Multiculturalism

Why should Kofi Annan’s death cause us to forget how bad at his job he was?

<> on September 13, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.

Failure falls upwards. Dominic Green Spectator We’re supposed only say good things about the dead—‘De mortuis & c.’, as one of John Buchan’s heroes manfully abbreviates it. It’s an ancient superstition, apotropaic and illogical. I’m with the Archdeacon in Anthony Trollope’s The Last Chronicle of Barset: the taboo is ‘founded in humbug’, so why adopt the ‘everyday decency of speaking well of one whom one had ever thought ill’? The deceasedness of the deceased means we can say what we really ... Read More »

Who says the most liveable city is in the west? Culture doesn’t just live in museums

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The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index claims Vienna is more cultured than Lagos. But it is flawed and subjective Chibundu Onuzo The Guardian A few months ago, I stepped out one morning and saw a coil of animal poo on the doorstep. My mother and I spent a long time trying to figure out what sort of animal had done the deed. We decided, in the end, that a fox was the culprit. But it could also have been a racist. ... Read More »

Countless refugees have been saved at sea by their life jackets — now a Minnesota startup is selling them as bracelets to spread messages of hope

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The striking orange life jackets have protected hundreds of thousands of refugees who have braved the Mediterranean Sea on packed, flimsy boats, seeking safety in Europe. Michelle Mark Business Insider Now, the mountains of used jackets discarded on Greek shores have been repurposed — carefully handcrafted into bracelets and bearing a message of hope imprinted on the wristband: “Building humanity piece by piece.” That’s the idea Mohamed Malim, a 22-year-old entrepreneur and former Somali refugee, wants to share with Americans. ... Read More »

Crime gangs: Facts, fiction and furphies

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First, an admission – this story is a waste of time. For it relates to the issue of Sudanese crime gangs, where everyone seems to have a firm opinion and no one shows the slightest inclination to change theirs. John Silvester The Age This is not a black-and-white topic. Those who say there is a problem are not necessarily paid-up members of the KKK and those who say there isn’t are not, by definition, ABC sympathisers who believe tofu should ... Read More »

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, dead at age 80

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(CNN) – Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, has died at age 80. By Laura Smith-Spark, Richard Roth and Joe Sterling, CNN He served as Secretary-General at a time when worries about the Cold War were replaced by threats of global terrorism, and his efforts to combat those threats and secure a more peaceful world brought him the… Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, ... Read More »

Could different cultures teach us something about dementia?

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Picture two different families, each dealing with a diagnosis of dementia in one of its members. Authors: The Conversation In one case, the patient is a retired executive, whose family tries as long as possible to keep the diagnosis secret, relying primarily on professional caregivers and eventually a nursing home. In another case, the patient is a grandmother. As soon as the diagnosis is suspected, her family pulls together, bringing her into their home and surrounding her with affection. These ... Read More »

Bans on full-face Muslim veils spread across Europe

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Washington: Earlier this month, Denmark became the fifth country in Europe to introduce a ban on face coverings in public places. Rebecca Tan The Age Washington Post The policy is widely viewed as being targeted at Muslim women who wear veils such as the niqab. Despite protests in the capital, Copenhagen, police have started enforcing the law in earnest. On August 3, a 28-year-old wearing the niqab, which covers the entire body except the eyes, was attacked by another Danish woman ... Read More »

Four centuries of trying to prove God’s existence

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Whether God exists or not is one of the most important philosophical questions there is. And the tradition of trying to establish God’s existence involving evidence is a long one, with a golden age during the 17th and 18th centuries – the early modern period. Lloyd Strickland The Conversation Attempts to prove God’s existence continue today. But they are on nothing like the same scale as they were hundreds of years ago, with secularism now being as common among philosophers ... Read More »

Photos of the Week: Sun Biter, Solar Probe, Belgian Bovines

Tim Delaney steadies his dog, Midnight, before tossing a ball while working on retrieving training in the Presumpscot River, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Windham, Maine. Swimming holes and beaches have been popular spots as a stretch of hot and humid weather lingers in Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Flowers carpet Brussels, an alt-right rally is met with overwhelming opposition in Washington, D.C., City2Surf takes off in Sydney, the Women’s Softball World Championship is underway in Japan, a farewell is bid to Aretha Franklin, the Obon prayer is made in Japan, abandoned share bikes find homes in Germany, record-setting hot dogs are lined up in Mexico, a cardboard Viking church collapses in Liverpool, a bridge collapses in Italy, a newborn gibbon shows off in Prague, and much… Alan Taylor ... Read More »

Kon Karapanagiotidis on the Shadow of Racism and ”The Power of Hope”

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Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM, founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre talks to Daily Review about his new book ‘The Power of Hope’. Fotis Kapetopoulos Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM is tired. He’s suffering a throat infection and has just returned from ten-day national book tour for The Power of Hope. Or How Community Love and Compassion can change the World.  “Yiasou mate… I’m running ragged… they’ve worn me out again,” he rasps over the phone.  Kon has decided to carry much on his ... Read More »

Friday essay: where is the Great Australian Opera?

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In 1986, the Adelaide Festival staged an operatic adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning writer Patrick White’s 1957 novel Voss, a pivotal work in the Australian literary canon. Michael Halliwell The Conversation The opera, with music by a leading figure of the classical music avant-garde, Richard Meale, and libretto by acclaimed novelist and poet, David Malouf, was conceived in the period leading up to the Bicentennial celebrations in 1988. It certainly tapped into the zeitgeist. The 1980s saw increased questioning of the ... Read More »

Aretha Franklin: A Legacy in Music

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Aretha Franklin’s voice was a pure, painful, and unforgettable expression of American history and American feeling, the collective experience of black Americans and her own life. David Remnick The New Yorker The Queen of Soul, who died Thursday morning, was the daughter of the most influential black pastor in Detroit, a charismatic, often cruel man who filled the house with musical friends—Duke Ellington, Della Reese, Nat Cole, Mahalia Jackson—and a… Aretha Franklin rarely spoke of her inner life, her crises—she was wary of ... Read More »

‘Almost certifiable’: Bob Katter pays political price for backing Fraser Anning’s ‘final solution’ speech

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A furious backlash against federal MP Bob Katter is set to deprive him of key Labor preferences and union money after he fully endorsed his senator Fraser Anning’s notorious “final solution”… Michael Kosiol The Age But while one union donor confirmed it would no longer support Katter’s Australian Party, the giant Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union refused to say whether it would disown Mr… The far north Queensland MP has been shunned by acquaintances in the wake of ... Read More »

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 »

Why Jewish giving to Israel is losing ground

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American Jews donate at high levels to charity. One way they support causes in the U.S., Israel and other places is collective, often through large grant-making organizations. Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim The Conversation In researching this organized philanthropy, I’ve observed that the proportion of Jewish institutional giving to Israeli causes has fallen since 2009. I believe that several factors, including demographic and social changes, a diminishing perception of Israel as being in need and concerns over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have ... 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 »