Features

Venezuela migration nears ‘Mediterranean crisis point’

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The UN’s migration agency says Venezuela is heading for the same refugee “crisis moment” seen in the Mediterranean in 2015. BBC The warning comes as its neighbours try to halt the movement of people fleeing Venezuela’s economic crisis. Peru brought in stricter border regulations on Saturday – a day after a court overturned Ecuador’s attempt to strengthen its own controls. More than two million Venezuelans have fled their country since 2014. They are fleeing a dire economic situation, with Venezuelans ... Read More »

Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound

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When the reading brain skims texts, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings or to perceive beauty. We need a new literacy for the digital age Maryanne Wolf The Guardian Look around on your next plane trip. The iPad is the new pacifier for babies and toddlers. Younger school-aged children read stories on smartphones; older boys don’t read at all, but hunch over video games. Parents and other passengers read on Kindles or skim a flotilla of email ... Read More »

The important and humbling work of doing diversity

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Growing up in suburban Sydney, I broke bread with all kinds. The dismantling of the White Australia policy in the 1960s and 1970s had allowed my parents to bring me from South Africa, aspire to belong and buy a house on a quarter acre block. Toni Hassan Brisbane Times My father started a business. Schooled in Islam, he ensured we never ate pork. I went to a public school alongside Aboriginal, Slavic, Italian, Greek and Malay students, as well as ... Read More »

Turkey police fire tear gas at mothers’ protest

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Police in the Turkish city of Istanbul have forcefully broken up a regular protest by mothers remembering relatives who disappeared during violence in the 1990s. BBC Officers used water cannon and tear gas and detained about 50 people, including veteran protester Emine Ocak, said to be in her 80s. The group, called the Saturday Mothers, have met in central Istanbul since 1995 and this was to be their 700th protest. Rights groups condemned the crackdown. It was “shameful, cruel treatment ... Read More »

What the grieving mother orca tells us about how animals experience death

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For many weeks, news of a mother orca carrying her dead infant through the icy waters of the Salish Sea captured the attention of many around the world. Jessica Pierce The Conversation Keeping the infant afloat as best she could, the orca, named Tahlequah, also known as J35 by scientists, persisted for 17 days, before finally dropping the dead calf. This has been one of the most protracted displays of marine mammal grieving. Among scientists, however, there remains a prejudice ... Read More »

The reasons behind Australia’s racism

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No matter how much we deny it, Australia can be a racist nation, but there are several factors causing this, writes Peter Wicks. IA WE MAY LIKE TO tell ourselves we are not a racist country in Australia, but let’s face it, a lot of Australians are racist. They may not all be neo-Nazis, but they are racist nonetheless. In New Zealand, our nearest neighbour, they celebrate Maori culture with the haka at major events such as the football. In ... Read More »

To end abortion, don’t ban it. Support families instead.

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(RNS) — Anti-abortion leaders have been thrilled with President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Katelyn Beaty Many hope he can be pivotal in overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion. Priests for Life has called Kavanaugh “exactly what we need on the Supreme Court.” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, tweeted, “THIS IS NOT A DRILL: Kennedy is RETIRING. We can overturn Roe and Doe. ... Read More »

‘Tokatu’ makes first visit

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The country’s largest deepwater fishing vessel, Tokatu, made its maiden call to Dunedin yesterday, and will be a semi-regular visitor to the city’s upper harbour. Simon Hartley Otago Daily Times Sealord took possession of the $70 million, 81.7m-long Norwegian-built vessel in mid-June, after a six-week delivery via the Panama Canal to its home port, Nelson. Sealord fleet manager Bill Healey said the ship was still in its commissioning stages and working towards full capacity, which was to catch, process and ... Read More »

