Features

As poverty rises, the affluent won’t be able to escape its effects

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Rising resentment among the underclass is spilling out from ‘deprived’ areas and threatening to engulf society at large Darren McGarvey The Guardian The study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicting a sharp rise in child poverty will provoke the usual, commendable, shrieks of indignation. When news that more children than ever before are soon to be confined to economic deprivation, it’s sure to inspire a slew of robust dinner party debates. The overriding emotion anyone should be feeling at ... Read More »

Coincidence or coordination?

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Russians approached at least nine people in Trump’s orbit during the campaign and presidential transition Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger The Washington Post Through family, business and campaign operatives, Russian nationals repeatedly sought contact with Donald Trump’s world, starting only a few months after his presidential bid was announced in 2015. They forwarded proposals to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, brought a Trump adviser to Russia to speak and repeatedly sought meetings with Trump and his aides. Special ... Read More »

Thou Shalt Not Kill: Catholic Bishops Start New Philippines Prayer Campaign

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MANILA—A top Catholic archbishop on Sunday called for Filipinos to choose peace over violence and end a spate of drug-related killings that have divided the nation. Manuel Mogato Reuters The Epoch Times Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, was speaking as the church launched a new prayer campaign to “heal the nation and stop the killings” in the… Philippine Catholic bishops have been stepping up opposition to killings blamed on a government crack down ... Read More »

China to Create Its Own International Courts for Maritime Claims

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China is continuing with its plan announced earlier this year to create two Chinese-controlled international maritime courts that would be used to provide China’s interpretation of maritime law. Paul Huang The Epoch Times  The continuation of the plan is the latest signal that China has not given up on pushing forward its maritime claims in the South China Sea, which have been decisively ruled as unlawful by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in a high profile case ... Read More »

Lucid but flawed: Paschal Donohoe reviews Yanis Varoufakis’s economics primer

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An accessible history of capitalism and bank debt reaches disappointing conclusions Seating plans are tricky matters. Paschal Donohoe Family tensions, past loves and potential awkward silences complicate decisions. The Irish Times However, if this is difficult for family weddings it has the potential to be utterly fraught when governments gather together. Family tiffs pale in comparison to the tension between adjacent prime ministers. The European Union depends on such gatherings. Leaders of governments, ministers and diplomats gather regularly to thrash ... Read More »

A biologist believes that trees speak a language we can learn

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WHISPERING PINES I’m in a redwood forest in Santa Cruz, California, taking dictation for the trees outside my cabin. They speak constantly, even if quietly, communicating above- and underground using sound, scents, signals, and vibes. WRITTEN BY Ephrat Livni QUARTZ They’re naturally networking, connected with everything that exists, including you. Biologists, ecologists, foresters, and naturalists increasingly argue that trees speak, and that humans can learn to hear this language. Many people struggle with this concept because they can’t perceive that trees are interconnected, ... Read More »

Radical new approach to schizophrenia treatment begins trial

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Exclusive: as evidence emerges that schizophrenia could be an immune system disease, two-year trial will use antibody drug currently used for MS Hannah Devlin The Guardian British scientists have begun testing a radically new approach to treating schizophrenia based on emerging evidence that it could be a disease of the immune system. The first patient, a 33-year old man who developed schizophrenia after moving to London from Cameroon a decade ago, was treated at King’s College Hospital in London on ... Read More »

The ethics of medical practice in offshore detention facilities

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As the standoff between hundreds of asylum seekers in the Manus Island detention facility and PNG authorities continues, we are witnessing a potential crisis of health and mental health among these detainees. Louise Newman The Conversation As a psychiatrist, I have had direct contact with current Manus detainees who are experiencing increasing anxiety and distress and an uncertain future. Some of these people are treated with medication, usually antidepressants, and some feel that this provides them with some symptomatic relief. ... Read More »

Today’s Uzbekistan and Manhattan’s Deadly Truck Attack

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An immigrant from Central Asia has admitted to carrying out the 31 October truck attack in New York on behalf of the Islamic State. Sayfullo Saipov left his native Uzbekistan seven years ago and U.S. and Uzbek authorities say he was radicalised in the U.S. Deirdre Tynan  ICG What do we know about the Uzbek links of the New York attacker? Sayfullo Saipov left Uzbekistan in 2010, aged 21 or 22, and entered the U.S. legally on a Diversity Visa ... Read More »

Will exodus of firms from Catalonia economically influence voters?

