More Than Just Bread

Forcing priests to report abuse not a breach of human rights: Watchirs

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New laws that will force priests to break the seal of confession to report child abuse are not in breach of the ACT’s human right laws, despite concerns about the impact on religious freedoms, the ACT’s Human Rights Commissioner says. Katie Burgess The Canberra Times Under the territory’s expanded reportable conduct scheme, priests in Canberra will be required to report allegations, offences or convictions related to children to the ACT Ombudsman within 30 days from March… But the Australian Catholics Bishops ... Read More »

Abortion and the human person

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The fall of Christendom and the rise of secularism has profound consequences for our understanding of the human person. Peter Sellick OnLineOpinion The latter would have it that humanity is but a species among species. This is so because nature is taken as the primary source of our being. Evolutionary theory and the discovery that we share a large amount of our DNA with other species underlines the point. Human beings are biological. The other view of humanity is that, ... Read More »

Memorial for scientist who took his own life

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A public memorial will be held in Perth for Australia’s oldest scientist David Goodall, who died in Switzerland from assisted suicide aged 104. WAtoday Professor Goodall took his own life on May 10 at a clinic near Basel after spending his last days patiently and openly explaining his decision to a huge media throng from around the world. He did not have a terminal illness but said his quality of life had deteriorated. “Even up to, say, the age of ... Read More »

France has no reason to bar lesbians from IVF, top court advises

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PARIS (Reuters) – There are no legal reasons not to give single women and lesbian couples access to medically-assisted reproduction, the top state advisory body on judicial matters will tell the French government, Le Figaro reported on… Reuters Staff President Emmanuel Macron’s government said last year it wanted to change the law which currently restricts to heterosexual couples treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) that are widely available to all women in countries such as Britain, Belgium and… France ... Read More »

Kamila Shamsie wins Women’s prize for fiction for ‘story of our times’

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Home Fire, which reworks Sophocles’ Antigone to tell the story of a British family caught up by Isis, takes £30,000 award Alison Flood The Guardian Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, which reworks Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone to tell the story of a British Muslim family’s connection to Islamic State, has won the Women’s prize for fiction, acclaimed by judges as “the story of our times”. The British Pakistani author’s seventh novel riffs on the ancient Greek play in which Antigone is forbidden ... Read More »

Defence lawyer calls Puneet Puneet’s hit-and-run ‘just an accident’

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“Just an accident”, is how the defence lawyer for hit-and-run driver Puneet Puneet described the death of Queensland student Dean Hofstee, aged 19, in 2008 when Puneet smashed into him after drinking and driving at high speed in Melbourne. Amrit Dhillon The Age Speaking in a Delhi court hearing the Puneet extradition case, Kanhaiya Kumar Singhal said Puneet’s crime was “not heinous in nature”. He went on: “Yes a life was taken but it was not intentional. Accidents happen. It’s ... Read More »

In Praise of Extreme Moderation

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Why does it seem like you can’t throw a paper airplane in some offices without hitting a person who is training for a marathon, planning a 10-day silent meditation retreat, or intending on scaling Kilimanjaro? Avivah Wittenberg-Cox Harvard Business Review On top of working 24/7 for a company that doesn’t pay overtime? Extremism is becoming the norm not only in our professional lives but increasingly in our personal lives as well, from politics and parenting to food and fitness. Extreme ... Read More »

‘Measuring success differently’: New Zealand budget’s shift in economic thinking

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The Ardern government in New Zealand is articulating a bigger role for government in society, talking up wellbeing over traditional economic measures — while still playing on the standard “fiscal… David Donaldson TheMandarin New Zealand’s Labour-led coalition government has handed down its first budget, highlighting health, education and housing as areas of focus. “Our priorities are different from the previous government. We are determined to turn the page on the ideology of individualism and a hands-off approach to our economy ... Read More »

Final donation for man whose blood helped save 2.4 million babies

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For every regular blood donation, three lives could be saved; an ordinary plasma donation could save 18. But James Harrison is extraordinary. Kate Aubusson The Age His blood has helped save the lives of 2.4 million babies. The 81-year-old’s plasma contains a potent antibody used to create a remarkable treatment known as Anti-D that protects unborn babies from the potentially deadly Rhesus D Haemolytic Disease (HDN). On Friday, after more than 60 years and 1173 donations, Mr Harrison made his ... Read More »

Why Does Art Matter? Why Should We Support The Arts?

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Economic rationalists would point out that most artists are economically unviable. That is true, unfortunately. Julian Burnside Daily Review Creative artists generally have miserable incomes from their art, and survive by teaching or waiting on tables. Performing artists do not have it much better; depending on their speciality, they may have just as difficult a time as creative artists. Economic rationalists would argue that pouring money into the arts makes no sense unless the consumer considers the transaction to deliver ... Read More »

Hybrid World Adelaide: Connecting the dots to spark AI consciousness

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What is consciousness? It’s an age-old mystery that’s long frustrated scientists, yet one that could be partially answered, subjectively speaking, when a hi-tech festival opens in Adelaide during July. ABC Radio Adelaide By Malcolm Sutton Among speakers at the second annual Hybrid World Adelaide tech conference will be Phillip Alveda, a former program director of the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He started a program at DARPA to develop its brain-machine interface beyond just using implants that connect ... Read More »

Gaia’s Map of 1.3 Billion Stars Makes for a Milky Way in a Bottle

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Call it a galaxy in a bottle. Last Wednesday, astronomers in Europe released a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way. Dennis Overbye The New York Times It is the most detailed survey ever produced of our home galaxy. It contains the vital statistics of some 1.3 billion stars — about one percent of the whole galaxy. Not to mention measurements of almost half a million quasars, asteroids and other flecks in the night. Analyzing all these motions and distances, astronomers ... Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis: Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out

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The Communist Manifesto foresaw the predatory and polarised global capitalism of the 21st century. But Marx and Engels also showed us that we have the power to create a better world. Yianis Varoufakis The Guardian For a manifesto to succeed, it must speak to our hearts like a poem while infecting the mind with images and ideas that are dazzlingly new. It needs to open our eyes to the true causes of the bewildering, disturbing, exciting changes occurring around us, ... Read More »

Julian Burnside: “I worry where our democracy is going”

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Human Rights Arts and Film Festival kicks off at five cinemas across Melbourne on May 3. On May 12, the festival is screening the world premiere of Judy Rymer’s Border Politics, wherein human rights lawyer Julian Burnside AO QC travels the globe to compare how different nations are responding to the refugee crisis. Nick D TimeOut Burnside, 68, is a Melbourne-based commercial litigation barrister who became involved in human rights causes after 2001 when he was asked to act pro bono in ... Read More »

Fifteen years after looting, thousands of artefacts are still missing from Iraq’s national museum

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On April 10 2003, the first looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq. Staff had vacated two days earlier, ahead of the advance of US forces on Baghdad. Craig Barker The Conversation The museum was effectively ransacked for the next 36 hours until employees returned. While the staff – showing enormous bravery and foresight – had removed and safely stored 8,366 artefacts before the looting, some 15,000 objects were taken during that 36 hours. While 7,000 items have been ... Read More »

What King, Kennedy, Obama’s great speeches have in common

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Two of history’s great rhetoricians – Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert F Kennedy – were assassinated 50 years ago. Their words have resonance today, writes Benjamin Ramm. Benjamin Ramm BBC Popular volumes of great speeches celebrate the mastery of the art of persuasion. These tomes are full of rhetorical flourishes, of stirring appeals to universal ideals, with elevated cadences and effortless assurances. But two of the most significant rhetoricians of the 20th Century, both of whom were assassinated 50 ... Read More »