Egypt joins with EU to protect water security

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CAIRO — Egypt’s Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Mohamed Abdel Aty announced in a July 24 press release that an agreement had been reached with the European Union (EU) to finance an irrigation-development project and improve the… Ayah Aman Al-Monitor The Egyptian government has been seeking to expand cooperation with international partners to address the threats to Egyptian water security. Egypt suffers from water scarcity, with a water deficit of 20 billion cubic meters (16.2 million acre feet) a year. The government has… Egypt joins ... Read More »

Greek Casino Project Considers Pitches From U.S. Companies

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Greece is undergoing a potentially country-defining construction project. America’s largest gambling operators want to be a part of it. Ryan Batler gambling Four leading U.S. companies are among a group of five meeting with Greek officials in the coming weeks to discuss the lone license to open a mammoth new casino in the country, according to a report from Ekathimerini, an international edition of the… These companies will discuss investment terms and demands from the Hellenic Gaming Commission, which is ... Read More »

Pointless: Australian democracy is now an even bigger laughing stock

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Of all the pointless convulsions in Australian politics in the last decade, this is surely the most pointless. Peter Hartcher The Canberra Times It achieved no benefit on any level but came at great cost to the government and to Australia. There was no great principle at stake. The only policies at issue could have been worked through with a bit of goodwill, as Malcolm Turnbull said. The new prime minister isn’t even as electable as… Only 54 per cent ... Read More »

Greece’s “Bailout” Was a Disaster for Greece

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Some bailout that turned out to be. The European Stability Mechanism disbursed its final tranche of loans to the Greek government on Aug. 6. On Aug. 20, the program officially ended, although the loans are not expected to be fully repaid for another half-century. Matthew C. Klein Barron’s If their purpose was to support the Greek economy, the emergency loans must be considered a failure. Since 2008, the economy has shrunk by a quarter, and more than 400,000 Greeks have ... Read More »

Bunga bunga Britain

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May gestures as she delivers a keynote speech on Brexit at Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on July 20, 2018. - With a trip to Northern Ireland this week, May began a tour of Britain to convince voters to back her blueprint for close economic ties with the bloc after Brexit next March. (Photo by Charles McQuillan / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHARLES MCQUILLAN/AFP/Getty Images)

UK politics are looking distinctly Mediterranean. Erik Jones Politico BOLOGNA, Italy — Which country is hot in the summer, good at football and a political basket case? Italy? No, Britain (OK, England in the football). There was a time, not too long ago, when British politics was decisive and Italian politics was fractious. Things have changed. In the U.K., Prime Minister Theresa May is suffering the slings and arrows of warring factions within her… Her government relies on a tenuous confidence and ... Read More »

The Turkish Currency Crisis And What It Can Teach Us

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Turkey’s currency turmoil follows a well-known scenario. It is one more case in the long series of financial crises that afflict the international monetary system. Antony Mueller Seeking Alpha Just over the past two-and-half-decades, international markets experienced the crisis of the British pound (1992), the Mexican and Argentinean currency crises (1994), the East Asia currency turmoil (1997), and the collapse of the… In 2007, the liquidity-driven housing boom in the United States began to falter and Lehman Brothers filed for ... Read More »

Putin and Erdoğan Knock Again at Merkel’s Door

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Sanctions force the two autocrats to negotiate with Germany over Syria. By Josué Michels theTrumpet Germany’s diplomatic relations with Turkey and Russia are warming up again. For several years, these relationships have been frosty. Reuters reported last week “But now, a diplomatic firework erupted” (Trumpet translation throughout). German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a three hour discussion on August 18. A meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is planned for September. Ahead of the meeting ... Read More »

Germany Declares Independence From America

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Also, Germany is once again the world-champion exporter. Richard Palmer theTrumpet German’s foreign minister declared independence from the United States this week. Europe, he said, should form a “counterweight” to the U.S., opposing America whenever it “crosses red lines.” Writing in Germany’s Handlesblatt newspaper, he warned that Germany couldn’t be this counterweight alone. “The main goal of our foreign policy is therefore to build a sovereign, strong Europe,” he wrote. He called for European independence in practical ways; he wants ... Read More »