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Damage to Catalan economy’s credibility and investor confidence may persist for years The secessionist process initiated by Catalonia’s regional government has prompted companies to relocate in other Spanish regions to ensure continued free-market access to the rest of Spain and the European Union. José Guimón The Irish Times Over 1,300 companies have now moved their headquarters outside Cataloniain the three weeks following Catalonia’s illegal referendum for independence of October 1st. The traditional concern that multinational affiliates are “footloose” applies equally to local companies. ... Read More »

How the Politics of the Left Lost Its Way

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One hundred years ago, the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia and set up the first long-lasting Marxist government. Geoffrey M Hodgson  The Russian Revolution’s impact was wide-ranging. Quillette One important – and overlooked – effect was how it changed the idea of the term “Left” in political terminology. Following the Bolshevik takeover, the term Left became more strongly associated with collectivism and public ownership. But originally the term Left meant something quite different. Indeed, collectivism or public ownership are not ... Read More »

Aboriginal Women Artists and Their Visions of Infinity

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These paintings, filled with traditional abstract Aboriginal iconography denoting nature, spirits, and a way of life that has been passed down for generations, are a wonder. Bansie Vasvani  Hyperallergic NEW ORLEANS — Despite the million-dollar auction price for works by Aboriginal Australian artists in 2007, the controversy about whether or not Australian Aboriginal art should be included in the Western canon hasn’t been entirely resolved. From the initial furor in the 1990s about its merit beyond the status as folk ... Read More »

Fremantle’s High Tide festival: wonder and illusion as artists turn streets into stages

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Fremantle proudly proclaims itself a “city for artists”, and while that has been a somewhat hollow boast in recent years, there is evidence of its former cultural vibrancy returning. Ted Snell The Conversation The Fremantle Arts Centre, ArtSource and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre have held the fort while other venues and organisations have collapsed into the back hole of Australia Council funding cuts, but the opening of the High Tide festival of site-responsive art raises hopes for a return to ... Read More »

What To Do When Racists Try To Hijack Your Religion

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White supremacists are coopting Norse heathen symbols. Should the heathens ignore them? Protest them? Sigal Samuel Create a new theology? The Atlantic As white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, the high priest of a pagan religion looked on with horror from Reykjavik, Iceland. It wasn’t just their racist message that bothered him. It was that their banners bore the symbols of his religion: Ásatrú, also known as heathenry. “I think it’s obscene,” the high priest, Hilmar Hilmarsson, said of the way ... Read More »

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Turkey Raise Alarm

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Deteriorating relations between the United States and Turkey have prompted a growing debate about the wisdom of maintaining U.S. tactical nuclear weapons at the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey and, more broadly, about whether to remove all such U.S. weapons from Europe. Kingston Reif  Arms Control Association Although Turkey is a NATO member and Incirlik is a key base of operations for the U.S. air campaign against the Islamic State group, developments over the past year and a half ... Read More »

Why the idea that the world is in terminal decline is so dangerous

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From all sides, the message is coming in: the world as we know it is on the verge of something really bad From the Right, we hear that ‘West’ and ‘Judeo-Christian Civilisation’ are in the pincers of foreign infidels and native, hooded extremists. Jeremy Adelman Aeon Ideas Left-wing declinism buzzes about coups, surveillance regimes, and the inevitable – if elusive – collapse of capitalism. For Wolfgang Streeck, the prophetic German sociologist, it’s capitalism or democracy. Like many declinist postures, Streeck ... Read More »