Opinion

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 »

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 »

Europe, Please Wake Up

The first step to defending Europe from its enemies, both internal and external, is to recognize the magnitude of the threat they present. George Soros The Project Syndicate The second is to awaken the sleeping pro-European majority and mobilize it to defend the values on which the EU was founded. MUNICH – Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion, and the people of Europe need to wake up before it is too late. If they don’t, the European Union will go the ... Read More »

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

Exclusive: Insects could vanish within a century at current rate of decline, says global review Why are insects in decline, and can we do anything about it? The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review. Damian Carrington The Guardian More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than ... Read More »

We can balance compassion and safety as a country

Last December, we were both in Parliament with the hope of seeing Urgent Medical Treatment amendments pass both the Senate and lower house. By Kon Karapanagiotidis and Jana Favero Brisbane Times A groundswell of support mobilised behind a call to get all kids and their families of Nauru – rural Australians, 7000 doctors, unions, lawyers, schoolchildren, artists, nurses and teachers; 170,000 people signed a petition and 400 organisations rallied. The trigger was media exposure of medical neglect and the risk ... Read More »

Scenes From the Borderland

“Everyone here knows Trump hates brown people.” Roger Cohen The New York Times EL PASO — I have a suggestion for President Trump. Instead of fanning fear during your visit to this city on Monday night, stroll across the Paso del Norte Bridge into Ciudad Júarez. Join the 70,000 people crossing four bridges who daily form the human tissue linking the United States and Mexico. They work, they study, they eat, they shop, all part of what Dee Margo, the mayor of El Paso, calls ... Read More »

Terrorism is rare, but intimate partner violence is an everyday event

Last week newsfeeds started filling up with stories about a bomb scare at Brisbane airport. Police were quick to reassure the public that it “was not terror related” and the incident quickly dropped out of the news cycle. Jane Gilmore Brisbane Times It was widely reported that the man chased a woman (a family member) through the food court with two large knives and a device he claimed was a bomb. Another woman and two young girls, also thought to ... Read More »

Why so many young women don’t call themselves feminist

In recent years, feminist movements have attracted significant attention in Europe and North America. So why do so many young women still say they do not identify with the term? By Dr Christina Scharff, King’s College London BBC Fewer than one in five young women would call themselves a feminist, polling in the UK and US suggests. That might come as a surprise as feminism – the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of equality of the sexes – has been in the ... Read More »

Australia can’t be allowed to play politics with refugees’ lives any more

There is an urgent medical crisis on Nauru and Manus. It needs an urgent medical solution, not a political one Freya Dinshaw The Guardian I have seen up close how six years of abject hopelessness can viciously conquer a person’s body and mind to the point where they are a shadow of a human being. A man, barely in his 30s, left catatonic, unable to speak, unable to eat, wasting away in a bed. A woman attempting to take her ... Read More »

Having More Education Won’t Slow the Effects of Dementia, New Study Says

”Researchers are still trying to piece together how and why the brain starts failing in old age, but one thing seemed for sure: that having more education earlier in life could build up a robust enough brain reserve to slow down the… Alice Perk Time But in a new study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found that education may not be as important in combating cognitive decline and dementia as they once thought. In a study involving nearly 3,000 ... Read More »

Anxiety on rise among the young in social media age

YouGov survey shows 18% of young people in UK do not think life is worth living Robert Booth The Guardian The number of young people in the UK who say they do not believe that life is worth living has doubled in the last decade, amid a sense of overwhelming pressure from social media which is driving feelings of inadequacy, new research suggests. In 2009, only 9% of 16-25-year-olds disagreed with the statement that “life is really worth living”, but ... Read More »

I’m a contented atheist. My conscience is my only god

I floated in and out of Catholic and Hindu beliefs until one day I stopped Cauvery Madhavan The Irish Times I was born in India into a reasonably devout Hindu family and therefore, very unsurprisingly for then, received a traditional Catholic schooling. Educated by nuns, Irish in the main, I was one of many millions of children who were part of that strange trade-off between middle-class Indians of various faiths and the Catholic Church. To be “convent-educated” meant you had received more than ... Read More »

Time away from Facebook may improve your wellbeing

Despite the scandals of recent years, billions of people still log on to Facebook each month to catch up with the news and see what their friends and family are up to. Christian Today But some time away from the social media platform could do us all some good, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford and NYU. The study, titled The Welfare Effects of Social Media, has found ‘small but significant improvements in wellbeing’ from giving Facebook a ... Read More »

No kids on Nauru is a milestone worth marking – but it’s hardly one for the trophy cabinet

Within days, no refugee child will be left on the island of Nauru. That this is a milestone worth marking – or even celebrating – should be a shock and a shame. Michael Koziol Brisbane Times These kids and their families had been there more than five years. Two thousand days. It had been so long that many people here in Australia finally seemed to agree enough was enough. Peter Dutton has always proclaimed – rightly – that he didn’t ... Read More »

House punts on full transparency

The Massachusetts House this week overwhelmingly declined to adopt a full ban on the use of nondisclosure agreements by its members in sexual harassment cases — again. Editorial Boston Globe In stark contrast, the state Senate voted to eliminate their use altogether. In rejecting a sensible, basic measure, the House further entrenched a culture of secrecy that has no place in government. House rules currently allow the use of so-called NDAs only if victims of sexual harassment request them. Typically ... Read More »

Reuniting the Parthenon marbles is nothing to do with nationalism

Alexi Kaye Campbell responds to Jonathan Jones’s article on the British Museum director’s claim that the marbles’ removal from Greece in the 19th century could be seen as ‘a creative act’. The Guardian Plus letters from Pierre Makhlouf and John AK Huntley As a member of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles who recently argued (and happily won) against Jonathan Jones at the UCL debate which he mentions in his recent article (Let’s not lose our marbles over the British ... Read More »