Humanity

When apartheid Israel abuses Palestine’s children

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Nelson Mandela, who knew a thing or two about national struggle, once said: “There is no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats children.” By Fawaz Turki, Special to Gulf News And no child in the world has suffered more grievously — indeed more barbarously — than those living under Israel’s rule of the gun. Think, as a case in point, of the first intifada, which lasted from December 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, ... Read More »

‘Tortured and held for ransom,’ a child migrant’s story

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(CNN) – Souleiman tells a harrowing tale. He says he left Guinea when he was just 17 years old, embarking on a treacherous journey that took him through three countries. By Lorenzo D’Agostino and Mark Tutton, CNN Along the way, he says he was imprisoned, tortured and held for ransom. Souleiman says he left home in the summer of 2016, traveling thousands of miles through Mali, Algeria and Libya before reaching the Mediterranean Sea in December 2017. Smugglers put him in ... Read More »

Who Owns the Elgin Marbles?

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“They were created in a short time for all time. Each one of them, in its beauty, was even then and at once antique, but in the freshness of its vigor it is, even to the present day, recent and newly wrought.” Patricia Vigderman The New York Times Thus Plutarch described the buildings on the Acropolis as a showcase of Periclean Athens. Although he was writing half a millennium after the Parthenon was built, he touched on the essence of ... Read More »

How we can put a stop to the revolving door between homelessness and imprisonment

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Homeless people are over-represented in Australia’s prisons, and previously incarcerated people are over-represented among the homeless. Sophie Russell The Conversation Experiencing homelessness increases the risk of criminal justice system involvement, and experiencing imprisonment increases the likelihood of homelessness. Data from the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare and the New South Wales Justice Health Survey highlight both the over-representation of homeless people inside prisons and the absence of accommodation services for them on their release. Over the past five years ... Read More »

Tamil asylum seeker to be deported after UN committee withdraws torture concerns

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Committee earlier requested a halt to Shantaruban’s removal from Australia Ben Doherty The Guardian A Tamil asylum seeker appears set for deportation to Sri Lanka after the UN committee against torture withdrew a request to Australia to halt his removal while it investigated the risk of him being tortured upon return. Shantaruban, currently held in immigration detention in Melbourne, has been in Australia since arriving by boat in 2012. A notice of intention to remove from Australia has been issued ... Read More »

Mitsutoki Shigeta: ‘Baby factory’ dad wins paternity rights

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A Bangkok court has awarded paternity rights to a Japanese man over 13 babies he fathered through Thai surrogate mothers. BBC The ruling allows Mitsutoki Shigeta, 28, to pursue custody of the children. The son of a wealthy entrepreneur, he caused controversy in 2014 when he was revealed to have fathered 16 babies via surrogates in Thailand. His so-called “baby factory” case and others led to Thailand banning commercial surrogacy for foreigners. Mr Shigeta, who was not present at the ... Read More »

Michele Renouf investigated over Holocaust remarks at neo-Nazi rally in Germany

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Berlin: German police are investigating an Australian-born British woman for suspected incitement after she questioned the Holocaust during a far-right protest in the eastern city of Dresden. The Canberra Times AAP A spokeswoman for Dresden police says Michele Renouf was one of two people being investigated for remarks made at the neo-Nazi rally on Saturday commemorating those killed in the 1945 Allied bombing of the… Videos of the rally posted online show Renouf saying the only Holocaust perpetrated in Europe was ... Read More »

Museum of Australian Democracy exhibition looks at migration through Holocaust survivors’ eyes

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The story begins with a toy koala – furry, life-sized and huggable – and ends with the poignant reminders of the bottomless traumas of the Holocaust. Sally Pryor The Canberra Times But in exploring the different experiences of migration to Australia, an exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra has a single shining theme: human resilience. In 1949, an eight-year-old girl named Isobel Saxelby was presented with a toy koala when she arrived in ... Read More »

