Global Issues

Truth to power: my time translating Behrouz Boochani’s masterpiece

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The GM picks me up from the airport. I call him the GM because after the PNG Supreme Court ruled the Manus Island immigration detention centre illegal, this man was able to leave the prison and… Omid Tofighian The Conversation Behrouz Boochani has arranged for me to stay at that lodge. The GM’s Manusian colleague and another refugee accompany him. Driving into town we see police blocking part of the road beside a school; some locals are dispersing, others are ... Read More »

Genoa bridge collapse: maintaining these structures is a constant battle against traffic and decay

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As rescue workers look for survivors in the concrete rubble that used to be part of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italian authorities are starting their investigation into the possible causes behind this… Marios Chryssanthopoulos The Conversation It is too early to determine what may have caused the catastrophic collapse of more than 100 metres of the multi-span, cable-stayed suspension bridge, completed just over 50 years ago. But it’s important to understand that bridge engineering does not end when construction ... Read More »

How Crete changed the course of World War Two

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The Cretan Resistance caused significant damage to German morale and is likely one of the reasons why Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union was unsuccessful. Jessica Bateman BBC Our car pulled up a dusty track next to a grove of olive trees. My guide, Stelios Tripalitakis, got out and started briskly walking in between their gnarled trunks, stopping every couple of metres to investigate objects he spotted on the ground. I followed, desperately trying to keep up in the heavy ... Read More »

Rising Tensions Between U.S. and Turkey

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Readers criticize Turkey’s president (who wrote an Op-Ed article for The Times) for his increasingly autocratic and theocratic rule. The New York Times To the Editor: Re “Tensions Mount Between Ankara and Washington” (front page, Aug. 11): Let me get this straight. Last year President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looked on while his thuggish bodyguards assaulted American citizens peacefully protesting in Washington, and President Trump did nothing. This year, Mr. Erdogan ordered the Turkish military into northern Syria to attack and… ... Read More »

Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents

Illustration by Kotryna Zukauskaite

The number of informants executed in the debacle is higher than initially thought. Zach Dorfman FP It was considered one of the CIA’s worst failures in decades: Over a two-year period starting in late 2010, Chinese authorities systematically dismantled the agency’s network of agents across the country, executing dozens of suspected U.S. spies. But since then, a question has loomed over the entire debacle. How were the Chinese able to roll up the network? Now, nearly eight years later, it ... Read More »

A-level results: should universities lower entry grades for disadvantaged students?

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Students from less advantaged backgrounds are grossly underrepresented in Britain’s top universities. Authors: The Conversation This underrepresentation of certain groups is particularly pronounced in highly competitive courses such as medicine. In England, for example, 80% of medical students come from just 20% of the country’s secondary schools. This leads to a profession dominated by certain demographic groups. This imbalance isn’t just an issue of “fairness” or social equality. It is well established that UK trained doctors from affluent backgrounds are ... Read More »

Australia could house around 900,000 more migrants if we no longer let in tourists

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Many who fear Australia’s population boom believe we should be cutting down on immigration. They blame immigration for congestion and expenditure of environmental and other vital resources. Raja Junankar The Conversation They say Australia’s cities are becoming overcrowded and cannot sustain more people. But if Australia were to cut down on immigration, it would also then make sense to introduce policies that limit numbers of international tourists and students. Why single out one group of people? If any person living ... Read More »

Aboriginal traditions describe the complex motions of planets, the ‘wandering stars’ of the sky

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The five planets we can see by naked eye were known to the ancient Greeks as “asteres planetai”, meaning “wandering stars”, due to their wandering journey across the sky relative to the fixed stars. Duane W. Hamacher The Conversation This is where we get the word “planet”. But knowledge of the planets and their movements goes back much further, being prominent in the traditions of the oldest continuing cultures in the world. Recent research reveals a wealth of information about ... Read More »

New Zealand bans foreigners from buying property in effort to clamp down on house price growth

