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More than three million Australians living in poverty, Acoss report reveals

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Peak welfare body calls for overhaul of employment services and at least two days a week of subsidised early childhood care Gareth Hutchens The Guardian Poverty has become a consistent feature of Australian life, with millions still living below the breadline despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the Australian Council of Social Service says. A vital circuit-breaker is needed, including a complete overhaul of Australia’s employment services, a commitment to “full employment” and a guarantee of at least two days ... Read More »

Over 50 million child marriages could be prevented if girls finished school

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More than 50 million child marriages could be prevented by 2030 if all girls finished secondary school, the charity Save the Children said on Oct. 11 to highlight problems on the International Day of the Girl Child. London / Istanbul Hurriyet Campaigners say children married young tend to leave school, have limited economic opportunities, are vulnerable to abuse and mental health problems and are more likely to live in poverty than… According to UNESCO estimates, 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million girls of primary-school age —half of them in sub-Saharan Africa— will never enter ... Read More »

How we can reverse rise in suicide

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Twice as many people die by suicide than on our roads. Yet, like the road toll, deaths by suicide are preventable. Editorial The Age Despite greater community awareness, the suicide rate increased by almost 10 per cent in the past year, according to official figures. It is a deeply complex issue, and, as The Sunday Age recently editorialised on the basis on numerous reviews and studies in the past decade, requires, above all, a significant boost to mental health funding, which ... Read More »

We need to talk about why men and women see equality differently

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This week’s Essential poll showed even more evidence that men and women have widely different views on the progress towards gender equality. Jane Gilmore The Canberra Times No matter how frustrating this might be, it’s not really surprising. Men rarely experience sexism, so they don’t always recognise it when it’s happening right in front of them, or, even more disturbingly, when they are the ones perpetrating it. The answers to the Essential poll questions about gender equality were significantly different ... Read More »

We are predisposed to forgive, new research suggests

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When assessing the moral character of others, people cling to good impressions but readily adjust their opinions about those who have behaved badly, according to new research. Yale University EurekAlert! This flexibility in judging transgressors might help explain both how humans forgive — and why they sometimes stay in bad relationships, said the study’s authors. The research — conducted by psychologists at Yale, University of Oxford, University College London, and the International School for Advanced Studies — appeared Sept. 17 ... Read More »

New data paint an unpleasant picture of poverty in the US

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On Sept. 12, the U.S. Census Bureau released national poverty data for 2017. The headline was that 39.7 million people were poor in 2017. This works out to 12.3 percent of the population or one in eight Americans. The good news is that the U.S. poverty rate has fallen since 2010, when it hit 15.1 percent, and… The bad news is that poverty still exceeds the 11.3 percent rate of 2000 and far too many people are poor in a ... Read More »

Young and resilient

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The first study of young refugees settling in Australia suggests they are adapting well to their new country By Dr Winnie Lau and Professor Meaghan O’Donnell, University of Melbourne Pursuit For people fleeing war and persecution, forced migration is an arduous and risky journey. But even for those who find new hope in a different country, adapting to a new culture is a… And of the 68.5 million people around the globe displaced by war and political conflict, over half ... Read More »

How solar kits and battery lamps are replacing kerosene across Africa

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For decades, people in rural Africa have been using sooty kerosene lamps to dimly light their homes. Jörg Peters The Conversation But in recent years households, even in poor areas, have started to replace their kerosene lamps with non-rechargeable dry-cell battery driven lamps and solar kits. This is happening largely without any governmental or donor involvement. These devices are equipped with light-emitting diodes (LED) that have become significantly cheaper over the years. This has, in turn, made them a highly ... Read More »

Lawyers perceived as only slightly more ethical than bankers

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Even in the wake of the banking royal commission, Australians perceive lawyers to be almost as unethical as bankers, insurers and financial services professionals, according to new research. Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly The Governance Institute Australian Ethics Index 2018 found that while the banking, financial services and insurance sectors have a net ethical score of -15, with only 30 per cent of respondents thinking tha… All sectors implicated in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial ... Read More »

No healthy level of alcohol consumption, says major study

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Governments should consider advising people to abstain entirely, say authors Sarah Boseley The Guardian Even the occasional drink is harmful to health, according to the largest and most detailed research carried out on the effects of alcohol, which suggests governments should think of advising people to… The uncompromising message comes from the authors of the Global Burden of Diseases study, a rolling project based at the University of Washington, in Seattle, which produces the most comprehensive data on the… No healthy ... Read More »

Modern myths about cancer – from ‘chemicals’ in food to wifi

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The idea that lifestyle changes have made the disease more common is a gross exaggeration – but increasingly prevalent. We separate fact from fiction Naomi Elster The Guardian Cancer is not up there with the most likely explanations for what caused the mass extinction 66m years ago of the T rex and the triceratops. That said, at least one species of dinosaur suffered from blood-vessel tumours – and a 1.7m-year-old toe with bone cancerwas discovered in 2016 at a South African world heritage site. Cancer ... Read More »

Most Europeans still believe in Europe – new study suggests

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In the ongoing chaos and confusion of Britain’s departure from the EU, news that many UK constituencies are shifting from being leavers to remainers offers the opportunity to look at the Brexit debate from an unusual viewpoint: do citizens consider the EU as something more than just an… Simone Baglioni The Conversation The current Brexit debate focuses mainly on economic considerations, as if the only thing worth reflecting on at the end of a 45-year marriage – just like the ... Read More »

How sheds can help men stave off loneliness after retirement – according to our new research

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When people hear the word shed, they may think about a rickety wooden building at the bottom of a garden crawling with spiders, filled with old paint tins, a lawnmower and out-of-date weedkiller. Jenny Fisher The Conversation It has also been associated with the term “man cave” – a space where a man spends time on his own, tinkering with junk or avoiding his partner. But our new research found there was more to the humble shed than meets the ... Read More »

‘Medicare for all’ is a pipe dream

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A new study released by Charles Blahous at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has received a lot of attention this week. Dr. Marc Siegel The Hill It concludes that the “Medicare for all” proposal endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others would “increase federal budget commitments by approximately $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years of full implementation.” The study goes on to point out that “doubling all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to ... Read More »

The lifesaving power of gratitude (or, why you should write that thank you note)

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Gratitude may be more beneficial than we commonly suppose. One recent study asked subjects to write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated. Richard Gunderman The Conversation Another study assessed the health benefits or writing thank you notes. The researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improved life satisfaction, increased happy feelings ... Read More »

Australia is in the grip of a sleeplessness epidemic

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In December last year, at the height of the dual citizenship scandal which ultimately led to this weekend’s Super Saturday byelections, ABC’s 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales asked Malcolm Turnbullwhat ran through his head in the middle of night when he couldn’t sleep. Fleur Anderson The Canberra Times She received short shrift. “You know what? I sleep right through the night. Do you sleep well?” Turnbull said. “The key to being a happy and effective prime minister is to get a good night’s sleep ... Read More »