Features

Global data shows 2017 is shaping as the best year ever

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Amid mass shootings, super storms and talk of nuclear conflict, here’s some good news. Matt Wade Barring a global catastrophe, 2017 is shaping as best year ever for the world’s average person. The Sydney Morning Herald That doesn’t mean everyone is better off, of course, but the positive trend in international wellbeing data since 2000 is striking. Global life expectancy at birth sums it up pretty well. It rose by 5 years between 2000 and 2015 to 71.4 years, the ... Read More »

Explainer: how our understanding of risk is changing

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Under the traditional notion of risk, people react predictably based on how risk-tolerant they are. Here, risk is calculated by combining the probability of something occurring (such as rolling a six with a pair of dice) with the value of the outcome (how much you have wagered). Robert Hoffmann  Adrian R. Camilleri  But our understanding of risk is changing. The Conversation We now know that a whole host of factors, from your personal history to your mood and age, all ... Read More »

The Domestic Challenge to Kyrgyzstan’s Milestone Election

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While Kyrgyzstan’s 15 October elections are a rare milestone for Central Asian democracy, the campaign is exposing dangerous fault lines. Deirdre Tynan  In the largest city of Osh, the new president will have to face down robust local power brokers, defuse Uzbek-Kyrgyz tensions and re-introduce the rule of law. ICG Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming presidential elections on 15 October are a milestone for Central Asia: for the first time, a president from the region will voluntarily stand down at the end of ... Read More »

The Prophet of Germany’s New Right

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From a tiny village in the country’s rural east, a leading nationalist intellectual builds a vision for the future of his movement across Europe. James Angelos The New York Times Götz Kubitschek, a self-proclaimed “rightist intellectual,” lives in a medieval manor house in Schnellroda, a rural village in eastern Germany. From this isolated, antique outpost, Kubitschek, who is 47, wields considerable influence over far-right thinkers, activists and politicians across Germany, who make regular pilgrimages to Schnellroda for an audience with ... Read More »

How do you solve the trickiest problems in the workplace? Employ more autistic people

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Neurodiversity can be a huge advantage for companies, yet people on the spectrum have often been marginalised. Now some firms are specifically seeking them out. John Harris Is this a crucial turning point? The Guardian <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/68ebbd0286bb03119fda79ff3cee1e8d/content.css”/> Five minutes from London’s Liverpool Street station is an office that looks like any other office in the tech industry: the decor is 21st century, pristine; takeaway coffee cups are omnipresent; most people under 30 are in casualwear. Just about everyone ... Read More »

Pierre Omidyar: 6 ways social media has become a direct threat to democracy

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While it’s hard to believe that helping strangers connect through the Internet was ever a radical idea, when I started eBay 22 years ago, it felt more like a social experiment than a business endeavor. Pierre Omidyar The Washington Post And in many ways, it was. Back then, online commerce was a new and wild frontier.I believed in our mission to empower people to conduct private trade on the Internet, but there were unforeseeable challenges lurking deep in those uncharted ... Read More »

Push to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day gathers momentum

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A movement to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day has gained momentum in some parts of the United States, with Los Angeles recently becoming the biggest city yet to stop honouring the Italian explorer and instead recognise victims of… ABC Austin, Texas, followed suit last week. It joined cities including San Francisco, Seattle and Denver, which had previously booted Columbus in favour of Indigenous Peoples… But the gesture to recognise indigenous people rather than the man ... Read More »

Old sites, new visions: art and archaeology collide in Cyprus

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Over the past two decades Australian archaeologists have been slowly uncovering the World Heritage-listed ancient theatre site at Paphos in Cyprus. Craig Barker  Diana Wood Conroy The Conversation The Hellenistic-Roman period theatre was used for performance for over six centuries from around 300 BC to the late fourth century AD. There is also considerable evidence of activity on the site after the theatre was destroyed, particularly during the Crusader era. The excavation of the site, and of the architectural remains ... Read More »

Tony Abbott says climate change is ‘probably doing good’

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Former Australian PM delivers speech in London comparing global warming action to ‘killing goats to appease volcano gods’ Karl Mathiesen for Climate Home in London The Guardian Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has suggested climate change is “probably doing good” in a speech in London in which he likened policies to combat it to “primitive people once killing goats to appease the volcano gods” . Abbott delivered the annual lecture to the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a ... Read More »

Would these people get help to die under Victoria’s proposed euthanasia laws?

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Would these people get help toIt could soon be legal to help some terminally ill Victorians die Our state MPs are expected to hold a conscience vote in mid-October on whether to allow voluntary assisted dying in certain circumstances. The Age The proposed laws are, in part, based on the findings of an independent panel of medical experts on when people should be given the right to die. We asked the panel’s chair, Professor Brian Owler, what would happen in six hypothetical ... Read More »

10 books about the politics of now: from the left-behinds to reborn radicals

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Brexit Britain, racial strife in the US and a crisis of capitalism: today’s political world is turbulent Read the rest of the Observer’s 100 political books series here All Out War by Tim Shipman (2016) An essential primer for anyone seeking to understand the politics of the Brexit referendum Julian Coman  The Guardian Shipman, the political editor of the Sunday Times, gives a vivid and compelling account of the Westminster gambles, compromises and miscalculations that unleashed social forces that prime minister ... Read More »

6 Reasons Why This Week’s ‘Our Ocean’ Conference In Malta Was So Important

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World leaders, EU representatives and the Prince of Wales were among those attending The Our Ocean conference is a major annual event aimed at encouraging countries and businesses to make concrete commitments to protect the marine environment. David Grech Urpani  Lovin Malta This year, it was Malta’s turn to host the global summit for its fourth edition, and very important points were raised. Among leaders from more than 100 nations and a large number of local and international NGOs in attendance, ... Read More »

Why Europe Needs a New Deal, Not Breakup

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The EU is facing a crisis of legitimacy—but retreating to the nation-state will only benefit the far right By Yanis Varoufakis and James K. Galbraith * The Nation The American New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt’s first two terms combined the goals of financial stabilization, reconstruction, conservation, and employment—jobs for the jobless; public works; power systems and new industries, especially in the South; soil conservation and reforestation to battle the Dust Bowl; and a potent mix of regulations and insurance to assert ... Read More »

Christians and Yazidis see a bleak future in a proposed independent Kurdish state

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BASHIQA, Iraq — Shortly after the Islamic State was pushed out of his home town last year, Ivan Abdulla bought a new house in the traditionally Yazidi enclave. It was an investment in the place where generations of his family were raised, he said. Tamer El-Ghobashy  The Washington Post But the father of three already regrets his decision.The hilltop town of mostly Yazidis and Christians — two of Iraq’s most vulnerable minorities — has become the focus of a tug of war ... Read More »

Maltese professor made vice-president of international maritime law tribunal

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David Attard elected to International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea position Leading international maritime law professor David Attard has been elected vice-president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. PN congratulates Prof. Attard Times of Malta Prof. Attard will serve a three-year term in the post. He has been a member of the tribunal since 2011. In a statement announcing his appointment, the government said Prof. Attard’s achievements built on Malta’s long tradition of maritime ... Read More »

Let’s All Agree Not To Visit Turkey

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To many Americans, a trip to Turkey has long seemed like a dream excursion A NATO ally that sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey has offered an approachable window into exotic history and culture. And the flights are generally affordable, too. Gregg Roman The Daily Caller But Turkey has changed in the past few years. The State Department hasn’t issued a travel warning yet, but if Americans think they’ll be safe there, they’re wrong. One year ago ... Read More »