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New Zealand’s Parliament has passed a law to ban many non-resident foreigners from buying existing homes, completing the Labour-led Government’s election campaign pledge. ABC Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern campaigned before September’s election on a promise to clamp down on house price growth and reduce high rates of homelessness, in part by banning foreign buyers. “This is a significant milestone and demonstrates this government’s commitment to making the dream of home ownership a reality for more New Zealanders,” Associate Finance Minister ... Read More »

How the moral lessons of To Kill a Mockingbird endure today

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Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the classics of American literature. Never out of print, the novel has sold over 40 million copies since it was first published in 1960. Anne Maxwell The Conversation It has been a staple of high school syllabuses, including in Australia, for several decades, and is often deemed the archetypal race and coming-of-age novel. For many of us, it is a formative read of our youth. The story is set in the ... Read More »

Kathy Sheridan: Imagine if Boris Johnson is right about the burqa?

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Dogwhistle signal sent not by hack or clown but by former foreign secretary Kathy Sheridan The Irish Times Watching Boris Johnson offer mugs of tea to door-stepping journalists outside his country home was the latest in a series of “shoot me now” modern political vignettes. This was not about something jolly like an extra-marital fling or some private fetish. His comparison of burqa-wearing women’s appearance to letterboxes and bank robbers had become the number-one story in Britain. It may surprise ... Read More »

Qld senator unapologetic for racist speech

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Queensland Senator Fraser Anning has no regrets and won’t apologise after calling for a “final solution” to immigration in his widely-criticised first speech. Daniel McCulloch msn But senior minister Josh Frydenberg, whose parents were Jewish immigrants, has demanded The Katter’s Australia Party member immediately retract his “ignorant and insensitive” remarks. But Senator Anning, who joined KAP after leaving One Nation, is unapologetic about using a phrase historically associated with the World War II Nazi Germany plan to murder Jewish people ... Read More »

Constitution must align with values of Markievicz, not de Valera

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De Valera excluded women from politics and relegated them to domestic sphere Sonja Tiernan The Irish Times Sinn Féin were arguably the biggest victors of the 1918 British general election. Their triumph included the election of Constance Markievicz, the first elected female MP. In line with Sinn Féin policy, elected members refused their seats in the House of Commons but instead formed the first Dáil Éireann in 1919. On her release from prison, Markievicz returned to Ireland and to her ... Read More »

Cameroon’s Far North: A New Chapter in the Fight Against Boko Haram

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The Cameroonian government should aim at encouraging more Cameroonian Boko Haram members to surrender. ICG Community service, public confessions, symbolic ceremonies and vocational training can help reintegrate those who do not pose a threat. The government should also prepare for the demobilisation of some vigilantes. What’s new? As fighting between government forces and the Boko Haram insurgents in Cameroon’s Far North diminishes, a lasting peace depends on how the government deals with former members of the… Why does it matter? A well-designed policy toward ... Read More »

Guna Yala: The islands where women make the rules

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In the small indigenous territory of Guna Yala off Panama’s eastern coast, a flourishing ‘third gender’ community is defying stereotypes – and venerating women. Egle Gerulaityte BBC As our old, rickety sailboat glides effortlessly over the calm waters of the Caribbean, I am overwhelmed by the feeling we’ve just arrived in paradise. Scattered across the turquoise blue waters, the tiny islands of glistening white sand, covered in palm trees and green coconuts, look too perfect to be real. This is ... Read More »

America Doesn’t Need Another Tape to Know Who Trump Is

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Omarosa Manigault attend a church service, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., September 3, 2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - S1AETZFCTSAA

A recent memoir from a former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, has reignited interest in the possibility of a recording in which the president employs a racial slur for black people. Adam Serwer The Atlantic In 1993, The New York Times published an article headlined “Rap’s Embrace of ‘Nigger’ Fires Bitter Debate.” It’s not a word likely to find its way into headlines today. Sometime in the past 25 years, using that word became the only proof of racism that ... Read More »