Opinion

Subverting Myanmar’s Constitution for Its Own Good

Democracy needs flexibility.. When the first act of a new legislature is to circumvent its country’s written constitution, it’s usually a bad sign. Not so in Myanmar, where the democratically elected parliament moved last week to create the post of “state counselor” and give the job to Aung San Suu Kyi, the… Source: Subverting Myanmar’s Constitution for Its Own Good – Bloomberg View Read More »

The “Drowning” Argument

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Abbott, Morrison, Turnbull and Dutton are not to be believed when they express concern about people drowning in their attempt to reach safety.  Their policy (which Labor basically supports) seems to be this: “We are so concerned about you drowning, that we will punish you if you don’t drown.” The Federal election campaign of 2013 was the first time in our political history that… Source: The “Drowning” Argument | Julian Burnside Read More »

Tony Bates: We have the power to help those in a dark place

Suicide’s ripple effect touches us all, but a kind word can aid someone in need. The strength of the human spirit is phenomenal – on a good day. On a bad day, the human spirit can be vulnerable. And when we’re vulnerable, we are profoundly shaped by what happens around us… Source: Tony Bates: We have the power to help those in a dark place Read More »

How Much of an Environmental Threat Is Ocean Garbage?

A new paper sifts through past research on marine debris to assess the true extent of the environmental threat.. Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist at the University of California, Davis, has been trying to answer a dismal question: Is everything terrible, or are things just very… Source: Study: How Much of an Environmental Threat Is Ocean Garbage? – The Atlantic Read More »

Incarceration-for-profit: when the commercial imperative clashes with proper justice

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Contracting out the punishment of criminals to private companies creates conflict with the way the state is supposed to be responsible for upholding criminal justice… Source: Incarceration-for-profit: when the commercial imperative clashes with proper justice | Richard Ackland | Opinion | The Guardian Read More »

Smoking during pregnancy alters baby’s DNA

Pregnant mothers who smoke chemically alter the DNA in their unborn babies, mirroring patterns seen in adult tobacco users, scientists have discovered. In one of the largest studies of its kind, international researchers analysed the DNA of more than 6000 mothers from around the world and their newborn children. Mothers were questioned about their smoking habits and the results showed that children of the 13 per cent of women who smoked daily throughout most of their pregnancy had DNA modified ... Read More »

The Chinese want to buy more American companies — and we should let them

Instead of being a threat to U.S. security, it’s the best way to reduce tensions… Zachary Karabell is the head of global strategy at Envestnet, a financial services firm, and the author of “The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World.” China was poised to make its largest-ever investment in the United States this past week, after the Chinese insurance group Angbang topped Marriott in a… Source: The Chinese want to buy more American companies ... Read More »

CDC Chief: Zika is coming. To fully protect Americans we must have the funds we need

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention we’ve learned to expect the unexpected the unexpected – but the ongoing Zika outbreak has caused dangers from a mosquito bite no one imagined: birth defects. It’s been more than 50 years since we’ve seen a birth defect linked to a virus – and never before have we… Source: CDC Chief: Zika is coming. To fully protect Americans we must have the funds we need | Fox News Read More »

I don’t believe Captain Cook discovered Australia either, but unis can’t tell students what to think

A battle of ideas about Indigenous Australia in an open democracy founded on free speech isn’t helped by forced orthodoxy or group think.. I don’t believe Captain Cook discovered Australia. How can I? People were standing on the shore as he weighed… Source: I don’t believe Captain Cook discovered Australia either, but unis can’t tell students what to think | Stan Grant | Opinion | The Guardian Read More »

A New Mental Health System? Interview with Jim van Os

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With one of the highest mental health spending rates in Europe, the Netherlands is undergoing a dramatic rethinking of how to provide mental healthcare, a rethinking now gaining momentum throughout the region. In a recent interview with Dr. van Os on Madness Radio — one of the most prestigious scientists in the world, in the top 1% of most-cited researchers, and… Source: A New Mental Health System? Interview with Jim van Os – Mad In America Read More »

Why Australia lies to itself about its Indigenous history

Debate about Aboriginal history in Australia always descends into hysteria because it bruises our misplaced national pride. Every country has its weirdness, its reflex points that trigger spontaneous, uncontrolled actions that look almost comically irrational to the observer. It’s the kind of thing you can only… Source: Why Australia lies to itself about its Indigenous history Read More »

Will Australia ever have a progressive leader like Corbyn or Sanders?

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The rise of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US shows that renewed passion for politics is still possible … just not in Australia. harisma and persuasion matter in politics. Though neither trait guarantees fair policies or outlook – think Tony Blair backing the catastrophic waragainst Iraq, or Malcolm Turnbull hailing himself as a… Source: Will Australia ever have a progressive leader like Corbyn or Sanders? | Antony Loewenstein | Opinion | The Guardian Read More »

There’s Nothing ‘PC’ About Objecting To Racial Profiling, It Just Doesn’t Work

OPINION: Critics say opposition to racial profiling hampers police, and accuse activists of being politically correct. But as the evidence makes clear, the discriminatory practice in fact lowers the success rate of searches. On top of harming minority groups it also wastes time and resources, writes Tamar Hopkins. Victoria Police’s zero tolerance policy on racialMore… Source: There’s Nothing ‘PC’ About Objecting To Racial Profiling, It Just Doesn’t Work – New Matilda Read More »

Schengen agreement: Closing borders isn’t the answer to terrorism in Europe

Many of the terrorist attacks carried out in Europe recently were by “homegrown” jihadists. So where does this leave populist foreign politicians who are critical of Europe’s open borders? Paola Totaro writes. The Economist magazine’s front cover pretty much nailed it: “Europe’s new normal” said the headline… Source: Schengen agreement: Closing borders isn’t the answer to terrorism in Europe – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Read More »

‘Lahore, Lahore hai’: the attack on my hometown has rocked me to the core

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Every innocent life taken by a terrorist’s bomb is as precious as the next, whether it happens in Lahore or Brussels. They all leave lifelong horror and grief in their wake… Source: ‘Lahore, Lahore hai’: the attack on my hometown has rocked me to the core | Mehreen Faruqi | Opinion | The Guardian Read More »

Time to reform electoral funding laws

EDITORIAL As Australia enters the early stages of what is likely to be a lengthy federal election campaign, it is imperative that all candidates for political office and those behind their party machines commit to exceed, not just meet, the legal requirements on funding disclosures. It is the spirit of those laws that matters most, and the goal is transparency. The fundamental purpose of… Source: Time to reform electoral funding laws Read More »