World

Much like the UK, Spain’s broken politics are fraught with anxiety and boredom

Locked in a cycle of political infighting and pervasive uncertainty, the Spanish people are now facing their third general election in three-and-a-half years. Dan Hancox The National The UK’s politicians are advancing towards Brexit like wounded beasts – charging ahead falteringly, blindly and panicked. Last week, though, the academic and political writer William Davies summed up the national mood as a “mixture of anxiety and boredom”. It’s a confusing feeling, worrying about the chaos many believe will ensue after the ... Read More »

Perth’s first ocean rubbish bin is sucking plenty of plastic out of the sea

A unique floating rubbish bin, which effectively acts as a vacuum cleaner for the ocean, is being put to good use in waters off Western Australia for the first time. ABC Radio Perth By Gian De Poloni  Perth surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski garnered international attention in 2015 for their Seabin prototype, which was created after they became frustrated at the amount of rubbish floating in the ocean. A successful crowd-funding campaign allowed the device to be produced commercially ... Read More »

‘Trotsky’ Is an Icepick to the Heart of Soviet History

The Russian-produced Netflix series is selling worrying myths to the public. FP Two years ago, the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of November 1917 set off carefully choreographed celebrations in Russia marking the overthrow of the ancien régime. RT, for example, created an… But there were some curious omissions from the historical record in this retelling of the rise of the Soviets. Public parades focused on the defeat of Nazism rather than celebrations of Bolshevism. Russian state-run media trotted ... Read More »

Irish butterfly monitoring scheme detects decline above global average

Almost 20% of insects are in decline and 13% are threatened while 7% have conservation status Kevin O’Sullivan The Irish Times The decline of butterflies and bumblebees in Ireland is matching a global trend, indicating insect populations are collapsing, according to the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC). Commenting on its latest figures, senior ecologist Dr Tomás Murray said Irish butterfly and bumblebee monitoring schemes have revealed rates of decline in these important insects in line with a… The global scientific review confirmed ... Read More »

What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food

A study helps answer a question many of us ask when deciding whether to buy organic food: does it really make a difference? Kendra Klein and Anna Lappé The Guardian When Andreina Febres, a mother of two living in Oakland, California, signed up for a study evaluating whether an organic diet could make a difference in the amount of pesticides found in her body, she didn’t know what researchers would find. But her family, and the three others across the country that participated, ... Read More »

Pence: ‘We will not stand idly by’ as Turkey purchases S-400

MUNICH — Vice President Mike Pence repeated warnings to Turkey not to proceed with the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, a day after Turkey dismissed the first of two deadlines to cease with the… Tara Copp Military Times Pence, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, told attendees “we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the… The U.S. ... Read More »

Canberra’s first Buddhist pagoda set to open

The finishing touches are being put to an important religious building in the ACT. Steve Evans The Canberra Times The Sri Lankan community has been building a special “stupa” or pagoda which is to be formally finished with a ceremony on Saturday and officially opened a week later. There are several Buddhist temples in the territory but a stupa is viewed as the very essence of Buddhism. It’s a domed structure to hold relics of the life of the Buddha, ... Read More »

Tough Policing is Restoring Indonesia’s Fisheries

Five years ago the world’s most populous archipelago nation started taking action against the decimation of its fish stocks. Indonesia’s waters were being plundered by vessels from nearby countries, particularly China and… By China Dialogue Ocean [By Nithin Coca] When Susi Pudjiastuti became minister of fisheries and maritime affairs in 2014, she began dramatically curbing this practice of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. A report last year found a more than 80% drop in foreign vessels fishing in Indonesian waters, as well ... Read More »

Call to ban killer robots in wars

A group of scientists has called for a ban on the development of weapons controlled by artificial intelligence (AI). Pallab Ghosh BBC It says that autonomous weapons may malfunction in unpredictable ways and kill innocent people. Ethics experts also argue that it is a moral step too far for AI systems to kill without any human intervention. The comments were made at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington DC. Human Rights Watch (HRW) is one of the ... Read More »

Must the president be a moral leader?

The best presidents – including figures such as Abraham Lincoln and George Washington – are celebrated not only as good leaders, but as good men. They embody not simply political skill, but… Michael Blake The Conversation Why, though, should anyone expect a president to demonstrate that sort of virtue? If someone is good at the difficult job of political leadership, must they demonstrate exceptional moral character as well? Character and democracy Voters disagree about the extent to which the president ... Read More »

This Is What the Beginning of a Real Israel Debate Looks Like

Before Ilhan Omar came to the national stage, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer tried to discuss pro-Israel lobbying. Ben Ehrenreich The New Republic They were shouted down. With all the shouting it was easy to miss, but something new happened in Washington this week. If you can’t see it yet, put yourself back in 2006, when everything about a Somali-American, Muslim congresswoman tweeting a line from a Puff Daddy song—as Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar did Sunday evening—would have been unthinkable. In March ... Read More »

Is Nancy Pelosi a Climate Skeptic?

It’s time to reckon with the internal contradictions of climate policy. Bret Stephens The New York Times Is Nancy Pelosi a climate skeptic? Of course not — and I would know. But you might be excused for thinking so, given the curt wave-off the House speaker delivered to the liberally ballyhooed, legislatively stillborn Green New Deal. “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?” That was Pelosi talking about the deal as ... Read More »

Billions Dead: That’s What Could Happen if India and Pakistan Wage a Nuclear War

This is the real nuclear crisis the world is missing. Armed with what they believe is reasonable intelligence about the locations of Pakistan’s strategic forces, highly accurate missiles and MIRVs to target them, and a missile defense that has a shot at cleaning up any Pakistani missiles that survived the… Zachary Keck The National Interest With the world’s attention firmly fixated on North Korea, the greatest possibility of nuclear war is in fact on the other side of Asia. That ... Read More »

Armed conflict killed 870,000 young children over five years, report

At least 100,000 babies die every year because of factors including hunger, damaged hospitals and lack of aid, says Save the Children. SBS About 870,000 children under five may have died within five years as a result of armed conflict in the worst-affected countries, a new report finds. According to the ‘Stop War on Children’ report from Save the Children, the number is five times more than the 174,703 fighters estimated to have been killed in the same period between 2013 ... Read More »

Fierce litigator worked pro-bono to champion human rights

At Steven Glass’s funeral, his closest friends and loved ones were discovering things about him they didn’t know and connecting with people that they had never met before. By Asia Lenard, George Newhouse, Ju Lin O’Connor and Eva Orner The Age It’s not that Steven was secretive, he was simply a man who got things done, quietly, without fanfare, and with no expectation of recognition. Steven was born in Melbourne in 1960 to John and Ellen Glass. His mother’s family escaped ... Read More »