Features

A good death

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It would be foolish to think that we can control when our time is up. But neither should we face that moment unprepared. Not only for our sake, but for the people we leave behind. Vivien Shao Business Times THE only certainty in life is death. But this is not something we like to think about – not when we are at our prime, our careers powering ahead, and the future bright. In fact, as you flip through the papers, ... Read More »

Turns Out ‘Fakes News’ Is Pretty Real, You Just Need To Know Where To Look

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Unsurprisingly, the best place to get your news on all things United States these days is not from the traditional news sources. It’s not that they’re ‘fake news’ in the way Donald Trump describes them. It’s just that they’re mainstream media …enough said. New Matilda So where does new Matilda get its US news? John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is an excellent source of news that we ‘ve profiled before. It’s particularly good for major stories that aren’t necessarily cracking ... Read More »

Iran’s Newest Benefactor: China

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Is Iran becoming a Chinese proxy? More than two years after Secretary of State John Kerry and his European Union counterpart Federica Mogherini acquiesced to the last Iranian demands and signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has the… MICHAEL RUBIN Commentary Iran’s ballistic missile program continues to expand rapidly. Yesterday, Iran inaugurated its new launch facility by sending a rocket into low earth orbit. The same technology could be used to launch an intercontinental ballistic… Iran’s Newest Benefactor… Read More »

Sri Lanka’s Conflict-Affected Women: Dealing with the Legacy of War

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Tamil-speaking women in Sri Lanka’s north and east pushed for accountability and truth during the country’s civil war but have been marginalised during the transitional justice process. Crisis Group The government and international actors must include their voices and address their injustices and difficult economic situation to ensure lasting peace. Executive Summary Eight years after the end of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, Tamil speaking women in the island’s north and east are still seeking justice and truth for wartime violations. ... Read More »

John Olsen says Archibald Prize win is ‘the worst decision I’ve ever seen’

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The Archibald Prize has once again sparked controversy with veteran artist John Olsen calling this year’s winner, Mitch Cairns’ colourful portrait of artist Agatha Gothe-Snape, “just so bad”. Garry Maddox The Canberra Times “I think it’s the worst decision I’ve ever seen,” the 89-year-old former winner and three-time judge of the country’s best-known portrait prize… Insisting that an outstanding portrait should give an insight into it’s subject, Olsen said Cairn’s painting lucked analysis… John Olsen says… Read More »

Arts patronage now

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Companies have gotten sophisticated in their support of and collaboration with artists. Helmi Yusof SPH ARTS patronage used to be more straightforward. In the Renaissance era, a rich patron might ask an artist to paint specific figures and objects using specific colours and medium. In return, the artist was given financial support and moral encouragement. Today, arts patronage has taken on different complexions – especially when the patrons are companies. Although artists are still regularly commissioned to produce artworks, commercial ... Read More »

UN: 80 pct of Yemen children in need of immediate aid

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A vicious combination of war, cholera and hunger has left 80 percent of Yemeni children in desperate need of aid, the United Nations has said said. Sanaa Hurriyet ”Nearly 80 percent of Yemen’s children need immediate humanitarian assistance,” the executive directors of three U.N. agencies said in a joint statement released at the end of a two-day visit on July 25. ”Nearly two million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished. Malnutrition makes them more susceptible to cholera. Disease creates more malnutrition. ... Read More »

Central Asia’s Silk Road Rivalries

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China and Russia’s separate visions for Central Asia could transform the region’s political and economic landscape as well as relations between the two Eurasian giants. Crisis Group To the smaller, embryonic Central Asian nation states, the new geopolitical realities could offer both economic prosperity as well as worsening instability and conflict. Executive Summary Two new regional initiatives potentially could transform Central Asia’s political landscape. China’s Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, offers multi-billion dollar ... Read More »

Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General on Peacekeeping in DRC

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While the presence of the UN peace operation MONUSCO in the DRC is crucial, it needs to adapt to the deepening crisisΒ as violence escalates in parts of the country, and recognise President Kabila’s role in the… The UN should use its forthcoming strategic review to adjust the mission to these challenges. Jean-Marie Guehenno * ICG Your Excellency, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing its deepest crisis since the end of the 1998-2003 war. Prospects for a peaceful transfer ... Read More »

A Secularist vs. the Progressive Faith

Professor Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author of books including The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene, is seen at Random House, London on Wednesday, August 14th 2013 where he was interviewed by Ralf Kaminsky for Migros Magazin, Switzerland. Professor Dawkins is to publish an autobiographical book. (Fiona Hanson/AP)

A double standard is, in fact, a standard. Just an immoral one. Tom Wilson Commentary  Really it should come as no surprise that the scientist and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins is the latest public figure to have fallen victim to a disinviting mania. After all, if a darling of the left feminist like Germaine Greer can face a campaign to silence her over her views on transgenderism or a woman of color like Ayaan Hirsi Ali can face similar attempts ... Read More »

Central Asia’s Silk Road Rivalries

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Russia’s and China’s separate visions for Central Asia could transform the region’s political and economic landscape as well as relations between the two Eurasian giants. ICG To the smaller, embryonic Central Asian nation states, the new geopolitical realities could offer both economic prosperity as well as worsening instability and conflict. Executive Summary Two new regional initiatives potentially could transform Central Asia’s political landscape. China’s Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, offers multi-billion dollar investments ... Read More »

The South China Sea’s untapped oil and natural gas are back in focus

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The contested South China Sea has large deposits of oil and natural gas. Steve Mollman Quartz Perhaps luckily for the environment, drilling for these resources has been discouraged by political tension among nations in the region. In particular, energy companies worry about China’s ongoing insistence that everything within its infamous nine-dash line—which marks off nearly the entire sea—is its own territory, despite an international tribunal invalidating the sweeping claim last year. The uncertainty has made it hard for energy companies ... Read More »

‘Drug pushers in suits’: Why the ACT’s bid to ‘legalise heroin’ failed

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It was the bold idea that began in the ACT Legislative Assembly, rattled the prime minister of the day, and raised the hackles of one of the… Katie Burgess The Canberra Times And almost 20 years since Prime Minister John Howard scuttled a scientific trial into the effectiveness of providing prescription heroin to addicts, former ACT independent MLA Michael Moore believes its time to start the… Mr Moore was the chair of an ACT parliamentary committee on HIV, illegal drugs ... Read More »

Using money to buy time linked to increased happiness

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The study, led by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School, suggests that using money to buy free time– such as paying to delegate household chores like cleaning and… University of British Columbia EurekAlert! “People who hire a housecleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they’re being lazy,” said study lead author Ashley Whillans, assistant professor at Harvard Business School who carried out the… “But our results suggest that ... Read More »

Lessons Australia could learn from other countries to strengthen peace and stability

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There has been an alarming upward trend in the number of deaths in war around the world since 2012. John Langmore The Conversation The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute concludes that in the first decade of the 21st century, the total number of deaths from organised violence worldwide stabilised at around 35,000. But, by 2014, it had multiplied to 130,000. The small decline to 118,000 in 2015 didn’t reduce the severe global anxiety about armed… Lessons Australia could… Read More »

Why India and Pakistan hate each other

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Hissing cousins Three score and ten years after their acrimonious split, India and Pakistan remain at daggers drawn. Max Rodenbeck asks if they can ever make up The Economist EVERY AFTERNOON AT sunset, at a point midway along the arrow-straight road between Amritsar and Lahore, rival squads of splendidly uniformed soldiers strut and stomp a 17th-century British military drill known as Beating… Barked commands, fierce glares and preposterously high kicks all signal violent intent. But then, lovingly and in unison, ... Read More »