Society

China stands firm as pressure grows to release late Nobel laureate’s wife

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Liu Xia has been detained at home since Liu Xiaobo won the peace prize in 2010 Clifford Coonan in Beijing The Irish Times International pressure is growing to allow Liu Xia, the wife of the late Nobel Peace Prize-winner Liu Xiaobo, to leave the country if she wants to go abroad. She has been under house arrest for years. Diplomatic sources in Beijing say intensive discussions are under way with Chinese authorities to grant permission to allow Ms Xia, a ... Read More »

Congo’s mining revenue ‘missing’ – Global Witness

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More than 20% of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s mining revenue is being lost due to corruption and mismanagement, a campaign group says. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40680795BBC According to a Global Witness report, the money is being distributed through corrupt networks linked to President Joseph Kabila. At least $750m (£580m) has gone missing over the past three years, it says. The government has not commented but has previously denied allegations of corruption in its mining… Congo’s mining revenue… Read More »

Yemen’s cholera epidemic is worst on record: Oxfam

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More than 360,000 suspected cholera cases have been recorded over just three months in war-ravaged Yemen, says charity. Al Jazeera and news agencies An ongoing cholera epidemic which has swept war-ravaged Yemen is the “largest ever recorded” in a single year, with more than 360,000 suspected cases in the three months since the… Since cholera began to spread in April, the epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people, while the country grapples with death, starvation, malnutrition and… Yemen’s cholera epidemic… Read More »

Australian dollar stung by RBA’s interest

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The Australian dollar slid back below US79¢ on Friday after Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle said there was no automatic reason for rates to rise after a recent outbreak of hawkishness by global… Eryk Bagshaw with Reuters and Bloomberg The Canberra Times The Australian dollar dropped about half a cent to US78.77¢ following the comments, having touched a high of US79.92¢ earlier in the week. “Just as the policy rate in Australia did not need to decline to the very ... Read More »

McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King branches

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The Government advises that the safe level of the bacteria in water used for human consumption is zero Ben Chapman Independent Faecal bacteria has been found in ice at McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King. The BBC’s Watchdog programme tested samples from 10 random branches from each of the fast food chains across the UK. Tests revealed bacteria known as faecal coliforms were present in three of the McDonald’s samples, six… McDonald’s, KFC and… Read More »

We All Know What’s Happening: A remarkable insight into Nauru through the eyes of children

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THEATRE WE ALL KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING ★★★½ Arts House, North Melbourne Until July 22​ That cherished axiom of the acting trade – “never work with children or animals” – is one we should be pleased some of our smartest theatre-makers have ignored. Cameron Woodhead The Age Adena Jacobs’ Fraught Outfit, for instance, has created an astonishing body of work with younger ensembles, continuing with a child’s eye view of The Book of... Likewise, Samara Hersch​ and Lara Thoms have devised theatre ... Read More »

Why the US doesn’t understand Chinese thought – and must

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The need for the U.S. to understand China is obvious. The Chinese economy is on track to become the largest in the world by 2030, Chinese leadership may be the key to resolving the nuclear crisis with North Korea and China has military and economic ambitions in the South China Sea and… Bryan W. Van Norden The Conversation Meanwhile, the Trump administration has shown (repeatedly) that it’s not even clear on the difference between the People’s Republic of China (the ... Read More »

Australia human history ‘rewritten by rock find’

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Archaeologists have found the first evidence to suggest that Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 65,000 years. BBC The discovery indicates their arrival on the continent was up to 18,000 years earlier than previously thought. It was made after sophisticated artefacts were excavated from a rock shelter in the Northern Territory. Researchers unearthed what they say are the… Australia human history… Read More »

North Korea drought: Children at risk in ‘worst crisis since 2001’

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North Korea is facing severe food shortages after being hit by its worst drought since 2001, a report from the United Nations says. BBC Crop production in the country has been hampered by a prolonged dry period and food imports are now urgently required to fill the gap, the UN has warned. The most vulnerable, such as children and the elderly, will be worst hit. In the 1990s, hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are believed to have died… North ... Read More »

Trumpcare Is Dead. “Single Payer Is the Only Real Answer,” Says Medicare Architect.

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Thanks to a pair of defections from more GOP senators late yesterday, the Republican plan to repeal and replace or simply repeal the Affordable Care Act is dead — for now. Zaid Jilani The Intercept But the health care status quo is far from popular, with 57 percent of Americans telling Gallup pollsters in March that they “personally worry” a “great deal” about health care costs. Many health care activists are now pushing to adopt what is called a “single… ... Read More »

Workplace relationships: People’s private lives are their own affair

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The forced resignations of two male senior AFL executives, both married, for workplace affairs with younger women significantly lower in the organisation’s hierarchy has triggered much… Editorial The Age Broadly, there are two opposing views. One is that once the clandestine sexual liaisons had become public, the AFL was right to force the executives out, on the… The other is that… Workplace relationships: People’s… Read More »

How Checkers Was Solved

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The story of a duel between two men, one who dies, and the nature of the quest to build artificial intelligence Alexis C. Madrigal  The Atlantic Marion Tinsley—math professor, minister, and the best checkers player in the world—sat across a game board from a computer, dying. Tinsley had been the world’s best for 40 years, a time during which he’d lost a handful of games to humans, but never a… How Checkers Was… Read More »

The Summer of Misreading Thucydides

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There’s a delicious irony in the Trump team’s affection for the historian—who repeatedly shows how populists lead societies to… Kori Schake The Atlantic This year is the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love,” those months in 1967 when a hundred thousand hippies convened in Haight… Flower children held a Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park, and Timothy Leary coined the phrase “turn on, tune in, drop… It was the heyday of the counterculture, now enjoying… The Summer of… Read More »

US calls for smaller deficits in new NAFTA talks

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The US government says trade deficits and market access will top the agenda as it renegotiated trade terms with Mexico and Canada. BBC US President Donald Trump has described the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a “disaster” and ordered fresh talks earlier this year. The objectives have been released in advance of the start of meetings with Canada and Mexico next month. Economists have warned that reaching the goals might be… US calls for… Read More »

The Politics of Islam in Mali: Separating Myth from Reality

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Settling the place of Islam in Mali’s society and politics is a less visible but longer-term challenge to the state than its rebellious north and stalled peace… ICG The government should work toward a partnership with religious authorities to enable them to play a stabilising role. Executive Summary The 2012 crisis, during which self-proclaimed jihadi armed groups took centre stage, intensified the debate on the role of Islam in Malian society and… Although religious leaders have become powerful lobbyists, public ... Read More »

UN seeks $421 million for African refugee flow

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MILAN:The United Nations’ refugee agency is appealing for $421.2 million to help improve protection of refugees in sub-Saharan and North Africa and back efforts in… AP ArabNews The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday the plan, which incorporates previous appeals, is needed “to help provide meaningful alternatives to refugees and others undertaking… It says 2,171 refugees and migrants were reported dead or missing as they tried to cross the central Mediterranean in this… UN seeks $421… Read More »