Opinion

Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown

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The shocking collapse of insect populations hints at a global ecological meltdown George Monbiot The Guardian Which of these would you name as the world’s most pressing environmental issue? Climate breakdown, air pollution, water loss, plastic waste or urban expansion? My answer is none of the above. Almost incredibly, I believe that climate breakdown takes third place, behind two issues that receive only a fraction of the… This is not to downgrade the danger presented by global heating – on ... Read More »

Here’s How to Pull Turkey Back From the Brink

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Erdogan gets more authoritarian, and closer to Russia and Iran, every day. But kicking him out of NATO would make things worse. James Stavridis Bloomberg Since its founding nearly a century ago, Turkey’s foreign policy goal has been summed up in a simple phrase: “No problems with our neighbors.” But the situation today is different: “all our neighbors have problems.” And the Turks have plenty of their own. There is no understating how important it is that the U.S. and ... Read More »

The Church’s child abuse record doesn’t disqualify it from opposing same-sex marriage

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Author Anna Krien’s recent condemnation of the church’s apparent hypocrisy (The Age, 17/10) in arguing that heterosexual marriage is best for children while being guilty of failing to address historical child abuse appears convincing Kevin Donnelly Brisbane Times A closer reading, though, reveals it for what it is. While Krien’s argument is emotionally persuasive she fails to provide a rational argument linking the two. Yes, the church clearly opposes same-sex marriage but to simply dismiss its arguments because of its ... Read More »

Fintan O’Toole: The lie that poverty is a moral failing was buried a century ago. Now it’s back

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George Bernard Shaw knew that the rich are no better than the poor. But though the argument seemed settled then, it now rages more fiercely than ever. Fintan O’Toole The Irish Times If you know Alfred Doolittle only from Stanley Holloway’s infinitely lovable portrayal of him in My Fair Lady, you might not realise that he’s a bit of a monster. In George Bernard Shaw’s original play, Pygmalion, he arrives in high dudgeon at the home of Henry Higgins, who ... Read More »

‘It’s able to create knowledge itself’: Google unveils AI that learns on its own

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<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/282073db076992a654b86d39036af719/content.css”/> In a major breakthrough for artificial intelligence, AlphaGo Zero took just three days to master the ancient Chinese board game of Go … with no human help Ian Sample The Guardian Google’s artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go-playing program, AlphaGo – an AI so powerful that it derived thousands of years of human knowledge of the game before inventing better moves of its own, all in the space of three ... Read More »

China vs. Japan: Asia’s Other Great Game

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Beijing and Tokyo will undoubtedly compete long after U.S. foreign policy has evolved. Asia’s Other Great Game Michael Auslin The National Interest THE SPECTER of the world’s two strongest nations competing for power and influence has created a convenient narrative for pundits and observers to claim that Asia’s future, perhaps even the world’s, will be shaped, in ways both large and small, by the United States and China. From economics to political influence and security issues, American and Chinese policies ... Read More »

Study calls for less shame and secrecy around menstruation in global conflict areas

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A new study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) found that girls and women in emergency contexts have inadequate access to safe and private facilities and supplies for menstrual hygiene management (MHM), and are provided with insufficient guidance by response teams on the… EurekAlert! Moreover, many staff have a limited understanding of what an improved response should entail, and… The study, published in the journal Conflict and Health, is one ... Read More »

How the oligarchy wins: lessons from ancient Greece

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Ganesh Sitaraman looks at what two recent books – Classical Greek Oligarchy by Matthew Simonton and Oligarchy by Jeffrey Winters – can teach us about defending democracy from oligarchs Ganesh Sitaraman The Guardian A few years ago, as I was doing research for a book on how economic inequality threatens democracy, a colleague of mine asked if America was really at risk of becoming an oligarchy. Our political system, he said, is a democracy. If the people don’t want to ... Read More »

We have to stop normalising relentless Islamophobia in Australia

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For Muslims in Australia, particularly hijab-wearing women and their children, Islamophobic attacks are all too common. It needs to change Rabia Siddique Terrorised, persecuted, stateless, homeless, and, until recently, without real international support – this is the plight of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority community being forced out of Myanmar. The Guardian At the hands of the Myanmar military, more than 80 villages have been burnt, leaving ten thousands of Rohingyas fleeing daily and attempting to cross into a flooded ... Read More »

Theresa May should give Netanyahu a piece of her mind – Thatcher would have

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A hundred years after the Balfour declaration that established a pathway to a Jewish state, the prime minister should acknowledge its role in Palestinian suffering Donald Macintyre  The Guardian He has not yet confirmed that he is coming. But having warmly described Theresa May’s invitation to visit Britain to commemorate the centenary of the Balfour declaration as “speaking volumes” about the UK-Israel relationship, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is unlikely to pass up the opportunity. The anniversary of Arthur Balfour’s letter ... Read More »

Women can’t be told anything anymore for fear of offence

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It’s nonsense that ‘fragile’ women are besieged by relentless male backlash Larissa Nolan The Irish Times I’ m thinking of starting a movement called the Dissident Feminists It’s a term coined by one of the greatest female minds of our time, philosopher, academic and author Camille Paglia. Paglia uses it to describe the strong force of pro-active, positive and powerful women who do not want to be linked to a cause that has been hijacked by radicals, diverged from equality ... Read More »

Global data shows 2017 is shaping as the best year ever

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Amid mass shootings, super storms and talk of nuclear conflict, here’s some good news. Matt Wade Barring a global catastrophe, 2017 is shaping as best year ever for the world’s average person. The Sydney Morning Herald That doesn’t mean everyone is better off, of course, but the positive trend in international wellbeing data since 2000 is striking. Global life expectancy at birth sums it up pretty well. It rose by 5 years between 2000 and 2015 to 71.4 years, the ... Read More »

Mr. Trump Nails Shut the Coffin on Climate Relief

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The Trump administration formally proposed on Tuesday to roll back yet another of President Barack Obama’s efforts to position the United States as a global leader in the fight against climate change The Editorial Board The New York Times  The move, though widely anticipated, was deeply disheartening. In March Mr. Trump ordered Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which was aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Mr. ... Read More »

Pierre Omidyar: 6 ways social media has become a direct threat to democracy

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While it’s hard to believe that helping strangers connect through the Internet was ever a radical idea, when I started eBay 22 years ago, it felt more like a social experiment than a business endeavor. Pierre Omidyar The Washington Post And in many ways, it was. Back then, online commerce was a new and wild frontier.I believed in our mission to empower people to conduct private trade on the Internet, but there were unforeseeable challenges lurking deep in those uncharted ... Read More »

Why Europe Needs a New Deal, Not Breakup

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The EU is facing a crisis of legitimacy—but retreating to the nation-state will only benefit the far right By Yanis Varoufakis and James K. Galbraith * The Nation The American New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt’s first two terms combined the goals of financial stabilization, reconstruction, conservation, and employment—jobs for the jobless; public works; power systems and new industries, especially in the South; soil conservation and reforestation to battle the Dust Bowl; and a potent mix of regulations and insurance to assert ... Read More »

Let’s All Agree Not To Visit Turkey

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To many Americans, a trip to Turkey has long seemed like a dream excursion A NATO ally that sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey has offered an approachable window into exotic history and culture. And the flights are generally affordable, too. Gregg Roman The Daily Caller But Turkey has changed in the past few years. The State Department hasn’t issued a travel warning yet, but if Americans think they’ll be safe there, they’re wrong. One year ago ... Read More »