energy. A cookie without baking soda doesn’t ... Read More »

Do we need human rights law?

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In a world of unprecedented refugee flows, seemingly endless wars and rising levels of xenophobia and inequality, many have been questioning the point of human rights. Kiran Grewal The Conversation What do they mean to the huge numbers of asylum seekers detained across the globe? To the Rohinyga, fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar? To the children dying in bombings across Syria and Yemen? For many the optimism of the post-WWII era when the international human rights system was set up ... Read More »

Space war is coming — and the U.S. is not ready

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‘We are now approaching a point where “Star Wars” is not just a movie,’ one government adviser warns. By BRYAN BENDER and JACQUELINE KLIMAS Politico War is coming to outer space, and the Pentagon warns it is not yet ready, following years of underinvesting while the military focused on a host of threats on Earth. Russia and China are years ahead of the United States in developing the means to destroy or disable satellites that the U.S. military depends on for everything from ... Read More »

What King, Kennedy, Obama’s great speeches have in common

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Two of history’s great rhetoricians – Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert F Kennedy – were assassinated 50 years ago. Their words have resonance today, writes Benjamin Ramm. Benjamin Ramm BBC Popular volumes of great speeches celebrate the mastery of the art of persuasion. These tomes are full of rhetorical flourishes, of stirring appeals to universal ideals, with elevated cadences and effortless assurances. But two of the most significant rhetoricians of the 20th Century, both of whom were assassinated 50 ... Read More »

Europe struggles to face down Big Pharma

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Knocking down drug prices requires more than bargaining as a group. Belgium and the Netherlands teamed up three years ago to negotiate cheaper drugs in the hopes of forming a new front against Big Pharma’s high prices. Carmen Paun Politico It was an attractive idea: Banding together, EU health ministries would wield bargaining power against pharma companies based on their bigger patient pool. Luxembourg, Austria and Ireland agreed with the logic and signed on, stung into action as drug prices reached eye-popping highs. Hepatitis ... Read More »

Cryptocurrencies have become terrorist tool, says Russian security chief

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International terrorist groups are skilled at using modern technology, recruit hackers into their ranks and actively finance their activities with cryptocurrencies, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has… RT “We are not talking only about aggressive propaganda and recruitment on the internet, which currently has over 10,000 [terrorist-related] websites and hundreds of thousands of their accounts on social… I am talking about large-scale use of various means of encrypted communication, electronic banking and cryptocurrencies, schemes of remote management ... Read More »

Bring back the sensible centre

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It will not surprise many that a new study of attitudes shows Australian voters are deserting the centre ground and moving to the fringes and extremes. Editorial The Sydney Morning Herald As we have reported, an analysis of time-series data collected in the Australian Election Study after every federal poll since 1987 shows more voters are thinking of themselves as either “left” or “right” in political terms. Where in 1996 54 per cent of voters described themselves as in the ... Read More »

How do you make poverty sound better? Rebrand it!

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Having to take several jobs and sending kids to work used to be a sign of living precariously – now it’s just a question of what your ‘side hustle’ is Arwa Mahdawi The Guardian Listen carefully. I am about to divulge the secret of financial success. I have deduced a failsafe way to amass a lot of money, even if you earn very little. It doesn’t involve cutting down on avocado toast, crocheting your own clothes or working eight jobs; it’s ... Read More »

Defence Department scientist had separate role with China-linked firm

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The Defence Department is reviewing business dealings between one of its senior scientists and the Chinese government’s missile development agency amid ongoing concerns about Beijing’s effort to… By Alex Joske, Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker & Angus Grigg The Age In a separate development, Fairfax Media can also reveal that Australia’s peak scientific research agency, the CSIRO, spent tens of millions of dollars upgrading its cyber-security and information systems after a… The man disappeared after the apparent breach in November… Defence ... Read More »

Electoral Poker in DR Congo

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Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been postponed since December 2016, but now seem to be slated for the end of the year. ICG All parties should work to ensure credible polls, the best hope for a peaceful transfer of power. What’s new? After repeated delays, President Joseph Kabila’s government in the Democratic Republic of Congo has made progress over the past few months toward organising elections for 23 December 2018. But there are still important concerns ... Read More »

Salisbury poisoning: UK experts cannot prove novichok nerve agent used on Skripals came from Russia, MoD says

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‘We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions’ Kim Sengupta Independent Accusations and recriminations between Britain and Russia are set to escalate with the news that scientists at the Porton Downmilitary research facility have been unable to establish exactly where the novichok nerve agent used to carry out the… The admission comes the day before Moscow convenes an emergency meeting of the… Salisbury poisoning: UK… Read More »

South Africa hails ‘retraction’ of Australian minister’s offer to white farmers

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However, Australian home affairs minister denies that offer of humanitarian visas has been withdrawn Paul Karp The Guardian The Australian home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, has denied that the Australian government retracted his offer for white South African farmers to come to Australia on humanitarian visas. A spokesperson for Dutton reportedly issued the denial after the South African government claimed Australia had gone back on plans to offer fast-track humanitarian visas to “persecuted” white farmers. The difference of opinion suggests Australia ... Read More »

Saudi prince says Israel has ‘right’ to its land

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The crown prince and de facto leader of Saudi Arabia said Israel has a “right” to a homeland, a notable shift in the kingdom’s position published on April 2. Washington / Riyadh Hurriyet But the king reassured Palestine over Saudi Arabia’s stance on the issue on April 3. Saudi Arabia and Israel still have no formal diplomatic relations, but behind the scenes, improvements in their ties have accelerated in recent years. Both countries see Iran as their biggest outside threat ... Read More »

How to Colonize Mars

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First-stage explorers to Mars will likely include those with strong ideological motivations and those with little or nothing to lose on earth. Urs Vögeli The National Interest Plans to colonize Mars have made some recent progress. In the realms of science and engineering, Elon Musk published a paper with the ambitious title, “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species,” which elaborates on certain technological, but also societal, dimensions of Mars colonization. In another context, Musk mentioned that direct democracy might work as ... Read More »