World

Let’s face it, we’ll be no safer with a national facial recognition database

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A commitment to share the biometric data of most Australians – including your driving licence photo – agreed at Thursday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will result in a further erosion of our privacy. That sharing is not necessary. It will be costly. Bruce Baer Arnold The Conversation But will it save us from terrorism? Not all, although it will give people a false sense of comfort. Importantly, it will allow politicians and officials to show that they are ... Read More »

Locking up 10-year-olds without trial barbaric, says human rights group

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The revelation that under new laws 10-year-olds could be held without charge for a fortnight shows politicians are badly failing to defend freedom while claiming to uphold it. In making this comment today, the president of the human rights group Liberty Victoria, Jessie Taylor, joined the Law Council of Australia and others in condemning this decision by federal, state and territory leaders. Justice Minister Michael Keenan says police have no powers to act against an 11-year-old would-be terrorist. Said Ms ... Read More »

The Oceans – a Challenged Resource

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The world’s oceans facilitate global transportation. They also offer a unique source of food: one that continues to give. Provided we manage this source responsibly, of course. Sustainable harvest must be combined with prudent Kåre R. Aas * HuffPost Based on an American initiative, the world’s maritime nations came together yesterday and today (Oct 5 and 6) for the 4th annual Our Oceans conference to discuss how to achieve this balance. The United States has hosted twice. This year, the chair ... Read More »

Niger Clash Kills U.S. and Nigerien Troops

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A deadly ambush near the Niger-Mali border on 4 October claimed the lives of at least five Nigerien soldiers and marked the unprecedented killing of American forces in the region. ICG In this Q&A, Deputy West Africa Project Director Jean-Hervé Jezequel and Research Assistant Hamza Cherbib say that jihadist violence cannot be divorced from deeper inter-communal tensions related to local competition over resources and illicit economic activity. What happened and where? According to U.S. and Nigerien security sources, on 4 October ... Read More »

From Manus to London: how two strangers made a landmark movie together

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This weekend, audiences at the London Film Festival will watch a film about the men detained on Manus Island Behind this film lies a tale about a friendship and a creative partnership, formed across oceans, between two people who are yet to… Arnold Zable The Sydney Morning Herald In mid-2016, Netherlands-based Iranian filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani planned to make a film about children and their feelings for  the sea. At the same time, he began hearing of the immigration detention centres on ... Read More »

Kazuo Ishiguro: Nobel Literature Prize is ‘a magnificent honour’

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British writer Kazuo Ishiguro has won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature The novelist was praised by the Swedish Academy as a writer “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”. BBC His most famous novels The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go were adapted into highly acclaimed films. He was made an OBE in 1995. The 62-year-old writer said the award was “flabbergastingly flattering”. ... Read More »

Government risks over reach on tougher national security laws

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While, at first glance, uploading all of Australia’s drivers licence photos into a central data base in the name of national security seems logical, it is not without some serious… Editorial The Canberra Times The worst is the obvious potential for “big brother” style surveillance of individuals who may not represent threats to the safety of the realm through the rapidly growing national network of CCTV cameras in shopping centres, on streets and… Critics, including members of the Australian Privacy ... Read More »

LCA calls for funding to support lawyers’ ‘staggering’ pro bono efforts

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The millions of free hours lawyers across the country have dedicated to everyday people during their time of greatest need have been lauded by the Law Council of Australia Melissa Coade Lawyers Weekly “Staggering” is how the Law Council of Australia (LCA) has described 2.86 million free hours provided by lawyers since 2007. Responding to a new report published by the Australian Pro Bono Centre, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC said that contributions of such scale were unique to the ... Read More »

Miners leave themselves open to corruption, report finds

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US President Donald Trump described it as “draining the swamp”, a political promise he made to rid business and politics of deep-seated bribery and… Adele Ferguson The Sydney Morning Herald It could equally be applied to Australia, which has had its fair share of scandals and political capture in the past few… But understanding where the risks lie can be a useful first step in tackling the problem. Following a string of mining scandals, Australia’s biggest mining states Western Australia and ... Read More »

What Will Replace Outdated Left and Right Economic Thinking? The Commons Paradigm.

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The commons is about self-organized social systems for managing shared wealth The rise of so many right-wing nationalist movements around the world—Brexit, Donald Trump, the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, anti-immigrant protests throughout Europe—have their own distinctive origins and contexts, to… <style type=”text/css”> .wpb_animate_when_almost_visible { opacity: 1; }</style> David Bollier  Evonomics  But in the aggregate, they are evidence of the dwindling options for credible change that capitalist political cultures are willing to consider. This naturally provokes the question: Why are the ... Read More »

America’s freedom fundamentalism impervious to death

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Around the world, people are aghast at the latest atrocity in the US, involving military-grade weapons, easily acquired, often lawfully owned. Mark Kenny Flummoxed at how such unspeakable brutalities are allowed to occur, and then simply occur again. The Age The Las Vegas mass shooting is “the worst in US history” but so what? This is mere headline. Nobody pretends it will be the last. The unknowns about next time are not if but where, when, and how many? If ... Read More »

Helping someone die well is the final act of caring I can give as a doctor

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Supporting assisted dying takes nothing away from anyone, but provides enormous comfort to a very small group of people Nick Carr The Guardian Claire and Bob have been together so long it’s impossible to imagine one without the other. He’s a walking – well, waddling – textbook of modern medicine. With his impressive girth, arthritic hips, diabetes, hypertension and gout, I get to see a lot of Bob. So it was unusual when it was Claire who presented with some ... Read More »

Why Spain needs to negotiate with Catalonia

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There is a Spanish proverb that a difficult choice puts one between the sword and the wall (entre la espada y la pared) Ryan D Griffiths ABC Spain is currently facing such a choice with Catalonia Should it negotiate with Catalonia knowing that doing so may result in the secession of the region and set a precedent for others? Or should it continue to stand firm in the face of the independence demands while the tension builds, conflict continues, and ... Read More »

How Tasmanians have four times more power than voters in NSW and Victoria

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There’s a creeping disparity in Australia’s democracy that gets surprisingly little attention Population growth patterns mean votes cast in our biggest states are becoming less potent at the federal level compared to votes cast in smaller states. Matt Wade Analysis by economist Terry Rawnsley of how many federal members of parliament there are per person in each state has underscored the discrepancy. The Canberra Times In Tasmania, the smallest state, there are just over 30,000 people for each federal seat ... Read More »

How to Ensure a Credible, Peaceful Presidential Vote in Kenya

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Following the annulment of August’s historic vote, Kenya must hold repeat presidential elections by 1 November. But rising tensions and the threat of an opposition boycott could result in missing the vote’s deadline and risk a constitutional crisis Both political camps must move away from harsh words and find mutually acceptable electoral reforms to allow elections to proceed. ICG 1. Overview Kenya must hold repeat presidential elections before 1 November, after the country’s Supreme Court annulled a first vote that ... Read More »

As Europe’s focus shifts to integration, the humanitarian refugee crisis is still not over

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Hellinikon Olympic Park looks like yet another derelict and forgotten space – sad but unsurprising, given how often Olympic venues fall into disrepair and abandonment. Gemma Nird Amanda Russell Beattie Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik Patrecja Rozbicka The Conversation But this baseball stadium on the outskirts of Athens is the site of a very different story. In 2015, the abandoned park – which had been built on the site of an old airport – was repurposed to house refugees entering Athens along with ... Read More »