Opinion

A little restraint might save the world and boost happiness

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Have you noticed that self-denial is creeping slowly back into vogue? Oh sure, it’s not yet enough to truly counterbalance our society’s rampant consumerism and it’s often only for a limited time – more Dry January than lifelong teetotallerhood. Caitlin Fitzsimmons Brisbane Times But it’s interesting to see all the Buy Nothing groups pop up and all the articles about people who gave up buying new clothes for a year and found themselves, or not, in the process. When I ... Read More »

Nasal spray aimed at tackling gambling addiction to be trialled in Finland

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Researchers to test fast-working spray containing naloxone, a treatment usually given to opiate addicts that blocks production of dopamine The Guardian Could gambling addiction be treated with a nasal spray? A group of Finnish researchers are launching a study to find out. The fast-working spray contains naloxone, which is commonly used as an emergency treatment for overdoses of opiates such as heroin, opium and morphine. It blocks the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure with a central role ... Read More »

Mystic Mantra: Swami Rama Tirtha and his secret law

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Talking on the phenomenon of happiness and contentment, Osho introduced a certain law that only some mystics have known. Swami Chaitanya Keerti The Asian Age Swami Rama Tirtha was a mystic saint of India who travelled to the US, preceded by Swami Vivekananda, during the last century. He was a great teacher of practical vedanta who used to call himself Baadshah Ram, Emperor Ram, even though he had renounced his family and all worldly belongings. It is reported that somebody ... Read More »

Before losing battle with cancer, this 27-year-old woman penned a heartbreaking, eye-opening letter

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“That’s the thing about life, it is fragile, precious, unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right,” Holly Butcher wrote in an emotional post on Facebook. Alex Eriksen Yahoo Butcher, 27, lost her battle with cancer this week. Her words are drawing attention on social media, garnering more than 8,000 shares, 11,000 likes, and 2,000 comments. Butcher, from Brisbane, Australia, covers a range of life topics in her letter, including coming to grips with her mortality. She ... Read More »

The feared other: Peter Dutton’s and Australia’s pathology around race

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Dutton wants to persuade us that those who are most disempowered in our society are our greatest threat It widens the divide between us and them Joumanah El Matrah The Guardian In David Marr’s book Panic he came to the realisation that he had been writing about panic, Australian panic in particular, all his career. If we are a fearful nation, we are also a compulsive one. We aggressively return to our fears, stoke our hatreds, and obsessively and routinely ... Read More »

Oireachtas committee has opened the door to abortion for disability

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If no reasons for abortion need be given in the first 12 weeks any reason will do William Binchy The Irish Times The report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution is a dismal document It proposes the introduction of abortion on demand, expressly for the first twelve weeks of the child’s life, and covertly at all stages potentially up to birth. The majority of the committee proposes the abortion of unborn children in the ... Read More »

Muslim women will not misuse the ‘triple talaq’ law

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Immediately after the Indian government announced a bill criminalising “triple talaq”, the proposal has been mired in controversy. Mariya Salim AlJazeera Banning the practice of a husband divorcing his wife by uttering “talaq” three times within Muslim communities has been under discussion in India for years now. The practice has rendered hundreds of Muslim women homeless, forced out of their matrimonial homes overnight, with many learning that they have been divorced from relatives, by phone or even by a text message. A recent ... Read More »

David Walsh on the success of Mona

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I HAVE been asked to comment on the future of our arts scene I guess I’ve been asked because the “success” of Mona creates the illusion that I know what I’m talking about David Walsh Sunday Tasmanian While I was meddling with things I don’t understand, I inadvertently became a minor celebrity. My mate Kenneth Train recently offered me some sage advice — “Celebrities should just shut up.” Unfortunately, I like the sound of my own words. So let me ... Read More »

Economic and geopolitical risks ahead for 2018

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Last year was a year of disruption and distraction – yet another year of squandered policy opportunities John Hewson * The Canberra Times I had hoped 2018 would be different, driven by real leadership and real policy, effectively responding to the needs, expectations and aspirations of the majority of the electorate, as they struggle with key elements of their daily costs of living, with their wages flatlining, and constant concern about the security of their jobs. Yet the year began ... Read More »

Watch out for ‘Land of Morning Warning’

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Japan is universally known as the Land of the Rising Sun and the Korean peninsula as the Land of Morning Calm Abhijit Bhattacharyya, The writer is an advocate practising in the Supreme Court. The views expressed here are personal. The Asian Age It is now time for a new template. Yes, be ready to acknowledge China as the indisputable “Land of Morning Warning”. This new proverb was introduced by none other than Chinese President Xi Jinping. On a chilly winter morning, ... Read More »

Sanctions, refugees and the marginalised: Iran uprisings are Australia’s concern too

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Tehran’s response to this week’s anti-government protests in Iran has been harsh and reminiscent of the state response to the post-election uprising of 2009 Omid Tofighian ABC Back then, Iranians contested the re-election of former ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by taking to the streets in support of reformist candidate Mir-Hussein Mousavi, and decrying election fraud. A key difference this time around is that the leader of Iran’s reformist movement — former president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami — has joined centrist President ... Read More »

Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings.

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You can be sure that this weekend at the Golden Globes, Hollywood celebrities, not exactly known for their independent thinking, will turn the red carpet into a #MeToo moment replete with designer duds. Daphne Merkin The New York Times Many have promised to wear black dresses to protest the stream of allegations against industry moguls and actors. Perhaps Meryl Streep will get grilled — again — about what she knew about Harvey Weinstein. The rest of us will diligently follow ... Read More »

The negative side of positive thinking

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Study finds optimism may curb action Τwo Democratic fundraising emails were sent to supporters. HARVARDgazette Kennedy School Communications In one version, the candidate was leading a closely contested race; in the other, he was trailing. Which email got more clicks and coaxed more donations? Perhaps counterintuitively, the losing candidate’s message sparked the most action. The experiment was part of a study that explored how optimism can lead to inaction. Behavioral scientist Todd Rogers of the Harvard Kennedy School and colleagues conducted six related studies ... Read More »

We must help vulnerable people to make the best decisions

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New legal measures will bolster rights of those with diminished decision capacity Áine Flynn The Irish Times “Do you know where you are?” “Do you know what date it is?” “Can you name the Taoiseach?” “Can you spell ‘world’ backwards?” These questions are from the traditional mental status examination. They are an example of how not to assess the decision-making capacity of someone with an intellectual disability, mental illness, dementia or acquired brain injury. A person whose… We must help… Read More »

Earth Will Start Becoming a Desert by 2050 If Global Warming Isn’t Stopped, Study Says

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More than 25 percent of the Earth will experience serious drought and desertification by the year 2050 if the attempts made by the Paris climate agreement to curb global warming are not met, according to a new study by the journal Nature Climate Change. Leah Thomas Newsweek The study, which was published on Monday, claims that if the Earth’s average yearly temperature is raised by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the next 32 years, the areas of the world experiencing “aridification,” or ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2018

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From North Korea to Venezuela, here are the conflicts to watch in 2018. It’s not all about Donald Trump. Robert Malley ICG That’s a statement more easily written than believed, given the U.S. president’s erratic comportment on the world stage — his tweets and taunts, his cavalier disregard of international accords, his readiness to undercut his own diplomats, his odd choice of foes, and his even odder choice of friends. And yet, a more inward-looking United States and a greater ... Read More »