Why does international condemnation on human rights mean so little to Australia?

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Australia’s human rights record is increasingly subject to international critique alongside pariah states like Saudi Arabia and North Korea. On the face of it, this juxtaposition is easily rejected. But strong evidence backs the increasing weight of international sentiment opposing Australia’s record. The Conversation Author: Amy Maguire, Senior Lecturer in International Law, University of Newcastle Disclosure statement: Amy Maguire is a member of Amnesty International. Australia may already have pariah status in terms of its asylum policies. So why does its government – ... Read More »

Eamonn McCann: Harris County grand jury delivers big bang for US abortion activists

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Until just last week, the only thing many of us knew about Harris County is that it is located in east Texas, where Sheldon Cooper comes from. The Irish Times – Eamonn McCann Until just last week, the only thing many of us knew about Harris County is that it is located in east Texas, where Sheldon Coopercomes from. Sheldon is the theoretical physics genius and social misfit whose innocent awkwardness provides much of the humour in The Big Bang Theory ... Read More »

Nauru: How long can we keep lying to ourselves?

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The history of asylum seeker policy in Australia will be remembered as a story of how successive governments legislated their lies to justify a world of make-believe borders and imaginary compliance. The Sydney Morning Herald – Waleed Aly, Columnist Video – CHURCH WILL LOCK DOORS TO PROTECT FAMILIES – ””” The Anglican Dean of Brisbane feels “so desperate” about the plight of asylum seekers facing deportation he is offering to protect them in the church and resist by closing the building.””” Wonderful idea, sovereignty. ... Read More »

Expect the War on Cash to Accelerate as Negative Interest Rates Come to the U.S.

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Like an ambush, it has to come by surprise… Whenever you hear a central banker or politician say something won’t happen, you can almost be certain it will happen. And probably soon. International Man – by Nick Giambruno, Senior Editor * Coming from a bureaucrat, the real meaning of “no, of course not” is “it could happen tomorrow.” It’s like the old saying: “Believe nothing until it has been officially denied.” These deceptions have a purpose: Politicians and central bankers have to surprise ... Read More »

Misery of work second only to illness

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British people are at their least happy while at work – except when they are sick in bed – according to researchers at the University of Sussex and the London School of Economics (LSE). AAAS and EurekAlert! – University of Sussex The team analysed more than a million responses uploaded to a smartphone app, called Mappiness, that sporadically asks users questions such as how they are feeling, where they are and what they are doing. Mappiness users receive a ‘ding’ ... Read More »

Don’t Let Greek Pensions Threaten the Euro

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Greece is a small country, but for much of 2015 its problems were big enough to threaten the survival of the euro system. Bloomberg View – By Editorial Board Editorials are written by the Bloomberg View editorial board. Read more. A year after Alexis Tsipras took charge as prime minister, the government seems committed to meeting the obligations demanded by its creditors in return for further aid. Neither side should allow the remaining sticking point — pension reform — to ... Read More »

Rite & Reason: Catholic schools are unfairly criticised over admissions

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Only 5 per cent of such schools in Dublin restrict admission on religious grounds The Irish Times – Bishop Brendan Kelly Faith schools exist because there are parents who wish to have their children educated in accordance with their religious convictions. Catholic primary schools are embedded in parishes and communities throughout Ireland. All surveys demonstrate a very high level of parental satisfaction with the service provided by these schools. Some of the recent comment on them makes a caricature of their ... Read More »

World View: EU worried about setting precedent in negotiations with Cameron

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Concern that Le Pen, Wilders, and other right-wing populists will be inspired to seek similar outcomes. The Irish Times – Paul Gillespie Finalité describes the intended endgame of European integration according to federalist theory. Finality, in contrast, looks increasingly like the outcome of Britain’s relations with the European Union if its voters decide to leave in the forthcoming referendum – the “Brexit”. The costs for Britain and the geopolitical consequences for the EU itself are only now being properly discussed and ... Read More »

A Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’s Views on the Kurds

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Opinion This week I participated in the 12th International Conference on the European Union, Turkey and the Kurds. Rudaw – By DAVID ROMANO While I naturally got to hear a lot of great speeches from people I admire very much, some of the things people said stayed in my mind more than others. I thus wanted to share with readers some of things that Jose Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, had to say regarding the ... Read More »

Crutch to Catalyst? The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala

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Guatemala – one of Latin America’s most violent, unequal and impoverished countries – is enjoying a rare moment of opportunity. ICG – Guatemala City/Bogotá/Brussels, Latin America Report N°56 The Executive Summary is also available in: español EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A new president, Jimmy Morales, bolstered by a landslide victory, has taken office promising to end corruption. The old political elite is in disarray. Emboldened citizens are pressing for reforms to make justice more effective and government more transparent. Behind these changes is a ... Read More »

One quarter of Brits have witnessed a hate crime in the past year – poll

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A quarter of Britons have witnessed a hate crime in the last 12 months, new research released today says. Christian Today  Florence Taylor, Junior Staff Writer While three quarters of hate crime seen was verbal abuse, more than one fifth of 2,007 people surveyed had seen violent or hostile acts triggered by religion or belief. The release of the research, commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, coincides with Holocaust Memorial Day, which is themed “Don’t stand by.” The day commemorates ... Read More »

Schizophrenia’s strongest known genetic risk deconstructed

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Suspect gene may trigger runaway synaptic pruning during adolescence – NIH-funded study. NIH  Versions of a gene linked to schizophrenia may trigger runaway pruning of the teenage brain’s still-maturing communications infrastructure, NIH-funded researchers have discovered. People with the illness show fewer such connections between neurons, or synapses.  The gene switched on more in people with the suspect versions, who faced a higher risk of developing the disorder, characterized by hallucinations, delusions and impaired thinking and emotions. “Normally, pruning gets rid of ... Read More »

Bernie on Raising Taxes: Yes We Can

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Sen. Sanders is taking on the conventional wisdom that raising middle-class taxes is politically toxic. US News By Pat Garofalo * When then-Sen. Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he famously pledged to leave anyone making less than $250,000 a year free from any tax increase. President Bill Clinton made a similar pledge in his 1992 race, promising to raise taxes on the rich while cutting them for the middle class. And now former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is ... Read More »

Universal values define our national character

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Becoming a republic would be a powerful symbol of Australia taking its place in the world as a modern, confident, independent nation. The Sydney Morning Herald – Richard Di Natale * “Why don’t you go home you stupid wog!” Those words were etched into my memory decades ago, an insult hurled from one naive school kid to another. Go home? What other home do I have? What gives you a greater right to the country of my birth? Why are ... Read More »

Old friends? Palestine, Cyprus, and Greece

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Built on common experience, long-term interests and moral principles, Palestine’s relationship with Cyprus and Greece goes back a long way. EuObserver – By Nabeel Shaath JAFFA, PALESTINE Short-term economic gains should not be allowed to damage these deep and precious friendships. Over the last 70 years, the relationship of Cyprus and Palestine was that of close friendship and political alliance. Both were former British colonies and both suffered from British manipulations, leaving behind two divided homelands. The struggle of the ... Read More »

Malcolm Turnbull’s foreign policy hypocrisy on East Timor

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Malcolm Turnbull’s keynote speech in Washington DC last week, the first serious articulation of his foreign affairs stance since becoming prime minister, gained plenty of plaudits on both sides of the Pacific. The Age – Tom Allard, National Affairs Editor ””” Video – East Timor appeals to Australia over border – East Timorese leaders call on the Australian government to agree to a permanent, equidistant maritime boundary with East Timor.””” Turnbull was insightful and eloquent, quoting the ancient Greek historian Thucydides as he traversed ... Read More »