Dani Garavelli: Oxfam crisis doesn’t absolve us of our debt

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If there is one thing the past few years have taught us, with their many revelations of abuse, it is that wherever there is a power differential, there will be sexual exploitation. Dani Garavelli The Scotsman Counter-intuitively, or perhaps not, the risk seems to increase in those institutions in which the public has traditionally invested most trust: schools, hospitals, churches, the BBC. With Jimmy Savile we learned the hard way that engaging in good works was a perfect cover for ... Read More »

Poland is trying to rewrite history with this controversial new holocaust law

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Anyone suggesting that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust could face fines or even imprisonment of up to three years under a controversial new law approved by president Andrzej Duda. Svenja Bethke The Conversation The law makes it illegal to accuse the Polish nation of having taken part in the atrocities and the systematic mass murder of the Jews committed by the Germans during World War II. Initially, the law was designed to criminalise the use of the phrase “Polish ... Read More »

Myanmar says it’s ready to take back Rohingya Muslims

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A Myanmar minister told Bangladesh’s president that Myanmar is ready to take back Rohingya Muslims who fled violence, though Bangladesh said it wanted the hundreds of thousands of refugees to have a safe and dignified return. DHAKA – The Associated Press Hurriyet Myanmar’s Home Minister Kyaw Swe, on a three-day visit to Bangladesh, told President Abdul Hamid that Myanmar was ready to take back Rohingya under a deal the countries signed late last year, presidential spokesman Joynal Abedin said on ... Read More »

Netherlands passes bill introducing opt-out organ donation

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Vote ‘real breakthrough’, says Dutch Kidney Foundation Senators in the Netherlands have approved a new law making all Dutch adults organ donors after death, unless they opt out. Harriet Agerholm The Independent The bill narrowly passed in the upper house of the Dutch parliament, more than a year after MPs passed the legislation. Pia Dijkstra, who drafted the bill, said under the new system every person over 18 who is not yet registered as a donor will receive a letter asking if they want to donate their organs after… ... Read More »

What’s Actually Behind Cape Town’s Water Crisis

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Blame austerity-obsessed technocrats, irresponsible development, and willful ignorance. RICHARD POPLAK The Atlantic The city of Cape Town was plonked by its founders onto a peninsula not far from where the Indian and Atlantic oceans merge, often violently, beneath the imposing banks of Table Mountain. To its north lie the fertile fruit and wine farms that weigh down the city’s restaurant tables with unimaginable bounty. Every day when the clock strikes noon, a cannon blast echoes from Signal Hill, a reminder ... Read More »

Turnbull announces sex ban – and signals Joyce should consider his position

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Malcolm Turnbull has announced that, from now, sexual relations between ministers and their staff will be prohibited under a change he has made to the ministerial code of conduct. Michelle Grattan The Conversation Addressing a news conference late on Thursday, Turnbull also strongly hinted he would like to see Barnaby Joyce step down. Joyce had made “a shocking error of judgement in having an affair with a young woman working in his office”. In doing so he had set off ... Read More »

Ai Weiwei on the project that awoke his political voice – The Start podcast

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The artist and activist tells how investigating schoolchildren’s deaths in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008 spawned his mammoth installation, Remembering Produced by Eva Krysiak with sound design by Chris Wood and original music by Stephen Fiske The Guardian In 2008, an earthquake devastated Sichuan province in China, claiming the lives of more than 69,000 people. Following accusations from parents that substandard construction caused the collapse of schools across in the region, the artist Ai Weiwei set upon a political investigation that would name every missing student ... Read More »

Churches unite to propose Religious Freedom Act

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Major submission to Ruddock panel calls for a new legal “right” John Sandeman Eternity A wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches have spoken with one voice to the Ruddock panel on religious freedom, whose call for submissions closed today. They have received 13,500 submissions: “I think it is safe to say that people are concerned about religious freedom,” says Michael Kellahan, executive director of Freedom for Faith (FFF), a Christian legal think tank. The federal government has set ... Read More »